US Navy Peacetime Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served as a Seaman in the United States Navy. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery on November 24, 1877, which his citation reading simply "For courage and fidelity displayed in the loss of the USS Huron". His ship, the steam gunboat "USS Huron", had been driven aground on November 23, 1877 off the coast of Nag's Head, North Carolina by heavy weather after departing from Virginia on a scientific cruise of the coast of Cuba. Early in the morning of November 24, after the crew had made efforts to free her, the weather and sea worsened, the ship overturned, and 98 members of the officers and crew perished. Seaman Williams left the ship, going into the dangerous waves to run a safety line to the shore. Despite being bruised, batter and nearly drowned, when his small life raft capsized four times, he managed to pull four of his fellow crew members out of the churning sea when the vessel finally overturned. He was awarded the CMOH in 1879 for his efforts to try and save the ship and crew. After he was discharged in 1891 he moved to Bristol, England, where his wife was from and where he resided until his death in 1908. Today the wreck of the "USS Huron" lies 250 yards from the Nag's Head beach, and is a protected wreck site on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bio by: RPD2
Maria Jane Williams