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James Williams (Delaware representative)

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Preceded by  James R. Lofland
Role  American Politician
Political party  Democratic
Party  Democratic Party
Profession  farmer
Succeeded by  Edward L. Martin
Name  James Williams

James Williams (Delaware representative)
Born  August 4, 1825 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1825-08-04)
Died  April 12, 1899, Smyrna, Delaware, United States
Residence  Smyrna, Delaware, United States
Books  A Narrative of Events, Since the First of August, 1834, by James Williams, an Apprenticed Labourer in Jamaica

James Williams (August 4, 1825 – April 12, 1899) was an American farmer and politician from Smyrna, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as U. S. Representative from Delaware.


Early life and family

Williams was the son of John (1775-1849) and Esther Williams in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father was a lumber merchant, and his early education was by private tutoring. He first became an apprentice carpenter, intending to become an architect. In 1848 his father bought a large estate in Kent County, Delaware and young Williams moved to Kenton to take up farming and manage the property.

Professional and political career

Williams became politically active in the Democratic Party, and was elected to the Delaware House of Representatives, serving in 1857/1858, 1863/1864 and 1883/84. He next served in the State Senate from 1891/92, and was the Speaker of the Senate for 1869/70. In 1872 he was a delegate to the party's national convention which nominated Horace Greeley for U.S. President. Williams was twice elected as Delaware's only member in the United States House of Representatives, serving in two terms from 1875 until 1879, in the 44th and 45th Congress under U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes.

He remained a farmer throughout his public service. After returning to private life he expanded into fertilizer manufacturing, and increased his farm holdings in Delaware and Maryland. In 1891 he moved to Smyrna, Delaware, but continued farming for the rest of his life.

Death and legacy

Williams lived quietly, died at Smyrna, and is buried there at the St. Peter's Episcopal Church Cemetery.


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the General Assembly take office the second Tuesday of January. State Senators have a four-year term and State Representatives have a two-year term. Williams completed part of an existing State Senate term. U.S. Representatives took office March 4 and have a two-year term.

Places with more information

  • Delaware Historical Society; website; 505 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801; (302) 655-7161
  • University of Delaware; Library website; 181 South College Avenue, Newark, Delaware 19717; (302) 831-2965
  • References

    James Williams (Delaware representative) Wikipedia

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