Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Will Williams

Trying to get the research posted correctly while figuring out HTML at the same time is proving to be a challenge, to say the least. Anyway, tonight I have been working on the Will Williams part of my genealogy. He was my paternal grandfather's father. Will experienced a lot of death but I guess back then, most people did. His mother died before he was even one.
Her name was Martha Jane Watridge. Her obituary says, "Martha J. Williams died 22 Dec 1888. Wife of G.D. Williams and daughter of James Watridge and granddaughter of Bro. Deacon W. Watridge. Married George D. Williams 17 Dec 1868. She was born 27 Aug 1852. Leaves husband and 4 Children, one and infant babe."
Will Williams was the "infant babe." Looking at old census records, it appears Will's father, George, married quickly and then his second wife died when Will was around 11. Apparently, young Will went to live with the sister of his late mother for some reason.
Will would marry Janie Williamson who was the granddaughter of a fairly prosperous Methodist minister in Madison County, TN. My grandfather would be born 10 months after they got married but Janie would only live four more years and die shortly after giving birth to his second child, a daughter named Ruth, who also died. According to family history, Will didn't take the loss of his wife and daughter very well at first and, for a short time, ended up with a drinking problem. Janie's family is said to have gone to him and threatened to take Bo away.
Fortunately, he quickly married a woman, Eva, with whom he had another bunch of children and who raised his son, Bo, like he was her own. Will cleaned up his act and was respected by his family and community. At least in pictures, he looks like a jolly old man.
Thinking about them makes me remember a day my wife and I went to "Daddy Bo's" house to visit. Being in his nineties, he was in really bad shape by that time and could not see nor hear very well. His fake eye would often be in the wrong way creating the impression that he was looking at you and into the next room at the same time. My wife began asking him about his childhood which, for some reason, I had never really done. You could tell he was really going back and experiencing things in his mind as he shared them with us. He explained, in great detail, how he remembered his mother even though he was four when she died. After his father met someone else and married her. He told his them he would never call her "mother." And you could tell he was proud of the fact that he had kept that oath more than 80 years later. He added, "I called her Ms. Eva and she was very good to me."
According to Daddy Bo, Will saw Eva, a teacher, riding by in a carriage and told friends he was going to marry her.
Back to the photos, they do seem like a nice couple. In almost every photo they have big smiles on their faces. I particularly like this photo. The paneling, the carpet and the happy little girl make it look like a nice place to take a nap. I wonder whats in those cases?

My dad remembers Will as not being very plugged into what was going on with the grandchildren but my cousin Donna remembers him being funny and having a great sense of humor. Dad says Eva was jolly and always happy and very kind and Donna confirmed Eva also always had sweets for the kids. Although with all the children they had and then all the grandchildren, there was probably not a lot of time to spend with the individual grandchildren. The next time I am in Brownsville I am going to find where their house was and go check it out. I don't even know if it's still standing. I hope so.

1 comment:

  1. He looks alot like Daddy Bo in that picture.