Mark H. Williams, of Barnes, Kan., who for over a quarter of a century has been a successful real estate operator in Northern Kansas, was born in Center county, Pennsylvania, July 27, 1842, and is a son of John and Catherine (Watson) Williams, the father being born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1810, and his wife in Clarion county, that State, in 1812. John Williams was a millwright and worked at that occupation all his life. He died in Lemont, Center county, Pennsylvania, in 1877. He was a Democrat in his political views, and took a deep interest in public affairs, but never held office. He was a member of the Lutheran church, and a man of high character, who was esteemed by the community in which he lived for his many good qualities. His wife, Catherine, also died at Lemont, Center county, in 1846. She was a consistent and devout member of the Presbyterian church. She died more than thirty years before her husband, but he never remarried. This worthy couple were the parents of four children: Evan Thomas, who died in 1869, at Lemont, Pa., where he had been a blacksmith and farmer; Hannah Jane, married S. P. Davidson, a farmer of Jefferson county, Pennsylvania; Mark H., the subject of this review, and John Irvin, of Lemont, Pa.
Mark Williams received a common school education in his native county, and when a boy went to work in a woolen factory, where he remained about three years. From 1859 to 1861 he was engaged in the lumber business in Jefferson county, Pennsylvania, and was one of the first to respond to the call of his country when Fort Sumter fell. On April 19, 1861, he enlisted in Company I, Eighth Pennsylvania infantry. This was in response to President's Lincoln's first call and the term of enlistment was for three months. After serving this enlistment he re-enlisted, in January, 1862, in the Eighteenth United States infantry, and served three years. During this time he saw service in the Southwest with the Army of the Cumberland, and participated in the battles of Stone River, Hoover's Gap, and later in the bloody Battle of Chickamauga. The next important battle in which he took part was Missionary Ridge, in the campaign for the relief of the troops at Chattanooga, Tenn. He was in the Atlantic campaign, was at Buzzard's Roost, Dalton, Resaca, New Hope Church, Smyra Church and Jonesboro. Besides these engagements he was in numerous skirmishes, hazardous marches, and a variety of dangers that fall to the lot of the soldier who is an actor in such a realistic drama as was the great Civil war. He was mustered out and honorably discharged as first sergeant at Lookout Mountain, Tenn., January 22, 1865. On his return to his Pennsylvania home, Mr. Williams again engaged in the lumber business in Jefferson county, and remained in his native State until 1880, when he removed to Wooster, Wayne county, Ohio, where he followed farming until 1885, when he determined to go west again and this time came to Kansas, locating at Barnes, Washington county, where he engaged in the real estate, loan and insurance business, which he still carries on, and in which he has met with a large measure of success. It should be here stated that on August, 1885, shortly after his arrival at Barnes, he and a Mr. Kelly began the publication of the "Enterprise," which was the first newspaper published in the town of Barnes. The "Enterprise" was started in a lumber yard office, and Mr. Williams, as the junior partner, continued the publication for two years, when Mr. Kelly sold his interest to M. O. Reitzel, and for three years he and Mr. Williams published the paper, and in 1890 Mr. Williams sold his interest to Mr. Reitzel, which ended his journalistic career.
Mr. Williams was united in marriage on March 28, 1865, at Brookville, Pa., to Miss Sarah Jane Davison, a daughter of Isaac H. and Isabella (Lemmon) Davison, both natives of Jefferson county. In 1865 the family removed to Wooster, Ohio, where Mrs. Davison died in 1880, and the father came to Kansas and spent the remainder of his days at Barnes, Mrs. Williams, the wife of our subject, departed this life August 22, 1895. She was a high type of American womanhood, of noble and Christian character. Mr. Williams is a stanch Republican, but has never sought public office, although he has taken an active part in politics, local, State and National, and for six years served as city clerk of Barnes. He is interested in several local business enterprises as an investor, including the State Exchange Bank of Barnes, and the Barnes Telephone Company. He takes a keen interest in the welfare of his town and county, and is ever ready and willing to lend his coöperation to any worthy enterprise.Pages 439-440 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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