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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Judge Joseph J. Williams, attorney, at Hillsboro, and a native of Washington County, Mo., was born in 1838, and is the eldest of three children. His parents, Elder James and Nancy (Jeffries) Williams, were natives of Kentucky, born in 1789 and 1799, respectively. The father was married three times, his second wife being the mother of the subject of this sketch. After his first marriage the father removed to Washington County, Mo., where he remained until 1840, when he removed to Jefferson County, locating on Big River, and here passed the remainder of his life, dying in 1861. He was for over forty years a Baptist minister, and followed this in connection with his farming. He figured prominently in organizing and building up the church of Southeast Missouri, where he left a lasting remembrance. The mother died in 1856, and was also a member of the Baptist Church. Joseph J. remained at home and attended the common schools until about the age of seventeen, after which time he spent two years at McKendree College, at Lebanon, Ill. He then took up the study of law and was admitted to the Jefferson County bar at the age of twenty-one, which profession he has since successfully followed. He was married, in 1862, to Miss Mary M., daughter of Henry and Caroline Miller, formerly of Mississippi, but early settlers of Jefferson County, Mo., where Mrs. Williams was born. To Mr. Williams and wife three children were born, only one of whom, a daughter named Frances L., is now living. Mr. Williams has been quite successful financially, and is now pleasantly located in the northeast part of the town. He is a member of the A. O. U. W. and is an active Democrat in politics. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. From 1872 to 1876 he was probate judge, and was then elected prosecuting attorney, which office he held for two years. In 1880 he was elected to the thirty-first general assembly of Missouri and served one term. He was for four years associated in his practice with James F. Green.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Jefferson County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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