JAMES D. WILLIAMS, Indiana’s seventeenth governor, was born in Pickway County, Ohio, on January 16, 1808. His education was limited and attained in the common schools in Knox County, Indiana. Williams, who had a life-long interest in agriculture, served on the State Board of Agriculture for sixteen years, four of which were as its’ president. Williams entered public service in 1839, serving as justice of the peace of Vincennes, Indiana, an office he held four years. He also served as a member to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1843, 1847, 1851, 1856, and 1868, and was a member to the Indiana State Senate in 1858, 1862, and 1870. In 1872, Williams was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate, but three years later, won election to Congress, serving from March 4, 1875 until December 1, 1876, when he resigned to run for the governor’s office. He won the 1876 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor of Indiana. During his tenure, construction began on the present day State House, and difficulties were encountered that resulted from a railroad strike that erupted in 1877 and from labor disputes that occurred in Indianapolis. Before he finished his term, Governor James D. Williams passed away. He died on November 20, 1880, and was buried at the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Knox County, Indiana.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the Untied States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.