Luther D. WILLIAMS, who for fifty-two years has been a resident of Steuben township and is familiar with its history from pioneer times to the present period of prosperity and progress, was born in Marietta, Ohio, on the 11th of January. 1836. Robert WILLIAMS, grandfather of Luther D. WILLIAMS, was a native of Wales, and emigrated to America, settling in Pennsylvania in 1798. His son, Thomas WILLIAMS, was a native of Pennsylvania, born north of Philadelphia on the 17th of January, 1798. He was a farmer, and in the year 1854 came with his family to Illinois, being twenty-three days upon the road." His son Luther drove one of the wagons on that trip. They only passed one building between Urbana and Paris, Illinois, and it was a kind of a tavern. Prior to this time Mr. WILLIAMS of this review never saw a man with a cattle whip, and he also saw his first prairie chickens on this prairie. No regular roads had been laid out and they drove on over the prairie, crossing the sloughs and other depressions of the ground, which made travel by wagon very hard. At length the family home was established on section 29, Steuben township, where Luther D. WILLIAMS yet resides. The father was fifty-six years of age at the time of his arrival, and was in poor health. He purchased one hundred acres of land, but was not long permitted to enjoy his now home, for his death occurred in 1858, when he was sixty-one years of age. He was a Jacksonian democrat, and both he and his wife were members of the Baptist Theological Seminary of Chicago, which he called the Theological Baptist church - the only one of the kind at that time. Mrs. WILLIAMS bore the maiden name of Jane M. GUITTO and was born in Fearing township, Washington county, Ohio, November 5, 1811, her father being Benjamin GUITTO.
Luther D. WILLIAMS was an only child and was reared in the east to the age of eighteen years, during which time he acquired a fair public school education. He then accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, and, as before stated, drove a team across the country. He has now lived in Steuben township for more than a half century. He attended the Yankee street school, which was. the second schoolhouse built in the township, the lumber all being hauled from Chicago. He began farming on his own account in the spring of 1859 and being the only child he inherited the old homestead place from his father, comprising one hundred acres of land. To this he has since added, however, until he now has a valuable property of three hundred and thirty-seven acres which he has brought under a high state of cultivation and which has become thereby a valuable property. He has also added to it many modern improvements and now has one of the most desirable farms of the county. In 1862 he began running a threshing machine, purchasing the first machine of Dana HULL, of Henry. He has owned four different machines and he continued actively in threshing until 1887, since which time his son has carried on the business. He also owns three hundred and twenty acres in Crawford county, Michigan.
Mr. WILLIAMS was married December 29, 1860, to Miss Harriet CARVER, who was born in Newport township, Washington county, Ohio. They played together when children, but never met again until the CARVER family started for Iowa in 1854. Passing through Illinois, they stopped for a visit at the home of the WILLIAMS family and concluded to remain in this state. The early acquaintance of the young people was resumed and the friendship ripened into love, being consummated in marriage in 1860. The wedding was celebrated in Steuben township about two miles from Mr. WILLIAMS' present farm. The lady was a daughter of James F. and Sarah (TOOTHACHER) CARVER, the former a native of Newport township, Washington county, Ohio, and the latter of Virginia. The father, who was a cooper by trade, died in McLean county, Illinois, in 1892. Mrs. CARVER and the mother of our subject were school children together. Mr. and Mrs. Luther D. WILLIAMS traveled life's journey happily as man and wife for forty-three years and were then separated through the death of Mrs. WILLIAMS on the 29th of September, 1903. She had gained many friends in the community, so that her loss was deeply regretted throughout this part of the county as well as by her immediate family. Unto them had been born six children: Timothy J., who wedded Mary THOMAS, of Chillicothe, Illinois, now follows farming on section 32, Steuben township. J. Thomas, living on section 29, Steuben township, married Amelia HILL, who died in February, 1892, leaving one son. Roscoe is operating a threshing machine. Mary A. W. is the wife of Joseph HART, and they live with her father, her husband conducting the home farm. Charles D., born July 14, 1867, died in 1889. James Howel died very suddenly in 1892. He was planting corn on Wednesday, and on Friday he passed away.
Mr. WILLIAMS served as collector of Steuben township in 1865, and collected ten thousand dollars, which was the largest collection ever made in the township. He has also been road commissioner. He belongs to the Odd Fellows lodge at Chillicothe, of which he has been a member for a quarter of a century. His long residence in the county has made him widely known, while his many good qualities have gained for him the favorable regard of those with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact. He has worked diligently and perseveringly in the conduct and improvement of his farm, which is today a valuable property, making him one of the leading agriculturists of the community.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.