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News Back Then – September 14, 2012

WILLIAMS NEWS FROM 1877

January 13: Nothing has transpired in our little town since our last, except the burning of W. M. Nickerson’s Restaurant last week. He was insured in the California Farmers Mutual for fifteen hundred dollars. 

Business for insurance agents has been quite active this week, owing, no doubt, to the fear of another fire. Other branches of businesses are quite this week and we all take much interest in the different changes in the weather. The general word whenever a cloud makes its appearance is “I hope we are soon going to have rain.” We MUST have rain soon or no crops this year. 

A passenger on Johnny Robert’s Stage while coming from Colusa to Williams last Thursday, attempted to shoot some geese, but instead shot himself in the leg. Dr. Rickey extracted the ball when the stage arrived in Williams, and the passenger went on his journey rejoicing.

January 27:The people of Freshwater are contemplating the construction of a church edifice. The ground upon they intend to erecting the building belongs to Mr. John Stanley, and is about five miles west of Williams on the road running to Bartlett Springs. It is a movement of the Baptist denomination. Although the citizens of Williams do not neglect their Christian duties, we hope that they will emulate in their respect the enterprise of the Freshwater people.

March 1: Items of interest are scarce. Rain has fallen all over our land, and the prospects are good for more at present, which is all that is now needed to make abundant crops, as the grain is now sown and an unusually large amount is i the ground. Clark, on the Stovall’s farm has more acres in grain than he has had any previous year and it is all looking fine. He is one of the most extensive farmers in Colusa County and as a rule makes it a very successful business. His farm in this county is managed by his son Reuben Clark, and the success of the same speaks well for his management. 

A mail manager has been put on the Northern Railway, running from Williams to Sacramento, which is something we have long stood in need of. Mail facilities are now as good as could be wished. Freshwater Post Office has been discontinued, and parties formerly getting their mail from that office will now get the same from Williams. Venado post office is also discontinued and the office is closed. 

There is being built, seven miles north of us on the line of the Northern Railway. at a place styled Stone Corral, a large store building, to be occupied by the firm of Spaulding, Lowery & Co. of Winters. We understand they are good business men, and will in all probability build up a good business.

March 17: Travel to the springs is rapidly increasing. Johnson, who drives for Miller, is very accommodating to all, and Walk Chambers, of the opposition is too, well and favorably known as a stage man. Both lines are doing well. 

J. W. Crutcher has on hand a first stock of groceries and provisions. J. Steinberg has clothing enough to supply a much larger place than Williams. Price and Simeral have a large stock of stationary, fancy articles etc., which they sell cheaper than the cheapest. Dr. Rickey has added largely to his stock of drugs and medicines . Hyman and Sussman are doing a good general merchandise business. The hotel is doing a thriving business, being crowded every night ever since the new rooms have been furnished. Mr. French is the man for the place, and is highly appreciated as a first class hotel man.

April 14: We are to have a grand celebration on the 26th which is the 58th anniversary of the I. O. O. F. They are to have a procession, oration and a general good time is anticipated. The oration will be delivered in the Stovall warehouse, which is a very large building, capable of accommodating as large a crowd as can be drawn together. We have heard it mentioned that Moses Stinchfield will be the orator of the day, but we do not know positively about it. 

Business is quite good this week and we look still for more improvement. Hyman and Sussman had, during the present week, received several thousand dollars worth of goods, which gives them an immense stock now on hand, consisting of groceries, provisions, and a very fine assortment of clothing-as fine as will be found at any store in the county, at least we believe so. 

June 26: Of course the news of the partial burning of Williams has been broadcast over the golden State this, and read by many thousands of people, some of whom, having at some time or another suffered misfortunes of a similar nature, can justly appreciate the situation, and are capable of fully sympathizing with us while others whose only pleasure is witnessing the downfall, financially or otherwise, of their fellow humans, can throw themselves back with a good deal of grace, and with a smile upon their entire countenance, remark, “ We expected as much; the town must perish some day, and we don’t know what it might as well go by conflagration as any other way.” Such remarks are made by presumptuous blockheads whose idle natures must be gratified in some way, and we, of Williams say, that if they find any pleasure in seeing others misfortunes they had better greedily feast on ours while they can, because by the time our next letter reaches you, new and more substantial buildings will have taken the place of the ruins, and our town will again take its position in the front ranks of the Colusa County towns. The fire, however, did not in the least decrease the business of the town.

Hudson and Boardman are constructing new buildings for their livery stable and blacksmith shop. N. Nelk, is rebuilding his wagon shop and Mr. J. H. Cole his blacksmith shop, all of which are structures far superior to those which were consumed by the flames. 

The Oddfellows of this place, who, besides their pictures, regalia, etc, aggregating some $1700. lost $132. in coin which was in the Secretary’s desk, have determined to build a new hall, the particulars, of which we will try and give you in our next. 

So you see, things will soon be as they were before the fire. the indomitable will and courage of the citizens of Williams will not allow the burning of a few buildings to check the progress of the town, and we propose to push her along vigorously until she will cut a conspicuous figure among the larger and older towns of the “land of gold.” 

Williams needs a school house and MUST have one before the next school year commences. It is high time that the Trustees were at work forming a new School District, building the house etc. we hope steps will be taken in this direction soon.

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Pat Ash
A lifelong resident of Colusa County, Pat Ash is the Williams Pioneer Reviews, historian for the community of Williams. Publishing the 'News Back Then' columns, in the Williams Pioneer Review since 2008. Ash recently published 'Williams', a pictorial history book in 2012.

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