WILLIAM E. WILLIAMS, of Vinton, is numbered among the early settlers of Benton County. He was born in what is now Carroll County, Md., on the llth of March, l804. His father, William Williams, was born in Maryland, but of Scotch descent. He was in the War of 1812, and was at Baltimore at the time it was attacked by the British troops. His mother, Hannah (Fowler) Williams, was also a native of Maryland, but of English descent. They were the parents of seven children — John, Mary, Honour, William E., Richard, Abram and Hannah. Of this number William K. is the only surviving one. His parents both died in Maryland.
William E. Williams was reared in his native county and received but a limited education; in fact, his school days were limited to three months. When twenty-two years of age he left his native State, going to Ohio on foot across the mountains, locating at Zanesville. When he was seven years old he entered a woolen factory, receiving the first year $1 per week and board. His employer was William Shepherd, a Quaker, who followed farming in connection with his factory. He used to take the boys out to his farm, compelling them to work in the hot sun. Of this they complained, but the old Quaker told them that they would some day thank him for it. Mr. Williams says he has often thought of what the old man told him, and knows that he realized the truth of it. After going to Ohio, Mr. Williams entered a factory as a Journeyman, but subsequently purchased a mill and ran it for many years.He was married in Putnam, opposite Zanesville, March 28, 1828, to Mary Lumb, a native of England, born April 10, 1808. She was a daughter of Abram and Ann Lumb, also natives of England, who emigrated to America at an early day, and after living in Baltimore and Philadelphia for a time, settled in Putnam, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are the parents of five children — William E., born Feb. 22, 1829, died in infancy; Willis Franklin, born May 22, 1830, a banker in Vinton; Wallace Van, born April 9, 1833, died at the age of three years; Ellen Ann, born Jan. 25, 1836, wife of William Hale, farmer and stock-raiser; Newton L., born Jan. 1, 1839, died Aug. 11, 1884, at Vinton, and buried in Evergreen Cemetery. In 1856 Mr. Williams came to Benton County, and purchased 360 acres of land on sections 7, 8 and 17, Cedar Township, and at once began its improvement. He purchased the land at $4 per acre and subsequently sold it at $30 per acre. In 1869 the family moved to Vinton where they have since resided. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have lived together as man and wife for fifty-eight years. In politics he is a stanch Republican, having affiliated with that party since its organization. Mrs. Williams is a member of the Presbyterian Church, of Vinton. When Mr. Williams started West, at the age of twenty-two, he had not a dollar, his only possession being a suit of clothes which was given him by Mr. Shepherd, his employer. By industry, economy and the faithful discharge of every duty, he accumulated enough of this world's goods to render himself and family comfortable in their declining years. Mr. Williams is one of the few men now living who had the pleasure of meeting Gen. Lafayette. While in Loudoun, Va., on the occasion of Lafayette's visit to this country, he dined with that gentleman and John Quincy Adams.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 224-225.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.