William M. Williams, who was one of the organizers and is now the secretary of the Webb City College, is one
of the substantial and representative men of his locality. His career illustrates in no uncertain manner what it
is possible to accomplish when perseverance and determination form the keynote to a man's life. Depending upon
his own resources, looking for no outside aid or support, he has risen from comparative obscurity to a position
of prominence, and the town of Webb City ewes much to him on account of his connection with her business interests.
Mr. Williams is a native of McDonald county, Missouri, his birth having occurred on the 27th of March, 1859. His
father, Moses Williams, was born in the state of Alabama, and when a young man, in 1832, removed with his father,
Allen Williams. to McDonald county, Missouri, a location being made on Patterson creek, where they engaged in agricultural
pursuits. In 1860 Moses Williams made the trip to California, and while in that state he was called to his final
rest, passing Tway when our subject was only two years of age. He was of Welsh descent. His widow, who was in her
maidenhood Sarah Ann Evans, survived him a number of years, dying when her son William was thirteen years of age.
When he was two years of age his mother became blind, and was thus afflicted until her death. Mr. and Mrs. Williams
were the parents of six children, but two died in infancy, and those who reached mature years are: Thomas B., the
eldest of the family; Anna, deceased; John B., who resides at Lamar, Missouri; and William M, the subject of this
review. In 1866 Mrs. Williams, with her four children, removed to Saline county, Missouri.
William M. Williams began the battle of life for himself when only thirteen years of age, and for three years thereafter
was employed as a farm hand, during which time he enjoyed but few educational privileges. At the age of sixteen
years he entered a select school, known as the Professor Newton Academy, at Marshall, Saline county, which he attended
for a part of two years. After leaving that institution he removed to Malta Bend, where he served a short apprenticeship
as a carriage manufacturer, also working as a farm hand, and was thus engaged for about one year. Next he was engaged
in buying timber for H. Herman; who had a branch office at Boonville, Missouri, and was thus employed for about
two years, on the expiration of which period he removed to Kansas City and began work at his trade. On the i4th
of September, 1882, in company with J. B. Williams and A. Christopher, he went to Lamar, Barton county, Missouri,
and engaged in the manufacture of buggies, but on the ist of July, 1890, Mr. Williams sold his interest to his
partners and came to Webb City, where he was engaged in mining for the following three years. In 1893 he originated
the plan for establishing the Webb City College. The erection of the building was begun in that year and was completed
in 1896. It was first known as Nelson Collegiate Institute, but the name has since been changed to the Webb City
College. The institution was a success from the beginning and the average attendance now numbers about one hundred
and fifty pupils. Mr. Williams still remains its popular and efficient secretary, and Webb City College owes much
of its success to his untiring and well directed efforts. On the ist of February, 1900, he took up his residence
where he know resides, on section 25, Mineral township.
Mr. Williams was married on the 27th of March, 1884, Miss Alice Newell becoming his wife. She is a native of Athens
county, Ohio, and in an early day removed from that state to Lamar, Missouri. She is a graduate of the vocal department
of the Webb City College and is a lady of culture and refinement. She was a member of the College Ladies' Quartette,
of Webb City, for five years. The marriage has been blessed with one son, Royal L., who is attending the Webb City
College, and one daughter, Amy S., who died in infancy.
The Democratic party receives Mr. Williams' hearty support and socially he is a members of the A. O. U. W., No.
270, of Webb City, while of the Baptist church of this city he is a worthy and consistent member. Personally our
subject is genial and social, enjoying good fellowship and is a most companionable friend. His life furnishes an
example of energy, perseverance and loyalty to principle well worthy of emulation.
The Biographical History of Jasper County, Missouri
By Hon. Malcolm G. McGregor
The Lewis Publishing Co.
Jasper County, MO
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