Jones logo
Royal Seneca Williams
October 1, 1824–January 5, 1900

Civil War Veteran
1st Lieutenant, Company K, 24th Regiment, Iowa Infantry

ROYAL S. WILLIAMS. As one identified with the development of Jones County, a progressive, liberal-spirited citizen, and for many years an active, influential business man, we present the name of this well known resident of Wyoming. He came here in 1859 and since that time has been intimately connected with many of the enterprises that have promoted the prosperity of the place. Especially has he promoted the interests of the town by the erection of numerous substantial brick and stone buildings, and although he has retired from business, he still finds sufficient to engage his attention in the supervision of his important moneyed and real-estate interests.
In noting the parental history of the subject of this sketch we find that he is the son of Mark and Polly (Stanton) Williams, natives of Massachusetts. The Stanton family is of English origin and was represented in the Old Bay State early in its settlement. Mark Williams was a farmer by occupation and was thus engaged until his death in New York at the age of sixty-five years. His wife passed away in Ohio, when ninety-three years old. Their son, R. S. was born October 1, 1824, during their residence in Chesterfield, Hampshire County, Mass. He was a lad of six years when they removed to New York, and in the public schools of the home locality he laid the foundation for the excellent education afterward acquired by practical contact with the world.
Starting out in life for himself, Mr. Williams cleared a farm in Cattaraugus County, N. Y., comprising a portion of the Holland Land Reserve. At the age of twenty he secured a position in a saw mill located on the Great Valley Creek, a tributary to the Allegheny River, and for three years he was interested in the lumber business in that locality. Next we find him engaged in the brick business in New York, in which line, as in lumbering, he met with success from the first. In 1854 he removed west to Iowa and for five years was in business in Maquoketa, Jackson County. In 1859 he came to Wyoming, Jones County, where he embarked in business as a brick manufacturer and at the same time began the erection of brick buildings, which he rented. The majority of the brick and stone structures now standing in the city are the result of his energy and progressive spirit. At the present time he owns seven buildings and also is the owner of the Commercial Hotel, which he erected some years ago. To the brick industry in 1874 he added an extensive lumber trade, and conducted the two enterprises on an ever enlarging scale until 1891, when he sold out. Since then he has given his attention to the management of his property interests.
Believing it to be the duty of every citizen to keep himself posted upon political matters, Mr. Williams is a thoughtful reader of the current newspapers and is thoroughly informed regarding the issues of the age. He gives the support of his ballot to the principles of the Republican party. The temperance movement also finds in him a strong advocate. He is a stockholder in the National Bank of Wyoming and in the Potter Canning Factory Company, of which he was one of the projectors. As an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, he has for many years been interested and active in religious matters.
In the fall of 1862 Mr. Williams enlisted as a member of Company K, Twenty-fourth Iowa Infantry, commanded by Colonel Wilds and Major Wright. With his regiment he took an active part in some of the most important battles of the Rebellion, including the siege of Vicksburg, the Red River expedition, and the engagements at Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Hill. He was wounded at Champion Hills and was shot in the thigh at the battle of Winchester, Va. At the close of the war, in the summer of 1865, he was mustered out at Savannah, Ga., as First Lieutenant of the company.
In Allegany County, N. Y., October 9, 1844, occurred the marriage of Mr. Willams and Miss Lucy Baker. This lady was a native of New York and daughter of Chauncey Baker, a farmer of that state. She died in the fall of 1855, leaving a daughter, Lorilla. The lady who in 1857 became the wife of our subject was formerly Miss Jennie Cleveland and was born in Canada. Two sons and two daughters have blessed this union, namely: Adelbert B., a hardware merchant of Wyoming; Corinne, wife of Hamilton Douglas, of Atlanta, Ga.; Carrie C., who married Charles Kimball, of Anamosa, Iowa; and Royal S., Jr., who is engaged in the mercantile business at Wyoming.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Geoffrey Chapman Publishers, 1894
Submitted by: Steve Hanken
Note: Mr. Williams died January 5, 1900, in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and is buried at Wyoming Cemetery, Wyoming, Jones county, Iowa.

R. S. WILLIAMS, contractor, builder and dealer in lumber, brick and building material, Wyoming; was born in 1824, in Hampden Co., Mass.; in 1830, he came to Cattaraugus Co., N. Y, with his parents; in 1854, he came to Jackson Co.; in 1859, he removed to Wyoming, where he has resided since. Be commenced to learn this business at the age of 18, and has always followed it, excepting three years in the late war, when he enlisted, in 1862, in Co. K, 24th I.V.I., and served to the end of the war. He was elected Mayor in the spring of 1879; has been Justice of the Peace, etc. Married Lucy Baker in 1844; she was born in 1825, in New York, and died in 1855; have one daughter——Lorilla. Second marriage to Jennie Cleveland in 1857; she was born in Canada in 1834; have four children——Adelbert D., Corinne L., Carrie C. and R. S. Republican; Presbyterian.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 607.


© Copyright 1997-2013, The Art Department, © Copyright 2014-2020, Richard Harrison.
Last updated on Friday, 16-Apr-2021 16:53:34 MST