Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan.
Portrait Publishing Co., Chicago (1892)
GEORGE F. WILLIAMS, Vice President of the firm of F. W. Wheeler & Co., large shipbuilders, has been a resident of West Bay City for the past six years. He was born in Cazenovia, N.Y., September 27, 1835, and is the son of Joseph and Mary (Tripp) Williams. The father a cooper in moderate circumstances, but was enabled to give his son a good educational advantages, and spent ten years at school in Rochester.
Our subject first began his trade as a ship carpenter in 1851, in Buffalo, N.Y., making a thorough study of his work and becoming familiar with every department of ship-building, both practical and theoretical. He remained in Buffalo until January, 1886, having been promoted, in recognition of his industry and efficiency, to the position of Assistant Superintendent of the Union Dry Docks. At the above-mentioned date he came to West Bay City and engaged in business with F. W. Wheeler, remaining his partner until the formation of the stock company, and at the same time acted as Superintendent of the yards.
The company of which our subject is a stock-holder, was incorporated in 1888, with F. W. Wheeler, President; George F. Williams, Vice President and General Superintendent; F. L. Gilbert, Secretary; and John R. Goodfellow, Treasurer. The capital stock has been increased from time to time until it now aggregates $600,000, and the company gives constant employment to five or six hundred men. They have employed as many as twelve hundred men during busy seasons, at which times their pay-roll has been increased to $9,000 per week.
At the present time (January, 1892), the company is building four Government light ships, one large steel freighter, one large wooden freighter, and several steamers, besides making extensive repairs. They have a large floating dry-dock in connection with their yard, which enables them to repair vessels in a very short time.
Mr. Williams was united in marriage with Miss Jane Tripp, of Rochester, N.Y., November 23, 1863. Mrs. Williams was born June 2, 1827, and is the daughter of James and Hannah (Brown) Tripp. To our subject and his wife one child has been born, a son, George F., who is now employed in the steel department of F. W. Wheeler & Co.
Although Mr. Williams has never aspired to political office, his interest in school matters led him to accept the position of President of the School Board of West Bay City, in which cpapcity he is serving at the present time, and he is also a member of the Water Board. His beautiful home is at No. 211 King Street, where the doors are always open to a large and admiring circle of friends. Socially he is a member of Demola Lodge, No. 498, F. & A. M., of Buffalo, N.Y. The family are all attendants at the Presbyterian Church, to the support of which he is a liberal contributor.
In connection with this brief biographical notice the reader will find a lithographic portrait of Mr. Williams.