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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Joseph Williams

JOSEPH WILLIAMS was born in Huntington, Pennsylvania, December 8, 1801. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and began practice in Hollidaysburg. In 1838, when the Territory of Iowa was created, President Van Buren appointed Joseph Williams one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the Territory. The appointment was secured at the earnest request of Jeremiah S. Black who became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and later Attorney-General and Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Buchanan. At this time Judge Williams was thirty-seven years of age and had never been a prominent lawyer. He was a close observer, possessed an excellent memory and was a popular, if not a learned judge. He served until this Territory was admitted as a State when he was appointed by Governor Briggs Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was elected by the following General Assembly for a term of six years. In 1857 he was appointed by President Buchanan District Judge of the Territory of Kansas and removed to Fort Scott. During Lincoln’s administration he was appointed United States District Judge for Tennessee. he died at Fort Scott in March, 1871. Judge Williams was a younger brother of Major William Williams, founder of the town of Fort Dodge, and commander of the Spirit Lake relief expedition.