Joseph Williams

On this day, 3 March 1851, Joseph Williams passed away. He was my spouse’s 4th great-grandfather.

Joseph Williams was born on 17 September 1767, in Wales. Although his birth was noted in family records, no conclusive sources containing his parentage, hometown, or childhood events have been found to date.

What has been discovered is that at some point prior to 1796, Joseph Williams immigrated from Wales to Centre County, Pennsylvania. We know this because on 3 February 1796, Joseph Williams married Jane Williams, daughter of William and Mary Margaret Williams. (Despite their shared surname, it is unknown whether Joseph and Jane were, in fact, related.)

Later that year, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter whom they named Maria Williams.

In 1800, the Joseph Williams family was enumerated in Bald Eagle and Patton Townships, Centre County, Pennsylvania. Living in the home were one free white male aged 26-45 (Joseph), one free white male over the age of 45 (I believe that the enumerator marked the wrong column; he should have marked the next one for free white female under the age of 10, which would be Maria); and one free white female aged 24-45 (Jane).

About a year after this census, on 6 July 1801, son Ebenezer Williams was welcomed to the family’s home.

Several years passed, during which other children were born; however, their names are unknown. The next known child of Joseph and Jane Williams was son Joseph Williams, who arrived on 3 May 1809.

In 1810, the Joseph Williams family was enumerated in Bellefonte, Centre County, Pennsylvania. Living in the household were three free white males under the age of 10 (two of whom were Ebenezer and Joseph, Jr.), one free white male between the ages of 16 and 25 (unknown), one free white male aged 26 to 44 (Joseph, Sr.), two free white females under the age of 10 (unknown), one free white female aged 10 to 15 (Maria), one free white female aged 16 to 25 (unknown), and one free white female age 26 to 44 (Jane).

Two years after that census, son Philip Williams (my spouse’s 3rd great-grandfather) was born on 12 February 1812.

Five years later on 15 September 1817, daughter Nancy Williams was welcomed to their ever-expanding family.

In 1820, the Joseph Williams family was enumerated in Patton Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania. Residing in the home were one free white male under the age of 10 (Philip), one free white male aged 10 to 15 (Joseph, Jr.), one free white male aged 16 to 18 (Ebenezer), one free white male aged 45 and older (Joseph, Sr.), four free white females under the age of 10 (Nancy and three unknown daughters), one free white female age 10 to 15 (unknown), and one free white female aged 45 and older (Jane). According to the census, Joseph was working as a farmer.

Circa 1826, another daughter, Eliza Williams, was born in their Centre County home. She is the last known child, although, as evidenced by the previous census, the Williams family boasted many children whose names are unknown at this time.

In 1830, the Joseph Williams family was enumerated in Half Moon Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania. Living in the household were one free white male between the ages of 10 to under 15 (unknown), one free white male between the age of 15 and under 20 (Philip), one free white male between the ages of 60 and 70 (Joseph), one free white female between the age of 15 and under 20 (possibly Nancy who would have been 13 at the time), two free white females ages 20 to 30 (unknown), and one free white female between the ages of 50 and 60 (Jane).

Ten years later in 1840, the Joseph Williams family was once again enumerated in Half Moon Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania. Residing in the home were one free white male aged 30 to 40 (unknown), one free white male age 40 to 50 (unknown), one free white male between the ages of 70 and 80 (Joseph), one free white female age 20 to 30 (unknown), and one free white female between the ages of 60 and 70 (Jane). The unknown persons could either be Joseph’s and Jane’s adult children and possibly their spouses, or they could be live-in help, such as a housekeeper or farm laborer. Living on a nearby farm was son Philip Williams and his family.

Sadly, heartbreak came to Joseph the next year when his beloved wife Jane Williams died on 19 November 1841. She was 65 years old. Her grieving family buried her in Williams Cemetery, Martha Furnace, Centre County, Pennsylvania.

Sometime between his wife’s death and the 1850 Census, Joseph Williams sold his home and moved in with his son Philip. On 11 October 1850, the following individuals were enumerated in the same Worth Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania home: head of household Philip Williams (farmer, age 37); his wife Susannah (age 36); and their children Aaron (age 13), Emily (age 11), James (age 9), Nancy (age 7), George (age 5), and John (age 3). Joseph Williams (age 82) also resided in the household.

Less than six months later on 3 March 1851, Joseph Williams, age 83, passed away in his son’s home, surrounded by loved ones. He was laid to rest next to his dear wife in Williams Cemetery.

Categories: Brickwall Ancestors, Everyday People, Immigrant Ancestors, On This Day, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Joseph Williams

  1. Pingback: *Press This* Joseph Williams #227 | Its good to be crazy Sometimes

  2. Yes, there are a ton of Williams in that area, which makes research for this family difficult. Although, I have found mention of some possible first names for the unknowns there are no birthdates, so, unfortunately, I cannot say with certainty who is who in those censuses. Also, I believe that the “unknown” aspect might be because of these reasons. First, the Williams family lived in a very rural area, so either they were not recorded in public records or those records have not been put online yet. Many of the small or older churches in that region have “gone under” or been consolidated. Hopefully, those records remain. Second, I suspect that quite a few of the unknown children died young, as they did not appear in records later in life where their parents would have been named (marriage licenses, death certificates, etc.) Finally, I wonder how many of these unknowns were not children of Joseph and Jane but perhaps younger siblings coming to stay for a bit.

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  3. Why do you suppose that so many of their children are still unknown? Is it because the Williams surname is too prevalent in that area? (I also have one of those dang William Williams in my tree.)

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