Williams, Esten Kenneth

Rifleman Esten Kenneth Williams prior to leaving with the North West Field Force

Rifleman Esten Kenneth Williams was born 31 January 1866 in Chatham Ontario, son of George Aldred Williams and Annie Rankin.

He moved to Toronto and by 1882 he had joined The Queen’s Own Rifles.

In 1885 he was part of the North West Field Force.

Esten Williams became a magistrate after the North West Field Force expedition and made his way west again in the early 1900’s bringing his family with him (wife Edith and five children) and buying land in Leduc, Alberta. He farmed the land and held court in Leduc and surrounding towns.

It seems that his experience in the Field Force drew him back to the prairies. He had left a very comfortable life in Toronto but something about the prairies lured him back.

His granddaughter remembers that he always had a spoon with a ribbon on it sitting on the mantlepiece and he said it was from the time of the Rebellion. Sadly no one knows the whereabouts of this spoon today. She also remembers Esten saying that he thought he had fought on the wrong side of the Rebellion.

Esten’s father-in-law Colonel Kenneth Goodman, a lawyer by profession, commanded the 29 Battalion of Waterloo in 1866 and fought in the Fenian Raids. In 2021 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Ken Seiling Museum in Kitchener Waterloo.

Esten’s eldest son Kenneth Williams was Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench in Manitoba, professor and author. The University of Manitoba’s Law Library was named after him. Another son Owen, was conscripted briefly during WWI.

The farm was sold after Esten’s wife Edith passed away and he went to live with his youngest daughter Lynne and her family in Vancouver.

After he passed away 22 August 1947 in Vancouver, he was buried in the Leduc cemetery in Alberta along with his wife Edith, son Rudy, and his two older sisters Alice and Elizabeth who came to live with him on the farm.

Partial Service Record:

  • 1882 – Private in H Company, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada [Pay List]
  • 1882-1883 – Private in H Company, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada [Annual Nominal Roll]
  • 1885 – Private in H Company, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada [List of those who participated in the North West Field Force]

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

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