D. F. Williams Dies At "Brookdale"
Had Been Ill For Several Weeks.
The death of David F. Williams occurred at his home, "Brookdale", in Raceville, on Wednesday, after an illness of several weeks. He was born in Caernarvonshire, North Wales, September 6, 1846, the youngest of a family of eleven children born to John and Catherine Peters Williams. His parents died within two Weeks of each other when he Was two years old, leaving an infant to be eared for here and there and practically on his own resources at an age when -he should have been starting in school. This forbade him an education, and he never attended school for a single day, yet, by his own persistence under the most difficult and discouraging circumstances, he pushed on and on until became a man of much value in the business world. Near Festiniog, when a mere boy, he was "set out" to a slate quarry, where all alone he "smegged", and built him a stone shanty where he lived and by perseverance during stormy weather practiced writing and ciphering on slates, and learned to read, sufficiently so that he worked out Sunday - school lessons and studied music. Music came naturally to him and through the influence of the good church people he became a member the choir of 50 in the church which he eventually joined, and was promoted to the position of assistant- choir director age of 15. In those days there was no instrument of any kind in church, and all of their practicing and singing -at service was done -with the aid of a tuning fork. - - He was 14 days crossing the ocean when he came to America at the age of 17. He went immediately to Pennsylvania with his brother, Richard J Williams where he had employment, coming from there to Middle Granville, then to Canada. On June 6, 1870, he married Miss Alice Farwell at the farm in Raceville where she is still living, and his only survivor. Their only child, Leon, died when a young man at their home on June 17, 1891. After marrying, Mr. and Mrs. Williams came to Poultney, remaining here about two years, going from here to Plattsburgh, N. Y., and after ten years they located in Albany, N. Y., where Mr. Williams became associated with the Albany Brass & Iron Works. Shortly after, the Spanish-American war broke out, and Mr. Williams was made inspector o guns at the Watervliet arsenal, and his proficiency brought him into prominence with government officials; so much so that an order was issued by the Commander that no guns should be sent out of the arsenal unless they were stamped with the initials "D. F. W." While at Albany Mr. Williams was a member of the choir in one of the city's largest churches, and in music he was also very proficient. He had an especially pleasing voice, was an exceptionally fine cornet player in his earlier days, and had composed several pieces of music. For fourteen years he was superintendent of the Ruggles Machine plant in this village, and designed the building which was erected during his superintendency and which is now used as the Gray Foundry. He had a very inventive mind, and while here secured patents on the Ruggles Gasoline engine and also an ensilage cutter and blower. Then there was the Ruggles carrier, many of which are used on quarries hereabouts at the present time, and saw machines for cutting slate, marble, soapstone, etc. Coupled with his strong business mind, Mr. Williams was a most genial man socially. He was a great reader and kept posted on all current and national affairs, and was very conversant on any topic. As a penman, he was superior. His handwriting up to a short time before he passed away was like that of a young person, and would shame much of the penmanship that we see today. The last rites were largely attended at his home on Friday afternoon, being conducted by Rev. J. C. Elliot, pastor of the Raceville church, and Rev. F. R. Tarling, former pastor. A quartet comprising Mrs. Grace Wilson Harris and Mrs. W. Harry Williams, and C. W. Humphrey and George H Norton sang two of Mr. Williams favorite hymns, - "Lead Kindly Light", and "Softly Now the Light of Day", to the tune of Gottschalk's "Last Hope". The latter has a little touch of especial interest, for Mr. Williams gave many renditions of it in earlier days and especially for the son who frequently requested his father to sing it for him. And Mrs. Williams' brother, George H. Farwell, now deceased, and who was stationed at Havana, Cuba, was privileged while here to play on the great organ in the Cathedral there which Gottschalk used when he composed "The Last Hope". The remains were laid at rest in Poultney cemetery, - Morning Star Lodge No 27, F. & A. M., of which deceased had been a member for 61 years, having charge of the services to the grave. The bearers were: Francis Osteyee of Springfield, Mass., Herbert Osteyee of Mount Vernon, N. V., -John Williams and Arthur Williams of Raceville, N. Y., David Jones of Granville, N. Y., and Russell I. Williams of this place.
The Poultney, Vermont, Journal
August 16 1929.
Posted by, J.