Squire B Williams
Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 5/8/2010 at 18:32:22
There was no more beloved citizen in Madrid Iowa than Squire B Williams, who was highly respected and esteemed as s friend as a citizen as a merchant, banker and official. For a number of years Mr Williams was most successfully engaged in the grain business and from 1909 until his demise also served as cashier of the Madrid State Bank. Under Cleveland he was postmaster of Madrid and discharged his duties in a highly creditable way. Mr Williams was one of the best informed men of his community, conversant with the leading issues and questions of the day and always ready to give his support to valuable public enterprises. He was a man of energy and determination and by persistent and honorable efforts mounted the ladder to success.
Squire B Williams was born in Boone county, Iowa May 13, 1860, on what is known as the John Dalander farm, near Elk Rapids, and was a son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Williams, pioneer residents of this county, who are mentioned at length in another part of this work. Benjamin Williams was a native of Ohio who had moved to Indiana, where he was educated and grew to manhood. In 1847 he came to Iowa, settling in Boone county, and here he resided until his death in February 1884, at the age of sixty-six years. Elizabeth Williams who survives him also came to Boone county at an early day in its history.
Squire B Williams was reared under the parental roof, receiving a common school education in the neighborhood of the father’s farm and early assisting his parents in their agricultural labors. He remained with them until twenty years of age, when he came to Madrid and engaged in the livery business, in which he was successful for about four years. Disposing of his interests in that line, he then formed a partnership with the late G A Young and they conducted a meat business for about a year. At that time he was appointed postmaster of Madrid by President Cleveland, and filled the position for one term, giving great satisfaction to the patrons of the office. He subsequently became local manager of the McFarland Grain Company, and in that position came in touch with the most important agricultural interests of the section, earning the high regard of his employers. He remained with this firm for twelve years. In August 1900, he purchased from C S Lawbaugh an established grain business, which he successfully conducted until his demise. Mr Williams as a shrewd and able business man, thoroughly honest in all his methods, and in great measure he enjoyed the confidence of those who had business transactions with him. His ability was recognized and by it he built up a commercial institution which brought him a large competence. He made a number of profitable and judicious investments, including stock purchases in the Madrid State Bank. In 1909, when a vacancy occurred in the cashiership, Mr Williams was elected to that position, and ably managed the affairs of this bank until his death, supervising at the same time his grain interests. As a banker Mr Williams proved himself most able. While he was connected officially with the institution the bank increased in stability, and its resources grew rapidly. His advice was frequently sough by investors, and the depositors of the institution found in him a valuable friend. He was careful in the investments of the bank and his foremost consideration was always the interest of the depositors.
On September 29, 1883, Mr Williams was united in marriage to Miss Blanche Bilsland, of Madrid who ably assisted him in his many enterprises and was his worthy helpmate. During his last illness she cared for him with all the love conceivable and provided him with every imaginable comfort. Mrs Williams was born in Douglas township, Boone county September 2, 1861. Here she grew to womanhood, attending the common schools and the Boone high school for one year. Her parents, John and Eliza (Wagner) Bilsland, were natives of Indiana and Illinois respectively the former born in Fountain county, April 7, 1831, and the latter in Iroquois county, March 27, 1837. The mother died in Madrid January 25, 1896. Mr Bilsand still resides in a handsome home in Madrid, Mrs Williams his daughter making her home with him. The father came overland to Iowa in 1853, and settled at Swede Point, now Madrid. Soon after his arrival he acquired a large tract of land in northern Douglas township This was in the year 1856. He then returned to Indiana, ringing his bride to the newly established home in Iowa. They were pioneers indeed, as at that time nearly all the vast expanse surrounding Madrid as unbroken land and settlements were sparse. Markets were at a great distance and frontier conditions prevailed generally. By perseverance and close application Mr Bilsland, however, overcame these difficulties and rose to a position of substance among his fellow citizens. The father of Mr Bilsland was born on the Atlantic ocean when the grandparents were emigrating to America. The family first located in Pennsylvania and several members participated in the War of 1812. Mr and Mrs Bilsland retired to Madrid in 1873, yet the former continued to direct his farm operations until 1897. Mrs Williams was their only child.
Mr and Mrs Williams had two daughter both born in Madrid. Mrs Edna Boone Parsons, born march 6, 1886, who attended the Madrid high school, but left before graduating and who graduated from the oratory department of Drake University in 1905, and Dorothy B born September 14, 1898, who is attending school in Madrid. Mrs Parsons is a very effective orator and recited at the Boone County Pioneers’ Semi-Centennial, held at Ames in 1904, the Declaration of Independence. Earning high praise because of the effective recital of the famous document. She married in 1911 Benjamin F Parsons a graduate electrical engineer of Iowa State College, and they now reside in Portland, Oregon. They have one son, Carter Franklin Parsons born January 5, 1914.
Squire B Williams was an ardent democrat. His first vote was cast for Cleveland in 1884, while the first vote of Mr Bilsland was given Franklin Pierce. Mr Williams was honored with election to public office and for two years served as city treasurer. He was always ready to lend valuable aid in the way of enabling his community to realize some aspects of its higher self. His material aid was ever forthcoming. He was a courteous, affable, approachable gentleman, a man of sympathies who was ever ready to do a kindness to those in need of his services. Both he and Mr Bilsland were members of Star Lodge No 115, A F & A M a of Madrid. He belonged to the Christian church of which Mrs Williams is a member and always took a deep interests in its work. He was particularly effective as a member of the choir, possessing an excellent voice, and Mrs Williams still sings with that organization. She now looks after the extensive interests left by her husband, and has proven herself a most able manager of important affairs. She is a charter ember of Occidental Chapter, O E S of Madrid, and at present is grand warder of the state of Iowa in the organization. Both Mr and Mrs Williams were always among the most progressive citizens, and it might be of interests to note here that they introduced the first telephone to their community and that the first gasoline stove found a place in their home.
Mr Williams was one of the very best types of Iowa’s native sons and he reflected honor upon his state and county by is honorable activities. Squire B Williams died on April 14, 1912, at the age of fifty-one years, eleven months and one day. His demise caused sincere sorrow throughout the community, and in many homes his loss was felt as a personal one. As a friend he was faithful and true, as a citizen loyal to him community and county and as a father and husband he proved his noble manhood. His memory will live for many years, an his record is such that it should spur on the young men of today to gain an honorable position and financial independence by following his worthy precepts.
1914 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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