John Williams (1811-1888) has been difficult to research because he traveled far from his birthplace. Neither has parents or possible siblings have been identified despite the multiple erroneous leads repeated on Ancestry. On the 1880 Census (Collin co., TX) the question of parent's birthplace is asked and John Williams' father is listed as being from Kentucky and his mother from Tennessee but it's not know if he gave that information himself or even if his own knowledge remembered many years after the fact would be accurate. His own birthplace varies between Kentucky and Tennessee on several census records. This maybe a clue though that he was born and lived in an area very close to the border of Kentucky and Tennessee.
The only known information about John Williams before Missouri is that he appears to have come from Tennessee. This is ascertained by the fact that the birth ages and birth places of his known children indicate he was residing in Tennessee from at least 1836 to 1839. A search of the 1840 Tennessee census reveals only one John Williams household in all of Tennessee where the ages groups of the children match the known ages of his children up to that point. See below:
|1840 Tennessee, Overton county, page 44
John Williams, head of household
|Age groups:||Matches with known children:|
|2 males aged 0-4||Allen age 1, George age 4.|
|2 males aged 5-9||John Henry age 6, Joseph age 7.|
|1 male aged 30-39||John Williams age 29.|
|1 female aged 0-4||Martha age 3.|
|1 female aged 20-29||Rebecca age ??.|
There are no obvious other Williams families living near him on 1840. The early marriage records for Overton county were destroyed.
There is a possible clue to relatives by looking at his neighbors in 1840 and finding that same block of neighbors in 1850. The following extract shows that in 1840 John Williams was living near the Armes/Ames and Colston families. While John Williams had moved to Jasper county, Missouri by 1850 he appears to have been replaced by another Williams family surrounded by the exact same Armes/Ames and Colston families.
|1840 TN, Overton county||1850 TN, Overton county|
|Robert Aimes |
Wilson T Harvey
Jestin Holoman [Holman]
|392 Robert Clary 40
393 Abram Sevier 43
394 Jessie Ashlock 30
395 Peterson Watson 39
396 Francis Jennings 37
397 Archibald Armes 64
398 Martin Armes
399 Thomas Williams 44 KY
(also John Williams 82 VA)
400 John Armes 39
401 Milton Colston 19
402 James Colston 39
(also Susan Colston 67)
403 William Armes 36
404 Allen Thurman 29
405 Joseph Thompson 36
The Thomas Williams and older John Williams trace back to Cumberland county, Kentucky just across the state border above Overton county, Tennessee. In Cumberland county, Kentucky the long time court clerk was a "Milton Williams". Most (if not all) of the residents of Cumberland county would have been familiar with the name of the county clerk who recorded and signed their county records. Note that our John Williams (1811-1888) had a son "Milton King Williams" born 1843 Jasper county, Missouri.
The older John Williams is assumed to be the father of Thomas Williams and
further circumstantial research indicates he also had a son named Toy Williams
and possibly a daughter named Caroline Williams.
|Father:||John Williams, born about 1768 Virginia, died
|Son?||Toy Williams, born about 1795 Virginia. He married
They lived in Cumberland county, Kentucky.
|Dau.?||Caroline Williams, born about 1800 Virginia. She
evidently never married.
|Son?||John Williams, born about 1802-1804.
|Son?||Thomas Williams, born about
1806 Kentucky. He married Lydia Barry.
1850 Federal Census, Tennessee, Overton county, page 97, family 399:
Thomas Williams 44 KY
Lydia Williams 41 KY
Palina Williams 18 KY
John Williams 15 KY
Milton Williams 11 KY
James Williams 9 TN
Sarah Williams 6 TN
William Williams 2 TN
Caroline Williams 50 VA
John Williams 82 VA
1840 Federal Census, Kentucky, Cumberland county, page 355
2 males 0-4 [John 5, Milton 1]
1 male 30-39 [Thomas 34]
1 male 70-79 [John Williams 72]
1 female 5-9 [Palina 8]
1 female 30-39 [Lydia 31]
1 female 40-49 [Caroline 40]
1 female 70-79 [John's wife]
(Census entry says head of house is John Williams Jr. It should probably says John Williams Sr or Thomas Williams instead.
Toy Williams and John Williams [Jr] age 30-39 also listed on same page)
1830 Federal Census, Kentucky, Cumberland county, North of Cumberland River, page
1 male 20-29 [Thomas 24]
1 male 60-69 [John Williams 62]
1 female 20-29 [Lydia 21]
1 female 30-39 [Caroline 29/30]
1 female 60-69 [John's wife]
1820 Federal Census, Kentucky, Cumberland county, Hanover, page
1 male 10-15 [Thomas 14]
1 male 16-18 [John ?]
1 male 16-25 [Toy 25?]
1 male 45+ [John Williams 52]
2 females 16-25 [unknown 20-25 and Caroline 19/20]
1 female 45+ [John's wife]
1810 Federal Cenus, Kentucky, Cumberland county, Burksville, page
This is the correct census listing based on the neighbors listed later in 1820.
2 males 0-9 [Thomas 4, John? age 6-8 ]
1 male 10-15 [Toy 15]
1 male 45+ [John Williams 42]
1 female 0-9 [Caroline 9]
1 female 10-15 [unknown 10-15]
1 female 26-44 [John's wife]
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