GEORGE D. WILLIAMSON, merchant, Cairo, is a native of Hunterdon County, N. J., and is the fourth of a family of twelve children of Samuel Williamson and Maragret Giltz, both of whom descend from German parentage, and both natives of New Jersey. George D. was born on the 30th of May, 1815. He was principally reared and educated in his native county, but at the age of sixteen began his business career as a grocer clerk in New York City, where he remained about one year. In the fall of 1832, he went to Philadelphia, where, for six years, he engaged as clerk in a hotel, and for five years of this time was a member of the fire department of that city. From Philadelphia he came to Smithland, Ky., in 1838, and the following year to Cairo, Ill., where he took business control of the old Cairo Hotel, under the direction of D. B. Holbrook. A change in the administration of the hotel, which was owned by a company, caused him to sever his connection therewith, and he returned to Smithland, where, until 1859. he was successfully engaged in mercantile business. At the last-named place, he constructed a wharfboat, which was the first on the Ohio River provided with staging for the passage of teams in landing freight. In 1859, he landed this boat at Cairo, and owned until 1863, when he sold it for $25,000. He then engaged in mercantile trade, where he is now located, having previously formed a partnership with G. W. Hagy. This partnership terminated about 1875. He now conducts the business alone, and does an extensive grocery business, both wholesale and retail. Mr. Williamson was married in Kentucky in 1850, to Miss Nina McCauley, daughter of James McCauley. The result of this marriage was three children, but one of whom is living — Mattie, wife of W. W. Wright. Her mother died about 1857. Mr. Williamson's present wife was Mrs. Harriet P. Smith, widow of John H. Smith, and daughter of John H. Wood. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has been several years a member of the City Council.
Extracted 31 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 52-53.
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