I’m back with Part II of my discovery of the Rev. Francis Hereford Williams. If you missed Part I, that’s ok. You can find it here.
At this point in my research, what I know about Rev. Williams is that he was born in St. Louis in 1843, and that he is indeed the father of my Dona Williams Higginbotham.
What I don’t know is his date of death, Mildred’s (his wife) date of death or where they are buried.
I knew from information gathered that Dona and her husband Rufus were buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. After a little research I discovered that Minnie and her husband Charles Hooks were buried in Hillcrest Cemetery and so I headed out to get pictures of both of their headstones, and I was hoping that around one of their graves, I would come across Rev. Williams and Mildred’s headstone.
Here is Dona and Rufus’ headstone, which looks to be in a plot of about six graves, but theirs is the only headstone in the plot and I didn’t find Rev. Williams’ or Mildred’s headstone anywhere else in Woodlawn. If it was once there, it is gone now.
So I headed over to Hillcrest and I found Minnie’s headstone beside her husbands, Charles A. Hooks.
The office had no record of Rev. Williams or his wife Sarah Mildred Martin Williams as being buried in this cemetery and of course, there was no other headstone around Minnie and Charles’.
But wait, what is that on Minnie’s headstone?
A Daughters of the American Revolution symbol!
When I got home I got on the computer straight away. started looking up DAR applications for Minnie, and Booyah!! Found it! Paid for it, downloaded it, and prayed the whole time it was loading up on my computer for death dates for Rev. Williams and Sarah Mildred Martin Williams.
She states: “I am the daughter of Francis H. Williams born 1843, died ____ and his 2nd wife Sarah M. Martin born 1856, died ______ married 1877.”
His 2nd wife??
Who’s the first?
And where are the death dates dad burn it?!?!?!
At this point I can only surmise that when Minnie filled out the application in 1914 they were both still alive. I couldn’t find Rev. Williams on the 1920 census, but I did find his wife Mildred, widowed and living with the Yarbrough family as a roomer.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one. I know that there are some Yarbrough’s in the family on the Higginbotham side so I can see that this could happen. I’m just not sure why she wasn’t living with either Dona or Minnie. They were all alive at this time. I’ll probably never know the answer to this one.
During this time, I made a visit to my Aunt Jane who was in declining health and we chatted and visited and I showed her what all I had discovered and she was very interested but her memory was failing her and she couldn’t help much with information. She did tell me she had some boxes with some stuff in them that I could have, and so Uncle Charlie (Starks) dug them out and gave them to me and I hit the mother lode!
What I thought at first to be a lot of Higginbotham photos and such, ended up being a lot of stuff from the Williams. It was in this stuff that I discovered that Rev. Williams, was a minister, that he had probably been in the war between the states and that he had been in the Austin Confederate Home following the war between the states.
See this box?
It was full of letters to the Williams family. There were quite a few letters in here from Charles to Minnie when he was away at school and working in a pharmacy. There were letters from some of Mildred’s Dial cousins in Louisiana.
Here are some pictures of the Williams’ that I found in the boxes as well:
Dona is on the left, Mildred in the middle and Minnie on the right.
This is my grandfather Earl Higginbotham in 1901, this photo was in the box and what I love so much about this picture is that Rev. Williams wrote on the back of the photo: “Twinkle to his old Granddad”. I found that to be so sweet and it really just touched me.
Mildred Martin Williams. What a very regal picture. I have such beautiful ancestors!!
Minnie Williams Hooks. What a beautiful picture.
Dona Higginbotham. This picture did not come from this box, Gary Higginbotham gave me this picture, but I didn’t want to leave her out because there wasn’t one of her in the box. I love this picture though.
Booyah!! What a great discovery of pictures and letters! How lucky am I that Aunt Jane remembered them, and that Uncle Charlie got them out and gave them to me. I will be forever grateful, from the bottom of my heart and I can’t say it enough.
So, at this point of my journey, I still had no death for Rev. Williams, but I have it down to being between 1914, the date of Minnie’s DAR application and 1920 when Mildred appears on the census as a widow. A very thorough search of all Texarkana cemeteries has left me dry as well.
I’m already working on Part III of this series and I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of this story because I still have the good parts to get to.
Ok, sorry. I just always have to do it one more time.
Don’t forget to come back on the 16th specifically, I have good things in store for you my special friends and family!