People of Detroit:
John R. Williams
John R. Williams was born in Detroit on May 4, 1782. His father, Thomas Willams was active in politics/civic affairs in Detroit for many years. In 1796, Williams was appointed to the army, where he served under General Wilkinson at Fort Marsac in present day Tennessee. In 1799, he resigned from the army and returned to Detroit where he formed a trade partnership with his uncle, Joseph Campau. On October 25, 1804, he married Mary Mott, the daughter of Major Gershom Mott. The couple had ten children: Ferdinand, Theodore, G. Mott, Thomas, John C., James Mott, J.C. Devereux, Elizabeth, Cecilia, and Mary C.A.
Shortly after returning to Detroit, Williams went to Montreal to procure supplies for his business. While there he got in a fight with a descendent of the explorer, Robert Cavalier, Sieur La Salle. Williams shot and wounded La Salle in a duel, for which he was arrested. He remained in jail in Montreal for several months. Upon returning to Detroit, he carried out his business plans.
Williams was made Captain of an artillery company during the War of 1812. He was taken prisoner when General Hull surrendered Detroit. After his releases, he moved to Albany, New York, his father's native town. In 1815, Williams and his family returned to Detroit. He was appointed Associate Justice of the County Court in the same year. In 181, Williams was made a County Commissioner and Adjutant General of the Territory, a post which he held until 1829. In 1824, Williams wrote the City Charter of 1824 and under it served as the City of Detroit's first mayor. He was also elected mayor in 1830, 1844, 1845, and 1846. In 1835, he served as President of the Constitutional Convention in Ann Arbor.
Williams died in Detroit on October 20, 1854.