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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


ALFRED WILLIAMS, one of the oldest living settlers of his locality, having come to Morgan County, Ill., in October, 1837, is a native of St. Lawrence County, N.Y., and was born Jan. 10, 1822. He was the son of Joseph and Hannah Williams, both natives of Vermont. His grandfather, Joseph Williams, Sr., was a soldier in the War of 1812, and also one of the early settlers of Vermont.

Alfred Williams was reared in his native county until his sixteenth year, at which time, with an uncle, he came to Morgan County, where he has remained since. He is distinguished as being one of a company who operated the first threshing machines and cleaners in this county and State. He and his Uncle Seth Wetherbee broke the first furrow on the present site of the village of Chapin. For several years Mr. Williams owned and operated a threshing machine, from which business he made considerable money. In 1848 he settled on his present farm, which was then destitute of improvements, being wild, uncultivated prairie land. He broke the land and continued to make improvements, buying more until he now owns a farm of 362 acres, unequaled in fertility, and to be the owner of which any man ought to feel proud. Mr. Williams has seen this section of the country develop from a wilderness to a garden spot, and now upon every hand is to be seen prosperity, where once was poverty. He is one of the thousands of pioneers who are reaping the harvest of plenty that was sown by them years ago. He has been successful beyond his fondest dream, and he deserves it. His magnificent estate is a monument to his industry, perseverance and good management.

Politically, Mr. Williams is a Republican, and when the Whig party was in existence, acted with them, and during the war, he was an active Union man. He has served as School Director, but being of a modest nature, he cares but little for office. He married Miss Esther Bean, May 22, 1851, who bore him four children, two of whom are living: Joseph B. Williams, married Ada A. Wing, of Bridgeport, Vt., and is farming part of the homestead; Arthur C. married Nellie A. True, of Morgan County. Her parents were formerly from New Hampshire. He also farms a part of the home place. Joseph B., and Arthur C. are both prosperous residents of Morgan County. The deceased children are Julius Seth, and Alfred. Both Mr. Williams and his wife are members of the Congregational Church at Joy Prairie. Mrs. Williams was the daughter of Joshua Bean, of Readfield, Kenebec Co., Me., twelve miles from Augusta. Her mother was Abigal Pierce, of Westbrook, Cumberland Co., Me. They reared a family of seven children, two boys and five girls. They subsequently removed to Massachusetts, and lived and died at Chelsea, Mass. Mrs. Williams was in her girlhood liberally educated, and in October, 1850, came to Morgan County, Ill., alone, and taught school in country district, about three miles from her present home; it was here she became acquainted with Mr. Williams.

Mr. Williams was one of the original members and prime movers in the establishment of the Congregational society, donating land upon which to build the church. He is a Trustee of the church spoken of, and is always ready and willing to do anything for the improvement of his chosen religion. He is liberal and enterprising, and is one of the few men in this world who do charitable acts in an unostentatious manner.

Mr. and Mrs. Williams, are now a little past the prime of life, enjoying the fruits of their early industry, and their neighbors are unanimous in saying that they deserve all the comfort there is to be had in this life.

1889 Index
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