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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM L. CHILSON, Postmaster of Swift River, a well-known merchant and manufacturer, was born in Southampton, Mass., October 28, 1858, son of William W. and Sarah L. (Ludden) Chilson. Mr. Chilson’s great-grandfather, Asaph Chilson, who was a native of Wales, emigrated to America, and settled in Albany, N.Y., where he followed the trade of a weaver. His children were: Lucretia, Huldah, Nabby, John, and Asaph. John Chilson, who seems to have been the elder son, was born in Albany in October, 1785. He was one of the early teamsters between Albany and Boston but, after going over the route many times, he bought a small farm in Buckland, Franklin County, Mass., upon which he settled, and resided there until his death, which occurred at a good old age. John Chilson married Clarissa Butler, daughter of Levi Butler, of Buckland; and their children were: Haines H. Milo C., Nancy, Andrew M., Clarissa, William W., Elizabeth, and another child, who died young.

William W. Chilson was born in Buckland Mass., November 15, 1824. He adopted agriculture as an occupation; and, after working upon different farms in that locality, he purchased a small farm in Easthampton, Hampshire County, but sold it shortly, and bought another in Goshen, Mass., which he cultivated successfully for twenty years. He then exchanged his Goshen farm for his present property in the village of Swift River, and has since resided here. In 1867 Mr. Chilson received injuries the result of which had caused him considerable disability; but, possessing a strong constitution, he is otherwise in good health. He is a Democrat in politics.

On January 21, 1855, William W. Chilson married Sarah L. Ludden, of Southampton Mrs. Chilson was born November 2, 1838, daughter of Edwin C. and Elizabeth L. (Thorp) Ludden, the former of whom was a real estate owner and a farmer, and was also engaged in butchering. Mr. and Mrs. William W. Chilson have seven children, as follows: Milo B., who married Mary Demmond William L., the subject of this sketch; Rose E. J., wife of Lewis Ferd; Lizzie S., wife of Charles Small; Edward A., who married Nellie A. McCoy; Juliet E., wife of George Preston; and Clara M. Mrs. Sarah L. Chilson is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

William L. Chilson was educated in the schools of Southampton and Goshen. In 1884 he bought the H. G. Wells property in Swift River, which he remodelled and enlarged by building an addition; and in this he opened a general store, the first to be established here, where he continues to conduct a profitable business. In 1891, in company with H. G. Reed, he purchased the manufacturing establishment and water privilege of the Crosby Company, which included two tenement-houses, and engaged in the manufacture of tool handles of every description, gauge-cocks, radiator valve handles of the finest finish, also carrying on a general sawing and planing business. The mills are equipped with improved machinery; and, in case the water supply fails, there is a thirty-horse power engine in readiness to be used as a substitute. Native beech, birch, and maple woods are used in their products, and also rosewood, which they import. A force of twelve men is constantly employed, and the business is firmly established and favorably known. Mr. Chilson likewise carries on the jewelry repairing business at his store, and he is a licensed auctioneer. He is a Republican in politics, and in 1891 was appointed Postmaster of Swift River, a position which he still holds.

On October 16, 1884, Mr. Chilson was united in marriage with Susan E. Willcott, daughter of Alvin and Mary A. (Crosby) Willcott, the former of whom was a prosperous farmer of Swift River. Mr. and Mrs. Chilson have two children: William Leroy and Wallace S. Mr. Chilson is a Congregationalist in religion.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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