MAYOR JOHN WILLIAMS & KINGSTON’S FAIRFIELD. A TRIBUTE TO JUNE SAMPSON, LOCAL HISTORIAN & JOURNALIST.
David A. Kennedy, PhD
25 NOVEMBER 2019
John Williams, Mayor of Kingston in 1858, 1859 and 1864, was an energetic, public-spirited, self-educated man who had poor and humble beginnings. He came to Kingston in 1851 to take over the ailing Griffin Hotel which he developed into a flourishing enterprise that was highly regarded. He was instrumental in securing the Fairfield as a recreation ground for the townsfolk and played a part in improving the Promenade on the River Thames. While he acquired enemies, notably Alderman Frederick Gould, his civic funeral in 1872 and obituary tributes indicated that overall he was a greatly respected and valued man. Local historian June Sampson’s view that John Williams deserved greater recognition in Kingston was justified and a memorial in the Fairfield would seem appropriate for this.