Williams, David Edward - Biography





            David 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.


            They were 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 disease.


            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.


            After a 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.


            They took 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.


            They 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.


                        David 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 good name.


            David 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 President.


            While 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.


            He was 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.


            David 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 dear friends.


Written by Rachel Williams McKnight


(Copied obtain from DUP Museum, Salt Lake City, Utah)



Williams, David Edward


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