Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   
Surname report submitted by Jane Peppler
Email me or call (919-383-8952) if you have questions, corrections, additions, or just to say hi!
Mailing address at bottom of this page.

Yes, David Williams Esq. is a descendent of Roger Williams of Rhode Island!

Check here for the letter I just received from the Roger Williams Association, confirming the descendancy I have been working on. My David, it turns out, along with his descendants including the one I can identify positively, appears in "Roger Williams of Providence, Rhode Island," Vol. I, complied by Bertha Williams Anthony and Harriett W. Weeden, published 1949. (This book can be purchased from Higginson or Barnes and Noble.) The story of the wandering Williams branch is below.

  1. First, all I knew was that Ann Elizabeth Williams had married Charles Bowen, had three children, and perished with her husband in the sinking of the Belle Zane in 1845, and that her father was "David Williams, Esq." This information appeared in the Griffin Bowen book (see Bowen page).

  2. My first real break was found on the Ancestry.com site, where listings in a Massachusetts paper of the time mentioned the marriages, not only of Ann Elizabeth, but of a sister, Almira:

    • "Bowen, Charles, of the firm of Gray & Bowen, m. Ann Elizabeth Williams, daughter of David Williams Esq., in Boston, Tuesday" (Columbian Centinel Nov.19,1831)

    • "Briggs, Henry, of Boston, m. Almira Williams, daughter of David Williams Esq., in East Sudbury, Sunday" (Columbian Centinel Feb.12,1834)

  3. Next I searched the IGI and found a David Williams, married to a Cynthia Williams, who had children by these names and a few others besides. An IGI listing for a marriage of David and Cynthia was also found. A stretch, but it was a start...

  4. I had been very suspicious that David Williams could have married a Cynthia Williams, assuming this was a careless error made by a compiler who did not know the bride's maiden name. But after combing all the volumes of "Vital Records of Rhode Island," on page 125 of Volume 16 I found this spectacular clue in the newspaper notice from the Providence "United States Chronicle" of June 9, 1803:

    MARRIED: Cynthia Williams daughter of John Williams of Mansfield, and David Williams, merchant, formerly of this town, at Mansfield, by Reverend Mr. Green

    When I saw that, although it was a wonderful break, my first thought was: oh, great. Now I am searching not one Williams family but two! However, it seems Cynthia's parentage may be easy to crack as well - it is likely she is the daughter of John Williams and Mercy Briggs, who married February 14, 1779 at Mansfield, Bristol, Massachusetts. (John was son of Benjamin Williams and Elizabeth Paine; Mercy was the daughter of Richard Briggs and Mercy Cobb.) Stay tuned for more on that.

  5. With the confirmation that David was from Providence, I looked once again in the IGI. There are surprisingly few Davids, in fact almost none, and so I came up with Benoni Williams Jr. as the possible father. Little appears in "Vital Records of Rhode Island" about Benoni Jr. beyond his marriage to Amie Bennett. Sometimes families get "lost" when they move. Luckily, Benoni is not a common name! Benoni left Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island right after the turn of the century. Benoni appears in the Boston directory of 1805:

    Williams, Benoni: Address: No.79, Newbury street, Boston, Massachusetts Occupation: shop keeper, commerce

    And, from deaths notices in the Providence Phenix of November 2 1817:

    Williams, Benoni, at Boston, aged 72 years. He edited the first Republican newspaper published in Providence in 1802, called "The Impartial Observer"

    The two notices above narrow the window for Benoni's relocation to Boston: in 1802 he published a newspaper in Providence; by 1805 he is listed as shop keeper at No 79 Newbury Street in the City Directory.

  6. One compelling piece of circumstantial evidence for my hypothesis that David and Cynthia were son and daughter-in-law to Benoni and Amie was the fact that they share graveyard real estate. Here are the Williams burials at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass, as documented in "Vital Records of Cambridge:"

    • Benoni Williams November 18, 1745-November 01, 1817
    • Amie (Bennett) Williams, Benoni's wife, April 26, 1759 or May 15 1760 - March 07, 1835. Died in Wayland Massachusetts.
    • David Williams Esquire, born March 25, 1780 in Providence County Rhode Island
    • Cynthia Williams, David's wife, born November 11, 1779 in Mansfield, Bristol, Massachusetts
    • Three young sons of David and Cynthia: David Homer Williams b. June 28, 1807; Benoni Williams b. May 05, 1814; Earnest Augustus b. January 08, 1820. Death records state they were born in Boston.

    Interestingly, all the children of David and Cynthia who did NOT die young can be found in the Vital Records of Wayland, as they were simultaneously baptised, all five of them, on the day of Almira's wedding (the same thing happened to me and my brothers, we had a mass baptism when we were seven, four, and one due to family pressure). Note that my ancestor Ann Elizabeth is called by her married name, as she married in 1831. This notice can be found in the Wayland Vital Records (East Sudbury is now called Wayland):

    WILLIAMS
    • Ann Elizabeth Bowen, ch. David, bp. Feb 9, 1834, First Unitarian Church
    • Cynthia, ch. David, bp. Feb 9, 1834, First Unitarian Church
    • David Homer, ch. David, bp. Feb 9, 1834, First Unitarian Church
    • Elmira [Almira] Marianne Turpin, ch. David, bp. Feb 9, 1834, First Unitarian Church
    • Henry Bennett, ch. David, bp. Feb 9, 1834, First Unitarian Church

  7. With this information in hand, I wrote to the Roger Williams Association, and the registrar was kind enough to reply immediately confirming my hypothesis. Here's her letter. One rarely has luck this good and that's why I've told the story. Don't give up hope!

And here's what I've collected on David and Cynthia Williams:


6. DAVID ESQ.6 WILLIAMS (BENONI JR.5, BENONI4, JOSEPH3, DANIEL2, ROGER1) was born March 25, 1780 in Providence, Rhode Island, and died June 04, 1861 in Boston, Massachusetts. He married CYNTHIA WILLIAMS March 20, 1803 in Mansfield, Bristol, Massachusetts, daughter of JOHN WILLIAMS and MERCY BRIGGS.

Children of DAVID WILLIAMS and CYNTHIA WILLIAMS are:
i. ALMIRA MARIANNE TURPIN7 WILLIAMS, b. March 03, 1805, Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island; m. HENRY BRIGGS, February 09, 1834, East Sudbury, Wayland, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
ii. DAVID HOMER WILLIAMS, b. June 28, 1807, Providence, Rhode Island.
7. iii. ANN ELIZABETH WILLIAMS, b. 1809, Massachusetts; d. November 1845, Mississippi River, Ohio.
iv. HENRY BENNETT WILLIAMS, b. 1812, Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island; d. March 04, 1848, Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts; m. LUCRETIA JACKSON, March 10, 1847, Newton, Middlesex, Mass.
v. BENONI WILLIAMS, b. May 05, 1814; d. April 16, 1816, Boston, Massachusetts.
8. vi. CYNTHIA ANN WILLIAMS, b. July 04, 1814, Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island.
vii. ERNEST AUGUSTUS WILLIAMS, b. January 08, 1820, Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island; d. August 27, 1823, Boston, Massachusetts.


Generation No. 7

7. ANN ELIZABETH7 WILLIAMS (DAVID ESQ.6, BENONI JR.5, BENONI4, JOSEPH3, DANIEL2, ROGER1) was born 1809 in Massachusetts, and died November 1845 in Mississippi River, Ohio. She married CHARLES BOWEN November 15, 1831 in Boston, Suffolk, MA, son of DIJAH BOWEN and ELIZABETH FLINT.

Children of ANN WILLIAMS and CHARLES BOWEN are:
i. CHARLES HENRY8 BOWEN, b. September 05, 1832, Boston, Massachusetts; d. November 1845, Mississippi River.
ii. FRANCES ANNE BOWEN, b. September 25, 1836; m. EDWIN M. DR. KELLOGG, October 11, 1869, of Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
9. iii. MARY WILLIAMS BOWEN, b. December 25, 1839, Zanesville, OH; d. 1908, Cambridge, Massachusetts in Cambridge Cemetery.

8. CYNTHIA ANN7 WILLIAMS (DAVID ESQ.6, BENONI JR.5, BENONI4, JOSEPH3, DANIEL2, ROGER1) was born July 04, 1814 in Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island. She married GEORGE NELSON NICHOLS.

Child of CYNTHIA WILLIAMS and GEORGE NICHOLS is:
10. i. ANN HOMER8 NICHOLS, b. 1846; d. 1926.


Generation No. 8

9. MARY WILLIAMS8 BOWEN (ANN ELIZABETH7 WILLIAMS, DAVID ESQ.6, BENONI JR.5, BENONI4, JOSEPH3, DANIEL2, ROGER1) was born December 25, 1839 in Zanesville, OH, and died 1908 in Cambridge, Massachusetts in Cambridge Cemetery. She married THORNDIKE DELAND HODGES April 28, 1867 in New York, New York or Cambridge, Massachusetts, son of JOHN HODGES and MARY DELAND.

Children of MARY BOWEN and THORNDIKE HODGES are:
i. MABEL THORNDIKE9 HODGES, b. January 30, 1868, Haverhill, Massachusetts; d. Aft. 1930; m. JOSEPH M.D. KITTREDGE, October 31, 1889, South Orange, New Jersey.
ii. CHARLES BOWEN HODGES , SR., b. June 29, 1870, Orange, New Jersey; d. October 15, 1947, Boston Massachusetts; m. IMOGENE BURT, October 13, 1898, Waterloo, IA.
iii. FRANCES EDWINA HODGES, b. 1872, Orange, New Jersey; d. Aft. 1880.
iv. RICHARD OSGOOD HODGES, b. 1877, New Jersey; d. WFT Est. 1907-1967; m. ABBY DIANA AMES, 1902.

10. ANN HOMER8 NICHOLS (CYNTHIA ANN7 WILLIAMS, DAVID ESQ.6, BENONI JR.5, BENONI4, JOSEPH3, DANIEL2, ROGER1) was born 1846, and died 1926. She married WALTER H. TENNEY.

Children of ANN NICHOLS and WALTER TENNEY are:
i. WALTER HARRIS9 TENNEY.
ii. MAUDE TENNEY.
iii. WINTHROP P. TENNEY.
iv. SUSAN TENNEY.


Prepared by:
Jane Peppler
5301 Cedronella Drive
Chapel Hill NC 27514

Visit my other related surnames