Williams, Charles Sumner

From Lane Co Oregon

Charles S. Williams is the head of the firm of Williams & Shelley, conducting business under the name of the Eugene Mill and Elevator Company. He was born in Oregon, July 19, 1856 not far from Medford and is a son of Issachar and Velina Asenath (Stearns) Williams. His paternal grandfather, Daniel Williams, was a tanner by trade and established the first tannery in Ohio. He was a native of Pennsylvania and on their move westward the family took the first apple tree from that state to Ohio. The Williams are of Welsh lineage. Issachar Williams, who was born in Barnesville, Ohio in 1823, learned the tanner's trade with his father but never followed it. Leaving the old home, he went to Cincinnati, where he was employed for a time in the lumber mills. In 1853 he crossed the plains to Oregon with an ox team and was accompanied by his wife's people. He had married Velina Asenath Stearns, who was a sister of the Rev. Samuel Stearns, one of the first missionaries of Oregon, and a daughter of John Stearns, a native of the state of New York. Issachar Williams first settled a donation claim northeast of Medford but traded that land for a pair of mules and located a sawmill west of Ashland. He continued with this business until 1870, when he sold out and moved to Portland. He operated a dairy there for six years. After living briefly in Eugene, then a town of two thousand, he spent about 11 years in Idaho with another son, Frank, before returning to Eugene in 1888. Issachar Williams died in 1891.

Oregon was still a frontier district during the youth of Charles S. Williams. But he had good educational privileges and on the day on which the University of Oregon was opened he enrolled as one of its students graduating in 1882. He taught school for about twelve years in different parts of Oregon and Washington becoming principal of schools in a number of places. In the period from 1883 to 1888 he was engaged in the real estate business in addition to teaching in the Puget Sound area. He then returned to Eugene. After working in a store for three years, he took charge of the electric light plant. After four years he became senior partner of the firm of Williams & Shelley, proprietors of the Eugene Mill & Elevator Company. This was a flour and grist mill which had been located at the site for over 35 years but was destroyed by fire in the early 1890's. The site was bought and the mill rebuilt by Mr. Williams and his partners in 1895. It has gradually grown, now having two elevators and receiving warehouses at Irving and at Coburg, so that it is the largest milling business south of Salem.

On June 29, 1886, Mr. Williams was united in marriage to Miss Irene Dunn, a daughter of F. B. Dunn, the pioneer merchant of Eugene. They now have three children: Berien Burke, who is with the Merchants Bank of Eugene, Marjorie May; and Melba.

[From the The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1912, Volume II published by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1912. "Charles Sumner Williams," p. 201.]

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