Biography of Williams G. Williams


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Williams, William G., is a native of Columbia county, having been born in the city of Hudson, N. Y., in 1829. His father, Nathan Williams, died when he was a babe, leaving his mother with six children, three sons and three daughters, with little means for support. The brothers and sisters (now all dead except one sister in Brooklyn over eighty years old) were placed in various homes and he and his mother removed to Norwich, Chenango county, where for several years they made their home with an uncle, James Birdsall, a banker in that village. After a few years Mr. Birdsall and family removed to Addison, Steuben county, where he had a store and mills. Mr. Williams here received his early education in the public schools, which was at that time but a small country village. In 1840 he with his mother moved to Homer, Cortland county, to live with a sister, and the next year to Preble, an adjoining town, where for several years he had a home in the family of a Methodist clergyman by the name of North. His new home was a pleasant one; he had all the advantages of school that the village afforded and at the age of sixteen received his first certificate to teach school. This certificate was given by Henry S. Randall, at that time county superintendent of Cortland county, and afterwards as State superintendent of public instruction granted him a State certificate. He taught his first school in an adjoining district; many of his pupils were much older than himself and being rather frail physically, his happy faculty of making friends of his pupils made his discipline as a teacher a success from the start. In 1847 he made a visit to a friend near Troy and was persuaded to take a school which this friend had taught the winter previous, in the town of Brunswick, for the winter. In the spring of 1848 he came to Jefferson county by the persuasion of this same friend and by his assistance engaged to teach his first school in that county, in what was then known as district No. 9 in the town of Watertown. He taught the two following winters in the old stone school house at Watertown Center; during these years he attended the old Jefferson County Institute, summers, and was graduated in 1851. He then engaged to teach the Brownville public school which he managed successfully for the next five years, during which time he was twice elected to the office of town superintendent of the schools of that town. In 1855 the assembly district school commissioners (under the new law establishing such an office) were appointed by the Board of Supervisors and Mr. Williams received the appointment for the Third Assembly district of Jefferson county. Before his term expired he was persuaded by the late Lotus Ingals, who at that time was one of the trustees of the Lamon street school of the then village of Watertown, to take charge of it. He taught this school for eight years, and when in 1865 the present graded school system was established he was placed in the Arsenal street school and taught it for four years. He was then elected by the school board to the office of superintendent in 1869, holding that position not quite a year when he received the appointment of postmaster of Watertown, and for over twelve years he conducted the affairs of the office faithfully and to the satisfaction of the public. During this time and afterwards he was a member of the school board most of the time. He has always taken a lively interest in the various enterprises for the industrial success of the city of Watertown, and had much to do with the organization and success of the Watertown Spring Wagon Co. and was for many years one of its directors and chairman of its executive committee. In March, 1843, on the resignation of Superintendent Seymour, he was again elected to the office of city superintendent of schools, which position he now holds audit is evident that the changes in the public schools which he has inaugurated are working to the satisfaction of those interested in the cause of education and good citizenship. In 1855 Mr. Williams married Mary E. Guard of Brownyule, who died in 1886, leaving a daughter, Florence E., who is now a teacher in the Watertown High School. In 1888 Mr. Williams married Mary E. Barrows who has long been connected with the Watertown schools.

Our County and it's people
A descriptive work on Jefferson County, New York
Edited by: Edgar C. Emerson
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1898

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