William Few Jr. 1748 - 1828

 

William Few Jr.

Name: William Few Jr.

Born: 1748 at Maryland

Died: 1828 at Fishkill-on-the-Hudson (present Beacon)

Father's Name: William Few

Mother's Name: Mary Wheeler

Spouses Name: Catherine Nicholson

Married:

 

WILLIAM FEW, Jr. “ FOUNDING FATHER of AMERICA”  FROM GEORGIA

 

Includes biography, references and family tree

William Few, Jr.( 1748 - 1828) was the descendant of Richard Few ( born as early at 1625), a Quaker shoemaker from a small inland village,  Market Lavington, Whiltshire, England, and Richard’s son, Isaac Few, a Cooper, who emigrated from England to Chester County Pennsylvania prior to September 1682.5

William Few, Sr., the son of Isaac Few, moved to Maryland where he married a devout Catholic, Mary Wheeler of the prominent Benjamin Wheeler Family of Charles, Prince Georges and Baltimore Counties.  William Few, Jr., was the third son of that union.   Other children born to that union were:  Col. Benjamin Few (1744-1805), James Few (1746-1771), Capt. Ignatius Few (1750-1810), Hannah Few [Howard] (1753), and Elizabeth Few [Lee, Andrew, Bush] (1755-1829).

 After difficulties with farming and severe droughts, the Few family, along with a host of cousins, friends and five slaves, moved south into the Carolinas settling on the banks of the Eno River in Orange County North Carolina in 1758 in what is now Durham County.  After about a year of increase William Few, Sr., purchased 200 acres one mile east of Hillsborough.

 As recorded by Francis Nash in “the History of Orange County, Part I” The North Carolina Booklet 10, no. 2, p. 74, 5“His father [William Few, Jr.’s] though, belonged to the better class of farmers, had more means and a better education than the average settler.”  William Few, Sr. and his brother James Few, Sr., in December 1759 purchased two acres of land on the Eno where they were partners in a sawmill and water gristmill.   The community hired an itinerant teacher that left William Few, Jr., with a rudimentary education and a lifelong love of reading.  This love of reading led to a thorough self-education.  William Few, Sr., began to look toward politics and public service.

In 1771 William Few, Jr., his father, and his brother James associated themselves with the “Regulators,” a group of frontiersmen who opposed the royal governor, Tryon and the economic and political restrictions imposed on the frontier or backcountry farmers by the merchants and planters of the tide-water area along with the local politicians and lawyers.   By 1771 protest resulted in a confrontation at the battle of Alamance.  The fight ended in a victory for the militia.    As a result, brother James (1746-1771) was hung without trial.   This act outraged the populace and led, it is said by many historians, to the first actual casualty of the Revolution.   The family farm was destroyed and William Few, Sr., in outrage moved into to upper Richmond County Georgia.  William Few, Jr., stayed behind in North Carolina settling the family affairs, and in so doing, had his first smattering of legal experience.

The William Few, Sr., family had settled near the Quaker community of Wrightsboro on a plantation they named Fruit Hill.  William Few, Sr., later became a Methodist “the first year that the Methodist Preachers crossed the Savannah River Viz in 1786” as recorded by his grandson Ignatius A. Few, “ and built a meeting house for them which was called by his name.”5 The rest of the family converted to Methodism.

When the War for the Independence began, William Few, Sr., and his family aligned themselves with the Whig cause.   William Few, Jr., won himself a Colonelcy in the dragoons with his older brother Benjamin, despite being largely self-educated, because of his capacity for leadership; and subsequently, fought in the Battle of Burke County Jail.  During this time, he also began his political career in earnest.

William Few, Jr., was elected to the Georgia provincial congress of 1776 and during the war twice served in the assembly in 1777 and 1779.  During the same period of time, he also held the position of Surveyor-General and Indian Commissioner and sat on the state Executive Council.  He also served in the Continental Congress (1780-88), during which time he was reelected to the Georgia Assembly (1783).  In the decade following the war, he was responsible for lobbying for the upper part of Richmond County to become a new county.  This dream was realized when Columbia County was created in 1790. 

William Few, Jr., was appointed as one of the six state delegates to the Constitutional Convention four years later.  Two of the six never attended and two others did not stay for the duration.  William Few missed large segments of the  Convention by being absent during all of July and part of August due to congressional service, and never made a speech.  However, he contributed nationalist votes at critical times.   Also, as a delegate to the last sessions of the Continental Congress, he helped steer the Constitution past its first obstacle, approval by Congress.  And he attended the state ratifying convention.

William Few, Jr., was one of his states first U. S. Senators (1789-93).  When his term ended, he once again served in Georgia’s Assembly.  In 1796 he was appointed as a federal judge for the Georgia circuit. He was an outspoken opponent of the infamous Yazoo Land Fraud even though his enemies tried to implicate him in this scam.  For reasons unknown, he resigned his judgeship in 1799 at the age of 52 and moved to New York City.

In New York he served four years in the legislature (1802-05) and then as Inspector of Prisons (1802-10), alderman (1813-14) and U. S. Commissioner of Loans (1804).  From 1804 to 1814 he held the presidency of City Bank and a directorship at Manhattan Bank.   As a devout Methodist, he also donated generously to philanthropic causes.

When William Few died in 1828 at the age of 80 in Fishkill-on-the-Hudson (present Beacon), he was survived by his wife, Catherine Nicholson, the daughter of Admiral Nicholson of the Continental Navy, and three daughters.  He was originally buried in the yard of the local Reformed Dutch Church.  19 October 1973 his remains were later re-interred at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Augusta, GA.

 

Compilation of Facts by:  Susan Few Adams

References:

1)  The American Revolution –The Founding Fathers, William Few, Georgia at: http://www.americanrevolution.com/WilliamFew.htm

 

2) William Few – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Few

 

3)  Charters of Freedom, America’s Founding Fathers, DELIGATES TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, William Few, Georgia, NARA/The National Archives Experience at:  http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution_founding_fathers_georgia.html#Few

 

4)  HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGY, The NEW GEORGIA  E N C Y C L O P E D I A at:  http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-1092&hl=y

 

5)  Fruth, Florence Knight;  Some Descendants of Richard Few of Chester County, Pennsylvania and Allied Lines 1682-1976, McClain Printing Company, 1977,  Standard Book Number 87012-274-6, Library of Congress Number 77-72866, copyright 1977, pp. 6-19; 21-30.

 

Family Tree of William Few, Jr., Founding Father of America From Georgia

1)   Richard Few b. abt 1625 married  Jane (Joan) Whitfield d. 1664

                  Issue:  Isaac Few b. 6, 4 mo. 1664 

(6 children total:  1) Joan b. 22, 1 mo., 1651,  2) Richard Few , Jr., b. 25, 12 mo, 1653;  3)  Walter Few b. 3, 7 mo. 1656;  4) Daniel Few b. 20, 11 mo. 1660;  5)  Isaac Few b. 6, 4 mo 1664; 6) Joseph Few  b. 21, 2 mo. 1666)

 

2)  Isaac Few b. 6 4 mo, 1664, d. 1734; married Hannah Stanfield, b. 12 Jan 1699

                 Issue:  William Few, Sr. b. 16, 5 mo, 1714 

  (9 children total:  1)  Richard Few b. 26, 2 mo, 1700;  2)  Isaac Few , Jr., b. 20, 5 mo, 1701;  3)  James Few, Sr. b. 28, 12 mo. 1703;  4)  Elizabeth Few b. 2, 12 mo, 1705;  5)  Daniel Few b. 25, 1 mo, 1706;  6)  Joseph Few b. 20, 6 mo. 1708; 7)  William Few, Sr., b. 16, 5mo. 1714; 8)  Francis Few b. 13, 6 mo 1719;  9)  Samuel Few b. 25, 1 mo 1722)

3)  William Few, Sr., b. 16, 5 mo. 1714, d. 27 July 1794, married Mary Wheeler b. 10     Nov 1710, d. 1778

                Issue:  William Few, Jr. b. 1748

( 6 children total:  1)  Benjamin Few b. 1744,   2)  James Few b. 1746,  3)  William Few, Jr., b. 1748;  4)  Ignatius Few b. 1750;  5)  Hannah Few  b. 1753;  6)  Elizabeth Few  b. 1755)

4)   William Few, Jr., b. 1748, d. 1828 married Catherine Nicholson b. 1764, d. 1854

               Issue:

(4 children total:  1)  Frances Few b. 20 Apr 1789; 2)  Mary Few b. 18 Dec 1790;  3)  Matilda Few b. 22 Feb 1794;  4)  Albert Few b. 5 Sep 1797, d. 1810)

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William Few Jr.

 

Descriptive Title: Photograph of William Few home place, Columbia County, Georgia
Field Notes Columbia County. William Few home place. Built 1781; burned 1930; rebuilt 1930.
Type of original Photographs
Subjects Columbia County | Architecture | Domestic life
Cite as Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Division of Archives and History, Office of Secretary of State.
Usage note Contact repository re: reproduction and usage.
Held by Georgia Archives, 5800 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, GA 30260

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