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Biography of Hon. Benjamin F. Williamson
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HON. BENJAMIN F. WILLIAMSON. A man’s life-work is the measure of his success, and he is truly the most successful man who, turning his powers into the channel of an honorable purpose, accomplishes the object of his endeavor. In the study of every man’s life we find some main-spring of action, something that he lives for, and in Benjamin F. Williamson it seems to have been an ambition to make the best use of his native and acquired powers and develop in himself a true manhood. He was born in Moore County, N. C., near Carthage, in 1856, to William W. and Molsie A. (Cravens) Williamson, the former of whom was a tiller of the soil, and during the great Civil War was a member of an Arkansas regiment of the Confederate Army. He died while in the Federal prison at St. Louis in 1863, and his widow in 1871. To their union two sons and two daughters were born, and upon the death of the husband and father they were left in very destitute circumstances. Wyatt, one of the younger members of the family, is a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of St. Louis and of the Vanderbilt University of Nashville, Tennessee, his way through these institutions being paid with money which he himself had earned by the sweat of his brow and by some help from his brother, Benjamin F.
The latter grew up in Stone County, near Mountain View, and during his boyhood and early manhood he worked on farms or at anything honorable he could find to do, and when opportunity presented itself he attended school and made the best use of his time. After the death of his mother he began to save his money, $8 in winter and $10 in summer, and after accumulating a sufficient amount he entered the Arkansas State University at Fayetteville, which institution he attended one year. He then returned home and was engaged in teaching for a time, after which he entered the Collegiate Institute at Bellefonte, Boone County, which he attended one year. Two or three more years were then spent in teaching, after which he purchased some law books and began the study of that science but at the same time continued to teach until 1884. He was then admitted to the bar and at once entered actively upon the practice of his profession, which he has continued up to the present time. He was appointed county examiner in 1878, and after serving with ability for one term he was elected to the State Legislature, at which time he was but twenty-four years of age, the youngest member of the House. He was chairman of several very important committees, served with distinction on them all, and won golden opinions for himself as an able and incorruptible legislator, from political friends and foes alike. He was honored by a reelection to the Legislature, this time as a Senator, in 1882, from the Sixth District, comprising Stone and Independence Counties, and served in 1883-4, and was a member of the Committee on State Charitable Institutions, was chairman of the Committee on Engrossed Bills, the Committee of State Lands, and various others. He was one of the most active members of the Senate, and in 1885 was made a member of the Judiciary Committee of that body. He served two terms as a member of the Senate, and his career was marked by faithfulness to the interests of his party and section and to the welfare of the State. Since that time his attention has been strictly devoted to his profession, in which he holds high rank, and he has all the cases that he can properly attend to. He has always been a stanch Democrat, true to the interests of his party, and an enthusiastic supporter of its men and measures. In 1887 he led to the altar Miss Emma B. Barnes, of Independence County, Arkansas, by whom he has two sons and one daughter.
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