The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, Dec. 8, 1890

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Captain William Williams

Died - In Oswego, N.Y., Dec. 7th, 1890, Captain William Williams, in the 82d year of his age.

After a long, and, at the last a painful illness, Captain Williams died at his home in West Seneca street at 9 o'clock last night. For nearly two years the friends of Captain Williams have seen the inroad which disease, a bronchial affliction, was making upon him, and this, with the weight of years, made the result apparent. He bore up wonderfully, however, and it was not until two weeks ago that he finally kept his room. His last days were full of physical suffering, which he bore with heroic fortitude, surrounded by loving kindred and devoted friends.

Captain Williams was born in Bromley, Kent, England, April 5, 1809. he received a good common school education and in 1820 was sent aboard the old training ship Solebay on the Thames, off Deptford. in 1823 was entered as apprentice on board the East India Company's ship Hythe of London, bound for China. Again sailed in the Paliana of London, for China, calling at Pico, one of the Western Islands, and on the return at St. Helena. made another cruise to China and was only ship that ever brought a cargo of tea direct from Canton to Quebec.

At latter place left ship and went before the mast in brig Sir Francis Burton, bound to Halifax. Returned to Quebec and shipped for Liverpool. In the latter place shipped in the brig nancy for Leith, Scotland, thence in the barque General Elliot bound to Rega, Russia. in a heavy storm the ship was driven ashore on Rega Bar and was lost. The crew were saved and went to Leith in a Scotch brig.

At the latter place shipped in the brig Maine bound for Charleston, S.C. made five voyages from Charleston to Liverpool in different ships. Sailed in brig Bragen from Baltimore to Marseilles, France, and afterwards in the brig Lady Adams from Baltimore to Buenos Aires where the crew left the ship on account of ill usage by the captain. Was six months aboard a Monte Video gunboat and shipped from Antwerp and Liverpool.

From the latter port made voyages to various ports in North and South America, Russia, Norway, and in May, 1833 arrived in Quebec from Liverpool as second mate of barque Morsey. Made another voyage to Liverpool and returned. Came up the St. Lawrence river to oswego and shipped on steamer United States as steersman, Capt. Joel Tyler, sailing master. Capt. JamesVanCleve took command of the United States and Capt. Williams was second mate. In 1837 during the Patriot War, the steamer was seized by the government, taken to Sackets Harbor and laid up. in 1840 Captain Williams was made with Captain VanCleve on the steamer St. Lawrence of Oswego.

In 1843 he commanded the steamer United States; the last year she was in commission. She was hauled out at the foot of Second street in this city and eventually burned. He went back to the St. Lawrence, Captain VanCleve as mate. In '46 the propeller Syracuse was launched and the command was given to Captain Williams. In 1852 he was master of the propeller St. Lawrence. In 1855 was captain if the propeller St. Nicholas. In 1858 went into the employ of Fitzhugh & Littlejohn and superintended the building of four propellers - the Kentucky, Cincinnati, Louisville and the Dayton - the latter being commanded by Captain Williams.

The line did not succeed, and the subject of our sketch became of the propeller Lady of the Lake of the Northern Transportation Co. line. he was transferred to the Propeller Prairie State of the same line in 1863, and soon afterward commended the side wheel steamer State of Minnesota, which was wrecked in Lake Michigan in 1864, since which date and up to the time of his failing health, about a year ago, he had been in the employ of the Inland Lloyds as Marine Inspector.

In 1830, Captain Williams and Miss Jessie Geekie were married in Ogdensburg and came to Oswego in 1837. The surviving immediate family are Mrs. Williams, Captain William H. Williams of Detroit, Mich., Miss Elizabeth J. and Miss Helen M. Williams. Telegrams of condolence and sympathy from friends at various lake ports have been received by the family today.

Captain Williams was one of the best known and most popular of the many good and true men who are connected with the marine history of Oswego. He had all the attributes of the warmhearted and generous sailor, with none of the weaknesses that sometimes mar the lives of men who "go down to the sea in ships." In his mature years he had the rare advantage of physical comeliness, and this, with his frank, hearty, open and guileness nature, made him welcome wherever he went.

For over half a century he has been a familiar figure in Oswego. His friends equal in number his acquaintances, for none know Capt. Williams without being drawn towards him. His warm heart beat true to his friends, and they will miss the cheery sound of his voice and the warm grasp of his hand for many a day.

He never intentionally did wrong to any man. His life was graced by many noble acts of friendship, which none but the recipients knew of. His life was along, active, earnest and honest one. His work is done, and he is gone, leaving to his children a spotless name, and to his friends a tender and lasting

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Monday, Dec. 8, 1890
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, Dec. 8, 1890