Williams served county

Published 1:12 am Saturday, January 21, 2017

Today’s story features the family and lineage of William Henry Williams, a son of Henry Williams and his wife, Clarinda “Clara” Snowden, daughter of George Alexander Snowden and his first wife whose name is not known. This Williams family with their early ancestry was introduced in last week’s column.

William Henry Williams was born in Andalusia in 1865 at the end of the War Between the States. William became a farmer like his father and lived through some very trying times. Around 1884 he was married to Mary Elizabeth “Polly” Bass (1871-1960), daughter of Bennett Bridges “Shug” Bass Jr. (1848-1930) and Mary Frances “Nancy” (Padgett) (1855-1937). Shug was the son of Bennett Bridges Bass Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Hogg. Nancy was the daughter of Henry Padgett (1820-1904) and Anna Diamond (1829-1923). Shug and Nancy Bass were buried in the Carolina Baptist Church Cemetery, and Henry and Anna Padgett were buried in the Conecuh River Baptist Church Cemetery.

William Henry worked a large farm and reared his large family at a home located a few miles south of Andalusia on South Three Notch Road or US Highway 29. The large “dog-trot” style house was restored and renovated by the youngest daughter and her husband, Lucille and Auburn McGraw, some years earlier. Their daughter, Suzy Hedges, built a fine house next to her mother’s family home.

William Henry and Mary Elizabeth Williams reared the following 13 children: Vinnie Janice, b. 1884, d. 1941, m. William A. Biggs (1885-1934); Julius Benjamin, b. 1887, d. 1966, m. Cynthia Ellen Biffle (1881-1916); Ada Ola “Addie,” b. 1890, d. 1978, m. Grover Cleveland Cobb (1885-1968); Francie Folson “Fannie,” b. 1892, d. 1969, m. ? Bryan; Mattie Dora, b. 1894, d. 1990, m. Andrew Erastus Anderson (1886-1963); Laura Mae, b. 1897, d. 1979, m. John W. Robinson; Henry Gordon, b. 1899, d. 1945, m. Caudie Savannah Newman; William “Willie” Marcus, b. 1902, d. 1971, m. Audrey Bosie Houston (1913-1992) ; Naomi Lee E., b. 1904, m. Frank Anderson Fuqua; Annie Ruth, b. 1906, d. 1983, m. Morris Tatum; Wilmer Newton, b. 1909, d. 1993, m. Avis LaNell “Nell” Godwin; Lillian Elizabeth, b. 1911, d. 1945, m. Frank Timmerman; and Buna Lucille, b. 1914, m. Auburn Eugene McGraw (1912-2002).

When the 1910 federal census was enumerated, the family was residing on their farm located off the South Three-Notch Road. William Henry was farming, and his mother Clarinda (Snowden) Williams was living with them with her at 76 years of age. Some of the children were married already and the others remained in the home and helping with the farm. At times William Henry Williams served as a County Commissioner having oversight of the roads.

The oldest daughter, Janice Vinnie Williams, was married in 1900 to William A. Biggs, son of John W. Biggs and Christine Sorrels. They reared the following children: Minnie Elizabeth, b. 1907, d. 1991, m. William McDonald (1903-1971); Beulah Mae, b. 1909, d. 1971, m. Charles D. McDonald (1906-1978); Bessie A., b. 1914, d. 1991, m. Barney Tillman; and two other daughters.

The oldest son, Julius Benjamin Williams, was married circa 1902 to Cynthia Ellen Biffle. The couple reared two sons: Marion Bert, b. 1903, d. 1966; and James Benjamin, b. ca 1912, d. 1972.

The second oldest son, Henry Gordon Williams, was married circa 1918 to Caudie Savannah Newman (1901-1967), daughter of Francis Marion Newman and Rebecca Inabinet. After their five children were born they were residing near the 11-mile post next to the Brewton Highway. For some reason, Henry Gordon went to Monroeville, Ala., and sought work with the highway department. While residing, and working there, he and some other men were killed in 1945 when a gravel pit caved in on them. While he had earlier somewhat abandoned his family, Henry Gordon had sent some child support and purchased a house for them, which was located on the Brooklyn Road near the Brewton Highway. Caudie was better able in that location to get assistance when needed for her and the young children still with her at the time.

Henry Gordon and Caudie Williams had the following five children: Wilton Hiram, b. 1919, d. 1992, m. (1) Lola ? (2) Leona E. Oliver; Leon Frank, b. 1920, d. 1980, m. (1) Mildred ? and had other wives later; Donald Ray, b. 1917, d. 1998, m. (1) Barbara Thomas (2) Angela ?; Sarah Elizabeth, b. 1929, d. 2016, m. Charles Reese Kelley Sr.; and Lester Gordon, b. 1935, d. 2004, m. Hazel Dortch.

Lester Gordon Williams, the youngest son, was married in 1952 to Hazel Dortch, daughter of Mitford Earl Dortch and Kate Harper. Lester became an auto mechanic, and in 1979 he established Lester’s Auto Salvage, which is still being operated by their son, Johnny Williams. The business is located across from the Williams’ home on the Brooklyn Highway.

Lester and Hazel Williams reared the following seven children: Rebecca “Becky,” b. 1953, m. Stan Tindal; Susan “Susie” Elizabeth, b. 1954, m. (1) Roy McCarty (2) Chuck Epley; Johnny Ray, b. 1956, m. (1) Rhonda ? (2) Alonna Smith; Ronald Gordon, b. 1957, m. Marilyn Watts; Jo Ann, b. 1959, m. (1) Terry Watts (2) James Jones: David Marcus, b. 1962, m. Sue Blackwell; and Angela Maria, b. 1964, m. (1) Tom Moore (2) Jeff Snowden.

Henry Gordon’s daughter, Naomi E. Lee Williams, was married to Frank Anderson Fuqua, son of John Fuqua and Eveline Wishum of the Salem community. Naomi and Frank made their home on South Three-Notch Street in Andalusia where Frank had several places of employment. Early on he worked in timber at the sawmill at River Falls and later worked for the Alabama Highway Department. He and Naomi reared the following two children: Deward Byron, b. 1922, d. 1999, m. Jean Carter; and Mary Evelyn, b. 1924, d. 2006, m. Malcolm O’Neal.

The youngest daughter, Buna Lucille Williams, was married to Auburn Eugene McGraw. Auburn came to Covington County with a Mr. Carlson as the first two Alabama Highway Troopers to ride on motorcycles. At one time, he was the trooper who administered driver’s license tests to locals. He and Lucille resided on the Brewton Highway and later in the Country Club area. They spent their last years residing in Lucille’s parents’ house, which they renovated and later rebuilt after one of the storms hitting the area. They reared one daughter, Lillian Suzanne “Suzy,” m. Vincent Hedges.

Sources for this writing include family records of Hazel Williams and S. Daniel Shehan along with interviews of several descendants.

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