For some time now, like two years to be exact, I have been working on one dead-end after another with my 2nd great-grandfather, the Rev. Francis Hereford Williams.
I’m going to take you on a little journey of discovery as to how I found out about him, and his story as it unfolded to me. Well, sort of. He’s still a mystery to some extent.
This is him. I would not even know who he was if cousin Nedra Harris Turney hadn’t saved a letter that my grandfather, Earl Higginbotham was going to burn because she wanted the stamp. This was the contents of that letter.
I know you are wondering what that letter had to do with him right? I mean she is asking about Ben Martin in it, not Francis Hereford Williams. Now, that is a find in itself, but that’s a different story for another time. It was the piece of paper that was enclosed with this letter that was really the most important. I would like to point out first though, that I find it really comforting that my great-grandmother, Dona Higginbotham was trying to find out about her ancestors with this letter. FROM 1913!! How lucky am I that Nedra saved this letter?? Because this little jewel that was inside was a great find. I’d like to hug Dona’s neck for this one! Oh, and Nedra’s too.
There he is, Francis Hereford Williams listed as the father of Dona’s sister, Minnie Elizabeth Williams Hooks! Ancestors listed all the way back to 1787!
Of course, I haven’t proved all that, but thank you Dona for saving it with the letter. Thank you Bepaw (Earl) for not burning it and giving it to Nedra, and thank you Nedra for saving stamps and getting the letter from Bepaw (Earl), and thank you ….. just kidding. I could go on and on but that is all. Amen.
Now, I know you want to ask me how that list proves Minnie is Dona’s sister, and that Francis Hereford Williams is actually Dona’s father. Well, it doesn’t. Right. I know. Just when you think you have a lead, you still can’t prove the relation.
The problem was on the 1880 census, Francis and Mildred were listed along with Minnie. Dona wasn’t born yet. She would have been listed on the 1890 census, but we don’t have a 1890 census and by the time the 1900 census rolled around, Dona was already married to Rufus Higginbotham.
All was not lost though. After months and months of trying to prove this relation and coming up dry, my Dad’s first cousin, Gary Higginbotham came through for me. He found his father Milton Higginbotham’s baby book. Milton was my grandfather Earl’s brother.
Booyah, Baby!! I do have a census report for Rufus, Dona, Earl and Milton all living together as a big happy family, so I finally tied them all together.
On my next post I will give you a run down of how I then started putting pieces together of Frances Hereford Williams in the war between the states, and as a minister. Then, I’ll move on to the really juicy stuff. Family scandals and such. Yeah, I know a minister involved in a family scandal? Not really, but I do believe he changed his name to Francis Hereford Williams, from possibly Watkins.
Why do I think so you ask? Well, you will just have to stick around and find out.
I just wanted to say that one more time.
Oh, and be sure you do keep coming back, I have my one year blogging anniversary coming up on the 16th and I’m going to have a big surprise for you!
Ok, I’ll stop now.