Notes for Jesse Thomas Williams: Jesse Thomas Williams
Birth: 9 AUG 1837 in Walterboro, St. Bartholomew's Parrish, South Carolina Death: 8 JAN 1915 in Jeff Davis County, and buried Satilla Baptist Church cemetery, Georgia
Jesse's last name will be listed in this record as Williams, since he was reared with the name of his mother's second husband, even though no record has been found to show that Mr. Williams adopted him. Military records of the Confederate States of America show that Jesse served as a private in Captain A. L. Campbell's Company of the Colleton Rangers. This Company was incorporated into Co. C, 3rd Regiment of the South Carolina Cavalry. He was compensated for the use of his horse, but was required to pay for his ammunition. There is an official record that shows that he owed $1.95 for cartridges for the period of September-October, 1864. Warren Williams, grandson of Jesse, provided the following information about Jesse Williams as told by Arley D. Finley, Jeff Davis County Historian and retired Postmaster. The information was given to Mr. Finley by Amos Williams and aired on radio station WVOH on June 17, 1970. "Mr. Jesse Williams, whose story we are telling today, came from Walterboro, South Carolina. He was an orphan boy and he was brought up on a large plantation where he received practically no wages nor did he get to go to school and get an education. While still a young man, the great civil war came along and he enlisted and fought four long years for his beloved Southland. He came out of the war without a scratch, but when he was mustered, he had no money, no relatives, and no home. The Carpetbaggers had taken over the plantation where he had worked as a boy. "He married Henrietta Stanfield, daughter of John Malachi Stanfield and Sarah Stanfield of Walterboro. By working hard and raising some stock in the swamps and wild woods, he managed to save enough money in Burke County Georgia to buy a yoke of oxen and a cart. With this equipment, he came from Burke County to this county, which was part of Appling County at that time. "Mr. Williams had stayed in Burke County long enough on his way here from South Carolina to raise some cotton and get a start in a financial way. He stayed in Burke County 3 or 4 years and when he left, he had enough money not only to buy his oxen and cart but also enough to buy some land when he got here. He found a good spot about three miles from Hazlehurst on the Alma road. He was able to buy 490 acres (land lot 404) for $1.00 per acre. He moved on the land with his wife & four children and built two log cabins. Each had one room about 15 by 18 feet. It was in one of these cabins, that later, Amos and Abraham (the twins) were born. Today, Mr. Amos Williams lives within ¼ mile of the place where he was born, which is quite a record, especially considering the fact that Mr. Amos is 86 years old. "Mr. Jesse Williams was able later to acquire another lot of land from two gentlemen named Hand who had bought this land according to the deeds on record in Appling County for the small amount of $5.00, each one putting up $2.50 according to the deeds when they bought this land. Later Mr. Williams had to sell this land to pay a $1,000 note, which he had endorsed for his neighbor and in this manner lost this lot (490 acres). The land on which Mr. Amos Williams lives today is part of a 300-acre tract, which he bought from Mr. Head, the father of Mrs. Rhetta Wooten. Mr. Head had bid on this 300 acres of land at the courthouse for $750 and then decided he did not want it. So he let Mr. Williams have the land for the same price he had paid. All this was adjoining his land and later on Mr. Williams decided to divide up his land among his ten children (8 boys and 2 girls). He first wrote out his will and let each child read the will to see if everything was agreeable. He gave some children more than he did others and he had a reason for each size gift. For instance, he gave more to those who stayed home and helped operate the farm. Amos and Abraham received less than others because they were the two who received the most education and were more able to take care of themselves. After all the children had read his will and all had agreed that it was fair and just, Mr. Williams then made out a deed to each child for the amount left to him or her in his will. In this manner he eliminated any chance of a misunderstanding or ill will by any member of the family. Mr. Williams was a smart man. While Mr. Jesse was living in these two log cabins with his family, the Beewick Lumber Company was cutting lumber around him. Lots of people don't know it but back in 1876, the Beewick Lumber Company was located at Johnsonville, near Graham, Georgia on the Macon & Brunswick railroad, which had been completed six years before. Back in 1880, the large plant burned and they moved their large mill to Hazlehurst and stayed in Hazlehurst for the next twenty years. Before they had their fire, they ran tram roads all over the countryside cutting only the larger trees, which were all virgin timber. One of the tram roads ran across the lands adjoining Mr. Williams' and one day the lumber crew cutting large trees went over the line and cut about twenty of Mr. Jesse's large trees before he could stop them. Mr. Williams sent word to Mr. Beewick to come see him about the timber, which had been cut in error. The next morning, Mr. Beewick came out on the tram engine with some other officials and paid for the timber. He was so impressed by the manner which Mr. Williams had handled his complaint and looking over the two small log cabins where the Williams family lived, told Mr. Williams that he was sending out enough finished, dressed lumber for him to build the family a nice five room house. The Lumber would not cost him a dime. The new home was built farther over near the present highway and was used by Mr. Jesse to raise his family and only in the past few years has it been torn down. "Mr. Jesse lived until he reached the age of eighty. Of his ten children, only two survive today. Mr. Ben Williams who lives at Baxley and is 97 years old; and Mr. Amos who is 86 and still travels around and keeps a large group of his customers contented, with their sewing machines running in good shape. "Amos and Abraham were the two school teachers in the family and were identical twins. I transacted business with both of them over the years and I never learned to tell them apart. Abraham was the first schoolteacher hired in this county by the new school superintendent T. J. Ellis when Jeff Davis started operating the schools in 1906. He was a dedicated teacher working more for the good that he could do than the small paycheck he received. At one time when Abraham was teaching school at Johnson's School near Mr. Lott Johnson's farm, Amos substituted for him a whole week and the pupils never knew the difference. Another time, Abraham was going steady with a young lady in the community and was not able to keep a date. Mr. Amos substituted for his brother without his brother's knowledge of it and the young lady did not detect the difference until later. "I could tell you many more interesting episodes in the Jesse Williams story, especially how Amos maintained order in his schools, and the rough times he had and how he gave instructions in writing and arithmetic to grown men who later became some of our most prosperous and well known citizens, but time is running out."
More About Jesse Thomas Williams: Burial: Jeff Davis County, Georgia - Satilla Baptist Church Cemetery.
Children of Jesse Thomas Williams and Heneritta Stanfield are: