William Westley Bostwick - Bostwick Family History and Values

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William Westley Bostwick (1870-1922)
Where William Bostwick was born and who his parents were remained a mystery for several decades.
Either descendants didn’t know or didn’t want to disclose any family information concerning William.
His tragic death by shooting was perhaps too much for the family to talk much about him or his
ancestors. Both his marriage and death certificates state his birth date as February 28, 1870. According
to his death certificate, he was born in Ohio. According to his marriage certificate, he was born in
"Hayland," Ohio. No Ohio map found showed "Hayland" on it. Perhaps the name of the town may have
changed. One theory is that William may have actually written the county down. Although there is no
Hayland County, there is a Highland County, Ohio. However, the after looking at the birth records for
Highland and the surrounding counties, none of the records stated a male being born on February 28,
1870. Another theory was that instead of "Hayland" the town's name was "Wayland". There is a
Wayland in Portage County, Ohio. After researching the Portage County and surrounding counties' birth
records, none of them recorded a male born on February 28, 1870. The marriage certificate copy is very
clear, but with many written documents, the writing is not always easy to decipher.
In December of 2007, William’s great-great granddaughter, Laura Bostwick, made a major breakthrough
and notified Dana Bostwick, one of his great-grandson’s of a census record she had discovered while
doing family research. The record was from the
Another mystery recently solved is what his actual middle name was. Sources such as his
marriage certificate, administration dockets and tax records, and the US Census' for 1910 and 1920 give
him the middle initial "S". William's death certificate states that his middle initial was "A". One source
gives him the middle name of "Abram". Two descendants of his daughter Lillie May and a descendant of
his daughter Marjorie Ellen give his middle name as "Westley". Normally, the vital records, i.e.,
William's marriage and death certificates, would be the primary source of information, giving him the
middle initial "S" or "A".
Recently new evidence has surfaced, which finally settles the matter. Lillie May Bostwick's
daughter, Thelma has provided copies of her mother's birth and death certificates. The birth certificate
states her father as William W. Bostwick, and her death certificate states his name as William Westley
Bostwick. Furthermore, Lillie May's obituary states that she was "a daughter of the late William Westley
Bostwick...". Thus, the name of our ancestor is William Westley Bostwick.
William Bostwick married Mary Elizabeth Harriman at Muses Bottom in Jackson County, West
Virginia on May 29, 1890. Their first of eight known children, Hazel Leota, was born in Meigs County,
Ohio near Pomeroy. Apparently the family moved quite often over the years according to the birth
places of the children. Lillie May, the next child, was born at Ripley in Jackson County, West Virginia.
The birth place for William Westley II, their third child, is still unknown. The fourth child, Clarence
Abram, was born in Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio. The fifth child, Thomas Sumner, was
born in 1902 in Parkersburg, Wood County, West Virginia, The sixth child, who died at birth in 1905, was
a son (no name given) who was born in East Liverpool, Columbiana County, Ohio. The 1910 census lists
a seventh child, Lorena R., as having been one year old at the time. However, the 1920 census does not
list her indicating that she may have died at a young age. Her likely birth place was East Liverpool, Ohio
since the family was there at least from 1905 on. The youngest child, Marjorie Ellen, was born about
1912, also in East Liverpool.
The family tended to move along either side of the Ohio River between Ohio and West Virginia.
According to William's death certificate, his occupation was a stationary engineer for an ice plant in East
Liverpool. William's occupation required that he have a fairly good education. Nothing has yet surfaced
concerning his life prior to his marriage.
Some pictures of William, recently found, show him as a man of fairly large stature and of
average height. One picture showing him as a young man, perhaps near the time of his marriage,
reveals his physical characteristics well. He strikes a handsome figure having a broad mustache and
wearing a bowler style hat and vested suit and tie. Those that recall him or have talked to people who
knew him, agree that he could be temperamental at times and at others display a sense of humor.
Those who knew him state that he was a hard working individual and apparently did what was necessary
to support his family, including moving to different locales. He most likely had a good education, which
accounted for his being a stationary engineer.
Descriptions of the circumstances surrounding William's death vary. However, the death
certificate records the cause of his death as being "Death by Shooting" and that his death occurred at his
residence in East Liverpool, Ohio on January 26, 1922. This does not state whether it was accidental or
by suicide. There is strong evidence that William did not plan to commit suicide, but rather he shot
himself out of grief and shock. Apparently his wife, Mary and he had gotten into a violent argument
during which time he pushed her, causing her to fall down and hit her head against the stove knocking
her unconscious. Mary was of a frail-built stature, and, as the story goes, William mistakenly thought
that the blow had killed her. He, therefore, took a gun and went to the next room and took his life. Had
he known that he had not killed his wife, it was highly unlikely that he would have shot himself. At the
time of his death, William had a successful career, he owned his own property, he had no large debts,
and he had a good family and was close to his grand-children as well. This would hardly be a scenario
for someone to commit suicide, unless it would be from a rash action such as describe above. It is also
quite understandable why hardly anyone would talk about such a death for a good many years.
Whatever the circumstances, William's death was tragic. He was only 52 years of age at the
time. His wife was 48. Marjorie Ellen, their daughter, was only 9 years old. William's daughter, Hazel
was executor for his will and property.
William's burial took place in Riverview Cemetery in East Liverpool on January 28th. However,
the grave once marked is no longer so. Therefore, the exact location of his grave site is being sought for.
What may have happened is, for whatever reason, when the grave marker disappeared, another person
later was buried at or near the same location. William's granddaughter, Thelma (Nicholson) Hughes, has
been investigating this matter.
d Cemetery in Alliance, Ohio.
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