WILLIAM WANNAN was born in Camden, New Jersey on March 9, 1857 to George Wannan and his wife, the former Phoebe Ann Long. He was the seventh of eight children born to the couple, coming after Sarah L., twins Harriet and John, Sarah Ann, Rachel and Jane. The Wannan family moved briefly to Philadelphia where younger brother George was born in 1859. 

The 1870 Census shows the widowed Phoebe Wannan living in Camden with sisters Jane and Rachel, brother George, and Rachel's husband Henry King. Sadly, the four oldest children had all died prior to 1861. 

The 1880 Census shows William Wannan and his brother George living with their mother at 433 Riley Street. Also at home was sister Jane and her husband James Carney, twice widowed sister Rachel and her daughter Mamie King. The Wannan brothers were working as laborers, however William Wannan had become proficient in driving a team of horses.

The 1881-1882 City Directory shows William and George Wannan at 649 John Street. He was working as a teamster by this time. John Street was renamed Locust Street shortly thereafter. The 1880 Census indicates that the previous tenants of 649 John Street were former Camden Fire Department member Barton Lane and his family. Another Camden firefighter, John Streeper, had lived their in the early 1870s.

On March 27, 1882 William Wannan was appointed to the Camden Fire Department as a driver. Not long afterward, on June 7, 1882, his brother George married Laura Gordon, daughter of William B. Gordon, who had been an original member of the Camden Fire Department and was active in local politics. William Wannan served with the Fire Department for two years. William Wannan was living at 651 South 3rd during his time as a fireman. He was living with his mother at 510 William Street by the end of 1884, then moved to 657 South 3rd in 1885.

The 1887-1888 and 1888-1889 City Directories show him living at 230 Berkley Street and working as a teamster. He had moved to 212 Pine Street prior to the compilation of the 1890-1891 Directory.

William Wannan reappears in the Camden Directories in 1894. He was then working as a clerk in Philadelphia, and his mother was still living with him. The Wannan's were living at 211 Clinton Street.

William Wannan never married. He was working as an oilcloth printer at the time of the 1910 Census and living with his widowed sister Jane Carney at 545 South 2nd Street. The 1914 City Directory shows him at 207 Beckett Street. William Wannan passed away on March 19, 1916.  

  is recorded as having served as an extra man with the Camden Fire Department's Hook & Ladder Company. He was appointed on April 8, 1876 replacing Thomas W. McCowan. He served for one year, being replaced in turn by Howard Sharp in April of 1877. Fire Department records state that John Bucklew worked as a carpenter and at the time of his appointment was living at 214 Senate Street. By 1898 he had gone back to work as a driver. William Wannan was living with his brother George at 236 Pine Street.

The 1906 City Directory shows William Wannan, laborer at 1116 Penn Street. He had moved back to South Camden by the time the 1910 Census was enumerated. He was then living with his widowed sister, Jane Carney. The 1914 Directory lists William Wannan at 207 Beckett Street, working as an oilcloth pronter.

Never married, William Wannan passed away on March 19, 1916.