Rev. John B. L. Williams
was born in Baltimore, Md., November 22, 1853. His parents, John W. Williams and Elizabeth Williams, were examples of piety, and were of prominent family connections in Baltimore. At an early age he was placed in a Roman Catholic School. Later in life he attended the city public schools and Douglass Institute. At 17 he was converted and joined the Methodist Episcopal church. At 18 he was divinely impressed with a call to the ministry. At 19 he became an apprentice at cabinet work and undertaking and completing his apprenticeship engaged in business for three years in Baltimore. In his 22d year he was licensed to preach by the Quarterly conference of John Wesley M. E. Church in Baltimore.
In March, 1876, he abandoned his business and left Baltimore to accept an appointment at Oak Hill, Ga. The same year he joined the Savannah Conference in its organization by Bishop Levi Scott, and he has rendered efficient service in the leading charges of the Conference: Newnan, three years; Loyd Street, Atlanta, one year; Presiding Elder Atlanta District, four years; M. E. Church at LaGrange, five years. He was honored by his brethren to the election of secretary of the Conference fifteen successive years. While pastor at Newnan he was principal of the city public school. At LaGrange he served two years as a member of the faculty of LaGrange Seminary and one year its principal. In 1882 he entered Clark University, taking studies in the college preparatory course. The same year he entered Gammon Theological Seminary and graduated in 1885 with honor. In 1891 he was transferred by Bishop H. W. Warren to the Florida Conference to take charge of Ebenezer M. E. Church in Jacksonville. He served Ebenezer Church five years, during which time its membership was doubled the last year, being marked by a great revival which lasted two weeks and resulted in the conversion of 130 persons……