Tag Archives: Thomas Williams

Thomas Williams, Campbell County, VA: 5 Missing Sons

It’s been five years since I last wrote about Thomas Williams, son of Roger and Cassie Ann (Blair) Williams of Bedford and Campbell Counties, Virginia.

Thomas was reportedly born 22 June 1777, probably in Cumberland County, Virginia; and died, intestate,  before December 1812 in Campbell County, Virginia.

Thomas married Elizabeth Woodson, the daughter of Anderson Woodson, on 13 December 1805 also in Campbell County.

What became of Elizabeth Woodson Williams after the death of Thomas is not known.

The purpose of this post is to ask once again if there are researchers out there who might be descended from any of the children of Thomas and Elizabeth (Woodson) Williams.

Thanks to court records and the 1835 will of Roger Williams, we know that Thomas and Elizabeth were the parents of five sons, who were all living as of 1835.  However, the Chancery Court records tell us that Thomas had four small children when he died and one born not long after he died.

John E. Woodson was the administrator of Thomas Williams’ estate; he identifies widow Elizabeth Williams as his sister and further states that John took in one of the children, his father Anderson Woodson took in two of them and Roger Williams took in one. Presumably, the one born after Thomas’s death remained with the Widow Williams. The four men agreed to raise the children at no cost to Thomas’s estate, as there wasn’t sufficient money to cover their costs.

Their birth order is uncertain, but may have been named in birth order in their grandfather’s will (as listed below).

Children of Thomas and Elizabeth:

  1. William, born c1806; died after 1835
  2. Thomas, born c1808; died after 1835
  3. John, born c1810; died after 1835
  4. Samuel, born c1812; died after 1835
  5. Woodson, born c1813; died after 1835

While it is certainly possible that one or more of these sons died before 1850, it isn’t likely that all of them did, as the eldest son wouldn’t have been more than in his early 40s.

However, by 1850, this Williams family had spread into North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and who knows where else.

Unfortunately, all of their given names are very common, especially when paired with the Williams surname.

The best bet for research would be Woodson Williams, but I find NOTHING on any Woodson (or Wood) Williams anywhere who might possibly be Thomas’s son.

If you have a Williams ancestor born in Virginia between 1806 and 1813 who is named Thomas, Woodson, John, Samuel or William W. and have no parents for that man, I’d love to hear from you.

The odds that none of these five sons has descendants seems miniscule. I just need to find them!



Descendants of Thomas Williams, Cumberland County, Virginia, Part 2

Here are the two remaining known children of Thomas and Susannah (Anderson) Williams of Cumberland County, Virginia.

3. Hannah, born probably 1740s; died before March 1798; 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 November 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.

Children: (Scott)

  • Samuel, born c1772
  • Nancy, born c1774
  • Benjamin, born c1776
  • Hannah, born c1778
  • Saymore, born c1780

I have no further information on what became of any of these children. Their birth years are guesses, assuming that they were named in birth order in the court record (which mayor may not be), but that they all still required a guardian in 1790. This fact makes it very likely they were born in the 1770s or even in the 1780s.

4. Samuel was born 18 Sept 1744; died before October 1823, Cumberland County, Virginia; married (1) Susannah Ligon, 22 December1766, Amelia County, Virginia; born c1745, probably Amelia County, Virginia; died before 13 Sep 1794, probably Cumberland County, Virginia; daughter of William Ligon,  (2) Mary Wright, daughter of John Wright and widow of George Wright, before 13 September 1794 when Samuel, Mary and other legatees of George sold part of the land which he owned before his death.  Mary may be the Mary Williams whose estate was probated in January 1823, as she is not mentioned in Samuel’s will. 

Cumberland County, Virginia court records show John Holcombe v. Charles and Samuel Williams on 20 June 1799. They did not appear and owed L8.80 plus interest. The same day shows John Richardson v. Charles and Samuel Williams, who again didn’t appear and had to pay L42.14.10, half each plus interest.

In November 1800, there is a case involving Reuben Williams v. Charles Williams.

In November 1790, Samuel Williams entered a chancery suit, as he was guardian to Samuel, Nancy, Benjamin, Hannah and Saymor Scott, infant children of Saymore Scott, dec’d. and was defending them in a suit brought by Benjamin Whitehead and Sally, his wife for the division of the decedent’s estate. The legatees of John Wright (Samuel Williams and Mary, his wife; William and Elizabeth Gannaway, John Wright, Saymour Wright, John Holman and Ann, his wife and Benjamin Wright sued Hannah Scott, administrator of Saymour Scott dec’d, who was the administrator of John Wright, dec’d and guardian to Saymour, Benjamin and Ann Wright. In November 1791, it was decided that Saymour Scott’s estate owed John Wright’s estate L58.17.0. It also owed Elizabeth Wright L37.6.77 and William Ganaway L13.12.9. There was an inventory and appraisal of Hannah Scott’s estate on 23 Apr 1798.

Samuel left a will, but I only have a transcription shared from a genealogy buddy many years ago. The microfilmed version of his will is so faded that it is illegible even on the film.


  • Anderson, born c1767, Virginia; died after 1860, possibly in Botetourt County, Virginia; married Mildred Shepard, daughter of Samuel and Anne Burwell Shepard, 18 Dec 1786, Cumberland County, Virginia. She died before 1850, as Anderson was living with his daughter, Susannah Taylor, at that time. In 1860, Anderson, aged 91 years old, was living with daughter Elizabeth Garrett, .
  • William Ligon, born 6 June 1771, Virginia; died 13 October 1848, Coles County, Illinois, when his will was probated; married (1) Mary Gannaway, daughter of William and Elizabeth Wright Gannaway, before 1 December 1794, Cumberland County, Virginia. Mary died after 1820, probably Grayson County, Kentucky or Clark County, Illinois (2) Catherine Keller, 4 October 1830, Coles County, Illinois; died after 1850, probably Coles County, Illinois.
  • John, born c1773, Virginia; died by October 1853, when his will was probated in Roane County, Tennessee; married Mary Lee, daughter of Joseph Lee, before 1 December 1794, Cumberland County, Virginia. Mary was born c1780, Virginia; died after 1860, probably Roane County, Tennessee.
  • Charles, born c1775, Virginia; died between Aug 1825 and Jan 1826, Morgan Co., TN; married (1) Unknown (2) Elizabeth Cobb. She was possibly a Goddard by birth. Although Charles died in Morgan County, apparently his heirs left an unrecorded copy of his will in Roane County, found in the loose papers in the courthouse.
  • Reuben, born c1777, Virginia; died after July 1828, probably Roane County, Tennessee; married Elizabeth Butler, daughter of Thomas Butler, 25 June 1801, Campbell County, Virginia; Thomas Butler died in Anderson County, Tennessee in 1814.
  • Polly, born c1779, Virginia; married Mr. Love; nothing further is known of this couple. If Polly is the younger female in Samuel’s household in 1820, then she apparently married Mr. Love after 1820, but before her father wrote his will on 2 July 1821.
  • Samuel, born 19 March 1781, Virginia; died 29 Nov 1849, Bedford County, Virginia; married Betsey Wingo, December 1803, Amelia County, Virginia. She was born 19 June 1784; died 12 August 1846, Bedford County, Virginia.
  • Benjamin, born c1785, Virginia, died before 22 March 1855, Anderson County, Tennessee; married (1) Cizire (Keziah?) Williams, 4 June 1815, Roane County, Tennessee (2) Nancy McCormack, 23 June 1851, Roane County, Tennessee.
  • Robert, born 15 August 1786, Virginia; died 18 July 1865, Roane County, Tennessee; married Sarah A. Manley, born 9 July 1787, Virginia; died 23 March 1875, Roane County, Tennessee. Sarah was the daughter of Revolutionary War pensioner Ancel and Sarah Butler Manley. 
  • Joseph, born 14 May 1789, Virginia; died 29 May 1862, probably Howard County, Missouri; married (1) Susan Woodson, 10 June 1815, Cumberland County, Virginia. Susan was born 10 May 1799; died 6 May 1863, probably Howard County, Missouri.  There is a Joseph Williams in Cumberland County, Virginia who married Elizabeth Harrison, 11 Sept 1805.  It is not known if this is the same man who married Susan Woodson.  The Ligon Family and Connections also states he married Elizabeth Raine, no date or place given. Since Susan appears to be 10 years younger than Joseph, it is reasonable to conclude he may have had a prior marriage.  Additionally, one Hugh Raine was one of four witnesses to his father’s will.  If Joseph did marry Elizabeth Raine, she was likely a first wife who died young.

I have to wonder what Samuel thought of seven of his ten children heading off to Tennessee about 1805. He likely never saw any of them again. Anderson never left Virginia, but Joseph migrated to Missouri. However, he may not have left until after his father died, as he married in Cumberland County in 1815. What became of his only daughter, Polly Williams Love? I have never found a trace of her or her husband. I would have expected the marriage record to be in Cumberland County, but none is found there or anywhere else in Virginia.

I have further family records on the descendants of Thomas and Susannah (Anderson) Williams through the end of the Civil War. If you are descended from them, please leave a comment. I would be happy to share.

Descendants of Thomas Williams, Cumberland County, Virginia

Yesterday, I presented the relatively small number of details that have been learned about the lives of Thomas and Susannah (Anderson) Williams, who lived in Cumberland County, Virginia in the 1700s.

Circumstantial evidence has identified four possible children, Dorcas, Hannah, Samuel and Charles, although their exact birth order is unknown. There may be other as yet unidentified children.

Each of the four children married and had children, but the descendants of Samuel outnumber the others by quite a bit. He had a large family of children, most of whom went on to have another generation of large families. The least is known about Dorcas’s and Hannah’s descendants.

Thomas’s children are numbered, while the grandchildren are bulleted.

  1. Dorcas was born 15 Jan 1739; married Thomas Fitch, 26 May 1757; died after her husband, whose estate was administered on 28 Aug 1787 in Cumberland County, Virginia. The Fitch family information was provided from a family Bible by Margaret Fitch, aged 72 in 2002. She lived in Campbell County near Rustburg at that time.

Children: (Fitch)

  • Susannah, born 10 May 1758. No further information.
  • Frances, born 31 May 1761; died 4 June 1829, Buckingham Co., VA; married James Spears. James was born 1760; died May 1833, Buckingham Co., VA.
  • Sarah, born 17 February 1764. One Sarah Fitch married Benjamin Johnson, 23 Nov 1793, Albemarle County, Virginia.
  • Samuel, born 23 February 1769; died 17 April 1844; married Jane McIver, 1 March 1804. Jane died 25 April 1844, Campbell County, Virginia.
  • Charles, born 17 April1772; died 15 August 1829, Campbell County, Virginia; married Judith Walker, 17 May 1803, Prince Edward County, Virginia. Judith died 10 February 1836, Campbell County, Virginia. Charles left his estate to his wife and the following: children of Samuel Fitch, Elizabeth Burks, Frances Spears, niece Elizabeth Sorrells (daughter of Frances Spears) and nephews Charles Burks and Charles Fitch. He apparently had no children of his own.
  • Polly, born 19 November 1775. No further information.
  • Elizabeth, born 17 December 1779; married Joseph Burks. One Joseph (aged 72) and Elizabeth Burks (aged 70) lived in Appomattox County, Virginia in 1850 and neighbored two Fitch households, that of James, aged 40 and Thomas, aged 44.

2. Charles was born c1740’s; died before October 1805, probably in  Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  Charles left a will written 29 January  1801.  There is no definitive proof that he was a child of Thomas Williams.  However, there is also no evidence refuting this supposition.

One Charles Williams and John Gannaway Jr. posted bond for Thomas Williams in a lawsuit brought against him in Cumberland County Court in 1763. Another Charles Williams in the area has been eliminated as the possible bondsman, leaving this Charles.  Because Charles’s own son, Charles Jr., married Susannah Williams, daughter of Roger of Bedford County, it is certain that these families knew each other.  Charles married (1) Ann Wilson, 3 March 1770 (2) Sarah Dix, 21 April 1783, both in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and with Peter Wilson as surety for both marriages.

According to the History of Pittsylvania County, Charles served in the military as a captain during the Revolution. There is a Salley Williams in Pittsylvania in 1820, and gone by 1830.  She was likely his widow. She lived on or near the Dan River, which is where Charles Jr. lived in the 1820s.

On 15 November 1827, Charles and Susannah Williams and Sally Williams, with Charles and Sally identified as son and widow of Captain Charles, sold his land. Charles and Susannah migrated to Maury County, Tennessee.  Sally apparently died between 1827 and 30 October 1830, when Charles Williams of Maury County sued Thomas B. Fontaine (his brother-in-law), administrator of her estate, for distribution of the proceeds from Sally’s estate sale.


  • Peter, born c1774; died after 1840 census, possibly in Marshall or Maury County, Tennessee. He is probably the Peter who married (1) Sally Hill, daughter of Isaac Hill, 21 November 1792, Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  The Hill family migrated to Maury County, where Peter also lived, by 1830.  He married (2) Mary G. Beanland, widow of Edward Whitmill Beanland, who died in Maury County, Tennessee in 1815. Their marriage record was mistranscribed, giving her name as Mary B. Beasley, c1826-27, Maury County, with John H. Hill as bondsman.  The marriage return was undated, but in the box with 1826-27 papers.
  • Charles, born c1776, died by May 1844, Marshall County, Tennessee; married Susannah Williams, daughter of Roger and Cassie Ann Blair Williams, 11 Apr 1797, Bedford County, Tennessee, She survived him.
  • Susannah, born c1778, probably Pittsylvania County, Virginia; died 23 February 1845, Williamson County, Tennessee; married (1) John Crouch, 20 Oct 1794, Pittsylvania County, Virginia; consent of her father, Charles, given. John was born c1767, probably in Goochland County, Virginia, and possibly the son of John and Susannah Ellis Crouch of Goochland County; died 14 December 1813, Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee.  Susannah married (2) Ephraim Brown, 6 May 1823, Williamson County, Tennessee. He was born c1764, possibly in Maryland; died 6 November 1840, Williamson County, Tennessee.
  • Nancy, probably born c1773; died after October 1805 and before 17 November 1823; married Thomas Ballard Fontaine, 17 Dec 1809, Pittsylvania County, Virginia. She is identified on the bond as the daughter of Sally Williams. Thomas married (2) Anna Watkins, 17 Nov 1823, Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Anna was born c1784; died after 1850. Thomas may have married someone before Nancy, as there is a child in the census shown as born before the 1809 marriage date.

Tomorrow, I will finish up with the children of Hannah and Samuel Williams.