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George Robert Williscroft Biography 1901

Transcription of George's Biography which appeared in the "Portrait and biographical record of Arizona. Commemorating the achievements of citizens who have contributed to the progress of Arizona and the development of its resources", Chicago : Chapman Pub. Co., 1901


The Williscroft family is of English descent, and the paternal grandfather was born in England. He subsequently removed to the north of Ireland, and successfully carried on a large linen industry. His son, William, the father of George, was born in the north of Ireland, and upon emigrating to Canada was in the employ of the government, and was one of the constructors of the Ridau canal. At the expiration of his contract he turned his attention to farming in the vicinity of Ottawa, where he died at the age of fifty-two years. His wife, Sarah (Becket) Williscroft, was born in the north of Ireland, whither her ancestors had removed in the thirteenth century. She was of distinguished family, claiming kinship with Thomas a Becket. Mrs. Williscroft, who died in Canada, was the mother of ten children, all of whom are living, George being sixth. One son, William, is a cattleman in northern Arizona, and John is a merchant in the Indian Territory.

George Robert Willifcroft was born near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 4, 1852. His early life was uneventful, and not unlike that experienced by the average farm-reared boy. He studied diligently at the public schools, and in 1869 was apprenticed out as a carriage maker in Kempville. After three years of patient application to his trade, he started a business in Oxford, and in 1878 began to work as a millwright, and in time became a practical mechanic and moulder. In Toronto, Canada, he engaged for about ten years in the manufacture of mill machinery, and in 1888 came west and located in Phoenix. One of his first undertakings in the far western city was the adjusting and placing of the machinery in the Smith mill, and a year later he built the foundry and machine shop in which his work has since been carried on. He manufactures all kinds of castings and machinery, and handles new and second-hand machinery, and also does a great deal of repairing. In addition, he represents, as agent, the J. I. Case Company, selling their engines and threshers.

The foundry built by Mr. Williscroft is admirably adapted by construction and equipment for the purpose to which it is devoted, and no expense has been spared in making it a model of its kind. It covers a whole block, and contains an engine of ten-horse power, and has a smelting capacity of five tons. Mr. Williscroft is a natural mechanic, and has bent his ingenuity towards several improvements along the lines of his chosen work. He has unfortunately not benefited by his inventions, which have proved of such an excellent and useful nature that they are extensively used over the whole country. Among his contrivances is a dust collector which has no equal, and is used, not only in America, but has found its way to numerous countries across the sea. Another invention which remains un-patented because of lack of capital behind it, is a drop box to be used in elevating any dry substance pneumatically.

Mr. Williscroft was married in Canada to Martha Stewart, a native of Canada. Of this union there are four children, viz.: Margaret Adelaide, who is now Mrs. Carpenter, and resides in Arizona; Florence Esther, who was the wife of J. Ernest Walker, and died in Phoenix; Gertrude Louise, and Annie Beatrice. The last two are living at home. In national politics Mr. Williscroft is a Republican, but has no inclination for public office. With his family he is a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church.  

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