Category Archives: Davidson

Family of William Alexander and Hepsabeth L. (Davidson) Williams

Isn’t serendipity wonderful when it happens? In my early years of untangling the many branches of the Williams family tree, I had worked my way forward to the area of Hempstead and Lafayette Counties, Arkansas, which is where William Alexander Williams, wife Hepsabeth L. Davidson and their six children settled after they left eastern Tennessee in the early 1840’s.

Many of the males and females with the same given names in various branches had been identified and sorted into parental families and I had traced these cousins back to Roger, Thomas and Matthias Williams in Cumberland County, Virginia long before the Revolutionary War.

My next goal was to track the family into the future at least to the close of the Civil War.

The 1850 census helped me with names and approximate birth years for William’s and Hepsabeth’s, but not exact dates. I decided to write to the Hempstead County Genealogical Society in the hopes that they might have something on my husband’s Williams family and what became of them after 1850.

About the same time I wrote to them, as luck would have it, distant cousin Marcy also wrote to them. She was hoping to find a cousin who could help trace the family back from 1850 to their earlier homes and origins. All she had was the FAMILY BIBLE!!!!

The genealogical society put us in touch with each other.

Thanks to cousin Marcy and the Bible, here are the children of William and Hepsy Williams:

1. Judith Woodward, born 15 October 1829, probably Marion County, TN; died 18 June 1912, Hempstead County, Arkansas. She married Benjamin Powell, 31 December 1844, Lafayette County, Arkansas.
2. James Henry, born 11 December 1830, probably Marion County, TN: died 16 January 1880, Hempstead County, Arkansas. He married Parthenia S. Williams, 20 March 1853, Lafayette County, Arkansas. I have never been able to determine whether Parthenia was a cousin to this family or not.
3. William Washington, born 21 April 1835, probably Marion County, TN; died 7 February 1865, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas during the Civil War. He married Susan F.C. Hart, 24 December 1860, Hempstead County, Arkansas. No known children.
4. Christopher C.F., born 27 February 1839, probably Marion County, TN; died 5 October 1842, probably Lafayette County, Arkansas. Twin to Sally Anderson Williams.
5. Sally Anderson, born 27 February 1839, probably Marion County, TN; died 20 November 1867, Hempstead County, Arkansas. She married Elijah P. Jones, 22 March 1856, Lafayette County, Arkansas. Twin to Christopher C.F. Williams.
6. Martha Jane, born 14 December 1840, probably Marion County, TN; died 22 June 1918, Lafayette County, Arkansas. She married (1) Jackson T. Lackey, 31 August 1858, Lafayette County, Arkansas (2) John Forrest, 17 March 1861, Bradley County, Arkansas.
7. John Alexander, born 10 January 1844, Lafayette County, Arkansas; died 1 March 1847, Lafayette County, Arkansas.
8. Mary Elizabeth, born 23 February 1847, Lafayette County, Arkansas; died 23 July 1932, Patmos, Hempstead, Arkansas. She married Robert Cosby McLellan. No marriage record has been found and they apparently had no children.
9. John Christopher, born 25 August 1848, Lafayette County, Arkansas; died 14 March 1926, Dike, Hopkins, Texas. He married (1) Louisa Miller, 13 September 1871, Nevada County, Arkansas and (2) Ellen Connor, about 1883 in Hopkins County, Texas.
10. Harriet Virginia, born 9 October 1850, Lafayette County, Arkansas; died 24 December 1938, Hempstead County, Arkansas. She married David Henderson (Hint) Jones, about 1869.
11. Thomas Jefferson, born 7 February 1852, Lafayette County, Arkansas; died 10 July 1918, probably in Hempstead County, Arkansas. He married Martha Ellen Jones, 17 December 1876, Hempstead County, Arkansas.
12. Hepsabeth L., born 10 November 1853, Lafayette County, Arkansas; died 14 November 1853, Lafayette County, Arkansas.
13. Francis Davidson, born 13 April 1855, Lafayette County, Arkansas; died after 1880, possibly in Nevada County, Arkansas. He married M.E. Ham, 16 December 1877, Lafayette County, Arkansas.

It has been a number of years since I’ve made contact with any new Williams cousins in this branch of the family, but I know there are many descendants out there. If you recognize any of William’s and Hepsabeth’s children, please leave a comment.

Hepsabeth Davidson, Wife of William Alexander Williams

Hepsabeth L. Davidson is a lady about whom I know nothing previous to her marriage on 9 October 1828 to William Alexander Williams. They likely married in Marion County, Tennessee, which lost almost all of its records in an August 1922 courthouse fire.

William’s and Hepsabeth’s marriage date and the birth dates of their children are known only because the family Bible has been passed down through the generations.

For a long time, I’ve believed that Hepsabeth Davidson was the daughter of one William Davidson. I have also believed that Rachel Davison/Davidson who married William’s brother, Matthias Williams, on 21 November 1825 in Roane County, Tennessee might be Hepsabeth’s sister.

The difficulty here is twofold. First, the Williams clan spent 25 years getting themselves settled into one spot in eastern Tennessee. Between 1805 and 1830, various members lived in Anderson, Morgan, Roane and Marion Counties.

Source: Vanderbilt University

As William and Hepsabeth married in late 1828, I would hope that in 1830, her family would still be living nearby. The 1830 census of Tennessee includes two Davidsons who were living in Marion County, Tennessee. The first is Samuel C. Davidson, who is aged 20-29 and living alone. He obviously isn’t the father of a young lady who married just two years earlier, but he is found on page 11 near Pryors and Condras, which are families who intermarried with the Williamses. (William and Hepsabeth Williams’ family is listed on page 17.)

The second Davidson is much more promising. William Davidson, enumerated on page 47, is head of household consisting of seven people.

William Davidson, 1830, 5th Line

William Davidson is the last family on this cropped census image. There is a male 40-49 years old, a female also 40-49 years old. Then there is one female 20-29, one female 15-19, one male 10-15 and one male 5-9 years old. This could definitely be the father and family of Hepsabeth Davidson and possibly even of Rachel Davidson Williams.

One question about a sibling relationship between Hepsabeth and Rachel would be why Rachel married in Roane County while Hepsabeth probably married in Marion County. Well, the Williams family removed from Roane to Marion County in the 1820’s and it is possible that William Davidson moved to Marion County in the same time frame. In any event, the 1830 census for William Williams shows that his next door neighbor was his brother, Matthias Williams. William’s household apparently included his parents.

William and Mathias Williams, 1830, Marion Co., TN

This William Davidson is the only likely candidate to be Hepsabeth’s father, barring the circumstance that her father could have died before 1830 and her mother had remarried.

The second big problem is that Marion County has no probate or marriage records before 1922 and a check of the 1840 census shows that there is only one Davidson in Marion County – John Davidson, who is only 20-29 years old.

If William is Hepsabeth’s father and he didn’t die between 1830 and 1840, then he moved elsewhere, probably out of the state, as there are no William Davidsons in his age range to be found in 1840 Tennessee.

Some of the Williams clan had begun to migrate to Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri and it is possible the Davidsons migrated with some of them. However, over the last couple of decades, I have tried to identify this family either before 1830 (the 1820 censuses are missing for eastern Tennessee) or afterwards without any success.

One thing that is apparent is that Hepsabeth reported being born in Virginia about 1809-1810. That means that her family migrated to Tennessee at least five years later than the Williams family left Virginia and possibly as long as 20 years after they left. There are no paper clues suggesting that the families knew each other before they lived in Tennessee.

There is one promising lead, though, in Missouri. The 1840 census of Polk County includes the family of Thomas and Alesy Gammon Williams. Thomas was a cousin of the Marion County Williamses and he lived in Roane County in 1830 when he married his wife, Alesy. In the 1840’s, they had children born in Polk County, Missouri and they are found there in the 1840 census.

Thomas Williams, Line 5
Polk County, Missouri 1840 Census

While browsing that page, I noticed that line 9 is Benjamin Hicks. The Hicks family had ties by marriage in Roane County. On Line 16 is a William Davidson, aged 50-59 years old with a family. Line 23 is Martha Gannaway and the Gannaways had strong ties by marriage to the Williamses in Virginia and, later, in Illinois.

A search for William Davidson in Polk County, Missouri is being added to my “to do” list for the next trip to Salt Lake!