Franz Wilhelm Clements was born on May 3, 1818 in Eppe, Waldeck-Frankenberg, Hessen, Germany. He was the only son of at least seven children born to parents Johannes B. Clements and Anna Gertudis Oberreuter. Throughout his life, he goes by the name William.
Shortly after his birth, following the death of his mother, William and his father emigrated to the Caribbean. It would appear that they left his many sisters behind in Germany and left for the Caribbean. Germans left their home state fleeing religious persecution and the Caribbean Islands, specifically Jamaica, were importing European laborers in an attempt to increase the white population. After arriving in the islands however, many immigrants found the slavery situation as unattractive making many head to America.
William and his father did just this, and on June 8, 1824, father and son arrived in Philadelphia aboard the ship named “The Mary Beckett” setting sail from Trinidad, stopping over in Cuba, and the heading to the Philadelphia port in Pennsylvania.
Johannes and William settled down in Germantown, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Germantown was the first German settlement of German immigrants in America. It is also the birthplace of the anti-slavery movement in America and the home of the First Bank of the United States. The sketch below shows some aspects of early nineteenth century Germantown.
Johannes died in 1845 and on April 21, 1848, William married another Hessen, Germany immigrant living in Germantown, Margaret M. Deimund. Over the next ten years, they went on to have five children:
- Catherine Clements
- Margaret Clements
- Maria Clements
- William F Clements (b. 1853 – d. 1922)
- Henry J. Clements (b. 1855 – d. 1926)
On March 18, 1858, William died and is thought to be buried in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.