WILLIAM H. WITHEY. - William H. Withey, now deceased, was one of the pioneer manufacturers of Springfield, having located here about 1843, at which time he established a carriage making plant. This business has since had a continuous existence and is now carried on by two of his sons.
Mr. Withey was a native of Nottingham, England, born on the 27th of November, 1822, his parents being James and Jane Withey, both natives of England. They removed with their family to America in 1842 and came direct to Sangamon county, settling on a farm east of Springfield, but his health failed there and in 1843 he took up his abode in the city, where he began the manufacture of carriages, continuing in that business for several years of until advanced age caused him to sell out to his two sons, William H. and George Withey. The father then retired and resided at the old Withey homestead at the corner of Eleventh street and Capitol avenue until his death. His wife also died there.
William H. Withey received his education in the common schools of England and when only a boy began to learn the trade of carriage making, working at that pursuit in England until his father removed to this country. Here Mr. Withey continued to follow his trade and on reaching Springfield secured a position in the carriage factory of Enos Henkle. Upon his father's retirement he and his brother George succeeded to the business as partners and the enterprise has been continued down to the present time and a profitable business has been carried on because of the honorable methods that have ever been maintained by the house and the excellent workmanship done there. Mr. Withey continued in the same line up to the time of his death and owned a large plant on East Washington street, employing a number of men. He kept abreast with modern improvements and progress and the product of the factory found a ready sale on the market.
In 1847 Mr. Withey was united in marriage to Miss Lydia Robinson, who was born in Cape May county, New Jersey, October 12, 1824, a daughter of Elijah and Anna (Broderick) Robinson, both of whom were natives of New Jersey. The father was a farmer by occupation and followed that pursuit in the east until 1840, when they removed to Illinois, settling at Farmingdale. There his death occurred a year later and the wife had previously passed away in New Jersey. Their daughter, Mrs. Withey, when a young lady was a milliner by trade and at the age of eighteen began working for Mrs. Fulkerson, who conducted the first millinery store in Springfield, being employed here for five years. Mr. and Mrs. Withey became the parents of six sons: John W., born March 16, 1849, is a member of the firm of Withey Brothers, carriage and wagon manufacturers of Springfield. Thomas Allen, born July 31, 1850, is a carriage maker by trade, and married Eva Woods. Their home is in Springfield. Henry, born January 21, 1852, died in infancy. Arthur Otto, born May 9, 1853, married Mattie Ralph, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who met death in a fire, their residence in Springfield being burned. Arthur O. Withey is a woodworker by trade and was employed in the carriage shop until after the fire. He then retired and went to live with his mother, with whom he resided until 1904. He and his son now live at their home on East Monroe and Twelfth street. There are four children born unto him and his wife and they were reared by Mrs. William H. Withey and now reside with their uncle in this city. They are Ralph, May, Willie and Clarence Withey. Ervin Withey, born February 13, 1857, married Alice King and resides in Springfield. William H. Withey, born January 15, 1859, married Hattie Short and is in partnership with his brother John W., as a member of the firm of Withey Brothers, carriage and wagon manufacturers.
Mr. Withey passed away April 2, 1891. He had long been closely associated with the industrial development of the city and in this way contributed largely to its prosperity. He never sought or desired political preferment or cared to figure before the public in any light save that of a reliable business man and loyal citizen. He was a stanch Republican and he raised the first flag pole for Abraham Lincoln in the city of Springfield. He was a member of Christ's Episcopal church, while his wife held membership in the First Methodist Episcopal church. For many years Mrs. Withey has been residing at what is known as the old Withey homestead at No. 1127 East Monroe Street, where Mr. Withey purchased three lots fifty-three years ago. He built one of the largest and finest brick residences in that part of the city, but as the years passed the children married and moved away and in May, 1904, Mrs. Withey sold the homestead together with other property and will now reside with her