William H. Stillwell was born in North Carolina on August 18, 1816. Treasurer Stillwell lived in North Carolina until the age of ten when he came with his father to Bedford County, Tennessee and spent his boyhood days on the family farm. At the age of twenty-one Treasurer Stillwell began studying medicine in Lexington, Kentucky and eventually transferred to the medical school in Memphis, Tennessee. Treasurer Stillwell became one of the first to graduate from the medical school in Memphis. In 1838, he began a brief clinical practice in Alabama and then moved to Gibson County, Tennessee.
Treasurer Stillwell had three marriages. In 1837, he wed Mary Gibson, who died in 1843, leaving three little daughters: Cordelia, Hannah, and Mary A. In 1845, he married Mary R. Hockaday, however she passed away in 1846. In 1850, Treasurer Stillwell married Mary Gillespie, and they had three children, named Ben G., William H., and Emily F.
In October of 1868, State Treasurer John R. Henry resigned from his position as a result of his ill health. As a result, Governor William G. Brownlow was required to appoint a Treasurer to complete the term, and he chose Treasurer Stillwell to be the 9th State Treasurer of Tennessee, who served as State Treasurer from 1868 to 1869.
After serving as the State Treasurer, he returned to live and work in Gibson County, and during the 1860s and 1870s, served as the postmaster. In 1885, Treasurer Stillwell returned to the practice of medicine. On November 24, Treasurer Stillwell died in 1896.
Reference: Gibson County: History of Tennessee (Signal Mountain, TN: Mountain Press, 1990); 1880 United States Federal Census; “William H. Stilwell and Mary Ann Gibson, Jan. 1837,” Tennessee State Marriages, 1780 – 2002, Nashville, TN, Tennessee State Library and Archives; “William H. Stillwell and Mary R. Hockaday, Aug. 1845,” Tennessee State Marriages, 1780 – 2002, Nashville, TN, Tennessee State Library and Archives; History of Tennessee; From the Earliest Times to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Gibson, Obion, Dyer, Weakley and Lake Counties (Nashville: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887); “William H. Stillwell and Mary Ann Gillespie, November 26, 1850, Tennessee State Marriages, 1780 – 2002, Nashville, TN, Tennessee State Library and Archives; Message of the Governor to the General Assembly.