*At the request of MANY researchers, we are posting this story of the Benjamin Williams family. I know of no other information on this WILLIAMS line. We hope it answers many questions for Williams researchers.
THE BENJAMIN WILLIAMS FAMILY OF GREENE COUNTY, TENNESSEE
A History, Compiled From Public Records,
Private Papers, and Family Tradition
by James F. King,
Gray Tennessee, 1982
Dedicated to May Park McCullough,
in memory of Claire Brotherton
This is an informal history of the Benjamin Williams family written by one who is an amateur, both at writing and at genealogy. My interest in family lore was sparked by my Grandmother, Mollie Weems King, who was considered an authority on the subject, but like so many left few written records of her considerable knowledge about her ancestral heritage. It was through her that I was privileged to hear some of the oral tradition of the Williams family, for my grandmother had known personally some of the principals who appear in this family history - Sally Williams Bailey, Farmer Williams, Lewis Williams, and his daughter, Mrs. C. V. Cunningham. Grandmother called them "Grandma Bailey", "Uncle Farm", "Uncle Lew", and "Cousin Minnie", and even though I never saw any of them, I call then by those names too, because of my knowledge of them through her. She liked to maintain touch with many relatives scattered over the United States, and kept up correspondence with Uncle Lew until his death, and with Cousin Minnie up to the time of her own death.
Grandmother first told me of the grave of Benjamin Williams when I was about 20 years old. I drove with her the few miles to Carters Station Church to see this grave and was impressed by its unique nature, just a rectangular pile of limestone blocks with no markings whatsoever; only the personal knowledge carried in the minds of my grandmother and a very few older relatives to keep its identity from slipping into oblivion in another generation or two. She told me that once someone had pointed out to her the grave of an "Indian" buried there near the church, and that she had responded rather heatedly, "Thats no Indian. Thats my great-grandfather Williams." Grandmother had nothing against Indians, but this incident may have been one of the reasons that she and some of her cousins took steps to preserve and identify the grave. Unfortunately, the granite marker placed there by them, incorrectly shows 1840 as the year of the death of Benjamin Williams, and has not yet been corrected.
I first met May Park McCullough about 1948 when I took my grandmother to Pilot Knob for a visit with her cousin, Mattie Park, Mays mother. From Cousin Matties, we drove the short distance to the old Farmer Williams place where May was living, for Grandmother wanted to see again this old home she had visited many times as a girl, and it was then that May showed us some of the old Williams family papers. About two years ago, I became reacquainted with May and she willingly loaned me these papers after I had experienced a renewed interest in the Williams history following some work I had seen, which included some of this material, done by my Cousin Ozelle Reed Scruggs, a member of the Greene County Heritage Trust. These papers included documents from as early as 1799 (The Henry Land Will), Benjamin Williams Land Grants, tax receipts, promissory notes, the preaching license, home remedies, and many other documents of various types, but none so personally revealing of individuals in the Williams family and its relatives as the approximately 35 letters written to Benjamin and Farmer Williams, and still preserved in the Farmer Williams home, Anyone interested in the Williams family history owes a debt of gratitude to the family of Farmer Williams for its stewardship of these papers which form the central material for his history.
I have attempted to combine information abstracted from these papers with that from public records and family traditions to present a portrait of a family which long ago dispersed to may parts of the country; a family which was neither famous nor wealthy, but was respected and prominent in its day, and which, with its contemporaries, was important in the settlement of new areas of the United States. The study of this family helps us to better understand who we are, and hopefully will aid in satisfying the natural curiosity most of us have about our origins.
For those unfamiliar with the area, a word about Carters Station may be in order. The community took its name in early days from a fortification, or station, built there about 1783 by the family of John Carter, an immigrant believed to have come from New Jersey by way of Surry County, North Carolina. This family, which included the five sons Abraham, Daniel, Jacob, Joseph, and John, Jr., constructed a stockade 100 feet by 50 feet, the remains of which can still be seen in a pasture field not far from the church. The Carters Station area was a very desirable location for settlement in the early days of Greene County because of its situation at the edge of the rich Lick Creek bottom lands and its plentiful supply of water and timber. It was located at the crossroads of two important routes the north-south road from Greeneville to Rogersville (called The Trail of the Lonesome Pine later in the nineteenth century when it was a part of the road from the Carolinas to southwest Virginia), and an east-west road known locally as the Babbs Mill Road, which was an alternate route for traffic between Knoxville and Virginia. A little to the north was a parallel road called the Snapps Ferry Road named for a crossing of the Holston River near Fordtown in Sullivan County.
In the 19th century, the Carters Station Post Office served the postal needs of the community. Following completion of the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad through East Tennessee in 1858, confusion arose in the delivery of mail when a depot on the line in nearby Carter County began using the name "Carter Station". This caused the selection of a new name for the post office, and "Albany" was the name chosen the name used to this day for the community, although the post office was closed years ago. The Carters Station United Methodist Church alone retains the name of the pioneer settlement.
Sources of material for this history include: National Archives film in Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University, Greene County Public Records, Goodspeed Histories for Tennessee and Missouri, and Archives of the United Methodist Church.
Material for the following private sources is gratefully acknowledged:
The following pages represent all the knowledge that I have been able to assemble on the family of Benjamin Williams after more than two years of work. Every effort has been made to keep it as accurate as possible, but realizing the pitfalls one can get into in doing something like this, I do solicit any corrections to errors which may be noted.
I urge anyone having additional material or old photographs relevant to this history to share copies with me, since interest in the family will not end with the final printing of this work. Especially appreciated would be information about living descendants, if any, of Henry, Ira, John, Adonijah, Enoch George and Francis A. Williams. Due to the limited number being printed, please share this copy with anyone interested in the Benjamin Williams Family history.
This history by
James F. King
Rt 15, Box 428
Gray, TN 37615
Tel. (615) 477-7372
October 15, 1982
THE LIFE OF BENJAMIN WILLIAMS, Jr.
Benjamin Williams was born in Pennsylvania. The exact year of his birth is uncertain. One source, the 1923 Stephen L. Williams document, gives the year 1781, and it is claimed that this information was derived from documents then still in existence at the Carters Station Methodist Church, but now lost. Another source, a list of birth and death dates from the Marion L. Bailey family Bible, states the, "Rev. Benjamin Williams died Nov. 24, 1848 in his 64th year," which would fix his birth about 1784. It is probable that the Bible record is the more reliable of the two.
It is thought that when he was about four years old, the family of Benjamin Williams moved to Virginia and settled at a location in the Potomac River Valley where they lived for several year. About 1795, the family moved on to present day East Tennessee settling in Greene Countys Lick Creek Valley near Carters Station on Puncheon Camp Creek. There is a family tradition which states that Benjamin Williams grew up on the John Maloney farm, and this may mean that the location of his boyhood home was later owned by the Maloneys. The Maloneys were early residents of the area, but were not listed as immediate neighbors of Benjamin Williams in the years when he was growing up.
Benjamin Williams was primarily a farmer, and a successful one, spending the majority of his life at this occupation. His farm was acquired over a number of years, the first of which, 215 acres of rich Lick Creek land, was inherited in 1805 from the estate of William Jones, the father of his first wife. Through grants and purchases his acreage eventually increased to 520 acres. This farm, bisected by Lick Creek, extended in a northwest-southeast direction and was about one half-mile wide and one and a half miles long. The southeast part of the farm was on high ground about one mile from Carters Station Methodist Church, bordering at one point on the road running from Babbs Mill to Mosheim. From here, the land slopes downward toward Lick Creek into flat bottom lands. Continuing across the creek, the farm occupied more of the Lick Creek flood plain, sloping upward to somewhat higher ground at the northwest end at the present-day site of Mt. Carmel.
He grew a variety of crops and livestock common to the day such as corn, wheat, flax, apples, peaches, horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, geese, chickens, and honeybees. He owned a stud horse and paid a special tax which was levied on such animals.
In addition, he was a salt dealer, supplying this important commodity to his neighbors. The salt was bought at the mines in Saltville, Virginia, some 100 miles away, and hauled to Carters Station in wagons where it was sold by the bushel and was used mainly for preservation of meat.
Benjamin Williams served for a number of years as treasurer of schools in the seventh district of Greene County and was responsible for paying out funds for teaching n the district. On other occasions, he was appointed by the County Court to oversee road wok in the vicinity. He was a fancier of home remedies, and some of his recipes are still in existence. Another of his skills was that of shoemaker. He was a meticulous record keeper.
These pursuits notwithstanding, the one thing for which Benjamin Williams is remembered best is the fact that he was a Methodist preacher for the last thirteen years of his life, performing the duties of a local preacher, and later a deacon, at the Carters Station Methodist Church.
He had three wives during his lifetime: Sally Jones, Nancy Pogue, and Priscilla Vestal, and he outlived the first two. By them, he had sixteen children, thirteen sons and three daughters, born over a period of thirty years. Of these, only four lived out their lives in Tennessee, the rest emigrating to western frontier areas, principally Southwest Missouri.
Unfortunately, knowledge of the location of the home of Benjamin Williams has been lost, evidently disappearing years ago. It was likely situated on some of the higher ground on that part of his farm on the south side of Lick Creek. Several pieces of furniture which once belonged to him are still in existence, as are many of the records he kept. The "cupboard", bequeathed in his will to Priscilla, is now in the possession of Betty King Proffitt of Cleveland, Tennessee and was handed down through the Bailey family. This is a corner cupboard made of black walnut and bears the date 1804 on its back.
The grave of Benjamin Williams at Carters Station Methodist Church is well marked, as is Priscillas at Baileyton. The graves of his first two wives are lost.
One of Benjamin Williams home one half gallon
remedies. The cure is not French brandy
specified one -----yallow-
(do stands for ditto) do black haw
do wild cherry
do wild cucumber
do prickley ash
do black aldon (? Alder?)
THE FAMILY OF BENJAMIN WILLIAMS
Upon arrival in Greene County about 1795, the family of Benjamin Williams settled on Puncheon Camp Creek, a small tributary of Lick Creek near Carters Station. The father of Benjamin Williams, Benjamin Williams, Sr. as his name appears on early tax records, owned a farm of 111 acres and his name appears on extant tax lists until 1817. After this, there is a gap in surviving tax lists until 1828, and his name does not appear after the gap, probably indicating that he either died or moved out of Greene County during this time. Tax lists from 1809 to 1817 list both Benjamin Williams, Jr. and Benjamin Williams, Sr. in the same tax group.
Benjamin Williams, Sr. had 4 known children: Jane, Benjamin (the subject of this history), Thomas, and Mary.
1. JANE WILLIAMS married Henry Lane, a son of CORNELIUS LAND who lived in New Jersey. She was evidently the older of the four children of Benjamin Williams, Sr., since she had young children at the time Henry Lane wrote his will in 1799 leaving his estate to his wife. The will of Henry Lane was probated in 1813, suggesting that he was yet a young man when he died, and this seems borne out by the fact that his father, Cornelius Land, did not die until shortly before the death of Benjamin Williams in 1848. If fact, Benjamin Williams was in the process of helping settle the Cornelius Lane estate when his own death occurred.
The children of Henry and Jane Williams Lane were:
Name: Age: Born:
Catherine Hill 52 Tenn
Pleasant Hill 21 Tenn
Benjamin Hill 20 Tenn
Thomas Hill 18 Tenn
Samuel Hill 16 Tenn
2. THOMAS WILLIAMS was born in Pennsylvania about 1784, this birth data given in the 1850 census. On October 22, 1804, he married JEMIMA CARTER, a daughter of DANIEL CARTER, who was one of the original settlers at Carters Station in 1783. Thomas Williams owned a farm of 84 acres on Lick Creek, and lived there until he moved to St, Louis County, Missouri, probably in the 1820s, where he farmed and lived for the remainder of his life. Jemina Carter Williams died before 1828. After her death, Thomas Williams married a second time.
The children of Thomas and Jemima Williams were:
a. Jemima (1835-?)
b. Anna (1837-?)
c. Samuel (1838-?)
d. Thomas J. (1840-?)
e. Margaret A. (1845-?)
(The first three children named above were apparently by an earlier marriage of William Hill)
The second wife of Thomas Williams was dead by 1850 since she does not appear
in the St. Louis County census of that year with the Thomas Williams family.
The children of Thomas Williams and his second wife were:
In 1851, Thomas Williams, suffering from rheumatism and in ill health, was still living in St. Louis County near Fenton. On January 12th that year, Sam Rudder, his brother-in-law, wrote to Farmer Williams, "Bro. Thomas Williams family are all well except the old man. He is quite feeble."
3. MARY WILLIAMS (May 27 1795-March 30, 1868) was born in Virginia and was probably the youngest child of Benjamin Williams, Sr. The date of her birth indicates that she was very young when her family moved to Tennessee. On December 10, 1816, she was married in Greene County to Samuel Rudder.
The Rudder family was in Lunenburg County, Virginia by 1765 when Alexander Rudder purchases land there. Robert Rudder (b. 1764) married Catherine Ferguson (b 1771) and they had 12 children, one of whom, Samuel, was born about 1795 in Lunenburg County.
When Sam Rudder was about 12 years old, his family moved to Greene County, Tennessee where he grew up and married Mary Williams. Several years later, the Robert Rudder family removed to Knox County, Tennessee and settled there. One of the older sons, Alexander Rudder, remaining in Greene County.
At about the same time, which was 1819, Samuel and Mary Williams Rudder, with their son, Thomas Rudder, moved to St. Louis County, Missouri, settling near Fenton. In 1821, Sam Rudder purchased 112 acres of Government land on the Meramec River at $1.25 per acre. In St. Louis County, Sam and Mary Rudder lived near the Thomas Williams family in Bonhomme Township, although it is not known which of the two families moved there first.
The children of Samuel and Mary Williams Rudder were:
(Thomas Rudder was born in Tennessee, the remainder in Missouri.)
4. BENJAMIN WILLIAMS, JR.
THE MARRIAGES OF BENJAMIN WILLIAMS, JR.
The first marriage of Benjamin Williams was on August 20, 1804 to Sally Jones, a daughter of William and Lydia Jones. William Jones owned 560 acres of land on both sides of Lick Creek near Carters Station and had the following children:
Court records of the settlement of the Jones estate show that three children, and possibly four, were born of the marriage of Benjamin Williams and Sally Jones. These are their sons, Henry, Ira, and John. There is also evidence of a daughter, Sarah, who evidently died at an early age. No record has been found of the death of Sally Jones Williams, which probably occurred about 1810.
The marriage of Benjamin Williams and Nancy Pogue took place on December 29, 1812. Nancy Pogue was a daughter of John and Nancy Pogue, neighbors of Benjamin Williams, who also owned a sizeable farm on Lick Creek. This family is believed to have come to Greene County around 1795 from Caswell County, North Caroline where John Pogues father, Joseph Pogue had died in 1788. The 1830 census of Greene County indicates that Nancy Pogue Williams was born between 1790 and 1800, the probable year being about 1792. With data compiled from the census, cemetery information, and "Flashback", a publication of the Washington County (Arkansas) Historical Society, August 1966, the children of John Pogue (d. 1814) and Nancy Pogue (1763-1840) were (birth order uncertain):
1. Sarah Pogue m 29 Dec 1804, Henry Randolph
(2) 24 Jun 1824 Sophia Carter
4. Nancy Pogue ( -1835) m. 29 Dec 1812 m. Benjamin Williams
After their marriages in Greene County, Farmer, Bethany, William and Howel moved to Newton County, Missouri in the 1830s and 40s, and with the exception of Howel, lived there the rest of their lives, Howel dying in Arkansas in 1875. Sarah Pogue Randolph moved with her family to McMinnville, Tennessee before 1830. William Pogue may have married a second time. Thomas Pogue died in Washington County, Arkansas.
There were no Pogues listed in the Greene County census of 1850.
When Benjamin and Nancy Pogue Williams began their married life, their household already included three small boys from Benjamins first marriage. Soon this family began to increase, the birth of their first son, William McKendree Williams, occurring on Oct. 14 1813. After that, more children were born with remarkable regularity until Nancys death. Thirteen children from this marriage grew to adulthood. Goodspeeds History of Missouri, Newton County Section states that the father of Lewis M. Williams, Benjamin Williams, had 21 children. If correct, this suggests that five children may have died young.
By the 1830s, Benjamin and Nancy Williams had prospered. Hew owned more than 500 acres of prime farm land on Lick Creek and had several sons old enough to help assume some of the responsibilities connected with the farm and the large family. Also, he was by then a prominent figure in local public affairs, and was increasingly involved in activities at Carters Station Methodist Church. During this period, religious events were at the center of both spiritual and social life for many people. The era of camp meetings had begun not long before, and Carters Station was one of the major camp meeting sites of the area.
In the latter part of 1835, with their youngest child, Lewis, who was only a few weeks old and carried in his mothers arms, Benjamin and Nancy Williams set out on horseback to attend a song service at Otis, near the Beech Grove community in Hawkins County, a few miles to the northwest of their home. The trail is still in existence, though not now a public road. It runs northwestward from the present community of Mt. Carmel, through a gap in the first mountain range about two miles from Mt. Carmel, crosses Gap Creek Valley, and passes into Hawkins County through Stamps Gap, a gap in Piney Mountain.
It was at this second mountain gap that disaster overtook the family. Passing along this section of trail, Nancys horse encountered unstable footing and fell, throwing off her and the baby, then rolled over her, crushing her chest. Tradition says that she lived only long enough to gasp a few words to her husband; words to the effect that she knew her injury was mortal. In this accident, the baby was thrown clear and escaped injury.
The death of Nancy Pogue Williams left her husband with a number of minor children. In this situation the older children seem to have assumed a relationship to the younger ones like that of foster parents. This is especially evident in the roles of guardianship with the older sons, notably William M., Farmer, and Adonijah assumed over the younger sons following the death of their father.
C. PRISCILLA VESTAL.
Census records show that Priscilla Vestal was born in North Carolina about 1791. She was the widow of Silas Vestal, who had died in Greene County about 1833. Her marriage to Benjamin Williams on November 28, 1837, brought to the family a much-
needed mother. Priscilla was about 46 years old at this time, and in her role as step-mother began what was to become a very successful and close relationship to the family, especially to the younger children. Family tradition is replete with accounts of the love and esteem she enjoyed from her step-children. Some of that is evident from the frequent appearance of Priscilla as the name of female descendants of Benjamin Williams.
Following the death of Benjamin Williams, she lived the last few years of her life with Marian L. and Sally Bailey, her step-daughter, at Laurel Gap, where her final days were spent during the turmoil of the Civil War. On one occasion, when the Bailey homestead was about to be hit by a foraging raid, Priscilla was posted sitting in a chair at an upstairs window to watch for the approach of the men and to give warning to the family. During the raid and search of the house, she remained in her bedroom where food had been hidden in anticipation of the raid and pretended with good effect to be crazy with a repulsive but successful performance, for her room was left undisturbed. The rigors of wartime and the abuses suffered by the Bailey family may have hastened her death on February 13, 1865. Priscilla Vestal Williams is buried in Zion Churchyard near Baileyton, near Marion and Sally Bailey.
THE CHILDREN OF BENJAMIN WILLIAMS, Jr.
Of the 16 children of Benjamin Williams, only four, Henry, William M., Farmer and Sally remained to live out their lives in Tennessee. Polly, Benjamin, Jr., Francis, Mariah, Lewis, Joseph, and Stephen initially moved from Tennessee to McDonald County,
Missouri, Joseph and Stephen soon joining the first rush of settlers into Kansas. A number of the children moved west in a group, and family tradition among Southwest Missouri descendants tells that they and their belongings arrived in 13 wagons. Family letters, tax records and other documents point to the year 1853 as the time when much of this migration took place.
The familys move west came at a time when the estate of Benjamin Williams had just been distributed, providing a financial base for those who wished to become a part of the surge of Americans pouring into lands newly opened to settlement where eighty acres of farm land could be purchased from the Government for one hundred dollars. These were exciting times in the development of the country. One can only imagine events in the life of John Williams as he arrived in Texas at the beginning of the war with Mexico, and Adonijah may have been close enough to smell the gunsmoke from the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre.
The lure of the West and its cheap land beyond the Mississippi undoubtedly drew many. Nevertheless, it took a great deal of courage to pull up stakes in Greene County among family, friends, familiar surroundings and a measure of civilized comforts, and embark upon a six or eight weeks wagon trip to an uncertain future on the raw edge of America. This was mitigated to a degree by the fact that relatives like the Pogue andWeems families were already in Southwest Missouri, as were other families who had been friends and neighbors in Tennessee. Greene County people were in great numbers among the settlers of Southwest Missouri.
Letters written to Farmer Williams from some of those who moved west hint at hardship and even poverty. It was hard enough just to build a cabin and establish subsistence farming on the new land, but it was additionally complicated by the lack of cash, low prices for farm products, disease and that great upheaval which spared none, the American Civil War. In a material sense, some became successful, others barely got along and the unfortunate Joseph and Stephen eventually became almost destitute, relying on other family members for their survival.
Even though some family members never saw each other again after leaving Tennessee, communication seems to have been maintained and it is thought that Joseph, Stephen and Lewis revisited Tennessee in their latter years.
As events in the life of the Benjamin Williams family fade into the haze of the past, the biographies of the 16 children are understandably incomplete and brief. The lives of these children spanned a period of 110 years from, 1805 to 1915, a time for which records are not as plentiful as we would wish. The following sketches in this section have been assembled through the kind cooperation of a number of descendants of the family and assistance from other sources in the hope that the identity of the family of Benjamin Williams will not soon be lost.
The following is a list of the family of Henry and Mary Williams compiled from 1850 and 1860 census records. Years of birth are approximate.
Henry William Born 1805 Farmer
Benjamin P. 1836 School Teacher
John L. 1839 School Teacher
2. IRA WILLIAMS (Myggggrandfather) (28 Nov 1807 to 22 Apr 1890) Married Winney (Winna) Pogue ( b. 31 Aug 1809- d. 13 Apr 1870) in Greene County on November 5, 1829, and like his father, he became a preacher in the Methodist Church. Sometime between 1831 and 1836 he moved his family to Washington County, Arkansas and established a home in Vineyard Township. The 1850 census shows them living there, with Thomas Pogue, age 67 and probably Winneys father (my note: It was her father) living in the household. Ira and Winney Williams were both still living in Vineyard Township in 1870, and their household then included Howel Pogue, Winneys uncle, a laborer. Ira was listed as "deceased" in the 1894 settlement of the Stephen B. Williams estate. ( See NOTE below - Ira died in 1890 and is buried in the Bethlehem Cemetery in Washington County, along with Winney (Winna) and their son Elbert Severe Williams. A copy of Iras will is recorded in Washington County Courthouse, Fayetteville, Arkansas, in Will Records Volume A-B, page 265. Many records in this depository carry the name of Ira, including many couples he married, the fact that he helped establish the Methodist Church in Vineyard Twp., etc. (NOTE: some of the above I have inserted from records I have researched on Ira. His son, Elbert (they show him as Albert but on his grave stone it is shown as Elbert.), is my gggrandfather (From records I have found, it is believed Ira came to NW Arkansas in 1831 or 32)
The family of Ira and Winney Pogue Williams compiled from census records:
Ira Williams 1807 Tenn Methodist Clergyman
Winney 1810 Tenn
Albert 1830 Tenn Farmer
Nancy 1836 Ark
Sarah 1838 Ark
Martha 1840 Ark
Mary 1842 Ark
George 1847 Ark
Tabitha 1850 Ark
Marion 1852 Ark
Thomas 1854 Ark
James 1858 Ark
In a letter to Farmer Williams written from Newton County in December 1846, E. G. Williams said, "John Williams has gone to Texies (sic). He started two or three weeks(sic) before I got here..." His name appears on the list of 16 children who gave one dollar each for the marking of Benjamin Williams Tomb. When the Stephen B. Williams estate was being settled in 1894, the list of Stephens heirs included John Williams, deceased, of Johnson County, Texas.
4. WILLIAM MCKENDREE WILLIAMS (Oct 14, 1813-Jul 14, 1858) Named for the early Methodist bishop, he was the first child of Benjamin and Nancy Pogue Williams. He lived near the present-day community of Mt. Carmel in Greene Count and was a farmer and Justice of the Peace. He married Louisa Lindsey on July 28, 1836. It is said that he donated the land for the site of Antioch Methodist Church on Babbs Mill Road west of Mt. Carmel, and he is buried there.
The name of his wife buried beside him, is shown as "Eliza" on her tombstone. It is not known if this was a second wife or merely another name used by Louisa. When William M. Williams died in 1858, his estate was administered by his son-in-law, John G. Weems.
The known children of Williams, and the approximate years of their birth:
Ray O. Weems (1886-1955) served several terms as Corporation Commissioner for the State of Oklahoma
John G. Weems was a Colonel in the Tennessee Militia. He was a partner in the firm "Bailey and Weems", merchants
Fred J. Weems received the Distinguished Service Cross and was decorated by Gen. Pershing for bravery in WWI action.
Elizabeth Williams Funkhouser lived in a house situated in 3 counties: Hanblen, Cooke and Jefferson, TN. Near White Pine, overlooking the French Broad River near the railroad. She is buried at Leadvale Cemetery.
5. FARMER WILLIAMS (September 25, 1814-February 14, 1896) was named after his uncle Farmer Pogue. A notebook which he kept from 1832 until about 1842 shows him as a young man with a passion for learning. The book is filled with entries ranging from complex mathematical problems and solutions to exercises in penmanship, accounting, legal forms and poetry. His education, which was remarkable for the period, undoubtedly was largely self-acquired and was the reason that he was the one called on so often by relatives and friends to supervise their business and legal affairs. Therefore, it is not surprising that it was he who was chosen to administer the estate of Benjamin Williams.
Farmer Williams married Mary Ann Rutherford on November 12, 1847. A glass plate photograph of the couple, probably made in the early 1850s, depicts him as a strongly-featured man with a thick shock of dark hair dressed in a fine suit and holding a Bible, sitting beside his pretty young wife who was also holding a Bible and wearing a delicate lace collar over her blouse.
Three sons and six daughters were born to Farmer and Mary Ann Williams. Their home was located in the Gap Creek Valley of Greene County near Pilot Knob on a large farm which Farmer purchased. The farm occupied the floor of the valley and up to the top of Bluff Mountain on the south side of the valley, the house being situated nearly a half-mile back from the Snapps Ferry Road.
During the Civil War, this part of Tennessee was predominantly Union in sentiment, but was controlled by the Confederacy for much of the time. Accordingly, it was dangerous for a resident or East Tennessee to exhibit sympathy for either side. During the latter says of the war, as the area became contested by Union and Confederate forces, minor military actions occurred frequently. During one of these engagements, a young Confederate soldier was mortally wounded and died a short time afterwards near Farmer Williams home. To avoid arousing resentment from Union neighbors, Farmer sent one of his sons to Romeo by a back route along Bluff Mountain to obtain a coffin for the young mans burial in the nearby Rutherford Cemetery. During this same period, foraging details from various military units requisitioned corn and other commodities from his farm to the point of deprivation.
The Civil War touched the family of Farmer Williams in another way. A brother-in-law, J. B. Rutherford enlisted in Co. F of the newly-organized 29the Tennessee Infantry Regiment, CSA, on Sept. 26, 1861, a unit known as the "Greeneville Guards". This regiment was put into service in eastern Kentucky that fall under Gen. Zollicoffer as part of a long Confederate defense line against Union forces in central Kentucky. In its first engagement, fought at Wild Cat Mountain near Corbin, the regiment was defeated and had to fall back to Cumberland Crossing (Pineville). From there, J. B. Rutherford wrote to his mother and to Farmer, excitedly describing the battle. A few days later, the 29th attacked and routed the same Union force in an action the soldiers came to call "The Wild Cat Stampede". In this fight, J. B. Rutherford was fatally wounded, dying in a Knoxvill hospital on November 15, 1861, at the age of 24.
The home and farm of Farmer Williams are still much as they were during his lifetime, and have escaped most of the changes which have come to much of the area. A caring family has preserved his home, furniture, papers, farm buildings and items of his craftsmanship.
Mary Ann Rutherford Williams died from complications of childbirth following the birth of her sixth daughter, Martha Ann Belle Williams. Farmer Williams made a poignant entry in his Bible, stating, "Mary Ann Williams died October 22, 1870 at 6:20 P.M."
Farmer Williams lived out the remainder of his life at his home and was cared for in his old age by several of his unmarried children, who lived with him. He, his wife and several of his children are buried in a small family cemetery on his farm, located a few hundred yards from his home on a little knoll at the edge of a quiet woodland.
THE FAMILY OF FARMER AND MARY ANN RUTHERFORD WILLIAMS
Farmer Williams 1814-1896) m. Mary Ann Rutherford (1826-1870)
k. Ruth Park (1914-) m. York A. Quillen
He was probably the most extensively educated of the children of Benjamin Williams. Five of his letters which survive indicate that he was a man skilled in expressing his thoughts in writing, and use of syntax, good spelling, humor and pointed comments. The location of the school where he received his education is unknown, as is the identity of the college where he later taught.
In 1843 he entered on trial into the ministry of the Methodist Church in Holston Conference and it is interesting to note that this was a crucial period of time in the history of the church with the great division into northern and southern branches occurring in 1844. From 1843 until about 1853, Adonijah Williams served as a travelling preacher in many parts of Holston Conference. Some of his known appointments were at Giles C. H., Virginia, Lapland in Buncome County, North Carolina, and at numerous camp meetings. Having chosen to serve in the M. E. Church, South following the division, he requested a transfer to the Pacific Conference about 1853. In his "Holston Methodism", Vol. IC, p 158, R. N. Price wrote of the conferences of 1852 and 1853, "At this session Adonijah Williams was transferred to the Pacific Conference. I remember him as a good-natured sociable man of average parts. What and how he did in the far West I have not learned."
Adonijah Williams did not remain long in the Pacific Conference, for in 1855 he was appointed to the Big Blue charge, Kickapoo District of the Kansas Mission Conference. At this time, Kansas had few white settlers, but there were many Indians of various tribes who had been moved from other areas onto reservations in the territory. Meanwhile, several of Adonijahs brothers and two sisters had moved from Tennessee to Missouri and Kansas. Indeed, this may have been a compelling reason for his move to this area. While the family had been in Tennessee, the supervision of the three younger boys and the provisions made for them in their fathers will was overseen by William M, Farmer and Adonijah. Now, with a large part of the family moved west, and with the two elder brothers remaining in Tennessee, this duty was assumed by Adonijah.
In 1855, using money from the estate of Benjamin Williams, which had been held in trust for the three sons, Adonijah supervised the purchase of farm land at the falls of the Blue River, near Manhattan, Kansas and established Joseph and Stephen in farming there. At about the same time he transferred to Lewis $125.00 of his inheritance, and this was probably used by Lewis in setting himself up in the grocery business in McDonald County, Missouri.
During the time that he served in the Big Blue charge, Adonijah made periodic trips to Tahlequah, I. T. where he preached and taught among the Cherokees, the Indian Missions having voted to adhere to the Southern Methodist Church following the division of 1844. In May of 1855, on one of his trips to Tahlequah, he stopped enroute in McDonald County at the home of his brother-in-law and sister, Wyatt and Nancy Mariah Edmonds, and wrote to Farmer telling him of progress in establishing Joseph and Stephen in farming.
In 1856, he was transferred to Leavenworth City, still in the Kansas Mission Conference, and served there until 1858. It was during this time, on May 26, 1857, that he married Martha Ann Dyer, whom he had probably met during his service in the Big Blue charge. This young woman was a daughter of Samuel Doughet Dyer, a native of Wales and the first settler in Riley County, who operated a ferry at the Juniata crossing of the Blue River on the army road between Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth. Writing to Farmer of his marriage, Adonijah said, "I married Miss Martha A. Dyer, a woman some younger than myself, and she is said to be, by good judges, very handsome, and she is now sitting right in front of me singing merrily." She was indeed "some younger", having married Adonijah, who was then 41, on her 17th birthday. Photographs made in Manhattan soon after their marriage confirm Adonijahs appraisal of his wifes appearance. She was, in fact, a beautiful woman.
By 1858, conditions in Kansas were bordering on Anarchy. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, by its provision of Popular Sovereignty, had created conditions in the territory which set the stage for an ever-escalating conflict between abolitionists and proslavery adherents among the settlers, whose numbers were growing rapidly, each side struggling to prevail by fair means or foul. Settlers homes were burned, families were run off their land, highway robberies were common and in May of 1856 this frenzy of violence reached a climax with the burning of the town of Lawrence by Border Ruffians and the ensuing revenge a few days later when John Brown led a massacre of five proslavery settlers on Pottawatomie Creek. In this setting of terrorism, which was in part put down by federal troops, but persisted in many area, the people were divided into two warring groups and the voice of moderation could no longer be heard.
Because of his identity as a southerner and a preacher of a southern-based church, Adonijah Williams was undoubtedly the target of abolitionist wrath. In 1858, he requested his bishop to transfer him to southern Missouri where he had many relatives and where the M. E. Church, South was strong. Instead, he was sent to a station charge at West Post, Missouri, a town with a population of about 4000, which later became a part of Kansas City. He wrote to Farmer saying, "I left the Kansas Conference owing to the unsettled state of matters in that territory and the great prejudice that exists there against the south."
The three years at West Port must have been the most pleasant of Adonijahs life. He described to Farmer the comfortable quarters, the agreeable state of his ministry and his busy schedule. In addition, he certainly appreciated the chance to live a more relaxed life with his wife than had been possible in Kansas and it was probably here that his first child, Mary Belle Williams was born.
Unfortunately, this happy situation did not last long. Church records show that Adonijah Williams located, or became inactive in 1861. The exact cause of this is not known, but is likely related to the outbreak of the Civil War.
Following this, Adonijah and his family moved back to Manhattan , Kansas, where his second daughter, Martha Ann Williams, was born on May 10, 1864, bringing about a great tragedy in his life for 20 days later on May 30, Martha Dyer Williams died probably from complications of childbirth. Compounding the tragedy, the infant died the following winter. Moving in to live with his brother, Joseph, Adonijah and Mary Belle were enumerated in an 1865 census of Manhattan Township with Adonijahs occupation listed as "farmer".
With the war over, he reentered the ministry of the M. E. Church, South in the Nebraska Conference. He served in this area for about two years, filling appointments at Nemaha and Rulo in the southeastern part of the state, and again locating in 1868, due likely to failing health. A photograph made in Lincoln about 1870 shows Adonijah greatly aged in comparison with his appearance in the Manhattan photograph of a few years earlier. During the last few years of his life, he probably lived near Manhattan, filling occasional pulpit appointments and he performed a marriage ceremony in Pottawatomie County as late as March 26, 1873.
Dyer family records indicate the Mary Belle Williams was reared by her grandparents, Samuel and Permelia Dyer. The 1870 census of Pottawatomie County, Shannon Township lists:
Dyer, Samuel D. 68, farmer
Dyer, Permelia 60
Williams, Mary B. 9 At school born Missouri
Mary Belle Williams married Austin Daharsh on February 25, 1880. An 1885 census of Riley County, Grant Township, lists them as follows:
Daharsh, Austin 28, farmer, born Wisconsin, came from MO.
Mary B. 25
On October 8m 1876, the Rev. Adonijah Williams died. His death notice, appearing in the October 20 issue of the Manhattan Nationalist, and incorrectly stating his age, read, "On the 8th inst. at the residence of Mr. J. V. Inskeep, Pottawatomie Co., Rev. Adonijah Williams, aged 55 years. Mr. Williams was an able minister of the Methodist Church, South and was much liked by those who knew him. He was a native of Tennessee, in one of the colleges of which he was for some tine professor."
He is buried in Manhattan, Sunset Cemetery, beside his wife and infant daughter in lot no. 1-231. In 1981, the First United Methodist Church of Manhattan initiated steps to purchase and install a marker at his grave identifying it as the resting place of a faithful minister of the Methodist Church.
COPY OF A LETTER REGARDING A MARKER FOR ADONIJAHS GRAVE
First United Methodist Church
913-776-8821 612 Poyntz Manhattan, Kansas 66502
Charles B. Bennett, Minister
September 24, 1981
Mr. James F. King
Rt. #15, Box 428
Gray, Tennessee 37615
Dear Mr. King,
I have a copy of the letter which you wrote to Mrs. Elaine Olney of the Riley County Genealogical Society in July, and should like to give you some information which you might find interesting. After we discovered that Adonihah Williams was buried in the Sunset Cemetery at Manhattan, we located the gravesite. We have now ordered a permanent marker from the United Methodist Historical Society which we will place at the grave. This marker states that Brother Williams was a minister of the church.
I take some personal satisfaction in being involved in the procedure for marking his resting place. I, too, am a descendant of Methodist Episcopal South ancestors. And so, I feel that I am participating in the honoring of one of my own,
When the marker arrives, we will encase it in concrete and say a prayer in memory of a faithful minister.
/s/ Charles Bennett
7. MARY WILLIAMS (Polly) (1817-1860) was the oldest of the three daughters of Benjamin and Nancy Pogue Williams. When her mother met accidental death in 1835, Polly Williams was 18 years old and without doubt she suddenly found herself cast into the role of mother to the infant Lewis and the other young children of the family, as well as manager of the Williams household for a time.
In the young adult period of her life shortly before her marriage, she spent some time teaching school in her neighborhood. On September 1, 1842, she and Claudius B. Walker were married by the Rev. C. F. Page, the Methodist circuit rider at Carters Station. C. B. Walker, who had also been involved in teaching school, became a successful farmer and landowner of 362 acres near Carters Station.
(Receipts from Mary Williams and C. B. Walker)
March the 4 1841 then received of Benjamin Williams trustee and treasurer of the School District thirty Six Dollars being a three month School at or near E. Padgets _____ recd by me. /s/ Mary Williams
Recd of Benjamin Williams Treasure for the common school in debt Nov 7th for teaching a school at or near Elias Padgets the amount due to Section or place _____ Forty three dollars and fifty seven cents this the 12th Day of March 1842.
/s/ C. B. Walker
For ten years after their marriage, C.B. and Polly Walker lived in the seventh district of Greene County where they farmed, and there Polly gave birth to their two daughters, Nancy J. Walker and Priscilla N. Walker who were undoubtedly named in honor of Pollys mother and stepmother.
In 1852, disposing of their Greene County property, C. B. Walker and his family moved to McDonald County, Missouri and settled at Pineville. Within about 2 years he had established as a merchant and it is believed that he conducted a grocery business in which his brother-in-law, Lewis M. Williams, was a partner. In keeping with her familys mandate to oversee and assist the younger children and probably having a special affection for her youngest brother, Polly took Lewis into her home and he lived there until the outbreak of the Civil War when he left to join the Confederate Army.
C. B. Walker soon became a successful businessman at Pineville and took an active part in public affairs, running as a Democrat for McDonald Countys newly-created seat in the Missouri Legislature in the 1858 election in which he was defeated by Dr. W. C. Duval. He joined the Masonic fraternity in Yancy Lodge 148 A.F & A.M, in January 1857, his brothers-in-law, Lewis and Benjamin Williams, joining the same lodge two months later. In 1858 he purchased five lots in Pineville, probably as sites for his house and for a two story frame hotel which he built a short time later.
In the 1860 census of Pineville Township, he gave his occupation as "merchant" and was by then quite prosperous by standards of that time. Very soon after this, on the eve of the Civil War, Polly Williams Walker died at age 43 and the era of good times for the Walker family came to an end. As the war began, Lewis M. Williams departed to serve in a Confederate Cavalry unit and in a typical example of the divisions within families caused by the conflict, C. B. Walker remained a loyal Unionist throughout the war.
As in many border areas, conditions in McDonald County soon degenerated into a state of lawlessness in which the citizens were divided into factions loyal either to the Union or Confederacy. There was no middle ground. Most adult males joined military units or else left the area. Gangs of bushwhackers formed, some representing themselves as loyal to the Confederacy, some loyal to the Union, and some professing no loyalty at all. Regardless of their allegiance, the bushwhackers activities were often pure and simple acts of terrorism, using issues of the war as a rationale for carrying out deeds of personal vengeance and for appropriating property. It has been said that this was a time when men hunted men. Coupled with considerable fighting between opposing army units, bushwhacker depredations brought on a period of hellish existence. During this time, probably in late 1863, members of the Hinson gang burned C. B. Walkers house and near the same time his hotel was burned, also.
In 1864, in an election overseen by the Federal Army in which only voters who had taken an oath of allegiance to the United States were permitted to vote, C. B. Walker was elected to the Missouri Legislature. In 1865 he was listed as a member of the county Grand Jury, and in 1866 he was appointed Justice of the Peace in Pineville Township, apparently the last public office he held until his death in 1868.
Nancy J. (Jennie) Walker, the elder daughter of C. B. and Polly Williams Walker, married Daniel Harmon in McDonald County on December 2, 1866. Dan Harmon, born in Greene County, Tennessee, had an interesting background as a soldier of fortune, which included mining in California, extensive travels through wild areas of the far west, and a venture in 1857 into Central America in which he led a group of 63 men in support of Dr. Williams Walkers "fillibustering" expedition which seized and kept control of Nicaragua for some time. After his marriage, Daniel Harmon became a merchant and farmer, building the first house at Erie.
Priscilla H. Walker married John M. Boyd on August 27, 1865. He was a farmer and a Justice in Erie Township and a son of William M. and Isabella McKnight Boyd of Rutherford County, Tennessee.
The family of C. B. Walker and Polly Williams Walker:
Claudius B. Walker (1817-1868) and Mary (Polly) Williams (1817-1860)
Daniel and Jennie Walker Harmon and their children, Charles, Daniel and Ernest are buried in the Harmon Cemetery near Goodman, MO.
(1) Mona Masters (1908-?) m. _____Wingo
John M. and Priscilla Walker Boyd are buried in Indian Springs Cemetery near McNatt, Missouri.
8. BENJAMIN WILLIAMS, Jr. (c. 1819 December 3, 1866) is the only child known to have been given property by Benjamin Williams, Sr. prior to his death. On May 16, 1848, a gift deed for 50 acres of land was made by Benjamin Williams, Sr. to Benjamin Williams, Jr. This land was situated on the north side of Lick Creek, and was a strip nearly a mine in length by about 500 feet in width, running from the present site of Mr. Carmel south to Lick Creek. It was a part of the original 215 acres inherited by Benjamin Williams from the Jones estate in 1805.
The 1850 census lists Benjamin Williams, Jr. living in the same household with Wyatt and Nancy M. Edmonds. At about this time, Benjamin married Nancy Minerva Holtsinger, probably at a location outside of Greene County because their marriage is not recorded there. Family tradition tells the family gave the newly-married couple a set of dishes, or at least a large platter, as a wedding gift. They lived and farmed in the 7th district of Greene County until 1853, when, along with much of the rest of the family, they sold their land, packed their belongings into wagons and with their young son, Isaac Barton Williams, moved to McDonald County, Missouri, arriving there after a 44 day journey.
In a letter written from McDonald County to Farmer Williams in April 1854, Nancy Minerva told of the difficult trip, exorbitant expenses for provisions and general hardships incident to the settlers life. She also related an accident in which she fell and broke one of her forefingers, an injury which is apparent in a photograph taken of her much later in her lifetime. In contrast with the sober account of their experiences in moving to their new home, she wrote proudly, at a time when she was expecting her second child, of her small son who she described as "the finest son the Co. can afford."
Settling at Elkhorn in McDonald County, Benjamin Williams, Jr. farmed and the remainder of his children were born there: William G., James, and twin daughters Nancy P. and Lucy.
As the Civil War began, Goodspeeds History of Missouri records that Benjamin Williams was among the group of 85 loyal Union men who were first to organize in McDonald County on May 1, 1861 under Capt. John V. Hargrove. However, the company was never mustered in and it is not known if Benjamin Williams served as a combatant during the war.
The war caused havoc in this family like so many others. In one of the bushwhacker raids, the familys house was set on fire and they were fortunate to escape with their lives. As they fled their burning home, one of the family members managed to rescue the platter which had been a wedding present in Tennessee and this was one of the few possessions saved from the flames. This platter is now owned by Ethmar E. Williams of Goodman, Missouri.
On December 3, 1866, Benjamin Williams, Jr., died of typhoid, leaving his wife to rear the family of five children, the oldest of whom, Isaac Barton Williams, was only 15 years of age. The fathers early death undoubtedly caused great hardship for the family and placed a heavy responsibility on his widow and older children in caring for and rearing the younger ones. The 1870 census shows the Isaac Barton Williams was living at that time with Daniel Harmon and working as a farm laborer, and through such dedication the family held together and grew to maturity. The second son, William G. Williams, eventually came to own a very successful farm of more than 800 acres, said to be one of the largest in McDonald County.
Benjamin and Nancy Minerva Williams are buried in Edmonds Cemetery near Bethpage, his monument indicating that he was a member of the Masonic Order and that he died on December 3, 1866, age 47.
The family of Benjamin and Nancy M. Williams:
Benjamin Williams, Jr. (c. 1819-1866) m. Nancy M. Holtsinger (1816-1902)
(2)Kathleen R. McAnelly
(3) Erma Blanch Wasson (1905-) m. Roy T. Thorman (1907-)
mountains of Oregon.
Josie Williams Harmon and her three children, Ray, Stella and Loyd were among 43 persons killed in one of the major accidents of American Railroad history at Tipton Ford, Mo. on August 5, 1914.
(2) Helen _____
e Joseph C. Williams (1886-1937) m. Nancy Pearl _____ (1894-1937)
Clara Williams married (2) George W. Collings (1885-1975)
3. James Williams (c. 1857-?) m. Ruth Tennison
a. Orvilla Woolard m. _____Housman
Lucy Williams and Nancy P. Williams were twins.
9. THOMAS N. WILLIAMS (Sept 12, 1819 December 11, 1903) was probably a twin of Benjamin Williams, Jr.
On March 2, 1843, he married Narcissa Weems (April 26, 1826 April 19, 1883) in a wedding performed by Narcissas uncle, the Rev. John Weems, a Methodist circuit rider of Holston Conference. John Weems died later that year at Burksville, Kentucky, as he was moving his family to Newton County, MO. Narcissa Weems was a daughter of George Weems, a farmer and deputy sheriff of Greene County, and Matilda Keele Weems, a daughter of William and Livia Ann Bewley Keele. Henrietta, a sister of Matilda Keele Weems, was the mother of Marion L. Bailey, who married Thomas N. Williams younger sister, Sally Williams.
The marriage of Thomas N. Williams and Narcissa Weems was one of several which produced close ties betwen the Williams and Weems families. Benjamin Williams and Jones Weems, a brother of George and the Rev. John Weems, married sisters, Nancy and Bethany Pogue; and their brother, William Pogue, married Rachel Weems, a sister of Jones, John and George Weems. After Narcissas marriage, her brother, John G. Weems, married Mary J. Williams, whose father, William M. Williams, was an older brother of Thomas N. Williams. In 1870, the youngest Williams brother, Lewis, married Nancy Catherine Weems, a daughter of the Rev. John Weems. In 1886, Mildred M. Williams, a daughter of Thomas N. and Narcissa Williams, married Dr. David L. Weems, a grandson of the Rev. John Weems.
Following their marriage, Thomas N. and Narcissa Williams lived for about 12 years near Carters Station and five of their children were born during that time. After the death of his father, Thomas N. Williams purchased 470 acres of the family farm from the estate for a price of $2400. He operated the farm for about 5 years from 1849 to late 1854, providing a home for his step-mother, Priscilla Williams. As he prepared to move with his family to Johnson County, Mo., he sold the farm to John Milligan in October 1854.
In addition to the inheritance from the Benjamin Williams estate and the proceeds from the sale of their farm, it is apparent that Thomas and Narcissa received assistance from Narcissas widowed mother as they undertook their westward move. In her will written in 1863, Matilda Keele Weems stated, "I direct that Thomas N. Williams and his wife Narcissa Williams have no more of my estate in consequence of them having received as much of my estate in days gone by as is due them."
The Thomas N. Williams family moved to Johnson County, MO. where they settled on a farm in Warrensburg Township, the move probably taking place in late 1854.
In Johnson County, the 6 younger children were born, Narcissa, the mother, dying in 1883 at the age of 57. On December 11, 1903, Thomas N. Williams died in Johnson County at the home of his daughter, Nannie Williams Graham, an event still recalled in 1982 by his granddaughter, Julia Graham Downing.
Thomas N. and Narcissa Weems Williams are buried outside the wall of the Hours Family Cemetery, Centerview Township, Johnson County, in Section 20, T. 45 N., Range 26.
The family of Thomas N. and Narcissa Weems Williams:
Thomas N. Williams (1819-1903) m. Narcissa Weems (1826-1883)
Thomas D. (Doss) Houts amd Matilda lived near Warrensburg and had no children of their own but reared a foster daughter, Alta Houts (m. _____Harness). Sometime after the death of Doss Houts, Matilda went to live with Alta in Oklahoma, dying there in the great influenza epidemic on January 5, 1919. She and Doss Houts are buried in Sunset Hill Cemetery, Warrensburg, MO.
She was listed living with the family in the 1860 census but not in 1870. Livia Ann was a favorite name in the Weems and related families.
They had no children. He died of a heart attack on Feb. 9, 1927 while visiting in the home of Robert F. Graham at Chilhowee, MO. and is buried in Sunset Hill Cemetery, at Warrensburg.
(a) Marjorie Turner (1932-)
(b) James Turner (1934-)
Elizabeth W. Edmondson was a teacher at Stella Academy in Newton County, and Dr. J. L. Edmondson was a much revered physician of the Stella Community.
second Brooks Wiles
second Betty Jean Howard
second Virginia Bliss
From the obituary of George Bascom Williams: "George Bascomb Williams was born in Greene County, Tennessee, December 11, 1850, died April 6, 1907. He came to Johnson County, MO. when a small boy where he grew to manhood, afterward moving to Newton County, MO. where he spent the last years of his life. He was educated in the State University at Columbia, MO. He was married October 19, 1884, to Miss Cora E. Bridges and of this union were born eight children...He was one of eleven children, only three of whom remain. Mrs. Dave Weems of Neosho, and a brother and sister who live in other parts of the state....." He and Cora Bridges Williams are buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Newtonia, MO.
Nannie Williams was certified to teach school at age 16 and taught until after her marriage. She and Robert F. Graham are buried in Pisgah Cemetery in Johnson County.
second Kathy Ann Hall
(a) Jack Eugene Russell (1945-) m. first Connie Mae Hjelmeng
second Karyll Ann Davis
(a) Michael Roy Graham (1952-)
Beginning at age 13 following her mothers death, Julia Graham kept house for her father and brother Roy. After her marriage to Harry K. Downing, she served 16 years as Clerk of the Probate Court at Warrensburg, and later as Deputy Clerk of Circuit Court.
Harry L. Downing, Col., USAF, retired to Tacoma, Washington, after distinguished thirty-year service career.
second Michael W. Robinson
Carter was a City Judge of Durant, Oklahoma, and was a half-brother of Nancy
Catherine Weems Williams, wife of Lewis M. Williams. Mildred Williams Carter is
buried at Durant. After her death, Noah W. Carter married Laura Kirby.
9. Joseph L. Williams (1863-1884) buried outside the wall of Houts Family Cemetery.
Dr. D. L. Weems was a widely known and respected physician in Newton County. He and Julia are buried in Weems Cemetery, Wanda, MO.
Jimmie and Emma Williams with their three sons left Missouri about 1902 by covered
wagon for a destination believed to have been Canon City, Colorado. He died a few
years later, and Emma and the boys moved to Spokane, Washington. Julia Graham
Downing maintained a correspondence with them until the boys were grown, but
contact was eventually lost.
In 1846 when he was a young man of about 23, he went on what was probably his first trip west. This journey, made in the company of several other emigrants from Greene County, among whom were John Weems and his wife Anna Lane Weems, James Smith, and Thomas Smith, took him through St. Louis Count, Missouri, where he stopped by at his uncles, Thomas Williams and Samuel Rudder. He then passed through Crawford County and attended to some business for Farmer with the Hardy family, some old acquaintances from Greene County, and arrived in Newton County on November 18, 1846. On this trip, George seems to have been appraising the advantages of settlement in Missouri and appears to have been one of the first of his immediate family to travel there.
After living for 2 years in Newton County on the farm of his uncle and aunt, Jones and Bethany Pogue Weems, he moved to Arkansas and lived there for about a year with Martin Thornberry, a son-in-law of Jones Weems. While in Arkansas, he was caught up in the excitement of the California gold rush and made plans to travel to the gold fields in the spring of 1849 with a large company of people who were to depart Fort Smith in April. It was likely the news of his fathers death changed his plans and he returned to Tennessee shortly afterward.
In the summer of 1850, George Williams was in South Carolina on a business venture, the purpose of which seems to have been to raise capital for his impending permanent move to Missouri. Writing from Darlington to his brother, Thomas N. Williams, George sought to assure the family that rumors about his excessive drinking were untrue, and that he was having success in his speculative trading in the pork market.
Back in Greene County that fall, events in Georges life began moving at a fast pace. On October 6, he married Mary E. Walker, and five days later he received his share of his fathers estate, signing a court bond for $280. Departing immediately thereafter, and accompanied by his brother Francis A. Williams and his wife Kissiah Shelly Williams, George and his bride were in Fenton, Missouri at the home of his uncle Thomas Williams by November 10, 1850. From there George wrote back to Farmer saying that in his haste in departing he had forgotten to collect a debt which Farmer owed him.
Arriving in Newton County in late November, George and Mary Williams moved onto a farm owned by his Uncle Farmer Pogue, who had come from Greene County, Tennessee to Newton County in the summer of 1847 and had died the in the fall of 1849.
Later, settling in McDonald County, George and Mary Williams lived in the community that came to be known as Erie, and owned a farm there.
Due to the lack of surviving correspondence, loss of McDonald County records, and failure of the writer to locate any descendants, the story of the life of Enoch George Williams after he began living in McDonald County is sketchy.
It is known that for several years he was a Justice of the Peace in the county, performing a number of marriages, and served as one of the County Judges presiding over the County Court, possibly as early as 1858. He was appointed Coroner for McDonald County in November 1866.
When the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at Erie in 1868, E. G. and Mary Williams were among the charter members, with George serving as Church Secretary. Two years later at this church, the names of E. G. and Mary Williams were recorded as witnesses at the wedding of Georges younger brother, Lewis.
The activities of George Williams during the Civil War are not well documented other than the appearance of his name on the roster of Co. "K", 15th Missouri Cavalry, Missouri State Militia. The record shows that George served as a private, evidently beginning his duty early in the war and reenlisting on December 26, 1862, for the remainder of the conflict, his service ending on July 10, 1865. The State Militia was a Union military force.
The 1870 census lists E.G. and Mary Williams living in Erie Township with one son, Walker W. Williams, age 17. 10 years later, the 1880 census enumerates them with a foster daughter, Minerva, living in the household. Nothing further has been learned of these children, and as of this writing, it is not known if Enoch George Williams has any living descendants.
Enoch George and Mary Walker Williams are buried in Harmon Cemetery about four miles east of Goodman in McDonald County.
In 1846 when he was a young man of about 23, he went on what was probably his first trip west. this journey, made in the company of several other emigrants from Greene County, among whom were John Weems and his wife Anna Lane Weems, James Smith, and Thomas Smity, took him through St. Louis Count, Missouri, where he stopped by at his uncles, Thomas Williams and Samuel Rudder. He then passed through Crawford County and attended to some business for Farmer with the Hardy family, some old acquaintances from Greene County, and arrived in Newton County on November 18, 1846. On this trip, George seems to have been appraising the advantages of settlement in Missouri and appears to have been one of the firts of his immediate family to travel there.
After living for 2 years in Newton County on the farm of his uncle and aunt, Jones and Bethany Pogue Weems, he moved to Arkansas and lived there for about a year with Martin Thornberry, a son-in-law of Jones Weems. While in Arkansas, he was caught up in the excitement of the California gold ruch and made plans to travel to the gold fields in the spring of 1849 with a large company of people who were to depart Fort Smith in April. It was likely the news of his fathers death which changed his plans and he returned to Tennessee shortly afterward.
In the summer of 1850, George Williams was in South Carolina on a business venture, the purpose of which seems to have been to raise capital for his impending permanent move to Missouri. Writing from Darlington to his brother, Thomas N.Williams, George sought to assure the family that rumors about his excessive drinking were untur, and that he was having success in his speculative trading in the pork market.
Back in Greene County that fall, events in Georges life began moving at a fast pace. On October 6, he married Mary E. Walker, and five days later he received his share of his fathers estate, signing a court bond for $280. Departing immediatley thereafter, and accompanied by his brother Francis A. Williams and his wife Kissiah Shelly Williams, George and his bride were in Fenton, Missouri at the home of his uncle Thomas Williams by November 10, 1850. From there George wrote back to Farmer saying that in his haste in departing he had forgotten to collect a debt which Farmer owed him.
Arriving in Newton County in late November, George and Mary Williams moved onto a farm owned by his Uncle Farmer Pogue, who had come from Greene County, Tennessee to Newton County in the summer of 1847 and had died the in the fall of 1849.
Later, settling in McDonal County, George and Mary Williams lived in the community that came to be known as Erie, and owned a farm there.
Due to the lack of surviving correspondence, loss of McDonald County records, and failure of the writer to locate any descendants, the story of the life of Enoch George Williams after he began living in McDonald County is sketchy.
It is known that for several years he was a Just of the Peace in the county, performing a number of marriages, and served as one of the County Judges presiding over the County Court, possibly as early as 1858. He was appointed Coroner for McDonald County in November 1866.
When the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at Erie in 1868, E. G. and Mary Williams were among the charter members, with George serving as Church Secretary. Two years later at this church, the names of E. G. and Mary Williams were recorded as witnesses at the wedding of Georges younger brother, Lewis.
The activities of George Williams during the Civil War are not well documented other than the appearance of his name on the roster of Co. "K", 15th Missouri Cavalry, Missouri State Militia. The record shows that George served as a private, evidently beginning his duty early in the war and reenlisting on December 26, 1862, for the remainder of the conflict, his service ending on July 10, 1865. The State Militia was a Union military force.
The 1870 census lists E.G. and Mary Williams living in Erie Township with one son, Walker W. Williams, age 17. 10 years later, the 1880 census enumerates them with a foster daughter, Minerve, living in the household. Nothing further has been learned of these childre, and as of this writing, it is not known if Enoch George Williams has any living descendants.
Enoch George and Mary Walker Williams are buried in Harmon Cemetery about four miles east of Goodman in McDonald County.
When his brother, Enoch George Williams, went on his first trip to Southwest Missouri in the fall of 1846, he wrote back to Farmer Williams, "Tell Frank that I want him to come with uncle Farmer (Pogue) for I think he (could do) a great deal better here than he can there."
Encouragement such as this was probably all that was necessary to convince many young men to move west. Although he did not accompany Farmer Pogue to Southwest Missouri in his move to Newton County in 1847, Frank Williams did sell the land he owned in the 7th district of Greene County in 1850 and on October 11 that year, he and Enoch George both signed court papers acknowledging their receipt of $280 each from the estate of Benjamin Williams.
With this business concluded, they left with their families and headed for Southwest Missouri, stopping enroute at Fenton in St. Louis County, where they arrived on November 10 at the home of their Uncle Thomas Williams. On this trip, Kissiah Shelly Williams must have heard tales of the hazards of frontier life in Southwest Missouri and yearned for the protection of one of her familys dogs. It was from Fenton that George Williams, writing back to Farmer Williams in Greene County said, "If Shellys has not started yet, Frank wants them to bring Turk for Kiz wants a companion or friend that will keep the woolves (sic) off."
Frank and George Williams arrived in Newton County in late November 1850. Frank and his family took up land in McDonald County and were enumerated in the 1860 census of Elkhorn Township:
F. A. Williams Age 36 Farmer Born Tennessee
Kissiah Williams 32 Tennessee
Thomas N. Williams 10 Tennessee
Stephen L, Williams 6 Missouri
During Civil War years, many families in this part of Missouri were forced away from their homes owing to great unrest and partisan fighting. This apparently happened to the family of Francis A. Williams, for the 1865 Riley Kansas census shows the Frank and Kissiah Williams were living there with brothers Adonijah and Joseph Williams. After this, Frank and his family may have moved to Johnson County, Missouri. When the estate of Stephen B. Williams was settled in January 1894, appearing on the list of heirs was Frank Williams, deceased, Johnson County, Missouri.
As of this writing, nothing further has been learned of this family.
In a ceremony performed by the Rev. Gabriel F. Page, she was married to Marion L. Bailey, a son of Thomas P. and Henrietta Keele Bailey of Laurel Gap in Greene County on November 9, 1847. Living on a 200 acre farm fronting Snapps Ferry Road just east of Laurel Gap, they reared a family of nine children. The town of Laurel Gap was renamed Baileyton after the Civil War in recognition of the Bailey family who had been among the earliest settlers there.
With her home situated near a school at Laurel Gap, Sally Bailey provided a home for her younger brothers, Stephen and Lewis, while they attended school there. In the mid-1850s she took her step-mother into her home when her brother, Thomas N. Williams, with whom Priscilla had been living after the death of Benjamin Williams, moved with his family to Johnson County, Missouri.
Family tradition tells of difficult times for the Bailey family during the Civil War. With the onset of the war, the farm was soon stripped of its livestock, and even the fences were burned by the soldiers for campfires. In these trying years the entire family, including even the smaller children, was hard pressed to eke out an existence. Many years later a son, John M. Bailey who was a teacher, poet and farmer, wrote of those times with his mother in mind, "In those cruel days, women worked so hard, so long hours, they often went to sleep at sedentary work and even at prayers."
In one bushwhacker raid, Sally Bailey saved a nearly finished wool blanket from the raiders by winding it tightly around her arms as she was forced to remove it from her loom, refusing to give it up even though threatened at knife point. Searching for hidden food in the house, the men removed upstairs flooring and kicked through the ceiling into the rooms below. That evening after the men had left and were camped just west of Laurel Gap, Sally Bailey and her eldest daughter, Betsy Ann, then about 14, walked into the midst of the bivouac. Saying nothing, and without any opposition from the dumbfounded men, they retrieved a favorite horse and some of their stolen cooking utensils and took them home. It is said of those days that salt, potatoes, cornbread and molasses were staples, and cornpone and wheat coffee were luxuries.
Marion Bailey was a local preacher in the Baileyton M.E. Church and it is said that he prayed so loudly that he could be heard all over the small town. Following their deaths, Marion and Sally Bailey were honored by their church when a window was installed in sanctuary with their names set into the colored glass panes. Many of their children moved west in the latter part of the 19th century, settling in various parts of Missouri.
Marion and Sally Bailey are buried in Zion United Methodist Church Cemetery near Baileyton. Priscilla Williams lies beside them.
The family of Marion L. and Sally Williams Bailey:
Marion L. Bailey (1827-1895) m. Sarah H. Williams (1826-1897)
second Mary A. Bartholomew
(1) Kermit Marion Bailey (1920-) m. Thelma Lenore Coffman
second Juliet Martin
second Mae Whitehead
second Ella P. Strain
second K. C. Christian
second Mildred Groves
second Mary Orrell
s. J. Bailey Williams (1890-1906)
Caroline Williams (1894-c. 1936)
Marian Miltina Williams (1897-1920)
The children of Marion L. and Sally Williams Bailey lived their adult lives in the following locations: Elizabeth A. and Nancy P. lived in Greene County, Tennessee; Alexander Harrison at Oregon, Mo.; Thomas M. at Rockport, Mo.; John M. at Langdon and Rockport, Mo.; Henrietta at Lockwood, Mo.; Caroline at Lockwood, Mo.; Joseph B. in Nebraska and Washington; and Lyvia Sabina in Morristown, Tn., Patterson, NJ and Greene County, Tn.
In 1895, Sally Williams Bailey wrote in an autograph book belonging to her 16-year-old granddaughter, Pearle Weems, "When this you see remember me. Sep 30, 95. Be a good girl, your gran mother Bailey."
14. NANCY MARIAH WILLIAMS (June 13, 1828 June 12, 1876) was the third daughter of Benjamin and Nancy Pogue Williams.
Her marriage to Wyatt Edmonds in Green County on November 23, 1847, was one of several marriages of the children of Benjamin Williams which took place about this time, Sally Williams having married on November 9, Farmer on November 12, and Francis a few weeks later on January 4, 1848. Sally and Mariah were both married by the same Methodist circuit rider, the Rev. Gabriel Page.
Following their marriage, Wyatt and Nancy Mariah Edmonds lived in the 7th district of Greene County for about 5 years where Wyatt farmed and their first three children were born. Wyatts name last appears on Greene County tax lists in 1851. Some time in the early 1850s , the family moved to McDonald County, Missouri where they settled on a farm about 2 miles west of Bethpage at a place known as Elkhorn. Five more sons and at least two more daughters were born there.
With the advent of the Civil War, McDonald County became the scene of much fighting between partisans of opposing sides. An 1861 tax list of McDonald County shows that Wyatt Edmonds of Township 23, Range 31, was enlisted in the Confederate Army, a situation which caused great rifts between neighbors and even close relatives, and placed the family in serious danger.
As a consequence of the situation in McDonald County during these times, Wyatt Edmonds found it necessary to move his family to the relative safety of Newtonia in Newton County, where it is said that a fort afforded some protection from the violence and where they lived for much of the wartime period. While living at Newtonia, at least one of the daughters of the family died and was buried there. Tradition tells that after the war ended, Wyatt Edmonds attempted to locate the grave, wishing to move the body of his daughter to McDonald County, but was unable to find it.
Shortly after the war, the family returned to their farm in McDonald County. Later, five of the sons of Wyatt and Nancy M. Edmonds owned adjoining farms at Elkhorn on lands that had been part of the fathers farm. The Edmonds Cemetery there is on two acres of land given by Wyatt Edmonds. It is said that many old settlers are buried there, but no a single person named Edmonds. Benjamin Williams, Jr. and Stephen B. Williams, two of Nancy Mariahs brothers, are buried there.
Wyatt and Nancy Mariah Edmonds are buried in Union (Owsley) Cemetery, about one mile east of Bethpage.
The family of Wyatt and Nancy Mariah Williams Edmonds:
Wyatt E. Edmonds (1823-1887) m. Nancy Mariah Williams (1828-1876)
6. George Jackson Edmonds (1862-1940) m. Ella Martin
7. Charles Edward Edmonds (1864-1949) m. Rosa Martin
9. Thomas Marion Edmonds (1869-1942) m. Nancy Barringer
a. Jessie Edmonds m. _____Keller
15. JOSEPH S. WILLIAMS was born about 1830. He was the oldest of the three sons who were minors when Benjamin Williams died in 1848 and accordingly was the first of the three to be considered for schooling under terms of the will. In early 1849, Adonijah wrote to William M. Williams, "I expect to come home in the spring and go down to the Strawberry Plains with Joseph if he goes there to school," Strawberry Plains is a small town 15 miles east of Knoxville.
Joseph probably accompanied some of this brothers and sisters to Southwest Missouri about 1853. On April 30, 1855, under the guidance of Adonijah and using money from his share of his fathers estate, he purchased 120 acres of land, and this was probably a part of the land that he and Stephen later owned and farmed jointly on the Blue Rived near Manhattan, Kansas. Their farm was situated at the falls of the river just above Manhattan and appears to have been a rather attractive piece of real estate owing both to its fertility and the potential for development of the falls. Owning land in both Riley and Pottawatomie Counties, Joseph and Stephen were farming together there in 1859 and in an 1872 letter Joseph implied that he had lived there for 16 years or since 1856. Pre-Civil War violence, drought and famine may have combined to force Joseph away from his Riley County home for awhile, for the 1860 census enumerated him living in the household of his brother, Thomas N. Williams, in Johnson County, Missouri. After the war in an 1865 census of Manhattan Township, Joseph was again living in Riley County and had taken into his home Adonijah and his daughter, Mary Belle, as well as his brother, Francis A. Williams and his wife, Kissiah. In the census of 1870, he was listed living in Manhattan Township, single.
On September 15, 1874, Joseph S. Williams married Hannah Johnson, a Swedish immigrant then 22 years old. For reasons not yet discovered, this marriage was short-lived and it is likely that Hannah died within a few years of their marriage, leaving no known children. On April 11, 1880, Joseph, age 50, married Emzey Y. Craft, a widow with two children.
In 1865, Joseph sold to C. R. Barnes 32 acres of his Pottawatomie County land located at the falls, this property being the probable site of a mill later constructed there. On May 20, 1875, Joseph and Hannah Williams, with Joseph acing as attorney for Stephen who was then living back in Tennessee, mortgaged the Blue River farm for $3500 with the New England Mortgage Security Co. The terms were for 10% interest, payable each January 1 until 5 years later on May 20, 1880, when the principal was to fall due. Unable to meet these obligations, Joseph defaulted in 1878 and the mortgage was foreclosed, with the farm being sold to E. B. Purcell for $26,100 and Joseph evidently recovering nothing. By then, Hannah had apparently died and for a time Joseph became a caretaker on the estate of Cyrus Crisswell, superintendent of the mill at the falls of the Blue River, who had died that summer. Writing to Farmer on December 23, Joseph said that he was very lonely, but did not dwell on his misfortunes, preferring to describe in detail the impressive property left in his care. However, in this letter it is not difficult to sense Josephs despair as his fortunes hit bottom;
He was not listed in the 1885 Riley County Census, and on an unknown date he died at the home of his brother, Lewis M. Williams, at Newtonia, Missouri. He was listed as "deceased" in January 1894 when the Stephen B. Williams estate was settled.
In March 1850, he was attending school at Laurel Gap when he received a letter from his older brother and mentor, the Rev. Adonijah Williams. In this letter, he was counseled to avoid the company of "bad and wicked boys" who might take him to "frolics where they will dance and play" and to read his Bible daily. In the 1850 census, taken in the summer of that year, he was enumerated living with the family of Farmer Williams. His signature appears as a witness on a bond signed by Wyatt and Nancy Mariah Edmonds on October 2, 1852, when they received Mariahs share of the Benjamin Williams estate.
It is likely that Stephen moved to Southwest Missouri in 1853 with some of his brothers and sisters, but it is uncertain when he moved to Kansas. Adonijahs letter of January 12, 1859, states that Joseph and Stephen were then farming together on their Blue River farm near Manhattan.
It appears that Stephen became involved in some sort of financial difficulty just after the end of the Civil War. Stephen and Joseph borrowed $190 from their brother, Thomas N. Williams, at Warrensburg, Missouri on March 8, 1866, giving him a note signed by them jointly. With the exception of a $5 dollar credit, this debt remained unpaid at Stephens death. About 1870, Stephen moved back to Greene County, Tennessee and lived with Farmer Williams for several years. In commenting on Stephens character, Joseph wrote to Farmer in 1872, "He has always been honorable with me", and remarking on the prospects of Stephens accepting a deputy-sheriffs job in Greene County said, "Tell him to let it alone...his worst failing is his large acquaintance eat all the pro seed of office."(sic) The same letter implies that Farmer and his family had assisted Stephen when he had been in some kind of financial trouble, and Joseph promised to repay them for their help.
Stephen did indeed become a deputy sheriff in Greene County, and one of his duties was to collect taxes in the 7th district for the year 1873.
By 1880 he had returned to Kansas and was listed in that years census living in Clay County, probably on land owned by Lewis. As he approached old age, and never having been married, Stephen went back to live among his relatives in Southwest Missouri, remaining there for the rest of his life.
Dying intestate in late 1893, Stephens estate was administered in McDonald County by his nephew, Noel A. Edmonds, at whose home he may have died. Listed as claims against the estate were the 1866 note by Thomas N. Williams and a claim by Lewis M. Williams in the amount of $222.50 for board, washing, lodging, sick care, and feeding and shoeing of his mule while Stephen was living with Lewis and his family in 1890 and 1891.
Stephen B. Williams is buried in the Edmonds Cemetery in McDonald County, Missouri. His gravestone, inscribed "Steve Williams, age 62 years", is located beside the grave of his brother, Benjamin Williams, Jr.
17. LEWIS MARSHALL WILLIAMS (June 6, 1835 February 14, 1915) was the youngest child of Benjamin Williams and was named in honor of the Rev. Lewis S. Marshall, the Presiding Elder of Greeneville District, Holston Conference of the Methodist Church at the time Benjamin Williams was licensed to preach.
Being without his natural mother from infancy, he was evidently reared by older brothers and sisters, and probably grew up in more than one home. His daughter, Mary W. Cunningham, wrote in 1960..."(it) was caused (his mothers death) by an accident from the horse she was riding falling on her, leaving my dear father an infant in arms, who was raised by a brother or brothers." Writing in 1907 to his nieces, Mollie and Jo Eliza Williams, daughters of his brother, Farmer, Lewis Williams stated, "I have thought some of going to Richmond to the Confederate reunion next June and stopping to see my old home once more." A statement which suggests that part of his youth may have been spent in Farmers home.
The 1850 census lists him living with Marion and Sally Bailey, his sister, at Laurel Gap. He was probably attending school at this time, as was Stephen.
In 1853 at the age of 18, he joined the families of several of his brothers and sister their move to McDonald County, Missouri. Upon arrival there he began farming, living with his brother, Joseph S. Williams. In the next year, 1854, he entered into the grocery business. This was a partnership at Pineville which Goodspeeds History of Missouri states was "Waken and Williams." However, Waken is almost certainly a misspelling of Walker, and this business was more likely known as "Walker and Williams." This is based on the fact that in 1860 Lewis Williams was living in the household of his brother-in-law, C. B. Walker, whose occupation was listed as "merchant" in the census that year.
Lewis continued in the grocery business until 1861, when in the strife and factionalism then besetting Southwest Missouri, he lost all of his business assets.
Sympathizing with the South, he departed the Walker home and enlisted in Co. "F". 2nd Missouri Cavalry, CSA in which it is said he served as a "spy". The early days of August 1861 found him carrying dispatches for the Confederate command in connection with actions culminating in the battle of Wilsons Creek. Finding himself on the verge of capture by Union forces, he chewed up and swallowed his papers to keep them from the enemy, a prudent act which may have saved his life. A niece, writing after his death in 1915, stated, "I remember the morning he left home with those papers, and I also realized what could be the consequence if he was captured and I was so glad when we found out that he had eaten them, which I guess saved his life."
Following his capture, he was held for a time in an army prison in Springfield. He was then was paroled, his service in the Confederate Army having lasted about 6 months.
In 1863 he went to Denver, Colorado, where he lived the life of the traditional American cowboy, driving cattle and freighting for 5 years. In 1868, he moved to Clay County, Kansas, where he homesteaded a 320-acre farm, living there until 1875. During this period, he went back to McDonald County, Missouri, and married Nancy Catherine Weems Culp, a widow, at Erie Church on January 23, 1870. His wife was a daughter of the Rev. John and Rhoda Munsey Weems, a family who had undertaken the move from Greene County, Tennessee to Newton County, Missouri in 1843. Misfortune struck the Weems during the trip when John Weems fell ill and died at Burksville, Kentucky. The story of the perseverance of Rhoda Weems in continuing the trip to its destination and her rearing a large family of children is a remarkable one.
In 1875, Lewis Williams and his family, which now included three sons, moved to Newton County, Missouri. Here he began farming and raising livestock, as well as engaging in the hardware business. The following year, his second son, Joseph A. Williams, died at age four. In 1879, his daughter, Mary Minerva was born. Later he became involved in operating a hotel in Newtonia and was also a constable.
The year of 1876 saw the deaths of several relatives of Lewis M. Williams. Besides his young son, his sister Nancy Mariah Edmonds died in June, and Adonijah in October.
In 1887, he returned to East Tennessee for a visit with the families of his brother Farmer Williams, and his sister Sally Bailey.
About 1901 he moved his family to Springfield, Missouri, where he lived on West Walnut St., with his daughter, who was by then married to C. V. Cunningham, a salesman for Rice-Stix Dry Goods Co., of St. Louis.
He delivered the address to the assembled veterans at a reunion of the Blue and Grey. The occasion was the anniversary of the battle of Wilsons Creek, either in 1907 or 1911. Passages in the copy of his speech indicate that the anniversary was either the 46th or 50th, but it is difficult to determine which. 1907 is probably the correct date, for in his speech he stated that he had been living in Springfield for five years. In this speech there is a moving tribute to the women of the Confederacy.
After several years of failing health, and in his 80th year, Lewis Marshall Williams succumbed on February 14, 1915 to the combined ravages of heart trouble, asthma and influenza, the last-born of the children of Benjamin Williams and the last to die.
He is buried in Hazlewood Cemetery in Springfield. He was a member of the Methodist Church, South and the Masonic fraternity.
The family of Lewis M. Williams.
Lewis Marshall Williams (1835-1915) m. Nancy C. Weems (Culp) (1840-1929)
a. Charles Williams (1896-1899)
b. Addison (Ted) Williams (1898-1962) m. Vesta Newman (1895-1973)
(a) Laura Marcelina Fawcett (1979-)
BENJAMIN WILLIAMS AND THE CHURCH
Benjamin Williams and Methodism arrived in Greene County at about the same time. Close on the heels of the first settlers in the are came the early circuit riders, Jeremiah Lambert and Stephen Brooks, as well as periodic visits by Bishop Francis Asbury.
A Christian Society was organized and a small building was erected for preaching services sometime around 1790 at Carters Station. Shortly after the turn of the century, a new meeting-house which was a two-story structure, was built. At about the same time, an intense revival spirit swept the American frontier, beginning the era of the great camp meetings, with Carters Station becoming an important camp meeting site. Families from a wide area came in wagons, bringing with them food, milk cows, tents and other necessities, camping around the preaching grounds for many days and attending the services which included preaching, exhorting, praying and singing from morning well into the night. These annual summer events drew large numbers of people.
Because of its strong revival appeal and the fact that it did not insist upon a formally educated local clergy, Methodism spread rapidly and kept pace with the advances of frontier settlement. Benjamin Williams grew up during this time, undoubtedly coming under the influence of the preaching of such early Methodists as Benjamin Van Pelt, the organizer of the first Methodist Society in Greene County, and of Bishop Asbury himself, joining the Church in 1810. An indication of the admiration which he felt for persons of the Church can be seen in the names he gave to some of his sons.
The Methodists were not without controversy, both local and church-wide. While events moved toward the division of the Methodist Church in 1844, there were other issues which stirred the people, one of which was the temperance movement. A handwritten account of a disagreement between Benjamin Williams and Ellis Carter over the signing of temperance pledges gives some insight into this issue at it involved the local church. While some parts of this account may seem mildly amusing to the present-day reader, it was, nevertheless, a serious matter of that time, and this particular controversy involved families that were fairly closely related by marriage, Benjamins brother, Thomas Williams, having married Ellis Carters sister, Jemima.
Because of distances involved, the number of congregations to be served and often poor travel conditions, the circuit rider could minister to his churches only infrequently. In order for the small remote churches to have regular preaching services, local preachers, who were members of local congregations and who satisfied requirements of the Church regarding character and ability, were licensed to fill this need. On September 28, 1835, Benjamin Williams was licensed as a local preacher by the Presiding Elder of Greeneville District, Lewis S. Marshall, "for so long as his conduct shall be in accordance with the Gospel", and was one of seventeen such preachers listed in Greeneville Circuit that year.
Benjamin Williams served as a local preacher at Carters Station Methodist Church from 1835 until his death in 1848. As a local preacher, his only capacity was that of preacher and he was not authorized by the Church to provide other ministerial services, those duties being reserved for higher functionaries. Evidently his service to his church as a local preacher was pleasing both to the congregation and to Holston Conference as well, for on October 8, 1846, in an ordination service at Henshaws Meeting House, he was ordained a deacon in the M. E. Church, South by Bishop William Capers. This office authorized him "to administer the ordinance of Baptism, Marriage, and the Burial of the Dead in the absence of an Elder..."
During the years that he served the Church as local preacher and deacon, he was one of the trustees as well. This meant that he was one of those charged with the welfare of the physical church itself. Other trustees were Daniel Key, Isaac Harmon, Ellis Carter, Ezekial Carter, James Goodin and John Pogue. A two-story log building had been used as a meeting-house for Carters Station Methodists since its construction around 1803. Following the destruction of this building by a fire, plans were made for the erection of a new meeting house. After the funds were raised, this new building was built during the early 1840s on nine acres of land which had been purchased in 1836 by the trustees. This structure was used for church meetings until the present Carters Station Church was built in 1878. After that, it continued in use as a school into the early part of the 20th century when it was torn down. Only its foundation stones remain to mark its location near the present church building.
Although the period of the Great Revival is often idealized and thought of as a time when people were universally pious and the Church was without serious opposition, this was not always the case. Sermons were often thunderous and specific in condemnation of sins. Pet vices were exposed, names were named and many toes were stepped on. The result was that meetings were often harassed by those who felt that religion was meddling too much in their lives. It was not uncommon for camp meetings or church services to be interrupted by rowdies creating disturbances designed to interfere with the gathering.
A story, handed down through family tradition, tells of one such incident. Benjamin Williams was preaching to the congregation at Carters Station and was in the middle of his sermon when a noisy disturbance began just outside the building. It is said that he suddenly ceased preaching, and with every member of the congregation stonily silent and staring straight ahead, he stepped aside, pulled off his black coat and hung it on the back of a chair, and walked down the aisle and out of the meeting house where he proceeded to administer a sound thrashing to the offenders. With the surroundings then silent, he returned to his pulpit and resumed his sermon as if nothing had happened.
A SIDE-BAR OF THE BENJAMIN WILLIAMS STORY
A popular tradition in the Williams family, one that evidently goes back several generations, is the one that alleges the descendance of Benjamin Williams from the American colonist, Roger Wlliams. this is a persistent legend and is found in various contemporary branches of the family. John M. Bailey (1859-1946) , a grandson of Benjamin Williams, in a letter to a grand-niece in 1937 wrote, "Our maternal ancestors, the Williamses, were thought by 'the fathers' to be descendants of Roger Williams, but the fact was never proven. Adonijah Williams, my mother's brother, served as a Methodist minister among the Roger Williams direct descendants. He claimed his brother, McKendree, and one of those Williams looked enough alike for twin brothers. This is only traditional." Whether the origin of this speculation is based on fact or fantasy can probably never be determined, but it certainly lends color to family tradition.
In the same letter, recalling childhood memories, John M. Bailey stated, "I remember hearing my mother talking (late at night and I, little John, listening) with Uncle Farmer Williams. He said, 'Our parents never left us much, Sally, but they left us a good name, and the Good Book says that's better than great riches."
I think this is segment 19 but I cant tell because the Fairies came while I was gone yesterday and stole my little pad where I had it written down. So someone with better records than me will have to tell me.
THE DEATH OF BENJAMIN WILLIAMS
Details of the death of Benjamin Williams have not been preserved for us by family tradition. Stephen L. Williams wrote in 1923 that his Grandfather Williams "died bravely in 1848", suggesting that he may have suffered a painful or debilitating decline in his last days.
Business records kept by Benjamin Williams indicate that he led a normal active life until at least the spring before he died. On May 10, 1848, he recorded a payment on a debt he owed Susannah Pogue, writing in his usual firm hand. At some point in the next four months, he was apparently stricken by an illness which affected his health to the extent that it became evident in his handwriting. By then, he seemed to realize that his condition might be terminal and took steps to get his business affairs in order, causing a list to be made of outstanding debts owed him for salt. The last entry on this list, dated September 9, 1848, is in his own hand and is quite unsteady. On October 7, he wrote his will and executed a power of attorney to Farmer Williams for the purpose of selling 470 acres of his land. His shaky signature on the latter document is in rather marked contrast to earlier signatures.
His care for his family is shown by the provisions in his will. His first concern expressed was for his wife, Priscilla, for whom he provided livestock, furniture, household items and cash in measure quite liberal. The remainder of his estate, consisting of the liquidation of his land holdings and personal property, he directed to be divided equally among his heirs, stipulating an extra $80 for his oldest daughter, Polly. In addition, he provided to be paid from his estate and overseen by the other heirs, one year of education for each of his three younger sons, Joseph, Stephen and Lewis, after which they were to be outfitted with clothing, a horse, saddle and bridle. It is possible that he owed Polly the $80 as monetary debt, but chances are strong that this may have been compensation to her for caring for him during his illness.
The necessity for selling his land and personal property is clear. It would have been an almost impossible task to divide fairly and equitably all his land and personal property among his widow and 16 children. 470 acres of land remained to be sold, the other 50 acres having been conveyed to Benjamin Williams, Jr. by a gift deed on May 16, 1848.
48 days after writing his will, Benjamin Williams died. The inventory of his personal property, which was sold in accordance with the directions in his will, provides some interesting insights. It shows that Thomas N. Williams purchased the 470 acres of land from the estate for a price of $2,400, to be paid in 2 installments by March 1, 1851. Hundreds of items including farm implements, rifles, lumber, horses, 28 head of cattle, 41 hogs, 42 sheep, bee stands, geese, chickens, books, harness and blacksmith tools were auctioned off, with many articles purchased by family members. Among the horses sold were "Old Tib", "Old Pat" and "Old Pete". Francis A. Williams bought a black mare for $39.07, and Adonijah purchased a brown filly for $60.00. Court documents indicate that each of the children received about $280 from the estate settlement.
Before moving to McDonald County, Missouri in 1853, Benjamin Williams, Jr. sold his 50 acres, which had been conveyed to him in 1848, a part of it going to the Henry family. On October 9, 1854, in preparation for his move to Johnson County, Missouri, Thomas N. Williams sold his 470 acres of the original Benjamin Williams farm to John Milligan, and thus, the farm passed forever from the hands of the Williams family.
As a gesture of special regard by his friends at Carters Station Methodist Church, Benjamin Williams was buried in a special place on the old camp-ground only a few yards form the church building. After his burial, his grave was "enclosed" by the laying of limestone blocks in a solid rectangular pattern about 2 feet high, three feet wide and 6 feet long as a permanent marker for his burial site. A list entitled "Subscription for B. Williams Grave" records a donation of $1.00 by each of his 16 children for the purpose of marking his tomb. About 1956, the stones of this monument were set in mortar in order to help insure its permanence, and an engraved stone with the inscription, "Rev. Benjamin Williams" was inset to identify the grave for future generations.
THE WILL OF BENJAMIN WILLIAMS
I, Benjamin Williams do make and publish this my last will and Testament here revoking and making void all other wills by me at any time made.
First, I direct that my funeral expenses and all my debts be paid as soon after my death as possible out of any moneys that I may die possessed of or may first come into the hands of my Executor.
Second, I give and bequeath to Priscilla my beloved wife any horse beast belonging to my estate which she may make choice of, also the two choice cows or cows and calves as the case may be as she may choose, two good beds with furniture suitable for them, the cupboard, bureaus and tables as she may choose, six chairs, and a number of articles too tedious to mention both in the house and in the kitchen. Thus I leave to her own discretion how much or how little she may take together with provisions for her and her little stock sufficient to do her six months. Next, I wish her to have not exceeding $400 to purchase a lot either in town or in the country, these goods and chattels which may not be consumed during her lifetime or widowhood to be returned back to be equally divided between my heirs.
I next wish my personal property and effects to be sold at public vandue (sic). I also wish my land to be sold publicly or privately as my Executor and heirs may think proper. The sales of all those I wish to be equally divided between my heirs, with the exception of Polly Walker to have $80 extra over and above the rest, together with my three youngest sons which I wish as soon as possible after my decease to go to school 12 months each in succession, their schooling, board, and clothing to go out of my estate. Then when done school to be put to some light trade which my Executor and other heirs may choose a sufficient time to learn their trade, which I think two or three years to be sufficiently long enough. When arriving at age each of them, to have a good overcoat at a common price together with a horse, saddle and bridal equal to those received by my other sons.
Lastly, I do hereby nominate and appoint Farmer Williams my Executor, in witness whereof I do to this my will set my hand and seal, this 7th day of October 1848
/s/ Benjamin Williams (seal)
Signed, sealed and published in our presence and we subscribe our names hereto in the presence of the testator, this 7th day of October 1848.
Lemuel Jones, Jr.
Following and for the next few segments I will transcribe several letters from diverse members of the family. The first portion is an inventory, chronologically, of the letters which follow.
THE WILLIAMS LETTERS
The letters in this section are selected from old correspondence in the possession of May Park McCullough, granddaughter of Farmer Williams, and Dorothy Williams Cannady, granddaughter of Lew M. Williams. They afford an unusual opportunity to glimpse the events taking place in the lives of the Williams family many years ago. These letters, arranged by chronology, provide a measure of continuity to these events and give us a privileged view into the affairs of the family. Punctuation has been added for clarity and some paragraph arrangement has also been provided, since most of the letters had neither. The spelling is original.
1 Dec 1846
Enoch George Williams tells Farmer his first impressions of Missouri, and his Uncle Farmer Pogue is urged to come to Newton County to defend his land claims.
19 Jul 1847
Adonijah, in a witty mood, invites Farmer, who was still unmarried, to attend his camp meeting near Clinton, Tenn. There are hints of friction among the clergy, likely a result of the division of the Church a short time before.
17 Jan 1849
In failing health, Farmer Pogue writes wistfully of his preparations of his relatives and friends for the 1849 gold rush.
3 Feb 1849
An interesting view on youth by Adonijah, suggesting that things have not changed much in some respects.
7 Feb 1849
Thomas Williams and Sam Rudder write to Benjamin Williams, unaware that he is dead, initiating their attempt to obtain a settlement for Catherine Hills part of her Grandfather Lanes estate.
26 Jan 1850
Sam Rudder, beginning his letter by stating that he has "nothing particular to communicate", puts the pressure on Farmer to clear up Katy Hills interest in the Lane Estate.
29 Mar 1850
Adonijah preaches 18-year-old Stephen a sermon.
22 Jul 1850
George Williams denies tales of excessive drinking, taking a dig at "Mr. Page" in the process, possibly the Rev. G. F. Page, the travelling preacher at Carters Station.
11 Nov 1850
George duns Farmer for repayment of a loan.
12 Jan 1851
Sam Rudder expresses satisfaction with the settlement of the Lane estate.
4 Apr 1854
Nancy M. Williams presents Farmer and Mary Williams a graphic account of her familys odyssey.
18 Apr 1855
Joseph wants his newspaper sent to him and casually tells of what was probably a near-fatal bout with pneumonia.
8 May 1855
Adonijah, now moved west, requests Farmers help in transferring money to get the 3 younger brothers started on their careers.
12 Jan 1859
Adonijah brings Farmer up to date on his activities following what was evidently a long period with correspondence and cannot resist a little bragging about his bride.
27 Oct 1861
A typical soldiers letter to the folks back home, written in the innocent early stages of the war and especially pathetic when the events of ensuing days are known.
27 Aug 1872
Joseph tells Farmer about how things are looking up on his farm and offers some observations about his brothers.
23 Dec 1878
Joseph has lost out but remains philosophical about his misfortunes.
12 Mar 1907
Lewis M. Williams chides his niece, Mollie Williams, for bypassing him on her visit to Missouri. Tiring of berating Mollie, he enlists Jo Elizas sympathy. Mollie had been visiting her cousins, Henrietta Bailey Hunt and Caroline Bailey Hunt at Lockwood and John M. Bailey at Langdon. Lingering feelings from the war are intimated as a possible cause of the perceived snub. The Baileys had been Unionists during the war.
17 Nov 1915
A beautiful letter of sympathy to "Aunt Kate"
19 Jan 1916
Writing hopefully to "Uncle Lewis and Aunt Kate", the writer nevertheless suspects the worst.
30 Jul 1923
A son of Farmer Williams puts on paper the few facts of his Grandfather Williams history which he has learned from reading old records at Carters Station Methodist Church ("the Station"), and provides a few of his own comments.
31 Aug 1927
Mr. Bond expresses his gratitude to the family of Farmer Williams for a wartime kindness.
30 Mar 1960
In a letter to the writer of his history, the last living grandchild of Benjamin Williams recalls some of the familys past.
E. G. Williams and Jones Weems to Farmer Williams
State of Missouri
December the 1 1846
I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well, hoping these lines to find you in the same blessing. I landed here the 18 Nov. and found the connection in good health.
I come by Uncle Toms and Sam. The weir all well with the exception of one of Uncle Sams daughters had the chills, although Uncle Tom and all the family except 2 or three which has had the tipes fever and his wife and oldest daughter (one word missing). I left John Weems at Uncle Sams. They was going to Katy Hills and thought they would come on to Nuton County but I judge they have stopped.
John Williams has gone to Texies. He started two or three weeks before I got here, so I am here alone but well satis fied with the country. There is a goodeal of good land here and a heap of pore land. There is a heap of grass here.
I come by Hardays and Mat said he would right to you and that that matter should bee settled. He talked of coming to Nuton County. I told him if he did to bring the money with him, so right to me what to do. John Jones is living in Arkansas. That account is here that you let Uncle Farmer have.
I would be glad to see you all but we are separated buy towering mountains and murmuring streams. Tell Frank that I want him to come with Uncle Farmer for I think he cd a greadeal better here than he can there. It is foolishness for a young man to settle there when there is so much good land here. Tell Tom he can better himself buy coming to this country and lead to and all of you, but do as you pleas and I will do the best I can. Tell all inquiring friends I am well. Girls is as scarce here as hens teeth. I expect to live with Uncle Jones. Tell Father and Mother that if wee never met again on earth to pray for me that we may meet in Heaven. So no more at present. Remain your affectionate b(r)other.
To Farmer Williams
from E. G. Williams
Jones Weems and his wife sends thare best Respects to Father and Mother and all inquiring friends.
N. B> Please tell Farmer Pogue that the Land including his Danly farm was surveyed out a fue weeks past. I think hit wood be well for him to be her(e) as soon as possible for fir some parson should enter hit. The Whig preemption that is the last one that was granted is framed in such a way if enny Rascal that has the money can gow and bild a hous on hit and move in to hit, then that entitles his to a preemption. Tell him I will do the best I can to save his Vestel farm. I read his letter a fue day pas. Temm him I will write as soon as the sails is overand let him now all about his bisness her. E. G. Williams want you to write to him. He forgot to tell you himself.
Adonijah Williams to Farmer Williams
Jul the 19th 1847
I am in the enjoyment of pretty good health & moving on much after the old fashion. The design of writing these lines at this time is to solicit your attendance at our Camp meeting to be held the 13th of August at Blowing Springs camp-ground four miles above Clinton on the north Clinch River. Your direct rout would be the rout you returned home from this circuit, that is if you returned as you expected by Vances ferry.
If you wish specific direction- get on your horse, put your feet in the stirrups, turn his head to west, forward march as the military phrase is, move on by Vances ferry, Blains X Roads, thence to Lays X Roads, thence to Luallens ford on Clinch river. After crossing and passing through the lane take the right which will lead you into the Jacksborough road two miles above Clinton. Continue up the road two miles to the camp ground where you will find friends to receive you and girls probably to your liking, preachers to preach to you. I would be very glad if some of you would take a trip down into this country. You can then return by Henrys and then home. See your friends, enjoy the pleasure of a summer ride, the advantage of the meeting and be at very little expense.
We also expect to have a camp-meeting at Copper Ridge camp ground to include the 1st Sabbath in September. This camp ground is situated about 5 or 6 miles from where you staid all night with Conners up the Bull-run rut not far from the Emory road. You would leave the road in the Halls settlement. Sister Patty requested me to ask your attendance then.
The camp meeting at Lays X Roads will include the 3rd Sabbath of September. Try & attend some of these meetings. We could accommodate several of you at all of them.
We still have trials on hand. The dust & smoke is clearing away that was raised about our other preacher trial. We have another preacher on hand. We are dropping taking license expelling & taking in & I shall love parts of this circuit, regretted other places. They think the time long before our Conference will sit so that they will be relased from their present post at other points. I shall go out like the wick of a dying candle with stink.
I shall look for you at some of these meetings. If any alteration in appointments should be made I will advise you of it in time. Come to the front if you can. I remain.
Mr. F. Williams
Greene County, Tennessee
Farmer Pogue to Farmer Williams
State of Missouri
January 17th, 1849
I send you a few lines to let you know that we are all as well as common, hoping these lines may find you enjoying good health.
I have nothing of very much importance to write. We have had a very cold winter hear so far. The ground has not been clear of snow and ice for seven weeks. The oldest settlers in this country say they have never seen such a winter in this country before.
I am confined very near all my time to bead. Lavina also. Lavina is better this winter then she was last winter.
You wrote in your last letter something a bout some accounts. The Saveir account I paid Wm. M. Williams to settle and I paid Brown & Co. all that I owed them before I left. If Groobes has not made no payment yet and is not likely to do so, I want you to take the tools, for what is coming to him hear will not more than pay the rent.
You wrote that John Willoby had made you an offer for the place. I want you to do the best you can with the place.
There are a good many persons in this country that talks of going to California in the spring and some of your acquaintances is talking of going Buck, John Pogue, Ira Pogue, Hugh Carter, William McKey, David Harmon, John Brian, Albert McKinney, William Frazier. All these men that I have named intends going in the spring. A good many others. There is a starting point in 100 miles of this place at Fort Smith in Arkansas. There is a good deal of talk about the Gold mines. Every news paper brings some good news about the Gold Mines. There is a bout 3000 joined the company at Fort Smith a reddy and it is thought that there will be twist that a mount by spring. A good many men in this country intends taking there families. Brian will leave his family hear. Tell all the young men in that country that talks of going to the mines that they can get hear by the time that the company starts. They will leave Fort Smith first of April next.
George Williams left hear a week a go and started home to Arkansas. He is living with Thorns Bery, Jones Weems son in law and has hired to him for a year.
Write to me as soon as this comes to hand. Corn is worth 75 cts. per barrel, wheat 50cts. per bu., pork $2.00 per hund. So no more, but reminds your friend until time nomore.
Mr. Farmer Williams
Green Co, E. Tennessee
Adonijah Williams to William Williams
Buncombe Co, N. C.
Feb 3, 1849
I received your lines in connection with Farmers letter some time ago. I could not consistently come home at the time you requested me to do so, as my appointments were out, and I could get no one to fill them, and I supposed I could be of no particular advantage.
I expect to come home in the Spring and go down to Straw-berry plains with Joseph, if he goes there to school. I think it would be best for him to go this coming summer, and the other two to be kept at work. I know something of the danger there is in sending boys off to school too young. I want, as far as I am concerned, the boys to go to school as long as they do well, or at least till they get a tolerable liberal education, but I never wish an education at the expense of morals. And a young man with a liberal education will do better to start with if in the world at 24 years of age than younger, 99 cases out of 100.
The great misfortune of our age appears to be the desire to be men and women too soon. I want us all to do what we can to educate the boys, and not stop to be particular about the drives.
Please write to me as soon as you receive this and let me know something about what has been done and what arrangements are made. I want also to hear about Farmers health, whether he is recovering.
Wm. M. Williams, Esq. & Family Yours truly,
N.B. Direct your letter to
French Broad, N. C.
Lapland, N. C.
Wm. M. Williams, Esq.
Bay Mount, Tennessee
Thomas Williams to Benjamin Williams
February 7th, 1849, St. Louis County, Mo.
After informing you that through mercy we are all in common health only myself are much afflicted with the Rheumatism and at a late hour in this day, Pleasant Hill son of Wyet and Catherine Hill come to me telling me that he had a full Receipt wrote by a good council and sinned by witnesses to try to get Catherines [art of the Legacy coming from her grand father Lane.
I thot I understood by a letter from you that you had collected for them and wisht that you should see my signature thinking that it would make the matter stronger in your estimation.
I do certify that the Bearer of these lines is or have past for the son of Wyet and Catherine Hill our Nephew and Neace who was the daughter of sister Jane Lane.
In witness of the same I subscribe my name.
To Mr. Benjamin Williams
Samuel Rudder to Farmer Williams
Fenton, St. Louis Cy.
January 26th, 1850
I generally as near as possible make it a rule to keep up some species of intercourse among the connection. It is now about time that you should receive some attention from us, not that we have any thing very particular to communicate, but more to continue that friendly relation which should always subsist among members of the same family.
We are all enjoying good health, have a reasonable share of the goods of this world, perhaps more than we deserve. We endeavor to be as thankful as our frail natures will admit.
Ann Weems and her daughter, Sarah, are now living with us. They are well. Catherine Hill is much in need of the balance due her from the Jersey estate. We consider that the County Court in this stage of the business as you have paid part of the money and have receipt, has nothing to do with it. If you send the money, we wish it forward(ed) in large notes, as large as you can procure, retaining five dollars for compensation for your services.
You stated we heard from Mrs. Hills son that your Father had appropriated part of the money to his own use and having great respect for his memory we were delicate in troubling his estate so soon after his decease, but as we know that the proceeds of the sale are either paid or about to be paid, we deferred writing upon the subject until we thought funds were in hand.
Write immediately what we can depend upon for your sake as well as our own. We would wish the business settled as soon as possible.
Your Uncle Thomas has not been very healthy during the winter, but the season has been very open which generally makes the strongest constitution quail under its influence in the shape of colds &c, but the rest of his family are well, as well as the connection generally. William, his oldest son by his last wife, went on the unnatural hunt for gold, although moral, industrious, and saving. I think (he) had done better by remaining at home.
I will now conclude by saying God speed you and yours. Give our respects to all.
Uncle Samuel Rudder
T. Mr. Farmer Williams
Green County, Tennessee
Adonijah Williams to Stephen Williams
March the 29th 1850
I have often thought of writing you a letter since I came to this circuit but have neglected to do so until now. My health is good and has been so since I came here generally.
I saw you at school exposed to temptation & wickedness and left you with the deepest concern, afraid that you would take up with bad wicked boys & get into difficulty and I yet feel the deepest concern and shall not forget you or cease to pray that you may escape the evils of life and stay in the Church and get to heaven when you die.
I know your difficulties, and I know that wicked boys will try to get you into their company and take you to frolics where they will dance and play and tell you that it is no harm - now they know better - they know that it is wrong & that it will lead to death and hell. I hope that I shall never be pained at hearing that you have taken up with wicked company and staying at such mean and wicked places - they will laugh about it afterwards & tell that Stephen Williams was there and they would rather have you there than anybody else. Now you ought never go to a place that Father would not have been willing for you to have gone while he was living. Don't forget that he gave you to God in Baptism when you were a child and prayed for you as long as he lived, and now since he is dead and gone to heaven, I hope you will not forget his prayers and preaching. I fear that a brother can do you but little good by writing of the Church. I cannot help it. Your father and mother in heaven & you out of the Church and in the road to death and hell - O how painful - I would a great deal rather see you in your grave if you were prepared. I think that if there could be tears in heaven that father and mother would weep to see one of their children at a frolic or dance. A boy that is going to school ought not to go to such places if it were not wrong, but then it is wrong. You cannot learn well if you go much into company. You ought to know this & recollect it when even cleaner boys would ask you to go with them. Go to your books - pray every night & morning in secret and you will not want to go into wicked company, and the Lord will bless you.
I left a Bible at Thomas' that you may get and keep it & I hope you will read some in it every day. You and Lewis get one apiece and I will pay for them. You take the one that I left & let Lewis get one of the same kind at Elliot Jones' - and if Elliot has got that book from Thomas, you and Lewis get them then together & I will pay for them when I come home. I want you to write me a letter when you get these lines. Direct your letter to me at Giles Court House, Virginia. You ought to learn to write letters & learn how to back them and direct them, and I will show you how to direct your letter to me.
The C.H stands for Court House. I have been thus careful because I know how I suffered for want of knowing even when I left home, & I was a good deal older than you are and had more education, but I had not learned that.
Mr. Stephen B. Williams Rev. A. Williams
Laurel Gap Giles C. H.
Greene County Virginia (letter mailed at Kingsport, TN)
E. G. Williams to Thomas N. Williams
July the 22, 1850
Darlington, South C.
I now take this opportunity of droping you a few lines to let you no that I am well, hoping these few lines may find you well. I have sold some bacon here at 8 cts. The bacon is duller than I expected to find it thoe I think wee will get theru. I have stored some 4000 lb. here which will sell soon.
I have gained my helth. If I keep it I have to go be lo here 35 miles in 2 or 3 weeks to get some money that is coming sale day if here this day 2 weeks. I expect more lode again in a few days. I am to meet them up the country.
You have been un easy I suppose from what Farm toll me. If George Williams has bin drunk from his cradle to this day without intermission, mister Page has toled the truth, tho we beg leave to say that he is an infurnel lyar if he toled that, & will have to swalow it horn formost. He sertanly is the basest man that lives. Revenge I will have if law will give it for I can produce one hundred Sertificates to prove him a lyar in too cases. So no more.
E. G. Williams
Thomas N. Williams
Carters Station P. O.
Mary and E. G. Williams to Farmer and Mary Williams
November the 11, 1850
Brother & Sister,
In good health we take our pen in hand to let you no that we are all well, hoping the same may find you well.
We are at Uncle Sam Rudder's. We got here yesterday and found the connection well. We have had good luck and the boys and the familys that is with us is well. We intend leving her to morow morning for the south west part of the state.
If Shelys has not started yet, Frank wants them to bring Turk for Kiz wants a companion or frend that will keep the Woolves of(f).
Sir in ower settlement we for got some of ower maters tho I dont no whether you will recolect it or not. It was a money matter, (a) twenty dollar bill that I let you have when I started to the south last fall. You recolect the sircum stance. I got it from Mark Harmon between Bell Wellses and Susan Carters where him & me settled. We was (in) a huray then and for got it.
I let you have forty seven dollars in silver that we settled for. The twenty dolliar was for got. So no more, but yours
Mary & E. G. Williams
To Mary & Farmer Williams
Carters Station P. O.
Samuel Rudder to Farmer Williams
St. Louis County, Mo.
January 12th 1851
I received your letter of Nov. 2 which give me much satisfaction to hear that you was all well and especially to hear that you was enjoying good health after so long illness. We are all enjoying good health at present for which we should ever be thankful to the giver of All Good.
Francis and George was here about the 10th of Nov. They brought the remainder of Catherine Hill's money and paid it over to me. As regards the money we are all perfectly satisfied. We have had remarkable good health in this country during the past fall and so far of the winter. Times as respects money is tolerable, good crops. Wheat is worth 85 cts. per bushel, pork $4 per hundred lbs.
I desire you to write me as often as you can make it convenient. I desire to be remembered to all inquiring Friends and especially old Sister Williams. The family send their Respects to you and Family.
I have nothing more to write at present but remain your affectionate Uncle to death.
Brother Thomas Williams Family are all well except the old man. He is quite feeble. The connection is generally well.
Mr. Farmer Williams
Green County, Tennessee
Benjamin and Nancy M. Williams to Farmer & Mary Williams
MacDonial Co. Aprile the 4
Much respected Brother
This cums to let you now that we are still numberd with the living & are all well & am in hoaps those lines may reach you all enjoying the same blessing. We reach her(e) after the ferteagy (?) of 6 weeks and 2 days of travel but we laid by 6 days in the time. Eavery thing was high on the road. A dolar was the hiest we gave a bushel for corn, & twenty sence the lowest. Seventy five sence was the a mount we laid out for our oan providions. It caust us near thirty dolars. 15 cents every 5 milds for a hunderd miles at the toal gaits. Williams had a verry rough roae to wead.
I step in a trench one dark knight and throad my four finger out of plase. I could scearsly doo any thing but with one hand. He had it all to doo. I was for three monts I could not yous my hand much. I cant yous my finger any yet. It is verry crucked & has not it natural feeling. I am riting now with my three fingers and thum.
He has baut 1 hundred & 20 acors of land, 1 hundred down, 2 in the faul, 15 acors fence, 2 logs cabins, 1 stable, a half a dosen springs near the house, good water, a boute thirty peach trees. These too advantag we had not in Tenn. He says he satisfid with his move. I cant tel wheather we will doo any beater her(e) or not. I cant advise you to move unles you could move your house, as cumfertable houses are scears her(e), as sawmils are on handy. 10 milds is the nearest sawmill to me, 4 to a grismill tho that is near to what sum oald settler has to go.
Eavery thing bears a good prise her(e) now. Milk cows are 20 to 20 five dolars. I had to give 20 dolars & my note untel it was paid for one. I have receivd 20 dolars from Polly & that is all I have got. I want you to sell James Coexes note if he woante pay it & try to get sumthing. I will take any thing that will doo me any good be foar nothing. I think it is too much for me to loose 20 file dolars, scearsly paid me any thing. I waunt you to send my mony by the first good opoortunity but be shoar it is a good one as I have a greate need of it now. By so dooing you will a blige your friend. I waunt you to send me some of them yellow soaft peach seed & appels sead of the beast.
I have the finest son the Co. can a foard. He can make me a fier & bring me a drink from the spring. Mary, I have heard you say you would like to travel but if you was like me you would get tierd. I get verry tierd & would a like to stop long be foar we did. Rite soon.
Mrs. Mary Williams
Benjamin Williams Nancy M. Williams
To: Mr. Farmer Williams
Rhomo P. O.m Green Co. Tenn.
Joseph S. Williams to Farmer and Mary Williams
Elk Ridge P. O.
Elk Horn, McDonnald County April the 18, 1855
Dear brother & sister
I avail the presant opportunity of writing to you to let you know that I am in tolerble health at this time For whitch I feel thankful to the giver of all good blessings, & hope thees few lines will find you all enjoying the same like blessing.
I have nothing strange to write to you. The connection is generly well. The general hea(l)th of the country is not vary good at this time. There is write smart of sickness in this part of the country at this time. It is principly the Mony (?) fever. I had a spell of it my self. I was confined to my bed near six weeks. Save four weeks of the time I was never on my feet, but thank the Lord I had that asurance with in that if the earthly house should fail that I had a house not mad(e) with hands eternily in the hevens.
As to times, the are pretty hard owning to the scarcity of grain & money. Corn is worth from 79 cts. to $1. Wheat is from $1.25 to $1.50 per bushel, bacon from 7 to 10 cts. Wheat crops looks prety well. It has been a Backward spring hear, moore sow than comon. The grass is putting up vary prety all over the woods. The people is plan ting corn write smart in this valley. We have some ten or twelve acres planted. I wants to plant a bout as mutch moore next week if we have good luck.
I wrote you (to) send me the Knoxville Whig. It has not yet come to hand. I sent an order in the leter that I sent you. If it come to hand send mee the paper. Send Wyatt Edmonds the paper all so. He will pay mee for the same.
I am still a batchelor. Lewis and my self is living together. I have a notion of hunting mee a wife one of thees days bee fore long if I can suit my self.
No moore at presant. Write as soon as thees lines comes to hand. Direct your letter to Elk Ridge P. O., McDonnald County, Mo.
F. Williams & Mary Williams J. S. Williams
Adonijah Williams to Farmer Williams
May the 8th, 1855
I am now at Wyatt's and expect to start in the morning for the Nation. The connection are generally well.
I procured some money for the boys to purchase them land and prepare them for farming. Joseph bought 120 acres at goverment price at court last Monday. I have let Lewis have $125.00 dollars and may make arrangements to take all of his money in Tennessee & Stephen's too if Stephen's horse lived. I wrote to you the day I left Tahlequah that George M. Munsell of Tahlequah was to get 50 doll's, at Emory & Henry College of Lewis' money & requested you to send the same to Ephraim E. Willie, the president of the College, subject to the order of Munsell, and fearing there may be a delay of the letter I write now. Munsell expects to be at the College in June & I hope the money will be there at that time or soon after. I got the money at my own risk and expense. I want you to sent that amount - fifty dollars - to Willie immediately. If you cannot send it, I hope you will take it & I will be personally responsible for the money & pay charges. I am doing the best I can to help the boys get homes & I hope you will help me a little in the matter. You may be able to send by the Presiding Elder or by your preacher.
Write me about Stephen's money & how much is due Lewis after the 125.00 are paid. Let me know how you can procure Land Warrants, 40's are best, 80 at most, as there is sometimes a difficulty in locating large warrants without taking in worthless land. Warrants are not worth the amount specified - men can do better with the money. We could have bought (a) 120 acre warrant the other day for $9,000 doll's. It was offered to Stephen for that. They are not worth the 100 per acre, at least that is the highest price. I will give 75 dollars for two 40's or 70 for an 80 acre warrant, and that is as high as I would be willing to give.
I have written to you several times & have not received an answer. Write to Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation.
To. F. M. Williams A. Williams
There were 29 indictments in the Treason writs at St. Louis besides Barkes - 30 in all - they have all been dismissed & so ends that drunken row costing more than $50,000.
Adohijah and Martha Williams to Farmer and Mary Williams
Westport Jan. 12th, 1859
Dear Brother and Sister,
It has been some considerable time since I received a letter from you and I have concluded to write you a hasty letter. I left the Kansas Conference owing to the unsettled state of matters in that territory and the great prejudice that exists there against the South. I asked the bishop to send me to a circuit in the south of Missouri, but he refused to comply and sent me to Westport Station, one of the best Stations in the St. Louis Conference and I am trying to do the best I can. The Station is in Jackson County three miles from the Missouri River. Congregations are large and we have a most excellent Sabbath School with first rate Superintendents and teachers. There were seventy five scholars present last Sabbath.
We have a number here from Virginia & some from East Tennessee which gives cast to congregations something like we used to preach to in those countries. We meet the Sabbath School at 9 o'clock, preach at 11 o'clock, at 3 meet the class and preach at night - meet the female class on Tuesday evening, and hold prayer meeting on Wednesday night. The next Sabbath meet the Sabbath School at 9 - preach at 11 - preach at 3 to the darkies & preach at night to the whites. So you see we are pressed on Sabbath. We have to have three new sermons hatched up every week, or about that number, visit, preach, and attend funerals, and I do assure you that a man cannot be idle and sustain himself on a Station. A Station in some points has the advantage of a circuit. In others a circuit has the advantage. I have travelled two circuits in the West and tried to fill three Stations - yet in what ever position I may be placed by the Church I want to be faithful and useful.
I have been married near two years. I married Miss Martha A. Dyer - a woman some younger than myself, and she is said to be by good judges very handsome, and she is now sitting right in front of me singing merrily. We have no responsibilities at our house. The Stewards of the Station made arrangements to board us before we got to the Station and the second night after our arrival we were safely lodged in a pretty brick house well furnished and finely carpetted, and we go to meals when they are ready and return to our room as we feel inclined. The Stewards pay our quarterage quarterly and they are responsible for our board. So I think we are pretty comfortably situated - a little to fine - yet we try to get along with it.
Stephen and Joseph are still in Kansas. Their land is not yet in market. They have about 80 acres or upwards under fence and raised about 1500 bushels of corn. They are doing well. They have a beautiful place and some of the Yankees say if they had it they would not take 20,000 dollars for it. I have no doubt but the falls of the Blue River which they own will be valuable for machinery. I must close. Write to me soon to Westport, Jackson County Missouri.
Yours truly, A. & M. A. Williams
Oct. the 27th, 1861
Dear Brother and Mother,
I take this opportunity to tell you of some of my travels sence I left home. We went down to Camp Wile Cat the other day and we had a Battel at that place.
You may say that I witnest something that day I never did before. The bullets and cannon balls fell as thick as hale around the place where we was. The battle commenst on the 21 inst about 9 o'clock and seast about 4. The nomber that was kiled was about 13 and the nomber wonded 35 men.
I here that we kiled 85 of their men. That is what Women told here today that was write from wilecat. She came for (her) husban, he is one of our prisenors. We have 21 of them.
I will tell you about our schrimish when we wer on our way to camp wilecat. Capt. Arnld's Company was ordered to go before the Brigade to watch the enemy. We was going on and we saw a company of horse men cuming. We halted them. T(h)ey said they was unions and Capt. give the command to fire and we did; Kiled one, wonded one, got two of sharpes rifel, one repetor. That was on Su(n)d(a)y before the battel.
I can not tell you half that I saw. I will be at home in a few days and then I can tell you the story. So I will close. Tell all of my inquiring friends that I am well. John Boils is well.
Address J. B. Rutherford*
J. B. Rutherford
Cumberland Ford, Ky.
29th Tennessee Regiment
Care Capt. Arnold
*J. B. Rutherford was a brother of Mary Ann Rutherford Williams, the wife of Farmer Williams. A few days after writing this letter, he was wounded in another engagement near Camp Wildcat and died in a military hospital at Knoxville on November 15, 1861 at the age of 24.
Joseph S. Williams to Farmer Williams and Family
August 27, 1872
Dear Brother and Family,
I seat myself to answer your kind letter of the 22nd whitch is at hand. Glad to here from you all & I have but little news of intress. General health onley tolerable. My all Good Blessings & as to crops they are better then I have ever seen in Kansas, at least corn crops. My men has 120 acres, very good. Some good jud(g)es say it will mak 75 bushels per Acre, but if a man can get 50 bushels per Acre he ought to be satis fied.
As to rail roads, the Blue Valley roade is graded near 10 miles, so I think I can get on the cars by fall at my little lane soon & ride to East Tennessee, quite a change in the last 16 years. When we settled on Big Blue the nearest Mill was 75 miles, but now we have a mill at home, or at least joyning the farm, also a rail roade through Batt. farms, the Pacific rail roade within 2 miles so I can get on the cars at home soon & ride to New York or California or Galveston, Texas.
(J?) Williams was in Manhattan a few days since. He did not call to see me from some cause. Cannot tell why. I have all ways treated him kindly, but some men are strangers to me. A. Williams and L. M. Williams are both strangers to me. I have done more for them than all the relatives I hav living ever did for me.
But as to your kindness to S. B. Williams, you and the girls shall have ample pay for all the trouble, but the last 3 or 4 years has been a hard time on me financially, but you shall hav some money before long.
As to the Deputys place for S. B. Williams, tell him to let it a lone. Political matters ar 2 uncertain. I would not go my Best friends Bonds at present. As to S. B. Williams, he is one off the best kind of collectors, but will form two large acquaintance for his income. As a man of honor he has always been honorable with me, moore so than A. W. or L. M. Williams. His worst failing is his large acquaintance eat all the pro seeds of office.
You want a slim letter. Write soon.
J. S. Williams
F. Williams and Family S. B. Williams
Pilot Knob Write soon
Joseph S. Williams to Farmer Williams*
December the 23, 1878
Dear Brother & Family
I wrote you some time since, but hav received no answer but hope you ar not offended at me for braking up inn trying to save all.
I lost all my land & property inn Kansas. I was once worth some money, but as real estate fell I went withe it inn a financil point of view. But still I thank my God that the case is no worse than what it is. I have a good home while it lasts.
A few days after the old gentle(man) dyed the administrator came to see the stock and farming utensils. I gave it all inn. When they got through they turned it over to me and tolde me to take care of it, they would pay me for my trouble. They said if I wanted to sold wheat to go ahead, so I solded 25 acres. It is vary pretty at present.
The first of August the old lady & the 2 little boys went back to Pensilvania an a visit. When they got ready to start she gav me the keys to the main building & said she would leave every thing inn my care and for me to sleep inn the first room. So I am in a close place but every thing is mooving onn quiet (well). I here no complaint as yet & hope there will bee none. The family will bee at home in February, maby sooner. I am vary lonesome but have food & rainment & desire to bee content. I do not know how long I will bee here. The old lady said when she left that she wanted me to stay & run the farm, but she may change her notion when they leave home. I am vary easy a bout it.
The administrators both think the family had better live in town, but the old lady can doo as she pleases. The farm is inn her hands during her life & half the propery & half the money and house hold goods. I am 1 of the witnesses of the will. But I think she will stay on the farm a while but I cannot yet tell.
I have tryed to get off from here, but as evertything is inn my care I cannot turn it over to a stranger until the family returns home. I will give you some idea of the main building, 24 X 32, 4 storeys all nice stone. There is a bout 20 windows to the main building. There is 17 pannele doores to the building besides 5 or 6 plain doores for side rooms. I have a bout 20 keys inn my care but do not cary a bout with mee. The house is well furnished inn side. They had every thing that heart could desire, reasonably at least. I can set inn a chare worth 1 dollare or one worth $5 dollars, or one worth 15 dollars but still I set inn the one that suits mee best. They worked vary hard, lived well, & made money but were vary unfortunate with their family. They have burried 6 children. A lot of the old folks looked to have been vary stowt inn early life, but the children wer weekly.
*(Letter not signed, envelope missing. Handwriting appears same as in letter to Farmer Williams dated Aug. 27, 1872 from J. S. Williams. Manhattan, Kansas)
Lewis M. Williams to Children of Farmer Williams
My Dear Nephews, Nieces, and Friends,
The old year with its pleasures and pains, its joys and sorrow, is laid in its wintry grave and the snow is piled over its memories alike of sunshine and shaddow.
We need to greet our friends with wishes for a Happy New Year. It is a pretty custom and the kindly feeling that it expresses lifts for a momen the load of care from our sorrowing hearts, banishes the shadows for a time, even though brief it be, and brightens the future. The past, then, is dead and we heap new earth over it and plant new flowers above it. All the rugged stones in last year's path are gone; the thorns and briars that pricked our feet are uprooted. This is the bright new year,and if fond wishes could make it happy it would be to all a happy new year.
The thought of the new year sends a heart greeting from friend to friend, and often from firend to the friendless. It should mean unity of feeling, kindness of action which gives within itself interest of and love for each other. Happy New Year some one has beautifully said. How shall we help it to be happy? By being happy ourselves. A happy soul is like sunshine. Its light penetrates the dull soil of other natures and works up the germs of beauty better than sunshine, for it is light on a dark day. But true happyness is usefullness. If happyness be the aim of your lives, you will fail. But if usefullness be your aim, then you shall find happyness indeed. It takes consecration to make drudgery delightfull and a united consecration to make usefullness desirable.
We are too apt to think the world owes us something; not until we have finished our part of the world's work. We are debtors to all that has gone before - to nature and art, to Christianity and civilization, to home, church and society. We are debtors to all that must come after - to the purity and blessedness of home, to the higher ideals of life, to right education to strengthen the weak, comforting the suffering and sorrowing, instructing the ignorant. We are debtors to the public oinion we help to mould and to the final good of humanity.
We need every one of us to keep a picture of humanity before us and to pray ourselves into sympathy with its life, and then we will be willing to carry the principles of love and truth to the remotest bounds. Then may we say to friend and foe Happy New Year, which will mean the clasping of hands
For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrongs that need resistance,
And the good that we can do.
Dear children, keep the above and read it often, especially every new year, and practice its principles and you will always be happy. From your absent but well wishing uncle,
Lewis M. Williams
Lewis M. Williams to Mary Ellen (Mollie) Williams, Daughter of Farmer Williams
815 West Walnut St.
March 12, 1907
My Dear Niece,
I feel too badly both physically and mentally to write you. I never was worse disappointed in life than last night, and today have gone to phone to Hunts to know if you were sick or left. I was not well enough to go to the depot, but Charley and Minnie both went - were there when the Lockwood train came in at 5:30, looked everywhere for you but the right place. You cannot know how badly I felt on their return. And to think you were in a quarter mile of me till 12 o'clock. If I had known you were there I would have gone if I had to crawl, or went through 3 ft. of water and mud. You surely do not regard your relatives as tenderly as I do or you would have gotten the agent to a phoned us or took a cab. Our relatives never pay cab fare, we are too glad to see them. I know I love my relatives better than most men do. I did not sleep much last night, I tell you the truth.
I had anticipated such a pleasant visit with you for a year since Mollie and Ethel Reed were here and told us you were coming. I wanted to learn of Brother's sickness and death. He died right because he lived right. Do you get the St. Louis Advocate that I sent you on my return from Orleans? Tell me about the family, all of Stephen's family, Jo Eliza and all the girls. Last, but not least, what does Thom intend to do? It seems you are not much of a family to wed. I know you nor Liza are no spring chickens. You are bachelor girls. Maybe you were the ones on the train with the lady who was taking her third husband to cremate and was crying to beat the band. Conductor came to her relief - asked if he could be of any service to her. She said no, that she was taking her third husband to cremate. That remark caught the ear of a bachelor girl on the opposite side of the car. Conductor went over to see if he could pacify her. She told him no, she was weeping over the misfortunes of humanity. Here was a woman that had husbands to burn. She was older than she and she had none. You must allow me to fun as I go along or I will break down and quit.
Did you get the two letters I wrote you - one at Langdon, one at Phelps City? Oh, Mollie why did you treat me so? I am the only living uncle you have on your father's side and I am old, my head white with the snow that never melts. I am just living a day at a time trying to make the last one better, burying the crossnesses and churlishness incident to old age in the grave of disappointed hopes and blasted expectations. I will have to quit soon.
We have a beautiful home, but we are on the broad gage with our friendships. I yesterday had a man wash the surrey, rub up the horse, intending to take you all over the city and show you the sites, Parks, Cemeteries both Federal and Confederate, and to extend to you the warmest reception you ever had. But alas, friendship's Rose was needlessly crushed and its fragrance cast out on the desert air. I was feeling so thankful I was once more to see and love one I bid fare-well twenty years ago - I thought then for the last time on the Earth.
Dear Mollie I slept and awoke and found my redeemer near, not able to find my letter till this Thurs. morning, but all is dark and gloomy. I would have written you at Lockwood but was not able - thought Rettie and Carrie Hunt would post you so if any hitch should occur you would have no trouble. James William's wife and daughter came last fall to see us unheralded from Faytetteville, Ark. They had no trouble. The officials at depot near all know us - would have taken pleasure in phoning us or securing a cab for you. It is said it is no use to grieve over spilt milk, but I cant help it. To think what a quarter's expense would have saved in tears and griefs. We are not so wealthy as to be envied or so poor as to be despised, nor so unpopular as to be ignored. We associate with the best of the city and when I was seriously sick a year ago the ladies came to see me. Single and married ladies always came to my bed and kissed me before they sat down. Others sent cut flowers that cost 2 or 3 dollars and nicknacks to cheer me up. I feel very thankful for such friends. They were worth 40 or 50 thousand dollars in their own name. Never be overly sensitive nor imagine vain things, but always hope for the best. Trust the Lord for His grace. Behind a frowning Providence He hides a smiling face.
Tuesday about 3 o'clock we got your note of departure for the sunny south. I was still in bed. It was like a clap of thunder from a clear sky. It is still reverberating in my feelings.
Dear Eliza, I want you to take Mollie out and tie her to the pine tree in the yard in the top of which the initials of my name are cut 54 years ago and keep her there till she is heartily sorry for treating her poor old uncle so unkindly, whose trembling limbs are so fast bearing him to the tomb. The Savior has passed through its portals before me. I dread not its gloom. So many things I wanted to see her about. One was to get a keg of sugar tree molasses sent to us. I wanted to send some photographs to Mollie & Ethel Reed and others. I have thought some of going to Richmond to the Confederate reunion next June and stopping to see my old home once more. But if they all care as little for me as Mollie seems to, I guess I will stay in the West where I have two good homes of my own and so nice a family as I deserve. Min has a beautiful home, a good man, two bright boys, one 5, the other ten in July and her husband has invented a top that will make him a fortune. He has always been in the goods business. The top shows the blending of cottons as it runs. He gets two hundred dollars and expenses from the co. for selling and managing the patent per month and holds a half interest in same.
Sometimes I think my relatives think hard of me because I was a Confederate. I was honest in it. I was opposed to secession, but when my state went, the Rubicon of my life was passed. I was free no more. I could not fight my mother or take arms against the land that gave me birth. Blame no more. I would rather be an ex-Confederate, honest, honorable, and honored Confederate today than live in the place of the rich with a cankered, stifled conscience. Excuse me. Make Mollie go see Reed girls. Write me at once. Give my love to all the girls, Jo. Accept the same for yourself.
Ever your loving uncle.
L. M. Williams
P. H. Boyd, daughter of Polly and C. B. Walker, to Nancy Catherine Williams, widow of Lewis M. Williams.
Neosho, Mo. Nov. 17/15
Dear Aunt Kitty,
You don't know how glad I was to get your letter and to learn the particulars of Uncle Louis's death. I had heard of his death and would have written to you long ago, but didn't know how to direct a letter to you. We ought not grieve after those of our loved ones who are called home if they are prepared to go when we realize that we so soon must follow, we having lived out our alloted time. I am in my 71st year; Mr. Boyd is in his 76th, so you see we are living on borrowed time. I often think of the trouble and worry that my dear sister missed by being called home when she was, but I just felt for a while that I couldn't live without her, but time will heal wounds to some extent and we have the blessed assurance that we will be reunited with our loved ones when done with the cares of this life if we hold out faithful a little while longer, which I am striving to do.
O Aunt, I do wish you could come down and stay a while with us as there is so many things comes to my mind that I can't write. We have our trials and troubles, but God has brought us safe this far and we trust Him to lead us on. I suppose you heard of our baby girl, Cora, having to be operated on for Cancer. She is getting along fine and seems to be almost as well as ever. I do so much hope that she will be spared to raise her two little girls. One is five, and the other seven years old, and they are sweet little ones. Her husband is so kind to her.
Well, Aunt Kate, I think of you often and especially in the Spring when that beautiful rose bush that you sent me years ago is in bloom. I call it my Aunt Kate rose, as I didn't know the name of it. Well, Aunt, I will be so glad to get a letter from you occasionally and will try to answer more promptly than I did this as I was so worried for a while that I couldn't write to the children.
Give our kindest regards to Minnie and family, also Add and Earnest, as I never see them any more. I was glad to get that pamphlet, but thought you would want it. I sent it back by Dr. Weems. He told me that you aimed for me to keep it, which I will be glad to do. I think the account of Uncle Louis's past life is as correct as can be expected when there is such a few living that went through those awful times. I remember the morning that he left home with those papers, and I also realized what would be the consequence if he was captured. I was so glad when we found out that he had eat them up, which I guess saved his life.
Lovingly, your niece
P. H. Boyd
To Mrs. Kate Williams
815 West Walnut St. R. R. No. 3
Springfield Neosho, Missouri
Postmarked Nov. 18, 1915 4 PM
Matilda C. Houts, daughter of Thomas N. and Narcissa Williams,
to Lewis M. and Kate Williams
Warrensburg, Mo. Jan 19/16
My Dear Uncle Lew and Aunt Kate,
My Christmas letter did not come and I feel uneasy, so will write you a few lines.
Benj. and I are pretty well, getting along about as usual. Friends and connection all well so far as I know. We have been shut in for a while - so cold, so much snow, and the mercury went as low as 16 or 18 deg. below zero. We had a beautiful fall - pleasant.
We had letters from Bro. Jimmie's wife. She has three boys, all able to do something. The oldest, Henry, is 21 years old. There is three of them - nice boys. They are still in Spokane.
Heard from Cora and folks. Robbert Graham never married any more. Julia, the youngest girl, is home and keeps house for him. Roy is married and lives close to his father. Mary Russell, the oldest girl lives on a farm 3 or 4 miles from them. She has 4 children, 3 boys and one girl. Mr. Russell is a hustler.
Not many of us left - one by one we are crossing over to the other shore.
Alta Harness, my girl, is in Los Angeles, California. The altitude was too high for her in Colorado. All well.
Uncle Lew, we had a big Tabernacle meeting here this fall. I think you would of enjoyed it if you could of been here - I did. Some 300 or more claimed conversion. I think perhaps that many joined the different churches.
Joe Thornton is in Kansas this winter. He still has his property here. I suppose he will be back in the spring. He is greatly broken up since Sallie died.
Our schools are prospering, even without the Normal. They are working on it all they can - will have a fine building when it is done. Can send all your folks up here to school. We thought maybe some of Cora's boys would come up this last fall, but did not know.
Aunt Cat, I want you or Uncle Lew to write us. Lots of love to you all. Write soon.
To L. M. Williams Mattie C. Houts
815 West Walnut Street
Springfield, Missouri Postmarked Jan 20, 1916 11:30 AM
COMMENTS ON THE WILLIAMS FAMILY
By Stephen L. Williams
I have been reading (not lately though) a wee bit of history or biography of Grandfather Williams. He was born in Pennsylvania, in 1781, moved to banks of Potomac River, Va. when 4 years old, got to Carter's Station at the age of 14. Can't find out whether he ran away from his Va. home, or whether his parents told him to go, or whether he had transgressed the laws of state and to avoid the penalty slipped away and landed on the cane brake banks of Lick Creek in 1795.
Not a word is given to prove that his parents accompanied him here, (or ever had any). No one here now (is) old enough to tell anything about it - why were we not enlightened by Father, or his 12 brothers and 3 sisters, or George, or Harmon Kinney? They certainly knew something then that I would like to know now, but what's the use to worry about it? We are possibly the 3000th generation from Adam. Was any of our foreparents Kings or Queens? Tramps, thieves, murderers, wolves in sheep's clothing? If so, they were honest and true because if you find truth at the counter, or anywhere else, you need go no further to hunt for honesty. They were inseperable companions like the Siamese twins who were fast together when born, and to separate them neither would survive. And if it were possible to part truth and honesty then we would have neither, because each is dependent on the other for its very existence. They are immortal and will live eternally. Their beauty will not fade, nor wither away by time, nor ever grow old.
Grandfather joined the Church in 1810, professed religion in 1811, soon went to exhorting, and a few years later was licensed to preach. He died bravely in 1848 - 67 years old. Grandmother Nancy Pogue Williams was killed in 1835 - Uncle Lewis in her arms. The Pogues and Carters seemed the most numerous about the station 80 years ago; the Carters are still here, but not a Pogue that I know of in county or state. The Church seemed to have a grudge at the Pogues and turned many of them out of the Church. This riled the balance and they emigrated to different places, hunting for liberty and freedom like unto the kind their ancestors enjoyed so well. We say fortunately, or unfortunately, there is no record available to show us our forebears. I hope though they didn't help to burn the witches in Mass. a few hundred years ago, or put to death the blacksmith who persisted in using stone coal in his forge when the law said don't use it. Hope we are not from China where the guinea pigs perished in one end of the Chinaman's burning house. The pigs were cooked just right and the Chinaman was so pleased with the cooking that whenever he wanted cooked meat he had to put the pigs in a certain end of the house and then set it on fire - what fools mortals be.
I further noticed in the records of what is called the class book, I believe at the station, that a book had to be bought to record the matter pertaining to church, etc. I think the price was $1.00, 8 or 10 subscribed to the amount. I saw Father obligated himself for 12 1/2 cents, and others, Bina Carter, the same - but I don't remember the year nor all the names. I guess they paid it in coon skins or venison.
So lets don't worry. It doesn't matter near so much who our grandparents were as who their grandchildren are.
BANDY AND BOND
August 31, 1927
Mr. Joseph R. Williams
Bulls Gap, Tennessee
Dear Mr. Williams:
I want to thank you for your kindness to us on our recent visit to your home. We shall not fail to remember it. You and your brother at Greenville feel pretty near to us. It was through him we first got trace as to where Uncle was buried, and through your kindly offices that we were enabled to locate definitely the grave. We feel now that your family has been for the past sixty-three years a friend of our family. I find, on consulting the family records, that Isaac Marion Bond was born September 22nd, 1840, and died March 30th, 1864. The fact that your father buried uncle has always bound us to you, although for a number of years after my own father's death we did not know the name of the gentleman who had buried him. It was not popular in your country to do favors for Confederates for the majority of its citicens (sic) were Union in sentiment, and it must have been that your father acted at the risk of incurring censure if not condemnation from some of his neighbors. I thought of all those things while we stood at Uncle's grave; and the fact that he lies in the same enclosure with soldiers who gave their lives on the opposite side, and that his grave had been cared for by strangers whom the fortunes of war had made enemies, and it occurred to me that a people who could not only forgive and forget enmity but rise to such magnanimity were wonderfully great; such acts of kindness speak with greater voice than any mere words and we want you to know that these things have endeared you and the people of your community to us. It is a comforting thought to know that after all, many of the finer things brought to light by the war. Perhaps it discloses both the worst and the best that is in a people, for when the civil restraints of society are removed it is only then that a people react to their surroundings in a natural way. We shall always have a warm spot in our hearts for Greene County and cherish the memory of the fine things done by your family and your neighbors. We hope to make future pilgrimages to the tomb of our uncle and in case we do, we shall always call to pay you and your family our respects.
Again I wish to thank you most heartily for all courtesies extended and assure you of our well-wishes.
Most sincerely yours,
/s/ Napoleon Bond
Mary Williams Cunningham, daughter of Lewis M. Williams,
to James F. King
March 30th, 1960
Dear Cousin James King,
Have enjoyed your fine letter very much. With it brought the sad news of your dear (grand)mother's passing which regret to hear, who was a true Christian, spiritual, intellectual, and lovely. Though she is gone, she left a wonderful heritage for you to follow, and sweet memories will always be with us.
Do accept my love and deepest sympathy in your great loss.
I have been home only a few weeks from the hospital with a heart condition. Am improving each day nicely and hope soon to be able to attend church and take up activities there and otherwise.
James, I'm very sorry to be unable to give you much help of the Williams history, only things I remember that my parents told me. Things we regret at those we do not, instead of what we sometimes do, and that I did not write the history when (it) was given me - I regret greatly.
Yes, the information you have regarding your grandmother's * death is correct as I have it, was caused by an accident from the horse she was riding, falling on her, leaving my dear father an infant in arms, who was reared by a brother or brothers. Sorry I have no date of her death. Hope some time her grave can be located.
The name of Father's brothers you do not have listed are Stephen and Joseph. Both lived in my parent's home for many many years. Joseph passed away there. Stephen while visiting a niece by name Edmason.
Lewis M. Williams, my dear father, was born 1835 Greeneville, Tenn.; passed away February 14th, 1915 here in our home where my dear parents had lived with us for many many years in Springfield, Mo.
I'm glad you have your lovely family - and to know how very proud you both are of them. It's useless to repeat to you of our three (3) children, 2 boys and 1 daughter - all very devoted and precious to me, since you have heard that before in Cousin Mollie's letters.
Have been a widow for 31 years. Without my dear children I would have been very lonely. We parents appreciate our dear children and their devotion, more if possible as we gow older. I was 80 years young on July 11th - have so many blessings I'm grateful for. Have always had perfect health until this recent illness of which I spoke. I'm sure and pray I shall be feeling fine again soon.
James, I'm indeed very sorry to be unable to give you more definite history for which you ask. I hope what I have given may help some, which was a pleasure to give. May 1960 bring to you and your nice family much happiness, health and great success in all your undertakings.
Love and best wishes to you and family. Sincerely,
Mary W. Cunningham
* A reference to Nancy Pogue Williams
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