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Sir George Williams

1821-1905. Founder of the Young Men's Christian Association.* He was born at Dulverton, Somerset, the son of a farmer. Apprenticed to a draper in Bridgwater, he was converted through reading the work of C.G. Finney* and joined the local Congregational church. In 1841 he went to work in a London draper's, and later rose to be a partner in the firm. In 1844 a meeting of twelve young men in Williams's room is generally recognized as marking the founding of the London YMCA. Thereafter the history of that international movement cannot be understood without reference to the tireless labors, practical wisdom, and catholic spirit of this businessman, evangelist, temperance advocate, and social reformer. He was knighted in 1894.