Walter Williams, one of the most successful and extensive stockmen of Northern Kansas and influential citizen of Washington county, was born in Middlesex, England, July 30, 1858, a son of John and Mary Ann (Painter) Williams. The elder Williams was a farmer and dairyman, who brought his family to the United States in 1869 and located a homestead in Marshall county, Kansas. The following year he removed to Washington county, near the present town of Hanover, where he had purchased a farm on the Little Blue river, which afforded easy access to water, a condition lacking on his homestead in Marshall county, and the cause of his removal. Here he engaged in raising cattle, and as at that time there were no fences or herd laws, their stock had free range over an extended territory. Mr. Williams was the first to raise alfalfa, then known as lucem, in this section of the country. His planting was in the nature of an experiment, however, and he did not follow it up. He was successful in the cattle raising business, and was recognized as one of the best posted men in this line of endeavor in his section of the State. He and his wife are both deceased.
Walter Williams received his early educational discipline in England, and resumed his studies in 1870, when a school house was built on the Little Blue river near his father's farm in Washington county. The school term consisted of about five months, and the course of studies was limited to the fundamentals. On completion of his studies he was given an interest with his father, and on the death of the latter he continued the business. During the elder William's life, they did not fatten cattle for market, but seeing the advantage of this feature in the stock business, Mr. Williams has followed it with profit, and each year sees from 600 to 700 head of beef cattle conditioned for the market from his ranch. The home place consists of 700 acres, of which 250 acres is in alfalfa. Its improvements are modern and substantial, and it is one of the most valuable agricultural properties in this section of the State. Mr. Williams has, in addition to the home ranch, pasture rights on 1,200 acres of grazing land. While active in the civic affairs of his county, and often urged to accept political office, he is essentially a business man and has had neither time nor inclination for office. His fraternal affiliations are with the Masonic order, being a member of Hanover Lodge, No. 69, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
Mr. Williams has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Amanda Roberts, to whom he was united on September 15, 1878, and whose death occurred in 1881. To this union one son was bornClarence Williams, a graduate of the schools of Washington county, and now a successful stockman and ranch owner of Wyoming. On May 15, 1885, Mr. Williams was united in marriage with Miss Jane Lowe, a daughter of Alonzo Lowe, a pioneer settler and stockman of Washington county. Mrs. Williams is a native of the county, and received her education in its schools. Five children have been born to this union: Emmie, the wife of Willard Donahue, who, with her husband, resides on the home place; Maude, the wife of George Kile, of Hanover, Kan.; Lulu, Grace and Floyd, who reside with their parents.
Mr. Williams is a high type of the conservative, unassuming man of affairs, a typical progressive farmer and stockman, who has been a leader and a teacher in whatever he has undertaken, and whose business integrity and honesty are unquestioned. Within the lines of his endeavor he has been one of the most useful citizens of his section of the State, and enjoys to the full the confidence and esteem of his neighbors and acquaintances.Pages 568-569 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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