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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Glendower Was Home To J. Milton Williams

Dallas Bogan on 28 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland: Heritage Press, 1979) page 242
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Glendower is one of five stately homes situated in old Floraville, just off U.S. 42, south of Lebanon's business district. It was built by Amos Bennett about 1838, and was considered the finest home in the County. Glendower's first residents were the family of J. Milton Williams. Here the Williamses had their six children and opened their home to many important guests.
J. Milton Williams was born December 17, 1807, within the corporate limits of the city. He was the son of Enos Williams, who held the position of County Recorder many years, as well as other public appointments.
Young Williams helped his father in the recorder's office, and also wrote in the office of the Clerk of Court. His handwriting was described as "legible, bold and rapid." This early training primed him for a career in the law field that he pursued and accomplished with great vigor.
He was dreadfully poor, but, with a great amount of energy, and a full slate of ability, he succeeded to great heights. He wrote: "When I went out into the wide, wide world in business, on my own hook, I had two dilapidated shirts and a poor suit of clothes to match them. I opened my office in a cellar, with three musty old Ohio statutes, given me by my old father, which he had held as a public officer. This was my entire stock in trade."
He was admitted to the bar, at age 23, on June 7, 1831, at a term of the Supreme Court held at Lebanon. He was received the same day and place as was Hon. Robert C. Schenck of Franklin. Williams immediately secured for himself a place at the bar, and at once gained a large and rewarding practice. For several years he had more cases on the dockets of the courts than any other lawyer in the County. His fees charged were less than other lawyers of the same stature. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Warren County in 1833, succeeding Hon. A.H. Dunlevy, a position the latter held for 12 years.
In 1850, Major Williams, as he was called because of his status in the Militia, was elected a member of the convention that devised the second Constitution of Ohio. He was elected, in 1857, to the House of Representatives in the General Assembly of Ohio as an independent candidate.
His capacity to sway jurors was the result of his superior intellect of human nature. He maneuvered within himself a personal charisma perhaps foremost in the history of Warren County. He was considered one of the leading lawyers of southern Ohio, and was virtually connected to every case in Warren County. His honest ways exhibited a semblance that no client would be cheated or misrepresented in any way.
Thus far, he had effectively moved from a cellar to a mansion high atop a hill, not only in accomplishments, but also in life.
All stories do not end in such a fashionable and respectable way. Such was the case of J. Milton Williams. He married the daughter of Dr. Rigdon, of Hamilton, in which they had six children. The marriage was quite a happy one for several years. Through his good years, the Major had picked up the habit of intemperance. At some time he separated from his wife and family, which caused him great distress. About the year 1854, he deeded his property to Robert Boake in trust for his wife and family. He was at this time a complete wreck of his former self, and was the target of pity and charity.
He had totally lost his sense of stability and was burdened by his loss of family and property. He was in fragile health, both in body and mind for several years. On July 13, 1871, he was able to take his meals, walking a short distance from his room. Two days later, it was essential that a nurse be employed for his care. An appeal was made to the ones handling the property, which consisted of several thousand dollars, to give him support concerning his condition. It was refused. He was consequently taken off in an express wagon, an object of public charity, to the infirmary where he died on July 21, 1871. He was buried in the Lebanon Cemetery.
J. Milton Williams was at one time the ablest lawyer at the Warren County Bar. In a time of need his friends shunned him as just another case for the unfortunate. From a cellar to a mansion on a hill, his life ended as "a man without a home."

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This page created 28 July 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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