Gone to His Reward

Spirit of General Reub Williams Takes Flight From Earth

Death Claims Veteran Editor
Pathetic Ending of His Useful and Remarkable Career
With Tear-Bedimmed Eyes and Sorrowful Heart son and Co-Laborer Makes Sad Announcement

It is with heartstrings rent and torn among all the members of the family that the announcement is made of the death of General Reub Williams, for nearly half a century editor of "The Northern Indianian," one of the oldest country newspapers in the state. The end came on Sunday morning, January 15, 1 o'clock a. m. and was as peaceful as the sleep of a little child, so easily did the spark of life passed out. The pronounced rally during the afternoon of Saturday gave the family considerable hope and led to the announcement that the veteran editor still had a slight chance to recover. A series of sinking spells, each followed by a rally until the last commenced at 9:00 that night and continued until the end. Drs. Webber and McDonald worked faithfully and heroically, as did those about his bedside, but to little avail, death being due primarily to exposure and the exhaustion which followed. Gen. Williams knew all those about him, calling them by name, was rational and talked to those at his bedside, and until almost an instant before the last breath left him told his watchers he was in no pain. He told of his losing his way after stepping from the Big Four train in coming from Indianapolis Friday night, of the falls he received in the rough journey over the snow and ice on a back road to Winona and then referred to his final discovery, just before losing consciousness, by the little dog of Postmaster Lamb and which finally made his master on the bluff above him understand that something was not just right.

The sad circumstances surrounding the end of the career of a man who was known to a large extent from one end of the state to the other, possibly for a longer period, too, than men prominent in Indiana's affairs today, are such as to wring the hearts of his immediate family as well as to cause a pang of sorrow from those who were more intimately within the large circle of his acquaintance and friendship. Possessing an usually rare sense of honor, Gen. Williams was known far and wide as a man of high ideals and strict integrity of purpose. He was a great reader, a student with a remarkably retentive memory and his range of general information on any given subject was truly remarkable. His principles were exalted and lofty. He practiced these not for a brief time, but all his life. His friends and intimates know how closely he achieved the mark, the high standard at which he aimed. He was not honest for policy's sake, but from principal, and this rule, never departed from, was tenaciously adhered to both in financial and political affairs. His power of judging and disconcerning the right side of living public questions was truly remarkable. Readers of "The Indianian," in all the years it has been published can refer to few, if any, mistakes of the veteran editor in that respect. Intensely patriotic, brave, noble, generous, charitable for everybody and everything, moral and upright in all the walks of life, it would be a bitter enemy, indeed, that could or would dare say that his virtues and good qualities did not exceeded his single weakness, if such it could be called. That he was a man loved by all is shown from the unanimous disposition on the part of the people among whom he has spent all his life to look at his good qualities and what he has accomplished in a useful and active life almost up to the hour of his death, rather then to look on his frailty. He possessed a strong physique and remarkable constitution, and few men in their seventy-fourth year were as lively and active. True, within the last 10 years his editorial laborers have been lightened, because of his intention to withdraw from the harness gradually. Every one of his five sons have at some point worked in the business, and it was only natural that the editor-in-chief, in a position to take life more easily, shifting the responsibility of bond those of his business partners who have remained with him and assisted (perhaps feebly) in making the business and in sustaining a good country paper, should not take a little well-earned rest. It was his intention, however, to finish half a century as an editor and he did reach the beginning of that fiftieth year.

It would indeed, be miraculous if one working in his capacity and occupying the station he did at the head of a newspaper did not have an enemy here or perhaps there, especially in politics. Yet there were very few people of his acquaintance in town or county but whom were his friends. The town or city, for the growth of which he has labored persistently for nearly five decades will miss a familiar and cheerful figure-a man of unselfish motives and of a kind and generous heart; a man that assisted many friends to political preferment-a man whose well-known useful life will bear fruit no longer. A kind and indulgent husband and father has gone to his reward, and it is with a sadness akin to a bursting heart that these lines are penned concerning the life and character of a man you all know so well.

The funeral service was held at the residence on Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Rev. D. H. Guild, pastor of the M. E. church of Warsaw, assisted by Revs. E. O. Tilburn and E. M. Barker, conducted a very impressive service in the presence of a very large number of people-fellow soldiers and friends, who were assembled at the bier to pay their last tribute to the memory of one whose kind and gentle personality endeared him in life to many. Rev. E. M. Baker, who had known the deceased since early boyhood, delivered a prayer in which he very touchingly referred to the noble heart of Gen. Williams.

Rev. D. R. Lucas, Department Commander of the Indiana G. A. R., came from Indianapolis, in response to a request of Gen. Williams some time ago to say a few words over his body if death should calm him first. Rev. Lucas' and Gen. Williams' friendship was born at a period that tried men's souls. His eulogy of his sterling qualities was such as to touch the hearts of all within the hearing of his voice.

Gen. Williams was laid to rest in Oakwood cemetery by members of his old regiment-the Twelfth Indiana. The pall-bearers were W. H. Jordan and Stephen Gerard, Bourbon; T. R. Boulton, L. L. Lamkin and Harry Bennett, Warsaw; John A. Sanderson, Leesburg.

Other members of the Twelfth present were: Capt. J. B. Conner, Indianapolis; Capt. B. F. Price, Monticello; Capt. Samuel Boughter, Benton Harbor, Mich; H. C. Cochran, Burket; John McKeehan, Leesburg; John Whitesell, Peru; Charles Kohser, North Manchester; John Montel, Atwood; Henry A. Ferree, Silver Lake, John Lengen, Huntington; Simon Koontz, Marion; Samuel Snoke, Claypool; George H. Johnson, Monroe Johnson, Fort Wayne; T. L. F. Hubler, Chicago; F. M. Jacques, Silver Lake; Warsaw: A. C. McCarter, Joseph S. Baker, N. B. McConnell, C. P. Nicely, A. C. Funk, Reno Hamlin, Ed Nichols, W. H. Bowen, Oliver Sloane.

During the service Rev. Guild read the biographical sketch which appears below:

The following biographical sketch of Gen. Reub Williams was written by George I. Reid, a fellow-editor and personal friend, who for many years published the Peru Republican, and he always declared that it was more nearly correct than any of the many that have appeared. This sketch of General Williams was published in "The Encyclopedia of Biography of Indiana," issued by the Century Company of Chicago, in the year 1895:

"One of the best known men of Northern Indiana today is General Reub Williams, of Warsaw, editor of two newspapers. He has been a resident of the place for half a century and rendered as valuable service to the community as any of its citizens. General Williams sprang from a patriotic stock. His grandfather, Jeremiah Williams, served with credit in the volunteer forces of Maryland as a member of the continental army during the Revolution. His father, Reuben Williams, was a soldier in the war of 1812, attained the rank of sergeant, and was a member of the guard in charge of the British prisoners taken by Commodore Perry on Lake Erie, in their march from the lake shore through Ohio to Chillicothe, then the state capital. He himself maintained the family standard of patriotism by honorable and distinguished service in the Union army during the rebellion. He was born in 1831, in Tiffin, Ohio, where his father had settled immediately after the second war with England. The first twelve years of his life were passed in his native place and he came to Warsaw with his father's family in 1845. Having an independent turn of mind, and appreciating the burden carried by his father in supporting a large family on meager resources, he resolved to be self-sustaining. After spending a single term in the private seminary conducted by Mrs. Cowan, and a shorter term under the tuition of Joseph A. Funk, he began a voluntary apprentice in the office of the Whig organ of Kosciusko county. The paper was conducted by Andrew J. Bair with whom young Williams remained four years, until he acquired a practical knowledge of 'the art preservative of all arts.' For a brief period thereafter he published the Warsaw 'Democrat' and then started out as a journeyman printer to see something of the country. He traveled over several states, paying his expenses by setting type in newspaper offices while en route. He spent considerable time in Iowa and from that state was recalled to Warsaw upon the organization of the Republican Party. The members of the new party in Kosciusko county wanted an organ able to advocate its principles and defend its policy. Many of them knew the boy who had learned the printer's trade in Warsaw and become a publisher before he was a voter. They recognized his sprightliness and his enterprise. They were satisfied that he would be successful as an editor, and for this he returned home. Associating himself with G. W. Fairbrother he began the publication of the 'Northern Indianian' in 1856. The paper was aggressive and vigorous from the beginning. As its editor he soon exhibited the peculiar qualifications essential to pronounced success in journalism. The paper became a power in politics and a recognized agency in advancing the interests of the county, within a few years; but the opening year of the Rebellion fired the patriotism of Reub Williams and he exchanged the tripod for the battlefield. Upon the fall of Fort Sumter he published a call for volunteers and five days later the first military company was organized in the county with him as second lieutenant. The company was assigned to the Twelfth Regiment, Indiana volunteers, which was first mustered for one year, and at the close of that period was organized to serve for three years or during the war. Lieutenant Williams was closely identified with the regiment from the time it was first mustered. He assisted in the organization and to such excellent purpose that within a week after being mustered out a large proportion of the soldiers had re-enlisted for the war.

"The first service of the Twelfth was in protecting commerce on the Ohio River, and taking care that stay-at-home rebels on the Kentucky side did no mischief. After the first battle of Bull Run it joined the command of General Banks at Harpers Ferry, and Lieutenant Williams was promoted by unanimous vote to the captaincy of the company and commissioned as such, Captain Hubler having been advanced to the rank of major. On Dec.11, 1861, Captain Williams, while making a reconnaissance, was captured by a confederate force under Stonewall Jackson, and confined in Libby prison until the following March before being exchanged. The regiment continued with General Banks during the remainder of its first year, participated in several small engagements and composed the advanced guard of the Union army when it first occupied Winchester. Upon the reorganization of the regiment in August, 1862, Captain Williams was commissioned lieutenant-colonel, and after the battle of Richmond, in which Colonel Link was killed, he was promoted and commissioned its colonel. He commanded a brigade on numerous occasions and continuously during the Atlantic campaign and subsequently. After the surrender of Atlanta and when home on leave, he was detailed as a member of the military commission appointed to try Bowles, Milligan, Horsey and other noted leaders of the Knights of the Golden Circle, for conspiracy and treason. When the commission sitting as a court-martial had concluded its work he rejoined his command at Savannah, Georgia, and accompanied the army of Sherman thence through the Carolinas and Virginia to Washington, where his regiment had the honor of leading, on a special order, the Grand Review on Pennsylvania avenue, preparatory to the final mustering out. He was appointed to take charge of seven Indiana regiments from Washington to Indianapolis, where they were mustered out of the service. 'General' Williams, for this was the rank earned by his gallant services in the field and bestowed upon him by brevet at the close of the war, enjoyed the fullest confidence of his superior officers. The command of extra-hazardous expeditions were often entrusted to him. Perhaps the most difficult and dangerous was in South Carolina when he was dispatched with a few hundred men to destroy certain stores and tear up the railroad between Columbia and Florence. With a force of mounted infantry he led the army on its victorious march northward as far as Florence in the face of a superior force of the enemy and executed the order, destroying railroad bridges and rebel stores. Though he entered the suburbs of the town in order to complete the work of destruction, the principal mission of the raid was defeated, as the Federal prisoners had been removed two days before.

"By forced marches he soon regained the main army and received the flanks of General Sherman and Howard, the latter in person, for the masterly execution of an order requiring the utmost coolness, courage and execution. The appointment of brigadier-general was conferred by the President in Washington and his commission delivered to him by General Logan. A resume of his military service, covering a period of more than four years, is unnecessary to attest his bravery. He was connected with the important operations and the engagements of the armies of the southwest, including the siege of Vicksburg, Jackson, Mississippi; Kenesaw Mountain, Mission Ridge, Atlanta, Jonesborough, Bentonville and scores of skirmishes. He took pride in the discipline and bravery of his regiment; was complemented in a personal letter from General Sherman for its soldierly bearing, and the boys were equally proud of their commander. He soon resumed editorial control of 'The Indianian' which has been continued to the present time, with one or two short intervals. In 1881 he began the publication of 'The Daily Times' at Warsaw. In 1866 and again in 1870 he was elected clerk of the court of Kosciusko county serving for eight years. For a few months, on the importunate solicitation of prominent Republicans of the state, he took charge of 'The Fort Wayne Daily Gazette,' but could not be induced to abandon his first love in journalism and remove his residence to Fort Wayne. Afterwards for the space of seven months he held the position of deputy second comptroller of the United States treasury, but resigned in order to resume his editorial work in Warsaw. His old paper 'The Northern Indianian,' is one of the most influential and widely known of its class in Indiana. It established his reputation as an editorial writer. His style is crisp, snappy and forceful.

He was united in marriage, April 5, 1857, with Miss Jemima Hubler, daughter of the late Major Henry Hubler, a veteran soldier of two wars-Mexico and the Rebellion. They have reared an interesting family, consisting of one daughter and five sons. Gen. Williams is held in high esteem by members of the press on account of his ability, long service, uniform courtesy and kindness. His bravery, loyalty and fidelity won the affection of Govenor Morton and no military commander who went out of the state enjoyed the confidence of the great for Governor more unreservedly. He is as generous as he is brave and the number of his friends is limited only by the extent of his acquaintance among men"

"To lay my wreath upon this comrade's bier
I come, for I would find a humble place,
Among the mourners as they gather here,
His many deeds of honest worth to trace

"He was a man that men of honor trust of,
Fathful in good or ill and to the end.
To conscience true and seeking to be just,
A man that men are proud to call a friend.

"He had no miser thirst for glittering gold,
But fame no fever that men call him great,
But in that wiser, better class enrolled
That love their God, their country, home and state.

"He loved his comrades with a steadfast heart.
And bore their sorrows as a partner true;
With tongue and pen he bore a loyal part
In honor of the men who wore the royal blue.

"His work is done; no more with voice or pen
For right, he'll join the conflict and the strife,
But his example speaks to living men
The story of an honest, upright life.

"And so we say farewell: the end has come:
By faith, though dead, he speaketh to us yet:
Be true to God, to country and to home;
His voice, 'Lest we forget, lest we forget' "

The Northern Indianian Thursday January 19, 1905 front page

Back to YesterYear in Print