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Browsing the 1940 census, and found my great-great grandparents, Jo and Maxie Williams, living at 2310 S Ringo in Little Rock.

This house...
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With them was a 76 year old widow, Belle Webb.

Grandma Maxie said Belle was living there on 1 Apr 1935. So Belle was a long time lodger.

I looked in the 1940 Polks Directory for Little Rock. Belle Webb, widow of John T., was listed at 2310 S Ringo.

Now I am very curious.

Maxie's mother, Mary Emily Conner, married Samuel Webb, just two weeks after she divorced Maxie's father in 1871.

I'll have to look for the connection to John T Webb...
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Josiah H Shinn Dies in Washington
Former Arkansan Had produced Many Historical Volumes

(From the Gazette's Correspondent)
Washington, Sept. 3 - Josiah H Shinn, aged 68, an employee at the capitol and known throughout the country as a writer of history, died yesterday at his home, 624 Rock Creek Church road.

He was born in Russellville, Ark., March 29, 1849. He wrote for the Arkansas Gazette and Southern School Journal. He established the first chautauquas in Arkansas.

Among his books and pamphlets were, "The South in Public Education," "Illustrated Arkansas," "History of American People," "Education in Arkansas," "Russia at the World's Fair," "English and Russian."

He was registrar for the Arkansas S A R from 1892 to 1894. He was a member of the American Institute in 1894, and an honorary member of the Pennsylvania and West Virginia historical societies. His history on "Education in Arkansas" was published by the government.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mildred C Shinn, and a son, Joe L Shinn. The body was sent to Russellville tonight.

Published on Tuesday, 4 Sep 1917, in the Arkansas Gazette
Mrs. J H Shinn Dies at Home in Washington, D C
Mrs. Minnie C Shinn, aged 78, widow of Josiah H Shinn, formerly of Little Rock, died at her home in Washington, D C early Thursday. The late Mr. Shinn was superintendent of public instruction in Arkansas from 1890 to 1894. He and Mrs. Shinn moved to Washington about 1902 when he accepted a government position.

He was the author of many historical works. He was a native of Russellville, Pope county, and met Mrs. Shinn at her home in Kentucky after he studied law in Cincinnati, O.

Their home was at Russellville and Magnolia, where he was the principal of schools in those cities and they moved to Little Rock when he was appointed to a position in the state Department of Education before his election as superintendent.

Mrs. Shinn was born at Bridgeport, Ky. Mr. Shinn died in 1917. Their son made his home with his mother until his death two years ago. Mrs. Shinn visited in Little Rock last spring. She is survived by one brother, J D Williams, 2310 Ringo street. Funeral arrangements will be announced by P H Ruebel & Co.

Published on Wednesday, 17 Feb 1932, in the Arkansas Gazette

Mrs. J H Shinn
Funeral services for Mrs. Minnie C Shinn, widow of Josiah H Shinn, who died at her home in Washington, D C, Tuesday, will be held at 10:30 Saturday morning at the chapel of P H Ruebel & Co. The body will arrive in Little Rock early today. Funeral services will be in charge of the Rev. J H Fuller. Pallbearers will be: Active - C H Williams, P M Williams, J D Williams, Jr., and Vernon Shinn, of Little Rock, and Eugene Shinn of Russellville, all nephews of Mrs. Shinn; honorary - Henry Martin, G DeMatt Henderson, Tom Howland, Clio Harper, H A Bowman, S J Beauchamp, Arthur E Lee, Martin Critz and D R Fones. Burial will be in Roselawn Memorial Park.
Published on Saturday, 20 Feb 1932, in the Arkansas Gazette
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Josiah Shinn, wife Minnie, and son Joseph R L.
Photo circa 1886.
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The video below is not old. It's the contents of the video that represents the treasures.

One of my Williams cousins and his wife traveled to Franklin County, KY last summer to photograph the graves of his great grandmother (who was my great-great grandmother), Catherine (Mueller) Williams. He videotaped all the graves in the Williams' family plot and included some wonderful bonus material.

The family plot is in Frankfort Cemetery.

Click here to view the video.
My thanks and gratitude go to cousin Cedric, who generously shared the video with me...
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Last night, I had another one of those moments.

The one where you are looking for one thing, find another, exclaim over it, and then spend the next - in my case - two and one half hours engrossed in something else altogether.

~The genealogy ADD kicked in again.~
In my den, I have this bookcase.

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It is deep enough to stack rows of books two deep. I also keep some files in there. One of my shrines is on top of it.

I went into it to clean out some previous years' tax returns.

As I was digging around, and giving things a good dusting at the same time, my half hour project blew up on me.

Because I found a very well-wrapped, astonishingly heavy parcel slumbering in the back recesses of the bookcase.

I took the parcel over to my coffee-table sized footstool and unwrapped it.

It was the Williams family Bible - the one I said DID NOT exist in this post.

Apparently, I wrapped it up in 1998, stowed it in the nether regions of the bookcase, and forgot about it.Maybe I forgot because of the condition of the Bible.

It was coming apart in chunks. The covers had detached themselves from themselves from the chunks of pages decades ago.

I went for the middle - and hit pay dirt.
The Bible was given to Maxie Leah Meek and Jo Desha Williams by Maxie's mother, Mary Emily (Conner) Meek Webb, for Christmas in 1890.

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Maxie had immediate entries to write in it. Her marriage to Jo Desha Williams on 11 Feb 1886.
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The first death since their marriage - that of their one day old daughter, Mildred Imogene, on 28 Jan 1890...
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It was from that page that I found the date, although not the place, of death for Jo's brother, Lucien Eugene Williams, on 27 Dec 1900.

I loved the birth page...it has the undated news clippings of the arrivals of some huge Williams babies.
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At his birth, Cedric Hazen Williams weighed a hefty ten pounds.

Paul Meek Williams, born on Christmas Eve 1894, weighed in at ten and a half pounds.

And omigosh...My grandfather, Jo Duffie Williams, weighed twelve pounds.
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No wonder Maxie was done after Jo...
LC, you were right.

Cousins, right click and save...
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A Bright Little Spirit Called

It is not often such a sad and unpleasant duty falls to the average newspaperman as confronts the writer of these lines, announcing the death of Little Miss Catherine Leah Williams, the pretty, vivacious and beloved daughter of Mr and Mrs JD Williams, which took place at their home Thursday December 8th, 1904, as the result of croup. To the bereaved father, mother and brothers, of whose life she was the pride and joy; to her little playmates and friends to whom she was so true our heart's sympathy is full to overflowing. Catherine will not pass this way again, her sweet voice is stilled; the busy little hands are folded, but she was of this life so sweet a part that her memory will remain.

The funeral service took place from the Christian church at 3 o'clock pm, Elder C C Cline of Little Rock and Dr Geo. W Harkey of this city officiating. The church had been most beautifully decorated with evergreens and potted plants, while the floral offerings were far more expressive of the tenderness felt for the departed one, her father, mother and brothers than we have words to portray. The attendance was limited only by the capacity of the house to accommodate those seeking admission. Followed by a long procession those precious remains were borne to the city cemetery and laid in the silent tomb, mid the glorious loveliness of a December day.


This lock of hair was attached with a straight pin to the page in the Bible where the obituary was glued.

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Katherine Leah Williams
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Mrs. Maxie L M Williams, Widow of J D Williams, Sr.

Mrs. Maxie Leah Meek Williams, aged 86, of 2310 Ringo street, widow of Joe D Williams, Sr., died Friday at her home. She was a member of the First Christian church and Little Rock Chapter of United Daughters of Confederacy. Survivors include two sons, P M and Joe D Williams, both of Little Rock. Funeral will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Griffin-Leggett by Rev. Marion A Boggs. Pallbearers will be Leon A Boggs, Walter N Brandon, Joe N Dillard, Harry Shoppoch, Milton Osborn and Joe Caldwell. Burial will be at Roselawn Memorial Park.
Published on Saturday, 30 Apr 1955, in the Arkansas Gazette
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In the back of my mind, I knew they were there.

It just took being inspired to find the little plaster of Paris Santas my son decorated the first year I toughed it out as a single mother to find them.

Oh, I found the Santas, all right...and remembered how one rainy fall day I got him to sit with me at the kitchen table, spread some newspaper out, and use our little brushes and acrylic paints to make them our own.

It started us on a homemade ornament tradition. Each year, we added the ornaments he made at school to the tree.

Now, he wanted those little Santas for his own daughters.

I didn't find them in the shed.

But as I was fighting off spiders startled from slumber, and opening one huge Rubbermaid container after another, I found something just as precious.

More ancient family memorabilia...
I packed the stuff well. No cooties, and the envelopes were all still intact, photos separated by family surname.

Not even the spiders outran me as I hustled my finds back from the shed to the cottage.

And I have been going through this stuff for hours ever since.
I have three of the keepsake books given to families by funeral homes.

I had forgotten about the one for my great grandfather, Jo Desha Williams. And I didn't recall the telegrams.

Maxie followed the directions in the book to the letter.

First his obit...

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Arkansas Gazette, Sunday, Dec. 24, 1950
Jo Desha Williams, Salesman, Dies
Jo Desha Williams, aged 84, 2310 Ringo Street, died at his home Saturday. Mr. Williams was a traveling salesman for the U O Colson Co. of Paris, Ill. He was a member of the First Christian Church, a charter member of the Sons of the American Revolution, a member of the United Commercial Travelers, the WOW and the Modern WOW. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Maxine Meek Williams of Little Rock; three sons, C H Williams of Texarkana, and P M and J D Williams, Jr., both of Little Rock; and five grandchildren. Funeral arrangements will be announced by Griffin-Leggett.

Then, there was the genealogy page, in my great grandmother's handwriting.
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And the telegrams of condolence...(Cousins, if you want scans of them not in collage form, let me know and I will send them along...)
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According to this little book, my great-grandfather was buried at 3 p.m. the day after Christmas. The clergyman who conducted the service was Lauren West.

The irony of my find as I was looking for holiday decorations does not escape me.

I don't believe in coincidence.
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Another little ditty from the Williams' family photo album.

This time, I know who one of the subjects was...

My great grandfather, Jo Desha Williams, and someone who had to be one of his grandkids...

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Ya think the sun was in their eyes?




This is a Sepia Saturday post.
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Sometimes I find myself wrapping up loose ends in my current family business that take me back in time.

Recently the issue was how many plots there were in the Williams family plot at Roselawn Cemetery in Little Rock, and who owns them.

So yesterday, I found myself looking at Roselawn's official records on the subject. It was interesting information.

On 24 Feb 1958, my grandparents, Joe Duffie Williams and Doris (Balding) Williams bought six plots at Roselawn.

Although that information was interesting to me all on its own, it was even more interesting when I considered their ages. They were in their fifties, the same decade as I am in now. They had been grandparents for 4 years, with two granddaughters at the time.

Is it time for me to be making that decision? I wonder what caused them to be making it at that time? Had Papa Joe gotten a big bonus and that was one of the things they could check off the list of business they wanted to handle?

Three years later, on 31 Oct 1961, they sold and deeded two of the plots to Lee E and Kathryn G Eoff. Mr. Eoff died in 1972, and Mrs. Eoff in 1976. They are buried in the lots purchased from my grandparents, although their graves have no markers.

I don't know how they knew the Eoffs, or even *if* they did - yet. Maybe the cemetery helped arrange that sale.

Really curious, though...
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Posted for the Monday meme on a rainy Sunday that just cries out for a scanfest...
In the interest of complete honesty and full disclosure, I probably shouldn't say unlabeled.

Because when I picked this one up to scan and flipped it over, there was pencil writing on the back.

~Eureka~ She labeled one!

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Yep, she wrote on the back of it...for sure.

This is all of the class. Aren't they cute?
Yes, Granny, they are very cute.

Precious.

Adorable, in fact.

Anyone feel free to give me another superlative for photos of kids...seriously, jump right in.

But which one or ones of those precious lasses is *ours*? And what was her name?

My guess is one or both of the ones with the big honking hair bows.

Williamses seemed to go in for big honking hair bows and splashy bow ties...
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I can only imagine it was great-grandma Maxie's idea to take photos of the Williams' family home in Russellville, and turn them into postcards.

So, in 1910, son Paul used one to write Mama from Little Rock:

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Am leaving for H S (Hot Springs) in about an hour. Got here about 11.30. Stayed at Torrey House. Paul.


This is a Sepia Saturday post.
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And so I ask - dear Great Grandma Maxie...

Why is Teddy Roosevelt in the Williams' family photo album?

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Dang, I wish that woman would come to hang out with me for one hour.

I'd put her through her paces...
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I finally took my camera and went in search of four homes where my Baldings, Chapins, and Williamses lived in Little Rock.

The first one - the address listed on the World War I draft registration card of my great grandfather, Victor Claude Balding - was at 223 Rice Street. He signed his draft registration card on 12 Sep 1918.

The house is still there - although I'm sure it looks a bit different today than it did 93 years ago.

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Next, I went in search of the houses at 213 and 217 Dennison.

They are next door to each other.

My maternal grandparents, Joe Duffie Williams and Doris Geneva Balding, lived at 213. I found them at that address in city directories from 1940 to 1949.

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A whole bunch of people lived at 217 for many years - including my grandmother's parents and siblings, as well as her maternal grandmother, Eada Belle (Parrish) Chapin after the death of Fred Chapin right after Christmas in 1938.

According to Polk's Little Rock/North Little Rock City Directories, Fred and Eada lived at 913 North Valmar, and Eada was listed at that address in the 1939 City Directory. (I'll have to make another photo journaling trip to see if that one is still standing.)

But by 1940, Eada made her home with her daughter, Hattie Belle and son-in-law, Victor, at 217 Dennison.

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In 1940, the house at 217 Dennison must have been full to overflowing, with Victor and Hattie Balding, Hattie's mother, Eada Chapin, and adult children, Ellington (Linky), daughter Marion (Murney), Marvin and Vera. All the children were employed except Linky, who was the youngest.
Across town, my grandfather's parents, Jo Desha Williams and Maxie Leah Meek, lived at 2310 South Ringo Street.

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That was the home to which my grandfather, Joe Duffie Williams, took his bride Doris after they married on Halloween in 1926. They were still there when the census was taken in 1930.
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My maternal grandparents lived for at least 9 years in this tiny little rent house, still standing on Denison Street.

.
.
.


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Image from Google Maps



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1940 Polk's Little Rock City Directory


They were still there in 1949, which was the year they moved into the home they had saved for many years to build.

For cash.

Their "new" home never had a mortgage on it until it was sold to a new family after my grandmother's death in 1998.
Granddaddy's parents are shown in the left-hand column of the City Directory.

I couldn't find a decent Google Maps image of that address (or the one that I hope is still standing at 217 Denison), so my handy-dandy GPS and I are going to do some driving, cameras in tow.

The house at 217 Denison was a multi-generational home and will have its own entry, whether I can get a photo or not.

**It will be interesting to see how the GPS spells the street name - with one N or two...I find it both ways all over old documents...
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My email from Ancestry.com was illuminating.

The numbers are fascinating. About 6 in 10 of us have a family member who lived in America during the Revolutionary War period, while only 1 in 40 have ancestors who participated in the war. That’s a lot of Revolutionary War links; 183 million folks alive today share that connection.

There are several men in my family tree who are said to have served in the Revolutionary War.

I've only been able to research one of them so far - my 4th great grandfather, Jesse Williams.

Jesse was born on 19 Jun 1750 in Newcastle Co., DE. According to his Revolutionary War pension file, he moved to Baltimore Co., MD, where he enlisted about a year and a half after his marriage to Elizabeth Rachel Gott on 24 Nov 1774. At the time of his enlistment, his second child, Richard Gott Williams, was just a couple of months old.

In the summer of 1776, he was a private, serving for three weeks. Fall of 1777, he served as a private for five weeks. Spring of 1778, as a sergeant for five weeks, and in 1779, he was an ensign for four weeks. His service was with Col. Darby Lux' regiment.

By 1780, Jesse had moved his family to Culpepper Co., VA, and during the summer of 1781, he served two months under the command of Capt. Lillard and Col. Slaughter.

On 17 Aug 1833, he was awarded a pension of $21.26 per year for his service in the Revolutionary War - about the equivalent of $569 in today's money.

Jesse Williams died 29 Sep 1834 in Rockcastle Co., KY of a femoral hemorrhage while shoeing a horse. He was buried in the Phillips Family Cemetery, Wildie, Rockcastle Co., KY.
So I guess I'm one of the 1 in 40.

Doesn't really make any difference when you consider the reason we Americans celebrate this day.

Whether you had an ancestor who fought in that first American war or not, you probably have at least one who has served in one or more wars fought since then to keep the freedom won during the Revolutionary War.

And this date on the calendar shouldn't be the only time we remember that war, or the men and women who have served our country since then.

Our ancestors paid a price so we could be free. They gave us a gift that we have come to know as a right belonging to all Americans.

We should remember them every time we vote (you *do* vote, don't you?)...

Every time we get involved in a friendly little debate at the town cafe...

Every time we take our three minutes before the City Council or the School Board and tell 'em how we think they ought to do it.

Every time we write a blog entry.

Take some time to remember them today.
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An Old Citizen of Hollywood Dies

On Tuesday, April 9 God in His infinite wisdom removed from our midst our friend and neighbor, Mrs. Sarah A. Callaway, who resided on a farm near Hollywood.

Mrs. Callaway merited the esteem and confidence of all who knew her and whereas we desire to give some feeble expression to the feelings that stir within us.

Mrs. Callaway was born in Hot Spring county, December 25th, 1860, and later moved to Clark county where she was married to John Callaway.

To this union was born four daughters and a son. Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Marion Francis of Mena, Miss Maude Callaway who lived with her mother, Mrs. Homer Francis of Amity, and a son, Johnnie Callaway of the Mt. Olive Community.

In addition to the immediate family, she is survived by two granddaughters, a niece and several cousins.

Mrs. Callaway had been a member of the Missionary Baptist church from early girlhood, having joined the Mt. Olive Baptist church soon after it was organized.

At the age of 32 she was left a widow with four small children, the youngest being only four weeks old.

Those days, with the care and support of her little ones, were perhaps her darkest days. Mrs. Callaway labored early and late. She knew no defeat. There were times when crop failures were evident, either from overflows or from insects, many gloomy days hovering over the Callaway home, but she never gave up. She fought her battle bravely, serenely and came out victorious every year.

Her love of out-door life was evidenced by the work she performed on her farm. All of her work was performed with an inspiring quality of faith, charity and intelligence. She made an effort to view life and its conditions from the brightest angle and she was able to live comfortably in her declining years.

Mrs. Callaway was a kind hearted, clean souled woman, whose sturdy womanhood made her the example of all who in their hearts love the thing that is right.

As a neighbor she was agreeable. As a friend she possessed love to mankind and a desire to promote their prosperity and happiness. As a Christian, she remained true to her plighted faith, duty and love for her Master. As a mother she was patient, kind and devoted.

To the bereaved ones whose hearts are burdened with grief which no tongue can tell we wish to say:
"When with our loved one we're parted,
Never to meet here again,
Anguished of soul broken hearted,
Seems that we can't bear the pain,
Till we remember that Jesus
Promised us life over there,
Death is the door to release us
From earthly sorrow and care."

A friend.


Originally published in the Southern Standard, 11 Apr 1929

Note: I believe the obit is in error on the year of her birth. In the 1860 census for Greenville Twp, Clark Co., AR, she was shown as a six month old child. The census was recorded on 28 Jun 1860.
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Being unwilling to continue to tear my hair out to at least date these unlabeled photos, I was very intrigued by this post in Katherine's blog, Atlantic Roots.

So I ordered my very own copy of Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900, by Joan Severa.

It arrived yesterday.

So you know how I spent my Friday night.


I think I have much closer dates for two photos, after studying the photos in the book, as well as the excellent narrative Severa gives about other fashion clues, such as hairstyles.

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This is my great-grandmother, Maxie Leah (Meek) Williams. I'm going to date this photo about 1886 (she married on 11 Feb 1886) due to the rounded bodice of the dress, as well as the collar, and the hint of the bustle on the back of the dress.

Many bodices of this period had tight sleeves cut short on the forearm and featuring cuffs or half-cuffs. (Source: Dressed for the Photographer, at page 378.)

Severa goes on to say, In eighties photographs all bodices appear corset-fitted, many with very high standing collars. Similarly, sleeves are set very high, with the armscye cut somewhat in from the point of the shoulder in back, and are extremely tight... (Id., at page 379.)

There are also dating clues in the way she wore her hair. ...In the matter of coifure, the hair will be worn a good deal lower on the neck than it has been for some two seasons past...The style of dressing the front hair remains unchanged [in curled bangs]. (Id., at page 385.)


The puff sleeves on the dress and much shorter and tightly curled bangs make me think this photo was taken in the very late 1890's, and that theory is supported by the listing of the photographer, Jno H Ganner of Russellville, in the 1900 Arkansas Business Directory.

I believe this is still Maxie Leah, but do not have a clue as to the identity of her younger companion.

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This book is making a formerly dreaded chore much more fun.

This is a Sepia Saturday post.
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Doris Williams was my maternal grandmother.


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Doris Balding Williams, born July 9, 1907 to Victor and Hattie C Balding in Little Rock, Ark., passed from this life on Jan. 18, 1998. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joe. D. Williams and her son, Joe C. Williams. She was a lifelong member of Second Presbyterian Church.

Survivors are a daughter, Judith Williams Neumann and son-in-law, Edward W. Neumann of North Little Rock; a daughter-in-law, Sue K. Williams of Houston, Texas; two sisters, Vera B. King, Peoria, Ariz. and Marian B. Fox, Fallbrook, Calif.; and one brother, Russell E. Balding, Sun City, Ariz.; six granddaughters, Ruth W. Toda, Long Island, N.Y., Leah W. Lipshultz, Los Angeles, Calif., Desha W. Hardin, Corpus Christi, Texas, Dee L. Sharp, Mabelvale, Ark. and Victoria B. Hill and Lorraine Burris both of Alexander, Ark.; 10 great-grandchildren, three nieces and three nephews; four step-grandchildren; three step-great granchildren.

She was an excellent seamstress, beginning at age six with an old lace curtain. She was also an avid gardener. She loved anything to do with needlework and enjoyed giving her friends things she had made. She was admired by many and will be missed greatly.

The family will receive visitors at her home, #5 Lombardy Lane, Little Rock, today, Jan. 20, from 4 to 6 p.m. Graveside funeral services by Ruebel Funeral Home will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 1998 at Roselawn Memorial Park, Dr. Karen Akin officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to your favorite charity.
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I think my great grandparents, Jo Desha Williams and Maxie Leah Meek, were very proud and very happy with their home in Russellville, AR. They took quite a few photos of it.

The home was on East Main Street, although I do not have a house number.

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Thanksgiving Day, 1899


Later, they added to it.
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And again.

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Unfortunately, through a combination of being underinsured after the 1906 Russellville fire, and extending credit to too many folks, after nearly 30 years in business, the Williams Grocer Co. folded.

By 1920, the Williams family sold their beloved home, and moved to Little Rock.


This is a Sepia Saturday post.
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Comparing church and military records for the Dunns, Callaways and Williamses...

In July 1863, Julia Ann (Wingfield) Callway and her son, Mason, joined Bethel Union Baptist Church in Clark County.

In 1865, Mary Dunn was a member of New Hope Methodist Church in Clark County.
In 1866, Mary and Martha Dunn were members of New Hope Methodist Church. (Lucinda Hitchcock, mother of David Andrew Williams, was also a member, although I didn't find David in the membership list, but it's a fragmented one.)

A M Callaway and D A Williams appeared on a muster roll dated from 31 Oct 1864 through 28 Feb 1865 in the 10th Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, commanded first by Reuben C Reed, and finally by Col. Robert C Newton.

On 8 Sep 1866, Mary Dunn and Allen Mason "Mace" Callaway were married by an itinerant Cumberland Presbyterian minister in Clark County.

In August 1867, Martha Dunn, Mary Callaway and James Dunn joined Bethel Union Baptist Church in Clark County.

On 27 Jun 1869, Martha Dunn and David Andrew Williams were married by a Methodist minister in Clark County.

On 2 Nov 1876, Martha Dunn Williams died of tuberculosis in Clark County.

On 15 Feb 1877, Mace Callaway died - we presume in Clark County.

On 13 Jul 1878, David Andrew Williams and Mary Dunn Callaway were married by Isom Langley, a clergyman, in Clark County.

And all the while, Robert James Dunn was living two farms over...

And my cousin Jason tells me...Capt Nat M Jones and Pvt. L. O. Ross are the ones that signed the proof of service forms for Mary to apply for her Civil War widow's pension.

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