Amos Williams of Pennsylvania, Va, NC, Tn and Indiana
Amos Williams of Pennsylvania, Va, NC, Tn and Indiana

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Caveat: This page by necessity contains unproven information - pay attention to question marks and phrases such as "we think", "we believe", etc. We are posting the information we have gathered anyway, in the hopes that descendants of this family will contact us and confirm or disprove the information. Contact Site Coordinator, Nadine Holder on the About Us Page if you have further information. The Williams families are difficult to research and require a cooperative effort!

Nadine Holder's grandfather wrote to Jill Martin's grandmother in 1935: "Grandmother Rachel Welsh was born in 1818 in Virginia; maiden name was Woodard -- or Woodward; of Irish descent; heard her say her mother spoke of hearing the cannons in the Rev. War. Also spoke of her grandfather, Amos Woodward, who lived to be 105... ." It took Jill and Nadine nearly seven years to determine that he meant to say "Amos Williams!" A cousin located the marriage record of Rachel Welsh's parents, John and Rachel Williams Woodward, on a trip to Jefferson County, Tennessee, and we finally learned Rachel Woodward's maiden name. The marriage record in 1795 gave the name as "Woodert" so we had been unable to find it by mail. We had also been unsuccessful in finding out anything about the family of Allen and Jane Woodward Williams since they had not followed the Quaker religion, and the Williams name was too common to identify children in other records. We were thrilled to hear from Glenda Prieba, a descendant of Allen and Jane, who sent us a transcript from Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, 1909, about the Williams family. From it we learned that Allen Williams's father was Amos Williams and that Rachel Williams Woodward was Allen's sister. The history mentioned that Amos died at the age of 105 and that he had gone to Wayne County, Indiana, in 1816. Verification came when we found Amos Williams in the 1820 census in Wayne County, Indiana, two families from John and Rachel Williams Woodward!

Doris Johnston is researching the Aaron & Charity Nation Williams family: {Williams Web Page}. We believe Aaron Williams to be an additional son of Amos Williams, and that he was not mentioned in the Indiana History since he went to Illinois, and was unknown to Allen's descendants. Glenda and Doris have given invaluable assistance in sorting out this family.

In October 2009 we heard from Carolyn Cloeckner whose great great grandmother was Phoebe Williams, daughter of Amos and Nancy Harris Williams. We had previously not run across Phoebe. Amos who married Nancy Harris was son of Allen and Jane Woodward Williams and Allen was son of Amos and Phebe Allen Williams. We researched Phoebe Williams and have included what we found under Amos and Nancy Harris Williams on the Allen and Jane Woodward Williams page.

Problem: We would not normally bore our readers with research tales of woe; but we want a clear understanding that the sources for our information are largely apocryphal and real proof is lacking, hence we will probably bore you more with comments on the quality of the documents that we have found. First, "grandfather's letter" contained many, many inaccuracies as family-generated history usually does, but there were enough hints that eventually we could dig out the information. Second, the "Williams Family" discourse in the Shelby County, Indiana, History contained an ancestry for Amos Williams that quickly could be proven false. It appeared to be excerpted from a commercial genealogy of the time that tried to link the family to famous people in Pennsylvania and Virginia. We were later able to determine that the information given on Allen Williams was nearly as suspect, but that information on the children of Allen Williams was close to correct (See Allen's page for sources). Having said all that, the list of children of Amos Williams given below is mostly from the Shelby County History and may be suspect.

Marriage of Amos Williams in Pennsylvania

The marriage and parentage for the Amos Williams given below is correct, as it is taken from primary records; however this may possibly not be the correct Amos Williams!

First Families of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 1 contains the following entry under Unidentified Data: "Phebe Allen, daughter of Morral and Alice Allen of Sadsbury Township, Lancaster County, removed from New Garden to Sadsbury in 1760 and married 1762 Amos Williams, son of Zachariah Williams of Sadsbury Twp." This is a secondary source, and gives references to other secondary sources.

First Families of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 1 contains further information on the family of Phebe Allen Williams. Her father Morril, and grandmother Mary, are named in the will of James Allen, Sr., of West Nottingham, Cecil County, MD, cooper who died in 1733. A Scarlett family researcher tells us that Morrell Allen, son of James, married Alice Scarlett, daughter of Shadrach Scarlett and Phebe Bowater. He also gives us a date of 3/17/1762 for the marriage of Amos Williams and Phebe Allen at Sadsbury Monthly Meeting in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and that Amos is given as son of Zachariah & Anne Elliott Williams.

Wills of Chester County Pennsylvania 1713-1748 gives us: Zacharius Williams, Sadsbury, Yeoman. 28 Jul 1739, 16 May 1741, Book B, page 81: To wife Anna 1/3 of estate. To sons Amos and James my plantation I now enjoy, when 21, they paying 10 pounds each to daughter Rachel Williams when she is of age. To brother William Marsh my saddle. Executors: Brother Amos and Wife Anna. Witnesses: Henry Marsh, Gravener Marsh, Josiah Kerr. (Note: This will documents the name Rachel in the family as this Rachel is potentially aunt of Rachel Williams who married John Woodward. )

The Move to North Carolina and Points South

Our next record of Amos Williams is in the Rowan County, North Carolina, Colonial Census of 1762, along with Richard Williams. Richard Williams, who married Prudence Beals, is well documented in Quaker records , and we know he was the son of George Williams of Wales. We do not believe Amos & Richard were brothers, but they might have been cousins. We suspect that Amos lived near Richard Williams at the time of the Revolutionary War because of "grandfather's" comment that Rachel Williams " heard the guns of the Revolutionary War." Rachel was born in 1765, so would have been old enough to remember the War. Richard Williams lived very near where the Battle of Guilford Courthouse was fought (See North Carolina maps).

Phebe Allen Williams was given a certificate from Pennsylvania to New Garden Monthly Meeting in Rowan County in 1765. Unfortunately there is no record of the receipt of the certificate in Rowan County, but this is our strongest piece of evidence that we have the right Amos Williams. Since Amos is found in North Carolina in 1762, he and Phebe may have gone there directly after their marriage, or Amos may have traveled back and forth. There are records of the very early settlers in North Carolina raising livestock and driving them to Pennsylvania for sale.

Apparently Amos spent some time in Virginia (in Montgomery County which at that time may have encompassed an area just north of Rowan County, North Carolina). Amos Williams is listed in 1790 on a list of Quakers and Tories compiled in Montgomery County, Virginia. Quakers were included as they refused to take oaths and were thus suspect as Tories. Amos may simply have lived very near the NC line and in those days it would be somewhat unclear as to actual location of someone�s property. The Shelby County, Indiana, History places Amos in Sussex County, North Carolina, but there was no such county, so that is not much help. It then says "After the war the family went to East Tennessee, possibly about 1795 to the Sequeshie Valley."

Children of Amos and Phebe Allen Williams

The list of children is taken from Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, 1909, except for Aaron Williams and Lydia Williams. We believe Aaron belongs in the list as Allen Williams stood bond for his marriage in 1803 as a brother would normally do. (See Doris Johnston's Web Page linked above for a copy of the bond and more information on Aaron Williams. Also she has a great deal more information on the ancestry of the Williams family on her site.)

James Williams born about 1762; married Mary Davis?
Thomas Williams born about 1764
Rachel Williams born about 1765, North Carolina; married John Woodward
Allen Williams born about 1771, North Carolina; married Jane Woodward, sister of John
Aaron Williams born about 1775, North Carolina, married Charity Nation
Joel Williams
Ann Williams
Elsie Williams
Lydia Williams Another possible child born 1798 in Tn and married Andrew Sutherland (see notes below)

More on the Children of Amos and Phebe Allen Williams

James and Thomas Williams

There is a record at New Garden Monthly Meeting in Rowan County: 11/1/1783, James Williams, son of Amos, Montgomery County, Virginia, married Mary Davis. The Shelby County History tells us that sons Thomas and James Williams served in the Revolutionary War but we have been unable to verify this.

Allen and Jane Woodward Williams

Allen Williams, son of Amos, was complained of at New Hope Monthly Meeting in Greene County, Tennessee, on 2/18/1795, for his marriage out of unity and for hiring a military substitute. He married Jane Woodward, daughter of Abraham and Hannah Thornbrough Woodward, on 2/13/1794 in Jefferson County, Tennessee, so we know the family was there before 1795. The complaint against Allen was lodged nearly a year after his marriage so it may have been a holdover from some other meeting. The Williams family is believed to have lived on the Nolichucky River so may have been members of Nolichucky Meeting. There are no surviving records from this meeting. There were a number of Williams families in Tennessee so it is hard to sort out one particular family. See more below under the Move to Indiana.

Lydia Williams Sutherland

Whether this is an additional child Lydia or whether she is the same as Ann or Elsie Williams is unknown. From an 1879 Lee County, Iowa, History comes the following:
"RACHEL CANADY, farmer Sec 5 P O Lowell (Henry CO) [across the Skunk River from Lee CO ] is the Daughter of Andrew & Lydia Sutherland, natives of TN, born Jefferson Co TN Feb 8 1798. Father died when she was 3 weeks old. Mother 3 weeks later. Cared for by grandparents Amos and Phoebe Williams. When 17 moved to Wayco [Wayne Co] IN, married at age 23 to Wm Canady also born in Jefferson CO TN 1799. Grandmother Williams died IN at 78, grandfather lived to 103. In 1839 pioneers of Lee CO farm 160 A valued $35 per A. Feb 15 1877 Wm [Canaday] died leaving 5 children all born in IN....Lena, b Nov 22 1821 wife of Linly Kellem of Warren IL. Joel b Aug 20 1823 died Dec 1839. Polly b Mar 14 1826 m Abel Wilson of MO, deceased. Margaret b Oct 14 1831 wife of Thomas Cunningham of TX Eliza, b Nov 22 1833 wife of John Harvey, this county, and Oliver b Feb 6 1836 , marr Miss Jane Box March 1858, She born in Henry Co Ia March 1837 to James & Ellizabeth Box, among the first settlers of that CO. [Oliver and Jane] Have 7 children, Wm T Dec 1858, Addie P May 10 1862 Alphia C Feb 28 1868, Eddie April 10 1865, Jessie C Oct 19 1870, Rachel E Dec 9 1872, T. Feb 24 1878. Oliver lives on & Cultivates the home farm. Rachel altho 82 is hale & Hearty and attends the Lee Co fair every her 81st year, Made Piece of Linen exhibited at the fair that year and recieved first prize.

(Note: this provides additional evidence that Amos and Phebe Williams are the correct couple. The date of the move in this history coincides well with that given in the Shelby history. This history also gives us the information that Phebe is the wife listed in the census in Indiana and that she died there. It also supports the advanced age of Amos Williams.)

The Move to Indiana

The Shelby County, Indiana, History states that Allen Williams and father Amos went to Wayne County, Indiana in 1816. This is probably about right as we know John Woodward, husband of Allen�s sister, Rachel Williams, purchased land in Wayne County in 1814. The history states that Amos was 96 years old but a good horseman. This would have made him born 1720, which doesn't match well with the Phebe Allen marriage unless that was a second marriage. We think it rather more likely that the age 96 is in error and it was more like 76. No doubt submittals to the county histories were handwritten and difficult to read, or someone simply guessed at the age. ("Grandfather's letter" states Rachel Welsh died at the age of 90, when it was proven to be age 72. Things written from memory are often in error, and grandparents seemed ancient to children, and were remembered as a great deal older than they really were.)

Amos and wife are found in the 1820 Census in Wayne County, both over age 45. No will or estate is currently found for Amos Williams in Wayne County, Indiana, but we have not had opportunity to search the records ourselves (usually more productive in that county as they only consult published indexes).

We do not find a probate record or a will for Amos Williams in Shelby County, Indiana, where Allen and Joel Williams, sons of Amos, went about 1824. Amos could even have died in Johnson County, Indiana, where the family went about 1834. We have yet to search cemetery records in either county. Without a probate record for Amos it is difficult to confirm the composition of his family.

We devoutly hope to hear from descendants of Amos and Phebe Allen Williams who may have some proof of the list of children, or who can even tell us if this is the right Amos Williams.