William Henry Sexton (1838-1908) was the son of Henry Youmans Sexton and Minerva Peat and the half-brother of my great-great-grandmother Jane Ann Sexton Tillotson . William was born on November 23, 1838 in Liverpool, Medina County, Ohio. He married Anna P. Squiers on May 25, 1864 (see their marriage license (38K) ). The marriage took place at the home of E. M Potter in Ovid, Clinton County, Michigan. Ebenezer Nethaway, brother-in-law of Eleanor M. Rockwell Bennett , presided. Anna was born in Brunswick, Medina County, Ohio on April 13, 1838. She moved to Michigan around 1856 and was living in Ovid at the time of her marriage. Anna's last name also appears as Squires.
William and Anna moved to Detroit in 1871, where they lived until they died.
William and Anna had no children together, but they adopted two:
Charles Edwin Sexton, born in New York State, died of phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis) at the age of 25 on March 17, 1891.
Maud Minerva Sexton. (The name also appears as Maude, but her father spelled it Maud.) She married Carlton Seelye Shier on October 24, 1901 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. Carlton was born January 24, 1875 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Carlton was educated in the public schools and was graduated from Ann Arbor High School. He began his career at the Detroit Free Press in 1900 as a reporter. Later he became a music critic, special writer, editorial writer, chief editorial writer, and in 1926, editor. He and Maud retired to Ann Arbor. Both were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Maud and Carlton had at least five children:
William Henry Shier was born July 25, 1902 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. He died March 8, 1989 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.
Elizabeth Maude Shier was born September 3, 1904 in Detroit. She died April 23, 1926 in Detroit. She is buried in Highland Cemetery, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Louise A. Shier was born September 28, 1906 in Detroit. She was educated in the public schools of Detroit. She graduated from the University of Michigan and earned a doctorate in archaeology in 1931 at the age of twenty-five. Louise remained at the University of Michigan for her entire academic career. She was a curator at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology where she played an important role in cataloging and publishing material from university expeditions in Egypt. She collaborated with Winifred Kammerer and Elinor Mullett Husselman on A Coptic Bibliography , the authoritative bibliography on Coptic Egypt first published in 1950. See the Louise A. Shier and Elinor Mullett Husselman web page for photos of Louise. Louise never married. She died February 29, 1992 in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan.
Carlton Seelye Shier was born August 11, 1916 in Detroit. He died March 7, 1971 at the age of 54.
Robert Morris Shier was born July 19, 1918 in Detroit, Michigan. He died October 4, 1997 in Newport News, Virginia.
There may have been another child named C. S. Shier (an earlier Carlton Seelye perhaps?) who died at the age of eleven days in 1915.
Carlton Seelye Shier, Sr. died June 3, 1957 at the age of 81. Maud Minerva Sexton Shier died July 8, 1958 at the age of 80.
William Henry Sexton fought in the Civil War as a landsman in the Navy. His grave includes a Grand Army of the Republic marker.
Anna taught school for a number of years before she married. William also taught school in the Elsie area. He also worked as a photographer. William probably shot the early photos and tintypes of his parents Henry and Minerva Peat Sexton .
William died of tuberculosis in Detroit, Michigan on May 18, 1908 (see his obituary). William is buried in Elmwood Historical Cemetery in Detroit. Anna Squiers Sexton died February 9, 1926 in Chelsea, Michigan at the Methodist Home. Anna is buried with William. Two other people without grave markers are buried in the same plot:
Charles Edwin Sexton, the adopted son of William and Anna who died at the age of 25 on March 17, 1891.
An infant named C. S. Shier died of pyaemia (blood poisoning induced by pyogeneic bacteria) when just eleven days old on February 12, 1915. This may have been a child of Maud Minerva Sexton Shier and her husband. They did name a son born in 1916 Carlton Seelye Shier.
William Henry Sexton, like his sister Ellen Eliza Sexton , was a poet. Here are two selections from his collection published under the title Truth and Near Truth. The complete text is available as a digital download from Google Books.
NAMING THE BABY
by William Henry Sexton
Since starting out to make a book,
Some fleeting thoughts to trace,
I find I cannot even look
A scrap-book in the face
Without a name to call it by,
So on this point I mused,
And hoped the pile of scrap hard by
Might last till all were used.
I think for name, the "crazy quilt,"
Appropriate as any.
For out of scraps the book is built,
In shades and colors many.
And some are old, and have lived long,
For, buried out of sight,
They could not die, for e'en a song,
To die, must face the light.
While some are younger and quite spry,
And may survive a while,
And some are new and may not die,
Till spring comes with its smile.
WHY POETS WRITE.
by William Henry Sexton
Poets, I hear, are borne not paid,
Though sometimes they are born
With sense enough, when all is said,
To income from the storm.
And only write when paid their price,
Ask Kipling, Riley, or Dan Rice.
I'm sure I cannot say just here,
Why poets ever write,
Why day by day, year after year,
The papers are a sight --
With verses good, or verses bad,
Till writing verses seems a fad.
Newspapers pay for what they need,
Of pictures or of prose,
But have their pick of verse, indeed
Quite free, take or refuse.
The magazine with might and main,
Use, and may pay for theirs, ask Twain.
Me? Why do I join beggars' ranks,
By writing poems free?
I plead "not guilty" and give thanks,
As he that reads may see.
I use, its true (though this seems worse,)
Some rhymes -- no poetry -- just verse.
But why write verse, if not for pay?
What reason may you find?
I do get pay, for I may say,
There's discipline of mind.
One learns in quiet and repose,
How condensation aids his prose.
Cover of William Henry Sexton's poetry collection.
Truth and Near Truth by William Henry Sexton.
1908 Printed and Bound by WINN & HAMMOND, Detroit.
Copyrighted by William Henry Sexton.
William dedicated his book as follows:
My Faithful and Devoted Wife
A n n a,
and to Mrs. Maud Minerva Shier,
a loving daughter
this work is affectionately
Largely produced during most discouraging conditions for
popular book work, the author still ventures to hope
he has preserved that spirit of youth and
cheerfulness, so essential to the main
tenance of friendly relations
with a living world.
Would you have friends -- be friendly.
Would you have them cheerful -- be thou not less so.
Cemetery information for William and Anna courtesy Wayne Caswell.
Information about the children of Carlton Seelye Shier and Maud Minerva Sexton courtesy Anne Shier Klintworth.
Back to Henry Youmans Sexton.
Back to William's obituary.
Back to index of my personal genealogy pages.
Last modified by pib on October 2, 2008.