WILLIAM GREEN OTIS, one of the oldest pioneers of Knox Township, was born in Washington County, Ohio, October 28, 1829, a son of James and Ellice (Bainter) Otis, the father a native of Vermont, who served in the war of 1812, and the mother born in Zanesville, Ohio. Her father was a wheelwright by trade, and was the first mechanic who settled in Zanesville. He was of German descent. James Otis was a son of Barnabas Otis, a descendant of the Puritans who came to America in the Mayflower, he being a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Mr. and Mrs. James Otis were the parents of six children – Lydia M., James H., William G., Henry Clay, John B., and one who died in infancy. William G. was nine years of age when his parents removed to Marion County, where he was reared. His early life was spent in helping with the farm work, and in attending the subscription schools of his neighborhood. In 1848 he came to Iowa, and in the spring of 1849 he started on a trip through the State. He then returned to Ohio, and in September, 1850, came again to Iowa with a two-horse team, when he entered land from the Government on section 8, Knox township, where he has since resided. During the late war he enlisted in the defense of his county, August 22, 1862, in Company K, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry, and participated in several skirmishes and engagements. Prior to this he had joined the Iowa State Militia, and had marched through St. Joe, Missouri, where he was on guard duty for sometime. He received an honorable discharge at Washington City, June 5, 1865, when he returned to his home in Knox Township, where he has since followed agricultural pursuits. Mr. Otis was united in marriage February 25, 1872, to Miss E. M. Morgan. Six children have been born to this union – Mary Estella, Elinor Morgan, Martha Ellen and three who died in infancy. Mr. Otis was elected justice of the peace in 1884, and served justice in an impartial manner to all who called before his jurisdiction, filling the office with credit for himself and satisfaction to his constituents. In politics he casts his suffrage with the Greenback party. He is a comrade of Knox Post, G.A.R. He has a snug farm of fifty-six acres, his land being under fine cultivation. His residence and farm buildings are comfortable and commodious, and he has one of the best spring houses in the county.
SOURCE: Biographical and Historical Record of Clarke County, Iowa, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1886 p. 244