The Williams Family of John Siddle Williams


John Siddle Williams was one of the early settlers of Hickory County, Missouri, migrating with his wife Charity Davis Williams and two small sons from Wilson county Tennessee about 1840.  His brother, James Dee Williams, as well as his brother-in-law Thomas Davis also accompanied them. Later, in 1856, his younger brothers Robert Nathaniel Williams and Stephen Marion Williams moved from Tennessee to join them. A family history stated that another brother, William T. Williams, came to Missouri, but then went back to Tennessee.  The Williams families settled in Hermitage where they built their homes and established themselves .  They had a tanning yard set up where they produced leather which was used to make shoes for the people of the area.  Tom Davis operated the first hotel in Hermitage, in the log home he built.  When Hickory County incorporated in 1845, John S. Williams was elected the first sheriff and served that office for 6 years.  He also served as the first Collector/ recorder.  Tom Davis was the first Treasurer.


John Siddle Williams was the son of Nathaniel Williams, born 1786 in VA, and Elizabeth Siddle born 1791 in SC.  She was the daughter of Stephen Siddle and Mary Head.  They were married in SC about 1807 and had their first son, Anderson Williams in 1808 in SC, after which they migrated to Wilson County TN where John Siddle Williams was born in 1810.  Next was Abraham (b.1813), Howell W. (b. 1814), William T. (1815), Polly (b.1818), James Dee (1819), Martha (b.1823), Sarah E. (1825), Robert Nathaniel( 1827) and Stephen Marion (b.1830), all born in Tennessee.  Their father died suddenly in 1844 in TN, the mother died in 1865 in TN. 


This Williams family were descendants of Roger Williams, b. 1603 in England, who founded the Rhode Island Colony and the cities of Providence, Newport, and Portsmouth, R.I.  Roger Williams was educated at Cambridge, England.  He was an evangelist who befriended and preached the gospel to the Indians in Colonial America.  When he wrote a book about the language of the Indians which was published in Europe, it caused him to be called the foremost authority on the Native American people of his day.  Roger Williams authored several books in his lifetime. His greatest contribution to America is considered by some to be his promoting the Separation of Church and State and  advocating Freedom of Religion in the New World.  It was because of religious persecution that he and his family had moved to America.   Roger Williams University in R.I. is named for him. [For more information on the Roger Williams and his family, see .]


In the 1850's  John Siddle Williams built a large two story home in Hermitage, so substantial that it survives today as home to the Hickory County Museum and Historical Society  and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.


John S. Williams and Charity Davis Williams had two sons born in Wilson County, TN, Archibald B.(b.28 Feb 1836-d. 28 Aug 1853; never married), and Nathaniel Paris (b. 13 Feb 1838-d. 11 Dec.1923, who married Tennessee Roberts), Four more children were born in Hermitage, Hickory County, MO: Mary Ellen Williams (b. 6 Dec 1841-d.10 Dec 1922; married Thomas James Holland, younger brother of Caroline I. Holland); Sarah Ann Williams (b.8Aug1843- d.13 Mar1923; married Burdett Leroy Daniel) ; James Robert Williams( b.11Aug 1847-d. 16 Jan 1929) married Malinda Thompson); and John Thomas Williams( b.24Aug1850-d.29 Oct1929; married Elizabeth Cabe).  Charity Williams died 29 Nov 1853 in Hermitage, Hickory Co. MO.


On Aug. 30, 1854, John Siddle Williams married a second time to Caroline Isabelle Holland, born Dec.31, 1830 in Kentucky, the daughter of Thomas Holland and Nancy Shemwell. To this union two children were born:

Paralel Eliza Williams, born 31Aug1856, in Hermitage, Hickory Co., MO; died 30 Sept. 1939 in Holyoke, Phillips Co., CO; married 1 Nov. 1854 to Marion Newton Edmisten in Prairie Grove, Washington County AR

William F.(Billy) Williams born 23 Dec 1859, Hermitage, Hickory Co. MO, died abt 1917 in Westville, Adair Co., OK; married Sidney (Siddie) West in 1879 at Prairie Grove, Washington Co., AR


John S. Williams was elected to the Lower House of the Missouri General Assembly and served nine terms up to the onset of the Civil War.  At that time, both the Union and the Confederates claimed Missouri.  The Governor of Missouri was in favor of secession from the Union and urged joining the Southern cause, but the State was divided almost equally over the issue.  John Siddle Williams, being from the South, argued and voted  for withdrawal from the Union, but when voted down, he immediately joined the Confederate Army and left Missouri fleeing for his life.  He served four years as a Captain in the 12th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry State Guard,(8th Division)., serving his time in Arkansas.  During the Civil War, his family took refuge in Monroe county MO and when the War was over, John S. Williams met them in Boonville, Cooper county where they lived until 1867 when they moved to Washington County Arkansas. 


John S. Williams farmed land in Arkansas, but it was not long before his abilities as a Legislator once again found him being voted into public service.  In 1874 he was overwhelmingly elected to represent his District in the Lower House of the Arkansas General Assembly and continued to serve 6 more terms, until elected in 1880 to a four year term in the Arkansas State Senate.  On Jan. 22, 1881, John Siddle Williams died after suffering a major stroke on the Senate Floor.  He was given a State Funeral and buried in Little Rock, Arkansas in Mt. Holly Cemetery among other dignitaries.


Caroline I. Williams remarried in Arkansas in 1886 to Josiah Smith Thompson, a widower, who died in 1914 at which time she moved to Phillips County Colorado to live with her daughter, Paralel Eliza Edmisten. Caroline died in 1916 and is buried in the Holyoke Colorado Cemetery.

Submitted by Betty Hendricksen

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Note: The John Siddle Williams House is the home of the Hickory County Historical Society and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See photo here.

Posted 17 April 2008 by Ginny Sharp