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:
IN MEMORY OF FREDERICK WILLIAMS
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
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
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
MADE TWO PUBLIC BEQUESTS
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
Sherman T. Thompson of Adams, George E. Bull of Ellisburg and William
A. Mather of Henderson are named executors.
[watertown times November 9, 1803]