Pulaski County

Biography - Albert Williamson

ALBERT W. WILLIAMSON, president of the Williamson-Kuny Mill & Lumber Company, has been a resident of Mound City for the past thirty years, and it would be indeed difficult to say if any other citizen of that eity has done more for its development or given greater aid to the city and county in the administration of its affairs than has he.

Albert W. Williamson was born in Chicago, Illinois, November 16, 1858, in which city his father, David C. Williamson, was engaged in the manufacture of staves. The latter was born near Oswego, New York, in 1830, being the son of a farmer and with not more advantages than the average country youth is favored with. In his young manhood Mr. Williamson engaged in the manufacture of hardwood lumber with a small mill near his native town, but he subsequently transferred his activities to Camden, New Jersey, and in the early fifties established himself in Chicago in a manufacturing business. During the ensuing years be suffered financial reverses, due to various causes, and he left Chicago, taking over the management of a stave mill in Valparaiso, Indiana. He was thus occupied until 1866, when he went to Paducah, Kentucky, in which town he launched out into business on his own responsibility again, and he was connected with the firm of Farley & Williamson as one of its partners when he passed away in 1876.

In the neighborhood where he was born and reared David Williamson married Miss Angelina Dudley, and she is now a member of the family of her son Albert W., in Mound City, at the advanced age of eighty-one years. Two children of their union survive: Ella, wife of T. M. Ford, and Albert W., of this review.

Albert W. Williamson was educated in the public schools of Kentucky. As soon as he arrived at an age when he would be of assistance to his father in the business he entered the office of the Farley & Williamson Company, where he acquired a concise and far-reaching knowledge of the technical side of the business, and proved himself so well conversant with the intricacies of the business that on the death of his parent he remained in the business for five years as the partner of Mr. Farley.

In 1881 he removed from Paducah and established a home in Mound City. For a time he operated a lumber and shingle mill across the river in Ballard county, Kentucky, as junior member of the firm of Ford & Williamson, but in the year 1885 that plant was brought to Mound City and the business continued without any change in its management until in 1893, when Mr. Williamson purchased his partner's interest in the concern and thereafter conducted the business alone until in 1903, when the present firm, the Williamson-Kuny Mill & Lumber Company was incorporated with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, since then very materially increased by the earnings of the plant, which has flourished abundantly since its establishment.

The plant of the Williamson-Kuny Mill & Lumber Company is the principal industry of Mound City, which boasts a goodly number of manufacturing concerns, and has a daily capacity of fifty thousand feet of lumber and veneer, with a weekly pay-roll of one thousand two hundred dollars.

Mr. Williamson's record regarding his connection with the many financial organizations of his city is indeed an enviable one. He is vice-president and a director of the First State Bank of Mound City, and has been president of the Mound City Building and Loan Association since its organization twenty-five years ago, in which positions he has done splendid work for those institutions, being in many respects responsible for the firm and solid footing upon which they stand today. He has been county commissioner for ten years, and it is generally conceded that it was through his unceasing endeavor that the county seat was retained at its present location—no small feat in the face of the opposition set forth; while his successful handling and final putting through of the bond issue for the erection of a courthouse and jail is a service for which his city and county is manifestly indebted to him.

In all Mr. Williamson's relations to his city has been an attitude of service. In 1890 he was elected to the mayoralty, in which capacity he served three terms. During his tenure of office many improvements in civic affairs came to pass, conspicuous among them being the establishment of the concrete or granitoid walk in lieu of the board sidewalk, and surface drainage by the installation of pumps. Mule-car service by the railroad, company between Mound City and Mounds was discarded in favor of the locomotive, and steps were taken by means of which to encourage manufacturers to establish at this point, admittedly an advantageous location when brought to the notice of the outside world; and as a stockholder in the inter-urban railway he largely helped to make that railway a possibility.

In his political activity Mr. Williamson has been the exponent of Republican principles and has supported Republican candidates for many important offices. It has been his pleasure to frequently see representatives of his party in state conventions and himself a delegate, and when occasion demanded he has given freely of his substance for the support of the cause. Mr. Williamson is an active member of the Commercial Club of Mound City, and has served the Club as its president and variously upon many important committees.

On June 26, 1893, Mr. Williamson was married to Miss Inez Culp at Anna, Illinois, she being a daughter of Marshall Culp. The issue of their union are a son and daughter, Frederick and Alberta. The family are members of the Congregational church.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 649-650.


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