I am Dr. Parvis Austin Williams’ ancestor and I approve this message

Speaking of politics…I know. I know. We all have campaign trauma. But I began to be curious about my ancestor’s political activities a few years ago and gathered some information to read for a rainy day.

My 3rd great grandfather, Dr. Parvis Austin Williams, was not only a practicing physician in the Ithaca area, but he was a political animal as well. He was an original member of the Tompkins County Medical Society, a Republican delegate for Tompkins County in 1819 and Ulysses Town Delegate in 1820. In 1821 he was a Tompkins County Commissioner of Turnpikes and Roads.

He ran for New York State Assembly in 1834 as a Democrat and won a seat for the 58th Session in Albany.  I read with great interest about the celebrations in Albany, NY.

The Democratic citizens of Albany held a celebration on Tuesday evening last….At sundown a salute of 100  guns was fired and in the evening there was a brilliant display of fireworks.  After the republicans of the city had partaken of the refreshments which were prolific, they “separated in high spirits, with renewed zeal in the cause of the democracy.”

While he still practiced medicine….Tompkins county had more than its fair share of babies named Parvis…, he devoted his time to Temperance issues and published opinions on the effects of alcohol on the body.

Though I have no documentation, Parvis was also a Mason.  The giveaway is his tombstone

Quaker Settlement Cemetery

which is deeply etched with the Masonic symbol.  And could be my pathway into the doctor’s political leanings.  There was an anti-Mason movement in the 1830’s which became an element in the Whig Party.   This is not doubt the critical factor in Dr. Williams’ choice of political affiliation in the 1830’s.  The anti-Mason movement was bitter and violent fomented by suspicion and not fact.
A Politician’s Work is Never Done

In the 1850’s he continued his political interests closer to home and was Supervisor of the Poor and Coroner for Enfield.

Doc Williams’ activities were numerous and he brought along my 2nd great grandfather, Oliver S. Williams who was a Democratic convention delegate and county secretary for a number of years. After his father’s death, it doesn’t appear that Oliver had much of a political ambition and turned his energies to business.

The little town of Enfield was a hotbed of contrary opinions during the early years of its establishment…speeches and resolutions abounded. That said, I singularly gathered the individual mentions of politics and never built a picture from the pieces. The early mentions of the doctor in Republican activities to find him in his fifties in the 1830’s as a Democrat surely has a connection to the history of our nation and the attitudes and political sentiments of one country doctor.
Time for a dive into the history books to learn more about the world in which my 3rd great grandfather lived and what shaped his politics.

Deborah Martin-Plugh

Author, Historian and Genealogical Researcher

(c) Copyright 2012.  All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “I am Dr. Parvis Austin Williams’ ancestor and I approve this message

  1. I might be able to point you in the right direction for information about his Masonic ties if you haven’t already been down that road. Please email me if you don’t have that info: llcj65@hotmail.com. I love your blog! Thank you for sharing!

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