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Family of Thomas Jefferson Williams

Photos and documents courtesy of Betty Rusk.

Dick & Katie Annie Williams Ray Family

Thomas Jefferson Williams Cemetery

John Thomas Williams

Thomas Jefferson Williams

back l to r  Mable Elizabeth Grant Williams
Katie Kuykendall Grant Douglas

front l to r  Ella Grant Williams Nicholson
(m 1st, William D. Williams, 2nd, Joe Nickelson)
Irving Grant (brother of Mable & Ella)

Thomas Jefferson Williams Family
By May Williams

Thomas Jefferson Williams, whose father was also Thomas Jefferson Williams of northern Alabama or Georgia, came to Texas by way of Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and settled near Austin, Texas, in 1819.


As a young man, Thomas Jefferson Williams was with a group of men from the Austin settlement who traveled down the Colorado River to the Gulf of Mexico to boil water for salt. In the vicinity of Cedar Lane, this group was attacked by Indians. All of the men except Thomas Jefferson and one Negro slave were killed. They hid in the bushes and were not found by the Indians. It took the better part of two years for them to make their way back to the Austin settlement.


Thomas Jefferson grew to manhood, married and moved to Waco. His home was near the Union Army Camp during the Civil War. His daughters were now of courting age, and were encouraged to be friendly with the soldiers so the community would be aware of Union activities. It was thought that the soldiers were also encouraged to be friendly with the settlers to learn their plans, especially concerning the movement of slaves. The girls soon discovered that the family was in danger of being arrested; so Thomas Jefferson packed up his family and fled their home. They drove the covered wagon all night and hid the wagon and family during the day. By this means the family arrived in Matagorda County at Ashby where Thomas Jefferson Williams purchased property from W. M. Kuykendall. The Kuykendalls had lost several children to fever, and he urged Thomas Jefferson not to live on the property, but Thomas J. decided that he would build his house on a hill, not on the water as Mr. Kuykendall had done--the hill was fifty feet above sea level! The Kuykendall family later moved to Clemville.


Thomas Jefferson had traded one Negro slave, Ol' Cudge, for the property. Ol' Cudge ran away from the Kuykendalls several times and had to be returned to Clemville. Finally after having him returned one final time, Mr. Kuykendall told Mr. Williams to keep Ol' Cudge as he wasn't any good to either of them under the circumstances. So the land actually did not cost Mr. Williams anything. Mr. Williams gave the slave his freedom.


A school teacher had moved to the area and was accepting private students. Thomas Jefferson sent his oldest daughter, Annie Lunn, to be taught by this teacher. She, in turn, taught the younger brothers and sisters and the children of the slaves all that she had learned.


Annie Lunn wrote an account of the "Run Away Scrape" which is in the State Archives in Austin.

The Williams' had slaves at the beginning of the Civil War. After the war, when the slaves were free, Mr. Williams' slaves and those of his cousin, Ben Moore, stayed with them. Other freed slaves of the area also came to stay, looking for food and safety. He realized that he couldn't care for all of them; so he and Ben Moore pooled resources. Ben Moore had $50.00 and Thomas J. Williams had land; so they combined the money and the land and gave each Negro family a small lot on which to build a house and the lumber to do so. This community was called "Negro Bend" and was the start of the Wilson Creek settlement.


Thomas Jefferson and his first wife had four or five children. When she died, he married her sister, who lived only eleven months. His third wife Becky Bird from was central Alabama. They had four children: Will D., Irene Williams Nappier, Thomas W., and Alice Williams Meeks.


Historic Matagorda County, Volume 2, page 565


Dan & Irene Williams Napper

Sister of Thomas Jefferson Williams

The first home of the family of Thomas Jefferson & Mable Elizabeth Grant Williams
was located at the mouth of Wilson Creek at Ashby, Texas. It was built in the 1880s.

Second home of the Thomas Jefferson Williams Family built in 1905.




Copyright 2008 - Present by the Williams Family

All rights reserved

Jan. 31, 2008
Feb. 3, 2008