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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2010-10-31 06:19 pm

Mary C Dunn Callaway Williams

She is my great great grandmother.


She is also my most challenging "brick wall."

All the historic documents say she was born in Georgia, but that is as far as it goes. She was born 5 January 1849, and died at the age of 80, on 9 April 1929. According to her obituary, she was blind for several years before her death.


I have never been able to find out the identities of her parents and/or siblings. I hoped to find out by reviewing her death certificate. The informant for the certificate was Mary's son, Ruben Ned Williams. On it, Ned said Mary's father's name was Mr. Dunn. He did not know what her mother's name was.

And I don't believe that.

Mary was first married to my great great grandfather, Allen Mason Lowery Callaway. They married on 8 September 1866 in Clark Co., AR. Because Mary was still a minor, the family she lived with gave permission for, and witnessed her marriage. But they were not named in the marriage certificate.


Mace Callaway died on 15 February 1877, leaving Mary and their daughter, Julia Ann Callaway. I have found no evidence of other children borne to them - either live or stillbirths.

On 13 July 1878, Mary Dunn Callaway married David Andrew Williams in Clark Co., AR. David was a widower himself, and had a daughter from his marriage to Martha L Canady, named Mary Etta (Marietta) Williams. He and Mary had two sons, Ruben Ned and William Andrew Williams, before he died on 23 January 1888 in Clark County.

Mary's granddaughter, Addie Louise Herrington Burris, was my paternal grandmother. Mary lived with my grandmother when Louise was a child, and all my life, I was told by my grandmother that Mary was her "Indian grandmother." There were two members of my family who felt that while my grandmother did not intentionally lie, she was mistaken about Mary's ethnic origins.

One of my aunts took a DNA test several months ago to try and resolve the issue of Mary's ethnic origins.

Grandma was right about that.