Williams, Otis W. 1870-1947

Otis W. Williams was born September 16, 1870 at Mt. Erie in Wayne County, Illinois. At the age of thirteen, he moved with his parents J.C. and Katherine (Atterbury) Williams to Marion. In 1891 he went to Creal Springs and in 1892 was married to Miss Anna Jones, then a teacher in the Creal Springs schools.

He was appointed Creal Postmaster in 1894 and served in that vocation for four years, at the end of which time he moved to Marion and practiced the trade of contractor/builder. By the year 1900, Otis and his wife Anna are in their late 20’s and have two sons, Robert who was 3 and Carl 5. They had lost one child to death and they lived on East College Street.

In 1904 they purchased an existing home at 804 S. Buchanan Street. A photo of their home was included in the 1905 Souvenir Book and they were quite proud of the home which he valued at $3,000. He commented that the house was not for sale at any price. Unfortunately, I suspect the home burned down around 1905 or 1906, because by 1907 the family was listed at 112 E. Jefferson St. and later directories have never listed a home at that location again.

Otis was elected City Alderman in Ward 3 in 1902, 1903 and 1904. In his last year as Alderman Mr. Williams purchased the furniture business in the Hyde building at 214 N. Market St. and closed out his business as carpenter, contractor and builder. Ward 3 in those days constituted all homes East of South Market and South of East Main Street.

According to his 1907 business listing, his business was furniture and undertaking. By the 1910 census, Otis was 39 and Anna 37, their son Robert was 13, Carl 10 and another new son Lloyd was 2. They have his widowed mother in law, Emma Jones 54 living with them at 119 E. Jefferson St.

In 1920, Otis and his wife Anna are in their late 40’s and are now living at 201 W. Boulevard St. Robert and Carl are in their early 20’s and the youngest Lloyd is 12. Robert is a salesman for his dad’s furniture store and Carl is the book keeper. They own their home on Boulevard St.

In the 1920’s they moved their furniture business to 307 N. Market St. What is now 307 and 309 N. Market were built by Otis in the early 1920’s. On April 12, 1927, their business had a close call when the Christian Church across the street at 310 N. Market St. was destroyed.

By 1930 the couple has reached their late 50’s and are still in their Boulevard home which they value at $5,000. He is still working at his business on North Market St.

In 1935, likely seeking less maintenance for their home, the couple move to an apartment building at 712 N. Market where they pay $30 a month rent. They are still found here in the 1940 census when they have reached 69 and 67 years of age respectively. He is still working but is now dealing in the real estate sale of lands and buildings. He claims to have finished his third year of high school. His widowed mother in law, Emma Jones is 84 and living with them.

Otis passed away on May 30, 1947 and was buried on the first day of June at Rose Hill cemetery.

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(Data from Federal census records, business and street directories, death records, photo and some data from 1905 Souvenir Book, WCHS; compiled by Sam Lattuca on 01/24/2013)

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