James H. Williams

James H. William

Annals of Newberry, Part Two by John A. Chapman, page 647-48

James H. William, was born in Newberry County, S. C., October 4th, 1813, and died at his home, Rocky Comfort, Ark., August 21st, 1892, in the 80th year of his age.
His father was James Williams, a native of Newberry. The family was Welsh and immigrated to America with Lord Baltimore's colony. His mother was Isabella Shuttleworth of English parentage. His grandfather was killed at the seige of Ninety-Six, in the War of the Revolution. His father was a captain in the war of 1812.
Co1. Williams was an entirely self-educated man: not having had in his youth the advantages of a High School or Collegiate education. He seemed to have taken naturally to military life, as he enlisted in Col. Caldwell's Regiment of nullifiers in 1831. He served in 1836 three months in' the Indian War in Florida, belonging to Col. Goodwin's Regiment of Cavalry.
In 1837 he was elected Major of the 38th Regiment, South Carolina Militia - resigned in 1843, and in the same year was elected Captain of the McDuffie Artillery at Newberry C. H. In 1846, January 29th, he organized a company for the
Mexican War for one year; afterwards organized an independent company for the same war, and was mustered into
the service of the United States on the 20th of January, 1847, as Company L of the Palmetto Regiment. Took part in the seige of Vera Cruz and fought at Madelon Bridge, and at the capture of Alvarado. He marched with the army to Puebla and was engaged in the skirmish at the Pass of El Penal. August 8th he moved with Quitman's Division from Puebla in the advance on the City of Mexico. Fought at the battle of Contreras and captured General Mendoza and staff in their retreat. On the same day he was in the heat of the battle at Cherubusco. Leading in the storming off Chupultepec and Garita de Belen his troops were the first Americans to make lodgment. He was wounded in this assault. He was amongst the first of the American officers to enter the City of Mexico.
Soon after the capture of the city the war with Mexico closed and Colonel Williams returned home. He left Mexico in May, 1848, and was discharged from service in July of the same year at Mobile, Ala.

After his return home he was elected Brigadier-General and then Major-General of Militia. He served four years as Mayor of the town of Newberry; four years as Commissioner of Equity and was a member of the Legislature, House of Representatives, for several terms.
At the beginning of the war between the States he was elected Colonel of the 3d South Carolina Regiment of Volunteers, which regiment went to Virginia in June, 1861, and was engaged in the battle of Bull Run or First Manassas. He served on the Potomac and in the Peninsula until the reorganization of the regiment in 1862. He afterwards commanded the 4th and 9th Regiments, State Troops, and was on duty in Charleston during the seige. He was at Florence and finally surrendered his command as part of Gen. Joe Johnston's Army.
After the war he was one of the delegates from the State to ask a Provisional Government for South Carolina. He was a member of the State Senate, elected in 1865, until Reconstruction became the order of the time.
In 1867 he left Newberry and moved to Arkansas, where he engaged in planting, but soon again entered into public life. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1874, and assisted greatly in bringing order and prosperity out of chaos and commercial degradation.
General Williams was a lawyer by profession. He was married in Newberry in 1844 to Miss Jane W. Duckett. He was the father of eight children, three of whom are living. One son, P. B. Williams, graduated at the Virginia Military Institute as 1st Lieutenant, Company A. Another son, J. C. Williams, has held several offices of trust. He, like his father, is a successful planter.