Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    It is only the few that achieve success and win character and reputation above the ordinary on the broad field of the battle of human life. To some fame and reputation come without an apparent effort, but generally fortune favors those whose earnest, untiring energy conquers success. Henry Harrison Williams, the third son of Henry Williams and Elizabeth (Pettigrew) Williams, was born in New Carlisle, Clark county, Ohio, February 9, 1840. His grandfather, Henry Williams, was born on New river, Greenbrier county, Virginia, in 1770, and was the son of George Williams, who came to America from Wales prior to the Revolution and settled in Virginia. Henry Williams was married, in October, 1797, to Elizabeth Albert, who was born in North Carolina. She went to Greenbrier county, Virginia, to visit her brothers, James and Jacob Albert, and there Henry Williams met, courted and married her. They lived in Virginia until they had four children, when, attracted by the fame of the fertile lands of the Miami valley, they concluded to emigrate to Ohio, over the mountains, across the rivers and through the pathless forests, and make for themselves a home in the new state. They were six weeks on the journey, which was made on horseback in the summer of 1805. They crossed the Ohio river at Gallipolis and reached the home of his brother, Captain John Williams, in Bethel township, Miami county, in July. Henry Williams was a grand type of the old pioneer stock. A man of deep religious convictions, he was ever ready to help a neighbor, ever willing to extend aid to the needy. He served as a soldier in the war of 1812.

    Henry Williams, Junior, the father of H. H. Williams, raised a family of five children, four sons and one daughter. Three of the sons were soldiers in the Union army in the war of 1861. He died November 13, 1889, aged eighty-four years, eight months and thirteen days, leaving behind him the record of a useful life. His wife, Elizabeth (Pettigrew) Williams, was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, October 30, 1806. She was married to Henry Williams, junior, in 1832, and died December 23, 1869. She had a quick, active mind and rare good judgment. She fulfilled every duty of a true, affectionate wife and of a faithful, loving, tender mother.

    H. H. Williams, the subject of this sketch, was educated in a country school, with the addition of two terms at Linden Hill Academy, at New Carlisle, Ohio, under Professor, Thomas Harrison. He taught school two years and then entered as a student the law office of Conklin & Mathers, of Sidney, Ohio. In the spring of 1861 he left the law office to enlist in the Fifteenth Ohio Infantry for three months, and served under General McClellan in the West Virginia campaign, and was in the battle of Philippi. On the 9th of October, 1861, he enlisted at Camp Tod, in Troy, Ohio, in Company A, Seventy-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served with the regiment until he was severely wounded in the right hip at the battle of Shiloh and was taken prisoner. For four months he was confined in rebel prisons and he was then exchanged and rejoined his regiment, but he became so lame from the results of his wounds that on June 11, 1863, he was discharged on a surgeon's certificate of disability.

    He resumed the study of law under judge Conklin of Sidney, Ohio, and was admitted to the bar in September, 1864. He opened an office in Troy, but on account of his health he was compelled to suspend active practice, which he resumed, however, in 1870, in Troy, where he has resided since that date. In October, 1871, he was elected prosecuting attorney and re-elected in 1873, thus serving four years. During his terms of office he obtained the reputation of a capable, vigorous official. In December, 1877, he was appointed by Governor Thomas Young to the position of common pleas judge of the second judicial district of Ohio to fill the vacancy made by the death of judge George D. Burgess, and so well did he discharge the duties of that office that in October, 1878, he was elected judge without opposition.

    At the expiration of his term of office he resumed the practice of law, although his disability from his wound increased, not- withstanding the best medical attention, until he lost the entire use of his legs, yet by his determined and untiring energy he has mastered the profession of law until he is recognized as the leading lawyer of the Miami county bar, and has had for years a large and lucrative practice. When common pleas judge he held court in Champaign and Miami counties, and found the docket in each county so far behind that delay in reaching cases amounted to almost a denial of justice, yet by his executive ability, persistent and untiring work, he left the docket of both counties with the business well in hand.

    Judge Williams' large practice has brought him not only a competency but wealth, and while in this sketch the writer has no space to relate his triumphs at the bar, for he is an able advocate before the jury as well as a close, logical reasoner before the court, yet it is safe to say that no man in Ohio has accomplished more in winning reputation and wealth under adverse circumstances. For many years be has been a helpless invalid, requiring a constant attendant, yet he was in active practice until October, 1899, when he concluded to travel around the world. Attended by his faithful wife and his son, Lloyd Williams, and accompanies by his niece, Miss Olive G. Williams, he embarked at New York city traveled across the Atlantic ocean, journeyed through England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy and Austria, across the Mediterranean sea, through the Red sea, over the Indian ocean, through India, in China, Japan, across the Pacific ocean by way of Honolulu to San Francisco, and from there across the continent to his home in Troy, without a single mishap or the missing of a single train. He is now actively engaged in the practice of law.

    On the 25th of February, 1864, Judge Williams was married to Miss Eloise J. Anderson, the daughter of Nathan and Margaret Anderson, of Bethel township, Miami county, Ohio. To this union were born six children; two sleep in the cemetery, and three daughters and one son are living.

    Judge Williams is a member of the Franklin lodge, F.& A.M., and a Knight Templar in the Coleman Commandery of Troy, Ohio. I He is also a member of A. Coleman Post, G.A.R., of Troy. In religion he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Troy. In politics he is a Republican, with decided convictions that the party is right on finance and expansion, and he believes in the future of this republic as one of the prominent factors in the progress and civilization of the world.

    In recent years judge Williams has devoted much time to good literature, and as a writer he is clear, instructive and attractive. His letters of travel in the county papers have attracted more than local attention. His life has been one of constant work and employment, but he is now disposed, as he nears the sunset shore, to enjoy in his own way the rest and comfort due to old age. E.S.W.

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