They began with the ending. So here is a little about the beginning and some of the in-between.
Catherion Arthur Nowell Williams was born in Bertie County, NC on 6 Feb 1828 to Dempsy Nowell III and Elizabeth Rawls Nowell.
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The William Pugh House in Bertie County, NC is a great
example of the homes left behind as farmers
migrated West in the early 1800s.
Photo by Watson Brown
She moved with her parents, along with many other families in their community, from Bertie County to Haywood County, TN around 1833.
Cotton was becoming the primary crop for many southern farmers so Indians were being moved off the land west of North Carolina to make room for the growing nation.
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Plantation of the Speight family of Windsor in Bertie County, NC
"As cotton began to replace tobacco, Bertie County moved from being a major tobacco producer to one of the state's leading cotton producers. Therefore the production of cotton dominated the antebellum period in the county. Slave owners, including the Pughs, Williams, Smallwoods, Outlaws, Spruills, Rascoes, and Gilliams, also began to clear and move into Tuscarora land. Between 1800 and 1840, cotton and the lack of unexausted farmland also caused more Virginians, North Carolinians, and South Carolinians to move farther west into what had been the Southwest Territory. This migration separated many Bertie County families. Loved ones, slaves as well, left Bertie County and joined the westward migration."Catherion was baptized and joined Zion Baptist Church at the age of 13 and remained a very active member there for the remainder of her life.
Smallwood, Arwin D., Bertie County: An Eastern Carolina History (Arcadia Publishing, 2002), 84.
She married George Solomon “Sol” Williams, on 6 Feb 1844 when she was just 16 and he was 24.
Sol had also come to Haywood County from Bertie County as a young boy when his father, George Williams, became the first minister at Zion Baptist Church.
The same year she married, Catherion's mother died shortly after giving birth to a daughter.
Sol and Catherion would have eleven children together.
In the U.S. Census of 1850, Sol and Catharine were living in District 11 of Madison County, TN with their two young children, Elizabeth who was six and my second great grandfather, George, who was four.
The family was living next door to Sol’s parents Rev. George and Nancy Williams and their daughter Harriet Ann Williams who was 17.
Both families were very prosperous.
In the U.S. Census of 1860, Sol was 39, Catharine was 33 and they had moved to District Five of Haywood County. Elizabeth was 15, George was 13 and the family had added three more children: John who was nine, Edward who was seven and William E., who was two.
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1860 U.S. Census, Haywood County
The family was farming a large amount of land in 1860 with real estate that had grown in value to $12,500 and personal estate valued at $12,185. That figure most likely included a number of slaves and, in comparison to others in the census, they were quite well off. The "historic standard of living value" of that amount of money in 1860 was around $750,000.
The family was living one farm away from Joseph and Emily Rawls and their very large family. Joseph is listed as a “Physician and Farmer” and was from North Carolina. Joseph was likely part of the family of Catherion's mother.
Sol died at the young age of 44 in 1864. Was he killed in the Civil War? There are two Confederate soldiers named “Solomon Williams.”
One enlisted in Company D, 7th Infantry Regiment Tennessee and the other in Company E, Newsom's Cavalry Regiment. Many of my ancestors who fought in the war were in the 7th Tennessee Infantry so I do plan to look for more information about Sol there.
Catherion seems to have been a very strong lady. Right after her husband's death, she was 36-year-old widow, living in the post Civil War south raising a house full of very young children with a farm that was likely decimated.
In the U.S. Census of 1870, Catherine was 42 and was farming land that had dropped in value to $4,000 and a personal estate now only valued at $1,000. Living with her were her children, John who 19, Edward who was 16, William E. who was 11, Catherine E. "Katie" who was 10 and Rebecca M. who was 6.
Her oldest son, George D., and his wife, Martha Jane Watridge Williams (my second great grandparents), were living on the farm next door with their 9-month-old baby, E. L. who died before the next census.
In the US Census of 1880, Catherion was still going strong at 52. It was Catherion, rather than any of her sons, who was listed as the “Head of Household” and the family was still in District Five. Living with her were her children John N. who was 28, William E. who was 22, Katherine, who was 20, Rebecca who was 17 and a 50-year-old black male named Richard Traylor who was listed as a “servant.”
The 1890 Federal Census records were destroyed by a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington, DC on 10 January 1921 so I am not certain where Catherion was living then.
She was 62 and all her children were adults. Her son George, my second great-grandfather, had recently become widow with a house full of children when his wife, Martha Jane Watridge died. It's certainly possible she moved in with him and helped run his home.
Catherion died 3 August 1895 at the age of 67. She is most likely buried at Zion Baptist Church although it is possible she was buried next to her husband in the Williams Family Cemetery. Either way, her grave is unmarked.
Obituary of Catherion Arthur Williams
Sister C.A. Williams is gone. She was born in North Carolina Bertie County Feb 6, 1828. Her parents moved to Tennessee Haywood County when she was quite young. She professed faith in Christ and was baptised into the fellowship of Zion Church by Elder Hugh Coffen at the age of 13 years which she lived a consistent member til her death. She was married February 6, 1844, and was the mother of eleven children of whom 5 are living and members of the Baptist church. She departed this life the 3rd day of August 1895 being 67 years 5 months old. Our loss is her gain and we say to her relations and friends to strive to meet her in Heaven where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. September 14, 1895.In case you are researching your own ancestry and googled your way here, you may want some details about Sol and Catherion Nowell Williams’ children. According to her obit, she was the mother of 11 but only five were still alive when she passed away in 1895.
Written by J.C.W. Cobb and W.T. Morris
Zion Baptist Church Book of Obituaries
Most likely died as a baby.
Mary Elizabeth Williams Thomas
Born in 1844, she married John Ambrose Thomas and they had Laverna, George, Albert Thomas, Frances "Fanny" Marian, Victoria and Grover C. John and Elizabeth Williams Thomas were founding members of Holly Grove Baptist Church. She died 17 May 1924 at the age of 81 and was buried at Holly Grove Baptist Church Cemetery.
George D. Williams
My second great grandfather was born 27 Nov 1846. His middle name was most likely Dempsy after his mother's father, grandfather and great-grandfather. George married Martha Wateridge and fathered six children: E. L., James Solomon, John, George T., Elberta and William “Will” Lafayette Williams, my great grandfather. Martha Jane died when my great grandfather, Will, was born. George remarried first Mollie Collier and then finally, Virginia Estelle Cobb with whom he had a daughter named Mary Lorene Williams. He died at the age of 72 and was buried in the Williams family cemetery. You can read more about him and my search for the cemetery in this previous blog entry.
Will Williams was the father of Lloyd "Bo" Williams who was the father of Bob Williams who is my father.
John Nowell Williams
He was born 25 Jun 1851 and married Mary Catherine “Mollie” Cobb on 14 Dec 1881. Mollie was the daughter of Leonard Decatur Cobb and Mary Amanda Rooks Cobb. They had a daughter, Zelma A. Williams, who married Roy Earl Simpson. John died 30 Aug 1928 and Mollie died 13 Nov 1938.
Edward W. Williams
He was born Jan 1853. He married Martha Amanda Crowder 23 Dec 1873. Edward and Amanda had six children: Mark K, Edward, Henry Foster, Maggie S., Nellie Margaret and Lemuel Edward. Their daughter, Maggie, shot her husband Ellis on July 4, 1917. You can read more about her drama in this blog entry. Edward died in 1893 and Amanda died 05 Jun 1921.
William E. Williams
He was born in 1856. He married Eliza A. Chandler on 9 Jan 1889. The children of Will and Eliza were: Willie K., Lizzie W., Mable L., and Dan B. Like his sister, Elizabeth Thomas Williams who was mentioned at the top of the list, Will Williams was among the men and women who petitioned for a letter of dissmision from Zion Baptist Church so they could form Holly Grove Baptist Church.
Catherine E. “Katie” Williams
She was born in Aug 1860. She married William L. Booth on 28 Oct 1885. William was a brother of my second great-grandmother, Lena Booth.
Rebecca Manie Williams
She was born in 1863 and died 1 Oct 1890 at 27.
For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to Haywood County Line Genealogy Page.