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HARRY LEE WILLIAMS – The family name of Williams is of great antiquity in England and Wales and is derived from the ancient personal name William. Like many other possessive names, it arose from the Welsh custom of adding to a man’s name the name of his father in the possessive form as William John’s, from which quickly came Jones, David Diehard’s, Thomas David’s (Davie’s, Davis) and kindred forms.
Sir Robert Williams, ninth baronet of the house of Williams of Penrhyn, was a lineal descendant of Marchudd ap Cynan, Lord of Aberqeleu in Denbighshire, of one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales that lived in the time of Roderick the Great, King of the Britons, about A. D. 849. The seat of the family was in Flint, Wales, and in Lincolnshire, England. Oliver Cromwell, the Protector, was a Williams by right of descent, and was related to Richard Williams, who settled in Taunton, Massachusetts. Alden de Cromwell lived in the time of William the Conqueror, and from him descended in succession ten Ralphs de Cromwell, the last dying without issue. The seventh Ralph de Cromwell married Amicia, daughter of Robert Berer, member of Parliament. Robert Cromwell was a Lancasterian, killed in the wars of 1461. His son, William Cromwell, left a daughter, Margaret, who was ancestor of both Cromwell and Williams. John Cromwell, son of William Cromwell, married Joan Smith, and had a son, Walter Cromwell, who married a Glossop. Katherine, daughter of Walter Cromwell, married Morgan Williams, fifth from Howell Williams. Sir Richard Williams, son of Morgan and Katherine Williams, born about 1495, married Francis Murfyn. After reaching mature years he took the name of Cromwell under the patronage of his mother’s brother, Thomas Cromwell, and lived in Glamorganshire, Wales. Sir Henry Cromwell, son of Sir Richard Cromwell, alias Williams, was called the “Golden Knight” of Hinchenbrook, Huntington, and married Joan Warren. Robert Cromwell, alias Williams, was of Huntington, a brewer, and married Elizabeth Steward. Their first child was Oliver the Great Protector, who used the alias in his youth, his name appearing on deeds as Oliver Williams, alias Cromwell. Howell Williams, Lord of Ribour, was progenitor of the Williams family of Wales. Morgan Williams, son of Howell Williams, married Joan Batten. Thomas Williams, son of Morgan and Joan Williams, was of Lancashire and died in London. John Williams, son of Thomas Williams, married Margaret Smith, and died in Mortlake, 1502. John Williams, son of John and Margaret Williams, born 1485, married Joan, daughter of Henry Wykis, of Bolley’s Park, Certney, and sister of Elizabeth Wykis, who married Thomas Cromwell (brother of Katherine) secretary to Henry VIII, Lord Cromwell of Oakham, Earl of Essex. Richard Williams, son of John and Joan Williams, born in 1487, settled at Monmouth and Dexter, died 1559. John Williams, son of Richard Williams, was of Huntingdonshire, near Wotton under Edge, Gloucester, died 1577. William Williams, son of John Williams, was also of Huntingdonshire; and married (first), November 15. 1585, Jane Shepard, (second) December 4, 1603, Jane Woodward. His first child by the second marriage was Richard Williams, who settled at Taunton. The Williams families of America descend from more than a score of different ancestors. That several of them were related to Richard Williams, of Taunton, seems certain.
One of the descendants was Willard Williams, born 1806, died in Charlemont, Massachusetts, June 25, 1846. He married Lydia W. Thomas, born May 2, 1806, died January 19, 1899. They had two daughters: 1. Rilla, who married Simon Crittenden. 2. Julia, who married Hiram E. Upton.
Another descendant was Eros Williams, born 1827, died February 23, 1865, who was a soldier in the Civil War, and died in the service of his country. He married Sarah L. Bishop, who was a native of Charlemont, Massachusetts, born in 1832, and died in May, 1913. She married (second) J. Warren Potter. The children of first marriage were: 1. George L., of whom further. 2. Rilla, who died early. 3. Ned R., deceased. 4. Lucy L., who married H. Martin McLoud. Her children by the second marriage were: 1. Florence R. Potter, who married Charles W. Binell. 2. Lawson B. 3. J. Warren.
George Lawson Williams, son of Eros and Sarah L. (Bishop) Williams, is a native of Sugar Grove, Illinois, born May 16, 1857. He married, September 2, 1883, Bertha Maria Davenport, of Rowe, Massachusetts, a daughter of Jonathan Gleason and Mary Calman (Warner) Davenport. She married (second) Edwin Chandler Vincent. The child of the first marriage is Henry Lee, of whom further; the child of the second marriage is Philip Gleason Vincent, born June 7, 1900.
Harry Lee Williams, son of George Lawson and Bertha Maria (Davenport) Williams, is a native of Rowe, Massachusetts, born February 1, 1885. He received his education in the schools of his native town. During vacations and for a year after he worked in the woodturning factory of George H. Frary in Charlemont. He later came to Greenfield, and learned the mason’s trade, working at his trade in different places, finally establishing a business of his own. Previous to that he had associated himself with Mr. Parody and for five years carried on a contracting business under the firm name Williams and Parody, mason contractors. Later he continued the same business under the name of H. L. Williams and Company, but since 1914 has been the sole proprietor of the concern. Some of the notable buildings in connection with which his firm was given the contract to do the mason work are the new Odd Fellows’ Building, the Mohawk Chambers, the Burnham block in Greenfield, the new high school building in South Deerfield, the Esluck Mills in Turners Falls, the electric light plant and many others. He has been a large employer of labor, employing eighteen to twenty men and has had as many as thirty-six men on his pay roll. All who knew Mr. Williams agree that his success is well-deserved and owing not only to his business capacity but to his high character and personal qualities as a man. Mr. H. L. Williams is a member and attendant of the Methodist Church of Greenfield. His fraternal and other associations include membership of the Republican Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of Greenfield, and he is a thirty-second degree mason of the Scottish Rite, member of the Melha Temple, Mystic Shrine, of Springfield, of the Pocomtuck Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Green River Encampment, Captain Davis, and the Orientals, in all of which he has held high office. He is also a member of the Loyal Order of Moose and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
On March 27, 1906, he married Mary J. Shaw, of Ansonia, Connecticut, a daughter of George W. and Caroline (Slocombe) Shaw. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are the parents of one daughter: Blanche Louise, born July 27, 1908.