Birth & FamilyThe date of William Still's birth is given as October 7, 1821, by most sources, but he gave the date of November 1819 in the 1900 Census. He was born in Burlington County, New Jersey, to Charity and Levin Still. His parents had come to New Jersey from the Eastern Shore of Maryland as ex-slaves. William was the youngest of eighteen siblings, who included James Still, known as "the Doctor of the Pines," Peter Still, Mary Still, and Kitturah Still, who moved to Philadelphia.
William's father Levin was the first of the family to move to New Jersey. A free man, he had been manumitted in 1798 in Caroline County, Maryland. Levin eventually settled in Evesham near Medford. Later Charity and their four children at the time joined Levin when she escaped; Charity was recaptured and returned with her four children to slavery, but she escaped a second time and, with her two daughters, found her way to Burlington County, to join her husband; the two sons she left behind, Levin and Peter, were sold to slave-owners in Lexington, Kentucky, and then later, sent to Alabama in the Deep South. Following her return to New Jersey Charity and Levin went on to have fourteen more children, of whom William was the last in 1821 (1819?).
In 1847 son William married Letitia George; they went on to have four children who survived infancy. Their oldest was Caroline Matilda Still (1848–1919), a pioneer female medical doctor. Caroline attended Oberlin College and the Women's Medical College of Philadelphia (much later the Medical College of Pennsylvania); she was married, first to Edward J. Wyley, and after his death, to the Reverend Matthew Anderson, longtime pastor of the Berean Presbyterian Church in North Philadelphia. She had an extensive private medical practice in Philadelphia and was also a community activist, teacher and leader. William Wilberforce Still (1864–1914) graduated from Lincoln University and subsequently practiced law in Philadelphia; Robert George Still (1861–1896), was a journalist who owned a print shop on Pine at 11th Street in central Philadelphia, and Frances Ellen Still (1875–1930) became a kindergarten teacher (she was named after poet Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, who lived with the Stills before her marriage). On the 1900 U.S. Census William Still said he had two children, William W and Ellen, still living in his household, as well as a daughter-in-law.