NORTHWESTERN IOWA ITS HISTORY AND TRADITION VOLUME III 1804-1926
It has been said that experience is the harvest of life and every harvest is the result of a sowing. Richard Williams has sown wisely and well and in the fullness of time has reaped the rich harvest of his labors and also the aftermath. For a half century he has made his home in Ida county and his name is enseparably associated with the history of its progress along agricultural lines. He has reached the venerable age of eighty-one years and in the autumn of life is enjoying a well earned rest, knowing that he has accomplished something worthwhile.
Mr. Williams was born October 22, 1845, in Pennsylvania. His parents, Thomas and Margaret (Waters) Williams, were married in England, of which country his mother was a native. They crossed the Atlantic about 1830, locating in Pennsylvania, and in 1854 migrated to Tennessee, where they lived for two years. On the expiration of that period they started for the west, settling in Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where Thomas Williams passed away in 1864. By his first wife he had three children, of whom the subject of this sketch is the only one now living, and four children were born of the second union.
Richard Williams was a pupil in the public schools of Pennsylvania and Tennessee and completed his studies in Jo Daviess county, Illinois. In 1864, when a young man of nineteen, he enlisted in the Union army, becoming a member of the First Illinois Light Artillery. He participated in the battle of Nashville and, although in the midst of many dangers, escaped without injury. He remained in the service until the close of the war and was honorably discharged in the city of Chicago. Returning to Jo Daviess county, he worked as a farm hand for four years and in 1868 came to Iowa. He obtained employment in a coal mine near Boone and remained in that city for eight years. In 1876 he settled in Ida county and bought one hundred and sixty acres of virgin land in Grant township. Through arduous labor he prepared the soil for the growing of grain and built a small house on the property, hauling the lumber from Denison. Later he purchased an additional tract of eighty acres, and still owns two hundred and forty acres in Ida county. He brought to his occupation a true sense of agricultural economics, never allowing a foot of the land to be unproductive, and added many improvements to the place. He also owns a valuable ranch of three hundred and twenty acres in Potter county, South Dakota, but lives in a comfortable home at 311 Quincy street, in Ida Grove.
In 1871 Mr. Williams was married, in Boone county, Iowa, to Miss Agelian Ewer, who was a native of Grant county, Wisconsin, and who passed away in 1904, being laid to rest in the Ida Grove cemetery. She has become the mother of ten children: but W. H. and Harry are deceased. Those who survive are: T. F., who lives in Canada; Ellen P., who is still at home; Rosa, who is the wife of E. J. McGee, of South Dakota; Albert G., who also makes his home in that state; Clara E., the wife of Edgar Tenney; Orme, a resident of Arthur, Iowa; Charles Wm. who operates a farm in Ida county; and Florence F., who married Clayton F. Winslow of Ida Grove.
Mr. Williams is a stanch republican in his political views and has never wavered in his allegiance to the party. He was elected county supervisor, acting in that capacity for nine years, and for some time was school director, working earnestly and effectively for the public good. His struggle to earn a livelihood brought out the strongest traits in his character, enabling him to solve life's problems and difficulties, and his success has been honorably won and well used.