Monday, October 24, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: October 24

October 24, 1877 - A Minnesotan African American and executive political assistant, William F. (Billy) Williams was born on this date in St. Paul, MN. He was a graduate of Mechanic Arts High School and Hess Business College in St. Paul. An exceptional athlete, Williams was a semi-pro baseball player. In 1904, Williams joined the staff of Governor John A. Johnson as his personal assistant. Though he wished to pursue his talents on the baseball field, he was equally adept as an administrator. He also wanted to take care of his family, a pact he made with his mother. A skillful communicator, Williams was retained in that position through 14 Minnesota governors for a total of 53 years.

William F. (Billy) Williams

Williams was active and voiced forceful opposition to racism, particularly in the military. He was chairman of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety during the World War I, retiring in 1957. Upon his departure, the state Legislature passed a special act giving him a pension for life.

William F. Williams died in 1963.

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MNHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

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