Honoring One of Chelsea’s Greatest Residents: Williams Family Visits Chelsea City Hall

The family of the late William J. Williams, who was one of Chelsea’s most extraordinary citizens, visited Chelsea City Hall to view the glorious photo of Mr. Williams that is displayed in the conference room.

Born in Toronto, Canada, on September 23, 1863, Williams and his family moved to Chelsea when he was a one-year-old child. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard Law School where he received his degree in 1889. Mr. Williams was a lawyer and maintained his practice in Pemberton Square, Boston. He served on the Chelsea Board of Aldermen from 1901 to 1919, representing the Ward 4 section. Mr. Williams was the first African-American elected to the Board of Aldermen.

Captain William J. Williams was also a military hero. He joined the Massachusetts Militia in 1891, shortly after he was appointed to command Company L. Capt. Williams led Company L during the Spanish-American War, fighting in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Capt. Williams died in 1924 from typhoid fever he contracted in the Caribbean during the war.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson and his brother, Ronald Robinson, co-directors of the Lewis Latimer Society, donated the photo of Mr. Williams that was placed on the wall in the conference room at City Hall. The Robinsons and City Manager Thomas Ambrosino welcomed the Williams family to the city during its visit.

Jim Williams, anchor reporter at CBS News in Chicago and former reporter for ABC News, and Attorney Dorian Williams, who have carried on the legacy of their great-grandfather and the family with distinction, expressed appreciation to city leaders for the tribute being paid to William J. Williams in the City of Chelsea.

 “We’re deeply moved and proud to see this tribute to our great-grandfather,” said Jim Williams. “We thank the City of Chelsea leaders. William J. Williams was trailblazer who made invaluable contributions to his country and his community. It’s a remarkable legacy.”

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