Biography of Edward M. Williams
Oregon Biographies





Edward M. Williams, one of the best known citizens of The Dalles, where for several years he has been actively engaged in the commercial affairs and in banking, was born here in September, 1866, a son of Griffith E. and Anna M. (Marshall) Williams. The father was a native of Wales and came to this country at the early age of nine years, settling in New Orleans with his brothers. After residing there for four years, he removed to Wisconsin and there learned the cabinet maker's trade. His first visit to Oregon was in 1852, but after spending two years in Portland went to California, where he remained for some years. In 1862 he returned to Oregon and located in The Dalles, where in the next succeeding quarter of a century he assisted in no small way in the upbuilding of the city and became one of its most prominent citizens, For a time he was carpenter foreman for the Oregon Steamship & Navigation Company and was a partner of E. Wingate in the hardware business, the latter so expanding into one of the most important mercantile concerns of Waseo county that Mr. Williams was forced to relinquish his other work and devote all his time to the hardware trade, with which he remained identified until his death in 1886.

Mrs, Anna M. (Marshall) Williams was a native of London, England, and a daughter of what is known in that country as a gentleman farmer. Upon the death of her father the family emigrated to the United States, crossed the plains and located in Oregon City, where she was reared and educated, and it was in that city that she met and married Griffith E. Williams, coming with him in 1862 to The Dalles, where she spent the remainder of her life. Mrs. Williams took a prominent and practical part in the early day affairs of The Dallies and was ever foremost in all efforts to develop and improve the city.

Edward M. Williams was reared and educated in The Dalles and also attended the Portland Business College, In 1888 he went to work for E. Wingate & Company, the firm in which his father had been a partner. In 1891 the firm's name was changed to A. M, Williams & Company and he became vice president and manager, positions which he still retains. During the thirty years he has been managing this business, it has grown to be the largest general mercantile establishment in Wasco county and one of the largest in the state, In 1907, Mr, Williams extended the scope of his operations and became president of the Walthair-Williams Company, a large and important firm dealing in heavy hardware, farm implements, automobiles and auto accessories. They also conduct a spacious garage and repair shop, Owing to a gradual expansion of its trade, the company requires three large separate plants to take care of the different branches of the business.

In 1918, in recognition of his superior business ability, Mr, Williams was elected president of the First National Bank of The Dalles, an institution in which he had been a director for many years. He occupies an important place in the commercial life of The Dallies and to each of his banking and business interests he devotes a considerable share of his time, He also finds time to devote to the affairs of a small farm near The Dalles, seventeen acres of which are in Royal Anne cherries and seven acres in almonds, and in addition to these holdings he has land and orchard interests in Yakima Valley, Washington.

In 1899 Mr, Williams was united in marriage at Marshfield, Massachusetts, to Elizabeth Olive Sampson, a daughter of F, F. Sampson, a well known farmer and stock raiser of Oregon. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are the parents of three children, namely: Florence Elizabeth, attending the Anna Wright Seminary, Tacoma, Washington; Ruth Frances, attending The Dallies graded schools; and Donald Edward.

In course of his busy life, Mr, Williams has not given much attention to active politics but has served on the city council of The Dallies and in other directions has given of his time and ability to the furtherance of civic projects, He is a member of The Dallies Chamber of Commerce and also holds membership in the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, in the affairs of which he takes a warm interest,

From:
History of Oregon Illistrated
Vol. 3
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922


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