E. A. Williams Papers, 1749-1969, MS 899

E. A. Williams Papers, 1749-1960

Maryland Historical Society


(Text converted and initial EAD tagging provided by Apex Data Services, March 1999.)

E. A. Williams Papers, 1749-1960
Maryland Historical Society

Contact Information:
Manuscripts Department
Maryland Historical Society Library
201 West Monument Street
Baltimore MD 21201-4674
Fax: 410.385.2105
[email protected]


Descriptive Summary

E. A. Williams Papers, 1749-1960

MS 899

Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore MD 21201-4674

Biographical Sketch

Capt. Edwin A. Williams (fl. 1828-1873) was the son of Jeremiah Williams, a Welshman who settled in Virginia. Capt. Williams served in the Virginia militia from Charlotte County; in the Confederate State Army as a Captain and Assistant Commissary of Subsistence; as a treasurer of the Roanoke Valley Railroad; as a bank trustee, and was also a lawyer and tobacco grower.

Captain Williams was married twice. First to Elizabeth Hamlett, then to Lucy Page Kennon (fl. 1874-1889). His children were Carter N. Williams (fl. 1864-1884), Edwin A. Williams, Jr. (born c. 1843), Thomas Nelson Williams (fl. 1899), Henry S. (fl. 1864-1865), E. Kennon, and probably Alice Kennon Williams (fl. 1865-1878).

Edwin A. Williams, III, son of Carter N. and Rosa Haskins Williams and grandson of Capt. E. A. Williams was a Baltimore businessman and noted genealogist.

See accompanying genealogical chart.

Scope and Content Note

The E. A. Williams Papers (1749-1960) include personal and business papers (letters, financial records, legal agreements), documents, genealogical material, photographs and other papers of the Williams family of Mecklenburg County, Va.

Most of the papers are those of Captain Edwin A. Williams, and relate to his activities as a lawyer, bank trustee, treasurer of the Roanoke Valley Railroad, tax collector, tobacco grower, and Confederate Army officer. His papers date from 1828-1873, and include letters, financial papers, legal papers, and tax accounts. His papers document his varied business and public activities and have references to slaves and the Civil War, but reflect little of his private life.

The letters of Capt. Williams second wife, Lucy Kennon, and his sons Carter N., Thomas Nelson and Henry S. Williams, daughters-in-law Rosa Haskins and Sue Withers, and his daughter (?) Alice Kennon Williams complement his papers by reflecting family life. The letters of Alice Kennon Williams (1865-1878) are courtship letters from numerous suitors.

The papers of E. A. Williams, III include letters and documents and photographs relevant to family history (1908-1928). Also, two volumes of genealogical material, Plain Facts about Some Virginians and its index are included.

A significant item in the collection is the diary of William Chancellor (1749-1751), a ship's doctor who kept a diary during a slaving voyage from New York to Africa.

Prepared by

Edith Prise

March, 1978


E. A. WILLIAMS PAPERS (1749-1960)

Acquisition #57956

Collection contains personal and business papers of the Williams family of Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Papers are principally those of Captain Edwin Williams (fl. 1828-1873), who was an officer in the Confederate Army, treasurer of the Roanoke Valley Railroad, a bank trustee, lawyer, and tobacco grower. Papers of other family members include those of Capt. Williams second wife, Lucy Kennon; his sons, Carter N., Thomas Nelson, and Henry S. Williams; daughters-in-law Rose Haskins and Sue Withers; courtship letters of Alice Kennon Williams (probably his daughter); and grandson, Edwin A. Williams, III, of Baltimore, a noted genealogist.

The collection was donated to the Maryland Historical Society by Edwin A. Williams in 1962.

Three boxes, two volumes.

Series Descriptions

E. A. Williams Papers


Letters (1842-1873) of Captain Edwin A. Williams (fl. 1828-1873) concern the building of a house and two-story brick tobacco factory; affairs of the Roanoke Valley Railroad, including an 1864 decision to invest in Confederate certificates, and the re-election of Henry Wood as president; servants wages; the return of some negroes hired from him by G. Wilkinson because the latter was leaving to serve in the war and could no longer be responsible for them (1861); property and insurance; a circular to citizens along the route of march from Maj. General Howard, the Maryland Grs. of the Army of Tennessee about provisions procurement procedures of his unit; and Capt. Williams resignation from the Confederate Army (1865) because of his age and family responsibilities.

Other papers of Capt. Williams include copies of legal agreements and property indentures (1828-1870) concerning land transactions, legal decisions in law suits, sale of railroad bonds, contracts for house and factory construction, a petition to the state legislature (Va.) about navigation of the Roanoke River, and settlement of a personal dispute between him and another official of the Roanoke Valley Railroad.

Also, Mecklenburg County Tax Account lists (1841-1848) of insolvent and nonresident levies, and financial papers (1830's-1870) including account statements, promissory notes, bills and receipts for a variety of household and personal items as well as itemized bills for labor and materials for house and factory building construction.


Papers of Capt. Williams family


Letters (1874-1889) of Lucy Page Kennon Williams (Mrs. Edwin A. Williams) are to her step-son Henry and daughters-in-law Sallie and Sue, and concern the death of her child, and a flood in Clarksville (1871) in

which Thomas Williams lost three barns of tobacco.

Letters of Henry S. Williams (1864-1865) are to his future wife, Sue Dabney Withers and concern visits. Sue's letters (1861, n.d.) are from her father, Col. R. E. Withers from Camp Dickens urging his family to write, reporting that General Beauregard has taken command and remarking on his reputation, and saying that General Bonham was ordered to advance into Fairfax County (1861); and her mother, Mary Virginia Withers, wrting from Hong Kong, commenting on the building of Sue's church, the celebration of Christmas in Hong Kong, the servants, on Chinese feelingsfor their female children, and that her husband is out of debt (n.d.)

Letters of Carter N. Williams (1864, 1865) are to his father, Capt. E. A. Williams, and his brother, E. A. Williams, Jr. Writing from the camp of the 14th Virginia Regiment, he asks his father to pay a debt and for some equipment. In 1881, Carter wrote to his children, Hallie, Page, and Edwin, describing Richmond and telling them how city boys and girls amused themselves.

Rosa Haskins (Mrs. Carter Williams) letters (1910,1912) are to her son, Edwin A. Williams, III and daughter-in-law, Mary Thornhill Williams (Mrs. Edwin, III) and Sue Williams. They concern family visits and grand-children.

Letters of Alice Kennon Williams include courtship letters and poems from numerous suitors (1865-1878).

Letters to Thomas Nelson Williams (1899) from Addie Sinclair Feild discuss financial matters and relatives.


Papers of Edwin A. Williams, III


Papers of Edwin A. Williams, III (son of Carter N. and Rosa Haskins Williams, and grandson of Capt. E. A. Williams) include two volumes of Plain Facts About Some Virginians, with an index. The volumes are letters,

photographs and documents gathered for genealogical information. Also, includes letters (1908-1923) to his uncle Thomas Nelson Williams, from his aunt, Sarah Hamilton Williams (wife of Edwin A. Williams, Jr.), from a distant cousin, and a Texas oousin, all concerning family history. Among the letters are abstracts of legal documents concerning Capt. Williams, Jeremiah Williams, and Christopher Haskins.

Miscellaneous Materials

Also in the collection is a folder of unidentified handwritten sermons and poetry (1836, n.d.); family documents (1872-1921), including marriage certificates for Carter N. and Rosa Williams and Edwin A. Williams and Mary Thornhill, diploma and Mason membership certificates of E. A. Williams, III, and a commission for Thomas N. Williams as director of Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute of Petersburg, Va.

Bound volumes of material include the diary of William Chancellor (1749-1751) describing a slaving expedition from New York to Africa; an expense account book (1847-1855) and a book of Collections for Roanoke Valley Railroad Extension (both belonged to Capt. E. A. Williams), and a book describing the marriage ceremony of Edwin and Mary Thornhill Williams, 1904.

Container List



Documents ([UNK] to [UNK] file)




Bound volumes:




Diary of William Chancellor





Expense Account Book (Capt. E. A. Williams)





Collections for Roanoke Valley Railroad Ext.





Marriage Ceremony and Witnesses--Wedding of E. A. Williams, III and Mary Thornhill





Ledger - General Index to Plain Facts about Some Virginians





1842-1873, N.D.

Letters of Capt. E. A. Williams




1828-1870, N.D.

Legal Papers of Capt. E. A. Williams




1830's-1870, N.D.

Financial Papers of Capt. E. A. Williams





Mecklenburg County (Va.) Tax Accounts




1874, 1877, 1889

Letters from Lucy Page Kennon Williams (wife of Capt. E. A. Williams)




1864, 1865

Letters of Carter N. Williams





Letter of Carter N. Williams to children




1910, 1912

Diagram of Marriage Ceremony of C. N. Williams and Rosa Haskins





Letter of Col. R. E. Withers to Sue Dabney Withers




1864, 1865

Letters from Henry S. Williams to Sue Withers





Letter from M. V. Withers to Sue Withers






Sermon notes; poetry




1865-1878, ND

Letters to Alice Kennon Williams





Letters from Addie Feild to Thomas Nelson Williams




1908-1923, N.D.

Letters of E. A. Williams, III





Letter from H. Isham Longden (?) to E. A. Williams




1927, N.D.

Newspaper clippings




1872, 1901, 1936, N.D.

Photographs and tin type of E. A. Williams, III, Lucy Page Williams, Anna Nelson Williams, Haskins Williams TRANSFERRED TO PRINTS+PHOTOS 8/1981




various dates

Stamped envelopes





shelved between boxes 1 and 2

Plain Facts About Some Virginians

2 vols.