Arthur Trefusis Heneage Williams, member of the House of Commons for East Durham, was born in Port Hope, Ontario, June 13, 1837. His father was John Tucker Williams, who, when a young man, was an officer in the navy; came out from England during the war of 1812-15; had command of a vessel on the lakes during that contest; afterwards located in Cobourg, going thence to Rice Lake, and finally settled in Port Hope retiring on half pay. He commanded the Durham regiment during the rebellion of 1837-38, represented the county of Durham in the Parliament after the union of Upper and Lower Canada, and when the territory of the county included what is now. divided into two or three counties; was the first mayor of Port Hope, and was thoroughly identified with local and provincial interests, especially in agricultural matters. At the time of the great “Corn Law” agitation he was sent to England to represent the agricultural interests of Canada.
The writer of this sketch knew Mr. John T. Williams as early as 1844, when he was in his prime. He was an admirable specimen of the “fine old English gentleman,” and his beautiful home, “Penryn Park,” adjoining the corporation of Port Hope, on the west, was greatly admired by all visitors at that town. He died in 1854, greatly lamented by friends all over Canada.
His wife was Sarah, daughter of Thomas Ward, of Port Hope, many years ago judge of the Surrogate Court and registrar of the county of Durham; and he had by her seven children, five of them still living. The subject of this sketch, the eldest son, was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is one of the most public spirited men in the county, and a leader in more than one important local enterprise; was at one time chairman of the harbor board, and a director of the Midland railway; is president of the Midland Loan Company, and of the Central Agricultural Association, which includes four counties, and is doing much to further the interests of the farming community, in his section of the Province.
He is Lieutenant-Colonel of the 46th East Durham battalion, active militia, said to be one of the best rural regiments in Canada; and has just been appointed commander of the Canada Rifle Team for the Wimbledon competition for the present year an honor unsought, and we venture to say, unexpected, yet well merited.
The Colonel is a strong politician of the Liberal Conservative class, and has been in some legislative body nearly all the time since the establishment of the Confederation in 1867. That year he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and represented the constituency of East Durham two terms; and in September, 1878, was elected to the Dominion Parliament. He pays strict attention to his parliamentary duties; is very unassuming, yet social and cordial, and one of the most popular men of the younger class in the House of Commons.
Col. Williams is a member of the Church of England, and has frequently been a delegate to the Synod of the diocese of Toronto. His wife is Emily, daughter of Hon. Benjamin Seymour, senator, of Port Hope. They were married in 1859, and have five children.