THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


  MERCY SHEPARDSON WILLIAMS, widow of the late Woodworth Williams, and now a resident of Earlville, is a native of Madison County, her birthplace having been East Hamilton. She is of New England stock, being a great-grand-daughter of William and Hannah (Jones) Shepardson, both natives of Connecticut. The former was a cooper by trade, and worked at that business in his native State until after the death of his wife, when he came to Madison County to spend his last days in East Hamilton with his son William, dying here at the venerable age of eighty-nine years.
  William Shepardson, grandfather of our subject, was born in Colchester, Conn., where he grew to manhood, married, and lived for several years. In 1807, accompanied by his wife and seven children, he came to Madison County, making the long and tedious trip overland with teams to East Hamilton, then called Colchester. Here he settled, and, buying a piece of property, soon after established a factory for the manufacture of rakes. In that early day all grass was cut and raked by hand; and the products of his shop were in great demand, his goods being first-class in every respect, with his name stamped on each rake. He continued in this business for several years, living in that locality until his death, at the age of fourscore and four years. The maiden name of his wife, to whom he was married November 24, 1791, was Ede Cook. She was born in Connecticut, and died in East Hamilton, when eighty years of age. To her and her husband were born nine children, as follows: Laura, William, Aristobulus, Erastus, John H., Maria, Ezra E., Azubah, and Delos. Azubah, the only surviving one, is the widow of the Rev. Peregrine White, and resides in Earlville.
  Ezra E. Shepardson, father of Mrs. Williams, was an infant of four months when his parents emigrated to this State. At that time, and for many years after, there were no railways through the almost pathless woods, the clearings were few, large cities and markets many miles distant; and the people were consequently obliged to subsist on the products of their land or the game to be found in the forests. Their clothing was homespun and homemade, the women of the family carding, spinning, and weaving the material, and fashioning the garments. Ezra was reared and educated in Hamilton, and, when old enough to choose an occupation, learned the trade of carpentry, which he followed for many years. He established a home in East Hamilton, where he died at the ripe age of eighty-four years, honored and respected by all. The maiden name of his wife, mother of Mrs. Williams, was Clarissa Miller. She was a native of Brookfield, and daughter of Abner and Mary Miller, pioneers of that town. They reared a family of fourteen children.
  Mercy, the subject of this brief narrative, became the bride of Woodworth Williams when only eighteen years of age. He was born in Deerfield, Oneida County, in 1831. His ancestors were also pioneers of Madison County, his grandparents, James and Grace (Foote) Williams, supposed to be natives of Vermont, having emigrated to Hamilton in the early days of its settlement. Purchasing land which was well covered with timber, the grandfather began its improvement, and in the course of time was rewarded for his efforts, he having cleared a fine farm and founded a home for himself and family, in which he resided until his death. Aristarchus Williams, father of Woodworth, was born in Hamilton; and here he was reared to man's estate. He assisted his father in the building up of a homestead, and received from him a practical education in the theory and practice of agriculture, which he made his life occupation. With the exception of a few years passed in Deerfield, his entire life was spent in Hamilton. He married Betsey Webster, a daughter of John and Thankful Webster.
  The boyhood days of Woodworth Williams, husband of our subject, were spent mostly after the manner of farmers' sons, attending the district school and becoming familiar with the labors of the farm. After marriage he purchased a farm in South Hamilton, where he carried on an extensive and lucrative business as a hop-grower, residing on this farm until his death, in 1885. He held high rank as an agriculturist, was energetic and progressive in his views, straightforward in his dealings, and well and favorably known as a business man. In politics he affiliated with the Republican party. His family, though not publicly identified with any religious organization, usually attend the Methodist Episcopal church. After her husband's death Mrs. Williams removed to Earlville, where she has since resided. She has two children: Clara, born April 26, 1860, and Fred, September 4, 1871. Clara married John McQuade; and they have five children--namely, Eva, May, Bessie, Jay, and Fay.

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