William Morris Whitley, Sr. (1869 - 1937)
My 2x great grandfather, William Morris Whitley, Sr. was born on March 14 around 1869 in Warrington, Florida (just west of Pensacola in Escambia County) to John Whitley, Sr. of Madison County, Kentucky and Emeline Fraunces, native of Escambia County. William’s death records state he was born between 1874-75, but earlier census and naval records indicate he was born between 1869-70. William’s siblings were:
- John Whitley, Jr. (1867 – ????)
- Frank Whitley (1885 – 1925)
William enlisted into the U.S. Navy on April 24, 1888 at the age of 18 and served a 3 year term. In 1894, William married a woman named Sally and they had two children:
- Blanche Whitley (1897 – ????)
- Florence Whitley (1898 – ????)
It is unclear when William divorced Sally, but on April 29, 1903 William married Rosena Walls Beck in Houston, Texas. To this union two children were born:
- William Leon Whitley, Jr. (1904 – 1983)
- Rosalie Whitley (1907 – 1996)
In 1907, William joined the Southern Pacific Railroad as a cook–an occupation he held for 30 years until his death. His son, William, followed his footsteps on the railroad in 1922 and served for 47 years.
William died the day after his birthday on March 15, 1937 in Oakland, California at the age of 68.
- Information obtained from the oral histories of Leona (Whitley) Williams and Nanearl (Williams) Toussaint.
- Marriage Record of John Whitley, Sr. and Emeline Fraunces; “Florida Marriages, 1830-1993;” FamilySearch.org; Accessed: 4 Dec 2015
- 1870 U.S. Federal Census
- 1900 U.S. Federal Census
- William Whitley, Sr.’s “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918;” Ancestry.com; Accessed: 9 July 2008
- William Whitley, Sr.’s “U.S. Naval Enlistment Rendezvous, 1855-1891, 1917-1918;” Ancestry.com; Accessed: 13 Dec 2019
- Marriage Record of William Whitley, Sr. and Rosena Walls; “Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977;” FamilySearch.org; Accessed 13 Dec 2019
- William Whitley’s Death Certificate, Alameda County Clerk Recorder’s Office (http://www.acgov.org/auditor/clerk/): Acquired on 16 Apr 2012