From: Anonymous, 1878, American
Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Vol. 2, Western
Biographical Publishing Co.
Newaygo, Register of Deeds of Newaygo County, was born in the town of Fenner, Madison County, New York, April 10, 1817. His parents were Festus and Betsey Persons. His grandfather, Gideon Persons, was sergeant of the guard that fed Burgoyne's army after its surrender. His ancestors, on both sides, came from Massachusetts. Festus Persons was a farmer, and had twelve children. Mr. Wellington Persons, the third child and second son, attended the common schools of his native place until he was eighteen years of age. He then removed, with his parents, to Onondaga County, where he remained, working on his father's farm, until 1843. In that year he went to Wisconsin, and engaged in farm work in Racine County, until 1847, when he went to Michigan; and, for five years, worked at cutting lumber. In 1852 he injured his knee with an ax, and was not able to move, without crutches, until 1857. In the spring of 1856 he became Deputy Clerk and Deputy Register; and, 1858, was elected to the office of Register of Deeds, the office of County Clerk having been made a separate position. He has ever since held the former position,--having been re-elected every second year. In 1866 he was appointed, by the Secretary of the Treasury, Assistant Assessor for the division in which he resides; and held the position until 1869. He was Clerk of the town of Brooks from 1859 to 1866. For part of a term he was Treasurer of the village of Newaygo. Mr. Persons was a Democrat until 1854. In 1856 he voted the Republican ticket, and has since been a member of that party, though he does not take an active part in politics. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity; was Secretary of Newaygo Lodge, No. 131, for nine years; in 1866 was elected Secretary of Newaygo Chapter, No. 38, and has since held this position. He is a member of the De Molai Commandery, No. 5, of Grand Rapids; and was a Good Templar until the lodge was disorganized. He was brought up in the Presbyterian faith; but is a member of no religious denomination, though he attends the orthodox churches. He has never married.