A Chartist and Geologist who was born in Merthyr Tydfil in Glamorganshire, but was probably a native of the Sirhowy valley, near Newport, Monmouthshire where he married Johan they had a son Llewellyn, and a daughter, Rhoda. After she was born he decided to join the Monmouthshire Chartists society, where he met Henry Vincent.
During the next few years he became the leader of the Chartist rising at Newport on 3rd November 1839, also by this time he became the landlord of the Royal Oak inn at Blaenau. Where he was known throughout the area as a freethinker, in 1832 the House of Lords rejected the second Reform Bill, at this point Williams and a few others founded a political union which emphasise their support for the measure. This was made up from both local working men’s association and the female Chartists met at the Royal Oak during the 1830s. In 1832 he was charged with assaulting a constable in Monmouthshire but was acquitted
At this point John Frost was visiting the area and addressing people in the native language of welsh during the speeches he assured his listeners that if the people acted together there would be no bloodshed due to the fact that the military were sympathetic to the claims of the Chartists.
On the night of 3rd November, Williams descending with his followers into Newport where they were greeted by the advance guard was already fleeing from the bullets of the soldiers of the 45th regiment stationed there. Both Williams and his men ran from the fire of the bullets and decided. To run towards Caerphilly, where for the next few weeks he evaded the authorities, hidden, variously, by his family or concealed in the branches of trees, wearing a green suit. His brother-in-law Dr John Llewelyn attempted to secure his passage to Australia on a ship named Vintage, but Williams was spotted boarding the vessel and arrested on 21st November. He was sentenced to death, but on 1st February learned that this had been commuted to transportation for life where sailed with Frost and Jones in the Mandarin, and arrived in Hobart Town on 30 June 1840.
During his time in Australian he managed to turn his misfortune to his advantage but this was short lived. In 1843 several men in an area called Van Diemen’s decided to escape the harshness and forced him to accompany them. Shortly after this they were recaptured and sentenced to two years’ hard labour in chains, breaking stones. Another unsuccessful attempt, around 1847, brought another year’s punishment. Shortly after he went to New Norfolk as a constable where his earned 12s a week in August 1846 he left the police force and became a barman in a Launceston hotel. He stayed there for eighteen months before making another attempt to escape and received a further sentence of twelve months with hard labour in chains on Tasman Peninsula, three months of which he spent in the coal-mines and the rest at Salt Water River. He was released in November 1848
Eventually William’s went back to his old skills as a geologist. In 1851, where he decided to set up venture with a Canadian rebel called Hobart. This project thrived and, soon after he decided to sell his share in the business for £800. Another partnership with R. J. Collins when he worked the Triumph mine, producing between thirty and forty tons of coal a day, and helping by this competition to keep the general price low. Shortly after this period he received a conditional pardon, which allowed him to reside anywhere outside the British Isles. A short while after this coal was found at the Mersey River and so Williams went to view it. Soon after offers from a Launceston syndicate fell through and Williams started his own company. He acquired over 2000 acres, formed a miners' camp and commenced work at Tarleton where the Denison colliery was opened in 1853. He sent to England for miners, built houses for them, a tramway and a deep-water jetty. In 1855 he entered another partnership and until 1859 managed the Denison, Nook and Don mines. The next few years saw him become very rich
Williams left the industry when the mines failed, became a publican at Ballahoo and built a fine house at Tarleton. Meanwhile his family had come out to join him. But soon after His son Llewellyn returned to Wales and became a noted harpist, but his daughter Rhoda stayed and married George Atkinson, who became a leading citizen of Latrobe. Johan Williams died in 1863; They both lie buried, together with their daughter and son-in-law, at East Devonport. On 8th May 1874 Williams died.