Recently, at my Uncle Walter Williams’ daughter’s birthday celebration, his grandson James said that the family didn’t have much information on Walter. James said Walter's parents were slaves and he asked me to see what I could find. This post was created in response to my cousin James’ request.
Walter Williams married my Great Aunt Lena Powell on June 12, 1921. He was 28 years old and Lena was 19 years old. Walter and Lena had 9 children: Walter Jr., Ernest, James, Hettie, Ada Gold, Juanita, Sharon, Rudolph and Ernestine.
|Walter's Death Certificate|
Walter’s parents were Henry (1851-?) and Sarah (1851-?) Williams and they were the parents of Louise (1874-?), Lula (1869-?), William (1871-1938), John (1875-); Reddick (1877-?) Annie (1881), Sudie (1886-?), Lizzie (1888-?) and Nigat (1890-1965). Walter was the youngest of the family.
In 1870, Henry and Sarah are living in the Speights Bridge area of Snow Hill, North Carolina. Henry was 27, Sarah was 23 and their daughter was 8 months old. In the home was another person, a young man whose first name is illegible but his last name appears to be Thomas. This little boy was 10 years old. All the occupants of the house stated that they were born in North Carolina.
By 1880, the couple’s personal information seem to drastically change. Henry was 40 years old and Sarah was 28. They family still lived in Greene county in the Speights Bridge area. I’m not sure if all of the children are Sarah’s because the eldest child was 11 years old which would make Sarah 17 when the child was born. This census also stated that Henry and his parents were all born in Virginia, not North Carolina. According to this census, Henry aged by 13 years and Sarah only 5 years.
|1880 Census for Henry and Sarah Williams|
Walter doesn't appear on the census until 1900. His parents are still residing in the community of Speights Bridge, in Greene County. Sarah stated that she was the mother of 12 children with 11 living. Walter was 6 years old on this census while his father was 63 and his mother was 48. Sister Lousenia (sp) was 24 and the eldest of the children. Seven of the children are living at home. Sarah and Henry had been married for 30 years.
The 1910 census was the last census that we find Sarah. She was listed as a widowed with 10 living. Three of her children were living with her: Louise, Wijat and Walter. Also in her household were her grandsons Sam and Ivy and a granddaughter, Effie. These grandchildren were probably her daughter Louise’s children. Apparently, Louise did not have a husband because the children’s last name was Williams like their mother.
|1910 Census for the Williams Family|
|The birthday lady, her sister and niece. |
Photo courtsey of Penny Brown.
It appears that Henry and Sarah live in Green County all their lives which is possibly where they were enslaved or perhaps they wanted to live near their extended family. If the couple were slaves in Greene County, then, their cohabitation records were destroyed in the Greene County Courthouse fire in 1897. The cohabitation records would had given us the names of their parents and possibly where the couple was born.
Between 1910 and 1920, Sarah passed away. It's possible if I traced each of Walter's siblings then I could find additional information on the Sarah and Henry. For example, I found one of Walter’s brother’s death certificate. It was William M. Williams who died on September 13, 1938 in Greene county. He was 66 years old. His death certificate stated that their father was born in West Virginia and mother in Wilson County, NC. Since William was one of the older children; I believe he would had known where he’s parents were from. So it’s possible that William passed the information on to his wife and children who provided the information for the death certificate. On the other hand, Walter's brother Wijatt or Wyatt or Nigat’s death certificate (He died June 9, 1965 in Greene County, NC.) didn't provide much information because Walter's sister-in-law didn’t know her husband's parents name which is probably why they’re listed as unknown. But this information shows that the family remain in Greene County.
I did find a tree managed by one of Reddick Williams descendants on Ancestry.com. This tree stated that Henry Williams died in 1910. It’s possible that Henry was buried in the same cemetery as Walter, St. Delight Cemetery. If any of Henry and Sarah's descendants read this post and has additional information, please contact me so I can pass the information on to my cousins.