John P Williams was born January 21, 1825 in Windsor County, Vermont to Henry and Abigail Williams. Henry Williams died when John was 7 years old.
By the time he was 30 John had been a farmer, operated a sawmill and feed store and drove a coach for the Eastern Railroad Company in Boston.
In 1851 John Williams married Hannah Dewey, a relative of Admiral George Dewey. Hannah was born in 1833 in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
In 1854 John, Hannah and their young daughter arrived in Council Bluffs. Initially they took up a claim in Washington County, Nebraska but a year later they were back in Council Bluffs. John became a carpenter, and would remain in this occupation in one form or another for the rest of his life.
In 1860 John was elected sheriff of Pottawattamie County. In 1862 he helped raise Company of A of the Twenty-ninth Iowa Volunteers and was elected captain of the company. John served for eighteen months, after which he was discharged because of a physical disability.
Home from the the war John operated a meat market as well as being carpenter. In 1872 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where John was engaged in mining and building for two years. They then continued west to the Pacific coast where they lived up and down the coast for the next 4 years. Upon their return to Council Bluffs John worked in the Post Office and then with the Union Pacific Railroad transfer service. By the early 1890s John Williams retired from regular work, but still continued his woodworking.
John and Hannah had 8 children, 3 of whom survived to adulthood, Harriet Williams Gray, Kate Williams Spangler and Fred Williams.
John Williams passed away on August 22, 1908. Hannah passed away on August 4, 1909. They are buried in Fairview Cemetery.