Biography of Rev. John Ethuruld Williams, D. D.

Among the Ontario clergymen who commenced their theological studies late in life, and pursued them on horseback, is John Ethuruld Williams, a native of Carmarthen, Wales, born December 19, 1817. His parents were John David and Elizabeth (Rhodes) Williams, both Welsh. He received an ordinary Common School education; came to Upper Canada, a wild youth, in 1834; spent four Or five years in business for other parties at Prescott, where he was converted and joined the Church, removing to Kemptville, in 1840. There he commenced business on his own account, and began to preach, devoting all his leisure time to study. In 1845 he removed to Bytown (Ottawa), continuing manual labor, and to serve his Master as a local preacher, going out as a Chairman’s supply in 1846 under the direction of the Rev. Richard Jones, Chairman of the Cobourg District.

Since going on the circuit, in 1846, Mr. Williams has been stationed at Hollowell, Napanee, Sheffield, Consecon, Milton, Cookstown, London Circuit, Owen Sound, Milton, Toronto East, Port Hope, Brockville, Simcoe, St. Thomas, Stratford and Goderich, commencing his labors here in June, 1879. Nearly all of these are first class circuits, and were favored, during his pastorate, with a healthy growth.

In 1878, the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by the faculty of Victoria College, Cobourg.

We learn from a sketch of Dr. Williams, in the “Canadian Methodist Magazine” for June, 1875, and from other sources, that he was converted during the first union of the English and Canadian Wesleyan Churches, went out in the work during its disruption under the Canada Conference, and received into full connection, made a Chairman of District and Co-delegate during the period of the Union’s reconstruction. Under the new order of things he was President of the London Annual Conference two years, Secretary of the Committee on Discipline, of the General Conference, in 1874 and 1878, and appointed Editor of the “Disciple” at the last General Conference. He has done a great deal of general work for the denomination, and done it well, as he does everything.

The writer of the sketch referred to above, Rev. John Carroll, who has known the Doctor since the latter was a young man, says that “he may be pronounced decidedly intellectual, not dreamily so, but logical and argumentative. His intellectuality would abate his popularity as a preacher, if it were not for a large amount of constitutional vehemence and Christian fervor. As matters now go in our Canadian Connexion, Brother Williams ranks among the first class preachers of his day.” We may add that, considering the slightness of his mental drill in youth, and his not entering the field of ministerial labor until twenty-eight years of age, his high standing in the clerical profession is somewhat remarkable. But it appears that since his conversion, when nineteen years old, he has been a close student. Life had new aims, new ends then; his intellectual man has had new, more intense, nobler thirstings, and he has gratified them and grown. The careless, rollicking youth, who came to the western world in his seventeenth year, has become the staid and dignified Christian gentleman of more than three score years, with silver locks and slightly furrowed brow, but with an erect stature, and a muscular frame, a full chest, a powerful voice, a manly bearing, and the elastic step of middle life. A total abstainer from strong drinks for more than forty years, a temperance preacher by example as well as voice, he is reaping, in his own robust constitution, the benefits of a sober Christian life.

Dr. Williams has been twice married; the first time in December, 1839, to Miss Catharine Robinson, of Prescott, she dying at Cookstown, in 186, leaving five children; and the second time in August, 1857, to Miss Rebecca Clarke, of Ernestown, having had by her six children, burying three of them.



Ontario Canada,

Search Military Records - Fold3

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top