Williams, Adophus

Rifleman Adophus Williams was born on 18 July 1844 in Aylmer, Ontario, to Dr. Adolphus Williams, who emigrated from London, England, to settle in Canada circa 1837, and Mary Burdick. Dr Williams became one of Elgin County’s highly respected doctors and local community statesmen.

Williams the younger received his general education at the St. Thomas Grammar School, and then enrolled in a general arts program at the University of Toronto, from where he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1866 and received a silver medal in natural sciences.

During the last year of his studies, he enlisted with the 9th Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles, which was designated the University College Company of the Queen’s Own, consisting entirely of students.

The events of the Fenian Raid of 1866 into southern Ontario by Irish republican dissidents took place about the same time as graduation, and the Queen’s Own Rifles became involved in the conflict with the arrival of the Fenians at Fort Erie. This included the University College Company, and specifically Williams, who saw action at the Battle of Ridgeway. After the conclusion of the military operation against the Fenian insurrection, Williams was stationed at Fort Erie, and then shifted to Stratford until he was discharged.

In 1912 he applied for a grant under the Fenian Raid  Volunteer Bounty Act although its not clear if he received it.

He joined the law firm of Bell, Crowther & Tilt in Toronto to study law, and later opened his law practice in Welland. Circa 1870, he had married Maria Vanderlip, bought a lot on the northeast corner of Church and Niagara streets in the same year, and built a house.

Enjoying a successful business, he was recognized as being part of the bar of the County of Welland, and sat on city council as a reeve in 1875 and 1878, being responsible for the planning and development of the First through Seventh streets neighbourhood as well as Front Street, which was later renamed Canal Bank.

In 1877, his wife died from heart disease after a protracted health struggle. Williams chose to remain in Welland for a number of years, but in 1889, he put his house up for sale and moved to Vancouver, B.C. There, he remarried to Kate Rayburn, and continued his career by serving as a lawyer with the company of McPhillips & Williams.

He would also serve as the city’s police magistrate from 1903 to 1909, and finally as the representative of Vancouver City in the British Columbia Legislative Assembly from 1894 to 1898, until his death on 3 September 1921.

He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, BC, grave reference: HORNE1-3-01-024-0009.

Sources: The Welland Tribune, Find a Grave

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

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