Frederick G. Williams, a very early member of the Church served in the First Presidency as a counselor to Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith once prophesied about his descendants: "Blessed be Brother Frederick, for he shall never want a friend, and his generation after him shall flourish. The Lord hath appointed him an inheritance upon the land of Zion: yea, and his head shall blossom, and he shall be as an olive branch that is bowed down with fruit." (See History of the Church, 1:444) Out of this future generation arose his great-grandson, Frederick S. Williams, the first president of the Uruguay Mission.
As a young eighteen-year-old missionary, Frederick S. Williams served as one of the first missionaries in Argentina from 1925-29 under President Reinhold Stoof. After his first mission, he returned home to Arizona and married in 1930 to Corraine Smith in the Mesa Temple. In 1938, he was called to serve as the second mission president of the Argentine mission. After returning home in 1942, he was the Business Manager of the Health and Sanitation Division of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs. (See, Williams, _From Acorn to Oak Tree: A Personal History of the Establishment and First Quarter Century Development of the South American Missions_)
In 1947, Frederick S. Williams was again called to preside over missionary work in South America, this time to open up the Uruguay Mission. His eight-year-old son, Frederick G. Williams, who had been born during the family's Argentine mission, was the first person baptized in Uruguay. Young "Freddy" was fluent in Spanish and gave frequent talks to investigators in Uruguay.
Later, on November 4, 1948, Avelino Juan Rodriguez and his wife, Maria Esther, were the first natives from Uruguay to be baptized. Brother Rodriguez recalled: "It was very hard to be the first one baptized. It was not hard, though, to be spiritual because I lived the gospel."
President Williams described this historic event: "The ordinance was performed in the Arroyo Seco at a point not far from the mouth of the stream. It was a beautiful summer day, ideal for the baptisms." (See Church News, July 24, 1993)
The first meetings were held in a back room of the mission home. Church services included Primary and Relief Society. Brother Rodriguez was called to serve as the Sunday School president. Sister Rodriguez served as a counselor in the Primary.
Separate branches were later established and as many as one hundred investigators would attend the meetings. President William's son, Frederick recalled: "Our family was quite divided because each of us belonged to a different branch to lend support. I'd go to Primary in one branch, and Sunday School in another branch. I used to travel with my dad to outlying branches as well. He'd go from meeting to meeting without stopping to eat; I thought I would starve. My father was very busy - he thought he could get away with using the same talk at different branches, but he couldn't - the members followed him from branch to branch." (See Church News, June 15, 1991)
Sister Williams and daughters Barbara and Argina formed a musical group and performed as they traveled from city to city. On Saturdays they would sing on a radio station and invite listeners to attend Sunday services. Young Fred learned to play the piano and was the accompanist in the Malvin Branch Primary.
President Williams was released as president in 1951, but the Williams family again returned to South America in 1956 when they moved to Lima, Peru. They again took part in opening up missionary work in another country. Frederick S. Williams became the first Lima Branch president, which was the first Church organization formed on the Pacific coast of South America. Sister Williams was called as the first Relief Society president and young Fred as Branch Clerk.
Young Fred was called as a missionary to Brazil, where he served from 1960-63. In 1991, he was called as the first mission president of the Brazil Sao Paulo Interlagos Mission. At the time of his call, Frederick G. Williams was chairman of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Frederick G. Williams is now at BYU as a visiting professor this year. He submitted the following additional notes to LDS-GEMS about his father, Frederick S. Williams: "In 1954 he was called as the Los Angeles Temple Mission President and Director of the Bureau of Information. He served for ten years as a counselor in the South Los Angeles Stake Presidency, was called as a patriarch-at-large to the Spanish-speaking (he gave over 1400 blessings), and was a temple sealer, first at a the Los Angeles Temple and later at the Mesa Temple. He died October 7, 1991 in Mesa at age 83. He is survived by his wife now 88 years old and living with her daughter Barbara in Mt. Pleasant, Utah.
"From this one family, counting only Fred and Corraine, their 5 children, and 34 grandchildren and their spouses, through 1996 a total of 36 had served at least one full-time mission in 19 countries using 11 different languages. The first great-grand-child just returned from his mission; many more will follow." (e-mail to David Crockett on October 14, 1997)
Frederick G. Williams once wrote about the prophecy Joseph Smith pronounced on his great-great grandfather and namesake, Frederick G. Williams: "Through him, many hundreds of Frederick G. Williams's descendants are active in the Church today in fulfillment of the prophecy of Joseph Smith that 'his generation after him shall flourish.' This family was the only one from the original First Presidency to go west and stay in the Church." (Frederick G. Williams, "Frederick Granger Williams of the First Presidency of the Church" BYU Studies, 12:3:259 )