Donor of the Williams Park to the Union Academy of Belleville

By Claude E. Poor

Excerpts were taken from a speech delivered by Dr. Charles J. Galpin, US Department of Agriculture, at the dedication of the Park, October 4th 1924. Additional information contributed by his great-grandson, Frederic Williams.

In the Park on the Academy grounds is erected a monument that reads:

Donor of this park

What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants in sap, and leaf, and wood.
In love of home and loyalty.
And far-cast thought of civic good
His blessings on the neighborhood.
Who in the hollow of His hand
Holds all the growth of all our land.
A nation’s growth from sea to sea,
Stirs in his heart, who plants a tree.

Frederick Williams was born March 17th 1828, in the house that stands across from Woodside Cemetery at Mixer Corners. His ancestry stems from Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island. He obtained his education at Union Academy, Belleville.

When he was 24 he purchased a farm and embarked into his own business, producing and selling seeds to wholesale dealers for field and garden. So well did he do in his endeavor that he soon accumulated a comfortable competence. At 35, he retired from his business, and judiciously invested in real estate, increasing his fortune, holding profitable and valuable property in Belleville, Adams, Watertown, Syracuse, and elsewhere.

For many years he gave freely of his money, time, and influence to further the interest of Union Academy. During the strenuous times when raising necessary endowments for its continuance, he spent months of valuable time without compensation to complete the work.

He purchased the land then adjoining Union Academy and proceeded to plant trees and shrubbery, presenting the whole works to the Academy. During these first years of the Park there was a drought. He and his laborers watered and cared for the new plantings by hand for their survival.

Every enterprise in Belleville that merited success received his hearty support. His pleasant home was situated on the Tiller road across the road from what is now the John S. Redway farm.

He was a thinker. He never spent time on trivial matters, nor did he talk just to pass time. When silent you could feel his mind working. His thinking was of long-time and long range.

Frederick was a man of fixed principles, who never spoke until he had weighed the issue against these principles. He was positive in his way and conclusive in his Puritan judgment. The very reason people sought out the opinion of Fred Williams. Always mindful it seems of “How will this thing affect, for better or worse, this community and society as it is organized.” He took this Community, Church, and the Academy, which he served faithfully, as if he was its attorney.

Through Fred Williams flowed a deep sincerity in regards to his judgments, aims, and principles of life. He was austere. He was dignified. He never seemed to bend to public opinion, and never seemed to let frivolity into his life except for a hearty laugh now and then, which he quickly subdued.

A simple man highly disciplined in dress, manner, and speech. He was frail in body but was iron in mind and soul. It was out of the love he had for this community and the Academy that he gave the park. Today the Union Academy Board of Trustees holds the Williams Park in trust. The Park that Frederick William gave to the Academy and this community is as tranquil as the man himself was.


Article as it appeared in the
Union Academy of Belleville Board of Trustee's publication, ACADEMIA
Voume 2 Issue 1 May 2001
Editor Maurice L. Herron


Frederick Williams Real Estate to Elllsburg

Baptist Church and Union

Petition for the probate of the will of tbo late Frederick Williams of Belleville, whose death occurred iu this city on Oct. 5, was filed with
the surrogate today. The estate is estimated at $8,000 in personal property and $50,000 in real property.

The will includes two public bequests. He leaves to the First Baptist church of Ellisburg A bouse and lot in this city known as 17 1/2 State
street, "subject to such incumbrances AS may be Against it at the time of my death, to become a part ot the endowment fund of the cburch."

To Union academy at Belleville, are bequeathed three lots in Kansas City and an endowment of said acadamy and for the support of the agriculture and scientific departments of the academy And for the maintenance of the parks and pleasure grounds deeded by the testator to
the academy.

Sherman T. Thompson of Adams, George E. Bull of Ellisburg and William A. Mather of Henderson are named executors.

[watertown times November 9, 1803]