Biography of George Cephus Williams
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George Cephus Williams. There is no citizen of Condit Township who more thoroughly enjoys the esteem and respect of his fellow citizens than George Cephus Williams. He is a native of Champaign County and has spent nearly all his active years here. He now occupies one of the best homesteads in the township, and his home is one of attractive exterior and all the comforts and conveniences which make life worth living. His individual prosperity has not been accomplished without benefit to the community in which he has lived. This is attested by the fact of his service in various official responsibilities, and by his present office as township supervisor.
Mr. Williams was born October 9, 1868. He was next to the youngest in a family of seven children, four sons and three daughters, five of whom are still living. His parents were James Edward and Lavina (Linkenhoker) Williams. Of the living children the oldest is Mollie, wife of Richard Harvey, who is a coach maker in the Chicago & Alton shops at Bloomington, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Harvey have one son. Edward, the second child, is a retired farmer at Bellflower, Illinois, and married Vina Hopkins. Emma, the third child, lives at Fisher, Illinois, is a member of the Christian Church there and the widow of Charles Bryan, and has two living children. The next in age is George C. Frank A. is an agriculturist in Champaign County, and by his marriage to Miss Lulu Beatty has a son and a daughter.
James Edward Williams, the father of these children, was born in Virginia, grew up and received his education in and married a native of that State, and from there they came West to Indiana and a short time later to Champaign County, locating on a rented farm in Hensley Township. He was a hard working man and eventually acquired a farm of his own and died in Piatt County when about fifty years of age. He was laid to rest in Mansfield Cemetery. His wife is also deceased. In politics he was a Democrat.
George C. Williams had an uphill struggle during his earlier years, and most of his education has come by private study and as a result of experience. He was self-supporting when fifteen, and as a boy he frequently worked for wages as low as 20 cents a day. While still a single man he rented a farm in Piatt County, near Mansfield, where he remained two years, and then while boarding with his sister Emma he farmed a rented place in Newcomb Township of this county. With his brother Edward he then went to McLean County, and they were partners on a rented farm until Mr. Williams took upon himself the responsibilities of a home and family.
On November 28, 1894, he married Miss Hattie Lee Taylor. While their other achievements deserve much credit, Mr. and Mrs. Williams may justly take the greatest pride in their fine family. Nine children were born to them, five sons and four daughters, and six are still living. Fred, still at home, has completed the course of the common schools and one year in the Fisher High School, and his inclinations in choice of a career are as a farmer. He is a member of the Christian Church. Mildred Bernice, the next in age, is a student in the Fisher High School and has taken musical instruction. She is a member of the Christian Church. Lavina is now in the sixth grade of the common schools and has received musical training. Taylor is in the third grade of the public schools, James Edward has recently started to school, while the youngest and the baby of the family is Lee Cephus. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have submitted to many sacrifices in order that their children might have ‘a good home and receive a good preparation for life’s responsibilities.
Mrs. Williams was born in Champaign County, March 2, 1870, a daughter of Joseph Dudley and Nancy Belle (Spratt) Taylor. There were eleven children in the Taylor family, five sons and six daughters, and seven are still living. Joseph D. Taylor was born at Sharpsburg, Kentucky, was reared and educated in the Blue Grass State and married there, and came to Champaign County with his family in 1863-64. He has lived in this county for over half a century and by hard work has not only reared a fine family of children but has become possessor of 110 acres of rich farming land in the county. He is a Democrat and both he and his wife are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Mansfield. He is now eighty-two years of age, but his mind and intellect are still clear. His wife was born in Kentucky and died in October, 1913, her remains being at rest in Piatt County, where her family have erected an appropriate monument. Mrs. Williams received her education in the common schools and had prepared to take the teacher’s examination, but duties at home prevented her from embarking on that career.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Williams started out to achieve success with only experience as their guide and with very little capital. They lived one year on a rented farm in Brown Township and then five years in Newcomb Township. It was not until 1906 that they were able to buy land of their own, eighty acres in Condit Township. A heavy obligation went with the purchase, but in less than ten years they had it all paid for and the farm now represents some of the best improvements and methods of management in the county. Mr. Williams now has twenty-five head of excellent horses, principally the English Shire. He has also raised with profit Poland China hogs, and he and his wife have become experts in the raising of 1 blooded poultry, their stock being the Buff Orpingtons. Their birds have won two silver trophies in exhibition and Mr. Williams has a number of first and second premiums awarded his stock at State and county fairs. Each year he enters exhibits from his farm in the fairs of both Illinois and Indiana. The Williams farm bears the appropriate name of Sunnyside Farm.
Mr. Williams was also one of the organizers and first stockholders of the Fisher Telephone Company and is now serving the company as treasurer. He is a stockholder in the Champaign County Fair Association.
Politically he is a Democrat and has been a delegate to various county conventions. In 1915 he was a delegate to the convention at Springfield of township supervisors, county clerks and probate judges. It was by the unanimous choice of his fellow citizens in Condit Township that he was elected to the office of supervisor. This is the chief township office in Illinois, and a better qualified man could not have been found in Condit Township. Mr. Williams is a very popular official, and both he and his wife have served some years as director of the local schools. He is affiliated with Sangamon Lodge of Masons at Fisher, and is a charter member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Bellflower. He also belongs to Champaign Chapter No. 50, R. A. M. They have contributed generously of their means to the erection of the beautiful church of their choice at Fisher. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have practiced the principle of living well without extravagance. In earlier years they carried heavy obligations, but are now comfortably situated, and among other things that make their life attractive for them is a fine Jeffreys touring car.