William J. Williams, A. M., superintendent of public schools, Franklin, Ind., was born at Welsh Hills, Licking Co., Ohio, June 4, 1845. His father, John Williams, was a native of Brecenshire, South Wales, and emigrated with his parents to this country when sixteen years of age. He located in Ohio, first in Delaware County, then in the city of Columbus, and finally in Licking County, where he continued to reside until his death, which occurred in March, 1878. At the age of thirty-seven years, he married Miss Esther Jones, also a native of Wales. The result of this union was six sons and five daughters. Mr. Williams, until ten years of age, attended school continuously, but after that period his lessons were limited to a winter term of four months. At twelve years of age he began to contribute to his own support, and from that time to the present all the money he has expended, whether in acquiring an education or in procuring the necessities of life, has been the product of his own efforts. At the age of sixteen he prepared to enter Denison University, when his plans were frustrated by a serious accident which befell his father. Being the eldest son, the farm work devolved upon him, and the idea of obtaining a collegiate education was for a time being abandoned. His father’s recovery gave the young lad an opportunity to take a school during the winter. He taught three months, receiving therefor $50 as remuneration. This he considered fair wages in comparison with farm work, which averaged from 25 cents to 40 cents per day. He next conducted a successful school and with what remained of his salary at the close of the session, paid his way through the spring term at college. He began a regular classical course in September, 1862, and continued it for three months, when, his funds becoming exhausted, he was compelled to stop. During his connection with the university he taught different terms. He remained in college seven years, graduating in the scientific and classical courses. After obtaining his diploma, he was undecided which of the professions, teaching or the ministry, he should adopt. It should be remembered in this connection, that he had united some years previously with the Baptist Church, at Greenville, but a year later removed his membership to the church at Welsh Hill. By this last organization he was given a license to preach. The Ohio Baptist Educational Society voted him sufficient aid to begin a theological course at Newton Center, Mass. He chose to teach instead, and went to Bradford, Ohio, where he opened a private school, but ill-fate seemed to have singled him out as its victim. He had taught but two weeks, when the prevalence of small pox in town broke up the attendance. To his great joy he succeeded a few weeks later in obtaining the position of principal of the Winamac high school. Here he remained two years. From Winamac he removed to Rochester, Ind., and became superintendent of public schools, from 1873 to 1881, when he was elected co-superintendent, and served two terms, after which he was called to take charge of the teachers’ department of Franklin College, which position he held for two years, when he was elected superintendent of the public schools of Franklin, Ind. The political affiliations of Mr. Williams have always been with the republican party. He was married June 20, 1878, to Miss Rosa Brackett, daughter of Dr. Charles Brackett, who died in the service of his country, at Helena, Ark., February 23, 1863, where he was stationed as surgeon of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry. Mrs. Williams combines all the qualities of the “excellent woman.” She is a lady of education and refinement, and possesses those graces of mind and heart that make her especially attractive. Their union has been blessed with one son and two daughters: Fred, Margorie and Edith. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are highly esteemed where ever known.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D.D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 675.