Biography of Henry L. Williams
Santa Barbara County, CA Biographies





HENRY L. WILLIAMS, the owner of the Ortega ranch and the founder of Summerland, was born in Massillon, Ohio, in 1841. His father, G. W. Williams, was a financier and was connected with the Union Bank of Massillon. In the spring of 1861, at the as of twenty, Henry L. enlisted in Company A, of the Nineteenth Ohio Infantry, under command of Colonel Samuel Beatty and Captain C. F. Manderson; the latter is now United States Senator from Nebraska. The regiment, which was stationed with the Army of the Cumberland, joined General Grant's forces on the second day of the battle of Shiloh. They were in the three days' fight at Stone River, where one half of the regiment was lost, and were also in many smalskirmishes. Mr. Williams, however, did not receive a scratch, although his clothing was many times pierced with bullets. In April, 1863, he was appointed State pay agent for Ohio, and on June 30, 1864, he received the appointment of paymaster in the United States army, and was stationed with the army of the Cumberland, with headquarters at Louisville, Kentucky. He was mustered out of the service on November 15, 1865. He then became engaged in the coal business in Ohio, as manager and part owner of the mines, and remained there until the spring of 1776. In that year he was appointed by the United States Treasury Department to examine the books of the Collectors of Customs through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, with headquarters at Philadelphia. In June, 1881, he was stationed at Tucson, Arizona, to look after the frontier offices from El Paso to San Diego and Santa Barbara; but, finding the weather very warm at Tucson, he resigned October 15, 1882, and came to Santa Barbara, where his family were already settled. In April, 1883, he purchased the Ortega ranch, of 1,000 acres, located at the east end of the Montecito Valley, and has since made that his home. He has a small walnut grove and fruit only sufficient for family use.

Mr. Williams brought the location of Summerfield before the public in November, 1888, by laying out the town and piping water to every lot, and advertising it extensively through the country. The town is established on the faith of Spiritualism. Already 1,450 lots have been sold to parties from all over the United States, some of the purchasers being in Australia. Many fine cottages have been built, and a library of 500 volumes, with a building costing $4,500, has already been erected. A weekly newspaper named the Reconstructor has also been started.

Mr. Williams has been twice married, the last time at Cumberland, to Mrs. Agnes S. Morgan, in September, 1889.

From:
A Memorial and Biographical History
of the counties of
Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo
and Ventura, California
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago 1891


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