Stephen Ross Williams
The first of this man's ancestors who settled in America came from Wales previous to the Revolution, and settled in Maryland; his name was Edward Williams, and he served under Washington in the war, at the close of which he removed to Ohio county, Kentucky, a section of country then perfectly wild, savage Indians and ferocious beasts holding almost complete sway. He was a farmer by occupation, and died in that county, leaving 8 children, one of whom, Stephen, was the grand father of the subject of this biographical notice. He was a Baptist minister for over 50 years, preaching in Kentucky, Illinois and Iowa. He died in Jefferson county about 1868, leaving also a family of 8 children, the eldest of whom, Isaac, was the father of Stephen R. Issac was born in Ohio County, Kentucky in 1800, and in January, 1819, married Sarah Coleman, a daughter of Henry Coleman, of Ohio county, Ky., whose father was a German and an early settler of Kentucky. Of this marriage were 13 children, of whom 9 are living, the eldest of whom is Stephen R., who was born Nov. 12, 1820, in Ohio county, Ky. His early life was passed on his father's farm in White county, Ill., whither his father had moved when his son was but 2 years of age. Here also he obtained his education in the old-fashioned log school-house, with a window of greased paper where a log had been taken out for the purpose; indeed, Mr. W. never went to school where glass windows were used. June 22, 1837, he married Miss Nancy J. Funkhouser, daughter of Isaac Funkhouser, in White county, Ill., and 3 children were born to them in that county, namely, Sarah, Virgil and William. In 1844 he moved with his family to this county, settling in Pittsfield tp., where he commenced farming. His land title not being perfect, he returned his claim to the seller in 1846, and removed into Derry township, where he rented farms for several years. In 1852 he bought the southeast quarter of Sec. 32, this tp., which place was slightly improved, having on it a log house. The same year he moved his family here. He has since put under fine cultivation about 100 acres at this place. Here he lived about 14 years, when he moved to a farm which he bought, the southwest quarter of sec. 31, this tp., where he is still residing.
In 1842 Mr. Williams joined the Primitive Baptist Church, of which he has ever since been a member. He is a man of deep convictions, and has believed it his duty to take a public and active part in the cause of the Church. His public efforts caused his brethren to induce him to become a regular preacher, and with some reluctance he complied with their wishes, and was ordained after about two years' preaching. He has now served in that capacity 22 years. He has never preached for a salary. He has preached at the regular annual and monthly meetings in Missouri and Iowa, besides this State.
At present he owns 515 acres of land in this tp., and 80 acres in tp. 6 s., 6 w. He has 4 children living, 2 boys and 2 girls. Win. D. married Angeline Moore, and lives on one of his father's farms, on sec. 32; Isaac married Eliza Jane Moore, and lives on sec. 30, his father's farm of 200 acres; Sarah married Benj. House and lives in Atlas tp.; Fanny married Charles Drummond, and resides on the home place. He has had 8 other children, who have deceased, namely, Mary, who died after she was a married woman; Henry, who died at the age of 17; Lucy Ann and Martin, who died very young, and 3 others died in infancy. Although Mr. Williams is interested in political matters, he has not taken a very active and prominent part. He is a Democrat, has been Collector, Commissioner, Township Trustee, etc. It is claimed that the first person ever baptized by the Green river (Ky.) wafers was Mrs. Williams' great-grandmother on her mother's side.
NOTE: Mr. Stephen Ross Williams died 26 March 1912 in El Dara, Illinois.
Source: History of Pike County, Illinois; published 1880, Chapman & Company, Page 768.