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Frederick B. Williford

James Samuel Williford was born in Stewart County, Georgia, on March 14, 1853, to John Williford and Elizabeth Burke. James Samuel married Annie E. Brooks and had seven children. The eldest of their seven children was Frederick B. Williford.

In 1880, the Census reported that James was a farmer in Panhandle, Stewart, Georgia; his son Fred was three years old. By 1893, James was a blacksmith living in Sherman, Texas. Fred was working at the Sherman Daily Register. According to the Portal to Texas History, the Register began publication on October 20, 1885, and continued through 1906. The paper was published each evening, except Sunday, and included local, state and national news, along with extensive advertising. The offices were located at 115 East Houston Street in the Sumner Building.

In 1896, both James and Fred, now a clerk, were still in Sherman and working at T. W. Erwin Jr. & Co, a grocery concern. The family lived at 814 South Montgomery. No Willifords were listed in the Sherman City Directory for 1898-99.  On May 29, 1899, James passed away in Sherman and was buried in West Hill Cemetery there. Annie subsequently married Albin W. Linn, bookkeeper for J. S. Burton Medicine Company.

The 1900 Census found Fred B. Williford and his new bride, Alice L., living at 624 West Owings Street in Denison. His occupation was manager, telephone company.

The 1901 City Directory noted that Fred B. Williford was manager of the Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company at 211 West Main.

"Denison Telephone Exchange. F. P. Williford, Manager."
Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., [ca. 1909]. Page 19.

This post did not last long. By 1907, the City Directory listed him as a printer working at 331 West Main. He, Alice, and the first two of their four children living at 1027 West Main Street.

By 1910, the Census would report that Fred had found his calling: insurance agent. His office for many years would be at 108 North Rusk Avenue. In 1910, he had moved the family, now with three children, to 1222 West Woodard Street. Ten years later, in 1920, with the family complete, they lived at 931 West Gandy Street. The Williford children were: Charles Henry Williford (1905–1986), Harold Brooks Williford (1905–1986), Fred Brooks Williford Jr. (1910–1956), and Eloise Williford (1912–?).

In 1925, the City Directory would show that Fred was secretary of the Denison Board of Education.

Two of Fred's sons, Fred Jr. and Harold, joined him in the Williford insurance business. Other relatives became lifelong employees in the telephone industry.

Fred passed away on February 27, 1940, and was buried in Denison's Fairview Cemetery.

My two paternal aunts were named Flora Gae Hollingsworth, a single woman during her life, who is documented as working as a telephone operator from about 1930 at the age of 25 until she retired in the late 1950s and Litha Sue Hollingsworth Slagle who worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone as an operator from the late 1930s through the early 1950s." ~ ~ ~ Linda Robbins

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