NORTH ANSON — When Harvey Williams went to work for his grandmother Louisa at age 16 in 1946, they were milking 12 cows to sell the milk in cans from land worked by teams of horses.

These days, Williams, 87, wife Jean, and their two sons, Richard and Andy, milk about 500 cows on 1,500 acres, shipping 30,000 pounds of milk every day to Oakhurst Dairy.

For their hard work and business standing in the Anson community, the Board of Selectmen has dedicated the 2017 annual report to the Williams Farm family leading up to Town Meeting on March 3.

“It’s kind of humbling,” Jean Williams, 82, said during a recent interview at their kitchen table.

Harvey Williams agreed.

“I was surprised,” he said.

Arnold Luce, chairman of the Anson Board of Selectmen, said the Williams family is a big part of the town and deserves the honor.

“They’re kind of in the center of the two villages — Anson and North Anson,” Luce said of the farm on River Road, also known as U.S. Route 201A. “Harvey has helped the town out for years. He’s been on the Budget Committee since back in the ’50s and still is on the advisory board today.”

Luce said the sprawling Williams Farm is one of the town’s major taxpayers and son Andy hosts an annual “shoot out” supporting the Wounded Warrior Project at the Williams Machine Gun Range.

“We’ve been trying to do a different business or family the last few years, and we decided that we would do them for all they do for us,” Luce said. “There’s a lot of land that they own that the town’s people use for recreation. They just make Anson a better place, I think.”

According to the dedication in the town report, Harvey’s grandmother purchased the first section of what would be the “home farm” of the Williams Farms in 1916.

Harvey, who had moved to the farm from nearby Starks, worked on the farm with his grandmother for a few years before he met Jean Adams, of Solon and Madison, whom he would marry in 1951 and continue working the farm together.

The couple had four sons. Richard and Andy, who spent two years in the Army, run the farm operations and married two sisters from Madison, Lorelei and Coralee Smith, and had children of their own. Their brother Dana, who worked on the farm for 17 years, now owns and operates Williams General Store in Bingham. Brother Allen went off to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to become an engineer and is now retired in Pennsylvania.

The farm has 10 employees working on 700-plus acres of corn and a couple hundred acres of grass and alfalfa, plus the pasture land. They have three milk group buildings, one dry group and assorted barns for young stock, Richard said.

In 1968 Harvey Williams was honored as Maine’s Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year. In 2017, the farm received an award for outstanding hayledge production. He has served on the Anson Water District board for 20 years and has been trail master for the Anson snowmobile club for 20 years, according to the town report.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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