John Williams, who was until very recently postmaster at Oak Park, is one of the most prominent men of Benton county, Minnesota. He has extensive financial interests, and has gained his possessions by dint of his own industry, supplemented by the strictest honesty.

Mr. Williams was born in Brooklyn, New York, September 29, 1848. His father, Thomas Williams, was born in Wales, and his mother, Elizabeth (Wilson) Williams, was a native of New York. Our subject sold newspapers and blacked boots on the streets of New York until he was fourteen years of age, when he was left an orphan. His older brother, Edward, who came home to the funeral of the parents, wishing to take our subject from the streets of the city, influenced him to go with him to the war, he having obtained a furlough to be home at that time. Through his request our subject entered the army and became a member of Company K, Ninetieth New York Regiment, at the age of fourteen years. He was located at Stevenson, Virginia, for about three months. He enlisted in 1861 and was mustered out in 1866. He returned to New York and after the close of the war he worked in a news stand there until 1867, when he removed to Minneapolis, Minnesota. He remained there two years and then worked as lumber jack until 1884 when he came to Benton county and scaled lumber for Long & Winston for the Union Pacific Railroad. He was inspector and scaler for a year. He established a store in Maywood township in 1886, which he has sold out. He is the owner of a fine farm of forty acres, which is improved and under cultivation.

Mr. Williams was married in 1875 to Ida M. Thomas, who was born in Minnesota. Nine children have been born of this marriage, namely: Maggie M., Lillie V., Stella, deceased; John L., Ralph, deceased; Percy, deceased; Esther, Richard and Della. Mr. Williams is prominent in local public affairs and for many years has served as township clerk. He has also served as school clerk in district 34 of Benton county. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity at Osseo, Minnesota, Lodge No. 125. and of the Modern Woodmen of America at Oak Park.

Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (1904) p. 782

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