Dr. George Benjamin Williams




George Benjamin Williams was born July 17, 1842, at Farmington, Mo., and died at 1:50 A.M., Sunday, February 10, 1924, at the age of 59 years, 6 months and 24 days, in St. Lukes hospital, St. Louis, Mo. Funeral services were conducted at the Presbyterian church, Flat River, Mo., February 12 at 2:30 p.m. by the pastor, Rev. E. A. K. Grant and interment was in the Masonic cemetery, Farmington, Mo. Funeral rites of the Masonic order were conducted at the grave by the Elvins lodge. As a mark of respect all business houses in Flat River closed between 2:15 and 4:15 on the day of the services.

George Benjamin Williams was one of the children of Dr. George W. and Elenor Peers Williams. He received his early education in the schools of his native city, Farmington, after which he entered and graduated from Georgia Military Academy. On the completion of this preparatory schooling he entered the Beaumont Medical College, St. Louis, with the class of 1889, and received his degree as a doctor of medicine March 1, 1893. Immediately following his graduation he took up the practice of his profession in Desloge in March 1893, and continued his work there for a period of five years. In August 1898 he moved to Flat River, where he has resided continuously since.

For more than twenty years he has acted as local physician and surgeon of the St. Louis Smelting and Refining Works, having charge of all their medical and surgical work in this district, including the hospital at St. Francois.

On July 19th, 1893, he was united in marriage to Miss Mattie E. Salveter, daughter of E. C. and Etta Reynolds Salveter, of St. Louis. To this union three children were born, one of whom preceded the father in death and two of whom, Mrs. Maggie Toenges, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Miss Nellie Williams of Flat River, are left with their mother to mourn his loss. Besides the immediate family above he leaves two grandchildren, Ben and Robert Toenges, of Fort Smith, two brothers and one sister, Dr. J. W. Williams and Ed. V. Williams, both of Springfield, Mo., and Mrs. Cliff Mansfield, of Tyler, Texas. He was a member of the Masons, Odd Fellows, Woodmen, Workmen and Encampment and a charter member of the local chapter of the Izaac Walton League of America.

Dr. Williams was up in every phase of his profession, kept himself fully posted on all new developments and discoveries, and looked always toward advancement. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Missouri State Medical Society and the St. Francois County Medical Society. He served this county for several years as County physician and was widely consulted in this section of the state on medical and surgical cases.

His idea of religion is best conveyed in his own words, a simple phrase which he often uttered, "Do to others as you would be done by." In keeping with that idea his dealings with his fellows were always open and above board. His long practice in the district, more than thirty years, during which there are but few family doors in this section that have not opened to him as physician, naturally led to the formation of an immensely large circle of friends and acquaintances, which circle was doubled or trebled by his characteristic smiles and jokes, outward manifestation of the sunny disposition which was his within his heart. He was an ardent lover of the out of doors and all clean outdoor sports. But few, if any, of the streams or lakes in Southeast Missouri that did not know his voice and at some time or other feel the flick of his fly as he sought for the wary bass. He was equally fond of hunting and was a familiar figure in the fields for long miles in every direction.

The first indications of his last illness made their appearance about July 14, 1923, following which date he gradually lost strength and energy in spite of all that could be done to alter his condition. On December 1, 1923, he was ordered to his bed by consulting physicians, in the hope that a thorough rest might lead to improvement. He made week-end trips to St. Louis from October 20, 1923, onward, for treatment. In a further effort to check the inroads of disease four blood transfusions were given him at intervals of ten days, and, when these measures failed in their purpose, he was taken to the operating table in a last effort to correct his ailment. During this period of time Drs. R. Appleberry, of this county, H. Mudd and Walter Baumgarten, of St. Louis, were in charge of the case. On January 18th, 1924, Dr. Mudd performed the operation. For the first five days following that time Dr. Williams' condition was good, but at that time bronchial pneumonia attacked him and for two weeks immediately preceding his death he was in a semi-comatose condition. Throughout all of his sufferings he bore up bravely, always trying to give a smile and encouraging word to his loved ones and the attending physicians. Throughout the hospital he was spoken of as "a good scout and a brave soldier."

The funeral was one of the largest ever held in this county, the floral offerings the most extensive and beautiful we have ever seen. Dr. Grant delivered a brief address filled with comforting words and gave the facts of his life in a brief manner. A letter from the officials of the National Lead Company, addressed to the widow and bearing a message of condolence, was read to the assemblage.

Those relatives of the family who came from distant points to be with them are as follows: Mr. A. L. Toenges, Fort Smith, Ark., husband of the eldest daughter, Maggie, who was unable to be present herself on account of serious illness; T. C. Salveter, Webster Groves, Mo.; Mrs. C. E. Meyer, St. Charles, Mo.; Mrs. Wm. Morris, St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. W. W. Parks, Kirkwood, Mo.; Dr. J. W. Williams and Ed V. Williams, of Springfield, Missouri.

To that faithful wife who has been his companion throughout all these long years, herself widely known and universally loved, and the surviving children of this good man this publication offers sincere sympathy. We can do no more.

Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. Feb. 15, 1924.