Richard Williams and Mary Evaline Fritts are one of many collateral lines in my husband’s extended Williams family. They caught my eye because of the tough times this family endured.
Richard Williams was born about 1822, probably in Roane County, Tennessee, the son of John Williams and Mary Lee, who were part of the mass Williams migration from Cumberland County, Virginia to eastern Tennessee about 1805.
Richard married twice, both times in Roane County. His first marriage was to Letta Hembree on 14 December 1841. No further record has been found of Letta and my guess would be that she perhaps died giving birth to a first child in late 1842 or 1843. She was likely quite young because Richard was only about 19 when they married. It appears they had no surviving children and by the age of about 22, Richard was already a young widower.
Richard married for the second time to Mary Evaline Fritts on 14 March 1844. The Fritts and Williams extended families were neighbors and well acquainted with each other as there were multiple marriages between them in the 1800s.
Richard, Mary Evaline and their children appeared in the 1850 census of Roane County, Tennessee, but had removed to Crittenden County, Kentucky by 1853. Times there were very difficult and I’ve wondered if they had it to do over again if they would ever have left Tennessee.
- Amanda E., born c1845, Roane County, Tennessee. She married (1) William B. Myers, 9 November 1864, at her father’s house in Crittenden County, Kentucky. This marriage was short lived, as her divorce petition states that William went to Missouri on 17 October 1865 and she hadn’t seen or heard from him between then and 19 February 1868, the day she filed the petition. However, she had a son, William Thomas Myers, born in January 1866, a few months after her husband left. Her father gave a deposition in her support on 25 April 1868.
Apparently, the court granted her the divorce as she reportedly married Joel Adams, on 30 May 1868 in Crittenden County, Kentucky. He was born about 1848, so was around three years younger than Amanda and probably just 21 years old when they married.
The 1870 Crittenden County census shows Joel and Amanda Adams living in Hurricane, the same town where her parents lived. They had W. T. Myers, aged 5 living with them along with daughter M.H., born about 1869.
Family information states that Amanda died in 1878, although I have found no death or burial record for her. However, in 1880, Joel Adams is living next door in Livingston County, Kentucky with wife Kate and a blended family. Daughters H. Mary born 1869, I. Lien (Lieu?) who is likely Lue B. born 1872 and living with her grandparents in 1880, and A. Susan born 1874 and were in the home with son E. Richard Adams, born 1876 and then daughter J. Sallie Adams born January 1880. Given the four yeaer gap between children, Amanda might have died giving birth to a child about 1878 and neither survived the birth. Following in the 1880 enumeration were three stepchildren, William Thomas, aged 14 (who appears to be William Thomas Myers minus his surname) and F. James Minier born 1871 and Etta Minier born 1873. Kate was 31 years old so likely the mother of the two Minier children.
2. Mary L., born about 1847, Roane County, Tennessee; died 7 September 1856 in Crittenden County, Kentucky. She died of dysentery.
3. John C., born about 1849, Roane County, Tennessee; died 19 September 1856, Crittenden County, Kentucky. John also died of dysentery.
4. Robert A. born about 1853, Crittenden County, Kentucky; died 2 September 1856, Crittenden County, Kentucky. He was the first of their children to die from dysentery.
5. Harriet A., born about 1860, Crittenden County, Kentucky. She is at home with her parents in the 1870 census, but not found after that time.
6. Laura Ellen, born about 1862, Crittenden County, Kentucky. She married James H. Stone on 13 February 1878, also in Crittenden County. However, neither James nor Laura Ellen have been found in the 1880 census.
Richard and Mary Evaline are both enumerated in the 1880 census of Crittenden County with grandchild Lue B. Adams living with them. By that time, they had lost three of their six children to an outbreak of dysentery plus daughter Amanda, aged about 33, who reportedly died in 1878. Their youngest child, Laura Ellen, married James H. Stone, also in 1878. Laura might also have died by 1880. Daughter Harriet A., might have married, but no record of her has been found after 1870.
Richard and Mary are both gone by the 1900 census and they had likely died. Their hopes for a bright family future likely died long before they did.