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James A. Williams, who has won his own way in the world and reached a degree of success beyond the average of men at his age, was born in Monongahela City, Washington County, Pennsylvania, August 1862. He is a son of John S. and Elizabeth (Van Vorhis), natives of the same County. James Williams wedded Nancy Van Allen and they were among the early settlers of Washington County, the latter having been born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Abram Van Vorhis, was one of the early farmers of that section and also traded in stock considerably. He was of Holland extraction.
James A. Williams grew to manhood on a farm and never attended school after he reached the age of thirteen years; at that age his mother died and he was thrown upon his own resources. In about 1885 he decided to try his fortunes in the west, and after arriving in Illinois settled in Tuscola Township, where he became a farm hand; at this he continued until he was twenty-two years of age. By industry and good management he now owns two hundred and forty acres of well improved land in Douglas County, for which he has been offered eighty-five dollars an acre. Subsequently he bought the store at West Ridge, which he sold to W. H. Fry in December, 1899. He previously owned one at Allerton, which he bought in 1894 and sold in the following year.
In September, 1886, he was united in marriage to Miss Amy McGrath, and they have three children: Ida, Charles and Earle. Mr. Williams resides on one of his farms, a short distance south of West Ridge, where he gives his personal supervision to its management. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of Camargo, and a Republican in politics.