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Male, US, born 1816-10-13, died 1880-06-10

Associated with the firms network

Cleaveland and Williams, Architects; Williams, S.H., and Son, Architects; Williams, Stephen H., Architect

Professional History


Principal, Stephen Hedden Williams, Dealer in Building Materials and Hardware, San Francisco, CA, 1850-1851. The Daily Pacific News had a listing for Stephen Hedden Williams as a "dealer in building materials and hardware" in 12/1850. (See "Business Directory," Daily Pacific News, 12/18/1850.)

Principal, Stephen H. Williams, Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1850-1861, 1873-1880. In 1861, Williams operated his office at 420 Montgomery Street, in the prestigious Parrott Building. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1861, p. 352.) In 1864 and 1865, Williams had moved it to 505 Montgomery Street. (See San Francisco directory for the year commencing October, 1864, p. 414 and San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1865, p. 458.)

Partner, Williams and Cleaveland, Architects, San Francicso, CA.

Partner, S.H. Williams, Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1861-1867. In 1864, Stephen H. Williams had an office in Parrott's Block at 505 Montgomery Street. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1864, p. 414.)According to architectural historian Harold Kirker: "Williams's son, Warren Heywood, who entered the family office in 1860, went to Oregon in 1873, where he made a reputation equal to that of his father." (See Harold Kirker, "The Parrott Building, San Francisco, 1852," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 18 No. 4, 12/1959, p. 161.)

Partner, S.H. Williams and Son, Architects, San Francisco, CA, 1868-1872. This firm was also listed as "S.H. Williams and Son, Architects," in city directories. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1871, p. 677.) This father-and-son firm looks to have dissolved by 1873, when Warren H. Williams was no longer listed as working with his father, although he was the year before. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1872, p. 685 and San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1873, p. 638,) Despite Warren H. Williams practicing on his own in Portland, Stephen H. Williams continued to call his own firm, "S.H. Williams and Son" in 1880. A newspaper advertisement in the Daily Alta California newspaper of 01/17/1880 (vol. 32, no. 10869, p. 4), read: "S.H. Williams & Son, Architects--Office, 61 Merchants' Exchange, California street. Designs for new buildings prepared with close attention to all modern improvements and modes of enrichment. Especial attention paid to interior decorations and store fittings. Old buildings remodeled and improved, with careful and reliable estimates as to cost, by the senior partner, who has been in constant practice as a practical architect in this city since 1850."

In 1868, Stephen H. Williams gave testimony to a California State Legislative joint House and Senate Commitee on Public Buildings reviewing the foundation and sub-soil conditions of the new California State Capitol. Cracks had appeared in the new building giving rise to fears about its structural integrity. Williams was one of at least 20 architects, civil engineers, and building contractors interviewed about the structural integrity of the building. Others included Gordon P. Cummings (architect and civil engineer), George C. Gray (civil engineer), P.J. O'Connor (architect), George Bordwell (architect), A.A. Bennett (architect), William B. Smith (bricklayer), W.L. Herndon (brick mason), A. Henley (building contractor), W.F. Knox (building contractor), Michael Fennel (building contractor), Marshall R. Rose (well-borer), Alfred Redington (engineer?), Colonel W.J. Lewis (civil engineer), Charles F. Reed (civil engineer), J.R. Ray (civil engineer), J.Z. Davis (architect and builder), A.F. Goddard (civil engineer), L.L. Davis (building contractor), Edward A. Connely (building contractor), and A. Henley (building contractor). (See "The State Capital [sic] Report of the Committees of the Senate and Assembly," Sacramento Daily Union, vol. 35, no. 5299, 03/23/1868, p. 9.)

From at least 1873 until 1880, Stephen H. Williams maintained his office in Room #61 of the Merchant's Exchange Building in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1873, p. 638, and San Francisco City Directory, 1879, p. 936.)

In 1880, Williams was involved with the launch of the pioneering West Coast architectural journal the California Architect and Building Review. His name was listed among a list of architects and firms who launched the journal that included David Farquharson, Wright and Sanders, T.J. Welsh, P. Huerne, John Marquis, B. McDougal and Son, William Mooser, William Curlett, Meeker and Banks, P.J O'Connor, William C. Hoagland, Theodore A. Eisen, H.T. Bestor, Samuel and John Cather Newsom, and B. Henrickson. Ads soliciting for subscribers to the periodical appeared in the Daily Alta California newspaper in 01/1880.



Born in New Jersey, likely in the Essex County town of Caldwell, Stephen Hedden Williams arrived in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. While he was away in San Francisco in 1850, his wife, Phoebe, and their four children remained in Caldwell, NJ. The Williams family stayed with her parents, William and Mary Fairchild, and Stephen's mother, Charlotte, also was a member of this household. (See, Source Citation Year: 1850; Census Place: Caldwell, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: M432_449; Page: 84A; Image: 176, accessed 08/23/2017.)

In 1861, Williams dwelled at 771 Folsom Street in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1861, p. 352.)

Stephen H. Williams, Sr., worked on the Parrott Granite Block in 1852. A CA State Census of 1852, listed a "Captain Williams," born c. 1817 in NJ. This list indicated that he had lived in NY before coming to San Francisco. (See, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; 1852 California State Census; Roll #: 4; Repository Collection #: C144:4; Page: 327; Line: 38, accessed 06/27/2023.)

His address was the northwest corner of Washington and Larkin Streets from at least 1864 until the end of his life, suggesting that Williams had a certain amount of stability in his life. (See San Francisco directory for the year commencing October, 1864, p. 414.) The directory of 1865 indicated that he lived on the southwest corner of this intersection. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1865, p. 458.)

In 1870, he lived with his wife and seven children at his home on Larkin Street. At the time, Williams owned $10,000 worth of real estate, and possessed a personal estate of $500. This was a moderate amount of wealth for the time. (See, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: San Francisco Ward 12, San Francisco, California; Roll: M593_85; Page: 716B; Image: 331869; Family History Library Film: 545584, accessed 08/23/2017.) San Francisco voter records of 1872 placed his residence at Larkin and Washington streets, and that he had registered to vote at this address on 07/19/1866. (See, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4-2A; CSL Roll Number: 41; FHL Roll Number: 977097, accessed 06/27/2023.) The San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1873, (p. 638) indicated that Stephen H. Williams lived at 1713 Larkin Street.

Williams continued to live at 1716 Larkin Street in 1875. (See New City Annual Directory of San Francisco, 1875, p. 1061.) From at least 1878 until 1880, he resided at 1713 Larkin Street. (See the San Francisco City Directory, 1878, p. 890 and San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1880, p. 946.)

The 1880 US Census located Williams living with his wife and two youngest sons, Stephen and Frederick at the Larkin Street house. Stephen, Jr., was a clerk and Fred an apprentice iron worker. They had one domestic servant, Mary Cameron (born c. 1848 in Scotland) and one boarder, Jessie Cameron (born c. 1858 in Canada.) At this time, the census form indicated that Stephen, Sr., aged 63, suffered from liver disease, and Phoebe, at 57, had rheumatism. The US Census counted Williams on 06/03/1880, but he would die a week later.

A card in the Oregon Biography Index noted that Stephen Williams, father of Portland architects Warren H. and Franklin Williams, died in San Francisco on 06/10/1880. (See S.H. Williams obituary, Daily Oregonian, 06/11/1880, part II, p. 2 and, Source Citation: Oregon Historical Society; Portland, OR; Index Collection: Biography Index, accessed 12/03/2019.)


His father was Jeniah Williams (born 05/12/1770–d. 09/26/1831 ), his mother, Charlotte Pearce (born 11/03/1776 in Essex County, NJ–d. 04/07/1863 in Caldwell, NJ). They married in 1793 in NJ. (See, Source Citation: Source number: 1593.098; Source type: Family group sheet, FGSE, listed as parents; Number of Pages: 1, Source Information: Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004, accessed 12/03/2019.) Both Jeniah and Charlotte died in or near Caldwell, NJ.

His parents had a great number of children including: Joanna Williams Personette (born 09/13/1795 in Essex County, NJ-d. 04/02/1863 in Caldwell, NJ), Daniel Edmund Williams (born 05/30/1804 in Caldwell, NJ-d. 1880 in Pike County, PA), Dorcas Williams Jarvis (born 10/10/1806 in Orange, NJ), Elizabeth Williams (born 12/04/1797 in Caldwell, NJ-d. 10/13/1870 in NJ), Harriet Williams Walker (born 02/06/1811 in Caldwell, NJ-d. 04/12/1890 in Orange, NJ), Henry Lambert Williams (born 09/20/1814 in Orange, NJ), Job Crane Williams (born 03/21/1802 in Caldwell, NJ-d. 07/03/1871 in West Orange, NJ), Mary Bates Polly Williams Fairchild (born 12/24/1799 in Caldwell, NJ-d. 02/07/1856 in Caldwell, NJ), Matilda Fordham Williams Quinby (born 02/14/1809 in Orange, NJ-d. 08/14/1885 in Orange, NJ) and Stephen Hedden Williams. (See, Source Information Geneanet Community Trees Index [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2022, accessed 06/27/2023.)


His wife was Phoebe Ann Fairchild Williams (born c. 1821 in NY-d. 11/1885 in San Francisco, CA). Her parents were William (1780-1854) and Mary Fairchild (born c. 1799). Mary was his second wife.


He and Phoebe had at least nine children together, including the noted architect Warren Haywood Williams (1844-1888). Other children included David (born c. 1845 in NY), Robert M. (born c. 1847 in NY), Florence (born c. 1849 in NY), Angeline M. (born c. 1853 in CA), Franklin (born c. 1855 in CA), Joseph (born c. 1857 in CA), Stephen H., Jr., (born c. 1858 in CA), and Fred R. (born c. 1862 in CA).

Florence seems to have died early in life. According to the 1870 US Census, Robert worked as a clerk in an architect's office, probably that of his father. Warren Haywood Williams would became a notable architect on the West Coast, working primarily in Portland, OR. Another son was Stephen H. Williams, Jr., who, in 1880, worked as a clerk in San Francisco, for Henry L. Lewis, a general commission merchant. (See the San Francisco City Directory, 1880, p. 946.) Stephen H. Williams, Jr., worked as a clerk with H.L. Lewis in 1878, and lived at the family residence, 1713 Larkin Street. (See the San Francisco City Directory, 1878, p. 890.) He would later run a variety store in San Francisco at 129 7th Street in 1887. (See San Francisco, California, Directory, 1887, p. 1401.)

Biographical Notes

Williams placed an advertisement in the Daily Alta California seeking the whereabouts of a fellow New Jerseyite, Moses Williams Personette in 10/1851. The ad stated: "$25 reward will be paid to any person rendering me such information as will lead to the discovery of the person or property of MOSES PERSONETTE, a native of Newark, New Jersey, which place he left in February 1849, and arrived in San Francisco in the following September. He departed for the mines in the spring of 1850, since which time no tidings have reached his anxious parents and numerous friends concerning him. Please address Stephen Hedden Williams, San Francisco, Montgomery street, near Bush street." (See S.H. Williams Classified ad, Daily Alta California, vol. 2, no. 300, 10/08/1851, p. 3.) Williams retained connections with family back in New Jersey in 1851, and was attempting to assist them in locating this lost miner. Moses William Personette (1820-1907) lived for many years in Weaverville, CA, and would survive into the 20th century before dying in Hayward, CA, on 02/26/1907.

PCAD id: 2510