From: May Heath Saugatuck Book

Early Memories of Saugatuck, Michigan : 1830-1930
Author: Heath, May Francis
Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Grand Rapids, Mich: 1930


James Grant Williams was born in Granville, Mass., in 1831. and a little later he came with his parents to Franklin, Ohio, where they resided until 1850 and that winter James, at the age of nineteen and ambitious to get into the great lumber business in Michigan, started out on foot, walking through that swampy, reptile infested, (saying nothing of the hordes of mosquitoes), trail from Ohio to Western Michigan and he stopped at South Haven, then just a small settlement with lumber mills in which he found employment, and in 1851 he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah C. Wells, native of Cambridge, Mass., but whose parents had migrated to Michigan during the settlement period.

In 1860 Mr. and Mrs. Williams and two small sons, William (deceased) and Albert, came to Newark and entered in the saw mill and civic activities of the village; he built a home overlooking Kalamazoo lake, and here two daughters blessed the couple, Hattie (now Mrs. Geo. Babcock) and Cora (deceased).

Mr. Williams, in company with W. B. Griffin, in 1877 bought out the milling interests of O. R. Johnson and Co. and continued the business until 1885, when Mr. Williams sold his share to J. F. Henry, and he bought a large fruit farm just north of town and built thereon a beautiful home which was noted for its generous hospitality and entertainment.

He held many public offices, being an honorable, faithful servant of the people. He was charitable and broadminded and in Saugatuck where the many years of his activity were passed his memory will always be revered, and many a beautiful share tree today is a monument to his thought of planting to make a prettier town.

He was a charter member of F. & M. both in Douglas and Saugatuck and a Past Master of each lodge.

He died, an honored citizen in 1908. having been preceded in death by his faithful and devoted wife several years.