May 24, 2016

Judge William Ballard Councill (1858-1940)


Although born in Sumpter, SC on Aug. 11, 1858, Judge Councill's ancestors are considered pioneers in western North Carolina. He was a son of Dr. William Bower Councill and Alice Margaret Bostwick. There are a few old Bible records, actually extracts, available on request, that provide more information on a bit of his ancestry.

Judge Councill was an attorney in Boone, Watauga Co., NC and later served in the NC state legislature.  He was elected to a seat on the District Superior Court in 1900 and served until 1910 and was elected to the NC senate in 1912.

His obituary, which appeared in the Greensboro, NC Daily News on Tuesday, Apr. 2, 1940 provides a snapshot of the Judge's life.
The Greensboro, N.C., Daily News, Tuesday, April 2, 1940, Page 5, Col. 4
Judge W. B. Councill Stricken at Hickory
Emergency Jurist Dies At Age of 81 - Funeral to Be Held This Morning
Hickory, April 1.--William Ballard Councill, 81, former Superior court judge and prominent local attorney, died at his home on Thirteenth avenue at 8 a.m. today.
Judge Councill, who was widely known throughout the state, had been in failing health for several years and had been inactive during the past year.
The funeral will be held at the residence at 10:30 o;clock Tuesday morning.  Burial will follow in Oakwood cemetery.
Judge Councill was particularly active in the campaign for the educational qualification amendment to the constitution in North Carolina in 1900.  The amendment requiring individuals to be able to read and write to be qualified to vote, became effective in 1908.
Judge Councill was one of three men appointed in 1913 as commissioners to secure a freight rate adjustment with the railroads of the state.  He was instrumental in the working out of a compromise agreement which saved North Carolina shippers several millions of dollars annually.
At the time of his death, Judge Councill was an emergency Superior court judge, having been appointed six years ago.
A resident of Hickory for the last 50 years, Judge Councill was born in Sumter county, South Carolina, but his family had been identified with western North Carolina since pioneer times.
He was the son of the late Dr. William Bowers Councill, of Boone, and Mrs. Alice M. Bostwick Councill, of Sumter county, who at the time of her death in 1935 at the age of 102 was the oldest alumna of Salem college.
Judge Councill attended the Finley High academy at Lenoir, and later read law under his uncle, Col. George N. Folk, at Boone.  He was licensed to practice in 1881 and for 18 years was engaged in the profession at Boone.
In 1895 he was elected to the state legislature from Watauga county, and in 1898 he was elected to the Superior Court.
While serving on the bench in 1899, Judge Councill moved to Hickory.  After one term as Superior court judge, he declined further judicial responsibilities in order to devote his time to the private practice of law.  In 1912 he was elected a member of the state senate, and served in the session of 1913.
Judge Councill was a member of the Church of the Ascension, Episcopal.
He is survived by his wife, the former Miss Elizabeth Coffey, daughter of Capt. Thomas J. Coffey, of Watauga county; and three sons and one daughter, as follows: Gordon Stuart Councill; William Thomas Councill; Siedman Coffey Councill and Miss Elizabeth Councill.  Two other sons were killed in accidents: Alan Ballard Councill in 1923, and Howard Folk Councill in 1926.  One sister, Mrs. Emma Taylor of Asheville survives and there are several grandchildren.
The Judge married Mary Elisabeth Coffey, a daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Mary Elizabeth Greer Coffey in Boone, Watauga Co., NC on Jun. 27, 1894.  They were parents of six children, two of which tragically died in separate accidents and another who was struck and injured by a train but miraculously survived only to die in his 50th year of life.

Their eldest, Howard Folk Councill, born in May, 1895, died Jul 31, 1926 off the coast of Massachusetts when his navy plane crashed into the sea. He was 31 years old.

Next came Gordon Stuart Councill, born in Oct., 1896, died in Johnson City, TN on 1953.  This was the son who was injured by a train while trying to cross the tracks on Aug. 21, 1910.  He is thought to have a slight concussion but nothing else but bumps and bruises. Still lucky not to have been killed. The news report indicates that he was "bumped" off the tracks where nearby men picked him up and got him home. He died before his 57th birthday.

The third child was William Thomas Councill, born Sep. 14, 1898 and also died young on Apr. 15, 1947 in Catawba Co.  William served Catawba in the state legislature sometime in the mid-to-late 1920s. He died at the age of 48.

Fourth child was Stedman Cilley Council, born Jun. 29, 1901, died Mar. 11, 1957, still a rather young man. Stedman died at the age of 55.

Fifth was Alan Ballard Councill who was born c1905 and died when he crashed a motorcycle head on into a automobile in 1923. He died at the age of 19.

Last was Elisabeth Agnes Council, who outlived everyone.  She was born Apr. 28, 1906 and died Aug. 11, 1998 in Newton, Catawba Co.

All of these children were born and raised in North Carolina and with the exception of Gordin, died there.  All of them, and their parents, are buried in Hickory at the Oakwood Cemetery. Elizabeth was 92 years old at the time of her death.

More information is available on request.



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