Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

Rev. Frederick G. Betts 


William Wilson Betts


Betts, Rev. Frederick G., was born in Philadelphia, August 14, 1812; his parents were New Englanders.  In the year 1840 he was licensed as a Presbyterian minister by the Huntingdon Presbytery, and accepting a call from the congregation at Clearfield, he was ordained and installed as its pastor in November, 1840.  Moving with his family from Boalsburg, Centre county, to Clearfield, he continued in charge of the congregations at Clearfield, Curwensville and Forest Hill, until his death, in January 1845.  His widow, Cornelia (Finley) Betts, died eight years later, 1853.

        Of their six children, the third, William Wilson Betts, the subject of this sketch, was born at Newark, N. J., on the first day of May, 1838, therefore; at the time of his parents coming into this country, he was less than three years of age. At the age of about thirteen years William went to Meadville, this State, where he entered the office of the Crawford journal, intending to learn the trade of a printer; but after remaining there nearly a year he was obliged to abandon it on account of defective eyesight. Returning to Clearfield in 1853, he was offered a situation in the store of Reed, Weaver & Powell, where he remained until, having attained the age of twenty-one years, he was taken into the firm as a partner, and the firm became Reed, Weaver & Company. Nine years later, 1869, G. L. Reed and William Powell retiring, the style of the firm became Weaver & Betts, and has so continued to the present time. This firm has been among the heaviest and most extensive lumber dealers on the West Branch of the Susquehanna. In the year 1880 the firm ceased merchandising, and have since given sole attention to their still extensive lumber operations, and the development of their coal properties situated in different sections of the county. 

        On the 28th day of October, 1862, William W. Betts married Margaret J. Irvin, daughter of William Irvin, of Curwensville. Of this marriage six children have been born, four of whom are still living. 

        In every enterprise looking to the general welfare of the people of the county and the development of its resources, Mr. Betts has always occupied a prominent position, contributing of his means and personal attention to the advancement of the interests of both borough and county, and actively aided the organization of such public improvements as the Water, Gas and Cemetery Companies of Clearfield, as well as most of the manufacturing industries of that place. 

         Although Mr. Betts is not a politician in the ordinary acceptance of that term, caring nothing far political power or place, yet he has ever been an active and straightforward Democrat, aiding the success of his party with his means, and active in its councils, and though frequently urged to become a candidate for political position he invariably refused; although, in 1876, and again in 1878, he accepted the instructions of his county for the office of State Senator, but made no special effort to secure the nomination in the district. But in 1886, the senatorial conference, composed of Clearfield, Centre and Clinton counties, failing to select a candidate from among the aspirants for the office of State senator, unanimously tendered the nomination to him. Feeling that he could not refuse a nomination so generously offered, and coming entirely without solicitation, he accepted, and was elected for the term of four years, without opposition, the Republicans placing no candidate against him.  

Source: Pages 691-692, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed August 2009 by Charlotte Gaines for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Published 2009 by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project

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