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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Williams

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 541-544 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The family name of Wiliams is derived from the Belgic "Guild-helm," meaning harnessed with gilded helmet; or, as others say, from Welhelm, the shield or defense of many. The Williams Arms: Shield sable, lion rampant argent, armed, and langued gules. Crest: Cock (or moor-cock) natural. Motto: Cognosce occasionem. The family tradition has it that the progenitor of the family in America was a relative of Oliver Cromwell, and he changed his name to Williams, emigrating to this country about the time of the English revolution. At any rate, the place which he settled was called Cromwell, and later Upper Middletown, in Connecticut, from which line of the several settling in various New England states this one descends.

(I) Thomas Williams was born in England, and settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut, between 1645 and 1656. He had a wife named Rebeckah, whom he married before the latter date. They had a son Jacob.

(II) Jacob, son of Thomas and Rebeckah Williams, was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, March 7, 1664, died September 26, 1712. He married, December 10, 1685, Sarah, born December 1, 1661, daughter of Josiah Gilbert. They had a son David.

(III) David, son of Jacob and Sarah (Gilbert) Williams, was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, April 7, 1699, and about 1730 took to himself a wife whose Christian name was Mehitabel. They had a son named Jehiel, of whom further.

(IV) Jehiel, son of David and Mehitabel Williams, was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, February 16, 1733, died June 13, 1810. He married Anne, born in 1735, died November 20, 1810, daughter of David Edwards, January 6, 1756. They had a son named Josiah.

(V) Josiah, son of Jehiel and Anne (Edwards) Williams, was born in Upper Middletown, Connecticut, September 15, 1768, died October 14, 1842. He married, September 9, 1795, Charity, born July 24, 1775, died June 14, 1865, daughter of Timothy Shailer, of Haddam, Connecticut. Children:

  1. Sarah, born in Middletown, Connecticut, July 16, 1796, married Charles Sage; died March 30, 1872.
  2. Timothy Shailer, born April 15, 1800; a New York state senator; died March 11, 1849, in Ithaca, New York.
  3. Elizabeth, born June 5, 1803; married Edmund Sage; died March 27, 1828, in Cromwell, Connecticut.
  4. Josiah, born November 20, 1806, died February 21, 1808, in Cromwell, Connecticut.
  5. Manwell Russell, born November 27, 1808, died April 15, 1840, in Ithaca.
  6. Josiah Butler, born December 16, 1810, died September 26, 1883, in Ithaca.
  7. Jehiel Edwards, born August 14, 1814, died July 26, 1867, in Ellsworth, Kansas.
  8. Chauncey Pratt, see forward.

(VI) Chauncey Pratt, son of Josiah and Charity (Shailer) Williams, was born at Upper Middletown (Cromwell), Connecticut, March 5, 1817, died May 30, 1894, at Jerseyfield Lake, Hamilton county, New York. Mr. Williams spent the last sixty-nine years of his life in Albany and became through his own activities identified with every progressive public movement in that city. He was proud of the rugged character of his ancestor immigrant from whom, he declared, had sprung a race of hardy, industrious farmers of the revolutionary period, reflecting advantageously in himself. That they were of robust constitutions and lived longer than the average life is evidenced by the fact that the combined lives of the first five generations in America covered a period of nearly two and a half centuries. Although none had become very wealthy, by their industry and frugality they were able to live well and none of them knew want. It is known that they were greatly respected as business men of integrity. There are no records which do not reflect credit upon the successive generations. Invariably the earlier branches of this family reared large families, and their children were always well trained.

When Mr. Williams was but sixteen years old he had made such excellent use of the advantages within his reach that he was fitted to take a clerkship in the employ of T. S. Williams & Brothers, who were carrying on an extensive commercial business in Ithaca. He was transferred to the Albany branch of this firm in 1835, where they conducted a large lumber business in Albany's famous "Lumber District," when it was in its greatest business glory, and four years later succeeded to the business with Henry W. Sage as a partner.

It was in banking circles that Mr. Willianms made his life record and achieved a standing as the nestor of Albany bankers. He took charge of the Albany Exchange Bank in 1861, when the outlook was disastrous in financial circles, the capital of the institution largely impaired and the duty of upbuilding looked insurmountable. Instead of continuing to dissolution, as was contemplated, he extricated the bank and placed it in the front rank. He succeeded in making it a loan agent of the United States treasury, and throughout the war made his bank a center of distribution for the government loans issued to carry on gigantic military operations necessary to save the country. In fact, his bank was regarded as a rallying point of cheer in the darkest hours of the Republic. He practised the principles of sound finance so successfully, that when in 1865 the bank terminated its existence as a state institution to reorganize under the national banking law, it returned not alone all its capital, but upwards of 54 per cent. in surplus earnings, besides paying its regular dividends from the beginning of 1863. Under his wise management, it has repaid to its stockholders in dividends more than one and a half times the amount of its capital beyond accumulating a reserve amounting to about 75 per cent. of the capital. As the president of this bank his reputation became so widely known that he was frequently called upon to address gatherings and his advice on large matters was often sought. He withdrew from this institution in 1887; but continued as president of the Albany Exchange Savings Bank up to the time of his death.

Mr. Williams exerted his great influence against the greenback theory of an unlimited paper issue which threatened to demoralize the currency and degrade the country's credit, speaking on the platform and through the medium of his pen, so that his influence was widely spread to good effect. He gained a reputation by his successful resistance of the illegal taxation of the shareholders of national banks, believing that they were taxed at a greater rate than other monied capital in the hands of citizens. Not desiring to involve his bank in this matter, he took up the fight individually, and bringing the issue to a test in 1874, by refusing to pay the tax on the shares which he owned, so that his household effects were levied upon and sold by the authorities; but at the end of seven years of litigation the United States supreme court sustained his position.

He was a strong opponent of slavery, and as the treasurer of the Kansas Aid Society founded in Albany in 1854, sent out to Kansas one of the first invoices of Sharpe's rifles with which to arm settlers. Although exempt by age, he sent a substitute who fought in the civil war. He had also a political career, broadly interested as he was in affairs of his city, and was elected alderman in 1849. From 1842 to 1857 he was repeatedly the candidate of the Liberal party for congress. He was a founder of the Congregational church of Albany, and every good cause found in him a staunch friend. One of the reasons for the success attained by Mr. Williams was his wonderful thoroughness and his determination to stand by his principles. He had a fine constitution which enabled him to accomplish a great amount of work without tiring. His love for study as a means of gathering more knowledge kept him ever young and concerned in public mercantile affairs.

Chauncey Pratt Williams married at Whitesboro, New York, September 13, 1842, Martha Andrews, born in Bristol, Connecticut, daughter of Reuben and Ruth (Parmelee) Hough, who was living in 1910. Children:

  1. Alice, born November 3, 1843; married (first) James B. Kelley, and some time after his decease, Colonel Timothy Shaler Williams, of New York city, later Huntington, Long Island.
  2. Ruth Hough, born May 15, 1845, died at Albany, unmarried, March 13, 1877.
  3. Frederick Stanley, born October 11, 1847, died September 9, 1870.
  4. Anna Martha, born May 7, 1853; married Robert C. Pruyn, of Albany.
  5. Chauncey Pratt, see forward.

(VII) Colonel Chauncey Pratt (2), son of Chauncey Pratt (1) and Martha Andrews (Hough) Williams, was born in Albany, December 6, 1860. He was educated at the Albany Academy, from which he was graduated in 1879. He then went to Yale, attending the Sheffield scientific department, graduating in 1882 with the degree of Ph. B. He took the course in the Albany Law School of Union University, and on graduating in 1883 received the degree of LL. B. Thereupon he entered the employ of the National Exchange Bank, where he remained until 1890, when he resigned to become the secretary of the Albany Horsenail Company upon its formation in 1891, which on account of failure of newly invented machinery never put its product on the market. He was appointed financial clerk in the state department of excise in 1896, and in 1899 Governor Roosevelt appointed him assistant adjutant-general of the state, with grade of colonel, which position he filled for over ten years, its duties occupying all his time. His military career commenced in 1884, when he joined the Tenth Battalion, National Guard, New York, as a private. He served in the National Guard in both line and staff, rising through the various grades until he became colonel. On September 8, 1909, upon the recommendation of Major General Roe, commanding the Division, National Guard, he was commissioned adjutant-general of the Division, National Guard, of the grade of lieutenant-colonel and placed in charge of the Division headquarters office in Albany. On November 12, 1909, he was brevetted brigadier-general by Governor Hughes. For a number of years he was military instructor of the Albany Academy Cadet Battalion. He is a member of the Founders and Patriots of America, of the Philip Livingston Chapter of the Sons of the Revolution, University and Country clubs. He married, March 9, 1886, Emma, born June 6, 1863, daughter of Archibald McClure, a prominent and wealthy wholesale druggist of Albany, and Elizabeth (Strong) McClure. Children, born in Albany:

  1. Elizabeth McClure, August 1, 1890.
  2. Alice, April 11, 1892.
  3. Chauncey Pratt, November 9, 1902.

(The Hough Line)

The mother of Colonel Chauncey P. Williams was Martha Andrews Hough, whose ancestry follows:

(I) Edward Hough, of Westchester, in Cheshire, England, was a kinsman of Dr. John Hough, bishop of Oxford and president of Magdalen College, celebrated for his opposition to the arbitrary proceedings of King James II., to establish the Romish propaganda at Oxford. He had a son named William.

(II) William, son of Edward Hough, of Westchester, England, was born in 1619, came to America in 1640, and settled in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was a selectman of that place, 1649-50. In March, 1651, he removed to New London with Richard Blinman's company. It is shown in the Rev. Simon Bradstreet's Journal (New London, Ct.) that he was a deacon and a "solid man," and died of a malignant fever, from which a great number in that colony suffered at the time. His death, August 10, 1683, is recorded as a grievous loss to both the church and town. He married, October 28, 1645, Sarah, daughter of Hugh Caulkins, of New London, Connecticut. They had a son Samuel.

(III) Samuel, son of William and Sarah (Caulkins) Hough, was born in Saybrook, March 9, 1653; resided in Wallingford, Connecticut, and died November 30, 1702. He married, August (April?) 18, 1685, Mary Bates (second wife), baptised March 11, 1666, daughter of James Bates, of Haddam, Connecticut. They had a son James.

(IV) James, son of Samuel and Mary (Bates) Hough, was born in Saybrook, Connecticut, December 15, 1688, died October 20, 1740. He married, about 1711, Hannah ————, who died March 4, 1718. They had a son Phineas.

(V) Phineas, son of James and Hannah Hough, was born April 11, 1714, died September 2, 1797. He married, January 5, 1737, Hannah Austen. They had a son James.

(VI) James (2), son of Phineas and Hannah (Austen) Hough, was born July 31, 1743, resided in Meriden, Connecticut, died September 14, 1794. He married, in 1782, Martha Andrews (his third wife), who died April 10, 1811. They had a son Reuben.

(VII) Reuben, son of James (2) and Martha (Andrews) Hough, was born June 6, 1787, lived in Meriden, Connecticut, died in Whitesboro, Oneida county, New York, July 9, 1850. He married, January 1, 1812, Ruth Parmelee, born in Bristol, Connecticut, January 15, 1788, died in Albany, New York, December 22, 1859. They had a daughter Martha Andrews.

(VIII) Martha Andrews, daughter of Reuben and Ruth (Parmelee) Hough, was born in Bristol, Connecticut, February 25, 1824. She married, September 13, 1842, Chauncey Pratt Williams, of Albany, New York. The had a son, Colonel Chauncey P. Williams who married Emma McClure, as previously stated.

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