William FLANSBURG, grandfather of Jessie (WHITE) DAYTON, (William1 Flansburg, Anna2, Jessie Belle3 WHITE) was a pure-bred Dutchman. He was born January 30, 1809 in the Town of Day, Saratoga Co. NY. His parents Matheus (Matthew) FLANSBURG and Maria CLUTE were early settlers of the Town of Day.
William was married three times. His first wife, Lydia Lucretia DEMICK, died before 1850 leaving four children. William was about forty years old. He remarried to Charity Rosina JOHNSON, our ancestor, about 1850. Rosina’s parents, Robert JOHNSON and Anna ELLIS are buried in the ELLIS Cemetery in Hadley. William and Rosina had five children (Charles, Mary, Anna (Jessie’s mother), James, Harriet). Rosina died before 1875, but we don’t know the exact date. William remarried a third time to Sara ELLIS.
William had a born-again Christian experience at about the age of 40. This was also about the time of his first wife’s death.
After his conversion, he was called to the ministry. After a brief pastorate in the Free Will Baptist Church in Hadley, William was ordained in the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1853. He was one of the early pastors of the young Wesleyan Methodist denomination that was founded primarily because of its members’ opposition to slavery about ten years earlier.
His daughter Anna once said that her dad, William, corresponded with Abraham LINCOLN and that the President encouraged him to “preach against slavery from the pulpit and I’ll preach against it from the White House.” (Wilber Jr recalled seeing the letter in Anna’s trunk when he was a kid).
William served as pastor to congregations in Johnsburg NY, Warrensburgh NY, Brandon, VT; Goshen, VT; Chester NY, Hadley NY, Stony Creek NY, Corinth NY, Forestdale, VT and probably other locations. He is listed in the 1870 Saratoga County Business Directory as Wesleyan Methodist Minister and Farmer in Corinth, NY.
He had two sons that fought during the Civil War (Henry and James). James enlisted at age 24 in 1862, just after his own wife had died. James was despondent over her death, and he was killed in battle at Fort Harrison. William died September 4, 1897 and is buried in a numbered grave in Day Cemetery.