Jefferson County, Missouri Genealogy Trails

Biography of

Clyde Williams

Clyde Williams, attorney-at-law who resides at Hillsboro, where he is engaged in the practice of his profession, was born on his father's farm about ten miles west of that city, October 13, 1873, a son of William Franklin Williams now deceased, formerly county judge of Jefferson county The father was born in Madison county, Missouri, on the 5th of May, 1825, and was a son of James Williams, a well known Baptist minister in his section of the state. James Williams was a native of Kentucky, born on a farm less than thirty miles from Lexington. He was residing in New Madrid at the time of the earthquake and in recompense for the devastation of his land was awarded a tract by the state. This land, which was situated on the Missouri river in Clay county, never came into his possession, however, for he was so unfortunate as to secure the services of a dishonest lawyer. James Williams was united in marriage to Miss Lydia Jane Waller and they became the parents of nine children, William F. Williams, the father of our subject, being one of the sons. The boyhood of William F. Williams was spent on a farm and his education was such as could be obtained in the old log schoolhouses of those days. He left home at the age of seventeen years and started to learn the cabinet-making business, but not finding this line of work to his liking he gave it up and removed to Washington county where he secured work in the mines. In connection with mining he engaged in agriculture and in 1849 in company with a number of other men he went to California in search of gold. In 1851 he returned to Jefferson county and there was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Manion, a native of that county, a daughter of John J. Manion, who was for many years a leading agriculturist in Jefferson county, and Clyde whose name initiates this review, was one of the children born of this union. A sister, Mrs. Ida Oster, is now making her home in St Louis and has among her collection of family relics a grandfather clock which is about two hundred years old. This clock was made in England and shows the different phases of the moon as well as the time of day. It is keeping perfect time today and is in a splendid state of preservation. William F. Williams owned five hundred and seventy-five acres of land in Big River which he cultivated and was widely recognized as one of the most successful and progressive farmers of the community. In early life William F. Williams gave his political allegiance to the whig party and in the presidential election of 1848 gave his support to General Taylor. After the passing of the whig party and the formation of the republican party Mr. Williams became a stanch democrat. He served as county Judge for three terms and on the 12th of March, 1909, departed this life, his death coming as a severe blow to his family and many friends.

Clyde Williams received his early education in the common schools of Jefferson county, where he remained until he was eighteen years of age, finishing the high school course. In due time he entered the State Normal School at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where he remained for two years, at the end of which time he became a student of the University of Missouri, graduating therefrom in 1901 in both academic and law courses with the degrees of A. B. and LL. B. He began the practice of his profession in De Soto where he remained until 1903, when he removed to Hillsboro, having been elected prosecuting attorney. Three times he was elected to that office and his service in that connection covered a period of six years. His law practice was for the most part general and he built up a large clientage, becoming one of the most prominent lawyers in the district. In 1911 the Jefferson Trust Company of Hillsboro was organized with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars and Mr. Williams was one of the first directors. In 1915 he was elected president of this organization, a position which he has since held. The bank has a surplus of ten thousand dollars and the resources have reached nearly four hundred thousand dollars.

On the 26th of April, 1905, Mr. Williams was united in marriage to Miss Lola E. Marsden, a daughter of Cornelius and Mary E. (Whitehead) Marsden, and a granddaughter of Richard Marsden, a native of England who settled in Jefferson county and became one of the most prominent men in that locality. The father of Mrs. Williams is a successful merchant and railroad agent at Victoria. To Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been born two children: Eleanor Doyne, and Merle Lee, both of whom are students in the Hillsboro schools.

Mr. Williams gives his political support to the democratic party in the interests of which he has always taken an active part. He is chairman of the democratic county committee and in 1920 was presidential elector candidate on that party's ticket. Mr. Williams was reared in the faith of the Baptist church, while his wife is a member of the Methodist church and takes an active interest in church and Sunday school work. She is a member of the Woman's State democratic committee and of the Eastern Star, in which she is past matron of the Hillsboro chapter. In social life Mr. Williams has always taken a prominent part and when a student at the University of Missouri he was elected to membership in the exclusive society consisting of ten men and known as the "Q. E. B. H." During his senior year he was president of that organization. He was also a member of Phi Delta Phi, of the Missouri University. During the World war he was especially active in the interests of the country and served as chairman of the legal advisory board in addition to giving his undivided support in the various loan campaigns. Fraternally Mr. Williams is a Mason having membership in Joachim Lodge No. 164 of Hillsboro of which he has thrice been master.

The life of Mr. Williams has been one of diligence and industry and the enterprise and sound judgment which he has displayed have been potent elements in winning for him deserved and continued success. He has never hesitated to take a forward step when the way was open and though content with what he has attained as he has gone along he has always been ready to make an advance.
(Source: Centennial History of Missouri, One Hundred Years in the Union, 1820-1921, Vol. V, Published 1921)

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