Biography of Parley L. Williams
Utah Biographies

Parley Lcurgus Williams, attorney for the Harriman railway system in Utah, is a native of Illinois, born in Perry County, April 7, 1842. His father, Samuel Williams, was a farmer, and his mother was Andromache Moore. Mr. Williams' early life was spent on a farm. He was educated in the common schools and in the McKendree College at Lebanon, Illinois.

When twenty six years of age he was admitted to the bar in Wyoming, to which State he had gone to begin the practice of his profession, and soon after his admission to the bar he was elected District Attorney. Wyoming was then a territory, and hips jurisdiction extended over a large area of country.

After serving one term as District Attorney, he came to Utah, arriving in Salt Lake City in December, 1871, and he has since resided and practiced his profession in the capital city of Utah.

In 1887, when the government escheated the property of the Latter day Saints Church, Mr. Williams was appointed attorney for the receiver of the property, United States Marshal Dyer, and continued in that position until the receivership ended and the property was returned to the church. The first important case in which Mr. Wildliams was engaged in Utah was as attorney for the defense in the case of the People vs. Robert T. Burton, who was charged with the murder of Mrs. Bella Bowman during the "Morrisite war" of 1862. The case was bitterly contested and Mr. Williams was victor, the jury returning a verdict of not guilty.

Mr. Williams became interested in the railroad world in January, 1872, when, with a number of other gentlemen, he organized the Salt Lake Street Railway.

Mr. Williams has always been pronounced in his convictions. When on July 4th, 1885, the flag on the city hall was half masted, as an insult to the flag and a demonstration of treason against the government, Mr. Williams was the first to denounce the outrage, and was the principal speaker at an indignation meeting held in the Federal Court room, two days later.

In 1886, Mr. Williams was appointed Territorial Superintendent of District Schools. In 1893-4 he was a member of the upper house in the Territorial legislature. These, in addition to the position of District Attorney in Wyoming, are the only political offices Mr. Williams has held.

When the segregation of the Oregon Short Line Railroad from the Union Pacific occurred, Mr. Williams was appointed attorney for the system. Afterwards he was appointed attorney for the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads in Utah, and for the Utah Light and Railway Company.

Mr. Williams was married in 1876 to Catherine Sharp. Five children were born to them, viz: Kate, Parley Lcurgus, Samuel, Paul, and Hugh. All of them are living. Mrs. Williams died in 1901.

Mr. Williams is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Alta, University and Country clubs. He resides with his children at No. 177 Thirteenth East Street, Salt Lake City.

Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States
1847 - 1909
Utah Idaho Nevada
Published by: The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City, Utah 1909

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