LIFE OF DAVID EDWARD WILLIAMS PIONEER OF 1863
Edward Williams, son of David Williams and Margaret Edwards was born November 22, 1822 at Slanqarck, South Wales. He
grew up there working at different jobs were ever he could find work to help
support their large family. He received little or no education. He married Jane
Rees and they, together, partly raised eight children.
converted to the Church and David was Presiding Elder over the Branch for
sometime. Soon after they joined the Church, while David and the eldest son and
daughter were working away from home, the family were
stricken with the terrible disease of Cholera. The mother and five of the
children died. The baby was taken out of the home and consequently escaped the
In the year
1863 David came to America,
bringing his youngest child with him. His eldest daughter having come some
months earlier and his eldest son would have come with him but some friends who
were prejudiced against the Church got him drunk and kept him from taking the
ship right at the last hour, so he was left behind and never did come to
America. His name was David, Jr.
hard and adventurous trip across the plains he landed in Utah in September of the same year. He was
sent down to Beaver County some two hundred miles south of Salt Lake City to help
settle that territory. He helped build roads and bridges and spent many weeks
clearing that land and making it ready to raise crops for the many people who
were coming into the little communities in that county.
It was a
few years after he arrived in Beaver that he met Margaret Reese, who had left
all her loved ones in Wales
and had come to Utah
with friends, for the Gospel’s sake. She was sixteen years of age. Their’s was a short courtship and on the 8th of February 1866
they were married.
up a little homestead in the little community known as Greenville. There they worked side by side
clearing the land and building a home. It was in this little home they reared
eleven children. Two more were born to them but died in infancy. They never
hired any work done on the farm. Until the boys were large enough to work the
two of them worked side by side early and late to make a living for their
family. They raised beautiful garden vegetables and at Conference times would
go to Salt Lake City.
That was a time they looked forward to, when they could enjoy mingling with
other of their friends, receiving encouragement from the heads of the Church,
and purchase necessary materials to do them until another season. These were
happy trips full of various experiences.
endured all the hardships typical of the early pioneers. Had many troubles with
the Indians but soon learned to make friends with them and settle quarrels and
disturbances among the Indians themselves. The Indians then called David “The
White Bishop.” His personality was outstanding he was kind and diplomatic. He
was loved by all who knew him.
began to prosper after his second marriage. He earned a living by farming and
peddling produce at the mining camps. He was noted for his honesty in dealings
and always gave good measure and good produce. He could always sell his load.
One time a man gave him $5.00 gold piece by mistake as a quarter in making change. He did not notice it until he came home the next
day. He went back gave the money back and told the man of the mistake. He had
not discovered it.
He got a
few sheep and kept them in the Beaver County Coop herd. He had stock in the
Coop store and woolen mills at Beaver. When his boys grew up they went in the
sheep business and had a good start because of the reputation of their father’s
Edward Williams was a Counselor in the Greenville Ward Bishopric under Bishop Lillywhite for ten years or more. He sent John R., Griffity, George, Frank and Heber on missions to preach the
gospel he had embraced in the old world. Griffith and Franklin went back to England and Wales. Griffith died while there. David Jr. had long
since passed on, however, by this time. All of the family married in the
Church. All of the boys became Bishops but Heber and he became a Stake
getting wood in the hills south of Greenville
one day, a stick hit him in the eye. He gradually went blind and was blind for
several years. He went to the Manti
Temple for his sight and
his sight was restored for five years. He could see to read without glasses but
still he went blind after a time. This time the Doctors told him that the
cataracts had completely eaten the optic nerve and he remained blind the rest
of his life. His children led him to visit his friends and his faithful wife
led him around and to church. She would lead him and tell him the conditions of
the crops and at irrigation time she would take him out into the field so he could
feel the amount of water going down each row. He was very particular about his
irrigation. He was an expert farmer and left his wife and children all in good
circumstances when he passed away, with flocks of sheep and farms.
always faithful in paying his tithes and offerings, and always taught his
children to love God and obey His Commandments no matter what the cost. He
always said, and it was repeated by his faithful wife, “I may not leave my
children worldly wealth but if I can leave them all with a testimony of this
Gospel I shall be satisfied.” His deeds of righteousness have lived after him
and will continue to live in the lives of his children and grandchildren.
Edward Williams had a wonderful gift of healing and spent much of his latter
life blessing the sick. Many were raised up immediately. Many people sent for
him to bless them and although totally blind the last six years of his life he
was led day or night to the bedside of the sick in that little town. He died at
the age of seventy-nine on the 31
January, 1901 at Greenville, Beaver County, Utah.
He was buried in the little cemetery on the hill just outside the little town
he had loved so much, along side his neighbors and
Written by Rachel Williams McKnight
(Copied obtain from DUP
Museum, Salt Lake City, Utah)