Saturday, April 21, 2012

Photos of Aunt Jo Williamson Reid

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Photo Credit: Joe Reid

William Thomas Reid and Jo Stella Williamson Reid in front of their home place
on Poplar Corner Rd. in Haywood County, TN

I love the way social networking allows those interested in gathering accurate records and stories of the past to share information and photos. A relative I didn't know previously, Joe Reid, emailed me last week and we've been exchanging stories and info. His grandmother, Jo Stella Williamson Reid, (pictured above) and my great grandmother, Janie Williamson Williams were sisters.

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Joe Williamson and daughters
Back row, l to r: Janie Williamson Williams (my great grandmother),
Jessie Williamson, and Nannie Williamson
Front row l to r: Jo Stella Williamson Reid, Joe Williamson, Mai Williamson Shelton

In this photo, Jo is the youngest girl on the front row on the left and Janie is standing behind her.

Their father and my great grandfather, Joe Williamson, who was a widower in the photo above, would see a lot of his family members die during his lifetime.

He was born in 1858 in Madison County, TN in the Providence community. His parents were Beverly M. Williamson and Eleanora Harriet Dougan. I have been unable to establish his paternal grandparents (so if you know, email me) but his maternal grandparents were Reverend Robert Linn Dougan and Elizabeth Scobey. Both families were early settlers of the United States and fought in the Revolutionary War.

Joe married Mary Elizabeth Joyner on 17 Jan 1882. She was a daughter of Alfred Bunn Joyner and a granddaughter of Littleton Bunn Joyner, both of whom were very instrumental in the settlement and development of the Haywood County, TN area.

Mary Elizabeth died on 16 Jan1898 at the age of 36, leaving Joe with five girls who were ages 15, 13, 10, 7 and 2.

Joe and his family were members of Providence Methodist Church and his father, Beverly, had donated land for the church and adjoining cemetery.

In 1901, Joe issued a deed for an acre of land for a school to be built near the church. In 1944, that same land was sold to the Providence Methodist Church for $100, probably when the school was closed.

In 1905, daughter Jessie died at age 20.

That same year, according to "A Journey into Yesteryears" by Martha Jones, Joe donated three more acres of land to the church. Part of the land was between the church and the cemetery while another was located on the south side of the cemetery.

Two years later, on 6 Sep 1907, daughter Nannie died at age 24.

On 22 Jan 1909 at age 51, Joe died and was buried, along with the others from his family, in the Providence Methodist Church Cemetery. Sadly, in his lifetime, Joe experienced the early deaths of his mother, father, step-mother, wife and two of his daughters.

21 Dec 1909, his daughter, Mai, married Thomas A. Shelton.

6 Feb, 1910, Janie, my great grandmother and one of Joe's other three surviving daughters, married William Lafayette "Will" Williams and they had my grandfather, Jesse Lloyd "Bo" Williams just a little over nine months later.
22 Sep 1912, Joe's youngest daughter, Jo, married William Thomas Reid.

My great grandmother, Janie, died after childbirth on 19 Aug 1914. According to family stories, Will was having a difficult time taking care of a 4-year-old and members of the Williamson family threatened to take him away if the situation didn't improve. That threat possibly came from the two surviving sisters, Jo and Mai. Will did eventually get it together. He remarried and many other children with his new wife.

Mai and Arthur Shelton had five children and she died 21 Dec 1944 at the age of 54 leaving Jo as the only surviving member of the Joe Williamson family.

Eventually, Aunt Jo, as we called her, and her husband moved across the street from my grandfather, Bo, who was her nephew. When I was a boy, she and my grandmother would take me fishing in ponds around the area. At the time, she looked very much like the photo below. In this picture she is sitting on the left on the front porch with her niece. This is a great photo because of all the elements of rural southern architecture it contains. You can almost smell the magnolia trees.

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Photo Credit: Joe Reid

Jo Stella Williamson Reid (left) and Viola Iris Shelton (right)
who was a daughter of Jo's sister, Mai
The great photo below was taken about a year before Aunt Jo's death at age 95 in 1992. She is seated on the steps of The Providence United Methodist Church for which her father and grandfather were instrumental in building.

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Photo Credit: Joe Reid

Jo Stella Williamson Reid on the steps of Providence
United Methodist Church in 1991

I am really grateful to Joe Reid for sharing these photos. If you have any photos of any of my Haywood County ancestors, please send them and I'll be happy to post them.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or the Haywood County Line Genealogy Page.

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