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William Herbert Hilton Talbert

Born on 1-27-1866. He was born in Red Bluff, CA. He was accomplished in the area of Business. He later died on 1-20-1930.
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The son of Robert and Anna Maria Harris Talbert and the oldest of several Talbert children, William was born in Red Bluff, California on January 27, 1866. Robert Talbert is said to have gone to California during the gold rush and apparently took his wife and began his family there. Talbert also made his fortune in California and returned to Buffalo where he bought property, which enriched the family and made them one of the City's early prominent African American families.

On his return to Buffalo, William was educated in Buffalo Public Schools, including Technical High School. William was active in the family's extensive real estate holdings beginning in 1889. He managed a real estate business with offices located at 79 Clinton Street. William had a varied career, which included work as a clerk in the Office of the Treasurer of the City of Buffalo.

He was also politically active. While many people erroneously believe that his wife Mary was instrumental in the first meeting of the Niagara Movement, it was more likely William who invited W.E. B. DuBois to the couple's 521 Michigan Street home. In 1911 he was the president of the Buffalo Colored Republican League and remained active in Black Republican politics throughout his life.

He was a member of the Michigan Street Baptist Church, which his grandfather Peyton Harris helped to build. In 1913, he was instrumental in the development and implementation of a program to mark the centennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, War of 1812. His late grandfather was one of the black sailors honored for their heroism.

William married Mary Burnett on September 8, 1891 in Burnett's home town, Oberlin, Ohio. Famed musician, Harry T. Burleigh served as the Best Man. Returning to Buffalo, the couple made their home on Michigan Street, first at 515 and later at 521 next door to the Michigan Street Baptist Church. They had one child Sarah May in 1892 and one grandchild, Mary Yvette Keelan. His wife, Mary became a civil rights icon and club woman, who undoubtedly was engaged in all her activities with her husband's support.

Following his wife's death in 1923 William remarried. His second wife, Elizabeth Smith Brown was also involved in the women's club movement having leadership roles in the Phyllis Wheatley Club and the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs.