Sunday, February 10, 2013

How Harriett Ann Williams Became an Outlaw

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Will Williams, Lloyd "Bob" Williams and Bob Williams

While I've been able to track many of my ancestral lines back 10 or more generations, I have "hit a brick wall," as they say in genealogy, on the Williams line at the sixth generation.

After searching off and on for several years, I have still been unable to determine the parents of my fourth great-grandfather, George Williams of Bertie County, NC.

I do know George was born around 1797.

He was the father of George Solomon Williams
who was the father of George D. (possibly Dempsey) Williams
who was the father of Will Williams
who was the father of Lloyd "Bo" Williams
who was the father of Bob Williams
who is my father.

My third great-grandfather, George Solomon "Sol" Williams., had a sibling, Harriett A. Williams who became an marrying one.

For the last few weeks, I've been researching her life to see if it would help me discover any addition information about my Williams ancestors.

From a variety of sources, I was able to pull together quite a bit about Harriett Williams Outlaw and her family so I thought I would share what I've found in case any of her descendants are looking for information about her.

Harriett was born in 1833 in North Carolina to George and Nancy Williams. It appears their son, Sol, (my third great-grandfather) was already 13 when she was born. I don't know for certain if there were any other siblings born to George Sr. and Nancy between the births of Sol and Harriett but can find no reference to any. If there were additional children, they likely died during childhood.

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Holly Grove Baptist Church, Bertie County, NC

The family was living in Bertie County, NC, or one of the neighboring counties, in 1828 because there is a reference to George in the minutes of the Holly Grove Baptist Church in Bertie County on 13 Dec 1828.

I did go through the U. S. Census of 1830 for Bertie County and there were many "heads of households" with the last name of Williams: John B., Elijah and Elisha, two Johns, Samuel, William L., Areneth, Moses, Cornelius, William, Joseph, Davis and Lewis...but no George. Was he still living with his father in 1830? It's difficult to tell because, in 1830, only the name of the heads of each household and age ranges of those living there were listed.

On 20 Nov 1836, George Williams was chosen as pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Haywood County, TN. Many of George’s friends and relatives had migrated from Bertie Co., NC to Haywood Co., TN in the early 1830s to help settle that area of the country. One of the first things they did was start a church and George Williams became their first minister.

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Road to Zion Baptist Church, Haywood County, TN
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Notation above the entry of older sanctuary of Zion Baptist Church
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Older sanctuary of Zion Baptist Church

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Current sanctuary of Zion Baptist Church as seen from the cemetery

“Saturday before the 3rd Lords day in November, 1836, the church convened in their new building and conference was opened by prayer. The church then proceeded to elect a pastor. It was moved by brother Leggett and seconded by Brother Rooks that Brother George Williams be our pastor for the ensuing year. Brother (likely David) Outlaw was instructed to write Brother Williams informing him that he was chosen pastor of Zion Baptist Church and requesting him to attend the next meeting."
Cobb, Bernie. "A History of Zion Baptist Church" Nashville: Self Published
Harriett moved to Haywood Co. with her family when she was a small child.

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George Williams Census Entry, 1850

By the time of the United States Federal Census of 1850, Harriett was 17 and living with her mother and father in District 11 of Madison Co., TN, which bordered Haywood County.

The family was living next door to their son, Sol Williams, his wife Catherine Arthur Nowell Williams and their children Elizabeth and George D. (my second great-grandfather) who were ages six and four.

Catherine’s father’s occupation is listed as “Mip. Bapt. Min” and the family’s worth is about $3,700, which is quite a bit more than most of their neighbors.

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Marriage Certificate of
Jack Outlaw and Harriett Ann Williams

Harriett married Andrew Jackson “Jack” Outlaw on 28 Dec 1859 in Haywood Co. when she was 17.

Jack Outlaw was the son of George W. and Luday Elizabeth Outlaw who were among the original Bertie County settlers who arrived in Haywood County around 1833.

George and Elizabeth Outlaw are also my fourth great grandparents but on the maternal side of my family. One of their daughters, Elizabeth Temperance Outlaw was the mother of Mary Etta Cobb who was the mother of William Day Brantley, who was the father of Virginia Brantley Lovelace who was the mother of Shirley Ann Williams who is my mother.

Jack Outlaw served as the clerk at Zion Baptist Church and was the Justice of the Peace for the 5th District of Haywood County.

It appears Jack and Harriett had five children but only two, William and Elizabeth, lived to adulthood.

Sadly, two of their children, George who was five and Minnie who was two, died one day apart in March 1871.

The children of Jack and Harriett Williams Outlaw were:
William Price Outlaw
Born 25 Sep 1862 in Haywood County, William married Leanna Catherine Mann on 30 October 1894 and farmed the land originally settled by his parents, Jack and Harriett.  Their children were Dewey Schley Outlaw, William Henry Outlaw, Eunice Odell, Edna Earl Outlaw Stewart (Edna Earl married David Earl Stewart and was a close friend of my maternal grandmother, Virginia Lovelace), Harriett Ann Outlaw Sensing, Luther Jackson Outlaw, Sidney Johnston Outlaw and Flossie Outlaw (who died as an infant). In addition to running his father’s farm, William was the Public School Director of the 5th District in Haywood County and lead the efforts to build a school in the Allen community. Source
William and his wife both had the measles in the winter of 1917. He died on 8 Feb 1917 from pneumonia and she died the following day of “paralysis of the heart.” He was 54 and she was 41. Their youngest children, Sidney Johnson Outlaw and Edna Earl Outlaw, were still infants. William and Catherine are buried in the Zion Baptist Church cemetery.
William’s descendants, Jimmie Outlaw and his son Mark and his nephew, Gene, still farm the land originally farmed by Jack before the Civil War. Gene's son Taylor recently joined the family farm operation adding another generation to the farming legacy. Their farm was designated a Century Farm by the Center for Historic Preservation.

Solomon Andrew Jackson Outlaw
Named after his paternal grandfather and his father, he was born 5 June 1864 and died 24 Aug 1864 at just two months old.

George Arthur Outlaw
Born 6 Aug 1865, nearly a year after the death of his brother, George was named after his grandfathers and great-grandfather. He died 10 March 1871 at age five. His two-year-old sister, Minnie, died the following day.

Luday Elizabeth Outlaw
Born 17 Sept 1867 and named after her grandmother, Luday married W. Harrell White in 1900. Their daughter, Winnie White, married Isaac Castellaw, a brother of my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Castellaw Williams. Elizabeth Outlaw White died 23 Feb 1917 at the age of 49.

Minnie Outlaw
Born in 1869, she died at the age of two on 11 Mar 1871, one day after her brother, George.
Harriett Ann Williams Outlaw died 6 Feb 1878 at the age of 45.

Her husband, Jack Outlaw, lived 25 more years and died 12 Nov 1903. I am not certain where he or his wife are buried but J. C. Davis and Sim and Callie Cobb wrote his obituary:
"Brother A. J. Outlaw was born in Bertie County, North Carolina on March 22, 1825. He left North Carolina with his father’s family in the fall of of 1831 and came to Madison County in the spring of 1832.

He was converted in August, 1842 and joined the church at Ararat which was an arm of the Big Black Church and was baptized in September by Rev. J. J. Smith.

In 1845 he came to Haywood County. Big Black split up and one part organized at Denmark and the other at Maple Springs. His name was dropped from the role. He was restored in 1851 in the church at Ararat and obtained a letter from that church and joined Zion Church by letter in July 1851.

Brother Outlaw was elected clerk of the church and served very faithfully for a good many years. He departed this life on November 12th 1903.”

Cobb, Joe H. Nicholas Cobb Descendants. Nashville: M. L. W. Publishing Company, 1983.
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.


  1. Hello,
    I am working on some families who migrated form Bertie NC to Haywood Tenn.Mhoon,Hughes Mullen and etc.They seemed to move to Haywood just after with many others. Can you tell me what may have prompted a group of Bertie NC families to move to Haywood??I tried to email but it kicked back
    Richard Dorrough

  2. Sorry.My email is