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William W. Skelton (1826-1883), of Williams Twp.
Born England, farmer in Williams Twp, Bay, Mich.

Biography, 1883. - Added March, 2011.

History of Bay County, Michigan - 1883


William W. Skelton was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1826. He left England at the age of twenty-three, and came to America alone and landed in New York, thense to Michigan direct. He lived in Milford, Oakland Couty, three years, and in October, 1854, bought land on Section Eight, and on the 9th day of January, 1855, after cutting a sled road through the woods and swamps, for a distance of ten miles, to his land, he commenced clearing a place to build him a cabin, being the first man to strike a blow in the then unbroken wilderness of North williams. There is now a fine farm of fifty acres under improvement, handsome brick residence with large detached brick cellar, commodious barns, good orchard, producing a plentiful supply of fine fruit, both for home consumption and for market. He was married in 1855, to Miss Maria Ann Luther, of Midland, by whom he had six children, for sons and two daughters, all living. He married again in 1879, Mrs. Ann Eliza Catlin, of Bay City, birth place, Erie County, N. Y. In January, 1883, Mr. Skelton met with death under the circumstances, which were narrated by the Bay City Tribune of January, 1883, as follows:

William W. Skelton of Williams Township, met with a very sad death at this residence on Friday last. He was one of the most prosperous farmers in that locality, and during the past season had raised considerable fruit and vegetables, many of the latter being kept as food for his cattle during the Winter. These he had stored in his cellar, and to prevent their destruction by the late cold weather, placed coal fires in the cellar. There was no stove or furnace used, but he simply had the coal burning in open kettles, keeping the cellar closed as tightly as possible. By this process it was inevitable that a large amount of gas would be generated, and when he went in on the occasion of his fatal visit, he was at once overcome and almost instantly suffocated. When discovered by members of his family, he was to all appearances dead, though every effor to restore life was promptly resorted to Dr. Snyder, of Auburn, was summoned as quickly as possible, but the unfortunate man was beyond all human aid. The occasion of his death and the circumstances attending it were so apparent that a coroner's inquest was deemed unnecessary and was dispensed with. His remains were difficult to keep, because of his having died in a state of perfect health, and the furneral occurred as son as the necessary arrangements could be perfected.

The deceased was the first settler in North Williams, having come there in 1855. Since that time he has developed a splendid farm, and was surrounded with the results of his industry and consequent prosperity. He was a man highly respected in the community, and besides a wife and grown up family of children to lament his sudden death, his loss will be sadly felt by all who know him. He was a man fifty-six years of age, and from appearances would have lived many years, had no fatal casualty befallen him.

Additional Notes.

    1870 - Census: Williams Twp., Bay. Mich.

  • Skelton, William - age 50 b. England - farmer
  • Munice, wife - age 47 b. NY -keeping house (aka: Maria A. Houghton)
  • James, son - age 16 b. Mich.
  • Mary J dau. - age 14 b. Mich. (m. 1873, Daniel L. Eddy)
  • Harriet, dau. - age 12 b. Mich.
  • Travis, son 0- age 10 b. Mich. (m. 1911, Ida J. Plant)
  • Darancy, son - age 9 b. Mich.
  • Robert, son - age 7 b. Mich. (m. 1889, Louis Fletcher)

    1879 - Michigan Marriages: West Bay City.

  • Date: June 19, 1879.
  • William W. Skelton, b. 1827, Eng., marriage to Anne E. Catlin, b. 1827, N.Y. (aka. Balcomb)

    1880 - Census: Williams, Bay, Michigan.

  • Skelton, Wm. W. - b. 1827 England -farmer
  • Ann E., wife - b. 1827 N.Y.
  • Robert, son - b. 1863 Mich. - farmer
  • Cathie, Andrew H., b. 1866 Conn. - farmer

    1889 - Michigan Marriages: Williams Twp., Bay, Mich.

  • Date: May 1, 1889.
  • Groom: Robert D. Skelton, b. 1863 Mich., son of William W. Skelton and Maria Heughton.
  • Bride: Lois Fletcher, b. 1870, Mich., daughter of Robert Fletcher and Olive Wing.
  • Official: Anthony Kern, Justice the Peace.
  • Witnesses: Wm. Fletcher and Mary Fletcher.

    1911 - Michigan Marriages: Bay City, Mich.

  • Date: Feb. 2, 1911.
  • Groom: Trevis W. Skelton, b. 1862, Williams Twp. son of William Skelton and Maria A. Houghton.
  • Bride: Ida J. Plant, b. 1875 Canada, daughter of John Plant and Mary J. Anscombe.
  • Official: Charles E. Marvin, minister.
  • Witnesses: Nellie M. Marvin and Anna M. Morrison.
Related Note & Pages

Related Pages:
Williams Twp. History
People Referenced
Anscombe, Mary J.
Catlin (Balcomb), Anne E. (2-wife)
Cathie, Andrew H. (farmer)
Eddy, Daniel L. (s-inlaw)
Fletcher, Louis (d-inlaw)
Fletcher, Mary
Fletcher, William
Houghton, Marie A. (1-wife)*
Kern, Anthony
Luther, Maria A. (1-wife)*
Marvin, Anna M.
Marvin, Anthony
Marvin, Nellie
Plant, Ida J. (d-inlaw)
Plant, John
Skelton, Darancy (son)
Skelton, Harriet (dau)
Skelton, James (son)
Skelton, Mary J. (dau)
Skelton, Robert (son)
Skelton, Travis (son)
Skelton, Wm (subject)
Snyder, Dr.
* These two names appear to be same person.
Subjects Referenced
1st settler(Auburn)
Auburn, Bay, MI
Bay City, MI
Lincolnshire, England
Midland, MI
Milford, Oakland, MI
New York
North Williams, MI
West Bay City, MI
Williams Twp, Bay, MI
Internet References
  • [1870 Michigan Census]
    Library of Michigan website.
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.