The subject of this sketch is Enoch Williamson, of Solomon township. He is a native of Indiana, born on a farm twelve miles distant from the city of Indianapolis. He is a practical and thorough farmer of life-long experience and has been successful. His father was James Williamson, born in Ohio, on the Scioto river, and in the county that bears that name. He was a farmer by occupation, and died in 1853. When quite a young man he settied in Indiana, bought eighty acres of land and paid for it by applying his wages, eight dollars per month, which he received as a farm hand. He was killed while felling a tree. His son, the subject of this sketch, was chopping near by when the accident occurred. He found his father unconscious, remaining in that condition until he died four hours later. Mr. Williamson's mother was Christina (Shafer) Williamson. At the time of her husband's death she was left with nine small children, the youngest a babe in her arms, four months old. They lived in Indiana in the pioneer days of that state and when the woods were infested with wild animals. Bear were numerous and the wolves howled in their door yards. The homestead is still in possession of the family and is now occupied by a niece.
Mr. Williamson, the second eldest child, was one of his mother's chief supports and operated the farm, hence he received a limited education. He is one of twelve children, eight of that number living. Three died in infancy. Wesley returned from the war broken down in health and died several years later, leaving a wife and three children. The other children are: Peter, a retired farmer and stockman of Bell county, Texas; Rosanna, widow of Martin Phelps (they have two daughters and live near the old homestead in Indiana); Barbara, wife of John Sharpe, a farmer of Champaign county, Illinois; Asa is a retired farmer of Indiana (he was a soldier in the Civil war); Frank, a farmer of Indiana; John, a farmer and stockman of Collingsworth county, in the Panhandle country of Texas; his wife died in August, 1900, leaving a daughter fifteen years of age. He was an educator of considerable prominence and was principal of the Quaker high school of Hamilton, Indiana, and taught in the schools of Terre Haute. Margaret is the wife of Richard Power, and resides near the town of Nora, Indiana.
Mr. Williamson's mother came from Germany when twelve years old. Her parents were very poor and during their voyage to America she with two of her sisters were sold to work out the price of their passage across the water. They were left in Baltimore while the other members of the family went on into Ohio. The consideration was seven, five and three years labor, according to their capacity for work. She being the youngest was given over for seven years. The two eldest served their allotted time and sought their parents. His mother served her time out and entered the home of an English-speaking family, where she had a good home, but lost her native language entirely. During this period her mother died and she remained with this family until she was twenty-four years of age. She resented the act of her father having sold her and did not return home. She visited her sisters in Ohio and found two of them married to the Williamson brothers. She married a third brother, Mr. Williamson's father, and the three families moved to Indiana. She died on the old homestead, where they first settled, at the age of ninety years. She was a widow for over forty years.
Mr. Williamson removed from Indiana to northeastern Iowa in 1865 with an invalid wife, who died of pulmonary disease, leaving four children, three boys and one girl, but one of whom is living, - Frank B., an employe in the treasury department in Washington, District of Columbia. He made the best record in the civil service examination of any applicant in the state. He has held his present position two years. Prior to entering upon this work he was a traveling salesman. After his wife's death Mr. Williamson returned to Indiana and resumed his farming operations.
By a second marriage he was wedded to Mrs. Mary E. (Garrett) Clark, a niece of his first wife. By a former husband she was the mother of three children, viz: Clara, wife of Adam Studt, of Glasco; W.L. Clark, a stockman of Wyoming, and William S. Clark, a farmer of Solomon township. To Mr. and Mrs. Williamson five children have been born: James R., superintendent of a department for the Swift Packing Company in Chicago; he occupies one of the best positions in this extensive concern, where he entered as an ordinary laborer. His industry and integrity are responsible for this lucrative position. He has been in their employ for about ten years. He visited his parents in 1901; Arvilla, wife of William Davidson, (see sketch); Charles W. is interested in farming with his father; he is married to Mary D. Abrams, an orphan girl, who was reared by her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs, William Doyle; Mary E., wife of William Benson, a farmer of Solomon township; Mr. Benson is a successful young man, industrious and progressive, and gives promise of becoming one of the leading farmers in the community; Guy, a progressive young fellow is interested in a laundry in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
When Mr. Williamson left Indiana he settled in Moniteau county, Missouri, remaining ten years. In 1879 he came to Kansas and farmed one year in Lincoln county, where he sunk considerable money and then came to the beautiful Solomon valley. He bought a farm of Dan Teasley, and in 1894 purchased the finely improved place where he now lives. The first three years he rented land on the river bottom. His farm, which is one of the very best in the Solomon valley, consists of three hundred and twenty acres of land, a part of which is the original homestead of Anderson Bagwell. Prior to its purchase by Mr. Williamson, it was owned by the Bracken heirs. It is a well watered and well timbered farm and produces wheat and corn. He has given considerable time to horticulture and is rewarded by an abundance of excellent fruit. Their commodious home is beautifully situated near a timber bordered creek and the buildings indicate thrift and enterprise. A new barn just completed at a cost of $800 adds to the attractiveness of the place. Mr. Williamson belongs to the Populist party. He has been a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons since 1863, a period of thirty-nine years. He was a charter member of both the Glasco and Simpson lodges. He and his family are strong exponents of the Methodist faith and Mr. Williamson has been a steward in the church for almost half a century. Mr. and Mrs. Williamson are excellent people. She is a refined, gentle woman and he is a Christian gentleman and an honest man whose word is as good as his bond.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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