California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
J. WILLIAMS has been one of the most industrious citizens of the
Ontario community for over twenty years. His industry has brought him
the comfort and prosperity which he and his family now enjoy on their
little ranch home at 517 Vesta Street.
Mr. Williams was born in
Nemaha County, Kansas, December 17, 1880, a son of James Ezra and
Marietta (Shiifer) Williams. His parents were both born in Pennsylvania
and in the same year, 1845. His father was born the 10th of May, and
died at Ontario, California, September 28, 1914. They were married in
1868. James Ezra Williams at the age of fifteen became a locomotive
fireman, and was soon promoted to engine- man, and had a run on the
Lehigh Valley Railroad until he entered the Union Army during the Civil
war. He enlisted in the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, but when it was
discovered that he was a locomotive engineer he was assigned special
duty with the military railroad service and continued until the end of
the war. In March, 1868, soon after his marriage, he removed to
Missouri, where he farmed three years, and then went to Northeastern
Kansas and bought a large farm in Nemaha County, where for thirty-five
years he remained actively engaged in farming and as a dealer and
shipper of livestock. He was a man of great energy, reliable, an expert
judge of values, and for many years was one of the leading shippers out
of that section to eastern markets. In 1905 he left Kansas and came to
Ontario, California, where he bought an orange grove and was also a
stockholder and director in the First National Bank of Ontario. He was
the father of five children : Harry ; Mrs. Gertrude E. S. Randel ; Kate,
Mrs. J. H. Mills; A. J. Williams, and Miss Lida Williams.
A. J. Williams was reared
and educated in Nemeha County, Kansas, attended public schools there,
and finished in the Kansas State Agricultural Collie at Manhattan. He
then returned to his father's stock farm, and did all the work of
general farming and stock raising.
November 21, 1900, he
married Miss Kittie Mabel de Jeaan, who was born in Iowa April 20, 1884,
daughter of Bird and Addie (Hotchkiss) de Jeaan, the former a native of
Madison, Wisconsin, and the latter of Fayette County, Iowa. Bird de
Jeaan was a Baptist minister. Mrs. Williams' grandfather, Martin T. de
Jeaan, was an early settler of Ontario, coming here in 1892, when the
district was practically undeveloped, and bought land and set out a
deciduous orchard. Later he removed some of the early plantings and set
to oranges. This orange grove is now the home of A. J. Williams. Martin
de Jeaan is still living, but his wife died in Ontario in 1905. Martin
de Jeaan was carrier for the first United States mail from Ontario to
North Ontario, and continued in that service for a number of years.
After their marriage Mr.
and Mrs. Williams removed to Ontario and, being without capital, he
sought employment at any honorable occupation that would furnish his
family with a living. He picked and did other work in the fruit
orchards, worked at dry ranching, with fumigating crews, was employed in
the Chino sugar refinery, but eventually engaged in the retail meat
business and has been in the service of several firms at Ontario, being
now connected with the San Antonio Meat Company. He is also a director
in the Security State Bank of Ontario. He owns his modern home and the
orange grove which he bought from his wife's grandfather. He and his
family are members of the Nazarene Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Williams have six children: Grace, born April 10, 1902, now a senior in the Chaffey Junior College; Maye, born October 27, 1905, also in high school; Hazel, born October 31, 1907, a high school girl; James A., born October 13, 1912; Jean, born April 7, 1915, and Lawrence Andrew, born January 14, 1918, known in the family circle as Bobby Williams. These children were all born at Ontario.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011