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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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WILLIAMS, ROBERT J. (1882-1953)

WILLIAMS, ROBERT J., Catholic parish priest, Boiestown, 1931-41; college teacher and doctor; b. Bushville, 16 Aug 1882, s/o Richard Williams and Margaret Kelly; brother of Arthur P. Williams; ordained 1928; d. Chatham, 21 Apr 1953.

In 1901 Robert J. Williams was working as a ship laborer in Chatham. Later he migrated to the United States and graduated from high school there. When he was in his early thirties he studied medicine in Boston and passed the Massachusetts state examinations in 1915. He was still living in Boston but was visiting his former home when the great influenza epidemic of 1918 erupted. He stayed for two months to help Miramichi doctors cope with the outbreak and was publicly thanked by New Brunswick's minister of health.

Williams subsequently studied law at Boston University and was said to have become qualified to practice in that field as well. Finally he enrolled in theological studies at a seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas, transferring later to Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax. He was ordained at Chatham in 1928, at age forty-six. Until 1931 Williams was a member of faculty at St Thomas College. He was then appointed parish priest at Boiestown. He also practiced medicine there and wrote an article on small hospitals which was published in the Canadian Hospital Journal in 1937.

Williams left Boiestown in 1941 and went to Washington, D.C., where he was associated with the Legion of Christ the King. He had evidently played a part in the founding of this Catholic organization in 1932 and had brochures, flags, and buttons for distribution while he was the priest at Boiestown. He took much pride in the fact that he had suggested the design of the flag adopted by the legion. He came back to the Miramichi about 1950 and was a resident of Mount St Joseph at the time of his death.


[b] church records [d] Leader 24 Apr 1953 / Advocate 3 Nov 1937; Commercial World 18 Apr 1940; Leader 8 Aug 1941, 16 Jan 1969; RC clergy files; World 26 Oct 1918