Cornelius Owen Williams, agricultural chemist, had a BSc degree and was an associate of the Royal College of Science, London. In December 1908 he was appointed as House Master in the School of Agriculture at Cedara, KwaZulu-Natal. On 1 April 1912 he became a lecturer in chemistry at the school, which later developed into the Cedara College of Agriculture. He remained in the employ of the Department of Agriculture until at least the early nineteen-thirties.
Williams wrote a number of publications on topics in agricultural chemistry, including: 'Oxidation of the arsenite of soda in dipping tanks' (Agricultural Journal, Union of South Africa, 1913); 'The chemical control of cattle dipping tanks' (South African Journal of Science, 1914, 1922); 'Calibration of Gerber milk butyrometers' (South African Journal of Science, 1920); 'Soils of Natal and Transvaal' (with B. de C. Marchand*; South African Journal of Industries, 1921); 'Manures and farm foods, their composition and valuation' (Journal of the Department of Agriculture, 1924); South African tanning materials; the black wattle (Department of Agriculture, Science Bulletin No. 63, 1928); Soil fertility problems in Natal (Department of Agriculture, Science Bulletin No. 110, 1932); and various other reports and papers published by the Department of Agriculture.
Williams became a member of the South African Chemical Institute in 1912, but was no longer a member in 1934. In 1912 he became a member also of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science.