William Henry Ayers

William Henry Ayers was born September 2, 1853 in Van Wert County, Ohio to Cyrus Ayers and Rachel (Rebecca) Butler. He was the third of six children, having two brothers, two sisters, and one unknown sibling. He was reared in Liberty Township, Van Wert County and received a "good, common-school" education. His interest was always in agriculture, even as a child. He became a farmer and stock raiser in Liberty Township.

On October 30, 1878, he married Alvina VanGundy in Mercer, Ohio. She was the daughter of Abraham (Abram V.) VanGundy and Elizabeth Exline. Alvina was about 24 years old at the time of their marriage. They had six children: Vernon, Emery Lee, Orley, Tony Gaylord, Ethel Burdella Edna, and Agnes Edith May. Vernon M. Ayers was born September 2, 1879. He married Nellie Smith and lived in Rockford, Mercer County. Two years later, Emery Lee was born. He married Nellie King of Van Wert and lived in Ohio City. On March 21, 1884, Orley was born. He was still living with his parents in 1906. Tony Gaylord was born September 12, 1887 and was unmarried as of 1906. They also had two daughters, Ethel Burdella Edna, born December 1, 1889 and Agnes Edith May, born November 7, 1892.

About three years after his marriage (1881), William purchased 80 acres of land from the heirs of his father's estate. He continued to add to his land and, in 1906, became the owner of 200 acres of productive and valuable farm land. At one time, he had as many as 240 acres, but sold 40 of the acres in 1905.

He owned two residence properties in Ohio City, and had 13 producing oil wells on his land, which he leased to Trial Oil Company. He also had in operation 10 complete oil wells on other land which he leased himself. He had two producing wells on the Straw lease, one on the Butler lease, and four on the Peter Temple lease. He had a second oil well drilled on his farm in the Ohio City field. For several months, it produced 200 barrels per day. It started pumping April 1, 1904 and was still productive in 1906.

William was considered to be one of the successful and enterprising businessmen in Liberty Township. He was recognized as being progressive and public-spirited. He was a Democrat and took an active interest in the party. He was elected as the trustee of the township and served for several years. He also served as the township treasurer for three years and the township clerk for two years. He was even nominated for the office of county commissioner, but he was defeated. For several years, he was one of the directors of the warehouse and elevator at Van Wert, which was owned by the Grange of Liberty Township. It has been said that in all these various duties, he had striven to give the public his best and most conscientious efforts.

William Henry Ayers died May 16, 1922 in Celina, Mercer County, Ohio. He was buried in Riverside Cemetery. His wife, Alvina, survived him.

This page belongs to The Völker Haus
Created:  25 Mar 2001
Modified:  11 Apr 2001
Copyright © 2001, Jennifer Volker

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