April 5, 2009

Corp. John C. Williams

cropped from Bicyclists on Minerva Terrace; photo by F. Jay Haynes - used by permission of Montana Historical Society-unauthorized use prohibited

The fold of the hat on the bottom two pictures doesn't appear to match the straight brim on the top photo. The top photo isn't Williams?

According to Mosses records, Williams weighed 155 pounds. A sergeant John Williams is mentioned as playing on the regimental baseball team. He was from Company F.

1889 Register of Enlistments:
John Williams enlisted on August 5, 1889 in Memphis for a five year period.
He was born in Columbus, Missississippi in October 1867. He was 22 and his occupation was listed as machinist. His eyes were brown, hair black and complexion yellow [!] He stood 5' 5 1/2" tall and served with the 24th Infantry Hospital Corps Co. G until 3/23/93 He was discharged Sept. 4, 1894 at Fort Bayard, N.M. with the rank of private. He was rated "Very Good"

[On FamilySearch, there are 22 matches for "John Williams" born in Mississippi in 1867. The 1880 Census locates John Coles Williams in Oktibbeha, Mississippi (24 miles from Columbus) and a Johny Williams in Caledonia (17.3 miles from Columbus). Both are listed as white but living in areas with many black families.]

1894 Register of Enlistments:
John Williams enlisted on December 4, 1894 in St. Louis, Missouri for a three year period. The record describes him as having brown eyes, black hair and a mulatto complexion. He was 5' 5 3/4" tall. He served with Company F and was discharged in March 1897 at Fort Missoula with the rank of sergeant and rating "very good"

1897 Register of Enlistments:
Williams enlisted December 4, 1897 at Fort Missoula and he was 30 years and 3 months old. His complexion is described as light mulatto and his height was measured at 5' 5 3/4". He served with Co. F in the 25th Infantry. In the remarks section of the register we get the shocking news: "Died May 19, 1900. Homicide at Manila P.I. 1st Sgt."

This is confirmed here.


"When Private Samuel Lundy eloped from Fort Missoula, Montana, with Etta, the sixteen-year-old daughter of 25th Infantry Quartermaster Sergeant John Williams, the sergeant's course seemed clear: 'Private Johnson of the Band woke me up and said that Private Lundy had deserted and taken his horse and buggy and my daughter with him," Williams testified at Lundy's general court-martial." Johnson caught Lundy who was sentenced to "three months' hard labor, which he served at Fort Missoula, close to his wife and friends."
- The Black Regulars, William Dobak pg. 142

[It doesn't seem possible that the John Williams of the Bicycle Corps could have been old enough to have a sixteen-year-old daughter. If it is the same Williams, there are more interesting facts in this book. Mrs. Williams bore her eighth child at Fort Sisseton, Dakota Territory in 1887. She was white. Etta eloped in 1890]

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