WILLIAM JAY, farmer, section 24, Goodwell Township, was born March 24, 1817, at Binghamton, N.Y. His father, Peter Jay, was born in the State of New York some time about the year 1782. He was of English parentage and died in 1840. The mother, Ruth (Hall) Jay, was born near the year 1784, in Massachusetts, and died in 1838.
Mr. Jay went away from home as his "own man" when 17 years old. He went to Missouri and passed four years in that State and in Fort Leavenworth, in (then) Kansas Territory. He was in the employment of the United States Government, and worked as an assistant in getting out and preparing the timber to build the fort. In 1838 he came to Michigan and joined his brother in Oakland County, where he remained until the fall of 1839. In that year he went to Ohio, where he was married, in February, 1841, to Permelia Hancock. She was the daughter of Abner and Miranda (White) Hancock, both of whom were born in Vermont, respectively in 1798 and 1796. They were of English parentage and died in 1856 and 1880. Mrs. Jay died April 6, 1879, leaving five children, all of whom yet survive, namely: Delia Ann, Amelia A., Ruth A., Frank and Emma.
Mr. Jay remained a resident of the Buckeye State until February, 1852, when he sought the land of golden promise on the Pacific slope, leaving his family in Ohio. He followed mining in California until the life of the Nation was put in peril through the imbecility and headlong recklesness of the South. He enlisted in 1861, in Co. A., Second Cal. Vol. Cav., for three years. He was in the service under that enrollment the three years, and was discharged at Camp Douglas, near Salt Lake City, Utah. He returned to Ohio and re-enlisted in Co. F., United States Cavalry, regular service, for three years.
He was discharged at Fort Laramie in 1868, came back to Ohio, and in company with his family proceeded to Mecosta County. Two years later he came to Newaygo County and secured a claim of 80 acres of land under the Homestead Act, where he has since expended his labor and time to the best possible advantage, having placed 40 acres of land under improvement and advanced culture, with fair farm buildings. Mr. Jay is a Republican in political affinity.
He was a second time married Feb. 8, 1882, to Sarah P. Ehle. She was born in Oswego, N.Y., Aug. 5, 1825. Her father, Adam Ehle, was born near the MOhawk River, and was quite a young lad while the was of the Revolution was in progress. He ws German in national descent, and died near the year 1863. The mother, Mary (Sternberg) Ehle, was born in nearly the same period as her husband, and died about 12 years since.