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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Mississippi: Choctaw County

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Re: Lookup for 1850 Choctaw census: Williams
Posted by: Jay Stein (ID *****4633) Date: April 22, 2004 at 00:36:59
In Reply to: Re: Lookup for 1850 Choctaw census: Williams by Charles Smith of 521

Gordon, I'm not sure where to start! <GRIN>

Do I <<live in or near Montgomery (Co., MS)?>> No, I'm in the Texas Hill Country, about 40 miles west-northwest of San Antonio. <<My Mother was born at Sibleyton...>> Gordon, my mother was born at Sibleyton, Mississippi, TOO! Sibleyton was named by my great-grandfather, William Wiley Johnson, Sr., in (I believe) the 1880's when he applied for and was granted a postoffice for his "plantation" store. The original store was located adjacent to the railroad track, but that store burned, I think, in the late 1890's and he rebuilt the store, though much smaller in size, and this time placed it "north" of what is today U.S. Highway 82. This placed the store nearer to his home which sat atop the hill, along with various barns, and other outbuildings, etc. (He had a cotton gin and a sawmill too, but I'm not certain if they were located at the same site, or located somewhere else in the area. Both were long gone before "my time." If you were familiar with the area in the fifties you might recall the house. It was relatively large, but not necessarily imposing in the "classic Southern sense." The family's ante-bellum home was burned by Col. Grierson's Cavalry his second raid through Mississippi, the one in December of '64 in which the objective was to destroy the mills at Bankston, Mississippi, just a few miles away. It's Grierson's first raid through Mississippi in 1863 upon which was based John Wayne's, highly fictionalized, but I think still very enjoyable movie, "The Horse Soldiers." The home of Capt. Isaac Williams' son Paul Williams was also raided by Yankees on that raid, though his home was spared the torch. The Yankees took all the food and live stock they could find though, and took all the dishes and silverware, scooping it all up in the dinning room tablecloth. The family found the dishes, smashed and broken along the road for a considerable distance along the route to Bankston! ) Today, only the "cow barn" is still standing at the original site; although the small store still stands but at a different location. Shortly after "Papaw" Johnson's death in 1933, the old store was converted into a residence and the structure was physical moved to another location, I believe up the "Lodi road." (The moving of that structure I've heard told is still a story old-timers of the area like to relate as the moving is said to have drawn quite a crowd of on-lookers. A big, old-time, tractor was used to pull it, hauling it by rolling the structure on logs! (Labor, to keep moving the logs as the building was moved down the road, was apparently quite cheap in the heigth of the depression.) Actually, I should say his third store, as he also owned store, in partnership with a Yancy Lott, in Winona, MS. "Pa-paw" Johnson's home burned in the late 1950's or early 1960's.

<<My [Gordon Smith's] grandparents (William H. and Corrinna) are buried in a small private cemetery near Sibleyton.>> Gordon, would this be the old Lindsey Cemetery up the Lodi Road?

<<I have a Montgomery Cemetery book... and... do not see a cemetery shown for Greensboro...>> Yes, I'm familiar with the book. I've seen it at the library in San Antonio, and have it on my "Christmas Wish List." <grin> I hadn't looked at the book closely yet, as it just has so much information in it, and I figured I might as well wait until I can acquire a copy. I am though surprised that the compilers would have left out the Greensboro Cemeteries especially considering the local historical significance of not only the old "ghost town" but also some of the historical and colorful "residents" of the old cemetery cemeteries, including the former Confederate Brig. General William F. Brantley. Off hand, I don't recall whether I have a photograph of William R. Williams' tombstone, or just handwritten notes, but I'll try to check on that. {By the way, Greensboro was the original county seat of Choctaw County when the county was formed and it served as the county seat until 1871 when Montgomery County was form from Choctaw and Carroll Counties. The new division placed Greensboro about two miles inside the new county, and obviously could no longer serve as the county seat for Choctaw County. To reach the old town, leave U.S. 82 in the hamlet of Tomnolen. Go north on a paved road 3 miles, turn right 2 tenths of mile later, or from Eupora, follow U.S. 82 for slightly UNDER 3 1/2 miles . Then turn right on a paved road for just under 4 miles. You will pass the "new' Ebenezer Presbyterian Church on the left and the Shady Grove Baptist Church on the right. I should also mention there are TWO Greensboro cemeteries. The "new" Greensboro cemetery was started about 1860 and is well maintained. The "old cemetery," at least when I was last there, but that was many years ago, had obviously been abandoned for years. I DO NOT remember though in which of the two cemeteries I found the grave of William R. Williams. I'd have to check my original field notes. In my "family" notebook , I just said "Greensboro." <grin>

Yes, I do have copies of the pension records for both, William R. Williams and Capt. Isaac Williams, respectively. Isaac's is quite long as it covers the period of 1813 until the 1850's, where as William's is much shorter, as his pension was first applied for on 29 April 1871 and ends with an entry dated 30 July 1872 following William's death.

I acquired the record for Isaac some 20 to 25 years ago, but only acquired the record for William about 4, or 5 years ago after I learned he had served in Isaac's own Company. When the latter record arrived I was quite excited to find the reference to William having enlisted at Fayetteville, Lincoln County, Tennessee. Isaac's record, if I recall correctly, while a "goldmine" of information, does not state from where he enlisted. So, finding that reference to Lincoln County did get my attention. HOWEVER, in looking over my notes from Isaac's record in order to write you this posting, I noted that Fayetteville is referred to three times, in the years 1814, 1816, and 1818, respectively in Isaac's record!!! I need to dig into my files and find those records. For some reason, the references to Fayetteville had never really registered on me. <grin> Isaac's record, due his having been seriously wounded in the chest and in the arm at the Battle of Talledega in 1813, and as a consequence being quite disabled, lists (presumably) all the places in which he had lived in the interval between when his pension started in 1814 and when he died in the 1850's. Among the Counties named are Bedford County in Tennessee; Perry., Green., and Pickens Counties in Alabama; and Carroll and Choctaw Counties in Mississippi. Nashville, TN is mentioned as well as being a place where he went to get "checkups."

William R. Williams' record begins with his application dated 29 April 1871. His age is given as "79 years" and it is stated that he is a "resident of Choctaw County... is not married [He was a widower by this date. - JS] ... that he served the full period of Sixty days in the military the war of 1812... that... he... was a... sargent in Captain Isaac Williams Company, Regiment Commanded by Col. Dyer... [and that] he volunteered at Fayetteville, Lincoln County... Tennessee on or about September 1813... was honorably discharged at Fort Deposit on Tennessee River... [and] that he was at the battles of Tallahatchie, Talapoosa & Coosa in the Brigade Commanded by Col. Coffry." William also states that "his Post Office is at Greensboro Choctaw County.. and that his domicil [sic] or place of abode in there also..." Again referring to my notes and not my copy of the actual record, I show a final entry which is dated 30 July 1872, Vicksburg, Miss. and shows that "William R. Williams... has died leaving six children surviving - the present residence of one of them being unknown - the others are willing that his back pension should be paid to his daughter with whom he had lived for several years - he being penniless and who attended him during his last illness..."

One of the witnesses to his original filing was a William Carroll, who I would presume is the same William Carroll, age 23, shown in William R. Williams' household in the 1850 U.S. Census. A check of the 1870 U.S. Census for Choctaw County, Mississippi, shows that at T(own)S(hip) 20 R(ange) 8 at Lodi (I'm going to hope you'll understand my "shorthand" in the following record abstract <grin> JS]:
57 57 Carroll, William 46 bailiff $200/$695 AL
Carroll , Elizabeth J. 39 AL
Carroll, Emily G. 22 MS
Carroll, George T. 17 school MS
Carroll, Isaac A. 7 MS
Williams, William 77 SC

This does appear to show William R. Williams in the household of his daughter Elizabeth and her husband William Carroll. Looking back at the 1850 record, the census taker recorded William Carroll after a listing of what appeared to be children of William R. Williams, and then following William Carroll, listed Elizabeth Williams (age 21), then Emily Williams (age 2) and then a Cyrus Williams (age 40 and born in GA) and the a John W. Carroll age 5 months. My first tendency is to speculate that the census taker probably just made an error in listing Elizabeth and Emily as "WILLIAMS" instead of as "CARROLL, but that's speculation. It could be correct and William Carroll and Elizabeth Williams had not yet married, again my first thought would be that Emily and John W. are William and Elizabeth's children, but there are other possible explanations. It could be that John W. had a wife who died in child birth with John W. Carroll, as he is shown as only 5 months old, and it is possible Elizabeth had a child, Emily, out of wedlock, or perhaps her first husband was named Williams too, BUT, the census taker listing Elizabeth after William Carroll, leads me to believe they were at that time, husband and wife. Perhaps John W. is a recently orphaned son of a brother of William Carroll, thus possibly explaining why John W. is listed after Cyrus Williams and not grouped with William and Elizabeth. It could also be that the whomever the enumerator was talking with had momentarily forgotten the newborn baby and mentioned him only already having given the name of Cyrus.... I don't have my notes handy for the 1860 census, but it would be interesting to check. Note, that Emily, age 2 in 1850, is listed as age 22 in the 1870 census AND as Emily CARROLL.

Also, nearby in the 1870 census, at 85/85 is an Isaac W. Williams, age 41, farmer, $200/$412, born in Alabama and a "voter." Living with this Isaac are Abigail A., age 31, a housekeeper, born in Alabama; James M., age 9, born in Miss. as are the rest living in the house, viz.: Maria, age 7; Laura S., age 5; Nancy E. H., age 3; and Mary E. W., age 4 months. [I found Isaac's grave at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Cemetery (1828 - 1881), which is not too far from Greensboro, Miss.]

A little bit further away, in TS 21, R 8, listed under the Cadaretta P.O., at numbers 86/86 is
George W. Williams, age 43, a farmer ($100/$381) born in Alabama. With him is Lucinda Williams, age 25, housekeeper born in Mississippi. [Can't tell from this record alone whether Lucinda is George's wife or daughter. Also, isn't it amazing how their personal wealth was figured down to the exact dollar, i.e., $381 <grin>!!- JS]

As to the discrepancy in Win(n)ifred's age that I gave in the 1850 census, without checking further, I couldn't say whether the error was due to my fault, the census taker, or "someone's" dishonesty <grin>, or possibly that it is actually correct. The error certainly could be on my part. The notes I looked at when I wrote the Post to you, were taken from copies I made of yet earlier copies I wrote when I first viewed the census record on Microfilm, so I certainly could have either mis-read the figure when I recopied it from my earlier notes, or miscopied it when I first read the film or simply misread the film. Then again, there are a number of other possibilities too, which is why Census records are "notorious" for containing errors. To begin with, there is once again the factor of human error. Many researchers do not realize that the Census records we view on microfilm are NOT the original records "taken in the field," by the Deputy U.S. Marshals, but one of, I believe, two copies the Marshals were required to make, "back at the office," copying by hand from their original trail-worn, weather-battered census books. (Xerox machines, scanners, and laptops weren't around in 1850! <Grin>) To the best of my knowledge there are few, if any, of the original field versions of the 1850 census record extant. All the extant records are the ones that the Marshals recopied from their field copy. I've also never learned whatever happened to the supposed second recopy that supposedly were for deposit in each county to which the census pertain, respectively, though it wasn't from a lack of trying to learn. Many years ago when I was discussing census records with an archivist at the National Archives I just happened to mention that while the microfilm copies weren't always that good, I thought the actual records themselves look remarkably well considering that a census taker had carried the records over countless miles, probably much of it on horseback, and at times in bad weather, crossed swollen creeks, and even rivers, and yet for the most part, the records nothing of this. There were records I saw where the ink had smudged, etc., but little that looked like damage from hard ware and tear. It was then that he informed me that the copies we see are not the original records written in the field. When I queried him further, asking as to why these second "county" copies weren't used to filling the gaps in the census records for those few counties for which the census records are no longer extant, he'd said he have to get back to me, but that it was very good question. When he finally did get back to me, he just said that he "had no answer," but that he had been "unable to learn of any copies at any county courthouse in the country. " Strange... the point I intended to make, some time back <grin> is that without going back to the source, I can't say where in the error lay, if there is one. It is always possible that William Williams had a daughter named Winifred and perhaps she was the one who answered the door when the census taker knocked, and after saying who was the head of the house, she then named herself, and THEN proceeded to name the other children. The census enumerator, writing in ink, and not wanting to start over, just recorded it as told. I SUSPECT though, that your surmise is correct and that it is the wife and that the age in the census that I gave is incorrect, but again without checking the film again, or my earlier notes, I can say if the error was mine, or not. Not sure if GenForum will take this long posting, but we shall see.
--- Jay

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