Hart, William Henry


Born in New York City in 1829, William Henry Hart lived in New York, Boston and Richmond, Virginia during his youth. His parents were both natives of New York. In 1850, at the age of twenty-one, William moved to Quincy, Illinois with his uncle, T.W.C. Moore.

William left for California in 1852. He did not return east until December 1856. After one year of visiting with family and friends in New York and Virginia, he returned to Illinois and settled permanently in Quincy. The following year, on 6 January 1859, he married Janet “Jennie” E. Hoffman. They had three children: Charles, born in late 1859; and twins, Willie and Lillie, born seven years later.

William was employed as a postmaster in Illinois from 1868 to 1886. In a postscript to the last volume of his diary, Jennie described these eighteen years as postmaster as “his very pleasant and lucrative position” (90). William also tried his hand, unhappily, at the crockery business, and after 1886 he sold insurance.

William enjoyed travelling and estimated that he had journeyed over 42,000 miles in his lifetime. Jennie wrote that “if he had been a man of means, would have seen much more of the world” (91). William died unexpectedly in 1888 at the age of fifty-nine.


1880 Illinois Census (William H. Hart, Quincy, AdamsCounty, 547A).

Journal of William Henry Hart, volume 5. Mss 1411. BrighamYoungUniversity Special Collections.