Biography of Hon. J. Locke Williams
Iowa County, IA Biographies





Hon. J. Locke Williams represented his district in the state assembly and was identified with educational and agricultural interests of Iowa county as he was both a teacher and a farmer. He was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, on the 6th of August, 1825, a son of John and Susan (Seehorn) Williams, both lifelong residents of the Keystone state.

In 1850 J. Locke Williams came to Iowa and first located in Johnson county, where he remained for about two years, but late in 1851 he came to Iowa county and entered land two miles from North English. His land was timbered and before bringing it under cultivation it was necessary to clear it, which he did. His home was a log cabin with an earthen floor, a clapboard roof, a stick chimney and a string latch, a typical pioneer dwelling, in which the conditions of life were those of a frontier district. Upon removing from Pennsylvania to Iowa he made the long journey overland with a covered wagon drawn by a blind team and was on the road for seven weeks. His wife and two children accompanied him, his marriage having occurred in 1846. The family were among the early settlers in this county and he continued to reside upon his farm until his death. As the county became more thickly settled and more prosperous he shared in the general well being and was able to purchase additional land from time to time. He accumulated two hundred and twenty acres and its cultivation afforded him a good income annually. Although the operation of his farm was no small task his energy was so great that he devoted the winter months to teaching school for many years and for two years served as county superintendent. He was also for a long time a member of the school board and his influence was deeply felt in educational circles.

Mr. Williams was married on the 19th of October, 1846, to Miss Nancy B. McCracken, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Henry and Katherine (Oakwood) McCracken, who passed their entire lives in that state. They were the parents of nine children, all of whom are deceased save Mrs. Williams. She is the mother of eleven children, all of whom grew to maturity and eight are still living. There are also forty three grandchildren, eighteen great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Mrs. Williams has now reached the advanced age of ninety three years and still enjoys good health. She has a wonderful memory, recalling accurately and vividly the happenings of the past. She is honored by all who know her, as is her due, for she has lived not only a long but also a useful life. Following the demise of her husband she sold the old homestead but still owns a good residence.

Mr. Williams was a zealous republican and did all in his power to further the success of that party in his part of the state. In 1865 he was appointed surveyor and held that office until 1872, when he resigned. In 1864 he was made county superintendent and for two years was the incumbent in that position. During the sixteenth general assembly in 1875-6 he represented his district in the legislature and his record as a lawmaker was creditable to him and satisfactory to his constituents. In 186o and again in 188o he was census enumerator. In looking after his many interests as farmer, official and teacher he did not ignore the claims of religion and was a consistent member of the Christian church. For several years he also preached for that denomination but never received anything for his services. In the early days he knew every one living in Iowa county and he aided in the transformation of the wilderness into cultivated farms. At a later period in the history of the county he contributed to the general development and advancement of his locality, winning the respect and goodwill of those who knew him.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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