The Williams and Tyler Families
|To the memory of my parents, BRAXTON BRAGG WILLIAMS and CATHERINE ANNIE ELIZABETH TYLER WILLIAMS, and my uncle and aunt, DANIEL SWIFT TYLER and JANIE WILLIAMS TYLER, this book is dedicated.|
At the annual reunion of the Williams and Tyler families, July 4, 1948, the writer was requested to prepare a history of these two families. This was done in the form of his, A BRIEF RECORD OF THE WILLIAMS AND TYLER FAMILIES, which was published in the late spring of 1949. Thirty-one years later, July 4, 1979, he was requested to write another history of these two families to cover the intervening years between 1949 and the present, and to go back into the past of the two families to the extent this would be found possible. On the following pages will be found his efforts to comply with this request.
In attempting to write a book like this, it is, of course, necessary to decide where to begin, where to end, and how far to spread out from each ancestral line. The first two of these presented no difficulty. It was obvious that the book should begin with the most remote available authentic dates and end with the present.
But the third of these factors -- how far to spread out or how much to include -- was not as easily settled. It would probably have been interesting and worthwhile to have included information about families that becamecorrection connected through marriage with the Williams and Tyler ancestral lines. But this stupendous task could not be undertaken. It was, therefore, decided to make this history concern primarily the ancestors and descendants of four people -- Braxton Bragg Williams and his wife, Catherine Annie Elizabeth Tyler Williams, and Daniel Swift Tyler and his wife, Janie Williams Tyler. The book is, accordingly, of chief interest to the descendants of these four people. But it should be of some value to those who are connected with these two families and who may wish, at some future date, to write a history of their particular branch of the Williams or Tyler ancestral line.
On the pages of this book will be found the names of people, now deceased, who were very close and dear to the writer. The temptation to eulogize them has been great, but this has not been done. It was thought best to simply record only those things about them which would be necessary to identify and describe them. Likewise, it was not easy to refrain from presenting the many virtues of the living, but, here too, facts, rather than praise, are given.
The material for this book came from many sources. Family records in old Bibles have been examined. Cemeteries have bean visited and inscriptions read from their monuments. Graves registrations have been studied for possible information about the location of graves of deceased ancestors. Interviews have been held with people who were knowledgeable in historical facts concerning the Williams and Tyler families. Various and sundry historical documents have been examined. Research was done in the Orangeburg Historical Society, The South Carolina Department of Archives and History, the library of the University of South Carolina, the library of the University of North Carolina, and The North Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Guy Tyler of Atlanta, Georgia, made available to the writer a number of documents which were invaluable to writing the Tyler part of this history. J. B. Pilcher of Cordele, Georgia, who has done a considerable amount of research concerning the history of the Williams family, shared with the writer many results of his research. The assistance of both of these men is gratefully acknowledged.
THE WILLIAMS FAMILY
1. The Early Days of the Williams Family. The earliest ancestors in the Williams family line who can be identified with positive documentary evidence are Theophilus Williams, who was born December 6, 1777, and his wife, Lydia, who was born May 13, 1783. Some descendants of Theophilus and Lydia believe that Lydia was a Williams before she married Theophilus, but the writer has seen no documents to support this. However, see this email from John HowellAddition.
Sampson Williams, the oldest child of Theophilus and Lydia, was living in Lexington County, South Carolina, in 1880. He told the census taker in that year that his mother and father were born in North Carolina. Isaiah Williams, another child of Theophilus and Lydia, told the census taker the same thing. In 1880, Isaiah was living in Aiken County, South Carolina. Therefore, it is definitely established that Theophilus and Lydia were born in North Carolina, but the county of birth is not known. Likewise, the date of their marriage is not known, but it could not have occurred later than the early part of 1800, since their first child, Sampson Williams, was born January 27, 1801. When they moved from North Carolina to South Carolina is also unknown, but they were certainly living in South Carolina when Sampson was born, because he told the census taker in 1880 (Lexington County) that he was born in South Carolina.
The first census, which was conducted in 1790, and those that followed for several decades, listed only the names of heads of households. The other family members were listed only as to sex and age brackets. Since Theophilus was only thirteen years old in 1790, he was too young to be recorded in this first census. It would be reasonable, however, to expect him to appear in the census of 1800, but he does not; not in either North Carolina or South Carolina. The reason for this could be that he was not the head of a household in 1800, or that he was simply missed by the census taker.
Much research has been engaged in to try to find the father of Theophilus and his other ancestors. The writer has been involved in this and so have others who are interested in the history of the Williams family. Professional genealogists have assisted with the research. All efforts, however, to connect him with any ancestor have been fruitless. The work involved in an undertaking of this kind can better be appreciated when it is considered that the 1790 census shows about five hundred people with the name Williams as heads of households in North Carolina in that year. One of these household heads was probably his father, but to find this household would be a most difficult and time-consuming task.
Some consideration should be given to the possibility that the father of Theophilus was not living in 1790. This is because his father could have been a soldier in the war between the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain and he could have lost his life in it. If this did happen and if he entered the war at an early age, he could have been too young at that time to have previously engaged in anything that would have put his name into the records of those days. For instance, he could have left no will (a careful search has not revealed one) because he had no possessions to leave his family. All of this is, of course, pure supposition, but it is a possible explanation of why all efforts to locate the father of Theophilus have failed. Without knowing his father, it would be virtually impossible to locate any of his other ancestors.
In the writer's, A BRIEF RECORD OF THE WILLIAMS AND TYLER FAMILIES, published in 1949, he states that he had tried to find out something about Theophilus Williams, but failed. He remembers talking to Janie Williams Tyler, a granddaughter of Theophilus, about the Williams ancestors. She must not have known anything about her grandfather, such as when he died, where he was buried and who his father was. Otherwise, this information about Theophilus would have been published in the 1949 book.
It is recorded in the next section that Lydia, the wife of Theophilus, was illiterate. Because of this, it is not unreasonable to believe that he, too, was illiterate. Should this conclusion be correct, Theophilus could have lived the early days of his life in relative obscurity. This could explain why it was not until 1810 (See Section 2), when he was thirty- three years old, that we are sure his name appears in the records for the first time. If this assumption about his educational background should be correct, this could be the reason why he left nothing in the records about his father or other ancestors.
The genealogists, who have searched the records in North Carolina where Theophilus was born to try to connect him with some Williams family line, have thought several times that they had located him, only to find something later to disprove their claim.
This research will probably continue. Hopefully, someday, we shall find a "footprint" somewhere in the records which will lead us to greater knowledge of the Williams ancestors.
2. Theophilus and Lydia Williams. As stated in the above section, the year when Theophilus and Lydia moved to South Carolina from North Carolina is not known, but they were certainly living in South Carolina in the early part of 1801.
The census of 1810 shows them living in Richland County, South Carolina, in that year. There is strong evidence that they were living in this county in 1807, for on February 2 of that year a Theophilus Williams received a land grant of one hundred and fifty-five acres. (State Grants, Vol. 53, Page 377.) Since no one with this name is recorded in the 1800 census as living in South Carolina, it is reasonable to conclude that the one receiving the land grant was the Theophilus Williams who was born in 1777.
Sometime between 1810 and 1820, Theophilus and Lydia moved from Richland County to Lexington County, South Carolina. This is shown by the census of 1820. This move took place by not later than 1813, because their son, Isaiah, was born in Lexington County in that year.
In 1830, we find Theophilus and Lydia living in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, as revealed by the census of that year. They do not appear in the 1840 census in either North Carolina or South Carolina, but in the 1850 census, Lydia is recorded as living alone in Orangeburg County as the head of a household. She was then sixty-seven years old. The census taker recorded that she was born in North Carolina and could neither read nor write.
Since Lydia was living alone in 1850, Theophilus was probably dead at that time. He could have died prior to 1840. Lydia probably died prior to 1860, since she is not recorded in the census of that year. They were both undoubtedly buried somewhere in Orangeburg County, but all efforts, such as an examination of graves registrations and a search in cemeteries, have failed to locate their graves.
3. The Children of Theophilus and Lydia Williams. Listed below are the names of the thirteen sons and daughters of Theophilus and Lydia Williams with the dates of their births and deaths and, in some cases, other brief facts concerning them:
Sampson Williams. Sampson Williams was born January 27, 1801. He settled early in life in Lexington County, South Carolina, and lived there for the remainder of his life
The 1860 census of Lexington County shows his wife as having the name Nancy who was then thirty-eight years old, while the 1880 census of the same county records his wife as Ann. Ann's age is given as fifty-seven. Since "Nancy" was thirty-eight years old in 1860 and "Ann" was fifty-seven years old twenty years later, the two names, undoubtedly, refer to the same person. Hence, Sampson's wife was named Nancy Ann or Ann Nancy.
Sampson told the census taker in 1880 that his mother and father were born in North Carolina, while he was born in South Carolina.
In 1860, Sampson and his wife had the following children according to the Lexington County census of that year:
Theophilus born 1840 (named for his grandfather) Lydia born 1842 (named for her grandmother) Ann born 1844 (probably named for her mother) Harriet born 1849 Emory born 1850(Note. The census shows that Emory was born in 1847, but the monu- ment to his grave shows this birth as November 25, 1850. He lived for a time in Wagener, South Carolina.)
Mary born 1854 Unnamed infant born 1860 Lived six months.
The date of Sampson's death is not known. He was certainly living in 1880, according to the Lexington County census of that year. It is believed by some of his descendants that he and his wife are buried in the Wise Cemetery, located about six miles from Pelion, South Carolina. It is said that two ordinary field stones (no inscriptions) mark their graves.
Mary Williams. Mary Williams was born November 28, 1802. Nothing further is known about her.
John Williams. John Williams was born September 12, 1804. The 1850 census of Lexington County, South Carolina, shows the following compo- sition of his family at that time:
John born 1804 (father) Mary born 1797 (wife) Theophilus born 1833 (son) email note Jane born 1836 (daughter) John born 1837 (son) Lydia born 1840 (daughter) Elizabeth born 1842 (daughter) Davis and Martha born 1844 (son and daughter, twins)
John died July 26, 1886, and is buried in the cemetery of New Hope Baptist Church, near Pelion, South Carolina. The monument to his grave has this inscription, "Rev. John Williams." He is listed in the 1884 Annual of the South Carolina Baptist Convention as a minister. Also, the minutes of the Edisto Baptist Association, which met October 1-3, 1853, with the Shiloh Baptist Church, Edgefield District, records that the New Hope Baptist Church "ordained J. Williams as their pastor".
Jinney Williams. Jinney Williams was born February 3, 1806. Nothing further is known about her.
Theophilus Darius Williams. In the writer's family history, published in 1949, the date of birth of this son of Theophilus and Lydia is given as December 15, 1808. The censuses for 1850 and 1860 (Lexington County, South Carolina) indicate, however, that the year of his birth was 1807. The 1850 census shows his family composition as follows:
Theophilus age 43 Eleanor age 35 (wife) Sampson W. age 15 (named for his uncle) Sarah A. age 9 Lydia age 4 (named for grandmother) Theophilus D. age 1 (named for father)The 1860 census records two additional children, John email note and Ellen, whose ages in that year were nine and six, respectively. From other sources, the wife of Theophilus is given as Lydia Corley who died about 1860. Perhaps, she had two given names, Eleanor and Lydia.
The date of the death of Theophilus is not known. Since he does not appear in the 1870 census, he probably died between 1860 and 1870.
The son, Theophilus Darius, who was one year old in 1850, was born December 8, 1849 and died March 28, 1926. He is buried in the cemetery of Edisto Baptist Church, located about twelve miles from Orangeburg, South Carolina. The monument to his grave shows 1850 as the year of his birth, but 1849 is the year of birth which is recorded in a family Bible. This year of birth also agrees with the census of 1850. He married Ida Frances Smoak March 19, 1876. Ida was born March 21, 1862 and died August 31, 1904. She, too, is buried in the cemetery of Edisto Baptist Church.
Among the children of Ida and Theophilus Darius was Ransome J. Williams who was Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina from 1943 to 1945 and Governor from 1945 to 1947.
Julius Williams. Julius Williams was born February 11, 1810. He died at an early age. Nothing further is known about him.
Roland Williams. Roland Williams was born January 27,1812. He died as a baby.
Isaiah Williams. Isaiah Williams was born January 25, 1813. See Section 4 for further information.
Hiram Williams. This seventh son of Theophilus and Lydia Williams was born October 17, 1815. He married Sara Jane Warren January 28, 1841. Sara Jane was born March 24, 1825, in Lexington County, South Carolina. She and her husband settled, early after marriage, in Cordele, Georgia, where they spent the rest of their lives. They had eleven children whose names and dates of birth are listed below:
Isaiah born April 7,1842 Chesley Anderson born March 3, 1844 Hiram, Jr. born August 16, 1846 Lydia born July 22, 1849 James Warren born January 27, 1852 Govan born July 10, 1854 Columbus C. born March 4, 1857 Sara Jane born March 27, 1860 Joseph Roland born June 6, 1862 David John born October 25, 1864 Nancy Elizabeth born November 23, 1867
Hiram died November 7, 1899, and is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery, Cordele, Georgia. There is an email exchange from early 2003 that provided the photo of Hiram Williams, Sr.Addition And another with a link to a newspaper article.Addition
Nancy Williams. Nancy Williams was born June 14, 1818. Nothing further is known about her.
Elender Williams. Elender Williams was born September 8, 1820. Nothing further is known about her.
Emory Williams. Emory Williams was born April 24, 1824. He married Emerline Johnson who was born November 18, 1835, and died July 7,1903. Emory died January 6,1887. He and his wife are buried at the Vau Cluse Cemetery, Vau Cluse, South Carolina.
Emory was from Wagener, South Carolina, and his wife, from Blackville, South Carolina. They lived for a time between Aiken, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia.
Govan Williams. Govan Williams was born December 25,1828. He settled
in Louisiana and died there. The date of his death is not known.|
A member of the extended Williams clan provided this photo of Govan in 1864. The uncropped version is here.Addition
4. Isaiah Williams. Of the children of Theophilus and Lydia Williams, the one we are concerned with in this history is Isaiah Williams.
Isaiah Williams was born January 25, 1813, in Lexington County, South Carolina. He later moved to Orangeburg County, for the 1850 census shows him living there. (Note: County boundary lines in those days were not necessarily the same as they are today.) This census records that he was a farmer and had real estate valued at three hundred dollars.
Isaiah was still living in Orangeburg County in 1860 and 1870. This is revealed by the censuses for those years. In 1860, he had real estate valued at twenty-one hundred dollars and personal property worth fifteen hundred dollars. He must have suffered some reverses by 1870, for the census of that year shows that the value of his real estate was then only seven hundred dollars, while his personal property had dropped in value to three hundred dollars.
Sometime prior to 1880, Isaiah moved to Aiken County. South Carolina, for he is shown living there by the 1880 census. He was then sixty-seven years old. The census records him still as the head of a household, but only some of his children were living with him at that time. It is of interest to note that he told the census taker his parents, Theophilus and Lydia Williams, were born in North Carolina. He spent the rest of his life on his farm in Aiken County. It was located about two miles from the present town of Wagener, South Carolina. In addition to his farming interests, he served as local magistrate for a number of years.
According to those tho knew him, Isaiah was a man of deep religious convictions, and was well-read for his day. The writer often heard his mother relate a story concerning him. On the night of the earthquake (August, 1886), he was in their home. No one there had ever heard of an earthquake and all were greatly frightened as were the other residents of the community. Some thought that it was the end of time. But Great-grandfather Isaiah knew what it was and explained it to them. With the dishes rattling and the house quivering, he read aloud from the Bible and invoked for them all the protection of God.
The first wife of Isaiah was Martha Elizabeth Vaughan who was born March 27, l824. His second wife, Julia Ann Cooper, was born March 14, 1842. Isaiah died June 25, 1896, and his first wife, Martha Elizabeth, died March l9, 1862. Both are buried in a private cemetery, near Wagener, South Carolina. The land (one acre) for this cemetery was set aside in a deed by Isaiah. The location of the cemetery is described as follows: Go from Wagener toward Aiken (hwy 302) and take a left on Wagener Trail Road. The cemetery is located on the left, in the yard of Jimmy Busbee, whose address is 1109 Wagener Trail Rd., Wagener, SC. Correction There are only five people buried there: Isaiah, Martha Elizabeth, one of their children. and two children of Isaiah's and his second wife, Julia Ann. Monuments mark all five graves.
Isaiah's second wife, Julia Ann (who later married a Mr. Woods), died May 8, 1916, and is buried in West View Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia.
5. The Children of Isaiah and Martha Elizabeth Vaughan Williams. Listed below are the names of the children of Isaiah and Martha Elizabeth Vaughan Williams with the dates of their births and deaths and, in some cases, other information about them:
Hiram Williams. Hiram Williams was born August 8. 1842. See Section 7 for further Information about him.
James Rollin Williams. James Rollin Williams was born September 2. 1843. He died September 30. 1935. and is buried in a cemetery at Wagener. South Carolina. (Note: This son was called Roland all of his life. but according to his daughter. Mrs. Annie Laurie Williams Gibbs. his real name was Rollin. It appears thus on the monument to his grave.)
John W. Williams. John W. Willjams was born December 4. 1845. and died April 19. 1903, at Norway, South Carolina. He is buried in the cemetery of Calvary Baptist Church. near Neeses. South Carolina.
Mary Williams. Mary Williams was born November 14, 1848 and died November 13, 1863. She is buried in the private cemetery described in Section 4.
Lydia Othillo Williams. Lydia Othillo Williams was born September 3, 1851, and died November 22. 1927. She is buried in the cemetery of Tabernacle Baptist Church, near Salley, South Carolina. She married John Johnson.
Ransome Judson Williams. Ransom Judson Williams was born May 29, 1854. and died December 22. 1935. He is buried in Springwood Cemetery in Greenville County. He was a Baptist minister.
Elizabeth Williams. Elizabeth Williams was born January 15. 1856 and died November 2. 1929. She is buried in the cemetery of Willow Swamp Baptist Church, near Norway. South Carolina.
(Note: The dates recorded here of her birth and death were taken from an old family Bible. The monument to her grave records her birth as January 15. 1855.) She married Jesse Baker December 4, l893.
Jordan J. Williams. Jordan J. Williams was born June 9, 1857, and died June 22. 1930. He is buried in a cemetery at Sumter, South Carolina.
Byron Williams. Byron Williams was born February 3, 1859. He married Rosa Julia Houck December 14, 1879. Rosa was born February 4, 1863. Byron died August 7, 1937, and Rosa, January 11, 1939. Both are buried in the Williams family Cemetery, near Springfield, South Carolina.
The 1860 census shows Isaiah and Martha Elizabeth living in Orangeburg County at that time. Among the children listed in that census is Isaiah, age one year. Since Byron was one year old in 1860 and his name does not occur in the census of that year, he must be this Isaiah which means that he, at first, had his father's name. The 1870 census of Orangeburg County shows him by the name Byron. He was then eleven years old.
Joel Govan Williams. Joel Govan Williams was born February 11, 1861, and died December 12. 1946. He is buried in the cemetery of Willow Swamp Baptist Church, near Norway. South Carolina. He was a physician at Norway for a number of years.
6. The Children of Isaiah and Julia Ann Cooper Williams. Listed below are the names of the sons and daughters of Isaiah Williams and his second wife, Julia Ann Cooper Williams, with the dates of their births and deaths and, in some cases, other information about them:
Jonathan Williams. Jonathan Williams was born June 28, 1864, near Wagener. South Carolina. He died June 9. 1943, and is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Dawson. Georgia. He married Olivia Alexander June 15. 1899. Olivia was born February 28. 1880, and died May28. 1978. She, too, is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery.
Janie Williams. Janie Williams was born September 26, 1865 and died August 25. 1948. She is buried in the cemetery of Willow Swamp Baptist Church, near Norway, South Carolina. See Part II, Section 8 for further information about her.)
Jerome Williams. Jerome Williams was born March 28. 1867. and died November 3, 1867. He is buried in the private cemetery referred to in Section 4.
Barney Bass Williams. Barney Bass Williams was born July 3. 1869. His first wife was Eva Cleckley who was born December 18, 1877, and died September 23. 1911. She is buried in a cemetery at Albany. Georgia. Barney's second wife was Mattie Lou Tanner who was born April 10. 1889, in Campbell County, Georgia. Barney died June 22. 1925, and is buried in the same cemetery with his first wife, Eva.
Mary Etta Williams. Mary Etta Williams was born September 14, 1870, and died April 25. 1898. She is buried in the cemetery of New Hope Baptist Church, near Pelion. South Carolina.
(Note: The spelling of this name and the dates recorded here were taken from an old family Bible. The inscription on the monument to her grave reads as follows: Marieta Williams, wife of H.M. Spradley. September 9. 1870--April 25, 1898.) Mary Etta (Marieta) Williams and H.M. Spradley were the parents of Myrtis Spradley Goza and Gertrude (Mollie) Spradley Sloan. Myrtis died June 13, 1935, and is buried in the cemetery of Willow Swamp Baptist Church. near Norway, South Carolina. Gertrude (Mollie) Spradley Sloan died June 10, 1981 and is buried in the cemetery of Willow Swamp Baptist Church, near Norway, South Carolina.correction
Doyle Williams. Doyle Williams was born December 23. 1873. and died December 18, 1875. He is buried in the private cemetery referred to in Section 4.