As a child growing up, there were occasions at my maternal grandparents' house when the talk turned to family members.
If there was discussion of members of the Williams family, it was inevitable to hear Cedric's name.
Cedric was the Williams family's black sheep - a ne'er do-well, an embarassment. He drank too much, couldn't keep a job for long, had toasted two marriages.
Even in death, Cedric just couldn't get it right.
Cedric Hazen Williams was born on 29 Jun 1892 in Russellville, Pope Co., AR to Jo Desha Williams and Maxie Leah Meek. He was the second child of five, and until the birth of his younger brother Paul in 1894, was an only child.
Paul and Cedric Williams, about 1899
He never knew his older sister, Mildred Imogene, as she died on 28 Jan 1890, well over a year before his birth.
I've always mused that Desha Williams must have had some say in his first two children's names. After the death of his own mother in 1876, Desha was raised by his older sister, Mildred (called Minnie) and her husband, Josiah Hazen Shinn. I wonder if he chose those names for his children to honor his sister and brother-in-law.
If Desha and Maxie hoped that Cedric would follow in Josiah Hazen Shinn's footsteps, they were sorely disappointed.
I have to consider the time in which they all lived, and in which the tragic accident befell young Cedric.
A wagon rolled over his head when he was 10 or 11 years old. Imagine the terror of a parent to have such a horrible thing happen to a child.
But the child recovered. The physical wounds healed.
They must all have breathed a sigh of relief, and given thanks.
They just didn't realize that a traumatic brain injury was for life, and things would never be normal again.
And neither would Cedric.
Cedric married for the first time in 1915, and he and his wife had a daughter, Charlotte.
Cedric, Kathleen and Charlotte Williams, 1918
Things did not go well at home, and apparently not at work either, because Cedric asked his younger brother, Joe, for a large sum of money. His brother refused to give the money, and the brothers grew apart.
Cedric married again. He and his second wife had two sons.
But things had not been right since that day long ago when the wagon rolled over his head. The alcohol he consumed to take away the pain wasn't working.
Cedric attempted to take his own life, and failed.
On Thursday morning, 23 Aug 1951, Cedric was alone in Crosbyton, TX, at the Lawson Hotel, where he swallowed sodium cyanide, one of the most rapidly acting of known poisons.
It took the Williams family less than 24 hours to regain enough composure to keep Cedric from embarassing them again.
Arkansas Gazette, 24 Aug 1951Cedric Hazen Williams, Traveling Salesman, Dies
Prescott, Aug. 23 - Cedric Hazen Williams, aged 59, former traveling salesman for Grunden Martin Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, died unexpectedly of a heart attack Thursday morning at Crosbyton, Tex.
He was a native of Russellville and a lifelong Arkansan, having also lived at Little Rock, Prescott and Texarkana.
Survivors include his mother, Mrs. J D Williams of 2310 Ringo Street, Little Rock; two brothers, J D Williams, Jr. and P M Williams of Little Rock; his wife, Mrs. C H Williams of Prescott; two sons of the home, and a daughter of Oklahoma City.
Sometimes things just aren't as they seem.
See you on the other side, Cedric.