Happy 98th, Grandpa!


Today is my great-grandfather’s 98th birthday. I think it’s pretty amazing that we still have the opportunity to have five generations of our family in the same room.


Lately I’ve been looking over some of the old family documents and photos, thinking of Grandpa, and what he must have been like in his youth. I found this short story that he wrote, and decided to try to type several of these old stories and save them here on my blog…

So, here ’tis…

I was born Jan 1, 1911 at Logan Creek, Ellington Mo (Corridon, MO). I was the youngest in a family of 16 children. Several died before I was born. My father’s name was Charles Lafayette Williams (born May 4th 1866) and my mother’s name was Leona Bell (Renfro) Williams, (born Feb 4th 1866).

Her father was hung in the Civil War. They were both from South Carolina. Leona (my mother) had a brother, Virgil Renfro, and a half brother, George Hines. His wife’s name was Sarah, and their children were Lewis, Jim, Robert, Walter, George, and Sarah.

My paternal grandparents were Daniel Maxie Williams (born Feb 7th 1827, and died May 26th 1875) and Mary Ann Clementine (Foster) Williams (born January 6th 1832, and died October 8th 1915). My paternal great-grandparents were J.E. Williams (born March 16th 1787) and Jane Williams (born June 29th 1798). They married on January 16th, 1816. Also, Joel Thomas Foster (born June 7th 1808) and Lucinda (Holland) Foster, (born June 14th, 1810). My paternal great-great grandmother was Ann Foster (husband – ?). My paternal great-great grandfather was John Holland (born in Ireland, died March 17th, 1835).

My maternal grandparents were by the last name Baskett, possibly from Kentucky. She had a sister named Mexico (went by “Mex”) and one named Viola, who went to Michigan. Viola had a daughter who looked like my sister, Dora, and who married Charley (“Chet”) Hesterly.

My father was a farmer, and my mother was a housewife. I can barely remember my grandparents, because I was too young. I do remember fearing Grandma (Mary Ann Clementine Foster Williams).

When my parents (and family) moved from Kentucky to Missouri, they had a colored lady they didn’t want to bring with them. (My sister, Mae, says that we could not have her anymore as a slave, because of the Emancipation Proclamation.) She was so upset, she jumped off a bridge and drowned herself.

It was said by my brothers that as a young child I was nursed until the age of five. I went to Owl’s Bend School at Powder Mill. The teacher was Corie Martin. I had to quit school in grade three to help on the farm.

My parents were protective, mainly of their daughters. When it came time to look for a mate, I looked for whomever showed interest, or didn’t mind riding a horse on dates. Dating consisted of walks, sitting by the spring where my family keeps milk and butter, church gatherings, pie suppers, and sometimes dances. I married Goldie Kimes, who was born April 14, 1912. Her father would get out the rifle to try to scare off the girls’ beaus.

I liked the fact that she was a hard worker, and most of all, she was a lot of fun. We went horseback riding on our first date. When I proposed on a later date, her response was that her daddy would not allow it. When Goldie was 18, and I was 19, we ran away to Centerville, MO and got married on April 18th, 1932. We claimed to both be older because of her father’s objection to our marriage. Gladys Shriver was the witness. J.R. Harrison was the Justice of the Peace. I had ordered a suit, but did not get it, so I wore dress pants.


This last photo was taken just a few months before my great-grandmother died of cancer.


7 thoughts on “Happy 98th, Grandpa!

  1. Daniel Maxie and Mary Ann Clementine were my maternal great great grandparents. One of their children, Brooks, married Eveline Counts, whose father was taken out and hanged by Union troops, so between Renfros and Counts (and Williams) there was a lot of Southern sympathy – Brooks’ and Charles younger brother was Jefferson Davis Williams. The following link mentions him, his wife, and offspring.


    I no longer have the precise information but the family was traced back to Philip Williams, a captain in the Virginia militia in the Revolutionary War, and generations before him to Cuthbert Ellyson, who died in England c. 1560. I grew up in Ellington and I’ve heard my aunt and mother speak of Charles Lafayette Williams. Do be well, family.

    Robert Larkin

  2. Daniel Maxie and Mary Ann Clementine Foster were my maternal great grandparents. I am their son, Jefferson Davis Williams’, granddaughter.

    I especially appreciate the stories and family memories your great grandpa shared since they would have been lost to me otherwise. By the way, my mother Esther Williams was born at Owl’s Bend. What a small world it is!

  3. My grandfather was George Rufus Williamsand my mother is Georgia May Williams Jackson. He was a wonderful grandfather and I miss him very much. He died over 30 years ago. He, too, talked of fearing his Grandmother. He often said she was a Blackfoot Indian and would beat them with a stick whenever she could catch them. He was such a tease, I often wondered if he didn’t deserve it, just a little bit. It was nice reading your stories.

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