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The village is located within the Town of Geneva. The Village of Williams Bay was incorporated in 1868, and named for its first postmaster, John W. Williams (1827-1909). The community was originally known as "Williamsport". It had a population of about 300 at that time. In 1869 it became the county seat until 1880 when it lost out to Lake Geneva due to internal squabbling among local politicians over which town should be chosen; this rivalry continues today with an annual tug-of-war between the two communities on July 3rd each year since 1895 (with only one exception in 1904) on Lake Como just north of downtown Lake Geneva where both towns border each other along Wisconsin Highway 50/Wisconsin Highway 23 near Interstate 90/Interstate 94 exit #49A southbound towards Madison and Milwaukee respectively or northbound towards Chicago via I90/I94 toward Illinois Route 22 eastward into Kenosha County then westward through Racine County into Walworth County then southwesterly back into Rockford's city limits via U.