William F. Locke was born in North Carolina, probably in Guilford County. Census records put the year at 1829, although his daughter, in a biography in E. Tucker's book, The History of Randolph County, Indiana, sets his birth at 1 September 1820. According to his death certificate, his parents were Joel Locke and his wife, Jane or Jensy May, who were married in Rockingham County, North Carolina on 14 February 1822. They had a large family of seven, possibly eight, sons and a daughter. William married Mary Jane Robbins on 19 August 1847, in Randolph County, Indiana.
William F. served in the Civil War for the Union Army, and was a Private in Company C, 8th Indiana Infantry. His company left Indianapolis on 10 September 10 1861. He was discharged 29 April 1863 with wounds. He was a corporal in Company E of the 69th Indiana Infantry at the time.
He was a wagonmaker and blacksmith by trade. The famous poem by Longfellow is indicative of the type of work and effort required. The blacksmith was a necessary part of any community and performed an important task.
The Village Blacksmith
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.
While living in Washington, Randolph, Indiana, William and Mary Jane had the following children-- Margaret A., Sarah Caroline, Alvis M., Joel Joseph, Charles L., William F., Sherman, and Minna. They were enumerated on the census for Washington in 1850, 1860 and 1870. Wouldn't we just love to know what those middle initials stand for, particularly for William, whose middle initial was always present with his name in the records. This was probably to distinguish him from his uncle, also a William.
It appears that Mary Jane was deceased by 1873, since William then married Margaret Heaston on 31 January 1873, in Randolph County. According to Quaker records, William was disfellowshipped shortly after that, "William F. Lock complained of for refusing to fulfill a marriage contract and leaving the country without settling his outward affairs. "Disowned" on 13 January 1875. This is an interesting development, and obviously something was wrong with his marriage to Margaret Heaston and when the church attempted to discipline him, he left the county. In Tucker's book, Lockes are listed as "religious people." Many of the people who settled in Randolph County were Quakers, and many of them came from North Carolina to escape the slave situation there.
He then married Barthena Bright on 28 March 1875 in Randolph County. She was the sister of a fellow soldier in the Civil War, James N. Bright. On the 1880 Census, he and Barthena were living in Perry, Clay, Indiana. Only Minna was still living at home. He and Barthena had two children together, Luella and Benjamin. The census is confusing in that some of the information is inaccurate. William was admitted as a member of Nelson Trusler Post, No. 60, G.A.R., at Winchester, Randolph, Indiana on 21June 1882. Apparently he solved whatever difficulties he had when he left Randolph County.
By 1900, Barthena was living with her daughter at White River, Randolph, Indiana, and listed her status as "widow," William having died on 19 February 1893.
A Randolph County obituary-
LOCKE William F. - An old soldier d. at his home 5 mi. N.W. of Winch. last Sun., Feb. 19, 1893, ae 72y, bur New Liberty Cem. near Lynn. He m. Mary Jane Robbins Apr. 19, 1847 and 2nd. Margaret Heaston Jan. 31, 1873. He had a family. Note: His military Rec. lists Wm. F. enlisted Apr. 24, 1861 and July 8, 1862. He was a blacksmith by trade. He was in the 8 Ind. Reg. 69th Vol. lnf.