George Howard Williams

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George Howard Williams
Senator George Howard Williams.JPG
United States Senator
from Missouri
In office
May 25, 1925 – December 5, 1926
Preceded by Selden P. Spencer
Succeeded by Harry B. Hawes
Personal details
Born (1871-12-01)December 1, 1871
California, Missouri
Died November 25, 1963(1963-11-25) (aged 91)
Sarasota, Florida
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Harriet C. (Stewart) Williams
Children two sons; Howard Williams
Stewart Williams
Occupation Attorney

George Howard Williams (December 1, 1871 – November 25, 1963) was an American politician and attorney from the state of Missouri. A Republican, he served as U.S. Senator from Missouri from 1925 to 1926, completing the term of Selden P. Spencer following the latter's death.

Early life[edit]

George H. Williams was born in California, Moniteau County, Missouri[1] to John Morrow and Alice Gray (Howard) Williams. His father was heavily involved in state and local politics, serving as a member of the Missouri Senate, a prosecuting attorney, and circuit judge.[2] Following his graduation from California High School in 1889, George Williams attended college preparatory classes at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri. He then attended Princeton University, earning his degree in 1894.[1] After Princeton George Williams taught for a short time at California High School while also studying law and clerking at his fathers law office.[2] He went on to further study at Washington University in St. Louis, receiving his LLB in 1897. Williams was admitted to the Missouri Bar the same year, at which time he established a law practice in St. Louis, Missouri

In June, 1900 Williams married Harriet Chase Stewart, daughter of prominent St. Louis attorney Alphonso Stewart and granddaughter of Confederate Civil War General Alexander P. Stewart.[2][3] The couple would have two sons; Howard and Stewart.[4] In 1902 Williams joined the law firm of his father-in-law.

Politics[edit]

George Williams, long involved in Missouri Republican politics, was appointed a circuit court judge for the St. Louis region in 1906, a position he would hold until 1912.[1] In that position he was a key player in developing a new juvenile code for Missouri, and took a strong interest in bettering the lives of children that lasted even after he left the court. As chair of the St. Louis Board of Children's Guardians, he helped establish Bellefontaine Farms, a home for troubled, orphaned, and abandoned children.[2]

In 1922 Williams was named as a delegate to the Missouri Constitutional Convention, where his acumen for business law proved especially valuable. The convention allowed Williams to gain some name recognition around the state as well as he chaired several important committees. In 1923, in appreciation for his service, Missouri Valley College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.[2] With the unexpected death of Senator Selden Spencer in May, 1925 George H. Williams was tapped by Missouri Governor Sam Baker to fill the remaining eighteen months of Spencer's term until the 1926 general election. As senator, Williams served as chairman of the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses, and as a member of the Committee on Private Land Claims.[1] George Williams defeated two fellow Republicans, David M. Proctor and Blodgdett Priest, with 56-percent of the vote to win the August 1926 U.S. Senate primary.[5] However in the November general election he lost to Democratic challenger Harry B. Hawes 52-percent to 48-percent.[6]

Later life[edit]

Following his senate defeat, George Williams returned to his St. Louis law practice until 1943 when he retired and moved to Matson, Missouri. Long interested in state and national history, Williams led an effort to preserve a St. Charles County, Missouri farm once owned by Daniel Boone.[2] The effort was a success, with Lindenwood University now owning and operating the Historic Daniel Boone Home and Heritage Center near Defiance, Missouri.[7] During his life George Williams was a financial backer of several colleges and universities, including his alma maters Drury College and Princeton as well as Westminster College and College of the Ozarks[2] In 1950, George Williams moved once again, to Sarasota, Florida, where he died on November 25, 1963. He is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in California, Missouri.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "George H. Williams Congressional biography". United States Congress website. 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Christensen, Lawrence O.; Foley, William E.; Kremer, Gary R. (1999). Dictionary of Missouri Biography. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. p. 578. 
  3. ^ "Alphonso C. Stewart bio". FindAGrave.com. 21 November 2000. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Harriet Stewart Williams". Ancestry.com. 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Republican Primary, 1926 Missouri Senate". Our Campaigns.com. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "1926 Missouri U.S. Senate election". Our Campaigns.com. 20 July 2005. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Historic Daniel Boone Home & Heritage Center". Lindenwood University. 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
United States Senate
Preceded by
Selden P. Spencer
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Missouri
1925–1926
Served alongside: James A. Reed
Succeeded by
Harry B. Hawes