William Lithgow Willey

A great grandson of Colonel Arthur Lithgow, eldest brother with issue of Major William Lithgow, to whose seat he succeeded in 1896 in the New Hampshire Society. A grandson of William and Mehitable G. (Langdon) Lithgow, and a son of Tolman and Phebe Langdon (Lithgow) Willey, he was born in Boston May 30, 1857, died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 22, 1949, aged 91, unmarried; educated at Mr. Kidder’s private school, Boston; then studied to be a civil engineer in London, England; practiced his profession in the Boston area until middle age, when he retired. He was elected a member of the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts in 1887, served them in various posts; was a prominent Mason, belonging to a number of commanderies, councils, and lodges, both here and abroad; was a member of the Massachusetts Society of Colonial Wars; Sons of the American Revolution; Society of the War of 1812 (President and Vice-President General); the Aztec Club of 1847; Naval Order (Assistant-Treasurer General); honorary member of the New Hampshire Historical Society; member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; the Maine Historical Society; and the Numismatic Society. In 1893 he was the key man in reviving the New Hampshire Society of the Cincinnati after it had been dormant since July 4, 1824 (seventy years), and in establishing its headquarters at the Ladd-Gilman house in Exeter, New Hampshire, which the group bought for that purpose. He was indefatigable in collecting prints, medals, and rare books pertaining to that Society; was elected its Vice-President: 1929-39; President, 1940-48. He also represented New Hampshire for many years as a Delegate to the Triennial Meetings of the General Society; and as a member of the Standing Committee for the General Society. He owned the diploma for membership in the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati (signed by George Washington, President-General; and Henry Knox, Secretary-General) of his ancestor propositus, Major William Lithgow. He bequeathed it to the New Hampshire Society, and it hangs in the Ladd-Gilman house (called Cincinnati Hall) in Exeter.

Abstracted from James Archer O’Reilly III, Memorials of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati (Boston 2004), p. 240.