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Olive Tryphena Warren Williams

Biography by Harry S Williams

The girlhood home of Olive T. (Warren) Williams, her privations, desire for and lack of schooling etc. were very similar to that of her husband, as is well illustrated by the manner in which she found opportunity for study. As soon as she was large enough to turn the large wheel for spinning woolen yarn, she had much of this to do and while so engaged had her spelling book or her multiplication table so placed at the head of her wheel that as she stepped forward to wind up her yarn she could catch a word or sentence to be committed to memory as she backed away and spun out more yarn. They both attended Sabbath school and a hundred verses of New Testament committed to memory during the week was a very command task for either of them. When quite young, she taught in select school. She was of quiet and amiable disposition, so plain and unassuming that she might easily be mistaken for a Quakeress. Although much of their married life was a life of privation, the clouds always had a silvery lining for her.

His last years were years of intense suffering, and when the end came and friends were assembled for his funeral, she, leaning on the arm of her son, Albert M., came down stairs to take a parting look at the face of her beloved. She stood beside the coffin for a moment, then stooped to kiss his brow, and in an instant, grief had done its fatal work. Bravely had she stood by him through years of struggle and privation, entering with a will into all his plans, seeing only the sunny side, or if she saw another side, covering it with her own sweet words of comfort. But this was the last straw. Literally heartbroken, she sank to the floor, as her sweet spirit took its flight to join his in the spirit land. The next day we laid them side-by-side in Greendale Cemetery.

Since the foregoing was written, a very interesting letter, written by L. D. W. has been discovered. It was written May 13th, 1837, from Chagrin Falls, O. to his parents, telling them of his recent marriage. It is on pink paper, probably written with a quill pen, covering three pages and folded as was customary before the days of envelopes. He says they were married by the presiding Elder of the district, Rev Winans, (not Arthur Brown, as we have it) on Thursday evening, after preaching was over. The house was full and all pronounced it a handsome wedding. The next day numerous friends called offering congratulations and all were treated to wedding cake. He says he had preached twice, since coming to Chagrin and the previous evening had delivered the first Abolition lecture ever heard in the place, speaking for two hours.

The letter is very legible and well preserved.



Mrs. Prof. Williams Drops Dead Beside the Body of Her Husband.

Thursday forenoon, just as the body of Prof. L. D. Williams was about to be removed from his residence for burial, with the procession standing in waiting at the door, an incident occurred which was as singular as it was pathetic. Mrs. Williams, wife of the venerable and respected Professor, who had shared his labors and successes for over forty years, dropped dead beside the body of her husband from an attack of rheumatism of the heart. Mrs. Williams has been in poor health for a number of years, but since her husband's prolonged sickness, and even after his death, seemed stronger then for some time, and expressed herself as gratified that she had been able to watch over and serve him during the last hours of his life. The double funeral will take place tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 3 o'clock, from the Stone Church.

(Crawford Journal, Meadville, 17 Oct 1878)

Friends Gone Over

Prof. and Mrs. L.D. Williams are now added to the ever growing number, the one has gone from us after weary months of suffering, the other escaped, as in a moment to the other shore. Their bodies now rest side by side it the cemetery; their souls are with God evermore. Prof. Williams, whose life was devoted to the public service, was well and widely known. Due honors have been and will be paid to his memory. We would add an humble tribute to the virtues of her, who so efficiently aided him in his life's work.

Of dates and brief facts of personal and family history, we find as follows, viz: Olive Tryphena Warren, (her maiden name) was born March 16th, A.D. 1815, at Brystol, N.Y.. She united with the M.E. church, in her fourteenth year. She was a mother of four children, all of whom survive their parents, and participate in the last sad offices of their earthly remains.

Mrs. Williams, though the most modest and unostentatious of woman, was evidently possessed of rare gifts and accomplishments. Her intelligence was confined within no narrow limits. Such were her abilities, her dilligence, her tastes, and such had been her early opportunities, and such her habitual interest in the studies and pursuits of the Professor, that her stores of knowledge had become varied and extensive. In her family and among her friends she was fitted "to participate all rational delight."

Her excellencies were many, she was conscientious and candid, and discreet. None could, perhaps none ever did, suspect her of guile. So far as rectitude applies to mortals, it would seem to have characterized her. In her home life she was dilligent, patient, assiduous, and to all she was kindly disposed, and sought to do good, as she had opportunity.

As a christian, her life was uniform and exemplary. She comprehended the duties and sacrifices of the christian name, and accepted them all in the spirit of humble submission. She was no stranger to the supports and comforts and hopes of the true child of God.

Crawford Journal, Meadville, 31 Oct 1878


A Dispatch from Meadville, Pa., on Thursday announced the death of Mrs. L.D. Williams, which occurred in a very sudden and remarkable manner, The Funeral of the late Prof. Williams was to have occurred on Thrusday, but while taking the farewell look, and as Mrs. Williams, supported by her son, laid her hand upon the deceased's forehead, she sank down dead, entirely without a struggle. Mrs. Williams had previously borne the death of her husband with much fortitude, but the final look seemed to be more than she could endure and she gave up her life to be buried in the same grave and at the same time with him whom she had traveled through life. They were both buried in one grave on Friday, it being the largest funeral Meadville has ever had, hundreds not being able to get into the church. On the day previous to the funeral Mrs. Williams said that her work here on earth was done and expressed a desire to go with her husband, and she was heard to say, as she laid her hand on her husband's forehead, "Lord, I wish that I were with him," and at the same instant fell dead.

Chagrin Falls Exponent, 24 Oct 1878