154 Years Ago Today

On July 22, 1858, one hundred and fifty-four years ago today, Betsy “Bettie” (Seely) Williams (1858-1947), my 3rd great grandmother, was born in Sparta, Monroe Co., Wisconsin, USA.

Headstone of Bettie (Seely) Williams

Bettie was the daughter of Boyd Ferguson Seely (1835-1909), a Civil War Veteran, and Rebecca Allen (1837-1923). In 1877, she married Patrick H. Williams (1854-1936) in Dunn Co., Wisconsin, USA. Following their marriage, Bettie and Patrick had seven children together, five of which lived to adulthood: George, Lillian, Mary (“Linnie”), Frank, and Leo. At some point between 1887 and 1891, Bettie and Patrick left Wisconsin for Oregon, settling in Portland. By 1900, Bettie and Patrick’s marriage ended in divorce.

By 1920, Bettie and her children founded Williams & Company, which made Williams Saratoga Chips. By the 1940’s, they had locations in Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco. Her two sons, Frank and Leo ran the business, and more so as Bettie got older. The successfulness of the company enabled Bettie to enjoy a more affluent lifestyle than she had, owning homes in Portland and San Francisco. She died in 1947 at the age of 88 in Hillsboro, Washington Co, Oregon, USA.

The following are some photographs, advertisements, and potato chip bag, some with recipes, for Williams Saratoga Chips:


Bettie (Seely) Williams was the mother of Mary Magdelene “Linnie” Williams (1883-1968), who married William Phylitis Davis (1876-1960), my 2nd great grandfather. Linnie and William were the parents of Maxine Elizabeth Davis (1912-1992), who married Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1979). Maxine and Delmar were the parents of my paternal grandfather, William G. Kernan (LIVING).

4 thoughts on “154 Years Ago Today

  1. Fascinating and what a good thing to get into – selling crisps or chips as you call them over there. My husband is American and he and his late father, Ernest, have told me stories about the beginnings of fast-food, snack-food, cafe food etc. over there. Very interesting history, thanks. Loved the photos too.

  2. My mother’s maiden name is Seely and we live in Wisconsin. I was trying to look up some information on our family history and stumbled across this. Great find!

    1. Hi,

      Thank you for your comment. Do you know if you are related to any of the Seelys mentioned on my site?

      I have not yet put everything I have on here, so there may not be a lot on Seely yet. I have hit a road block in my Seely line. I can go back to Obadiah Seely (or Seeley) who was born in about 1794 in Ontario Co. (now Genesee Co.), New York. I have not been able to find who his parents were.

      You may already know about it, but there is a website with a lot of Seeley information on it called Seeley Genealogical Society. Here is the URL: http://www.seeley-society.net/.

      Hope what information I have on Seely helps.

      ~ William

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