Thursday, August 11, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Will of Charles Williamson

Deborah (Williamson) Bell was my great-great grandmother. I wrote about difficulties learning the identity of her father. A very strong candidate was a Charles Williamson who died in Wood County, (West) Virginia in 1858. See my earlier post: HERE. He was included in a book by Raymond Martin Bell and Edna Marian Miller with just eight children. They did not include Deborah. I hoped they had missed some esoteric document, but a very basic document reveals the truth.

FamilySearch has browsable images of "West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971" for all 55 counties of West Virginia. In Wood County's Will Book 5 I found three entries for Charles Williamson in the index: his will on p. 127-8 and two settlements on pp. 180-81 and 266-68. The image below is a little too small to read and not in the best of shape to begin with, but it is a treasure!
The will names eleven children. Based on the census records for Charles Williamson, I believe there were twelve, the additional one a daughter, Judith, who died in 1847 and is buried in Compton Cemetery in Wood County as are Charles, his wife Martha and other of their children. I created a table based on his census returns of who was represented assuming all the children were his children. The will now gives names to "my daughter Deborah Bell" but also daughter Sarah Williamson and son Samuel M. Williamson. The will named executors but Charles added a codicil naming his wife and Joseph Bell as executors. The settlements are done by executor Joseph Bell. He was Deborah's husband.
The Williamson book gives the maiden name of Charles's wife as Martha Martin. Learning her family will be added to my queries now. I will also have to verify the Williamson descent from Moses Sr. and his son John, both having served in the American Revolution, down to Charles.

I just found the will last night and when I saw those magic words "my daughter Deborah Bell" there was cheering in my house!

  • 1820 U.S. census, Tyler County, Virginia, p. 86; NARA M33, roll 140, digital images,
  • 1830 U.S. Census, Tyler County, Virginia, p. 187; NARA M19, roll 200, imaged from FHL microfilm 0,029,679.
  • 1840 U.S. census, Washington County, Ohio, Marietta Township, p. 299; NARA M704, roll 433, imaged from FHL microfilm 0,020,179.
  • 1850 U.S. census, Wood County, Virginia, District 65, p. 110A; NARA M432, roll 981, digital images,

(all Virginia locations now in West Virginia)

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