Elizabeth "Betsy" Norfleet Hunter Williams is
a daughter of Elisha Williams and Sarah Josey
Born: 5 Mar 1778 in Halifax County NC
Died: 31 Jan 1864 in Halifax County NC
John Joseph Williams
Feb 1797 in Halifax County NC
Born: 1775 in Halifax County NC
Died: 18 Sep 1808 in Halifax County NC
Lemuel James Alston
3 Feb 1818 in Halifax County NC
Born: 1760 in Bertie County NC
Died: Dec 1836 in Clarke County AL
When my great-grandfather's great-grandfather, Elisha Williams and his wife, Sarah Josey, decided to move from Franklin
County NC to Nashville TN about 1804, their married daughter Betsy stayed behind in NC while the rest of the family
made the move to Tennessee.
Betsy first married Joseph John Williams on 11 Feb 1797. I believe that they lived in the house below in Halifax
County NC which was built for them near his father's brick house which he later inherited and which burned.
The house is named White Rock Plantation. It is still owned by descendants of Betsy and is listed in the Register of
National Historic Places.
Picture taken in 2013
This is the original kitchen used by the slaves to feed the inhabitants of the White Rock house close by. Picture
taken in 2013.
Thomas C. Williams restored the home in 1915 and is buried on the property.
The below document was taken from the application for inclusion in the national Register of Historic Places. It
contains detail information about the White Rock Plantation as well as detailed information about the Williams family, going
back to Betsy Williams and beyond.
I noticed that Betsy Williams maiden name was listed as
Hunter rather than Williams. Her full name is Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams and her first husband was also named
Williams, probably leading to this mistake.
I contacted the NC State Historic Preservation Office and requested
the above record for White Rock Plantation be corrected to show the correct name of Betsy Williams.
It took awhile, but with documentation from family bibles on file at the Library in Warrenton NC, the
National Park Service was able to revise the National Register of Historic Places to show the correct maiden name for
Elizabeth "Betsy" Norfleet Hunter Williams. Below is the authorization document which resulted in the information being
corrected both online and in hard copies on file.
White Rock Plantation Add Doc FINAL1-2
Betsy Williams' husband John Joseph Williams died young. On 3 Feb 1818 at Halifax, North Carolina. she
married the widower, Lemuel James Alston, who had been married to her husband's sister.
Betsy returned with him to his plantation in Clarke County Alabama where
she lived with him until he died in 1836. I believe they returned to North Carolina frequently and may have maintained
Afterwards she returned to North Carolina
where she lived with the widow of her son Joseph John Williams, Mary Kearney Davis, until she died on 31
A seldom mentioned fact about Eisha Williams' family
is the marriage of his son Elisha II's daughter's sister-in-law, Sarah Childress, to President James K. Polk in Murfreesboro
TN and the marriage of his daughter Betsy's grandaughter, Lucy Eugenia Williams, to William Hawkins Polk, the President's
brother, in Warren County NC.
William Hawkins Polk attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill NC. During the time
he was there he corresponded with his older brother James K. Polk and those letters have been preserved and published by The
North Carolina Historical Review. See the publication below.
Wm H Polk at UNC.pdf by Larry Feldhaus
Notes for JOSEPH
Nov, Ct. 1808 Will
posted in records compiled by Margaret Hoffmann for Halifax Co., NC.
Will #768 2 Aug 1807, Nov. Ct. 1808. wife BETSY NORFLEET HUNTER
WILLIAMS every negro and increase that came to me by her also my household goods etc.,and my extras. to move her to her father's
(name not given) if she wishes to move plantations to be kept and negroes hired out until children (names not given ) are
of age my father (name not given) to make my children a right to my land.
Wit.: Not given Extrs.
and Guardians to my children: My brother WILILAMS WILLIAMS and JAMES HARRISS
Codicil: this 22 Jan 1808 my wife to have an equal share
of my crop with the children Wit." not given
Probate indicates will proved by JAMES HARRISS, JOSEPH GEE, MARK
HARWELL and ISHAM MATHEWS
DESCENDANTS OF ELISABETH “BETSEY’
NORFLEET HUNTER WILLIAMS
"BETSEY" NORFLEET HUNTER1 WILLIAMS was born on 05 Mar 1778 in Halifax
County, North Carolina, USA. She died on 31 Jan 1864 in Halifax County, North
Carolina, USA. She married (1) JOSEPH JOHN WILLIAMS JR., son of Col. Joseph
John Williams and Elizabeth Matilda Alston, in Feb 1797 in NC. He was born in
1775. He died in 1808. She married (2) LEMUEL JAMES ALSTON. He was born in 1760
in Bertie County, North Carolina, USA. He died in 1836 in Clarke County,
bible record also says she married
the Col Samuel James Alston as his second wife and they had no issue. The names
Lemuel and Samuel could be easily
John Williams jr. and Elisabeth
"Betsey" Norfleet Hunter WILLIAMS had the following children:
JAMES CONNER2 WILLAMS was born on 01
Jan 1798 in Warren County, North Carolina, USA. He died in 1813 in Warren
County, North Carolina, USA.
JOSEPH JOHN "JACK" WILLAMS
was born on 19 Aug 1800 in Halifax County, North Carolina, USA. He died on 13 Apr
1833 in Halifax County, North Carolina, USA. He married Mary Kearney Davis,
daughter of Archibald Davis and Elizabeth Hilliard, on 09 Feb 1820 in Halifax,
NC. She was born on 13 Dec 1802 in Franklin, North Carolina, USA. She died on
27 Feb 1887 in Warren, North Carolina, USA.
John "Jack" WILLAMS and Mary Kearney Davis had the following
ELIZABETH3 WILLAMS was born on 13 Nov 1822 in White Rock, Halifax, NC. She
died on 25 Oct 1867. She married PETER M. HAWKINS.
JOHN WILLAMS was born on 27 Aug 1824 in White Rock, Halifax, NC. He died on
15 Mar 1843 in Randolph Macon College.
EUGENIA WILLAMS was born on 11 Oct 1826 in White Rock, Halifax, NC. She
died on 11 Jan 1906 in Columbia, TN. She married William Hawkins Polk, son of
Samuel Edwin Polk and Jane Knox, on 14 Jul 1854. He was born on 24 May 1815 in
Maury County, Tennessee, USA. He died on 16 Dec 1862 in Nashville, Davidson,
William Hawkins Polk and Lucy Eugenia WILLAMS had
POLK was born about 1845.
POLK was born on 07 Nov 1849. He died on 05 Nov 1912.
H. POLK was born on 14 Aug 1855 in Columbia, TN. He died on 17 Oct 1886 in
for William H. Polk:
http://www.ncgenweb.us/ncwarren/warrenton/chap37.htm William H. Polk, son of William H. Polk, of
Tennessee, was born in Columbia, Tennessee, in 1855. Up-on the death of his
father in 1862, his mother, born Miss Lucy Williams, brought him and his
brother, Tasker, to Warrenton, her old home. He practiced his profes-sion in
Warrenton during the years 1882-1886. He then went to Birmingham, Ala-bama,
where he died a short time thereafter.
POLK was born on 24 Mar 1861 in Columbia, TN. He died on 05 Jul 1928 in
North Carolina, USA. He married Elizabeth "Lillie" Tannahill Jones,
daugh-ter of Charles Johnston Jones and Alice Harvey Tannahill, on 24 Jan 1895
in War-ren, North Carolina, USA. She was born on 04 Mar 1869 in Granville,
North Caro-lina, USA. She died on 16 Oct 1939 in Warrenton, Warren, North
http://www.ncgenweb.us/ncwarren/warrenton/chap37.htm Tasker Polk, the brother of William, was
born in Columbia, Tennessee, in 1860. He was licensed to practice law in 1880
and is still engaged in the extensive practice of his profession at Warrenton.
He was a member of the Sen-ate of North Carolina in 1915.
Polk and Elizabeth "Lillie" Tannahill Jones had the following
WILLIAM TANNAHILL5 POLK was born on 12 Mar 1896
in Warrenton, Warren, North Carolina. He died on 16 Oct 1955 in Orange Cove,
MARY TASKER POLK was born on 15 Dec 1898 in
Warrenton, Warren, North Carolina. She died on 21 Nov 1980 in Warren, North
LUCY FAIRFAX POLK was born on 03 Dec 1901 in
Warrenton, Warren, North Carolina. She died on 09 Jul 1999 in Tarboro,
Edgecombe, North Carolina.
JAMES KNOX POLK was born on 04 May 1904 in
Warren, North Carolina. He died on 17 Jun 1966 in Roanoke Rapids, Halifax,
THOMAS CALVIN WILLAMS was born on 30
Dec 1828 in White Rock, Halifax, NC. He died on 27 Nov 1858 in White Rock,
Halifax, NC. He married VIRGINIA PRYOR BOYD JR..
Calvin WILLAMS and Virginia Pryor Boyd Jr. had the following children:
THOMAS CALVIN4 WILLAMS
was born on 27 Jan 1857.
He died on 12 Apr 1925. He married (1) SALLIE GILLAM. He married (2) ALICE
LUCY ELLEN WILLAMS.
MARY BOYD WILLAMS. She married THOMAS TILLERY.
ELIZABETH ALSTON WILLAMS was born on 06
Sep 1803 in Warren County, North Carolina, USA. She
married (1) HENRY "HARRY" HILL THORNE on 29 Sep 1823. She married (2) DR. NICHOLAS JOHN DRAKE on 29 Sep 1828. She died on
02 Mar 1830. Her death was during the birth of her son John Joseph Williams Drake.
Warrenton, Warren County, NC
Mary K. Williams town house
Also known as "The Polk House"
From The Warren Record
Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 8:23 am
| Updated: 8:26 am, Wed Mar 28, 2012.
ObservationsBy Edwina Rookervancnews.com
The Preservation Warrenton 2012 Spring Homes Tour will be held Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday,
April 29 from 1 to 5 p.m. The theme is “Architectural Reflections: Building Styles in Warren County, NC.”
Among the 14 homes and churches on the tour is the Green-Polk-McAuslan House. It is located on North Main Street,
across the street from The Ivy. It is a rare example of a brick Jacob Holt house. Planter Nathaniel Green purchased the land
in 1850 and began work on the structure. The bricks were made on the construction site. Holt used large eight-over-eight windows
on this Greek Revival house.
According to Lizzie Montgomery in “Sketches of Old Warrenton North Carolina,” Major Green was a very
hospitable man. He built two houses as guesthouses for his guests. One that he built was across North Main Street from his
residence. His guests had their sleeping apartments there and came over to his house for meals. In the 20th century, the Tarwater
family owned it and resided there. He also built a house on the corner of North Main Street and Academy Street that he used
to house additional guests. In the 20th century, Dr. and Mrs. P.J. Macon resided there. Later, John Bruce Bell and his wife
Ann Crinkley Bell purchased it and lived there.
Mrs. Montgomery also wrote that Nat Green was a free-spending man and soon had many debts. In 1856, the house was
sold to Mary Kearney Davis Williams (widow of John Joseph Williams), owner of Montmorenci, a large plantation and house in
Warren County. The Warrenton house became the family’s town house.
Montmorenci was a plantation between Lickskillet and Highway 401 in the Shocco community. It was built by General
William “Pretty Billy” Williams in 1822. Family history claims that General Lafayette stayed at Montmorenci during
his 1825 tour of the United States. After her husband, John Joseph Williams, died, Mary Kearney Davis Williams moved
Montmorenci no longer exists. It was dismantled with portions of the house, including its spectacular staircase,
placed in the Dupont family museum, Winterthur, in Wilmington, Del. A large stone from Montmorenci is in the back yard of
the Polk House. It was used to hold up a column at Montmorenci.
Mary Kearney Davis Williams’ daughter Lucy Eugenia married Major William Hawkins Polk of Tennessee, brother of President James Knox Polk. When Major Polk died in the Civil War, Lucy moved into Warrenton with her mother. She brought her two children, William and
Tasker, with her.
Mrs. Montgomery wrote: “Lucy was very pretty as a young woman, with charming manners, and was much admired.
She was a fine conversationalist. Having been much impressed and influenced by a mother who was loyal and devoted to the tenets
of the Methodist Church, she never danced, but on occasions of dances and balls, you would see her surrounded by young men,
quite as eager to enjoy her society as others were to engage in the dance.”
Her son Tasker and his wife, Lilie Jones Polk, were the next generation to live in the Green-Polk_McAuslan house.
He was a poet, a prominent attorney, and North Carolina State Senator for several consecutive terms.
Tasker’s two sons also lived in the Green-Polk-McAuslan house. The first was William (Bill), an attorney and
writer. He also was mayor of Warrenton. His friendship with Thomas Wolfe lasted after both attended the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard. Wolfe visited him in the Polk House. He had two daughters, Catherine and Marion, or Marnie.
When William left Warrenton to become editor of The Greensboro Daily News, his younger brother James Knox, a Warrenton
merchant, and his family moved into the house. He and his wife, Anne Hunter Fishel of Vaughan, had two children, Tasker and
Tasker also had two daughters. One was Fairfax, who married John Mitchell, a Warrenton banker. The other, Mary, wrote
in her memoir, “The Way We Were,” about marrying attorney Frank Gibbs in the Polk house.
Today, Mary’s nephew, Tasker Polk of New Bern, and the British crown colony of Gibraltar, plans to follow in
the footsteps of his aunt Mary. He will marry Katherine Robinson of New Bern, and Charleston, S.C., in the Green-Polk-McAuslan
House on May 19.
The current owner of the house is Mary Tasker Polk Gibbs McAuslan, Tasker Polk’s granddaughter. She will be
joined on the homes tour by other grandchildren, all former residents of the home.
The house was open for the 1995 Jacob Holt House Foundation Homes Tour, but this is the first time it has been open
for a Preservation Warrenton Homes Tour. I am indebted to Tasker Polk and Noel Robertson who contributed to this article.
Advance tickets for the tour only on Saturday and Sunday are $20. Tickets are available the day of the tour for $25
at the Jacob Holt House on South Bragg Street in Warrenton. Advance tickets for the tour and lunch at Wesley Memorial United
Methodist Church on the corner of North Main Street and Church Street in Warrenton held on Saturday only are $32.
reference is to Betsy's daughter, Elizabeth Alston Williams, whose
portrait also appears below.
The General William
"Pretty Boy" Williams was the brother of Betsy's first husband,
Joseph John Williams. He built the mansion in Shocco Springs NC,
Montmorenci, which passed to the widow of Betsy's son, Joseph John Williams.
We find Betsy living
there in the 1860 federal census with her daughter-in-law Mary Kearney Davis
Charles Willson Peale
with Patron and Populace. A Supplement to "Portraits and Miniatures by
Charles Willson Peale". With a Survey of
His Work in Other Genres. By Charles Coleman Sellers; Charles Willson
Peale, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Ser.,
Vol. 59, No. 3. (1969), pp. 1-146.
WILLIAMS, ELIZABETH ALSTON
Correction, PGM, 871.
SP 146, 83. The staff of the Frick Art Reference Library, to whom the author of this work and its predecessor is so largely
indebted, has identified Peale's portrait of "Miss Eliza Williams," niece of "Gen. Williams," not as Elizabeth Cook
Williams (1813-1890) who married Richard Cooke Tilghman, but as Elizabeth Alston Williams (1803-1830), a girl of nineteen
at the time of the painting. She is a daughter of Joseph John Williams, I1 (1775-1808), and Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams
(1778-1864)) who by a second marriage became the wife of Lemuel James Alston. Elizabeth herself, in her short life,
was twice married, first to Harry Thorne, and second to Nicholas Drake.
Her uncle, the General Williams with whom she was traveling through Philadelphia
in the summer of 1822, was not Otho Holland Williams (q.v., P&M 985-987), but General William Williams of "Montmorenci,"
Warren Co., N.C., remembered by the engaging soubriquet of "Pretty Billy." Peale's letters confirm this identification
by a reference to the family "in Carolina." The painting had been "nearly finished" on June 9, and "just finished" on
the fourteenth. 1822. Canvas, 283 X 234. Half length. Brown hair with a tortoise shell comb. Brown eyes. Light blue dress,
ruffled lace collar and gold necklace. Basket of cherries under her hand. Brown chair, on which is draped a rose-red scarf
with a border of roses and green leaves. Brown background with a column at the left. Mrs. Frank H. Gibbs, Warrenton, N.
Winterthur was home and hobby to Henry Francis du Pont, a superb landscaper and the
world's most prodigious collector of American decorative arts made or used in this country from 1640 to 1860. As museums go
Winterthur is still in its infancy and is not as widely known as might be expected given the premier quality of its contents
and its gardens. www.winterthur.org
Du Pont inherited the original 18th-century country house in 1927, transformed it into a 175-room home and moved out in
1951 when it became a museum. He bought facades and entire rooms of gracious American residences and restored and installed
them here. Du Pont then filled the quarters with appropriate furniture, art and accessories. He purchased entire portions
of the house of a Philadelphia mayor, a Pennsylvania Dutch
farm, a 19th-century Delaware inn named the Red Lion
and the family room of a 17th-century Essex, Massachusetts
dwelling. A free-standing staircase and several rooms at Winterthur had originally been part of an estate called
Montmorenci in North Carolina.
This is the restored staircase that was in Montmorenci, Shocco Springs, NC. It is located in the DuPont
home ,Winterthur, in Wilmington, DE which is now a museum. The picture on the right was done during the installation
Montmorenci appears on the map at this link close to Schocco Creek. Click on this link to open the map.
Below is a picture of Montmorenci taken in 1938 after much of the house had been stripped of anything of value by Henry
F. DuPont. Read about the process as written by his daughter
in a book she wrote about him and his house, Winterthur.
Below that is house of a similar
style that is currently for sale in the same area where Montmorenci was located.
The picture below was taken by DuPont's crew prior to removing anything from the house.
(the Coleman-White House) is a rare surviving example of the unique “montmorenci" school" of Federal style architecture renowned in Warren and Halifax counties. It stands on a spacious and attractive
lot in the historic small town of Warrenton.
Built between 1821 and 1824, the
elegant, livable, and beautifully preserved house displays the hallmarks of the
regional style named after the famous lost plantation house, Montmorenci—the
premier example whose stair
and other woodwork are in the Winterthur Museum in Delaware.
Whitsome's front façade features the
only surviving Montmorenci-style windows—a distinctive Palladian-inspired
design with decorative blind arches and pilasters separating the central and
flanking window elements. The Palladian theme also defines the central doorways
at both levels, which are enriched with fanlights and intricate carved moldings
typical of the Montmorenci school.
the central hall and flanking rooms continue the Federal style elegance. Complementing the simply treated stair, the woodwork
of mantels, wainscoting, chair rails, and door frames features reeding and gougework rosettes, garlands, and cable moldings.
Most striking is the ornate plaster work in the hall and main parlor, with central medallions and cornices featuring rich
acanthus, modillions, and floral designs. In excellent condition, Whitsome has
been meticulously maintained for comfortable living and offers a broad rear porch and full basement.
Mrs. Mary K. Williams is the owner of the Montmorenci in 1858 according to Wharton Jackson Green's book, and it seems
likely she is the same one living with Betsy N.H. Williams Alston in the 1860 census. Mary Kearney Williams was the wife of
Betsy's son John Joseph Williams, Jr.and General "Pretty Billy" Williams was the brother of Betsy's first husband, John Joseph
William "Pretty Billy" Williams married 4 times. Not sure when he died, but he was born in 1771 and married the last
time in 1826 at the age of 55. He was probably dead by 1860. He was willed the following as a young man:
WILL-EXECUTOR: NCHAL-WL1 p. 139; brother, Joseph John Williams, Jr. dated 2 Aug. 1807, ALSO: brother-in-law, James
WILL LEGATEE: NCHAL-WL1 pp. 165-166; father, Joseph John Williams dated 15 Feb 1816, given 800-900 acres of land
joining Sharrod Bobbet, Moseley and Butterwood Swamp, father's plantation, other lands in Halifax and Warren Counties, furniture,
slaves and other items.
"Pretty Billy" Williams built Montmorenci in 1825 and it was located half way between Shocco Springs and Jones Red and
White Sulfur Springs. Both springs are shown in the 1874 Warren County map below, one on each side of Shocco Creek.
The Manly Wade Wellman book shows:
"#38 is labeled as the site of the old Shocco Springs Hotel (1815-1875).
#36 is labeled as the site of the Jones' White Sulphur Springs Hotel (1810-1875)."
"these locations are not far from what
is known today as the "Vicksboro" Community which is found right on the Vance/Warren line - southeastern Vance/southwestern
Warren. You'll see Shocco Creek near" Notice on the map below that the Shocco Creek runs just above Vicksboro
to the right.
"Shocco Springs: former health resort in south Warren County
on Shocco Creek. Located approx. 9 mi. south of the city of Warrenton, it was famous in the nineteenth century as a social,
recreational, and health resort built around mineral springs. Shocco Male Academy was located here. Neither is in existence
any longer. Shocco Springs had a post office from 1832 until 1866"
he says "I found a letter, however, directing me to join them at the North Carolina "White Sulphur,"
or famous old "Shocco."", obviously speaking of the two hotels above. From the map below you can see that Vicksboro
is near Shocco Creek which crosses highway 410 about 9 miles south of Warrenton as indicated above. I have always thought
that Elisha Williams lived in the area of the yellow line in the map below where Shocco Creek forms the border between Franklin
and Warrenton counties, primarily because he owned land in both counties and lived on Shocco Creek. His family is recorded
in Franklin County in the 1800 federal census and that is the only part of the Shocco Creek that borders Franklin County.
Wharton Jackson Green goes on to say "After the summer
season was over, my father engaged the famous old Montmorenci, belonging to a particular friend, Mrs. Mary K. Williams, where
the intervening cold seasons were passed until my wedding day rolled around on the 4th of May, 1858."
The Treasure House of Early American Rooms book:
says "Montmorenci, a famous house built at Shocco Springs,
near Warrenton, North Carolina, about 1822 by General William Williams" and puts the location of Montmorenci in
Shocco Springs. Other references indicate it is located SW of Warrenton. The book goes on to say:
"The graceful free-hanging staircase
dominating the Montmorenci Stair Hall was formerly the outstanding feature of Montmorcnci, a famous house built at Shocco
Springs, near Warrenton, North Carolina about 1822 by General William Williams.
Lafayette, on his tour of the United States in 1824 to 1825, was entertained
at Montmorenci, and here a later owner's daughter, Lucy Williams, was married to the brother of President James Knox Polk.
The staircase was probably made by a North Carolina craftsman, but whether it was designed by a professional architect is
not known. It resembles the design for an "elliptical stairs" illustrated in Peter Nicholson's The Carpenter's New Guide,
a builder's handbook first published in London in 1792 and widely used in America during the first half of the nineteenth
century. Gouge carving and finely molded plasterwork, probably made in Philadelphia and bearing a resemblance to the work
of Robert Wellford, reflect the refined taste of the Federal period.
Augmenting the architectural splendor is furniture by skilled craftsmen of the early Republic. The mahogany and satinwood
chairs and settees, upholstered in old green silk, represent the product of John Seymour and his son Thomas, who worked in
Boston from 1796 into the early years of the nineteenth century.
The octagonal sewing table between the side chairs is a further example of the Seymour furniture, which is unmatched
for its delicacy of form and exquisitely detailed inlay. Also in the room, and illustrative of the French influence on American
decorative art at this time, is a mahogany and satinwood pier table, bearing the label of Charles Honore Lannuier,
a French emigre cabinetmaker who worked at 6o Broad Street, New York, from 1805 until 1819. Looking glasses, gilded and embellished
with delicate foliage motifs popular in the Federal period, reflect the light of candles held in late-eighteenth-century candelabra
and sconces of cut glass.
Chinese export porcelain, imported in quantities in Amcrican ships, is represented by punch bowls on the side tables
and pistol-handled urns elsewhere in the room. A portrait of Catherine Browne, of New York, sometimes called the "tragic Kate
Browne," hangs above the settee. On the floor are Persian Feraghan carpets dating from the early nineteenth century. The spindles
of the stair railing and the soft moldings of the soft moldings of the plaster cornice cast numerous shadows around the room.
Mahogany paneled doors from Montmorenci contrast with the ivory-colored walls.
In the Montmarenci Stair Hall are porcelain punch bowls and ornamental urns made in China for export to the West. Among
them is a pistol handled urn patterned after a model first executed at the Marieherg factory in Sweden and representative
of many made for the American market."
The Treasurehouse of Early American Rooms book contains this picture of the staircase in the Montmorenci house and the
items described in the last paragraph above are shown in the picture.
Shocco Springs is shown In the 1874 Warren County NC map below just below the "S" in Shocco. Click on the
map for a larger version in a new window where several Williams are listed, along with a "Williams Bridge" and a Dr. Williams
Bridge". This map also shows at least one Alston property. The map, and others, can be viewed in more
detail by clicking on the link Warren County 1874 map
Norfleet Hunter Williams Alston
Daughter of Elisha Williams and Sarah Josey
8 February 2008
In the 1860 Federal Census B. N. H. Alston, age 81, is living with M. K.
Williams in Warren county, NC. We know that two years earlier Betsy N. H. Williams Alston was living with
her daughter-in-law Mary Kearney Davis Williams at Montmorenci near Shocco Springs in Warren County.
Betsy’s daughter, Elizabeth Alston Williams Drake had died in 1830
and her son, Joseph John Alston had died in 1833. Her only other child, James Conner Williams appears to
have died young. All this is based on the bible records below. She did have grandchildren
living in 1860.
Did Betsy marry Lemuel James Alston on 3 Feb 1818 after his first wife died
there and move with him to southern Alabama?
If so, it appears from the census records below that she moved back to North
Carolina after he died in 1836 and lived with her widowed daughter-in-law, Mary Kearney Davis Williams, in 1840, disappears
in 1850, and back with Mary K. Davis Williams in 1860.
following is from U. S. Census records on Ancestry.com
County NC 1860
M. K. Williams, age 57, Female
B. N. H. Alston, age 81, Female
F. Bennett, age 65, Female
Warren County NC 1850
M. K. Williams, age 47, Female
E. Williams, age 20, Female
Halifax NC 1840
Mary Williams, 1
male 10 to under 15
Thomas Calvin age 12 ?
1 male 15 to under 20
Joseph John age 16 ?
1 female 10 to under 15
Lucy age 14 ?
1 female 15 to under 20
Mary Elizabeth age 18 ?
1 female 30 to under 40
Mary K. Williams age 38 ?
1 female 60 to under 70
Betsy N. H. Williams age 62
THE HOMES OF OLD WARRENTON
THE HOME OF MAJOR "NAT" GREEN
The home of Tasker Polk, one of the handsomest and most attractive places in the old town, was built by Major Green,
brother of General Jeff Green, about 1850. He moved from his "Nut Bush" plantation into the town to secure better educational
advantages for his three sons and one daughter, Fanny. Major Green had two marriages, the first with Miss Katherine Somerville,
and the second with Miss Lucy Alston, sister of Dr. "Jim" Alston, of Warren County. There were two daughters by the last marriage.
Dr. Solomon Green married his cousin, gate Aubrey Somerville, of Tennessee. He lived in Memphis and practiced
medicine some years. The other sons lost their lives in the Confederate service by fever and wounds.
Major Green moved to Memphis to live just before the War Between the States. In, 1863 Miss Fanny came through
the lines to Warrenton and lived in the home of her cousins, the family of Mr. John Somerville, until this home was broken
up by the death of Mrs. Somerville, when she was invited to make her home at Esmeralda the country place of Colonel Wharton
Green, her first cousin. While living there she married her cousin, James B. Somerville. Some few years after her marriage
they moved to Warrenton, and bought the William Eaton, Jr., home, where they resided until they died, he in 1898, and she
five years later.
Mrs. Somerville, "Miss Fanny," in her early young ladyhood, was perhaps the best known and the most popular woman
in the town and county, her manner springing from a kind heart, and was so genial and sympathetic that she drew man, woman
and child to her with warm affection. She was a delightful talker and most charming companion. She had the wonderful,
and rare gift, of remembering every family connection in the county, and she could always set you straight as to your "kin-folks.".
She was of medium height, very slender and graceful figure, a perfect brunette, and in her young days she was considered the
most graceful dancer of her social set. Her entire life was spent in cheerful and brave service for others. She was a consistent
and devoted member of the Episcopal Church.
Major Green was a man of large means but very much in debt. He was a most hospitable gentleman. His home, a large
brick house, was too small to accommodate his guests and so he built the house across the street, known as the Parker
Place, where his friends had their sleeping apartments; they came over to the main residence for meals. As might have been
foreseen, Major Green's financial affairs came to a crisis several years before the war. His removal to Memphis to live soon
followed. What was left of his estate of negroes, goods, and chattels, he sent by wagon to one of his plantations in Arkansas,
under the care of a former overseer. In Memphis his agent and overseer made over a good deal of the property entrusted
to his care to a commission merchant of that city, the transaction being alleged by Major Green as fraudulent. At that
time, for lack of proof of fraud, no attempt was made by law to recover the property or its value. More than twenty years
after the transaction, the overseer, on his death-bed, sent for Dr. Sol Green, the oldest son of the Major, a practicing physician
in Memphis, and made a full confession of his fraudulent conduct and furnished documentary evidence concerning the transaction.
Major Green, in 1874, in Memphis, commenced an action against the commission merchant for the recovery of the value of
the property. He was introduced as a witness in the case and had testified, while introducing the documentary evidence, to
matters making clear the liability of the defendant, when a telegram was received by him to the effect that his married daughter,
living a few miles in the country, was extremely sick and his presence was needed. The Judge adjourned the court until the
next morning, to give the witness an opportunity to visit his daughter. After he left the railway and was on his way to the
home of the sick daughter in a buggy, the horse took fright and he was thrown out, receiving such injuries as to cause his
death in a few hours. That tragic event put an end to the suit, as the Major had not been cross-examined and there was no
living witness to supply the necessary facts.
After Major Green went to Tennessee to live, Mrs. Mary K. Williams bought the house and moved there to live in the
early fifties. She had resided at a beautiful country home some ten miles from Warrenton, called "Montmorenci." As all
three of her children had married, Thomas Williams, Mrs. Peter Hawkins, and Mrs. W. H. Polk, she and her mother-in-law,
Mrs. Williams, then a very old lady, lived there alone, except in the sessions of the schools when her grandchildren, Mollie
and Lucy Hawkins, and Joe and Mollie Boyd Williams, and some of her nieces and nephews, came in and became a part of her household.
Her daughter, Lucy, had married Major William H. Polk, brother of President James K. Polk, and they resided in Columbia, Tennessee.
He died in 1559, and then she came with her two young children, William and Tasker, and made her home permanently with her
Mrs. Polk was very pretty as a young woman, with charming manners, and was much admired. She was a fine conversationalist.
Having been much impressed and influenced by a mother who was loyal and devoted to the tenets of the Methodist Church,
she never danced, but on occasions of dances and balls, you would see her surrounded by young men, quite as eager to enjoy
her society as others were to engage in the dance. She was all through life a loyal friend and a most devoted mother.
Hon. Tasker Polk, with his family, Mrs. Polk, (Miss Lilie Jones, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Jones, of Warren
County) and their two sons now reside in this place. Their two daughters, Mary and Lucy, have married. The oldest son, William,
is a practicing lawyer and associated with his father, who has been a prominent and successful lawyer in the old town for
nearly forty years. Mr. Polk has also faithfully and ably represented his county in the State Senate for successive terms.
The youngest son, James, is a student at the State University.
William H. Polk, son of William
H. Polk, of Tennessee, was born in Columbia, Tennessee, in 1855. Upon the death of his father in 1862, his mother, born Miss
Lucy Williams, brought him and his brother, Tasker, to Warrenton, her old home. He practiced his profession in Warrenton during
the years 1882-1886. He then went to Birmingham, Alabama, where he died a short time thereafter.
Tasker Polk, the brother of William,
was born in Columbia, Tennessee, in 1860. He was licensed to practice law in 1880 and is still engaged in the extensive
practice of his profession at Warrenton. He was a member of the Senate of North Carolina in 1915.
There were many marriages between the Williams, Alstons, Davis' and Kearneys in Warren and Franklin Counties NC in the
1800s. The house below is still standing, as are all the others shown below. It belonged to Robert Webb Williams
and his wife Heartwell H. Davis. Robert is a second cousin of the Joseph John Williams who was married to Elizabeth
Norfleet Hunter Williams.
Vine Hill Plantation
Franklin County NC
Ruina Temporance Williams was the daughter of Robert Webb Williams (1792-1822) and Hartwell Hodges
Davis (1793-1868) the owners of Vine Hill Plantation in Franklin County. Robert W. Williams was the son of William Williams
(1760-1838) and Elizabeth Kinchen Kearney (1769-1863). William Williams was the son of Solomon Williams (ca 1723-1794) and
Temporance Boddie (d. May 11, 1784). Solomon Williams was the son of Samuel Williams (ca 1695-1753) and Elizabeth Alston (ca
1700-aft 1792). Ruina's brother, was Robert Edgar Williams, owner of Myrtle Lawn Plantation. Ruina's aunt, Marina P. Williams,
was married to George Washington Alston and was the owner of Cherry Hill Plantation.
Marina Priscilla Williams is a brother of Robert Webb Williams above and married George Washington Alston.
They built the house below known as Cherry Hill. It's located in Warren County NC.
Cherry Hill Plantation
NC Highway 58
Warrenton, North Carolina
Built in 1858 by John A. Waddell, the house is a part of the
National Register of Historic Places
Cherry Hill Plantation was the property of George Washington Alston (1801-1849)who
left the land to his wife's care when he died. His wife, Marina P. Williams- Alston (1810-1897), whom he had married February
14, 1829 in Warren County, took over the operation of the plantation and built a new plantation home, which is still standing
today in Warren County. George W. Alston was the son of Philip Guston Alston (1762-1820) & Mary Williams Harris, married
ca. 1784; Philip G. Alston was the son of Philip Alston (ca.1706-1784) & Winefred Whitmel (1729-1795)married ca. 1745;
Philip Alston was the son of John Alston (1670-1758) & Mary (ca. 1700) who had lived in Chowan Co, NC.
Marina P. Williams was the daughter of William Williams (1760 -1838) & his 2nd wife,
Elizabeth Kearney (1769-1863) who married December 4, 1790; William Williams was the son of Solomon Williams (ca. 1723 -d.
July 29, 1794) & Temperance Boddie (d. May 11, 1784),who married June 23, 1757; Solomon Williams was the son of Samuel
Williams (ca.1698-1754) & Elizabeth Alston (ca. 1711-aft.1792) who had lived in Edgecombe Co.,NC.
The owners of this plantation were also associated with the following plantations along
with the surnames of their owners: Myrtle Lawn (WILLIAMS) and Tusculum (ALSTON) in Warren County; Linwood Farms (DAVIS), Rocky
Hill (THORN) and Vine Hill (DAVIS) in Franklin County.
The daughter of Robert Webb Williams married Samuel Thomas Alston and they built the Tusculum Plantation house in Warren
Arcola, Warren County
Tusculum Plantation was owned by Samuel Thomas Alston (1806-1860)and his wife
Ruina Temporance Williams (1814-1897) of Warren County, North Carolina. They were married on September 1, 1831, and a few
years earlier, in 1825, the ruins of an ancient city had been discovered near Rome, Italy, situated on the edge of an ancient
volcano. The city was called Tusculum, which at one time, had been a place favored by wealth Romans and had ben populated
with many large villas. No doubt, Samuel had been influenced by the discovery when it came to naming his own plantation, as
had several other landowners throughout the South at that time.
Samuel Thomas Alston was the son of Samuel Alston (1770-1807) and Elizabeth Faulcon (1775-1848);
Samuel Alston was the youngest son of Philip Alston (1706-1784) and Winifred Whitmel (1729-1795); Philip Alston was the son
of John Alston (ca 1670-1758) and Mary Clark (?)(ca 1700).
Ruina Thomas Williams' brother, Robert Edgar Williams, built Myrtle Wood Plantation in Warren County NC. All of
these houses are still standing in 2012.
Myrtle Lawn Plantation
Warren County, North Carolina
Inez, Fork Township
Built ca. 1858
Owned by Dr. Robert Edgar Williams (b. Sept. 16, 1817 -d. March 7, 1904) who first lived
in Franklin County, NC on land left to him by his grandfather, William Williams (1760-1838), land that had previously been
owned by his deceased father, Robert Webb Williams (b. Feb.27-1792-d. Nov. 15, 1822);by 1860, Robert E. had moved to Warren
County to be near his widowed grandmother, Elizabeth Kearney Williams (b. May 20-1769 - d. May 22, 1863). It was during this
time period that he had the plantation known as Myrtle Lawn constructed, which became his lifetime home.
Robert Edgar Williams was the son of Robert Webb Williams (1792-1822) & Harty Hodges
Davis (1793-1868), who had married on October 1812. He married on October 20, 1841 in Warren Co., to Valeria Virginia Kearney
(b. Dec. 7, 1822-d. Nov. 7, 1907),the daughter of William Kinchen Kearney (1785-1869) & Mariah Hardy Alston (1793-1883)
who had married July 22, 1810. Robert W. Williams was the son of William Williams (1760-1838) & Elizabeth Kearney (1769-
1863): William Williams was the son of Solomon Williams (d.July 28, 1794) & Temporance Boddie (d.May 11, 1784), who married
June 23, 1757, the family lived in Halifax Co., NC. Solomon Williams was the son of Samuel Williams (ca.1698-1754) & Elizabeth
Alston (ca.1700-1792/1805),who married ca. 1718; they lived in Bertie Co., and later in Edgecombe. Elizabeth Alston was the
daughter of John Alston (ca.1670-1758) & his wife, Mary (b.ca.1680). After the death of Samuel in 1754 Edgecombe County,
Elizabeth married on Sept. 17, 1765 to Richard Burt, their long-time neighbor, who was also a widower; Elizabeth & Richard
Burt lived in Halifax Co., where he died in 1805.
The following web site says that Elizabeth Williams,
daughter of Col. Joseph John Williams and wife Rosanna Conner, married Judge Lemuel Alston, born 1760, and she died before
15 Feb 1816.
It also says Judge Lemuel James Alston married
Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams, daughter of Elisha Williams and Sarah Josey, on 3 Feb 1818 at Halifax NC and he died in
1836 in Alabama.
Descendants Chart of John Alston of North Carolina
Questions, comments email at
4. JOSEPH JOHN WILLIAMS COL married ROSANNA CONNER at of, Edgecombe, North Carolina. He was born at Edgecombe, North Carolina. He married
ELIZABETH MATILDA ALSTON, daughter of PHILIP ALSTON SR and WINIFRED WHITMELL, in 1770 at Bute, North Carolina.
He died after 15 Feb 1816 at Halifax,
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS married LEMUEL JAMES ALSTON JUDGE, son of SOLOMON ALSTON
JR and SARAH HINTON, at of, Halifax, North Carolina. She was born at
Halifax, North Carolina. She died before 15
JAMES ALSTON JUDGE married ELIZABETH WILLIAMS, daughter of JOSEPH JOHN WILLIAMS COL and ELIZABETH MATILDA ALSTON, at of,
Halifax, North Carolina. He was born in 1760 at North Carolina. He married ELIZABETH NORFLEET
HUNTER WILLIAMS, daughter of ELISHA WILLIAMS and SARAH JOSEY, on 3 Feb 1818 at Halifax, North Carolina. He
died in 1836 at Alabama.
From the below paragraphs we learn that
Lemuel James Alston moved to southern Alabama in 1816 where he died in 1836. He
had eight children and was survived by one son, Col W. W. Alston, who was born in 1799 in South Carolina. From his age at death we can infer that Lemuel James Alston was born in 1760.
Dr. Alfred A. Alston, the youngest of
the famly, was about one year of age at the time of his mother’s death. He
was for some years a student at the Grove
Hill Academy. He was a very pleasant and
winsome boy, although occasionally wayword.
He had a quick memory, was an excellent declaimer, and a bright,
attractive scholar, generous and kind, and intelligent. He studied medicine,
married Miss Ulmer, one
of the beautiful girls of C1arksville, and at length removed to Texas. He is
now living in the town of Paris, in the
county of Lamar.
Lemuel L. Alston, the only brother
remaining in the state of Alabama, settIed at Grove Hill as a physician about
1852. He had but lately completed his
course of study, was very affable and courteous, endowed by nature with a very
fine personal appearance, and was by culture very polite and refined. It
was soon rnanifest that in his chosen
profession he was humane, kind, gentle, and careful. A more considerate
and tender family
physician none needed to desire.
In the fall of 1854 he was married
Miss Jackson of Gainestown, a daughter of Jamea M. Jackson, and continued to
reside at Grove Hill. Mrs. Alston was
found to be a valuable accession to the social life of the town. In the course
of years, one daughter, Mary,
and two sons, Lemuel and William gladdened their home, and became attendants of
the Grove Hill Sunday school.
length Dr. Alston removed from Grove
Hill and is now with his wife residing at Orrville. The children grew up, as
the years came
rapidly upon them. Miss Mary was married
to Dr. B. P. Heryer, a physician at Tuskaloosa, where they now reside. The elder
son Lemuel Alston, is there also,
engaged in business and William W.
Aiston is at this date, (1877) a member of the State University, as a student.
Dr. Alston and his estimable wife
left therefore alone in their home in Dallas county, and years are weighing
upon them. The meridian of life will soon be passed.
appears that of the large and
wealthy Aiston family no one now remains in the county of Clarke. The river
plantation and the old homestead
are in the hands of other and where eleven children sported amid the shades of
mulberries and china trees, and gathered the flowers and summer fruits,
probably not one of them will ever tread again. But on the records of social
life and business and professional life in “old Clarke,” from 1816 lip to about
1866, or for fifty years, the name of Alston is indelibly impressed.
Alas for parental hopes! February 22nd
1878, W. W. Alston was shot by a fellow student and almost instantly
killed. President Smith testified: “I
believed him to be one of the most fearlest young men in college. In all my
transactions with him, I found him
to be extremely honest reliable and trustworthy.” Another witness
testified; “Alston was sober
and gentlemanly — was a member of the church and a Good Templar.
From the below paragraphs we learn
that Lemuel James Alston was indeed a very wealthy man, owning more than 10,000 acres, and that he was living in the Greenville
NC area earlier than 1788. We also see that he sold all of his land there in
History of Greenville County, South
PLEASANTBURG — EARLY TOWN OF GREENVILLE
Several years before the village of Pleasantburg
existence, and no doubt before there was a single house upon its future
location, there existed somewhat of a community about the present Tanglewood
school section. There, near the present
intersection of the White Horse road and state highway No.2 (newly paved road
to Easley), was the general store of A. McBeth & Company, which is known to
have been doing a flourishing business as early as 1794.
Near the McBeth establishment lived a number
of planters and summer residents who had early selected that vicinity because
it commanded such an excellent view of the mountains to the north, and was at
the same time considered more healthful than other nearby locations on account
of its elevation.
In 1788 Thomas Brandon conveyed the 400 acres granted to him in
1784 unto Lemuel J. Aiston, who already resided in the county, and was the
owner of much land adjoining and near that purchased from Brandon. It will be
recalled that this property
included the “Richard Pearis mill site” which was later to become the village
of Pleasantburg, now Greenville. Aiston
was a man of wealth and great political influence, and no doubt for this reason
the commissioners who had been appointed to select a site for the location of a
court house in Greenville County chose the eastern side of Reedy river near the
Pearis mill site.
And here started the first “real estate development
the county, when in 1797 was laid out the town of Pleasantburg by Aiston, upon
the lands which he had purchased from Colonel Brandon…………………But near the
present High School Building, which was then outside the village, stood the
beautiful home of Lemuel J. Aiston, which was said to be the most elaborate
residence in the entire up-country, and leading from it to the village was a
wide avenue (now West McBee) lined on either side by trees.
Alston was the owner of more than 10,000 acres of
land which he
very successfully cultivated with slaves. About him and his magnificent home,
where well-stocked cellars could always be found, revolved the social life of
early Greenville and its surrounding plantations.
A very good picture of the impression made upon a
stranger by the
village during its babyhood may be had by reading an extract from the diary of
Edward Hooker, a native of Connecticut, who paid Greenville a visit in 1806. He
village of Greenville, we pass in view of Chancellor Thomson’s (Thompson)
seat—quite retired in the woods, about two miles from the Court House. Arrived
at Col. Alston’s about 12. His seat is without exception the most beautiful
that I have seen in South Carolina.
The mansion is on a commanding eminence which he calls Prospect
Hill. Fronts the village of
Greenville from which it is distant just six hundred yards; and to which there
is a spacious and beautiful avenue leading, formed by two rows of handsome
sycamore trees planted twenty four feet apart—the avenue being 15 rods wide.
In like manner another handsome avenue formed by
cutting a passage
through the woods leads from the north front of the house to the mountain road,
about a quarter of a mile in length. The cultivated grounds lie partly on the
borders of the great avenue leading to the village and partly on the borders of
Reedy river, south and west of the house.”
All who know anything at all of the early history
have heard the name of Vardry McBee, ancestor of so many, who with himself,
have contributed greatly to the upbuilding of Greenville, both city and county.
In 1815 he purchased the
entire holdings of Lemuel J. Alston, consisting of 11,028 acres in and around
the village of Greenville. Mr.
McBee then resided at Lincolnton, North Carolina, and did not move to
Greenville till 1835, but almost immediately after his Greenville purchase he
set on foot many enterprises which were soon to give a zest of life to the
languishing community. In fact, the
advent of Vardry McBee into Greenville marked its real beginning.
HISTORIC GREENVILLE TOUR
6. PROSPECT HILL, Westfield
(present day Greenville Water Works office)
Look for the marker and photograph
site of Lemuel Alston's home, "Prospect Hill". Built around
1788, Alston lived in the house which he later turned into Greenville's first
hotel (1815). He sold the property to
Vardry McBee and moved to Alabama. This
house was tom down in 1920 and Greenville High School was built on this
By Piper Peters Aheron
it was constructed in the late 1700s, Prospect Hill sat 600 feet from the main road or Pearis’s Wagon
Road, which continued to present-day White Hone Road and into the hillsides of
the district. By the 1900’s, Prospect
Hill was located Westfield Street and McBee Avenue.
Prospect hill also became one of
Greenville’s first hotels after Alston sold it to Vardry McBee. In 1815, Alston relocated to Clarke County.
Alabama, where be died in 1836.
In 1835 Vardy McBee finally moved from Lincolnton, North Carolina, to
Greenville. McBee lived in this house
until his death in 1864. In
1920 Prospect Hill was demolished.
(Special Collections. South Carolina Library, USC. Columbia.)
Great Plains became part of (Greenville
County through the Count Court Act of 1 785.
Alston, a visionary, donated some land for the construction of a county
courthouse. He also created a plat and
labeled the mapped area Pleasantburg, a village that would divide the county in
an effort to honor the General, Nathaneal Greene.
North of the hamlet’s log courthouse
were the foothills called the Dirk Corner.
Southward lay the Possum Kingdom, flatlands best utilized for
farming. Greenville, both county and
city, had been organized, with Greenville the beneficiaryof low country
merchant’s dealings. Coastal plantation
owners began to vacation at local mineral springs while drovers pushed herds of
cattle, sheep, hogs. and turkeys from Kentucky and Tennessee through Greenville
to Charleston. This profitable activity caught the eye of a Lincolnton, North Carolina
saddle maker, Vardry McBee. In 1815 McBee gave Alston $27,554 for the Alston estate, or Prospect Hill.
From the below paragraphs we learn
that Lemuel James Alston first married Elisabeth, daughter of Col. Joseph John and Elizabeth (Alston) Williams, and a second
time Elisabeth, widow of Joseph John Williams, Jr., the half brother of his first wife.
Note the spelling of Elisabeth with an “s” for both the wives with the older Elizabeth spelled with a “z”. We know Elizabeth N. H. Williams Alston’s name was spelled with a “z”
and likely his first wife as well since her grandmother’s name was Elizabeth.
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable
Americans: Volume IA
ALSTON, Lemuel James, representative,
was born in Granville county, N.C., in 1760; son of Solomon Alston, grandson of
Solomon and Nancy (Hinton) Alston, and great-grandson of John and Mary (Clark)
Alston. John Alston was a native of Bedfordshire, England, and settled in North
Carolina about 1711.
Lemuel removed to what is now
Greenville, S.C., represented that district in the 10th and 11th congresses,
serving 1807-11, and removed thence to Clarke county, Ala., in 1816, where he
became chief justice, presiding over the Orphans and county courts from 1816 to
He married Elisabeth,
daughter of Col. Joseph John and Elizabeth (Alston) Williams, and a second time
Elisabeth, widow of Joseph John Williams. Jr., the half brother of his first
wife. He died in Clarke County, Ala., in
In this article we confirm that Lemuel
was born in 1760 and moved to Greenville, South Carolina after the Revolutionary War with ended in 1777 and moved to South
Alabama in 1816.
ALSTON, Lemuel James
ALSTON, Lemuel James, a Representative
from South Carolina; born in the eastern part of Granville (now Warren) County,
N.C., in 1760; moved to South Carolina after the Revolutionary War and settled
near Greens Mill, which soon became the town of Greenville; studied law; was admitted
to the bar and commenced practice in Greenville; member of the State house of
representatives, 1789-1790; elected as a Republican to the Tenth and Eleventh
Congresses (March 4, 1807-March 3, 1811); moved in 1816 to Clarke County, Ala.,
and settled near Grove Hill, where he presided over the orphans’ court and the
county court from November 1816 until May 1821; died at “Alston Place,” Clarke
County, Ala., in 1836.
From the census record below we can
see that Lemuel was living in what is now sourthern Alabama in 1816 with no females in the house. However, in the following census record we can see that in 1830 he is living with a female between the
ages of 50 and 60 at a time when Betsy Norfleet Hunter would have been 52 years of age.
The above record states they married on 3 Feb 1818 in Halifax NC.
County Mississippi Territory 1816 Census
County Mississippi Territory 1816 Census
original image is available (if you are a member) at Ancestry.com
Alston was the head of household which contained:
2 White Males over 21
1 White Male under 21
0 White Females
3 Free Persons of Color
original image is available (if you are a member) at Ancestry.com
White Male between the ages of 60 and 70
One White Female between the ages of 50 and 60
The bible below was most likely written by Lucy Eugenia Williams who married Maj. William H. Polk, the brother of
President Polk. I base this on the fact that the writer says she is the granddaughter
of Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams.
Notice the nickname Betsy for Elizabeth
N. H. Williams and the spelling of Elizabeth Williams, the sister of Betsy’s first husband spelled with a “z”.
Betsy’s husband, Joseph John Williams,
was born in August 1775 and died 18 September 1808. So it’s likely that
his sister Elizabeth was born sometime around 1775. If she is the one who married
Lemuel James Alston first, then it would have been around 1800. They had eight
children which would have taken about fifteen years.
The timing would be right for her to die
before 15 Feb 1816 in South Carolina, Lemuel to move to south Alabama in 1816 and then come back to North Calolina to marry
Betsy N. H. Williams, who in 1797 had married Joseph John Willliams who died in 1808.
After all, his first wife was the sister of Betsy’s first husband, so they were family. When Lemuel died in southern Alabama in 1836 he only had one child living.
Lemuel had been living in Greenville, SC
since sometime after the Revolutionary War ended in 1777 and before 1788. He
would have been 17 in 1777 and 28 in 1788. His first wife Elizabeth’s
parents were married in 1770 so she likely was born around 1775.
Did he return to North Carolina about 1795
when he was 35 and Elizabeth was about 20 and marry her and take her to South Carolina?
After she died about 1815, did he return again and marry his first wife’s sister-in-law, Betsy Williams and move
with her to southern Alabama?
When he died, did she come back to North
Carolina where she grew up? Stranger things have happened and the records seem
to support this theory.
Elizabeth "Betsy" Norfleet Hunter Williams died in Warren County North Carolina in January 1856 and her will was
filed with the Warren County Clerk at that time. Below is a copy of the will from Ancestry.com.
Elizabeth "Betsy" Norfleet Hunter Williams 1856 Will by Larry Feldhaus on Scribd
Williams & Polk Family Bible
Brought in by Mrs. John
Mitchell in 1975, Warrenton, N. C.
No pub. Date
Jos John Williams Senior
N. H. Williams Mar. 6, 1778
James Conner Williams, son
of J. J.
Williams & Betsy Jan. 1, 1798
Jos John Williams Jr. son of
Williams Senior & Betsey N. H. Williams was born the 19th day of August
Elizabeth Alston Williams Sept.
Mary Kearney Davis daughter
Archibald & Elizabeth Davis born the 13th of Dec. 1802
Mrs. B. N. H. Alston Jan. 31,
Mrs. B. N. H. Alston departed
on Sunday morning the 31st of January on her 87 year of age 1864
Elizabeth Alston Williams Daeke
Dec. 2, 1830
Jon Williams Senior departed this life in his 34th year Sunday Eve 11 oclock
18th Sept. 1808
Jos Jon Williams Senior Sept.
Jos. John Williams Sen. departed
life on Saturday the 13th of April in his 33rd year 1833
Joseph John Williams, son of
Williams & Betsy N. H. Williams Apr. 1833
Jos. John Williams Jun. son
of Jos. J.
Williams Sr. departed this life at Randolph Macon College Wednesday the 15th of
Mary K. Williams departed this
Sunday Evening about 9 o’ck February 27 in the 85th year of her age 1887
Elisha Williams & Sarah
(their children were William, Elisha, Josiah, and Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter
Elisha Williams & Sarah
married March 24th 1775 – children were William, Elisha, Josiah, Elizabeth
Williams my grandmother
Jon. Williams and Betsey N. H. Williams was married the 11th of February 1797
Jos John Williams and Mary
were married the 9th of February 1820
Col Joseph John Williams 1st
son of Samuel Williams and Elizabeth Alston (daughter of Judge John Alston of
England) was a member of the Provincial Congress that met at Halifax April 4th
1776 and May 11th 1776. Appointed one of the commuter of safety for the State
and was a member of the Legislature from Halifax County in 1777. He died in
1818. His will dated Feb. 15, 1816 was 1st married to Rosannah Conner who bore
1. Martha Williams= 1st Henry Hill 2d Dr. Samuel T. Thorne
2. Joseph John Williams Jr= Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams
3. Henry Williams (no other record)
4. Elizabeth Williams (no other record)
5. Rosanna Conner Williams= md Dr. Jessie N. Faulcon
Col Joseph John Williams 2nd wife was Elizabeth Alston (daughter of Phillip
Alston and Elizabeth Whitmel) who bore him:
1. Wineford Whitmel Williams= 1st James Harris no child 2nd James Harris (cousin
of the above)
2. Catherine Williams= Heath (no further record)
3. William Williams (Pretty Billy)= 4 times
Williams = Hon Lemuel James Alston (1st wife) son of Solomon Alston Jr. &
Elisha Williams of Roanoke=
who married Joseph John Williams Jr. who born him three children.
James Conner Williams died.
Elizabeth Alston Williams
Dr. Nicholas Drake
one child died in infancy
Joseph John Williams= Mary
Kearney Davis (daughter of Archibald Davis & Elizabeth Crafford
Mary Elizabeth Williams= Dr. Peter Hawkins,
Joseph John Williams= died unmarried,
Lucy Eugenia Williams= Maj. William H. Polk Tenn. * See bio of Maj. Polk below
Thomas Caboin Williams= Virginia Poyer Boyd
the death of Joseph John Williams 2nd his widow married Hon Lemuel James Alston
as his 2nd wife (no issue)
Samuel Williams & Elizabeth Alston he died in 1753
1. William Williams= Mrs. Thomas Blount
2. Solomon Williams= Tempie Boddie
3. Samuel Williams
4. Joseph John Williams= Rosannah Conner
Col Joseph John Williams died in 1818
Joseph John Williams
2d. married Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams (daughter of
Cleoha (Elisha) Williams
& Sarah Josie
Joseph John Williams 3rd married Mary Kearney Davis
|Bible printed in 1832|
Joseph John Williams Senior August
Betsy N. H. Williams 6th March 1778
Jos. Jon. Williams and Betsey N. H. Williams
was married the 11th of February 1797
James Conner Williams son of J. J. Williams and Betsy his wife was
born Jan. 1st 1798
Jos. Jon Jun was born the 19th of August 1800
Williams was born 6th of Sept. 1803
Jos Jon Williams Senior departed this life in his 34th year Sunday
Eve 11 oclock 18th Sept. 1808
James C. Williams departed this life in 1813
Alston Williams Drake departed this life Dec. 2nd 1830
Joseph John Williams son of Jos John Williams &
Betsey N. H. Williams departed this life in April 1833 in the 33rd year of his age.
Elisha Williams &
Sarah Josy were married March 24th 1775 – children were William, Elisha, Josiah, Elizabeth --- Hunter Williams my grandmother
Jos John Williams Jr. son of Jos John Williams Senior & Betsey N. H. Williams was born the 19th day of
Mary Kearney Davis daughter of Archibald & Elizabeth Davis born the 13th of Dec. 1802
Jos John Williams and Mary H. Davis were married the 9th of February 1820
Williams daughter of Jos John and Mary (light) Williams was born on Wednesday 13th of November 1822
John Williams was born on Friday August 27th 1824
Lucy Eugenia Williams born Tuesday the 11th of Oct.
Thomas Calvin Williams born Tuesday morning 1 oclock 30th of Dec. 1828
H. Polk and Lucy Eugenia Williams were married the 14th of July 1854 by the Rev. Philmon W. Archer
H. Polk son of William H. Polk & Suey E. Polk was born in Columbia Tennessee the night of Aug. the 14th about 1 oclock
Tasker Polk son of William H. Polk & Suey Polk was born in Columbia Tennessee March 24th 1861
Archibald Davis was born April 4th 1766
Elizabeth J. Hilliard born 1769
C. Williams departed this life Tuesday Apr. 27th 1 oclock 1855
Mrs. B. N. H. Alston departed this life
on Sunday morning the 31st of January on her 87 year of age 1864
Mrs. Mary E. Hawkins departed this life
Friday Oct. 25 at 20 minutes of 11 o’clock at night in her 45 year 1867
William H. Polk son of William
H. Polk & Lucy C. Polk departed this life Oct. 17 about 9 o’ck p.m. at Birmingham Ala. in the 31st year of his age
Mary K. Williams departed this life on Sunday Evening about 9 o’ck February 27 in the 85th
year of her age 1887
Lucy E. Polk, widow of William H. Polk, departed this life January 11th 1906 at half
past two o’clock a.m. at her house in Warrenton N. C. in the 90th year of her age.
Joseph John Williams 1st youngest son of Samuel Williams and Elizabeth Alston (daughter of Judge John Alston of England) was
a member of the Provincial Congress that met at Halifax April 4th 1776 and May 11th 1776. Appointed one of the commuter of
safety for the State and was a member of the Legislature from Halifax County in 1777. He died in 1818. His will dated Feb.
15, 1816 was 1st married to who bore him;
1. Martha Williams= 1st Henry Hill 2d Dr. Samuel T. Thorne
2. Joseph John Williams Jr= Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams
3. Henry Williams (no
4. Elizabeth Williams (no other record)
5. Rosanna Conner Williams=
md Dr. Jessie N. Faulcon
Col Joseph John Williams 2nd wife was Elizabeth Alston
(daughter of Phillip Alston and Elizabeth Whitmel) who bore him:
1. Wineford Whitmel Williams= 1st James
Harris no child 2nd James Harris (cousin of the above)
2. Catherine Williams= Heath (no further record)
3. William Williams (Pretty Billy)= 4 times
Elizabeth Williams = Hon Lemuel James
(1st wife) son of Solomon Alston Jr. & wife Sarah Elisha Williams of Roanoke= Sarah Josie
children – William, Josiah, Elisha and Elizabeth who married
Joseph John Williams Jr. who born
him three children. James Conner Williams died. Elizabeth Alston Williams 1st – Harry Thorne 2nd Dr. Nicholas Drake
one child died in infancy
Joseph John Williams
After the death of Joseph John Williams
2nd his widow married Hon Lemuel James Alston as his 2nd wife (no issue)
Joseph John Williams= Mary Kearney
Davis (daughter of Archibald Davis & Elizabeth Crafford Hilliard) Issue Mary Elizabeth Williams= Dr. Peter Hawkins, Joseph
John Williams= died unmarried, Lucy Eugenia Williams= Maj. William H. Polk Tenn., Thomas Caboin Williams= Virginia Poyer Boyd
Samuel Williams & Elizabeth Alston he died in 1753 children:
William Williams= Mrs. Thomas Blount
2. Solomon Williams= Tempie Boddie
4. Joseph John Williams= Rosannah Conner Col Joseph John Williams died in 1813 1st married Rosannah
Conner 2. Line Joseph John Williams 2d. 3. Line Married Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams (daughter of Cleoha Williams &
Sarah Josie Joseph John Williams 3rd 4. line married Mary Kearney Davis
Davis & Elizabeth Hilliard were married 1789
Ann Mana Davis born Sept. 30, 1790
Crawford Davis born Jan 21st 1792
Harty Hodge Davis born Apr 27, 1793
Davis born Aug. 27, 1795
James H. Davis was born July 21, 1797
Archibald H. Davis
born June 3d 1799
Martha H. Davis born Feb. 22, 1801
Mary Kearney Davis born Dec.
Temperance W. Davis born Sept. 26, 1804
Thomas Davis born April 3rd 1806
John Calvin Davis born June 19, 1808
Lucy H. Davis was born Oct. 11th 1811
Davis departed this life Feb. 22, 1822
Elizabeth Hilliard Davis died Aug. 25, 1814
Maria Condup died March 18, 1822
Elizabeth Crawford Alston died Jan. 17, 1872
Hodge Williams died
Leah Hilliard Davis died
James H. Davis died 1798
H. Davis died Nov. 18, 1854
Martha H. Alston died May 20, 1875
Mary K. Williams
died Feb. 27, 1887
Temperance W. Thorne died Aug. 5th 1854
Thomas Davis died Nov.
John Calvin Davis died
Jos. John Williams Sen. departed this life on Saturday
the 13th of April in his 33rd year 1833
Jos. John Williams Jun. son of Jos. J. Williams Sr. departed
this life at Randolph Macon College Wednesday the 15th of March 1843
Williams & Polk Family Bible
Brought in by Mrs. John Mitchell in 1975, Warrenton,
No pub. date
John Williams Senior Aug. 1775
Betsy N. H. Williams Mar. 6, 1778
James Conner Williams,
son of J. J. Williams & Betsy Jan. 1, 1798
Jos John Williams Junior, son of Jos John & Betsy
N. H. Williams Aug. 19, 1800
Elizabeth Alston Williams Sept. 5, 1803
Apr. 4, 1766
Elizabeth J. Hilliard 1769
Ann Maria Davis Sept. 30, 1790
Crawford Davis Jan 21, 1792
Harley Codge [Harty Hodge] Davis Aug. 27, 1795
H. Davis July 21, 1797
Archibald H. Davis June 3, 1799
Martha N. Davis Feb. 22,
Mary Kearney Davis, dau. of Archibald & Elizabeth Davis Dec. 13, 1802
W. Davis Sept. 26, 1804
Thomas Davis Apr. 3, 1806
John Calvin Davis June 19, 1808
Lucy H. Davis Oct. 11, 1811
Jos John Williams Jr, son of Jos John Williams Senior Aug.
Mary Elizabeth Williams, dau. of Jos John & Mary K. Williams Nov. 13, 1822
John Williams Aug. 27, 1824
Lucy Eugenia Williams Oct. 11, 1826
Thomas Calvin Williams
Dec. 30, 1828
William H. Polk son of William H. Polk and Lucy E. Polk Aug. 14, 1855 in Columbia, Tennessee
Tasker Polk Polk son of William H. Polk and Lucy E. Polk Mar 24, 1861 in Columbia, Tennessee
Elisha Williams & Sarah Josey Mar. 24, 1775
(their children were William, Elisha, Josiah, and Elizabeth Norfleet Hunter Williams)
John Williams & Betsey N. H. Williams Feb. 14, 1797
Archibald Davis & Elizabeth Hilliard 1789
William H. Polk & Lucy Eugenia Williams July 14, 1854 by Rev. Philmen W. Archer
John Williams & Mary K. Davis Feb. 9, 1820
Jos Jon Williams Senior Sept. 18, 1808
James C. Williams 1813
Alston Williams Daeke [Drake] Dec. 2, 1830
Joseph John Williams, son of Jos John Williams & Betsy
N. H. Williams Apr. 1833
Archibald Davis Feb. 22, 1822
Elizabeth Hilliard Davis
Aug. 25, 1814
Ann Maria Gondup Mar. 18, 1822
Elizabeth Crawford Alston Jan. 17,
Harty Hodge Williams
Leah Hilliard Davis
James H. Davis
Archibald H. Davis Nov. 18, 1854
Martha H. Alston May 20, 1875
K. Williams Feb. 27, 1887
Temperance W. Thorne Aug 6, 1854
Thomas Davis Nov. 3,
John Calvin Davis
Jos John Williams Sen. Apr. 13, 1833
John Williams Jun. Mar. 19, 1843
Thomas C. Williams Nov. 27, 1855
Mrs. B. N. H.
Alston Jan. 31, 1864
Mrs. Mary E. Hawkins Oct. 25, 1867
William H. Polk Oct. 17,
Following is a short biography of William H. Polk, brother of President James
K. Polk and husband of Betsy's grandaughter Lucy Eugenia Williams. He was the daughter of Joseph John Williams and his
wife Mary Kearney Davis Williams.
POLK, William Hawkins, (brother of President James Knox Polk), a Representative from
Tennessee; born in Maury County, Tenn., May 24, 1815; attended the city schools, Columbia, Tenn., and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1832 and 1833; was graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville; studied law; was admitted
to the bar in 1839 and commenced practice in Columbia, Tenn.; member of the State house of representatives 1842-1845; Minister
to the Kingdom of Naples and served from March 13, 1845, to August 31, 1847; served as major of the Third Dragoons in the
Mexican War in 1847 and 1848; elected as an Independent Democrat to the Thirty-second Congress (March 4, 1851-March 3, 1853);
resumed the practice of law; died in Nashville, Tenn., December 16, 1862; interment in Greenwood Cemetery, Columbia, Tenn.