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David J. Williams

                                                         Tisdale Township.
[1871.]       PAGE 133.
DAVID J. WILLIAMS was an enterprising and prosperous farmer residing in section 12, Tisdale Township, Cowley County, Kansas. He was born in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania, in the village of Minersville, Schuylkill County, in September, 1844, and was a son of John and Martha (Jenkins) Williams.
His father, John Williams, was born in Wales about the year 1800. He was a mechanic by trade, although after coming to this country, he worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania, where he was killed in 1850. He was married, in Wales, to Mrs. Jenkins, who died in Ohio, in 1882. In the two families were reared ten children: Anna Jenkins (Jones), who died in California; Eliza Jenkins (Edwards), who died in Ohio; William and Daniel, deceased; Ambrose, who lived in Pennsylvania; John, deceased; Jacob, who lived in Michigan, and was a well known employee of the Port Huron & Northwestern Railroad Company; David J.; Mary Jane (Davis), who lived in Pennsylvania, and whose husband was a machinist; and Benjamin, who was deceased.
The Williams family moved to Trumbull County, Ohio, when David J. was a lad of nine years, and there he received his schooling. When the war of secession broke out, he enlisted as a gunner in the 20th Ohio Battery, and served as gunner of the second piece, until the close of the conflict. He was in the service three years, lacking fifteen days. He was in the Army of the Cumberland, and participated in the Atlanta campaign. He took part in many engagements, and his last two battles were at Franklin and Nashville, under General Thomas. In the former he was wounded by a spent shell.
In 1871, he made the journey to Cowley County, Kansas, in company with J. D. Hollinger, Robert Hilton, John Campbell, and John H. Wilson. All came from Ohio, with the exception of the last named.
David J. Williams took up the southwest quarter of section 12, township 32, range 5 east. From native lumber he built a house 12 by 14 feet in dimensions, and besides breaking 25 acres the first year, also set out a number of trees. The first year he planted 25 acres in sod-corn, which yielded 25 bushels to the acre. During this time he served on the first grand jury of Cowley County, under Judge Ross. Mr. Williams then returned to Wayne County, Ohio, and shortly afterward moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked on the P. & L. E. Railroad, and in connection with the city water works.
In 1884, with his family, he moved back on his farm, which had been cultivated by different occupants during his absence, but he had always kept up the taxes.

The old house stood on the northeast corner, but Mr. Williams built his present five-room house on the southeast corner. His new barn, 28 by 48 feet, was completed in 1899 at a cost of about $600, which did not include its owner’s time. Besides having ample room for many horses and cows, it contained grain bins, and the mow had a capacity of 34 tons of hay. Corn, cattle, and hogs were the chief products of the farm, and of the latter, he raised yearly about 35 of the Poland-China and Berkshire breeds. He also raised horses of superior stock, and had a number of fine draft horses. Fifty acres of his farm were in pasture, with a fair size orchard, and the remainder was under cultivation. The farm contained many substantial buildings, and was all enclosed and cross-fenced.
Mr. Williams married Sarah Harbaugh, in 1867, at Akron, Ohio; she died in 1897, leaving a son, Harry.
He married shortly before 1901 Mrs. Sarah McEwen, who had a son, Guy.
Mr. Williams was a Populist. He served as constable and road overseer several terms. He joined the G. A. R. at Mineral Ridge, Ohio, and later the Siverd Post, of Winfield. He was a member of Tisdale Lodge, No. 514, I. O. O. F., of Tisdale, Kansas, and was Noble Grand of that lodge. He was a Baptist.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum