WILLIAM R. WILLIAMS is a prominent citizen and a leading contractor and builder of Oneida. He was born in the town of Trenton, Oneida County, March 26, 1828, being of Welsh origin.
His father, Robert Z. Williams, was born in Wales, and was the son of William and Margaret Williams, who were also natives of that country, William being a contractor, and, among other works, building the Queen's Dock--over one mile long--at Holyhead.
Leaving Wales in 1802, our subject's grandfather, with his wife and four children, emigrated to America, and settled in Philadelphia, Pa. where he made the acquaintance of Baron Steuben, who induced him to move to Oneida County, New York, whither he went in 1816, being obliged to travel all the way by team, taking his family and all their household goods. He purchased a tract of
land in the town of Steuben, and engaged in farming, residing on it until his death, at the age of eighty-four years. His wife died when she was ninety years old. They had four children, namely, William, John,. Betsey, Robert Z.
Robert Z. Williams was about two years old when he came to America. He was first educated in Philadelphia and afterward at Hamilton Theological Seminary, later known as Madison University, and now Colgate University. He commenced teaching when quite a young man, and at twenty-four years of age entered upon a course of study for the ministry, He was ordained at the Baptist church in Steuben, Oneida County, and was pastor in different places in that county, remaining in the ministry until his death, at the age of seventy-three years. When he was twenty-seven years old, he was married to Miss Eliza Guthrie, March 25, 1826. She was a native of Connecticut, and the daughter of Simeon Guthrie, who was a Revolutionary soldier. She died at the age of forty-five, being mother of five children namely, William R., Oliver C., Robert, Sarah, and Judson, who was scalded to death when five years of age.
William R. Williams attended successively the school known as Hobart Hall at Holland Patent, the Oneida Castle Seminary, and Whitestown Seminary. At eighteen he commenced teaching school, and taught a part of
each winter until he was twenty-five years old, employing the time when not engaged in this occupation in learning the carpenter's trade. In 1865 he went to Oneida, and started in business for himself as contractor and builder, and has continued in that work until the present time. He has built the town school-houses and many private residences and
stores. He married Miss Mary L. Kingsbury, a native of Hartford, Conn., the daughter of Flavel Kingsbury, September 15, 1851. She died September 2, 1885.
Mr. and Mrs. Williams reared four children; namely, Henry J., George S., Frank P., and Della T. Henry is an express messenger in the employment of the National Express Company. He married Miss Alice Hemans; and they have two children, Edith and Robert. George S. was educated at Oneida and Cazenovia, N.Y. He studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Oliver C. Williams, and was graduated from Rush Medical College of Chicago, Ill. He is settled at Muskegon, Mich. Frank P. was a student in the law office of James Jenkins, Esq., and later at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He practised his profession for a time at Springfield, Ill., and later at Aberdeen, Dak. He is now editor and proprietor of a newspaper at Rapid City, So. Dak. Della T. is the wife of Dr. Otto Pfaff, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work.
Mr. Williams has led an active business life, but has found time with it all to keep himself well informed on current events, besides having a thorough knowledge of the early history of his county and being a close student of our best literature of the present times. He has acquired a handsome competency, and, as a foremost man in his town, is
naturally deeply interested in its welfare.
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