Williams Family

1821 - 1908

Not surprisingly, Williams is an English name derived from the personal name William. Although it suggests that our Williams family may be English (or Welsh, as it's also a common name in Wales), we can't be completely sure since it could have been Anglicized from a foreign variant and we do not know the European origins of this Williams family.[1] 

Our information begins with Charles M. Williams who was born in Roxborough, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1821.[2] Charles was a harness maker and sadler[3][4], married to a woman named Mary W. Deaves (the daughter of John Deaves) who was born on October 12, 1825 in Pennsylvania.[5][6] They were married in 1844[7] and had five known children together:

  1. Anna (b. abt. 1849)
  2. Edwin Howard (b. abt. 1853)
  3. Idella (b. 1855)
  4. Loretta (b. abt. 1858)
  5. Emma Linda (b. abt. 1860)

Anna may have died young since she only appears on the 1850 census when she was a year old and is missing from all other censuses with the family.[3][4] One census reports that Mary actually had a total of eight children but only four were living by 1900.[7] This supports the idea that Anna died young and also suggests there were three other children who died young and never made it onto a census record. To lose half your children was quite extreme even for the times. The three unknown children were probably born before Anna and/or after Emma Linda, since there was only a 2-3 year gap between most of the children, though one may have been born in 1851, in the gap between Anna and Edwin. In the 19th century, women usually breast fed for 2 years so it’s not surprising that there is frequently a 2-3 year gap between most children.[8]

In 1850, Charles, Mary and Anna lived in Norriton Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (which may now be West or East Norriton Township).[3] In 1860, the family were living in Upper Dublin Township, Montgomery County[4] but by 1863, they had moved to Chestnut Hill.[9] Once here, they then moved around a lot within Chestnut Hill. Initially, they lived on the corner of Main Street and Cottage Street, the latter now being Highland Avenue and the former might now be Germantown Avenue.[10] Four years later, they were living on the corner of Germantown Avenue and Mount Airy Avenue.[11] By 1875, their new address was Main Street and Hartwell Avenue[12] and again only two years later, it was Germantown Avenue and Highland Avenue (formerly Cottage Street).[13] Finally in 1880, they found themselves at 4458 Germantown Avenue.[14] It’s possible that some of these addresses were the same location but went through street name changes. It’s also possible they lived above Charles’ tack shop, which moved around to better locations as the town grew and evolved.

Charles died on October 25, 1888 when he was 67 years old and is buried in either Ivy Hill Cemetery.[2] After his death, Mary lived with her daughter Emma Linda and son-in-law Henry Struntz, a jeweler. Emma and Henry had married in 1889 when Emma was 29 years old and Henry was 21.[7] This was quite a late age for Emma to be marrying for the first time and by 1900, she was 40 years old and their union had not produced any children. Given how soon after her father’s death she married, it’s possible that she only did so out of necessity, for the financial support from a man that she’d lost when Charles died. The fact that her mother was also living with Emma and Henry supports the idea that the two women were in need of financial support. One wonders what was in it for Henry to support two aging women. While Emma was not passed childbearing age so Henry could have hoped for an heir, he would have been more likely to get one from a younger woman. Did he grow to resent Emma for never producing an heir for him? Did he regret not marrying someone younger, at the peak of her fertility? By 1927, Emma had died and Henry remarried a woman named Katherine who was 54.[15] With no children from his first marriage, it is unusual that Henry chose to marry someone passed childbearing age who would only provide companionship. Perhaps Henry never expected more of his wives; perhaps he was impotent or homosexual.

Loretta married Walter Patton and had two children before moving to Wisconsin where they had a third. They briefly lived in Iowa during the 1910 census but by 1920, had moved back to Wisconsin.

Edwin suffered from Kyphosis, more commonly known as a hunchback, but this didn’t prevent him from marrying to Emma Bray, whose parents were from England. However, their union did not produce any children. Edwin was a watchmaker and jeweler until his death on November 8, 1904. He lived his life in Philadelphia but died in Atlantic City where he went the week before his death in a futile searching for better health.[16]

Mary died in 1908 and is also buried in Ivy Hill Cemetery.[5][6] 

Our line continues with Idella, who married William Henry Godshall in 1876 when she was 21 years old. To read more about her married life, see the Godshall Family Chapter.

© Robin Bauer 2010-2014

Endnotes:

  1. Ancestry.com,. 'Williams Name Meaning & Williams Family History At Ancestry.Com'. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=Williams>.
  2. "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JKSL-3PB : accessed 02 Oct 2014), Chas. M. Williams, 25 Oct 1888; citing 1062, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 2079428.
  3. Williams Family. Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Pennsylvania > Montgomery > Norriton. Img. 19, lines 16-18. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1850usfedcenancestry&h=6812854&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237194_kpidz0q3d-384237194z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  4. Williams Family. Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Pennsylvania > Montgomery > Upper Dublin. Img. 19-20, lines 36-40, 1. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1860usfedcenancestry&h=4167599&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237194_kpidz0q3d-384237194z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  5. "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDPN-54D : accessed 02 Oct 2014), Mary W. Williams, 24 Sep 1907; citing cn 24308, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1402906.
  6. Death Certificate for Mary W. Williams. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1944 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Certificate no. 88120. Img. 2168. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=PADeathCollection&h=12627&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237193_kpidz0q3d-384237193z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  7. Struntz Family. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Pennsylvania > Philadelphia > Philadelphia Ward 22 > District 0484. Img. 30, lines 58-60. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1900usfedcen&h=68832959&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237193_kpidz0q3d-384237193z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  8. Volo, James M., and Dorothy Denneen Volo. Family Life in 19th-century America. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2007. Print.
  9. Charles M. Williams. Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Pennsylvania > 5th > Vol 3 of 3. p. 256, img. 514. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=ConsolidatedListsofCivilWarReg&h=1192261&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237194_kpidz0q3d-384237194z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  10. Charles M. Williams. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1863. p. 808, img. 411. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=USDirectories&h=180410857&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237194_kpidz0q3d-384237194z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  11. Charles M. Williams. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1867. p. 1333, img. 700. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=USDirectories&h=173530966&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237194_kpidz0q3d-384237194z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  12. Charles M. Williams. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1875. p. 1596, img. 842. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=USDirectories&h=176655593&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237194_kpidz0q3d-384237194z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  13. Charles M. Williams. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1877. p. 1549, img. 811. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=USDirectories&h=176979206&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237194_kpidz0q3d-384237194z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  14. Williams Family. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Pennsylvania > Philadelphia > Philadelphia > 444. Img. 10. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1880usfedcen&h=405160&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p-384237194_kpidz0q3d-384237194z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  15. Struntz Family. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Pennsylvania > Montgomery > Lansdale > District 52. Img. 35. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1930usfedcen&h=53576932&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t11858776_p12750846058_kpidz0q3d12750846058z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid>.
  16. E. Howard Williams Obituary. The Germantown Guide. 11 November 1904.

Other Sources:

Williams Photos and Documents

Charles Williams

Mary Williams (nee Deaves)

Idella Williams with her parents Mary and Charles.

Mary Williams (nee Deaves)

Idella Williams as a young woman.

Idella Williams

The Williams’ Sisters (left to right in front: Loretta, Idella, unknown but possibly Anna - back: Emma Linda) with brother Edwin (back left) and unknown man (center) who might be Emma’s husband.

Idella Williams Godshall with her daughter Viola and sister Loretta Williams Patton with her son Walter.

Loretta Williams Patton

Loretta Williams Patton

Loretta Williams Patton

Loretta Williams Patton