John D. Williams, a farmer of Hilton township, has resided in this county since 1866 and has witnessed a remarkable
development in that time. He was born in Rhode Island on the 22d of December, 1835, and is a son of John D. and
Anna (Brown) Williams, natives of Newport, Rhode Island, and South Kingston, that state, respectively. Both the
Williams and Browns are well known families in Rhode Island and are held in high esteem there. The father of our
subject was a woolen manufacturer, owning mills in Newport and South Kingston. He passed away in his native state
when sixty three years of age, and his widow survived for many years, dying in Brooklyn, New York, while visiting
a sister, at the advanced age of eighty seven years.
John D. Williams passed his boyhood and youth under the parental roof and attended the common schools in the acquirement
of his education. As a young man he learned the machinist's trade in Anthony, Rhode Island, and subsequently worked
in the shops at Westerly and Providence, that state. On the 31st of March, 1866, he arrived in Iowa county and
purchased seventy acres of land on section 5, Hilton township, paying therefor five dollars and seventy six cents
per acre. From time to time he added to his holdings and has accumulated three hundred and twenty acres of land
which is in a high state of cultivation. He has made a number of improvements upon his farm and as he has always
been progressive and energetic has accumulated more than a competence.
On the 15th of June. 1866, Mr. Williams married Miss Alma Davis, a daughter of Samuel Davis, of South Hardwick,
Vermont, and they have become the parents of five children, of whom four survive, namely: Horace D., who is farming
in Hilton township; Mary B., the wife of Thomas Willis, of Marengo township; John D., Jr., who is operating the
home farm; and Samuel R., professor of physics at Oberlin College of Oberlin, Ohio.
Mr. Williams is a prohibitionist and does all in his power to secure the abolition of the liquor traffic, which
he believes to be one of the most pernicious influences in the life of the country. Both he and his wife belong
to the Wesleyan Methodist church at Fairview and for many years he was superintendent of the Sunday school. He
is now in his eightieth year but still enjoys good health and takes an active interest in the operation of his
farm and in the events of his community and of the outside world. For almost half a century he has resided in this
county and although the early pioneer days had passed when he came here yet there were many evidences that the
county was a comparatively new region and in the half century that has since intervened he has witnessed a remarkable
development along all lines of human activity. Mr. Williams has done his share toward the progress of the community
not only along agricultural lines but also in respect to civic and moral betterment.
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Iowa County, IA
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