William Henry Williams (1848 - 1917)

A photo of William Henry Williams
William Henry Williams
1848 - 1917
May 30, 1848
Michigan United States
January 7, 1917
El Reno, Canadian County, Oklahoma United States
William Henry Williams was born on May 30, 1848 in Michigan. He is the child of William Lewis Williams and Priscilla (Shellhammer) Williams, with siblings Sarah, Lyman, and Mary. According to his family tree, William was father to 6 children. William's partner was Belinda Vernon (Close) Williams, and they had children Bert Okla Williams, Howard Clinton Williams, Albert Rhesa Williams, Grace May Williams, Henry Lyman Williams, and Agnes Ethel Williams. He died on January 7, 1917 in El Reno, Oklahoma United States at age 68.
Updated: May 10, 2022
WILLIAM HENRY WILLIAMS BORN: 30 MAY 1848 DIED: 7 JAN 1917 William was born to William Lewis Williams and Priscilla Shellhammer Williams. His father was born in Ohio and his mother in Pennsylvania. His older sister, Sarah Amanda and brother, Lyman Isaiah, also were born in Michigan. When he was 2 yrs old, the family was living at Elkhart, Indiana, where another sister, Elizabeth Emily was born. Then on they went to Iowa, where three more sisters, Mary Calista, Elma Jane and Jennie E. were born. He attended school at Des Moines, Iowa, and then entered the brickmaking and building vocation. He also farmed and owned a coal mine and dealt in real estate. His Father died in 1869 and his Mother died in 1872. He married Belinda Vernon Close, in 1878, the daughter of a prominent brickmaker in Des Moines. Possibly even the bosses daughter...she being 10 years younger than William. In 1879 they lost an infant son. In 1880 they lost a baby girl, Mary. Children born in Des Moines, Iowa: Howard Clinton-1881, Albert Rhesa-1883, Grace May-1886, Henry Lyman-1892 and Agnes Ethel-1897. William was a very intelligent and talented man. He built a large, mansion-like home, three story with full basement. And an additon of homes called the Grace Addition. He played piano and sang, but unfortunately he drank too much and gambled. So much so that he lost the land where the University of Des Moines now stands on a presidential bet. Seems that life with William was getting to be too hard for Belinda. They began selling all their property, and Belinda filed for and was granted divorce. William was suppose to split all his assets with Belinda. And she won custody of the children. But, in 1900, he tried to swindle her out of some money he made from a real estate sale. Belinda found out, sued him and won and put a restraining order on him. That same year, William and the boys, Howard, Albert and Henry were on their way to be part of the Land Run in Oklahoma territory. Whether it was William's idea or not, Belinda and the girls, Grace and Ethel, followed. At first they lived in a dugout, as many did who made the run. But soon, William had built another huge home in Weatherford, Oklahoma, where Belinda opened a boarding house for women. In 1902, a son was born in what was still Oklahoma Territory, as Oklahoma did not become a state until 1907. They named him Bert Okla. William was a restless soul, who did not stay with the family long before leaving again often abandoning the family for long periods of time. As stated, however, he was a very intelligent man. 6 Feb 1906 he patented an invention #811,606, "Combined Lister Plow and Planter" and 13 Nov 1906 he patented another invention #835,997 "Plow". After this time, William started having trouble with his head. It might have been cancer or some other problem. He was living away from the family but wrote them to ask if he could come live with them, in El Reno, Oklahoma. 7 Jan 1917: While Belinda, Grace and her young daughter, Marguriet were out taking a walk, and Agnes Ethel was in the house, writing letters to those who had sent Christmas remembrances, William layed down, placed a pistol at his right temple and ended his life.
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Father to 6 children, he passed away on January 7, 1917 in El Reno, Oklahoma United States at 68 years old. He was born on May 30, 1848 in Michigan. William Henry Williams is the child of William Lewis Williams and Priscilla (Shellhammer) Williams, with siblings Sarah, Lyman, and Mary. According to his family tree, William's partner was Belinda Vernon (Close) Williams, and they had children Bert Okla Williams, Howard Clinton Williams, Albert Rhesa Williams, Grace May Williams, Henry Lyman Williams, and Agnes Ethel Williams.

1848 - 1917 World Events

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In 1848, in the year that William Henry Williams was born, on November 1st, the first medical school for women - but founded by a man - opened in Boston. Called the Boston Female Medical College, and later merging with the Boston University School of Medicine, women could officially attend medical classes and be trained as physicians.

In 1861, he was just 13 years old when on January 9th, Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union. Within the same month, 5 more states seceded - Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana - and Jefferson Davis, age 52, resigned as a U.S. Senator.

In 1870, by the time he was 22 years old, on January 26th, the state of Virginia rejoined the Union. On February 23rd, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union. On March 30th, Texas was readmitted to the Union. And on July 15th, Georgia became the last Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union.

In 1906, William was 58 years old when President Theodore Roosevelt received the Nobel Prize for Peace. The award was considered controversial at the time because many thought that he was an imperialist. But he had brokered peace between Russia and Japan a year previous and had allowed a dispute between Mexico and the U.S. to go to arbitration, resolving the issue peacefully rather than resorting to military conflict. For these two reasons, the Nobel Prize committee chose him for the Peace Prize.

In 1917, in the year of William Henry Williams's passing, it is believed that a worldwide influenza pandemic began in Asia. By 1920, it is estimated that 50 - 100 million died throughout the world (3 - 5% of the population). In the U.S. alone, 500,000 perished from what came to be called the Spanish Flu or the 1918 flu.

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