Governor Williams - History

Governor Williams - History


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Governor Williams

Benjamin Williams was born near Smithfield N.C., 1 January 1751. He served in the North Carolina Provincial Congress 1774-75 and was a captain during the Revolutionary War. After serving in the North Carolina Senate, he was elected to the House of Representatives of the United States, serving 17931795. Williams was elected Governor of North Carolina 1709 1802 and 1807 1808, died in Moore County, N.C., 20 July 1814.

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Governor Williams was one of a group of galleys built at Wilmington, N.C. in 1798. These small vessels authorized by Congress 4 May 1798, were built and equipped by the Navy Department but operated by the War Department as a kind of Naval Militia.

During the Quasi-War with France 1798-1801 Governor Williams cruised the coasts and inlets of North Carolina Cmder Lawrence Dorsey, who held the rank of "Captain of a Galley." After this service in defense of the coast of North Carolina, she was transferred to the Department of the Treasury Revenue Cutter Service in 1802.


Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Gerhard Mennen “Soapy” Williams was a politician from Michigan who served for twelve years as its 41st Governor, from 1949 to 1961. Born on February 23, 1911 in Detroit, Michigan, Williams earned the nickname “Soapy” because his maternal grandfather was the founder of the Mennen brand of men’s personal care products, now marketed by the Colgate-Palmolive company, which made Williams an instant heir to his grandfather’s fortune. During his youth, Williams attended the Salisbury School, an exclusive Episcopalian preparatory school, in Connecticut. He graduated from Princeton University in 1933 and went on to earn a law degree at the University of Michigan Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 1936. During his years in law school, Williams developed strong affiliations with the Democratic Party, breaking away from his family’s traditional ties to the Republican Party.

Upon graduation from law school, Williams spent time working for the law firm Griffiths, Williams, and Griffiths. As an avid supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Williams worked on the Social Security Board from 1936 to 1939, during which time he was appointed as Michigan’s assistant attorney general. During World War II, he served four years in the United States Navy as an air combat intelligence officer in the South Pacific, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant commander and earned ten battle stars. From 1946 to 1947, Williams served as the deputy director of the Office of Price Administration, and he was appointed to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in 1947.

After running on a platform that supported organized labor and civil rights, Williams was elected as the 41st Governor of Michigan on November 2, 1948. He was inaugurated on January 1, 1949, and was subsequently re-elected five times, supported by a liberal labor coalition. During his twelve years as the Governor of Michigan, Williams advocated taxes on income and corporations. He served as a Michigan delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1952, 1956, and 1960. Due to struggles with the Republican-controlled state legislature in Michigan, Williams chose not to run for re-election in 1960, and his term as the Governor of Michigan ended on January 1, 1961.

After leaving office, Williams was appointed to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs by President John F. Kennedy, where he served from 1961 to 1966. In 1966, he ran for a position as U.S. Senator, but lost to the Republican incumbent Robert Griffith. In 1968, Williams was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines by President Lyndon B. Johnson, where he served less than a year. Williams was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1970, and he served as Chief Justice from 1982 to 1986.

Sporting his “signature” green bow tie with white polka dots, Williams developed a solid reputation in politics. His most notable accomplishment during his tenure as the Governor of Michigan was his support for the construction of the Mackinac Bridge. Built to link Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas, the Mackinac Bridge was completed in 1957, and became the world’s longest suspension bridge of its time. Williams also began a Michigan Labor Day tradition, which continues to the present day, of the governor leading the Mackinac Bridge Walk. G. Mennen Williams passed away on February 2, 1988 in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 76. He was laid to rest in the Protestant Cemetery on Mackinac Island.


About Major

Major Williams is a born leader with an entrepreneurial spirit

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Major grew up in a single-parent home with his mother and three sisters. At the age of 13, Major unknowingly started his first business, using an old lawnmower cutting grass for extra cash to buy food for him and his family. Throughout his life, his determination and intense focus on attaining goals and bettering communities have driven him to success in a multitude of industries.

Academic Achievements

As a highly accomplished student and an outstanding athlete, Major reached one academic achievement after another. In 1996, he attended Trinity Valley Community College where he studied communications and media. He later transferred to Louisiana Tech University, where he stood out as an innovator and was celebrated for his excellent debating skills, with a tremendous debate record of 21-2 over the course of two years. A few years later, Major attended Eastfield College, where he concluded his college basketball career to pursue a life of public service.

In 2001, Major moved to California where he met his wife, Aja, who he considers his strongest pillar of support and most trusted advisor. Aja, an entrepreneur in her own right, has built businesses in the arts while raising their three sons - Kahlo (9), Lord (4), and York (1). Together, they spend countless hours discussing their community, the State of California, and the world at large - constantly looking for ways to help families throughout the nation. Major Kicks for Kids is a non-profit gifting platform that the dynamic duo works tirelessly to build with the goal of helping economically disadvantaged kids succeed in life and pursue their dreams.

“My goal is to provide resources in education, materials, and psychological/emotional support to the youth as we build a new generation of entrepreneurs,” says Major. Other projects of Major’s include a tiny home property development in Texas, which he established for his mother and sisters, and a media company.

For the past 10 years, Major has been politically active, engaging in community outreach and speaking at town halls. After extensively connecting with voters and learning their frustrations, Major shifted his focus in 2018 to run for Mayor of Pasadena, California. He produced the entire campaign single-handedly and found great success and support in the community. He found that he did not quite reach the fundraising mark that allowed his marketing outreach to compete with the well-funded competition. With such incredible experience and a solid policy foundation, Major established and chaired the New California Governor Group, which finds and vets potential candidates for Governor of California. Ironically, Major was overwhelmingly encouraged by the majority of people involved in the committee to run for Governor. He has used the depth of experience he has collected to build a 5-star team that will support him in the race for Governor of the great State of California in 2022.

As Governor, Major intends to restore the essence of what California truly is and address policy that will make life in California the best it can be for all citizens.

“We need someone in office that thinks differently in order to solve complex issues. As we run this campaign, it is our goal to educate the public on the depth of policy that has been passed so that they may see for themselves all of the details and caveats which have slowly eroded our autonomy and freedom as individuals. We will make policy with the best interests of the public in mind and not pander to the big pharma and other industries that now have their hands in the pockets of our politicians.”

As a successful entrepreneur, Major has the ability to effectively reform our institutions, create jobs, and make California a better place to live.

“I have the unique ability to walk into a room of a variety of ethnicities and political party affiliations and gain consensus through conversation.”

Under his leadership, Major Williams will bridge the divide between Californians, guide them to the right path, and usher the State to a new bright future.


John Bell Williams: Fifty-fifth Governor of Mississippi: 1968-1972

John Bell Williams’s political career took an unusual route to the office of governor. Most politicians first run for state or local office and then use those offices to launch a national career. Williams took the opposite approach. He served in the United States Congress for twenty-one years prior to his election as governor in 1967.

Williams, a native of Raymond, Mississippi, where he was born December 4, 1918, graduated from Hinds Junior College and then attended the University of Mississippi. After graduating from the Jackson School of Law, Williams was admitted to the bar and opened a law office at Raymond in 1940. Both Williams and his wife, the former Elizabeth Ann Wells, served in the U.S. military forces during World War II. Mrs. Williams serverd as a private in the Women’s Army Corps.

After serving two years as the Hinds County prosecuting attorney, Williams was elected to the U. S. Congress in 1946 from Mississippi’s third congressional district. At age twenty-seven, he was the youngest congressman in the state’s history. During his twenty-one years in Congress, which extended from the 80th Congress to the 90th, Williams was a champion of states’ rights and racial segregation.

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Brown v Board of Education of Topeka decision on Monday, May 17, 1954, Williams made a dramatic speech on the floor of the House of Representatives criticizing the court’s ruling. He branded Monday, May 17, 1954, “Black Monday.” Over the next several years, Williams became increasingly alienated from the national Democratic Party. In 1964 he publicly endorsed the Republican candidate for president, Barry Goldwater, and helped raise funds for his campaign in Mississippi. Goldwater received 87.1 percent of the presidential vote in Mississippi in 1964.

Because of his support for the Republican candidate and his fund-raising activities, the Democrats in Congress stripped Williams of his party seniority in 1965. Following his re-election to the House in 1966, Williams returned to Mississippi the next year and ran for governor as a Mississippi Democrat. From a large field of candidates, which included one former governor and two future governors, John Bell Williams emerged the eventual winner and was inaugurated January 16, 1968.

Like people across the nation, Mississippians in 1968 were disturbed by a seemingly unending Vietnam War. Yet in Mississippi, school desegregation remained the most troubling issue of all.

Although Governor Williams was an avowed segregationist, the most sweeping integration in Mississippi history occurred during his administration. By a federal court order the state’s dual segregated public school system was superseded by a unified integrated system in the spring of 1970. Governor Williams did not resist the court order and the transition from a dual to a unified system was made with remarkable success.

After he left office, Governor Williams resumed his law practice in Raymond which he continued until his death on March 25, 1983. The John Bell Williams Wildlife Management Area in Itawamba and Prentiss counties is named for Governor Williams.

David Sansing, Ph.D., is history professor emeritus, University of Mississippi.


William Bradford

BAPTISM: 19 March 1589/90 at Austerfield, co. Yorks, England, son of William and Alice (Hanson) Bradford.
FIRST MARRIAGE: Dorothy May, on 10 December 1613 at Amsterdam, Holland.
SECOND MARRIAGE: Alice (Carpenter) Southworth, on 14 August 1623 at Plymouth.
CHILDREN (by Dorothy): John
CHILDREN (by Alice): William, Mercy, Joseph
DEATH: 9 May 1657 at Plymouth.
yDNA HAPLOGROUP: I-M253

William Bradford's 1592 edition of the Geneva Bible, currently on display at the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth.

William Bradford was born in 1590 in the small farming community of Austerfield, Yorkshire. His father William died when young Bradford was just one year old. He lived with his grandfather William, until his grandfather died when he was six. His mother Alice then died when he was seven. Orphaned both from parents and grandparents, he and older sister Alice were raised by their uncle Robert Bradford. William was a sickly boy, and by the age of 12 had taken to reading the Bible, and as he began to come of age he became acquainted with the ministry of Richard Clyfton and John Smith, around which the Separatist churches of the region would eventually form about 1606. His family was not supportive of his moves, and by 1607 the Church of England were applying pressure to extinguish these religious sects. Bradford, at the age of 18, joined with the group of Separatists that fled from England in fear of persecution, arriving in Amsterdam in 1608. A year later he migrated with the rest of the church to the town of Leiden, Holland, where they remained for eleven years. Bradford returned to Amsterdam temporarily in 1613 to marry his 16-year old bride, Dorothy May. In Leiden, Bradford took up the trade of a silk weaver to make ends meet, and also was able to recover some of the estate in England that he had been left by his father, to support himself and his new wife in Leiden. They had a son, John, born about 1615-1617 in Leiden.

A chair that once belonged to Governor William Bradford, now on display at the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth.

By 1620, when a segment of the church had decided to set off for America on the Mayflower, Bradford (now 30 years old) sold off his house in Leiden, and he and his wife Dorothy joined however, they left young son John behind, presumably so he would not have to endure the hardships of colony-building. While the Mayflower was anchored off Provincetown Harbor at the tip of Cape Cod, and while many of the Pilgrim men were out exploring and looking for a place to settle, Dorothy Bradford accidentally fell overboard and drowned.

John Carver was elected governor of Plymouth, and remained governor until his death a year later in April 1621. Bradford was then elected governor, and was re-elected nearly every year thereafter. In 1623, he married to the widowed Alice (Carpenter) Southworth, and had a marriage feast very reminiscent of the "First Thanksgiving," with Massasoit and a large number of Indians joining, and bringing turkeys and deer. Bradford was the head of the government of Plymouth, oversaw the courts, the colony's finances, corresponded with investors and neighbors, formulated policy with regards to foreigners, Indians, and law, and so had a very active role in the running of the entire Colony. With his second wife, he had three more children, all of whom survived to adulthood and married.

Beginning in 1630, he started writing a history of the Plymouth Colony, which is now published under the title Of Plymouth Plantation. He continued writing his history of Plymouth through about 1651. Bradford's History is one of the primary sources used by historians, and is the only thorough history of Plymouth Colony that was written by a Mayflower passenger. It is required reading in a number of collegiate American History courses, and an edition of it was edited by MayflowerHistory.com historian Caleb Johnson (see Amazon.com link to the right). A number of his letters, poems, conferences, and other writings of William Bradford, have also survived.

William Bradford was generally sick all through the winter of 1656-1657 on May 8, Bradford predicted to his friends and family that he would die, and he did the next day, 9 May 1657, at the age of 68.

A 19th century photograph of St. Helen's, Austerfield, the church where William Bradford was baptized and the church of his early youth.

First page of William Bradford's handwritten history Of Plymouth Plantation.

The Bradford family plot on Burial Hill in Plymouth, where William Bradford and other family members are buried.

Photos in the slideshow above:

The Bradford family house in Austerfield, Yorkshire, England.

St. Helena's Church, Austerfield: the parish church of the Bradford family.

Dragon above the church door at St. Helena, Austerfield.

The baptism font of St. Helena's, Austerfield, where William Bradford was baptized in 1589/90.

The interior of St. Helena's, Austerfield, the parish church of the Bradford family.

This recent book by Sue Allan covers the lives of the often-overlooked Separatist women, including both of William Bradford’s wives, Dorothy (May) Bradford and Alice (Carpenter)(Southworth) Bradford. It is available in the U.S. from AmericanAncestors, and in the U.K. from Domtom Books.

This new book by Sue Allan covers the life of Governor William Bradford at Austerfield, Yorkshire, providing new details and insights into his origins and upbringing.


Governor of Michigan [ edit | edit source ]

On November 2, 1948, Williams was elected Governor of Michigan, defeating GovernorKim Sigler with the support of labor unions and dissident Republicans. He was subsequently elected to a record six two-year terms in that post. Among his accomplishments was the construction of theMackinac Bridge. He appeared on the cover of Time's September 15, 1952, issue, sporting his signature green bow tie with white polka dots.

Williams gained prominence for his refusal in 1950 to extradite Haywood Patterson, one of the Scottsboro Boys, who had escaped from prison in Alabama in 1948 and hidden in Detroit for two years. [4]

Also during his twelve years in office, a farm-marketing program was sanctioned, teachers' salaries, school facilities and educational programs were improved and there were also commissions formed to research problems related to aging, sex offenders and adolescence behavior.

Williams named the first woman judge in the state's history as well as the first black. [2]  As a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1956, he unsuccessfully sought the vice-presidential nomination. At the 1952, 1956 and 1960 conventions he fought for insertion of a strong civil rights plank in the party platform. He strongly opposed the selection of Lyndon Baines Johnson as vice president in 1960, feeling that Johnson was "ideologically wrong on civil rights." Williams made public his opposition, shouting "No" when a call was made for Johnson's nomination to be made unanimous. He was the only delegate to publicly oppose Johnson's nomination. [5]

His final term in office was marked by high-profile struggles with the Republican-controlled state legislature and a near-shutdown of the state government. He therefore chose not to seek reelection in 1960. Williams left office on January 1, 1961, his 12 years in office ultimately surpassed only by William Milliken (who served 14 years as governor).


Juneteenth in Massachusetts: State holiday not a time to be ashamed of our history but one to look forward, Springfield Rep. Bud Williams says

For Bud Williams, June 19 is more than a date on the calendar.

For the first time this Saturday, Juneteenth will be recognized as a state holiday in Massachusetts.

The state representative from Springfield was a sponsor of legislation that led to Juneteenth being recognized as an official state holiday.

“Last June we took the vote, made it a state holiday and the rest is history,” Williams told MassLive. “It was really moving for me to know I played a small part in making this happen.”

Williams called it a small, symbolic step that “sent positive vibrations throughout the commonwealth.”

It was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker in July.

“Juneteenth is a chance for us all to reflect on this country’s painful history of slavery and the systemic impact that racial injustice continues to have today,” Baker said last summer. “It is also an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the goal of creating a more equal and just society. As our country continues the national conversation around racial injustice, it is especially important that we recognize Juneteenth. I look forward to working with our legislative colleagues to recognize this important day more widely going forward.”

What is Juneteenth?

The annual commemoration on June 19 marks the day when Union Gen. Gordon Granger reached Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and enslaved people were free. That day — June 19, 1865 — was more than two years after Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln.

Juneteenth has long been commemorated by Black communities, both locally and nationwide, with annual Juneteenth events. It represents an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s history on racial justice.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the state’s first Black governor, signed a proclamation in 2007 to recognize Juneteenth.

Difference between a proclamation and state holiday

While a positive step, a “proclamation is just nice words,” Williams said. “This is the real thing, it’s recognized as a real holiday.”

With this comes a paid day off. Employees working in state government within the Legislature will get Friday, June 18, off while executive branch employees can take Friday or Monday off.

Students still in classes and employees of Massachusetts public schools will get Saturday off this year, unless local officials opt to give students and staff the Friday before or Monday following the holiday off. In 2022, they will get the Monday following off.

June 19 falls on a Saturday in 2021. Under state law, a legal holiday that falls on a Sunday is observed on the following Monday, and a legal holiday that falls on a Saturday is observed on Saturday.

For municipal employees working in Massachusetts communities, it is up to local government to determine if they get the day off. The Springfield City Council was one of several communities to offer this for city workers.

“I feel amazing about it,” said City Councilor Tracye Whitfield, a co-sponsor. “I think it’s a step in the right direction for the city of Springfield as we seek diversity, equity and inclusion.”

For the many Massachusetts residents working in the private sector, getting the day off depends on their workplace.

“Although it is not required by law, it would be commendable for employers to grant staff’s requests for paid time off on the Friday before or the Monday following Juneteenth,” Williams said. “I believe it would show a simple measure of solidarity, with hopes of obtaining a better understanding of the realities of black and brown individuals.”

Is it a federal holiday?

The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a bill to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday on Tuesday.

“Happy that my bill to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday just passed the Senate,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn said. “It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years. Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more perfect union.”

The federal bill now awaits passage in the House.

What’s next?

With the celebration of the first year of Juneteenth as a state holiday, Williams views now as a time to reflect on the past and continue to work forward.

“Don’t be ashamed of our history,” he said in an interview with MassLive, calling for wider discussion of what the day represents.

“They moved the ball to where we are now,” Williams said of Black Americans resiliency during and in the years since slaves were freed. “It’s incumbent upon us to go the rest of the way.”

To help address racial justice, the Legislature created the Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion, of which Williams was named House chair in January.

“This committee was formed in light of the George Floyd moment,” Williams said of the nation reacting to Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer captured on video in Minnesota last June.

Among the goals of the committee are to look at barriers Black and Brown residents face, from heightened policing in schools to ways to build generational wealth.

Nationwide, the median net worth of white families in the U.S. was $189,100 in 2019, almost eight times that of Black families, whose median net worth was $24,100, and five times that of Latino families.

In Massachusetts, the divide is starker. In 2014, the median net worth of a white household in the Greater Boston area was $247,500, while the median net worth of a Black household was $8, according to a 2013 report by the The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

The key difference between these families was home ownership.

Generations of redlining — the practice of refusing a line of credit to someone because they lived in an area deemed “risky” by a financial lender — led to significant segregation and limited opportunities for home ownership for Black and Brown families in Massachusetts, Williams said.

The committee is in the early stages of looking at what supports can be offered to boost home ownership.

Boosting generational wealth could have long-term impacts on the economy. A recent report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates that “Massachusetts gross state product (GSP) would increase by approximately $25 billion over five years if we were to close the racial divide in wages, housing, investments and wealth.”

On a national level, GDP “would have increased by $16 trillion if racial gaps between Blacks and whites on wages, housing and investments were closed 20 years ago,” the Foundation estimates. “If the gap were closed today, the nation would see a 1.75 percent increase in GDP over five years resulting from $5 trillion of additional growth.”

Watch MassLive managing producer Michelle Williams in conversation with Massachusetts state Rep. Bud L. Williams about his efforts to have Juneteenth recognized as a state holiday below.


G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams, Governor

Gerhard Mennen "Soapy" Williams, (February 23, 1911 – February 2, 1988), was a politician from the US state of Michigan. An heir to a personal grooming products fortune, he was known as "Soapy," and wore a trademark green bow tie with white polka dots.

A Democrat, Williams served for twelve years as the 41st Governor of Michigan and also served on the Michigan Supreme Court where he later became Chief Justice. Williams' most notable accomplishment as governor was the construction of the Mackinac Bridge which links Michigan's Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. At the time, this was the "world's longest suspension bridge between anchorages."

Williams was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Henry P. Williams and Elma Mennen. His mother came from a prominent family her father, Gerhard Heinrich Mennen, was the founder of the Mennen brand of men's personal care products (now marketed by the Colgate-Palmolive company). Because of this, Williams acquired the popular nickname "Soapy".

Williams attended the Salisbury School in Connecticut, an exclusive Episcopalian preparatory school. He graduated from Princeton University in 1933 and received a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. While at law school, Williams became affiliated with the Democratic Party, departing from his family's strong ties to the Republican Party.

Williams met Nancy Quirk on a blind date while attending the university. She was the daughter of D. L. Quirk and Julia (Trowbridge) Quirk, a prominent Ypsilanti family involved in banking and paper milling. Her brother, Daniel Quirk, was later mayor of Ypsilanti [1]. The couple married in 1937 and produced three children a son, G. Mennen Williams Jr., and two daughters, Nancy Ketterer III and Wendy Stock Williams.

He worked with the law firm Griffiths, Williams and Griffiths from 1936 to 1941. During World War II, he served four years in the United States Navy as an air combat intelligence officer in the South Pacific. He achieved the rank of lieutenant commander and earned ten battle stars. He later served as the deputy director of the Office of Price Administration from 1946 to 1947. Williams was named to the Michigan state Liquor Control Commission in 1947.

On November 2, 1948, Williams was elected Governor of Michigan, defeating Governor Kim Sigler, with the support of labor unions and dissident Republicans. He was subsequently elected to a record six two-year terms in that post. His most enduring accomplishment was probably the construction of the Mackinac Bridge, and he began the tradition of the governor leading the Mackinac Bridge Walk across it every Labor Day. He also appeared on the cover of Time Magazine’s September 15, 1952 issue, sporting his signature green bow tie with white polka dots. Frederick E. Tripp was his legislative adviser.

He was also famous for refusing to extradite Haywood Patterson, one of the Scottsboro Boys a prison escapee who was incarcerated, upon shaky testimony, for the rape of two white women.

Also during his twelve years in office, a farm-marketing program was sanctioned, teachers' salaries, school facilities and educational programs were improved and there were also commissions formed to research problems related to aging, sex offenders and adolescence behavior. He was also a delegate from Michigan to Democratic National Convention, in 1952 and 1956, in both years nominated Adlai Stevenson for U.S. President, who was unsuccessful against General Dwight Eisenhower in both general elections. He returned as a delegate to the 1960 convention, which nominated John F. Kennedy who was successful against Vice President Richard Nixon.

His final term in office was marked by high-profile struggles with the Republican-controlled state legislature and a near-shutdown of the state government. He therefore chose not to seek reelection in 1960. Williams left office on January 1, 1961, his 12 years in office ultimately surpassed only by William Milliken (who served 14 years as governor).

After leaving office in 1961, Williams assumed the post of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the administration of President John F. Kennedy, where Williams became known for his frequent refrain, "Africa for the Africans!" He served in this post until early 1966, when he resigned to unsuccessfully challenge Republican United States Senator Robert P. Griffin. Two years later, he was named by President Lyndon B. Johnson to be U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, where he served less than a year.

"Governor Williams" (he tended to use that honorific as an introductory phrase throughout his career) was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1970 and was named Chief Justice in 1983. Thus, like William Howard Taft in the federal government, he occupied the highest executive and judicial offices in Michigan government.

He left the Court on January 1, 1987 and died the following year in Detroit at the age of 76, just three weeks before his birthday. He was temporarily entombed at Evergreen Cemetery in Detroit and there was a formal military funeral for him. After winter his remains were interred at the Protestant Cemetery on Mackinac Island.

During his life he had been a member of the Order of the Coif, the Grange, Americans for Democratic Action, United World Federalists, American Legion, AMVETS, Sons of the American Revolution, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freemasons, Eagles, Elks, Moose International, AHEPA, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Delta Phi, and Phi Gamma Delta.


George Arthur Williams [RG3759.AM]

George Arthur Williams was born in Lafayette, Illinois, on August 17, 1864. He graduated from high school in Galva, Illinois, and took business training in Graysville, Tennessee. He came to Nebraska in 1888 and, except for a few years spent in the mercantile business in Tennessee, he farmed near Fairmont, Nebraska, until 1926 when he moved into town. During World War I, Williams was a member of the Fillmore County Council of Defense and served as manager of the second Fillmore County Red Cross fund drive.

Williams was a member of the Nebraska Legislature from 1919 to 1923. During that time he was a leader in the passage of highway legislation as well as in the formulation of the Civil Administration Code. He served as Lieutenant Governor from 1925 to 1931. He was a leader of national prominence in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He participated actively in the Allied Dry Forces of Nebraska (formerly the Nebraska Anti-Saloon League), serving at one time as president of that organization. Williams was a member and an officer of many civic organizations. He was widely known as an author and lecturer.

He was married to Lucretia Grubb at Galva, Illinois, in 1888. George Arthur Williams died in a sanitarium in Boulder, Colorado, on July 7, 1946, and is buried at Fairmont, Nebraska.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

This collection of the papers of George A. Williams, contained on one reel of microfilm, is arranged in three series: (1) Correspondence regarding politics, 1919-1943 (2) Correspondence regarding church matters, 1930-1945 and (3) Correspondence regarding prohibition, 1928-1945. This collection consists of the incoming correspondence of George A. Williams. Its contents reflect the interests and activities of Williams as they concern his elective offices held in Nebraska, his position as a national leader of and spokesman for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and his activities directed toward the prohibition of the sale and use of alcoholic beverages.

The Williams family loaned the letters for microfilming in 1977. The letters were microfilmed in the order in which they were received.

Series 1 – Correspondence regarding politics, 1919-1943
Series 2 – Correspondence regarding church matters, 1930-1945
Series 3 – Correspondence regarding prohibition, 1928-1945

Subject headings:

Allied Dry Forces of Nebraska
Anti-Saloon League of Nebraska
Nebraska. Legislature
Nebraska. Lieutenant Governor
Politicians -- Nebraska
Politics -- Nebraska
Prohibition
Seventh Day Adventist Church in Nebraska
Williams, George Arthur, 1864-1946


Roger Williams: The Verin Case

When Roger Williams fled Massachusetts in February of 1636 he was joined that spring by several other followers including a man named Joshua Verin, a rope maker and the son of Phillip Verin of Salem. By the summer of 1636, Roger had negotiated an agreement with the Narragansett for the land that became Providence, and founded a colony unique in its commitment to full liberty in religious beliefs.

In this new colony, Joshua Verin and his wife Jane obtained the lot next to Roger Williams. Joshua chose not to attend the religious meetings held in those early days at Roger’s house. This choice would not have been possible in the Massachusetts Bay or Plymouth colonies, where church attendance was mandatory. Against her husband’s wishes, Joshua’s wife Jane began regularly attending the religious meetings at Roger’s house. For this disobedience, Joshua beat her. As Williams described in a letter to Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop in May 1638,

“…he hath trodden her under foote tyrannically and brutishly: which she and we long bearing though with his furious blows she went in danger of Life…”.

Town members met to reprimand Verin for his brutal behavior and for violating his wife’s liberty of conscience. Counter opinions raised by Providence resident William Arnold and others in support of Joshua Verin argued that the town’s vote would “breach (an) ordinance of God, the subjection of wives to their husbands,” were to no avail. Instead “the major vote of us discard him from our Civill Freedome.” The town voted to disenfranchise Joshua, casting him out of Providence Colony for violating his wife’s freedom of conscience.

Joshua Verin returned to Salem. Sadly, he compelled his wife to accompany him. Of this Roger wrote:

He will hale his wife with ropes to Salem, where she must needes be troubled and troublesome as differences yet stand. She is willing to stay and live with him or else where, where she may not offend…”

Although the concern of Williams and town members about Jane Verin is clear in these documents, they were unable to ensure her safety. Today, we might call this a classic case of abuse, coercion and lack of protection.

In Puritan New England, as well as in Tudor and Stewart England, it was the accepted belief that intelligence and understanding was given to men, not women. Women were not allowed to speak in church, and were seen as intellectually and morally inferior (starting with Eve’s failing in the Garden of Eden). At the same time, women were a valuable part of the 17 th century household, particularly in early New England where they were expected to maintain and direct the household operation in the absence of the husband. However, when the husband was present, they were expected to defer judgment to him.

In Puritan New England, it was not uncommon for courts to punish husbands for abusing their wives. Corporal ‘correction’ was allowed, but if the ‘correction’ became so severe as to disrupt the peace of the community, the authorities had the right to step in. Plymouth town records indicate:

That all such misdemeanors of any pson or psons as tend to the hurt & detriment of society Civility peace & neighbourhood be enquired into by the grand Enquest & the psons presented to the Court that so the disturbers thereof may be punished & the peace & welfare of the subject comfortably preserved. (PCR 11: 18).

Joshua Verin was not prosecuted for ‘his furious blows’ that put his wife Jane ‘in danger of Life.’ He was prosecuted for violating an individual’s liberty of conscience. What is significant about what happened in the spring of 1638 in Providence is that it appears to be the first time a legal action was taken which supported a woman’s decision, independent of her husband, to act according to the dictates of her conscience.

Earlier that very same year, Anne Hutchinson, of Boston, was charged with heresy and banished from Massachusetts. In 1637, Hutchinson had challenged the Puritan clergy and asserted her own religious views. Her preaching was labeled "antinomianism" or heresy. Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts called her a “woman of haughty and fierce carriage, a nimble wit and active spirit, a very voluble tongue, more bold than a man.” Anne insisted on practicing religion as she chose, including preaching herself.

After being banished from Massachusetts she went to Rhode Island. With assistance from Roger Williams, she and others purchased an area on Aquidnick Island and established the settlement of Portsmouth in 1638, further affirming Rhode Island as a refuge for those persecuted for conscience sake.

. at last to proclaim a true and absolute soul-freedom to all the people of the land impartially so that no person be forced to pay nor pray, otherwise then as his soul believeth and consenteth.

Ought the nation and every person in it, be permitted to see with its own eyes, and to make free choice of that ministrie, and maintenance they please, whether parochial or otherwise.

-Roger Williams


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