Williams ancestors were early settlers in Covington County

Published 3:06 am Saturday, January 14, 2017

Several years earlier the family and heritage of William Green Williams of the Rose Hill community was featured in this column. Since then there has been a request for information on the Henry Williams family, and Henry appears to be a brother to William Green. It is believed their father was Wiley Samuel William.

Wiley Samuel Williams and Henry Williams, who was probably his brother, were some of the very earliest settlers in the area what would become Covington County in 1821. Wiley was enumerated on the Conecuh County Tax List for 1818, so he and his wife and young children migrated from Georgia to South Alabama before 1818. He and Henry Williams settled on properties surrounding the headquarters of Five Runs Creek, which was located about four miles east of Andalusia.

County records show that Elisha, Samuel and Wiley Williams signed a petition requesting for the remission of fines that had been placed on William Spurlin. The next year, 1831, Elisha and Samuel signed another petition supporting Vining Howard be appointed Sheriff for Covington County. In 1830, Elisha Williams was a member of Captain Littleberry Rogers’s Company of Mounted Infantry for the Alabama Militia. Elisha’s relationship to the others was not determined.

There is conflicting data on who the father of Henry William Williams is. Some records show that it was the Wiley Samuel Williams being presented in this writing. Others show that the parents were Henry Williams and Mary Elizabeth “Polly” Anthony. This Henry is identified to be the son of Elijah Williams (1787-1879) who was the son of John Williams (1770-1850), the son of Nimrod Williams (1740-1790), the son of Robert Williams (1707-1772), the son of George Williams (1680-1749), son of George Williams (1618-1672), son of Walter Williams (1575-1625), son of Richard Williams (1555-1636). In this lineage, the first George Williams was the immigrant ancestor from Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, to Isle of Wight, Va. His descendants moved from Virginia to North Carolina and later, to Georgia before Henry William Williams settled in Covington Co., Ala.

From this point, this review will follow the lineage of Wiley Samuel Williams. He was married before 1812 to Hannah Jones (1696-1845) who was a sister to Josiah Jones, an earlier leader in the development of Andalusia. Wiley was born in North Carolina, and Hannah was born in Georgia. Wiley was a farmer, and most of his sons followed in the same line of work. Wiley owned one slave in 1840, and his widow, Hannah, is listed as owning two slaves in 1850. Some of their sons rendered service in the Confederate Army during the War for Southern Independence. In 1862, Henry W. Williams was a private in Company I, 29th Alabama Infantry Regiment. On August 27, 1864, Henry W. Williams, 16, and Wiley Williams, 17, enlisted for service in Company B, Covington County Reserves (First Class). Wiley and Hannah lived out their lives in Andalusia and were buried in the Magnolia Cemetery at their deaths.

Although there is some uncertainly regarding their children, they reared a large number. The following appears to be the names: Simon, b. 1813; Thomas, b. 1815; Richard A., b. ca 1818, d. 1965, m. Charity ?; William Green Sr.,, b. ca 1818, d. 1890, m. Telatha Bryan; Wilson, b. 1820, m. Cintha ?; Oliver P., b. 1826, d. 1900; Winnie, b. 1830; Wiley Samuel Jr., b. 1831, d. 1900; Henry William, b. 1832, d. 1890, m. Clarinda “Clara” Snowden; Joshua “Doc,” b. 1834, d. 1900; and Mary “Polly,” b. 1836, d. 1920. A death date of 1900 is shown for several, so this probably means their death occurred in or after that year. This list was compiled from censuses and different family trees shown on Ancestry.com.

Not much has been learned about the various children, but a few of them have been researched. As stated above, the family and heritage of William Green Williams was thoroughly covered in a much earlier column. The oldest son, Simon, and his wife, Amanda, are shown as being 37 and 29 years of age with the following children in the 1850 federal census: John, 6: William, 5; Mary, 4; and Washington, 2. The third son, Richard A. Williams, was enumerated in 1850 with him being 32 years old, and his wife, Charity, being 28. They had the following children at the time: Elizabeth, 5; Wiley, 3; and Eveline, 2.

The fifth son, Wilson Williams, was enumerated in 1850 as living next door to his widowed mother, Hannah Williams. Wilson was 30 years of age, and his wife, Cintha, was 23. At the time, they had one infant, Mahala, who was two months old. The eighth son, Henry William Williams, was married to Clarinda Snowden, daughter of George Alexander Snowden and his first wife, ? Kennedy. They reared at least the following children: William Henry “Willie,” b. 1865, d. 1940, m. 1888 Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie or Polly” Bass; Mary Jane, b. 1867, d. 1882; Ida Beuna Vista, b. 1868, d. 1952, m. William Daniel Shehan; William Andrew, b. 1876, d. 1939; John Lavell, b. 1878, d. 1922; and Charles Columbus, b. 1882, d. 1945.

The youngest daughter, Ida Beuna Vista Williams was married in 1883 in Covington County to William Daniel Shehan, son of James Decatur Shehan and Sarah Ann Richardson. According to memories of their daughter, Maggie Belle, the family lived during the early years in a log cabin, which was located about three miles south of Andalusia on South Three-Notch Road. All the children were born there with the exception of the youngest son. Circa 1908 they moved to another place and then to others in the area. William Daniel farmed during growing seasons and built chimneys during the winters. He also made baskets from white oak wood which he gathered along Five Runs Creek. He openly loved his children and entertained them at times by playing his fiddle. He was a godly man who taught his children to pray before each meal and at bedtime. He was a member of the Christian “Campbellite” Church, which was located on Church Street. He was remembered as a fine community member assisting others as needed.

William Daniel and Ida Shehan reared the following children: Unnamed infant, b. 1894; Shellie Bragg, b. 1895, d. 1940, m. Rosa Victoria Demeranville (1896-1987); Leslie Eugene, b. 1897, d. 1939, m. Annie Juanita McFarland (1908-1993); Maggie Belle, b. 1898, d. 1988, m. William Ezra Simmons (1883-1966); James Henry Middleton, b. 1900; Jessie Mae, b. 1902, d. 1977, m. Robert Franklin Peacock (1896-1983); Bonnie Lou, b. 1904, d. 1988, m. Ollie Albert Little (1900-1958); Comer Broughton, b. 1906, d. 1982, m. Helon Erie Everage (1916-2000); and William Snowden, b. 1910, d. 1998, m. Maetrelle Elizabeth Myers (1918-2016).

In the next column, the family of the son, William Henry Williams, will be featured.

Sources for this story include the family records of Shellie Daniel Shehan and Hazel Williams, census records, and Wyley Ward’s Early History of Covington County, Alabama—1821-1876, and Ancestry.com.

Anyone who finds an error in the above or who has additional history on this Williams family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.




The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is hosting a meeting to honor Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Edward “Stonewall” Jackson at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, January 19, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. The ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, members’ wives and four students who will be presented awards by the UDC along with their parents will be special guests. Retired District Judge Trippy McGuire will give a presentation on General Lee, and refreshments will be served. Anyone interested in Confederate heritage is invited to attend.