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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Elias H. Williams

ELIAS H. WILLIAMS was born in Ledyard, Connecticut, July 23, 1819. After attending the common schools he prepared for college and graduated at Yale. He came west and during the Black Hawk War was in the military service, being stationed at Fort Atkinson for a time. He removed to Iowa in 1846, locating at Garnavillo, Clayton County. He engaged in farming and the practice of law and became a Republican upon the organization of that party in 1856 always taking a deep interest in public affairs. He served as county judge in Clayton, and in 1858 was elected judge of the Tenth Judicial District, where he served until 1866. In January, 1870, he was appointed by Governor Merrill Judge of the Supreme Court to fill a vacancy. He resigned the position in September of the same year. In addition to managing his farm and practicing law, Judge Williams was largely engaged in the promotion of railroad enterprises. He was influential in securing the building of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad up the shore of the Mississippi River through Clayton County; and also in securing the construction of the road up the valley of the Turkey River. He was at the head of the company that built the Iowa Eastern Railroad to Elkader, and furnished most of the means for its construction. He died on the 20th of August, 1891.