The  Williams  Family

          Near the village of Barmouth, in the Province of Wales, on the coast of the Irish Sea, under the shadow of Mount Snowden, about the year 1651, was born  John Lanier Williams,  the person believed to be the paternal ancestor of the Williams family, of Shelby County, Indiana.  Of John Lanier, it is recorded that he was a devout minister of the Quaker persuasion, visiting many of the large cities of  England during the course of his ministry.  About, this time Charles II, King of England, had granted to William Penn forty-eight thousand square miles of land along the Delaware river, in America, where a very important colony of Friends was later established, in which John Lanier Williams established himself in the village of Middletown, in the year 1685.  The ancestral mother of this family, who was the wife of patriarch John Lanier, was also a devout woman, but very little is known regarding her history; however, it is reasonably certain that three sons were born to her in the County of Dauphin, in the Province of Pennsylvania, named  Lewis,  John  and  Amos.  The last of these, Amos, was the father of  Allen Williams, whose grandchildren and lineal descendants, many of them, are today living in this county.  The children of Lewis and John attained considerable eminence in the councils of the young republic.  Their families first went to Virginia, then to the Carolinas, then to East Tennessee, later farther to the south.  The entire Williams family, early in the eighteenth century, moved from Pennsylvania to Hanover County, Virginia.  It was here that  John Williams, son of Lewis, was born.  He was reared to the profession of carpenter, but after the family moved to Sussex County, North Carolina, he studied law, becoming one of the first judges under the State Constitution, and was a delegate to the Continental Congress, 1777 - 1778.  Major Joseph Williams, son of John, was a noted Whig, and, during the Revolutionary War acted as adjutant general of North Carolina.  He was a member of Congress for three terms, from 1797 to 1803, and was the appointed Land Commissioner for Mississippi.  His son, Robert, was born in Sussex County, North Carolina, in 1778, and died in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1837.  He had, possibly, the most brilliant career of any of the Williams family, as a soldier and statesman.  He was appointed captain in the Sixth Untied States Infantry in 1799, but soon resigned and began the study of law, which he practiced in Knoxville.  In 1812 he raised a regiment of mounted volunteers and conducted a vigorous campaign against the Seminole Indians.  After his return he was commissioned colonel of the Thirty-ninth United States Infantry, and ordered to the Creek nation, where he took an active part in the battle of Horse Shoe Bend, on the Talapoosa.  He served until the close of the War of 1812.  He was twice elected Unite States Senator, serving from 1815 to 1823.
          A brother of Robert was   Lewis, born in Sussex County, North Carolina in 1786, and died in Washington City in 1842.  He graduated from the university of North Carolina in 1808, and in 1813 he entered political life, first serving in the state Legislature, then took his seat in Congress, to which body he was twelve times returned, remaining a member until his death, which brought forth many eulogies from distinguished members of Congress.  John Quincy Adams spoke of him as ďthe father of the House.Ē  A twin brother of Lewis, Thomas Lanier, was also graduated at the University of North Carolina, securing the valedictory honors of his class.  He moved with his family to Eastern Tennessee, where he was loaded with official honors, serving as Representative and as one of the judges of the Supreme Court.  He was appointed chancellor in 1836, upon the establishment of corporate courts of equity jurisdiction in Tennessee, and served in this high capacity for sixteen years.  He was regarded as the father of equity jurisprudence in that state, and during his long judicial career only two of his decisions ere reversed.
          Amos Williams an his family were distinctively agriculturists, and from the pioneer days to the present none of them seem to have aspired to official or military honors. For one hundred and fifty years, in every war, the descendants of Amos Williams have stood dutiful, loyal citizens, ever asking for a musket to fight in the ranks, disdaining the sword, shoulder-strap and other emblems of authority, content with that element of good citizenship which characterizes the man ever ready for duty in the humblest capacity.  Amos Williams was born in Pennsylvania, in 1720, on the Susquehannah River, eighty miles northwest of Philadelphia.  He was a Quaker.  Personally, he was small of stature, and lived to the remarkable age of one-hundred and five years.  It is not known whom he married, but his family consisted of four sons and three daughters, --  James,  Thomas,  Allen,  Joel,  Ann,  Elsie  and  Rachael.  It is probable that these children were born in Sussex County, North Carolina.  James and Thomas took a conspicuous part in the Revolutionary war, but their father, Amos, took no part in the conflict, being religiously opposed to fighting.  After the war this family went to East Tennessee, possibly about 1795, settling in the Sequashia valley.  Here Allen Williams, whose immediate descendants live in Shelby County, among his grandsons being Attorney A. J. Williams, was married to his first wife, and to this union four children were born --  Elsie,  Phoebe,  Hannah and  William.  Elsie married   Reuben Lawless, and they moved to Kentucky, later to Kansas, where she died in Sumner County, in 1878.  Phoebe married  Robert World  , moved to Missouri, and died there.  Hannah married    Hampton Queen, and  William married a  Miss Ralston, in Wayne County, Indiana, and subsequently settled in Clinton County, where he died. After the death of Allen Williamsí first wife, he married Charity Nations research does NOT support this claim] in Overton County, Tennessee, and to this union were born  Amos,  Allen,  Joel,  John,  Jane,  James,  Elizabeth,  Jackson,  Claborn,  Margaret  and  Wesley, the last named dying in infancy.  Of these the first nine were born in Tennessee , the others in Indiana.  Allen Williams accumulated considerable property in East Tennessee during his twenty years residence there.  In the early summer of 1816 he started with his large family and twenty head of horses and several wagons loaded with household goods and provisions, for Indiana, then a wilderness.  Allenís father accompanied them.  He was then ninety-six years old, but active and a good horseman.  Their long journey through the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky was attended by many adventures and mishaps.  Their principal meat was that of bear and deer, obtained by side hunting trips.  The entire company of seventeen persons, after a perilous journey, finally landed in Wayne County, Indiana, in the early autumn of 1816, the year the state was admitted to the Union. Here Amos Williams died, and his daughters, Elsie and Rachel were married.  Allen Williams purchased eighty acres of land near Edinburg, in Bartholomew County, in 1820.  Here his two children, Margaret and Wesley, were born and here his wife, Charity, died in 1826.  Allen entered much land for his children in Bartholomew County, also in Johnson County.  He lived with his son, Jackson, during most of his remaining life, hunting wild game and assisting to clear and develop the new farm.  He was a fine marksman, skilled woodsman, and a thorough frontiersman.  His death occurred in 1842.  He had the piercing gray eye, the wiry, tall figure, and the calculating disposition of the pioneer of those early times that tried menís souls.  Many of these sterling characteristics were plainly discernible in his children, who were honest, industrious citizens, but took no particular part in public affairs.  James Williams, the last survivor of Allenís family, died in 1897, at the age of eighty-seven years.  During his residence of sixty-five years in Clark township, Johnson County, he took a great interest in educational affairs.  He was widely known in that county, and regarded as one of its best citizens.  Taken as a whole, the lives of the children of Allen Williams were an exemplification of much that is noble, just and magnanimous, and their present descendants in Shelby, Johnson and Bartholomew Counties seem to have inherited many of these praiseworthy traits.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well known local talent, B.F. Bowen & Co, Publishers: Indianapolis, IN, 1909.
Contributed by Melinda Moore Weaver.
For further information on this family, please visit the  Williams homepage  and contact *Nadine and  *Chris & Jerry.
*For current addresses of the researcher listed, please visit our  Surname Index  page

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