William and Catherine Moseley

Happy birthday, William Moseley!

December 4, 2017, (just a week before my own 75th birthday) will be the 155th anniversary of my great-grandfather William Joseph Moseley’s birth.

William was my mother’s paternal grandfather. He was born in 1862 near Birmingham, England. His first wife, Catherine Burns (with William in the portrait above), was born in Ireland. When William was a child he lived with his grandparents in Birmingham, and he immigrated to the United States in 1880 soon after his grandmother Mary Glover Moseley died.

William settled in Auburn, New York, where he went to work in the Auburn Button Works, which had just opened the prior year. He lived in Auburn for the rest of his life. He later became a building contractor (he was the prime contractor for the St Alphonsus Church in Auburn, pictured below) and even served as a city alderman circa 1910.

St Alphonsus Church, Auburn, New York
St Alphonsus Church, Auburn, New York

William died in 1952 after falling down the stairs of his house on 34 Mary Street.

William Moseley’s house at 34 Mary Street, Auburn, New York (photo circa 1950)

There is a mystery about William’s parents. I have spent years researching this mystery and have not yet found his birth record. Various other records indicate that Mary Glover was his grandmother and that Jane Wilkins Scotton (also spelled Scotten), Mary’s daughter, was his aunt. Jane and her husband immigrated to Auburn about a year before William did, and she lived with him in Auburn until her death in 1921.

Mary Glover
Mary Glover, whose portrait hung over the couch in William’s home in Auburn

Based on my most recent research, I believe it is likely that Jane was really his mother and that Jane’s husband William Joseph Scotton (Scotten) was his father. If so, they became parents when they were still teenagers.

For more details about the intriguing mystery, see the Moseley family page on this site: http://www.newsfromnan.com/moseley-family-page

I only met William one time when my parents and Moseley grandparents visited William in Auburn in about 1950. I remember that he was very friendly to my sister and me, and that he called me Rick and gave me an enormous cookie to eat!

William, Edwin, Lillian, Dick, and Karen
William, son Edwin, granddaughter Lillian, great-grandchildren Dick and Karen

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