William Moulton was one of the original settlers of Marietta, Ohio. A group of real estate speculators, the Ohio Company of Associates, founded Marietta, originally known as Adelphia, in 1788.
Moulton was born on July 12, 1720, in Newbury (sometimes reported as Newburyport), Massachusetts. Moulton spent the first forty-two years of his life in Newbury, where he eventually became a silver and goldsmith. In 1762, he moved his family to Hempstead, New Hampshire, where he diversified his business interests, becoming an extensive landholder, as well as continuing his work with silver and gold.
In 1788, Moulton moved to Marietta. His wife Lydia, his daughters Lydia and Anna, and his son Enoch (sometimes reported as Edmond) joined him there in 1789. Here, Moulton continued his employment as a silver and goldsmith. By this time, he also had taught his daughter Lydia the trade, and this father and daughter provided residents of what is now southeastern Ohio primarily with eating utensils. These two smiths traveled by wagon selling their wares. William Moulton died in Marietta in 1793.
At this point in time, Marietta was still part of the frontier. Residents in this portion of the United States were struggling to create homes and ordered lives in the West. Craftspeople like William and Lydia Moulton helped residents of the Northwest Territory acquire needed equipment, as well as the finer necessities of life, bringing European culture to the frontier.