The phone rings at the RR Williams General Store, Dick answers and a very tiny voice giggles and asks “Do you have Prince Albert in the can?” Yet another Essex youth has played the trick that has become a rite of passage for us all.
Richard Williams was born in Wales in March of 1902 and immigrated to the United States in 1907, initially settling in Pennsylvania. By 1910 his family had moved to Poultney, VT. He and his wife, Caroline, moved to Essex in the 1920s and opened the RR Williams General Store (originally built by William D. Ross [i] and now the Pink Pig).
The store was advertised as offering “Everything for the Table under One Roof”; Choice Meats, Vegetables, Shoes, Clothing and Necessities of All Kinds.[ii] The most interesting part of the store, to me, was the second floor which stored antiques, oddities, etc. An example of the treasures is described and shown below.
Dick and Caroline originally lived on Main Street, raising daughter Alwilda and son Richard. The family was active in the Congregational Church and Richard’s (Jr.) voice was often heard as soloist with the Church Choir. After Dick retired from the store they built a home at Whallons Bay on property previously occupied by the Palmers.
Dick was an original; loved people, practical jokes and telling stories. He and Caroline were hard workers, kind and willing to help anyone in need. Caroline collected Staffordshire Dog statues and proudly displayed them on their living room fireplace and mantle.
Caroline died in April of 1975 and Dick later moved to Volusia, Florida, where he died in November of 1990. I have been unable to find obituaries for either of them. I hope that someone who reads this will have copies and be willing to share for their story.
The photo to below is of a treasure that was discovered in the “Attic.” The safe measures 11 ½ by 11 ½ by 9 and the key is 5″ long. I believe it is lined with lead and weighs at least 75 pounds.
[i] Moorefield Press
[ii] Hometown- Essex Margaret Calkins Harwick