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Jay County Indiana Biographies

John W. WILLIAMS, a veteran of the Civil war and the acknowledged pioneer in this county in the breeding of Poland China hogs, for many years one of the outstanding figures in live stock circles in this section of Indiana, now living practically retired on his well kept stock farm, Homestead Stock Farm in Jackson township, is a native son of Jay county, a member of one of the real pioneer families of the county, and has lived here all his life, Mr. WILLIAMS was born on a farm in Wayne township, this county, November 10, 1845, and is a son of Samuel K. and Emelia (GRAY) WILLIAMS, the latter of whom was born in the vicinity of Greenville, in Darke county, Ohio, and was a daughter of Jesse GRAY, Indian fighter, mighty hunter and skillful trapper. Jesse GRAY was one of the most picturesque figures of the Mississinnewa country in the days when orderly settlement was being effected throughout this region. He died at his home in Noble township, this county, in 1872, he then being eighty years of age, and was buried in the old cemetery at Camden, now Pennville, and concerning whom further and interesting details are set out elsewhere in this work, the older chronicles of the county having had much to say of his activities hereabout in pioneer days. Samuel K. WILLIAMS was born in Miami county, Ohio, and there grew to manhood. As a young man he became attracted to the possibilities awaiting settlers in this section of Indiana and he came to Jay county and entered from the Government a quarter section of land in Wayne township, this county, where he established his home and remained until 1851 when he moved to Jackson township, establishing his home on a quarter of a section he had bought there, the place now owned and occupied by his son John, and there he spent the remainder of his life. He was a good farmer and judge. of land values and became the owner of 480 acres of land in this county, and for years also was widely known as a stock buyer. He and his wife were the parents of seven children, those besides the subject of this sketch having been Dorothy Elizabeth, Mary, James H., Charles S., Robena and Jesse. Reared amid pioneer conditions, John W. WILLIAMS was six years of age when his parents moved from Wayne township to Jackson township and he received his schooling in a log school house known as the Poling school in this latter township. He was fifteen years of age when the Civil war broke out and when seventeen years and six months of age he enlisted his services in behalf of the Union cause and went to the front as a member of Company B of the 138th regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which he served for four months. Upon the completion of his military service he returned to the home farm and there remained until his marriage when his father gave him a tract of sixty acres of uncleared land and he began farming "on his own," clearing the land and making a farm out of it. After his father's death he bought from the other heirs their interest in the home quarter section in Jackson township and has since resided there, meanwhile increasing his holdings until he became the. owner of 380 acres, two hundred acres of which he has recently divided among his five children, giving to each one a "forty." In 1865 Mr. WILLIAMS began breeding Poland China hogs, buying his first breeding stock from Bob Riggs, of Oxford, Ohio, and he ever since has been one of the leaders in the development and promotion of this strain of swine, one of the organizers of the local association of breeders of registered Poland China's in this county and for many years one of the foremost exhibitors of that strain in the swine shows of the country. Mr. WILLIAMS has shipped the products of his breeding pens to every state in the Union and has also shipped to Europe. He is now the oldest Poland China breeder living and his name is known wherever stock breeders meet. For more than fifty years Mr. WILLIAMS has been an exhibitor at the Jay county fair and for more than a quarter of a century at the Indiana state fair. The best boar he ever owned was the famous "Giant Buster," which died in 1920 and for which he had declined an offer of $20,000. Exhibits from his pens have been made at most of the great stock shows of the country and he has taken prizes in all of them. He also for forty years has given his attention to the raising of pure bred Shropshire sheep and for the past fifteen years has been breeding pure bred Shorthorn cattle and has done much toward promoting these strains hereabout. Mr. WILLIAMS is a Republican and is a member of the Friends church at Poling. He is a Freemason, affiliated with the local lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons at Portland, and is also a member of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic at Portland. John W. WILLIAMS has been twice married, his first wife having been Rhoda GARDNER, daughter of William and Mahalia GARDNER. To that union three children were born, two sons and a daughter, Samuel Morton, who died at the age of fifteen years, Worthy C. and Emma J., the latter of whom married Harry MILES and has five children, Marjorie, Esther, Mary, John and Robert Worthy C. WILLIAMS married Delpha GOFF and has ten children, Wayne, Ward, Wave, John, Charles Warner, Robert, Ruby, Opal, Dorothy and Delpha. Of these children, Wayne WILLIAMS married Mabel HUFFER and has four children. Ward WILLIAMS married Gladys JONES and has two children. Wave WILLIAMS married Georgiana BEARD and has one child, and Ruby WILLIAMS married Ralph NINE and has four children, Mr. WILLIAMS thus having eleven great-grandchildren, in whom he takes much delight. Following the death of his first wife Mr. WILLIAMS married Margaret HAFFNER, daughter of John HAFFNER and who died on August 16, 1920, and to that union six children were born, three of whom, William, James H. and John Carl, are living. William WILLIAMS married Alta JONES and has six children, Gladys, Cecil, Wealthy, Truman, Helena and Mary. James H. WILLIAMS married Irma GLENDENNING and has one child, a daughter, Ruth, and John Carl WILLIAMS married Eva BROWN and has two children, Frances and Maxine

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