Heath Family
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Juliette Marion "Nelle" Heath

Juliette Marian "Nelle" Heath is the maternal grandmother of my maternal grandmother, Nelle Francis Williams, who I know as Mamma Nelle.

Nelle Heath with her daughter Zerlena "Lena"

  • Born 18 Jan 1832 in Gailesville, Washington Co., NY 
  • Died 22 Apr 1869 in Osceola AR 

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Gailesville, Washington County, NY

Nelle (Pronounced Nell according to my grandmother who has the same name) Heath was born in Gailesville, Washington County, NY on 18 Jan 1832.  Her mother, Phebe Foster, died on 28 Dec 1837 as she approached six years of age.

It appears that her father remarried as the next record of the family is found in the 1850 federal census in Township 12N 2E, Knox County, IL which lists Sidney, age 60, as a farmer, Ann, age 55, Juliette, age 18, and Margaret Elizabeth, age 35.  They are living beside Nelle's brother Willliam, this wife and four children.  William is listed as a Wagon Maker.

I have not been able to find the maiden name of Sidney's second wife.

James Horn Williams

The next record of Nelle is her marriage to James H. Williams on 30 May 1858 in Henry County IL according to County Court Records, film # 1435944 - 1435945.  James' first wife died sometime after the birth of her forth child on 12 Mar 1853. 

Nelle was 26 years old and James H. Williams was 32 years old.  They resided on his farm outside of Elmot AR (now Luxora), just north of Osceola AR near the Mississippi River.

Nelle raised the children of James' first wife along with the three children she and James' would have together.

Their first son, Edward Heath Williams , was born 20 Apr 1859.  He is my maternal great-grandfather.

Nelle's father, Sidney Heath, died 19 Oct 1859 and left a will, a copy of which appears on his web page.

Their second son, Henry Ewing Williams, was born 29 Nov 1860. Henry went back to Nashville TN, where his father was born, and married Mattie Martin of neighboring Wilson County at age 29 in 1889.  He stayed in Nashville until sometime between 1915 and 1920 when he moved to Birmingham Alabama with his family of seven children, five boys and two girls when he was over fifty five years of age and worked for the Birmingham Rail and Locomotive Company into his seventies. Died 11 Feb 1936 in Birmingham AL.  (Vol. 9, Roll 3, Pg 4075 AL deaths 1908-1959)

Their daughter Zerlena "Lena" Virginia Williams was born May 8, 1862.  Lena married John A. Bowen who was from Blytheville AR on 26 Nov 1889.  They lived in Fletcher Township which included Luxora Arkansas until after 1910 when they moved to Memphis TN where they lived until she died on Aug 18, 1941 Memphis, TN.

Nelle died on 22 Apr 1869 at age 37 in Osceola, Mississippi County, AR according to my grandmother who is Nelle's granddaughter.  The death date agrees with the birth of her last child and the birth of her husband's next child by his third wife.

There does not appear to be any record of Nelle's death recorded in the Mississippi County records.   Nor is there a record of where she is buried.

Nelle's husband James Horn Williams is buried in the Old Elmot Cemetery.  However, like many others buried there, his exact burial location and headstone can not be located.  Likely Nelle is buried in this same cemetery.  The cemetery records are almost non-existent and few headstones remain.

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Possible connection between Julliett Marion "Nelle" Heath and James H. Williams third wife Mary J. Dunkle.

It is not know how James H. Williams, who lived in Elmot Arkansas just north of Osceola, met his second wife Juliett Marion "Nelle" Heath.  We do know that they were married in Henry County Illinois on 30 May 1858.  James' first wife, who came to Arkansas with him from Tennessee, had died sometime after the birth of her forth child on 12 Mar 1853, leaving him with four children.  Together,  James and Nelle would have three more children, raising them as a family.
When they married James was 32 years old and Nelle was 26.  Nelle's father, Sidney Heath lived in Knox County IL in the 1850 census where he farmed.  He must have lived in the northern part of Knox County as he died in Woodhull, Henry County, IL which is just across the county line to the north of Knox county.
A little over a year after James and Nelle married,Sidney wrote his will on 13 Oct 1859 in Clover Township in Henry County IL.  Clover Township is one of 24 townships in Henry County and Woodhull lies within CloverTownship.  Sidney listed his son Asel Heath as co-executor of his will. 
In 1860 Asel is listed in the census as living in Clover, Henry County IL with Woodhull listed as the nearest Post Office.


Here's an 1860 map of Clover Township that abuts Oxford Township showing the residence of S. F. Heath  in Woodhull,  where Sidney Heath died, which looks like a combination of Sidney Heath and Ansel Francisco Heath's names.
However, this is likely a son of Ansel Francisco Heath and a grandson of Sidney Heath named Sidney Francis Heath who was born 11 May 1843 in Center Point, Knox County, IL.
It is quite possible Sidney was living with his grandson Sidney Francis Heath during his last days.


Click on the following link to see a large map of Clover Township where the Heath's lived in 1860.

Henry County IL in 1860 contained 24 townships with a total population of 22,000 people. Clover Township in 2010 as having 428 housing units and 938 residents. 
Henry County IL was on the Mississippi River and that could be how James H. Williams ended up there. 

Here's a map of Henry County printed in 1860 showing pictures of the area as well as names and locations of those living in the county.

1860 Federal Census

Also, in the 1960 federal census, Mary Dunkle, age 29, was living with her parents and other family members in Oxford, Henry County, IL.  Notice she is living in dwelling no. 80 and Asel Heath is living in dwelling no. 29.


It is likely that James H. Williams met his fourth wife Mary Dunkle through his third wife Juillette Marion "Nelle" Heath in view of the fact that both resided in Henry County IL in adjoining townships in 1860.