Robert Williamson, a well-known lawyer of Greenfield, this county, who has been actively engaged in the practice of his profession in that city since 1881, during which time he has been connected with some of the most important cases tried at the bar of the Hancock circuit court, is a native of the Emerald Isle, having been born in the town of Larne, in County Antrim, Ireland, July 15, 1848, son of Hugh and Martha (Moore) Williamson, both natives of that same county, the former of whom was born in 1794 and the latter in 1804, both of Scottish descent, the Williamsons and the Moores both having been refugees from Scotland to Ireland during the days of the persecution.
In 1849 Hugh Williamson and his family emigrated from Ireland to Canada, settling in the province of Ontario, where they remained for about ten years, at the end of which time they came to Indiana and settled in Hancock county. Hugh Williamson was a weaver by trade and had followed that calling in Ireland, but upon coming here became a farmer and thus continued the rest of his life, his death occurring on his Hancock county farm on December 31, 1863, he then being sixty-nine years of age. His widow survived him thirteen years, her death occurring in 1876, she then being seventy-two years old. They were the parents of four sons, namely: James W., who was a Presbyterian minister; Andrew, a farmer of Brandywine township, this county; John, deceased, and Robert, the subject of this biographical sketch.
Robert Williamson was one year old when his family crossed the water and settled in Canada and was ten years old when they came to Indiana and settled in this county. Upon coming to this county Robert Williamson resumed his studies which had been interrupted by the removal from Canada and finished the course in the Couden school in Brandywine township, after which he attended the high school at Greenfield and a couple of years later began teaching school, and for nine years was thus engaged, teaching in the public schools of Hancock county, after which he for some time was engaged in work on the home farm. In the meantime, and for some time, he had been deeply interested in the study of the law and when thirty years of age entered the law office of Judge J. L. Mason at Greenfield and studied under that able preceptor for three years. The second week of such a connection Mr. Williamson was engaged on his first case in court and he began to make a success of his practice from the very start. He was admitted to the bar in October, 1881, and ever since has been engaged in practice in Greenfield, long having held a high position in the regard of his associates of both the bench and the bar in this section of the state Mr. Williamson first opened an office in the Barnard building on Main street, where a part of the Masonic Temple now stands. When the former building was destroyed by fire he moved to the Thayer building, where he now has offices. Mr. Williamson served as city attorney for some years and is not infrequently appointed as special judge to hear cases arising in the Hancock circuit court, from the hearing of which the sitting judge is for any reason disqualified, and his rulings and decisions ever have been marked by high quality of judgment characteristic of his fine judicial temperament.
Mr. Williamson was a Democrat, but holds to somewhat independent views in connection with his political affiliations, and is more wont to scrutinize the qualifications of the respective candidates on the various tickets rather than the mere party emblems under which such candidates' names appear. Mr.Williamson is a member of the First Presbyterian church and for years was an elder in the same. For years he has taught a class of young ladies in the Presbyterian Sunday school, known as the "Olive Branch," and has written for the benefit of the "Olive Branch" class of that school two charming little stories, "The Story of Ruth" and "The Resurrection of the Body." He takes a warm interest in the general welfare of the community, lending his influence to all worthy movements designed to promote the same, and is held in high esteem by the entire community.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 924-926.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 7, 2001.
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