Ike N. Williams

IKE N. WILLIAMS. One of the strong and growing political figures in Kansas during recent years has been Ike N. Williams. A natural leader of men and at the same time an able and industrious lawyer, it is but natural that his name should as it does appear frequently on the pages of political history. He has, since locating at Wichita, in 1910, always used his fine legal talents in the furtherance of what he has believed to be for the best interests of the city, merging the two characters of citizen and lawyer into a high personal combination. In his participation in various movements, he has stimulated discussion and has always insinuated his forceful personality in a manner that has redounded to the public good.

Ike N. Williams was born April 12, 1877, at Big Rock, Kane County, Illinois, a son of David and Elizabeth (Nightingale) Williams. His father, a native of Wales, in his younger days followed the sea as a sailor, but after a few years decided upon a career as a landsman, and in 1849 made his way on a sailing vessel to America, where he was convinced he could make his fortune as a farmer. On first coming to this country he secured a property in New York State, on which he settled, and while residing there was married, in 1852, at Brooklyn, to Miss Elizabeth Nightingale, who was also born in Wales. When the family left New York for points farther to the west, they journeyed to Kane County, Illinois, there taking up their residence at Big Rock, in a small farming community of several hundred people. There the father continued his activities in an agricultural way until 1882, when he brought the family to Kansas and located on a farm near Prescott. Through hard work and good management he succeeded in the accumulation of a valuable property, and was known as a successfnl farmer and stockraiser. When he arrived in this country he had little capital save a store of energy and an appreciation of the value of integrity in business transactions, combined with a natural aptitude and an ability to accommodate himself to new conditions and methods. At the time of his death, which occurred in 1906, he was possessed of a good estate, as well as the esteem and respect which always accompanies the gaining of honest and honorable success. While he was not a seeker for public preferment, Mr. Williams was always a good citizen, and took an active part in the movements which made for better conditions in his community. He and Mrs. Williams were the parents of eleven children, of whom six are now living, and Ike N. is the youngest in order of birth.

Ike N. Williams was a child of about five years when taken by his parents to Kansas, and there he grew up on the home farm and secured his early education in the public schools. After graduating from the Prescott High School, he entered the Kansas State Normal School, and there completed a two-year course. He was ambitious and eager to be out and doing something on his own account, and at this time accepted an opportunity that led him to several strange lands. It had always been his wish to see something of the world outside of his own country, and when he was offered a position as teacher in the Philippine Islands, he grasped it quickly and passed the necessary preliminary examination. During the four years that followed, Mr. Williams gained much experience and had some of his enthusiasm worn off in teaching "our little brown brothers," and at the end of that time started on a tour of the world. After visiting various points of interest in China, Japan, the Holy Land, etc., he returned to his native land, his thirst for adventure satisfied, at least for the time being.

While he had been away, Mr. Williams had determined upon a career in the law, and shortly after arriving home entered Kansas State University, from the law department of which he was graduated in 1910. In that year he came to Wichita and became associated with the law firm of Stanley, Vermillian & Evans, a concern with which he remained for two years, then opening an office and beginning practice by himself. He has since built up a large and very representative clientele and has been identified with a number of important cases practicing in all the courts. As a lawyer Mr. Williams is distinguished for his tireless energy, clearness of perception and keen discrimination. While he has been engaged in practice only six years, he is already known as a legist whose briefs give indubitable evidence of legal acumen, forcible statement and faultless logic.

Mr. Williams adheres to the principles of the republican party, believing that they best conserve the public good. In 1912 he was elected on his party's ticket as representative of his district in the Kansas Legislature, and in 1914 received the re-election. In 1915 he acted as speaker pro tem of the House. He belongs to the Phi Delta Phi college fraternity, is a member of the Fraternal Aid Society, is a thirty-second decree Mason and is past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias. He has recognized his obligations as a citizen and has taken an active part in every effort to improve municipal government.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansas, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Tracy Burks, student from Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, November 6, 1997.

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