Home | Journeys | Sources | Research Info | About | What's New
History of Iowa County, and Its People, 1915

Page 236
Page 237
Page 241
Page 242



    This thriving city of 1,170 people, located on the west bank of Old Man's Creek, in Troy Township, was founded by Richard Williams and laid out by him on May 20, 1856.  It is situated near the geographical center of the county, is located in a rich farming community, is a trade center for the surrounding townships and has splendid railroad facilities upon the Kansas City branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad.  The nationality of the people in Williamsburg and the immediate surrounding country is more varied, perhaps, than any other community of its size in the state.  There are representatives of America, Germany, Wales, Scandinavia, Ireland, Scotland and Switzerland liv- ing here together, all of them loyal subjects of the Stars and Stripes.  The Welsh and their descendants form the leading nationality group. They take great pride in their intellectual developments.  But all nationalities and all classes are highly intelligent, social, and full of patriotic devotion to American institutions.  With the exception of a few older people, all speak the English language, and all classes and all nationalities fraternize, do business and associate as one common people.
    Richard Williams, the founder of the town, was a sturdy Welshman; in fact, nearly all of the very first settlers to this community were of this blood. The names of Williams, Evans, Jones, Roberts, Davis, Hughes, Powell, Edwards, and Harris are yet familiar in the town.
    During the early years of the life of Williamsburg there was very little growth; in the year 1880 there were only 130 people who claimed it as their residence.  The presence of the Rock Island Railroad eight miles to the north of the town drew the trade and people away in that direction and it was not until the coming of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul in 1884 that the growth of the town had a fair and sure start.  Trade and commerce began to take on new life; outside capital was attracted by the natural advantages and location of the place; and soon the country hamlet shook off her rustic garments and donned her urban robes.  Most of the old frame business structures have been super- seded by substantial brick buildings; churches built; the town incorporated; a system of waterworks installed; a lighting system established; and with all, many beautiful dwellings; so that today, in some respects, Williamsburg is the foremost town in the county.
    Williamsburg is typically a livestock center; the shipments of stock from the town being one of the most prolific sources of revenue.  As an agricultural center the town also occupied an enviable position.  As a trading point every advantage is offered to the individual; the business houses are arranged around