JOHN M. WILLIAMS, who is engaged in milling in Vergennes, occupies a prominent position in business circles, and is recognized as one of the leading citizens of the place. He was born August 4, 1839, in Floyd County, Ind., and is a son of Samuel and Lavina (Lewis) Williams. His father was born in Clark County, Ind., November 29, 1813, and followed coopering and agricultural pursuits, making his home upon a farm. He married Miss Lewis in Floyd County, and unto them were born the following children: Sylvania, wife of Lorenzo D. Emery; David, James, Winfield S., George W.; Thomas J., now deceased; Mary Ann, wife of Conrad Baker; and Samuel. The father is a Democrat in his political views and has taken a prominent part in local politics, being honored with a number of official positions. He now owns two large farms and is well-to-do. His wife died at the age of thirty years.
No event of special importance occurred during the boyhood and youth of our subject, which were quietly passed upon the home farm. At the age of twenty-one, in 1861, he came to Jackson County, but in September of that year he entered the service of his country as a member of the boys in blue of Company C, Forty-ninth Indiana Infantry, under Col. James Keigwin. He served for three years and ten months, and participated in the battles of Cumberland Gap, Big Creek Gap, Vicksburg, Champion Hills, Port Gibson, Jackson, Miss., and the Red River expedition. In 1864 he reenlisted and was elected Captain of his old company, in which position he served until honorably discharged at the close of the war, September 15, 1865. He was a faithful officer, and was ever found at his post of duty, valiantly defending the Old Flag and the cause it represented.
When the war was over, Mr. Williams returned to Floyd County, Ind., and after two years removed to Daviess County, where he engaged in farming. In the county of his nativity in 1867, he married Miss Martha, daughter of Jacob Miller. They became the parents of one child, Ollie, who was born April 26, 1868, and who married E. C. Lovejoy. They reside in Vergennes, and have two children, Ida and Carl. Mrs. Williams died in 1869, and the following year our subject wedded Mary E. Palmer. Four children grace this union: William, born July 31, 1873; Carl, May 31, 1875; Cora, June 13, 1877; and Gertie, March 26, 1879.
For twelve years Mr. Williams resided in Knox County, Ill., and then came to Jackson County in 1881. Settling in De Soto, he engaged in merchandising until 1884, when he came to Vergennes, and continued in the same line of business until 1886. In that year he embarked in milling in connection with Joshua Palmer, his brother-in-law, and together they own and operate the flouring and saw mill of this place. They do a large business, which is constantly increasing, and well deserve the liberal patronage which is accorded them. They also engage in grain dealing.
Since 1865, Mr. Williams has been connected with the Odd Fellows society, and has held the office of Secretary of the lodge and other official positions. He votes with the Republican party, but has never sought or desired political preferment for himself, although since 1885 he has held the office of Township Clerk. His wife is a member of the Methodist Church, and both are prominent people of this community. They occupy an enviable position in social circles and have the warm regard of many friends.
Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 369.
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