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John Williams (1753-1841)

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John Williams (1753–1841), mining entrepreneur and banker

Born on 23 September 1753 in Lower Cusgarne, Cornwall, the eldest son of Michael Williams (1730-1775) and his wife, Susanna (1732–1814), only daughter of John Beauchamp of Trevince, head of an ancient Cornish family.

1775 Following the death of his father, he was employed as manager of the Wheal Maiden mine.

1776 married Catherine (1757–1826), daughter of Martin Harvey of Kenwyn. They had five sons and two daughters.

By 1779 he was acting as agent to about twenty-two mines, from the counting house of Wheal Damsel near St Day.

Moved from Burncoose to Scorrier, where he built Scorrier House.

Came to control the majority of mines in the Gwennap area.

By 1800 he had leased and worked sulphur mines in Co. Wicklow, and was involved in the tin-smelting industry in Cornwall.

1810 became a partner in the Cornish Bank at Truro,

1812 With members of the Fox Family of Falmouth, John Williams contracted with the government to build the breakwater at Plymouth, employing John Rennie.

1813 Members of the Williams and Fox families entered into a partnership with Collan Harvey to develop the harbour at Portreath

1822 John and his sons formed a partnership with Pascoe St Leger Grenfell and Lewis Fox, originally for the production of copper and the copper-zinc alloy at Burncoose in Cornwall.

1823 the Grenfell, Williams and Fox partnership took over the Rose Copper Works in the Swansea valley.

1823/4 Pascoe St. Leger Grenfell withdrew from the partnership which was expanded to include Sampson Foster and Joseph T. Foster of Norwich - also see Williams, Foster and Co

1828 Williams retired from business; his three surviving sons, John, Michael and William, maintained the family connection with the mining and smelting industries and related business activities.

1841 died at Sandhill on 17 April

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of John Williams, ODNB [1]
  • Morgannwg, Vol. 23 1979 Enterprise and capital for non-ferrous metal smelting in Glamorgan, 1694-1924 [2].