Edward H. Williams Jr. Family

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Edward H. Williams Jr. Jennie Bemis Williams
Edward & Jennie

Amory, Cornelia, Norman, Elizabeth
Edward, Larry, Olive, Wentworth

Family Information

Edward Jr.: born September 30, 1849, died November 2, 1933
Jennie Bemis: born April 2, 1861, died January 7, 1959

Married: June 19, 1883

Olive Williams Parke: born July 10, 1884
Cornelia Williams Fowler: born August 26, 1885
Elizabeth Williams Ballard: born April 13, 1888
Edward III: born June 18, 1889
Norman: born August 19, 1891
Amory Leland: born December 14, 1892
Wentworth: born September 7, 1895
Laurens: born December 2, 1899

Decendants of Edward and Jennie in text form

Short Biographies of the Williams children

Olive Bemis Williams was born July 10, 1884 in Bethlehem, PA. She married Nathan Greer Parke, II on February 27, 1911, and they had five children, Nathan Greer Parke, III, Olive Daniels Parke (called Danny), William Gildersleeve Parke, II, David Maxwell Parke, and Nancy Riggs Parke. They lived in Woodstock, VT where she died in December 1975. Olive's husband Nathan Greer Parke II was the son of William Gildersleeve Parke and Helen Eva Ackley he was born in Montrose, PA in 1884 and died in Woodstock, Vt in January 1961.

Cornelia Williams was born August 26, 1885 in Roxbury, MA. During WW I, Cornelia served as an Occupational Aide, Medical Department, US Army, at Bordeaux & Coblenz. She married Charles Worthington Fowler, a banker, on August 9, 1924, and lived in San Juan Puerto Rico and New York City. They had no children. She died September 12, 1968.

Elizabeth Williams was born.April 13, 1888. She married Seymour Durnford Ballard June 29, 1912 and they had three children, Seymour, Jane Florence, and Margaret Elizabeth. She died in Pasadena, CA September 19, 1954.

Edward Higginson Williams, III was born on June 18, 1889 in Bethlehem, PA. He was educated at Andover Acadamy, Williams College (Class of 1913) and Lehigh University (class of 1915) and was a Civil Engineer. He married Gladys House on June 19, 1913 and 1914 and they had four children. (see Edward Williams III page) He died on May 15, 1971 in Cromwell, CT and is buried in Woodstock, VT.

Norman Williams, IV was born August 19, 1891. He graduated from Williams College. He married Sarah (Sally) Harlow Burton and they had three children, Norman Williams V, Sarah Elizabeth Williams, and Ann Williams.

Amory Leland Williams was born December 14, 1892. He graduated from Williams College and was an architect. During WW I, he served as a 2nd Lt., Co.A., 318th Engineers in France. He married Mary Evelyn Hitchcock on July 11, 1926, and they had two children, Amory Leland Williams, Jr., and David Bentley Williams. He died December 24, 1968 in New York.

Wentworth Williams was born September 7, 1895 in Roxbury, MA. During WW I, he was a Captain assigned to 304th Infanty, 76th Division. He married Dorothy R. Northrup on September 2, 1922 and they had two children, Wentworth Williams, Jr., and Ellen Benson Williams. He was a College Professor and died on December 15, 1968 in Groton Massachusetts.

Laurens Augustine Peter Williams was born December 2,1899. During WW I, he went to Toronto, Canada, joined the Royal Air Force and served as a Command 1st Lieutenant. He was twice divorced with no children when he married Edith Margaret Purington and they had three children, Laurens A.P. Williams, Jr., Inheritance Judith (who died young), and Phineas Purington Williams. He died in July 1981 in Flagstaff, AZ and his ashes were brought back to Woodstock, VT for burial.

A brief sketch of Edward H. Williams Jr.

The following is excerpted from a letter dated May 29, 1986 by Edward H. Williams IV, written on behalf of himself and his brother and sisters. The letter was sent to the Woodstock Historical Society of Woodstock, VT. offering the three-piece suit of E.H. Williams Jr. to them for an expanded costume exhibit. The suit, made by Deringer's of Philadelphia possibly for his wedding, was worn two or three times during the late nineteen-sixties by great-grand son, David M. H. Butler to various high school dances.

Edward H. Williams, Jr., born in Proctorsville, VT, September 30, 1849 where his father, an alumnus of Woodstock Medical College, was practicing as an M.D., had constant ties with Woodstock, the home of both his parents. Often as a boy he stayed with his grandparents, Norman and Mary Ann W. B. Williams in the house on the site of Woodstock's present Library. He often used to tell his grandchildren how annoyed he was with his grandparents when they had not wakened him to see the fire when the Court House, then across the green next to the Middle bridge, burned on the Fourth of July.

He was sent to Phillips Academy, Andover, Class of 1868 and to Yale, where he graduated in 1872. It was during his college days that the family brought his only brother to Barnard VT. for his health, staying at the old hotel there. But Uncle Willie, as the brother was always called, died there, still an undergraduate at U. of Penn. Edward had to travel up from Yale to accompany his brother's body in the baggage car from White River Junction to Philadelphia. (It was many years later that his remains were moved to the Williams' lot in the River Street Cemetery). It was always told that Edward's hair turned snow white during that trip. Certainly the only pictures of him with dark hair that we have are from his undergraduate years at Yale.

He went on to Lehigh University where he took a B.S. in Chemistry, 1875 and E.M. degree in 1876. He was one of only two men ever to take the Engineering degree there in two years. He was Phi Beta Kappa at Yale and Sigma Xi at Lehigh, and was the founder of the honorary Engineering Society Tau Beta Pi. His birthplace at Proctorsville is marked by a state sign for this reason.

He began work in the Engineering corps of the Pennsylvania Railroad (1872-3) and from 1873-6 was in charge of their mining corps. From there he went to Montour Iron and Steel Co. as superintendent of their mines (1879-80), leaving that post to become Assistant Mining Engineer of Cambria Iron Co. (1880-1).

At this point he began his academic career, becoming professor of mining engineering and geology for 21 years (1881-1902) and on removing to Andover, Mass, was appointed to Lecturer in mining and geology at Lehigh from 1902 until his death.

He had married, at Roxbury, Mass, 19 June 1883, Jennie Olive Bemis, the daughter of a Boston clothing importer. By the turn of the century their three oldest children (daughters) were at Abbot Academy, and Edward III and his four younger brothers were all destined for Phillips Andover - hence the family move.

Only a few years earlier he came occasionally to visit his father who had bought Sunnyside (later Seagle homestead on the back road to Taftsville), after giving the old homesite for the Library. Both he and his sister Anna Williams Dreer were present at the opening of the Library, for which he served as vice-president from 1900 and president upon moving to Woodstock.

Westerdale, Woodstock VT. Twenty-one rooms and a library containing about 7000 books.

His own house at Westerdale, on the rise of land above Lincoln bridge and the Phinehas Williams house (1774, now the Lincoln Bridge Inn), was begun about 1905 but burned in a mid-winter fire in 1921. He called the place "Westerdale", and the name was transferred to the older brick house (painted white), now owned by Westcott, to which he and his wife removed, and where he died November 2, 1933.

Westerdate, One day after the fire. Jan. 5, 1921

The name has gradually been attached to the neighborhood over the course of the years. It is of interest that the town located their highway garage in the lower meadowland of Westerdale, on Williams brook, because it is the highway point closest to the center of the town. Doubtless, Phinehas Williams built there - and built, also, the first of the covered bridges across the Ottauquechee in this area (though his bridge was several yards downstream of the present one), primarily for the fine intervale farmland, but perhaps also with an eye to centrality. It was somewhere not far from the town garage that Phinehas' son Jesse brought his first two oxcart loads of axes, needles, cloth and other "down country" necessities; becoming Woodstock's first merchant.

Returning to E.H. Williams Jr. He was not only an engineer and a teacher, but an author and linguistic scholar. Perhaps his best known work was his Manual of Lithology (1886) which had a second edition in 1896, and was a standard work in the field of mining and geology for more than forty years. He also edited the second edition of Atkinson's Gases Met Within Coal Mines (1886), and wrote the Coal and Metal Miners' Pocketbook (1890), important and useful works in their field. His book, Alleghany Valley erosion (1913) is listed in the Library of Congress (QE581 .E6). His Pennsylvania Glaciation, First Phase (1917) was a landmark, as he was the first to offer scientific proof of glaciation as far south as Pennsylvania. He also wrote about the town; his Early History of Woodstock, Vermont was published in 1907. He was a contributor to journals such as Science; the American Journal of Sciences; Journal of the American Geological Society; and Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, between 1893 and 1920. He also wrote the families genealogy in Dana's Woodstock.

Among his honors were an honorary Sc.D from the University of Vermont, and an honorary LL.D from Lehigh. He was elected to the Legion of Honor of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. He was an original fellow of the Geological Society of America, and an emeritus life fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a member of the Society of Military Engineers, The American Philosophical Society, and the Vermont Engineering Society.

Long a student of the major western languages, he read his Bible daily, for periods of three months at a time, in one of 27 languages with which he was familiar. I remember going to call him for lunch one day while staying for the summer at Westerdale. He was deeply engrossed in reading by his study window. He finally noticed me, and after giving him my message, he asked me, "Ned, can you read?" Drawing myself up to the full height of a nine-year old, I replied, "Oh Yes, grandfather." Without a smile he passed me the book in his hand and asked, "Can you read this?" Not a character on the page meant a thing to me, and I acknowledged that I could not. He began reading, and I recognized it was from a gospel, and said so. He gave me an approving glance and started translating. It was the opening to St. Mark's Gospel, in Coptic! In his late seventies he found copies of the gospels and acts written in Ghegg, a medieval hybrid between Latin and Greek, used in Albania. He began the construction of a dictionary and grammar of the Ghegg language, on which he was still engaged during his final illness.

With all his learning he was popular with his grandchildren, and enjoyed having several at a time as visitors on the Westerdale farm during the summers. Mealtimes often were both entertaining and instructive. His rendition of Sisyphus rolling his stone up the mountain, in the original Greek, was dramatic enough to hold us spellbound, for all that the tongue was foreign. I treasure a letter he wrote when I went to School in Greece in my fourteenth year. It contains some of his inimitable whimsy, with the off-hand and apparently serious remark that he supposed that Attica had got its name because the people there invented attics! By that age I had learned better than to be caught off base by a false etymology, however seriously proposed.

Altogether he was a delightful and, in his quiet way, profoundly influential man. He could be a demanding teacher, but he once boasted he had never flunked a man, for he always tutored any who couldn't understand in class. Though he had lost an immensely valuable library, along with much else in the fire of 1921, he was never embittered of repined. While he was increasingly a retiring man and scholar, he was willing to give time to civic affairs (He was, I believe on the school board when the brick grammar school - now replaced - was built).

Related Links

Photos of Edward H. Williasms Jr. As well as his father, son and grandson.

Tau Beta Pi Organization The main web site for the Engineering society founded by EHW Jr.

History Tau Beta Pi,

Lehigh University, Lehigh Pennsylania. EHW Jr. attended Lehigh, founded the Tau Beta Pi Engineering society there and made a gift of Williams Hall to the University in 1903. The building was extensively renovated and a fourth story added in 1956 following a fire.