Member Biography

William Wilson Betts 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1887-1888       34 Democrat
1889-1890       34 Democrat


05/01/1838 - 09/24/1896

William Wilson Betts (D34) Centre, Clearfield, Clinton Counties, 1887-1890 

Early Life:

William Wilson Betts, born May 1, 1838, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey; son of Reverend Frederick Gregory and Cornelia Finley Betts moved with parents, Clearfield, Pennsylvania, 1840; public school education; apprenticed, newspaper printing trade, Crawford Journal, Meadville, Pennsylvania, age of thirteen, 1851-1853, left because of impaired eyesight; engaged, clerk, mercantile and lumber firm, Reed, Weaver and Powell, Clearfield, 1853-1860; partner, Weaver and Betts, 1860; office of burgess, councilman Clearfield; engaged, real estate, coal and lumber business, manufacturing industries; president, Clearfield Gas and Water company; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1887-1890; married, Margaret Johnson Irvin Betts, children, Jennie Patton Betts Hartswick, Cornelia Finley Betts, Alice Maud Betts Walter, Frederick Gregory Betts, William Irvin Betts, Jr., John Weaver Betts; died, September 24, 1896, Bright’s Disease, Clearfield, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania; interment, Hillcrest Cemetery, Clearfield, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. 

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

Officer, Beech Creek Railroad Company; Clearfield National Bank, Clearfield Bituminous Coal Company; Clearfield Cemetery Company; Clearfield Furniture Works.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Office of burgess, councilman Clearfield, Pennsylvania. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 34th district, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton Counties, 1887-1890; committee assignments, Appropriations, Banks, Corporations, Finance, Railroads.


Son, William Irvin Betts, Sr., Pennsylvania State Senate, Centre and Clearfield Counties, 1923-1926.

William Irvin Betts Sr. - Pennsylvania Senate Library (

Has own historical marker, Clearfield, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. 


Twentieth Century History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and Representative Citizens, Roland D. Swoope, Jr., Chicago: Richmond-Arnold Publishing Company, 1911, pages 973 and 974.

Smull’s Legislative Handbook, (1890) Cochran, T.B., (Editor) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 697, 702-704, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 667.

Cox, Harold. "Senate Members B"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

Senator William W. Betts Historical Marker (

William Wilson Betts (1838-1896) - Find a Grave Memorial