William Walter Houseal

Annals of Newberry, Part Two by John A. Chapman, page 611-13



William Walter Houseal was born in Newberry County (then District) on the 15th day of August, 1818. He died at his home in the town of Newberry on the 1st day of November, 1889. The funeral services were held in the Lutheran Church on November 2nd, and he was buried in Rosemont Cemetery.
His ancestors were German. John Houseal, his grandfather, was one of the original settlers of the "Dutch Fork." John Houseal, his father, was an only son. He married Margaret Counts, the daughter of Colonel John Counts, and by this union there were five children, two sons and three daughters. John Houseal died in 1824, at the age of twenty -seven years, when William Walter was at the age of six years, and was buried on his plantation, which is now owned by Mrs. Jane Barre. The death of his only brother left William Walter the sole male who bore the family name. He often remarked that he owed much in life to the careful training of a pious mother. She died in her fifty -sixth year.

William Walter Houseal

The name was originally spelled Hausihl; then changes were
made until it became Houseal. The father of William Walter wrote on the preface page of a text-book - he was a school­master- the following, in a plain, bold hand: "John Houseal, his book: April the 2nd, 1815." This little scrap of paper was the only token of his father that remained to William Walter out of the wreck of time, and it is still preserved in the family as an heirloom.
He was married December 23d, 1841, to Elizabeth C. Barre,; daughter of Matthias Barre, who survives him. As a result of this union eight children were born to them, six of whom still survive, four sons and two daughters, namely: John Irving, a machinist in Memphis, Tennessee; James Emlon,
a merchant in Cedartown, Georgia; William Preston, one of the publisher of the
Lutheran Visitor and of the Herald and News, and W. Gustave, a phygician of Newberry. Of the daughters, Mary E. is the wife of D. Julins Hentz, of Pomaria, and Mattie V., the wife of Rev. J. Q. Wertz, of North Carolina. Frances Cornelia died in her twenty-first year, in 1867, and Edward Julius in his twenty-fourth year, in 1883.
There were tbirty-eight grandchildren, twenty-seven of whom are now (1892) living, and one great-grandchild.
He was educated at the Classical Institute, Lexington, S. C., and taught school several years. He united with the Lutheran Church at the age of seventeen, and was confirmed in St. John's, having thus been a church member for fifty-four years.
At the time of his marriage he was living in the Pomaria section, but in 1844 he moved to the Beth Eden neighborhood, being one of the founders of the Beth Eden Lutheran Church. In 1850 he removed to Florida, remaining there a short time. Returning to this county, in January, 1853, he moved to the town of Newberry, where he resided continuously to the time of his death.
He was one of the original members of the Newberry Lutheran Church, and when the congregation was organized, in 1853, he was elected one of the officers of the church, serving as such to the end of his career, being an elder at the time of his death.
In 1855 he was elected Sheriff of Newberry County, after a
hotly contested race, defeating his opponent by a large majority. He served one term - till 1859 - and was again, in 1863, elected to that office. Under the law at that time a Sheriff could not succeed himself in office. For two years, 1866-68, he held the office of County Assessor.
He had begun merchandizing in Newberry in 1853, and for thirty years he followed that pursuit. In 1862 he volunteered in the Confederate service, but after a short time, his health failing, he was discharged without his request.
Upon the death of Mr. J. K. G. Nance he was appointed Auditor of Newberry, and was recommended at three successive primaries for continuance in that position. In token of his efficiency and acceptability as a public official, and of the esteem
and confidence of those among whom he had lived for tbree score years and ten, in the primary election in 1888 he was
nominated without opposition. He was serving his third regular term when his usefulness was estopped by death.
These in brief are the main facts in the public life of William Walter Houseal. Faithful to duty, be performed his life
work in a quiet and unostentatious way. But in his private character, in his every day walk and conversation, shone the
true nobility of his nature.
His was a life that deserves more than a passing notice;, for in it and from it many lessons may be learned that could profit
others. He was an affectionate husband, a kind and indulgent father, a faithful member of the Church, and a true and gen­
erous friend. He was as gentle as a child and generous to a fault, always more willing to serve others than to be served by
them. As a public officer he was faithful and painstaking. As evidence of his fidelity to duty, only a week before he died
be got up from his sick bed and came down to assist in drawing the jury. He was faithful to his trust in whatever posi­
tion he was placed, and went about its performance in a quiet unobtrusive way. True to his church, he lived the religion he
professed; true to his friends, many were his timely acts of kindness; faithful in all things, he was ready when the summons came.