Reference Entry

Williams, John Elias

Thaddeus Russell

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Williams, John Elias (28 October 1853–02 January 1919), industrial mediator, was born in Merthyr-Tydfil, Wales, the son of John Elias Williams, a coal miner, and Elizabeth Bowen. In 1864 the family moved to Streator, a coal-mining town in central northern Illinois. Soon after their arrival in the United States, Williams’s father was killed by a rock fall while on the job, forcing Williams to take a job as a miner. He mined coal in and around Streator from age thirteen until he was twenty-eight years old. During the summer, when most mines operated at half-time, Williams spent his free time educating himself and participating in study clubs. He became the secretary and check weighman of the first labor union in Streator. In 1877 he married Isabella Dickinson....

Reference Entry.  852 words. 

Subjects: Manufacturing ; History of Manufacturing and Construction

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