Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Williamson's, Pioneers of Crook County Wyoming

William and Effie's Wedding Picture. February 11, 1887

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I'm just about to drive down the hill to the school to get things ready for the Space Center's weekly overnight camp program. Before I leave I thought I'd post this to the blog. It is a short biography on William Jonathan Williamson written by granddaughter, Carol Stephenson, for inclusion in a book titled Crook County Pioneers published by members of Wyoming Historical Society.
For a refresher on the family line:

George Matthew Williamson and Margaret Ann Willis
William Jonathan Williamson and Effie Victor
Their 9 children from which we make our extended Williamson family.

And now cousin Carol's article:
W.J. and Effie Victor Williamson became acquainted when their families both lived and farmed near Corning, Iowa in the late 1880's. He was the eldest son of George and Margaret Willis Williamson. They married February 13, 1887 and soon after came to the Black Hills, Dakota Territory to find their fortune. They became parents of nine children, five girls, Vennie, Della, Inez, Ethel and Josie, and boys, Emmett, Walter, Charles and Maurice. Eventually George and Margaret followed their son out west where homesteads were established by both families just west and south of Rapid City, South Dakota. In the early 1900's they relocated to the Sundance, Wyoming area where W.J. began his lifetime work as a grocer. He bought into the firm of Davies and Purvis in 1913 and later was employed by the Rochdale Company where he ran a grocery in Buelah for several years. In 1927 he opened his own grocery and filling station located at West and Cleveland streets. The Sundance Times printed this on December 22, 1927 regarding W.J. and his Westside Grocery. "Genial W.J. Williamson always meets his customers with a pleasant voice no matter when, how or where and it will pay you to look in on him for one of the famous cakes he has recently stocked." After serving several years as city councilman as well as school board treasurer, W.J. was elected Mayor of Sundance. His tenure was two terms. The newspaper reported in 1928 "that Mayor Williamson and his council have conducted the governmental affairs of Sundance in a conservative and business-like manner to further the welfare of the city and its citizens." His daughter Josie served as clerk of the city council and later as clerk of the District Court. Walter followed W.J. into the grocery business with a store in Deadwood, South Dakota. Charles and Maurice were salesmen for a wholesale grocery firm. Emmett ran a well-known bakery in Custer, S.D. The Sundance Times reported W.J.'s death on December 14, 1934 from cancer. Effie kept the grocery open for two more years and then sold it. Her final years were spent with daughter Vennie in Spearfish, S.D. She passed away April 9, 1944. They rest together next to his parents in Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Sundance. They can be included as pioneer members of Crook County but are remembered by their families as hard working, civic-minded, yet fun-loving residents of Sundance. A family reunion held July 2007 in Spearfish brought together over 200 descendants from all over the country.