above photo taken circa 1974...........



Info. Taken from Andover News

Submitted by William A. Greene  2006


          Just about as long as there has been Andover there has been a Williams associated with the grocery business. The sad part is there isn’t much written about them at all.  The family had been in the grocery business for about 90 years.

          I called a living member of the family to see what he had on the business.  Much to my dismay, he stated that he really didn’t know much either.  So I will try to put this story together using the family’s obituaries and hopefully do the family justice, as they well deserve. 

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          One of the earliest settlers in Andover was the Cole family, which settled in Shoemaker’s Corners around 1795. This later came to be known as Elm Valley.  Again there isn’t much written about this family, but there are 13 of them buried in the Cole-Dike Cemetery, located in Elm Valley, which is the oldest cemetery in Allegany County.

          There is no mention of when the Williams family arrived in Andover, but a Joseph L. Williams married Azubah Cole on July 15th, 1854.  They had nine children.

          Joseph was born on March 4th, 1818 and died on February 24th, 1886.  Azubah was born around 1803 and died June 4th, 1877. They are both buried in the Cole-Dike Cemetery. Since there were no newspapers printed in Andover at that time period, this is all I know.

          According to Joseph’s son’s H.H. Williams obit, his father had a store in the village of Andover, and he worked for his father at one time for a couple of years and finally buying him out.  So Joseph would be the first Williams to own a store in the village of Andover.

          Horace Hunt Williams was born in the town of Andover on September 16th, 1858, the son of Joseph L. and Azubah Cole Williams. 


          Horace came to the village of Andover when he was 16 years old, which would be about the year 1874.  He went to work in the store of Cole and Frisby, which was located on the corner of Main and East Center streets. Mr. William Ford now owns this lot. Horace worked there several years then went back to work on his grandfather Cole’s farm in Elm Valley.  After two years of farming he returned to the village of Andover and went to work with his father Joseph L. Williams at his grocery store. He purchased the store a few years later and was in the grocery business in Andover for the rest of his life. I have no exact dates at all for this information.

          The store was known as the H.H. Williams Company.  The store stood on the northern end of Main St. on the right side, just before Elm St. There he ran his business for about 67 years.  Horace was also affiliated with these other stores; the Williams and Lanworthy Store, the Beebe and Williams Store, the H. H. and C. W. Williams Company. 


         During his time in the mercantile business in Andover, Mr. Williams proved himself a man of high integrity, honest to the last penny in his dealings and very kind hearted.  Many of the less fortunate in Andover had carried baskets of groceries out of his store with him knowing full well that they would never be paid for.  He always knew when charity was needed and deserving.


          Mr. Williams also found time to serve as mayor of Andover for three terms. In his spare time he raised ponies, which he very much enjoyed. He lived on the corner of Rochambeau Ave. and Harmon St., Mr. and Mrs. Gus Weber now own, the house.

          Mr. Williams was married to Jennie R. Cole, who died on December 23rd, 1929 and Horace died on June 26th, 1942.  They are both buried in Hillside Cemetery here in Andover.

          Horace had a brother by the name of A. Frink Williams. His entire life was spent in the village and town of Andover.  For a period of years he was in the business here of conducting a meat market and grocery store.  He also ran a draying business in the village for a period of time also.  Sometime around 1894 Horace and Frink bought out the company of Cole and Frisby, which was on the corner of Main and East Center St.  They ran the store for a few years and then severed their partnership.


          Horace kept on with the grocery business and Frink went to farming on his farm in Railroad Valley, north of the village, where Kenneth Waters used to farm.

          Then along came Clayton Williams, he was Horace’s nephew.  After graduating from Andover High School, Clayton began work in the E. J. Atwood hardware store.  He was a clerk there for a number of years.

          Around 1899 Clayton joined partnership with his uncle Horace, and entered into the grocery business, on the corner of Main and East Center St., under the firm name of H. H. Williams & Co.  This firm continued in business until about 1910, when the owner of the building desired it for his own use.  


          In early March of 1913, Clayton purchased the Hunt Store from Jason A. Hunt.  It was located where Steven Walker has his metal shop. He called his store “C. W. Williams.” 

Clayton fitted it up and conducted a large feed and grocery business for himself until his untimely death on October 25th 1919. 


          Like the other entire Williams that have been mentioned, Clayton was remembered as a broad-minded, open-hearted and most conducive to friendship.

          After Horace Williams death in 1942 his daughters Charlotte, Ruth and Florence kept the business going.  Then after his tour in the in the U.S. Army during World War II, Kenneth R. Williams, grandson of Horace and son of Ruth and John Williams became a partner in the business.  His wife Janet Eldridge Williams also worked in the store. 

          In 1951 Charlotte Williams died.  She had spent 36 years working in her fathers business along with her sisters and nephew and his wife. 

          On September 8th, 1968 Kenneth passed away, leaving his mother Ruth and his aunt Florence and wife Janet to run the store.

          Finally on December 31st, 1972 the H.H. Williams Company closed its doors. From the time when Joseph L. Williams opened his store in the 1880’s according to the Andover Census, till 1972, there had been a Williams operating a grocery store here in Andover.  Close to 90 years.  There hasn’t been another family that has come close to that number.

          After a few months of being closed and being remodeled, Dana Williams, son of Kenneth and Janet Williams, great grandson of Horace H. Williams, reopened the store around February of 1973.  The store featured clothing, dry goods and other notions.

          On April 29th 1976 Dana reopened the store as a Jean and Shirt Store.

          On January 16th, 1978 Miss Florence L Williams, daughter of Horace H. Williams passes away.  She was a partner in the H.H Williams Company most of her life.

          Finally on September 16th, 1984 Ruth Williams passes from life.   She had been a part of the H.H. Williams Store for over 65 years.

          The Williams family holds a record that will never happen again.  For one family to dedicate their lives to one spot in a tiny town, to make sure the people of that town would have a place to go and get their food, clothing, feed for animals and anything else that they needed to survive, is remarkable. 

          Isn’t it sad that they as a family can’t be here, so the Town and Village of Andover could say, “Thank You Williams’s for your dedication in making this a better place to live”.