The Williams family of Cumberland County, Virginia was a large, extended family by the time of the American Revolution. In past posts, the families of Roger Williams and his likely cousin, Matthias Williams, have been shared.
Part of the difficulty in piecing this family together is that there are proven records for various family members in many Virginia counties:
It is believed that the earliest Williams people settled in New Kent County, a severely burned county, by 1700. In 1719, St. Paul’s Parish in New Kent County was set off to form Hanover County. Goochland County was form in 1728 from Henrico County; Cumberland County was formed in 1749 from Goochland. Understanding the county formations, it is easy to see that the Williams family didn’t have to move much to produce records in as many places as they did.
Matthias Williams had a brother, Thomas, proven by a 28 February 1757 land deed in which Thomas sold land to him. Today, the story of Thomas Williams will be told.
Thomas Williams left only slightly more in the way of written records than Roger and Matthias Williams. He was born 26 Sept 1712 in Wales, according to a family Bible in the possession of his great great grandson, Roe Williams, of Washington in the 1990s; Thomas died after July 1794, the last time he is mentioned in the records.
There is circumstantial evidence that Thomas was the son of Roger Williams, who died in Halifax County, Virginia. Court records of Halifax and Pittsylvania counties in Virginia show that one Thomas Williams, son of Roger, entered land in Pittsylvania County in 1752. Court records also note in 1755 that Thomas Williams was the executor of Roger Williams, deceased. These records, if related to the Cumberland group, may be the smoking gun that proves the relationship of Roger Williams to Thomas and Matthias.
Thomas married Susannah Anderson, daughter of Thomas Anderson of Albemarle, based on Anderson’s will naming Susannah Williams as his daughter and supported by Thomas and Susannah’s son, Samuel, naming his first son “Anderson.” Susannah appears to have predeceased her husband.
Thomas had financial problems through the years and made many appearances in the Cumberland County Court in the 1760’s, being repeatedly hauled in for debt. One Charles Williams and John Gannaway gave bond for Thomas when he lost one of the lawsuits. Evidence points to Charles possibly being a son of Thomas and likely is the same Charles who resided in Pittsylvania County from the 1770’s onward.
Samuel paid tax for his father in 1786 in Cumberland County.
Cumberland County, Virginia court orders for 28 August 1787 record Roger and Samuel Williams as administrators of the estate of Thomas Fitch, deceased. They had sued David Meade Randolph and Richard Randolph as executors of the estate of Richard Randolph, deceased. On this particular day, the judgement against the Randolph defendants was set aside. Later, on 27 Mar 1788, Roger and Samuel Williams, administrators for Thomas Fitch, won another judgement against the Randolphs and Thomas Williams was paid 75 lbs. of tobacco for three days as a witness.
Additionally, there is a Thomas Williams who married Mary Crantz, dau of Michael Crantz, in Campbell County, Virginia on 2 January 1790. In 1796, Michael Crantz mentioned his “disobedient daughter Mary” in his will. This Thomas is not Roger’s son, nor the son of either Matthias Williams. Perhaps Thomas married again in his old age to a young woman against her father’s wishes?
Thomas died sometime after July 1794, when he again appeared in Cumberland County court orders, being sued by Daniel Culp and another man whose name is illegible in the court orders. The suit had been continued from 24 June 1790, but no further details have been found after July 1794. Perhaps Thomas had died and the suit was dropped.
Thomas and Susannah Williams may have had other children, including possibly a Nathaniel Williams, mentioned briefly in Cumberland County records in the 1780s.
There are no definitive documents proving their children and these four are connected by circumstantial evidence.
- Dorcas, born 15 Jan 1739; married Thomas Fitch, 26 May 1757; died after Thomas, whose estate was administered on 28 August 1787 in Cumberland County, Virginia.
- Hannah, probably born c1740s; married Saymour Scott. Letters of administration on Saymour’s estate were granted to Samuel Williams and David Low on 20 May 1788 in Cumberland County, Virginia. By Nov 1790, Samuel Williams had been named guardian to Samuel, Nancy, Benjamin, Hannah and Saymour Scott, infant children of Saymour Scott, deceased. Debtors to the estate included Matthias Williams and Thomas Williams Sr. In March 1798, Samuel was one of four men appointed to appraise Hannah’s estate.
- Charles, born c1740s; died before October 1805, when his will was probated in Pittsylvania County, Virginia; married (1) Ann Wilson, 3 March 1770 (2) Sarah Dix, 21 April 1783, both in Pittsylvania County, Virginia with Peter Wilson as surety for both marriages. Charles was a Revolutionary War soldier.
- Samuel, born 18 September 1744, probably; died by October 1823, when his will was probated in Cumberland County, Virginia; married (1) Susannah Ligon, daughter of William Ligon, 22 Dec 1766, Amelia County, Virginia (2) Mary Wright, daughter of John Wright and widow of George Wright, between 1790, when George Wright’s will was probated and 1794, when Samuel and Mary sold land. Her birth and death years are not known.
We will take an more in-depth look at Thomas’s children and grandchildren over the next two days.