William H. Flaville

Short Name: William H. Flaville
Full Name: Flaville, William Henry, 1829-1897
Birth Year: 1829
Death Year: 1897

Born: March 27, 1829, Long Branch, New Jersey (birth name: Flavill).
Died: November 26, 1897, Chester, Pennsylvania.
Buried: Rural Cemetery, Chester, Pennsylvania.

William’s parents were Edward Edwards Flavill and Jane Eliza Yelland Flavill; he married Mary Louisa Forrest Seary in 1852. He held many jobs, including Justice of the Peace, surveyor, "conveyancer," carpenter, real estate agent, and civil engineer.



The 1880 US Census lists William Flaville as living in Chester, Pennsylvania, married with two sons, and an occupation as Surveyor.

William Flaville is listed in the Chester City Directory of 1891-92 as a civil engineer and as a member of the school board. He is also listed in the history of Delaware County as a Chester City surveyor.

Based on a 1951 biographical sketch of William Flaville’s grandson, Chester F. Baker, who followed his footsteps as Chester city surveyor, William was a schoolteacher as well as a surveyor. An account is told that William was in love with a young lady, but her father refused to let them marry, because he did not think a teacher’s salary was sufficient support. The night of the refusal her father saw William kneeling in the snow praying in the moonlight, and relented.

These accounts lend evidence that William was a man of faith and an educated man who could have produced the text of “Weary Not” as an expression of the heart although not a prolific or professional writer. The work is known to have been published in 1878 or 1879, when he was about 50 years of age. Nine known hymn texts are attributed to William H. Flaville, although “Weary Not” is believed to be the best known.

William’s motivating hymn text, written over 130 years ago, still resonates with readers and singers today.


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