The Williams were one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Cornwall. Their involvement with the mining industry began with James Williams (d. 1673) and his brothers Davey and Richard, who came to Cornwall from Shropshire to profit from the developing metal mines.
1685 James's grandson John (1685–1761) made a major contribution to the development of the Cornish mining industry.
1714 Birth of John Williams. He became a leading figure in a dynasty of businessmen involved in the Cornish mining industry
1785 Birth of John's youngest son Michael Williams (1785–1858), who continued to develop the business and later became an M.P.
1811 United Mines were taken over by the Williams of Scorrier.
The North Downs Mine was opened and worked by Messrs. Williams and Sons (date unknown).
1812 Messrs. Williams, of Scorrier, made Richard Trevithick a present of £300, in acknowledgment of the benefits arising to their mines from the improved efficiency of his improved engine.
1813 The Fox Family of Falmouth, in partnership with the Williams Family, developed the harbour at Portreath and a trackway to the mines from there. Portreath became of strategic importance in the trade of copper ore and coal between Cornwall and south Wales.
1816 An agreement was made between Richard Trevithick and William Sims, who worked for Mr. Michael Williams, in consideration of £200/. paid by Sims, he was to have a moiety of Trevithick's high pressure engine patent for Cornwall and Devon.
1858 Acquired the whole of the Perran Foundry
c.1895 Michael Henry Williams was chairman of Dolcoath Mine
Sources of Information
- Biography of Michael Williams, and of John Williams, ODNB