Lewis C. Williams

As published in
"The City of Kenosha and Kenosha County Wisconsin: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement"
by Frank H. Lyman Vol. 2, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1916.




Farming interests in Paris township find a worthy representative in Lewis C. Williams, who makes his home on Section 29. Reared upon this farm, he has aways carried on general agricultural pursuits and has kept abreast with changing conditions and improvements in methods of farm work. He was born April 12, 1866, his parents being Lewis and Margaret Ann (Evans) Williams, natives of Radnorshire, Wales.

The family was founded in the new world by Lewis Williams, the grandfather of Lewis C. Williams of this review, who on crossing the Atlantic, cast in his lot with the pioneer settlers of Kenosha County at a period when the work of development and progress had scarcely been begun in this locality. He purchased eighty acres of land from the government, and upon the farm which he improved spent his remaining days, but from time to time extended its boundaries until he was enjoying the income from four hundred acres. He passed away at the age of eighty-four, while his wife, who bore the maiden name of Sarah Meredith, died in middle life.

Their son, Lewis Williams, became a shepherd in Wales and, when about nineteen years of age, accompanied his parents to the United States. Following his arrival in Kenosha County in 1843, he was for a time employed by John Bullen of Kenosha, but he was very ambitious and resolved that his labors should more directly benefit himself. He therefore carefully saved his earnings until the sum amounted to over one hundred dollars, at which time he walked to Milwaukee and purchased eighty acres of land, and with each succeeding one hundred dollars which he earned, he made a similar investment. His first purchase was on Section 29, Paris Township, and from time to time he added to the property, while year by year he carried on the work of development and improvement. He died October 27, 1903 in the eighty-third year of his age, and his wife passed away October 26, 1875, at the age of thirty-five years. Realizing the lack of an education because of his own limited school privileges in youth, Mr. Williams was ever a strong advocate of the establishment of good schools in his community, and he provided his children with the best advantages possible.

In the maternal line Lewis C. Williams also comes of an old Welsh family. His maternal grandfather died in Wales when a young man, after which his widow, Mrs. Maria Evans, came to America with her two daughters: Maria, who is the widow of Charles Dane; and Margaret Ann, who became Mrs. Williams. Following the establishment of her home in America, Mrs. Evans became the wife of William Jones, by whom she had three children, all now deceased. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jones passed away at an advanced age. As stated, their daughter, Margaret Ann, became the wife of Lewis Williams, the marriage being celebrated June 4, 1852. To them were born eight children: Charley, who died at the age of twelve years; Sarah, who was a high school student in Kenosha, and is now the wife of Gomer Roberts, living in Union Grove; Frank, who died at the age of eight years; Julia, who died at the age of two years; Belle, who attended the Kenosha High School and is the widow of Ernest Moe; Lewis C.; Nellie N., who was educated in the Brandon High School in Burlington, Vermont, and in Evanston, Illinois, and for several years was a capable school teacher in this county prior to her marriage to F. W. Keuper, a druggist of Union Grove; and Margaret A., who after studying in the Northwestern University at Evanston, pursued a course in the Conservatory at Evanston and is now the wife of William Walker of Milwaukee.

Since the arrival of Lewis Williams, Sr., and his family in Kenosha County, representatives of the name have taken an active and helpful part in promoting the development of this section of the State, and Lewis Williams, the father of Lewis C. Williams, was very active in advancing the interests of the community along many lines. His political allegiance was given to the Democratic party, and he served as Supervisor of his township, but would not consent to hold public office, although for some time he was officially connected with the schools. Wherever he could give his aid to advance a cause for public good, however, his assistance was generous and hearty, and there was no one who rejoiced more sincerely in the welfare and progress of the county. Starting out in life on his own account by working at a salary of thirteen dollars per month, he advanced step by step until he was one of the largest landowners and most prosperous citizens of this part of the state, his realty interests aggregating forteen hundred and eighty-three acres, while upon his farm he engaged in the cultivation not only of the cereals best adapted to the soil, but also engaged in raising fine herds of cattle, sheep and horses. In all of his business dealings he was thoroughly reliable as well as enterprising. He never took advantage of the interests of his fellowmen in any business transaction and among those who knew him his name became a synonym for business reliability.

As stated, it was always the object of Lewis Williams to give his children excellent educational privileges, and enjoying the advantages thus secured, Lewis C. Williams after attending the Brandon High School continued his studies in Ripon College and also became a student in the Law Department of the State University at Ann Arbor, Michigan. All of his life he has lived upon the old homestead where his father settled, and he is now the owner of six hundred and eighty acres. He has made many improvements upon his land, erecting modern buildings and securing modern equipment and all of the accessories which facilitate farm work. He never falters in what he undertakes but carries everything forward to successful completion, possessing the characteristic energy, determination and integrity which have marked the Williams family.

On the 11th of May 1895, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Williams and Miss Mary Crane, a daughter of William and Ann (Sparks) Crane, who at the era of pioneer development in Racine County settled in Dover Township, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits until his life's labors were ended in death. He was long survived by his wife, who bore the maiden name of Caroline Sparks and who reached the age of seventy-six years. Having lost her first husband, Mrs. Crane became the wife of Uriah Richards of Lake County, Illinois. William Crane was born in Somersetshire, England, and had reached manhood and married before he crossed the Atlantic. He wedded Ann Sparks, also a native of Somersetshire and a daughter of Richard and Sophia (Linham) Sparks, who spent their entire lives in England. Her father, who was a butcher by trade, passed away when well advanced in years. Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. William Crane crossed the Atlantic and established their home upon a farm of forty acres in Dover Township, Racine County, Wisconsin. Later, however, they crossed the line into Kenosha County, taking up their abode in Paris Township. They became the parents of six children: Sophia, the deceased wife of Benjamin Morris of Fargo, North Dakota, her first husband having been T. R. Morris, a brother of her second husband; Clifford T., deceased; Charles, occupying the old homestead in Paris Township; Caroline, the wife of Herbert Barnes of Fargo, North Dakota; Mary, now Mrs. Williams; and William, a farmer of Paris Township. Mr. and Mrs. Crane were members of the Episcopal church when residents of England, but after coming to the new world joined the Methodist church, and they led earnest Christian lives, guided at all times by the highest religious principles.

Their daughter Mary was the fifth in order of birth in their family of six children and by her marriage she has become the mother of three sons and a daughter: Willard Francis, Judson Sparks, Margaret Ann and Lewis, the last named being a representative in the family of the fourth generation to bear the name of Lewis Williams. From the beginning of their residence in this county the Williams family have always been prominent socially, and the hospitality of the best homes has been freely extended them. Lewis C. Williams has conducted his life according to the teachings of his youth, and his integrity, enterprise and reliability stand as unquestioned facts in his career. Those who know him entertain for him the warmest regard, and his circle of friends is constantly growing as his circle of acquaintances increases.

Typed by: Michelle Laycock



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