John McWilliams, Il

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John McWilliams, Il

Birthplace: Odell, Livingston, Illinois, United States
Death: Died in Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John McWilliams, Sr., and Clara Maria McWilliams
Husband of Julia Carolyn McWilliams and Philadelphia McWilliams
Father of Julia Child; John McWilliams, lll and Dorothy "Dort" Dean Cousins
Brother of Elizabeth McWilliams and Anna Louise McWilliams
Half brother of Gracia McWilliams

Occupation: Farm consultant and investor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John McWilliams, Il

Julia Carolyn McWilliams was born Aug. 15, 1912, in Pasadena, Calif. Her father was a wealthy farm consultant and investor. (1)

Born in Odell, Illinois, on October 26, 1880, young John inherited his father's height and his mother Dana's coloring (an olive complexion, so the story goes, from family roots in Sicily). John was sent to prestigious Lake Forest Academy for the last two years of his high school education before enrolling at Princeton University one month before his seventeenth birthday. He graduated in history in the Class of '01. After college, patriarchal destiny drew him immediately back to and through the doors of his father's Bank of Odell (Illinois), where he began as an assistant cashier and helped his father manage their rice farmland in Arkansas. Only when the elder McWilliams sold his interest in the bank and established the State Bank of Odell (to take over their business interests) did young John become president. It was 1909 and his father moved to California to manage his land near Bakersfield. Young John joined the University Club in Chicago and began his courtship of Caro Weston. The family tells the story--whenever they want to illustrate his stubbornness--of one visit on horseback to his future bride. When his horse would not cross the stream, John forded the stream himself to see his Caro; returning later, he forced the horse to wade the stream.

Caro Weston met John McWilliams, Jr., in 1903 in Chicago through mutual friends. Thus began what Caro's brothers called "the eight-year war of their courtship." Both the war and the courtship continued as John followed Caro and her sister Dorothy Dean from one spa to another in search of a remedy for the tuberculosis with which Dorothy had suffered since youth. Caro would not leave her sister to marry. They went to Santa Barbara and Colorado Springs, where John stayed with his Princeton classmate H. Alexander Smith, then an attorney with Judge Lunt (and later a U.S. senator from New Jersey, 1944-59). The Weston girls were part of Smith's social clique in Colorado society. Once Dorothy Dean met and married Wilber Hemming, son of the president of the El Paso National Bank, Caro was finally free to announce her engagement to John McWilliams. (2)


  1. Julia Child, the French Chef for a Jell-O Nation, Dies at 91 -
  2. APPETITE FOR LIFE The Biography of Julia Child By Noel Riley Fitch


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John McWilliams, Il's Timeline

October 26, 1880
Odell, Livingston, Illinois, United States
August 15, 1912
Age 31
Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, United States
August 29, 1914
Age 33
Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, United States
April 17, 1917
Age 36
Pasadena, California, United States
May 16, 1962
Age 81
Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, United States