Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918
OLIVER MORTON WILLIAMS, one of the younger citizens of Kansas, has played his part efficiently as a teacher and business man, and is now manager and part owner of the Coffeyville Business College. This college is an institution noted for its thorough work in training young men and women for responsible positions in commercial affairs.
A native of Kansas, Mr. Williams was born at Oak Valley, October 24, 1887. Several generations back his ancestors were living in Wales, and after coming to the United States settled perhaps first in New York, and afterwards went to Maryland. The great-great-grandfather's name was Timothy Williams, and he was of Welsh descent. He was a Revolutionary soldier and also had three sons in the Continental army. The three sons were captured by the British and taken to Montreal, Canada, to the British prison. One of them was a physician, and he was soon taken out of the prison. The reason for this removal was not known by the other brothers but they supposed for service in the British hospitals, and they never heard of him afterward. The other two were kept in the prison for three years and three months, then were released and came back home. Great-grandfather Benjamin Williams was born in Pennsylvania about 1770. He was too small to serve as a soldier in the time of the Revolution, but he could mold bullets and watch port-holes while the soldiers rested. He was also captured by the British and Indians. An Indian took him and a little girl about his size to keep with the tribe, but a British officer, not wanting to be burdened with the children on the march, bought them of the Indian for a red bandanna handkerchief each, and sent them back with the women to their homes. This great-grandfather afterward moved to Ohio and died there at the age of eighty-six. His oldest son was a soldier in the War of 1812, afterwards moving to Illinois, and dying there about 1840.
Mr. Williams' grandfather, Benjamin Williams, was born in Maryland in 1800, and died in Lake County, Indiana, at the age of seventy-two. He was reared and married in his native state, then went to Ohio, in 1837 moved to Missouri, and nine years afterward took up a permanent home in Lake County, in the extreme northwest corner of Indiana, where he followed farming and stock raising. He died there at the age of seventy-two. He was a Presbyterian. Benjamin Williams married Miss Miller, who was born in Maryland and died in Lake County, Indiana, about the same time as her husband. Only two children of this venerable old couple are still living, Benjamin, Jr., a retired farmer in Lake County, Indiana, eighty-five years of age; and C. S. Williams. One of his sons Wm. A. Williams, served under General Taylor in the Mexican war. After his discharge, in 1849, he returned home, stayed but a short time, then went to Iowa. Later he moved to Kansas, and in the border warfare he helped to drive the southerners from the state. When the Rebellion broke out, he enlisted in the Union army, was discharged at the end of his term of enlistment, and re-enlisted for the second term, and was finally mustered out late in the fall of 1865. Several years afterward he moved to Dewey, then in the Indian Territory, and died there at the age of seventy-three. Another son, T. C. Williams, enlisted in the fall of 1864, as a recruit in the Seventeenth Indiana Infantry and served about a year. After his discharge, he came home and lived in Indiana until about 1880, moving then to Chicago, where he died in 1904, at the age of sixty-five.
C. S. Williams, father of Oliver M., was born in Morrow County, Ohio, October 20, 1836. His present home is at Longton, Kansas. He was about ten years of age when his parents removed to Lake County, Indiana, and he grew up and married there. He has an honorable record as a soldier of the Union during the Civil war. In 1861 he enlisted in the Fifth Indiana Cavalry, and was in service until near the close of hostilities nearly four years later. His regiment participated in some of the early campaigns in Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, being at the siege of Nashville, and he was under General Stoneman in the celebrated raid through Georgia, and was captured at Macon, Georgia, by the Confederates under Gen. Joe Wheeler. For seven months after his capture he was kept in the Confederate prisons at Savannah and Andersonville, and was finally turned over to General Terry's army at Wilmington, North Carolina, and was exchanged just before the close of the war.
Returning to Lake County, Indiana, from the South, he married and settled down to farming. In 1870 he and his wife and two daughters came to Longton, Kansas, where they were among the early pioneers. He followed farming in that locality for many years, but in 1915 retired to the comforts of a town home. He is a standpat republican, and at three different times served as township trustee in Elk County. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1866 C. S. Williams married Margaret Andrews, who was born near Joliet, Illinois, May 2, 1850. Their children are: Alma, wife of L. W. Young, a farmer at Buxton, Kansas; Ida, wife of E. E. Estey, who is employed in a smelter at Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Kate, wife of C. C. Clawson, a carpenter and contractor at Wichita, Kansas; and Oliver M.
Professor Williams secured his early training in the public schools of Oak Valley, Kansas, and spent three years in the Kansas State Normal at Emporia. He began teaching early, spending three years in the public schools of Elk County, and in 1909 completed a course in the Independent Commercial College under L. H. Schmidt. With this preparation for a business career, he found work with the Jacob Dold Packing Company at Wichita, and was sent to the branch houses of this company at Little Rock, Arkansas, and Atlanta, Georgia, and was in the service until 1913. During the winter of 1913-14 Mr. Williams and R. F. Riley bought the Coffeyville Business College, of which Mr. Riley is president and Mr. Williams active manager. Together they have brought up the equipment and general standard of this school so that it ranks among the first schools of commercial education in the state. The college is situated at 711 1/2 Walnut Street. Besides its principals two assistant teachers are employed, and there are accommodations for about a hundred students. Business men and firms generally have come to appreciate that graduates of this school are thoroughly trained in all the branches of commercial work.
Mr. Williams has his home out on West Eighth Street at Stop No. 2 on the Union Traction Line. He is a republican, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is affiliated with Camp No. 665, Modern Woodmen of America at Coffeyville. In 1910, at Elk City, he married Miss Myrtle E. Wheeler, daughter of G. H. and Hannah J. Wheeler, who still lives at Oak Valley, Kansas, her father being a blacksmith. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have three children: Claire, born April 17, 1911; Marguerite, born February 22, 1913; and Clifford, born February 10, 1915.
Transcribed from volume 4, pages 2073-2074 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.
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