Archiver > TXSHELBY > 2006-06 > 1150997011

Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 13:23:31 EDT

A WILLIAMS DNA study is ongoing and two men who can trace ancestry
back to early Shelby County are taking part. If any of the above names are of
interest to you, let me tell you a selected bit of Shelby County, Texas,
history. You might find the DNA study to be interesting. And if you can add any
history to this particular family, that would be great.
Land records in Austin, Texas, show that John B. WILLIAMS in 1842
received a 640 acre land grant. There are several documents in the record. To me
it appears that he origonally sold the right to the grant, but later it was
back in his hands. Only a guess--perhaps the sale fell through. Then he had
640 acres surveyed in Upshur County. That was not problem free either. It
turned out that the surveyor had surveyed 320 acres of it over a previous
survey. Nevertheless, John B. WILLIAMS is an original survey name on the Upshur
County map for a 320 acre area. Time passed and a 320 acre survey was done
in Shelby County.
Nor was that problem free. At the site there only 315 acres were
available. but Shelby County, Texas, has a John B. WILLIAMS survey on its original
survey map. A record in the Land Department in Austin shows that James OATES
became the Assignee to that land from John B. WILLIAMS. This was on into
the later 1850s.

An earlier document tells us something more about the John B. WILLIAMS
family. It is the 1850 Shelby County census. It shows John B. WILLIAMS 60
years old with a birthplace of South Carolina. He was a blacksmith. His
wife Nancy, was 45, born in Georgia. One source gave her maiden name as COLSON.
The children at home were Malinda, William J. (or I.) Caroline, Adline
(Margaret Adline or Mary Adline), John L. and Julius.
Two children already were away from home. Irvin WILLIAMS (I know most
about him because he was my mother's Grandpa. Later on he began to use
initials R. I.) had finished growing up in Texas, and had "gone back to Alabama."
He was on the Henry County, Alabama, 1850 census as a newlywed. His wife was
Nancy WALDEN. Now, it certainly would seem that if Irvin "went back to
Alabama" that Henry County would have been where they'd lived before going to
Texas, but I have been unable to locate any John B. WILLIAMS record there. Irvin
WILLIAMS, himself, was born in Georgia. Most of the children were born in
Alabama. The youngest was born in Texas.
Elizabeth WILLIAMS, the oldest daughter, and away from home, was on the
Shelby County, Texas, 1850 census married to William WAGSTAFF.
Land deeds in Anderson County, Texas, show that while both were
residents of Shelby County, Texas, John B. WILLIAMS bought 1100 acres of land from
Richard HOOPER.
Back in the 1960s J. B. SANDERS of Shelby County printed a book of the
1850 census. It contained some editorial comments and one of the comments was
that the census showed Richard HOOPER to be the richest man in Shelby County.
WILLIAMS's oral history says that the John B. WILLIAMS family moved to
Anderson County. Land deeds on record there support that. John B. WILLIAMS
both sold and bought land while a resident of the county. The land he owned
was in the Northwest area next to the Trinity River. Oral history says that
Nancy WILLIAMS died in Anderson County and John B. and children returned to
Shelby County.
Perhaps that was in 1854. In that year the State of Texas took school
censuses in some counties. There is no extant school census for Anderson
County. There is one for Shelby County. The John B. WILLIAMS family does not
appear on the Shelby County School Census. However, a family does appear on
the 1854 state school census who did not appear on the federal census of 1850.
That was the family of Daniel Shaw HAIGHT.
Young Elizabeth WILLIAMS WAGSTAFF had become widowed, and she married
the widowed Daniel Shaw HAIGHT. A descendant of HAIGHT by his first wife has a
Bible in which the marriage of Daniel and Elizabeth WILLIAMS WAGSTAFF is
recorded. It says Daniel and Elizabeth were married 16 September, 1854, in the
home of her father. So John B. WILLIAMS and the younger members of his family
must have returned to Shelby by then.
By the 1860 census John B. WILLIAMS himself had died. His unmarried
children were in a parentless home. The 1860 census gives evidence that it
was taken by a careless census taker. Its filmed images also are hard to
read. There are extra children in the household; so it is difficult to sort them
The Civil War took place. Irvin WILLIAMS had moved with his wife's
family from Alabama to Florida. He and two young WALDEN brothers in law served
together as Confederate Soldiers. In Texas, WILLIAMS sons and husbands of
the daughters saw military service.
After the Civil War, Irvin and Nancy WALDEN WILLIAMS and their children
moved from Florida to Shelby County.
In 1871 there was a land division among the heirs of John B. and Nancy
WILLIAMS. By then all of them were together and also, by then the youngest
child, Julius WILLIAMS was 21 years old. The Shelby County courthouse burned
after that, but the people took land deeds in and rerecorded them. Remember
that in those days the husbands of women signed also. Those who signed were
R.I. WILLIAMS, W. J. (or I.) WILLIAMS, J. L. WILLIAMS, (One oral source said
that his full name was John Lawson WILLIAMS.), Julius WILLIAMS, M.A. KING
and D. M. KING, (That was Margaret Adline WILLIAMS KING and her husband.),
Malinda KING and H. R. KING, Caroline WAGSTAFF and W.W. WAGSTAFF, Elizabeth MAY
and John MAY. (Elizabeth had once again been widowed and remarried to the
widowed John MAY. By the time of the 1880 census, both of these people had
died. Their young MAY sons were living in the household of Elizabeth's older
son, James WAGSTAFF and next door to another of her sons, John HAIGHT.)
The HAIGHT family was an interesting family. In a county where
everyone seemed to have been born in the South---Virginia, the Carolinas,
Georgia, Arkansas etc., the birth state of Daniel Shaw HAIGHT looked unusual, New
York. His older children were born in Illinois.
Let's speak now of some other WILLIAMS. On the 1850 census there was a
30 year old unmarried man named Ansel (Some records show his name as Anson.)
WILLIAMS. I have been told by some researchers that he was a twin brother to
another person enumerated on that census: Mrs. George KING, that she was
Another person on the 1850 census was Nehemiah WILLIAMS. His wife was
Margaret COKER WILLIAMS. Living with them was Margaret's 11 year old sister,
Susan COKER. As time went on Susan COKER married James S. HAIGHT, a son of
Daniel Shaw HAIGHT's first marriage and they became the parents of seven
Another WILLIAMS lived in Shelby County, but somehow was never
enumerated on the census there. He was Leroy Guthrie WILLIAMS. One record he left
in Shelby County was L. G. WILLIAMS selling land to Levi SMOTHERMAN. In 1857 he
married Audella HAIGHT, daughter of Daniel Shaw HAIGHT's first marriage.
They moved from Shelby County and lived briefly in Bell County then settled in
Tarrant County, Texas. They named their first son Ansil WILLIAMS. They also
had a daughter named Anna Arrena WILLIAMS.
Almost 50 years ago when I first began writing down family history, I
showed my mother a copy I had made of the Nehemiah WILLIAMS census record. She
said, "Oh, that must be the Cousin Neithy WILLIAMS I've heard Pa speak
Later, she told me that when she was in Teacher's Normal School in
Center, studying to become a teacher that she was invited to visit in the home of
new friends, daughters of a TAYLOR family.
The mother, Mrs. John W. E. TAYLOR said to her, "My maiden name was
WILLIAMS. I am a little kin to you."
My mother responded, "What was your father's name?"
"He was called Ki WILLIAMS,' said Mrs. TAYLOR. The census records,
reveal that Ki was Hezekiah WILLIAMS, the son of Nehemiah WILLIAMS.
Marriages of the sons of John B. WILLIAMS besides Irvin to Nancy WALDEN,
were William I. to Mary Jane WINDHAM, John L. to Mary WILLIS, Julius to
Charlotte DANIELS.
A descendant of Irvin WILLIAMS has done a DNA test. A descendant of
Leroy Guthrie WILLIAMS is being tested.
This is the WILLIAMS website that will carry information about the DNA
tests: http://williams.genealogy.fm/
Charlene Walker Brazell

This thread: