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George A. Williams

Second superintendent of schools in Kingsbury County, D.T.,

For superintendent of schools, George A. Williams, is the republican nominee. His acquaintance in this portion of the county is somewhat limited, yet enough of him has been learned to guarantee us in saying that he is competent. He is an experienced teacher and a scholar and has done honor to the position of superintendent of schools in eastern states. -Lake Preston Times, October 1882

George Asher Williams was born in Alfred (Allegany Co.) New York on April 10, 1836, to Nathan and Fanny Williams. At the age of eighteen, Williams entered Albion Academy, a coeducational institution under the direction of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Albion, Wisconsin, graduating with a Bachelor of Philosophy. He returned to New York, where he joined in Company K, 23rd New York Infantry, serving from May 1861 until discharge in May 1863.

George Williams married Charlotte Hitchcock in 1861 and settled in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. They had two sons: George (1867-1892) and Ernest (1871-1945). Williams served many years as principal of the Lake Mills School.

Around 1880, the Williamses moved to Kingsbury County. George preempted the SW 22-109-57 in 1882; he also had an adjoining tree claim on the SE 22, making final proof in 1891. In the fall of 1882, George A. Williams (Republican) ran for superintendent of schools against Samuel O. Masters (Democrat), defeating Masters in the November election. Williams took office in January 1883, replacing the first superintendent of schools in Kingsbury County, Amos Whiting. Williams served for four years. It was he who gave Laura Ingalls her two teaching exams in December 1883 and April 1885, and he who visited her while teaching the Bouchie School. Williams’ office was in the De Smet Leader office. As part of his duties, Williams supplied annual reports to the Territorial Superintendent of Schools, such as the one shown here.

Also a farmer during his years as superintendent, Williams changed careers after leaving the school system, becoming part owner in a drug store in Iroquois in 1887, soon moving to Brookings, where he worked as a druggist. Following the death of their son George in 1892, Charlotte Williams seems to have moved back to Wisconsin, and the couple must have divorced. In 1893, George Williams married Jeanie Burleigh (1850-1922), who had settled in neighboring Beadle County and homesteaded there. The couple had no children.

In 1909, Jeanie and George Williams moved to Hot Springs, South Dakota, where George was treated for a number of ailments at the Old Soldiers’ Home for about six months. They remained at Hot Springs, where George Williams died on April 19, 1913. He was buried in Albion (Dane County) Wisconsin.


George A. Williams (LTP 25; THGY 9, 18), see also superintendent