Anthony Vernon Williams Letters, 1931


Another version typed by Harriet Fast Scott daughter of Fances Shacklette Fast


R.F.D.1. Ekron, Ky. Mar. 29, 1931,

Dear Cousin Francis,

Your letter of recent date received. I was glad to hear from you. I never get tired of talking about my ancestors. I am sorry I do not know more about them.

I was told by my father that our Williams’ ancestors were from Wales. Three brothers, James, John, and Ezekial Williams came over from Wales and settled in Culpepper CO Virginia. The date Father did not know. Later he did not know some of the Williams removed to Hardin Co. Ky. My grandfather John Finley Williams moved from Hardin Co. to Meade Co. in 1835 and bought a farm of 300 acres where brother Tom now lives. The same place where my father was born and lived all his life and where your grandfather Samuel Williams grew up.

Your grandfather Samuel Williams was born in Hardin Co. Ky Jan 29, 1823. He died Oct 15, 1865.

Your great grandfather John Finley Williams was born Aug. 5, 1797. He married Mary Vernon Feb. 12, 1822. He died May 24, 1848.

Your great grandmother Mary Vernon Williams was the daughter of Anthony Vernon. I don’t know any dates in this family. This man’s wife was Francis Quinn.

I do not know where the Vernons came from or what nationality they were, but I am surmising from an old letter I have that is dated Mar. 15, 1804, that the Vernons were from Madison CO, Vir.

Anthony and Francis Vernon had a family of 7 daughters and 2 sons.

2 daughters died about the time they were grown.

Lucinda married a Mr. Kennedy I saw Aunt Lucinda twice she lived to be 100 years and 22 days old. She died in 1909.

And as I have mentioned Mary married your great grandfather John Finley Williams.

Sallie married Daniel Williams a brother of John who married Mary Vernon. I was up in La Rue CO last April. I went to see an old lady by the name of Williams 90 years old.

Her husband (Anthony Vernon Williams) was a son of the above named Daniel Williams.

One of the Vernon girls I don’t know her given name married a Mr. Bledson.

Jane Vernon married Abraham Enlow.

It was this Abraham Enlow who was the boy who, then 16 years old, went for the Dr. When Abraham Lincoln was born.

My mother Catherine Kennedy was a descendant of Abe Enlow.

She and my father, both descendants of the Vernons, they (father and mother) being second cousins.

It is said that Abe Lincoln was named for the boy Abe Enlow.

Your great, great Grandfather was James Williams. His wife was a Miss Milligan. I do not know the date of their births & deaths. Anthony Vernon had 2 sons Richard and Simeon. Richard married and left descendants. Simeon never married.

Grandmother Mary (Vernon) Williams lived with my father & mother. She died Jan 28, 1881  I being 9 yrs old when she died, my mother let Grandmother name me. She named me for her father Anthony Vernon.

I have some interesting old letters and some bills of sale of slaves, and some confederate bills of money. So far as I can go back none of our ancestors were criminals or outlaws, but there is no telling what we might dig up if we could go farther back.

I get the dates I have given from the family Bible of Grandfather Williams.

Cousin Francis come to see us next summer when you come to Ky and I will go some farther into details of our ancestors.

I am sending you a copy of a bill of sale of a slave.

With kindest regards to you all.

Anthony Vernon Williams

P.S. Please excuse writing with lead pencil as my fountain pen has about played out.

A true copy of a bill of sale of a negro slave.

Know all men by these presents that I this day sold to D R Van Meter my black boy Dick about twelve years of age for the sum of Eight hundred and Fifty dollars Seven hundred in hand paid and balance secured by note. I also warrant and defend the said boy against the claims of my self and all others and a slave for life.

This the 11th day of Jan 1860

A W Haynes,

R.F.D.I. Ekron, Ky. Apr 19 1931

Dear Cousin Francis: Your letter at hand I am sending you Family record of John Finley Williams as there were several John Finley Williams I am making them I II III. You will find date of birth of Mary Vernon Williams which I omitted to give in my first letter. I am giving the cemeteries in which they were buried yes there are many old cemeteries one on top of the range of Hill Grove Hills about 1 1/2 mi. north east of the Meadeville graveyard, and the Williams graveyard in Dave Smith’s farm also a small graveyard on the side of Hill Grove Hills on my farm known as the Payne graveyard. And so you are going to write a book. I suppose the title of which will so many generations (naming the numbers of generations) of William’s and Allied Families I am delighted that you are going to do this. It is something that I always wanted someone to do. I will aid you all I can. I think by going to La Rue Co. I can get the old family Bible of Anthony Vernon and get valuable information. I think I can locate this old Bible.

I don’t know much about the Vernon’s but we will find out what we want to know.

Also by going to a man named Dan Williams in Hardin Co. we can find out more of James Williams. The father of John Finley Williams. I have a list of the children of James Williams & wife ____ Milligan but only dates of their births did I give you this?

When you come to see us we will go up in La Rue and Hardin and will go and look up data also look over the old cemeteries.

I have a book of Family History on my mother’s side of the La Rues and Allied Families. The La Rues were distant relatives of my mother.

This is a book of 198 pages which sold in Common building for $3.00

I have talked to the author of this book Judge Otis M. Mather he told me he had not got near out of the book yet what it cost him that was 5 years ago.

I would suggest you have pictures of the oldest homes now standing of the family. One of them would be the old Williams house now owned by my brother Thomas Williams. This house was built in 1837.

Also a picture of some of the old graveyards one near us wherein many of our people are buried. This cemetery has been badly neglected but I will have it cleared up by the time you come.

If you decide to have these pictures in the book of course you will bring your camera with you. I visited Cousin Amelia Williams Jenkins last Sunday evening to get dates of the family of her father & mother James and Amanda (Wiseheart) Williams but she could not give them complete as she did not have her father’s family Bible. You want all generations of children, grandchildren too.

Uncle James’s children are scattered from Ky to Alaska but I will get it all if given time.

I am sending what you requested, some dates I do not have. Am keeping a carbon copy and will get the missing dates when I can.

Let me know about 2 weeks before you come in and will have my work arranged so I can help you.

If you want to look up marriage records prior to 1792 you will have to go to Bardstown as Hardin Co. was cut off from Nelson Co. and established a county in 1792. But I suppose you know this. I am thinking the record of marriage. The marriage because you found at E-town that Sarah Williams who married Daniel Holeman May 22, 1799 was a daughter of James Williams my great grandfather.

As to the family record of Samuel & Rachel Williams, I do not know. Have not had an opportunity to find out.

I will do anything to assist you no matter how much searching it takes.

It would be interesting if you could go to the will book in Elizabethtown and get copies of wills of our ancestors. The old wills are so different to what they are today. I have an interesting document where James Williams in 1826 hires a negro slave for a year, I will look it up and send you a copy of it some time.

I hope you will be successful in tracing back to John, James and Ezekiel Williams that might take back several generations, I believe there are about 3 generations for every 100 years.

Well, I hope you can decipher my writing. I think I have copied dates as I found them. I will fill out the blank dates when I can find them.


A. V. Williams.


Ekron Ky. May 3, 1931

Dear Cousin Francis - Your letter of Apr 24 recieved. I only have time to write on Sundays. But I am deeply interested in our work.

I am sending you what I have and know of James Wiliams and his children. I get the dates of his children's births from an old Bible I suppose it was John Finley Williams’s old bible my grand-father.

I also have found an obituary of Simeon Vernon got this from an old scrap book. As to the Payne Graveyard only Paynes and Richard Williams are buried there a very small grave yard and only 2 tomb stones. As to the older Shacklettes I do not know much about them but I suspect if you would write Dr. Dane S. Roberts West Point, Ky. he could give you the information you desire about the Shacklettes.

Dr and I went to school at the same time to your father at Garrett, Ky.  He and I are good friends.  When you write him tell him who you are he thought a lot of your father.

I do not know whether Hill Grove Church has any records of the Meadeville graveyard. But I understand that the church records run back to when that church was constituted in 1822. I do not know in whose hands the records are in but I can find out. Oh yes, do you want me to send you a copy of Simeon Vernon’s obituary?  He died Dec. 11 1876.  Did not give date of his birth but said he was in his 53rd year of his age.

Many thanks for copies of letters also.  I will look over the records and see if the dates and names are correct and if any mistakes will give them to you.

Father told me that there were 3 distinct families or sets of Williams in Hardin Co. who were not related. We of course will have to be carefull about this.

You asked was Samuel Williams born in Ky. I do not know which Samuel you mean. I was just thinking that settlements was not made in what is now Hardin Co. or near Elizabethtown or which was sometimes callen Servues Valley until about 1780.  I don’t remember the exact date but I am guessing that James Williams must have been born in Va.  His oldest child was born in 1779. I know a man in Hardin Co. Dan Williams is a great grandson of James Williams.   I think he can perhaps give us some information.  I looked for him a year ago when up there but did not have time to find him. I know where he lives but do not know his address but we will look him up next summer.  He is about 68 years old.  I saw his old mother who was 90 years old but she was so feeble all I could get her to tell me was that James Williams's wife’s maiden name was Milligan. This lady’s husband was Anthony Vernon Williams son of Daniel Williams.

I do not know which Vernon was Anthoney’s father. We will find out perhaps. I shall write John Enlow who is a descendant of Jane Vernon about the Vernons.

When looking in the old trunk of papers I came upon the old deed made by Thurman Tuches & wife to John F. Williams date Jan 1, 1835 for 396 acres of land consideration was $1500. If I have time will send you a copy of other letters etc. you wanted in this letter.

Oh yes do you think it advisable to make honorable mention of some of the faithful slaves. I have a bill of sale of a negro woman that grandfather John F. Williams bought in 1839.

My aunts and uncles spoke of this negro Caroline being a faithful slave and she was found dead kneeling at a chair must have died praying.

I have a picture of Uncle George Williams sitting on the porch of this typical negro cabin.  He was given by Anthony Vernon to Grandmother Mary Vernon Williams when he was 9 year sold. This old negro died Mar. 15, 1910.

I have photographs of Daniel Williams & wife but they are much faded with age.

Perhaps the Samuel Williams you ask about is the son of James Williams, I don’t know.

I am sorry that the old letter dates Mar. 15, 1804 is so worn with age that all of it can not be read. A large hole has been worn in it. I am sending you one from the same person, Leroy & Sarah Canaday. You will observe that was before the day of postage stamps and envelopes.

It is folded and sealed: Madison Ch. Va Apr 30 is the postage mark also 25 denotes 25 cents the amount of postage paid.  Ch after Madison stands for Court House father told me.  It seems that the county seat of Madison Co. Va was called Madison Court House.

It seems that Leroy Canaday is setting up some business of Anthony Vernon in Madison Co. VA.

I am sending you the old letter.  You may copy this letter and return the old letter to me. Also a carbon copy of the letter and many thanks for your trouble.  I will send you a copy of the obituary of Simeon Vernon next time.  It is rather long.   I have brief obituaries of Mary Vernon Williams, Francis Van Meter Williams, Sallie Williams Stanfield, and of my Father.

I shall in time get the descendants of James son of John Finley Williams
of Elizabeth Williams Kendall
and of Sarah Williams Stanfield
also the recd of the descendants of James
gr father Samuel Williams descendants

I ran upon a clipping your mother wrote to the Meade Co. Messenger in 1906 of course This has no connection with our work but thought you would like to see it. I belive I have written all you requested.


Anthony V. Williams.


Ekron, Ky, May 17, 1931.

Dear Cousin Francis:

I am mailing you the other old letter. Also as it seems a bond signed by gr grandfather James Williams you may take these 2 old letters the deed to the man who buys old papers & documents. Let me know what he would pay for them but I value them very highly. Tell this man also I have 3 bills of sales for slaves, ask him could he handle them.

I am also sending you the obituary of Simeon Vernon. I wonder how old Francis Luisa Vernon lived to be. The obituary stated she was still living that was in 1876. She had then been married 80 years.

As to the marriage of James Williams, it is possible the old lady could have been mistaken. If I could have seen her son he could have given it correct. We will look them up when you come to Ky. I do not know this son (Dan Williams) address or I would write him, but I know where they live, about half way between E’town and Hodgensville.

Many thanks for sending me a type written copy of the old letters.

I do not know anything of this Terry Canaday. He writes as if he was not on the level.

Certainly you can keep the letters that your mother wrote to the Messenger.

Your mother taught as is was sometimes called then a subscription school. In a log school house I think, but am not so sure of the date in the spring of 1883 I was just a barefooted boy. She boarded at our house.

This school house was near where Kirby Smith lives now. I think I can locate where the house stood.

Yes all of your father’s pupils thought a great deal of him. I went to school with him in the long ago 1886 to 1889 at Garret and at Hardinsburg in the spring of 1891.

You might get some information concerning the Shacklettes from Rev. D.F. Shacklette I don’t know his address also from Rev. Philip Jenkins.

We attended the Centennial Anniversary of Brandenburg Baptist Church in June 1924 these two men had much to say about the Shackletts of old. Ben Jenkins lives in Louisville I will try and get his address, and send it to you.

I am working on the family & descendants of Henry Smith and his wife Mary Jane Williams will send them when I get them complete.

Also you will note I have many blank dates of others but will send them when I obtain them.

Oh yes when you read the (will, deed?) I am sending this time of James Williams it is too bad he had to make his mark.

But I suppose illiteracy was very common then.

I may have some other old papers in the old leather trunk. I will go through it and see.

These obituaries I am sending you, you need not consider Mrs. Enlow she was a relative of mother’s perhaps distantly related to Williams, as father and mother were second cousins.

As to the murder of Simeon Vernon. He was supposed to have been set on fire by a man named Metcalf. Vernon was a retired farmer he and his sister living in Elizabethtown. Metcalf, a tenant on his farm. Vernon & his sister had rooms reserved in his farm house, they would go to the farm occasionally and stay a while. Vernon and his tenant had a falling out it was said. This was related to me by my father.

Metcalf obtained a change of venue when the trial was called at E’Town he was tryed at Sheppardsville Bullet Co. and acquitted.

I am delighted to devote what time I can to assist you in this work.

I have not the children of Anthony Vernon straightened out yet. I said he had 7 daughters and 2 sons but now I think he had 9 daughters and 2 sons.

I will investigate and try and find out the number of children.

Anthony Vernon is said to have been very industrious, very honest in his dealings, and very plain spoken.

There was so much that I failed to ask the old folks.

With kindest regards to you and all your family,


Anthony V. Williams

P.S. In next letter I will be able to give you names & dates of Mary Jane Williams Smith’s descendants complete.

Will also tell you something of the life of Francis Quinn Vernon.

I am valuing these old papers so much I may register this letter.


R 1. Ekron Kentucky June 12, 1931
Dear Cousin Francis:

Your letter and the old letter dated in 1916 received.

No I do not know anyone in Bardstown that belong to any of the connections.

I only know one person living in that town and that is Hon. Ben Johnson an ex-representative in Congress. He is a very busy man. He now being one of the highway commissioners.

Yes, $30.00 is entirely too much for the work you want done in Bardstown.

Three weeks ago I went to a relative John Enlow in Hodgensville asking him many questions about the Vernons but have no answer yet.

His sister Mrs. Coy whom I met 7 years ago knew much about the Vernons but she is dead now.

Aunt Francis VanMeter who made her home with father and mother the last 6 years of her life told me the following about her grandmother Francis Quinn Vernon.  As I have before mentioned she had two daughters who died about the time they were grown.   Their deaths being only a short time past.

This affliction was so great on the mother she became insane.

They had no asylums for the insane in those days, so a slave had taken care of her.  She would become violent at times when they had to chain her to a bed post. This slave would awake her every morning and she would eat breakfast with her family.

But one morning, the slave failed to awake her and when she got up and found out that they did not awake her to eat with the family as they always done, she wept violently and it is said after this spell of weeping her mind came back to her and she was sane the rest of her life. She was crazy for 30 years.

As to how old she was when she became deranged I don’t know.

Carrie begged me not to tell you this but I said I was, I am not keeping anything back I know of our ancestors. No doubt but what this was a disappointment to mother Vernon, her husband and her children but such happens in the best of families.

This was the only insanity I know of in the family.

I attended the funeral of Mr. Henry Adkisson today at Buck Grove.

Bro. Ridneor told me that Louden Co. Va was formed from Culpepper Co.

So we may both be right I don’t know the date that Louden Co. was formed.

I have the descendants of Mary Jane Williams Smith nearly ready. I have to get a few more dates.

I have been told by someone that some of our Quinn ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.


A. V. Williams



R.I. Ekron, Ky June 29, 1931

Dear Cousin,

First I am replying to your letter of June 2. I did not write the first Sunday after getting the letter as you said you would be away, and every Sunday since, we have either visited or had company.

Carrie and Vernon have just gotten back from a visit to Oklahoma. They visited Carrie’s sister, Mrs. Bunger. They had a delightful trip. This was a big trip for them as they had never been that far away from home.

It suited fine for them to make the trip at that time as Rosalie, the youngest daughter, is spending her vacation at home.

I have been very busy with wheat harvest, plowing corn, and working out tobacco and we are building a tobacco barn.

Have had a delightful season, except it has been dry for almost 3 weeks but had a rain last Tuesday and it is raining this evening. Rec’d all papers and deed. Also a snapshot of your family. You have a fine looking family.

I am glad you got a copy of James Williams’s will. No I don’t know that Ann married a Parks.  I am just wondering why he left Sarah who married Daniel Holeman out of his will. I know that she left descendants.

I heard father and mother often speak of Cousin Harrison Holeman but I never met him.

I have forgotten to tell you that James Williams married the second time.  He married a Mrs. Fasliegh I think. She lived in Brandenburg but they did not live long together and parted so father told me.

Yes I think that must be the right James Williams as the names check all except Sarah and perhaps he just willed her out.

No I don’t know anything of the slave Ben spoke of in the will.

I was just wondering the other day.  You know noone ever wrote a book or done any thing worth while but they were criticized.  I think you are doing the right thing in sticking close to records.

I asked Bro. Ridner what about Judge Otis Mather’s book on the history of the LaRue family. I said what criticism’s have you to offer on his book. He said Judge Mather did not stick close enough to records.

I am sending you the data of Mary Jane Williams Smith. I have some missing dates that I have some of them but will give them next time also I will look over the work and see if you have dates and names correct. I do not write very plain no way. Rosalie is rounding me up because I do not write with ink. She offered me her fountain pen but it seems like I can write better with a pencil. I know it does not show very good taste.

Many thanks for all the type written copies you have sent me.

Sincerely, A. V. Williams

John Finley Williams and Mary Vernon  (Mary Jane was 9th child)

9 Mary Jane b. Dec 14 1838 d. Feb 11 1899 m. Nov 28 1867 Henry R. Smith b Apr 3 1834 d July 6 1914 son of David and Susan Greer Smith.  6 children

1. Frances VanMeter Smith b Oct 2 1868 d Sept 13 1900 m Oct 23 1889 Gus D. Bruner b Mar 28 1867 d Mar 24 1919.  2 children

    A. Mary Elizabeth b Sept 7 1890 d Mar 14 1931 m Edgar J. Hunt Oct 17 1913

         1. Francis Elizabeth Hunt b Mar 6 1916

         2. Edgar J. Hunt Jr. b Aug 23 1917

    B. Henry Davis Bruner b Jan 15 1894 d May 24 1895

2. John David Smith b Mar 30 1870 m Hettie Brown b Feb 19 1875 Daughter of Robert & Kate Brown. 3 children

     A. Robert Henry b Dec 14 1899 m Emily Shelton June 27, 1821 daughter of John and Frances Shelton. 1 child

            Martha Jean b May 24 1829

     B. Thomas Brooks b Dec 5 1905 m March 18 1931 Rosa Florance Downs daut. of Samuel O. and Mary Allen Downs

     C. Francis Lucile b Mar 22 1909 m Nov 8 1926 William David Simmons son of Walter and Annie Bewley Simmons. 1 child.

           William David b Oct 22 1927

3. James Kirby b Jan 3 1872 m Nov 1 1900, Minnie R. Ritchie, daughter of Frank and Elizabeth Busch Ritchie. 5 children

       A. Mary Elizabeth b Nov 10 1901 m Robert Dooley son of Smion and ______ Dooley. 4 children

             1. James Lanford

             2. Virginia Anetta

             3. Roy Norman

             4. Jerry Wayne

    B. Lena Irene b Sept 10, 1903 m Hewit Foushee son of Joseph and Tena Tompson Foushee

    C. Thelma Lorene b Aug 17 1905

    D. Henry Crestin b Mar 25 1907

    E. James Kirby b Feb 10 1916

4. Thomas Wasfield b Mar 2 1874 d Feb 7 1893

5. Henry Richard b Dec 27 1877 d Dec 8 1920 m Dec 28 1904 Lucy Coleman, daut of William and Henrietta Haynes Coleman. 8 children

      1. Mabel Francis b Nov 4 1905

     2. Lillian Rose b Dec 22 1906

     3. Lucile b Sept 30 1908

     4. Anita b July 17 1910

     5. Dorothy Louise b Mar 5 1914

     6 . Harry Richard b Sept 19 1916

     7. Marietta b Sept 19 1918

     8. Robert Harris b Mar 6 1921

6. Joseph Samuel b Mar 18 1880 m Dec 21 1904 Nellie Carrico daut Benidict Joseph and Mary Ann Kendall Carrico. 3 children

     1. Joseph Gladney b Aug 30 1906 m Dec 1 1929 Retha L Miller daut Emmett and Florence Bratcher Miller. 1 child

               Jack Miller b June 26 1931

     2. Mary Mildred b Oct 26 1909

     3. Margaret Henry b Mar 22 1912


Ekron, Ky Aug 24, 1931

Dear Cousin Francis:

I was so disappointed that you and your family did not get out to see us. Part of the time you were in Ky I was out on a vacation. I tried to get those who went on our trip to go before we did but it did not suit the other parties and we stayed some longer than we intended and I was sick a few days after we got back.  I remembered too that you said you would be in Ky about Aug 10 but you left before I expected. I was at the Baptist Association at Ekron last Wednesday and I spoke to Cousin Knot Ford. I said I suppose Francis and her family are here she said no they left yesterday.

Please do not think hard of me. If I had known you were going to leave so soon, I would have called you up and insisted on you and your folks coming out to our house.

I had a fine trip in company with Dr. Dan Roberts his wife and Andrew Carrico. We visited the old battlefield of Shilo in S.W. Tenn, also Chattanooga and was on Lookout Mountain also the battlefield of Chukamanga in the northern part of Ga.

I have taken very few vacations and am always worn out when I get back home.

In looking over my old papers I found that I have several bills of Confederate money. I am sending you one which you may keep. Sincerely, A V Williams


Ekron, Ky Dec. 27 1939

Dear Cousin Francis:

Your Christmas card and letter at hand.

I am sorry you had not heard of Carrie’s death. We done everything humanly possible for her recovery.  Many have been my afflictions.  But the good Lord knows best.  I humbly submit to his will.

I suppose you knew or maybe I told you last summer that Mabel’s husband died May 20.

She sold her restaurant in Louisville and she and Adah are living with me.   Mabel is well satisfied to live with us. She and her husband had run a restaurant for 13 years and she is glad to get back to the country.  Yes they sure do take good care of me. They are planning these winter days of raising turkeys and chickens the coming year!  Adah raised 96 turkeys this year.

I am in reasonably good health but don’t work much.  I have 2 men hired to do the work on the farm. Write to me occasionally. Be sure to write me when you move and give me your new address.

I am sending you Carrie’s obituary. Also an historical sketch of Buck Grove Church.

Adah is planning to visit Rosalie farm she lives in the extreme south eastern part of Ky.  Mabel and I plan to visit her later.  She has a sweet baby one year old named Rosemary.

With love and best wishes to all,

A. V. Williams