Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are Williamsons from Wales? A Quandry.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
Warm and cloudless at the Fortress this evening. I enjoyed my walk home from the Space Education Center. I’ll confess I did something which for me was daring. I wanted to leave the paved road and walk a section of the way home along the government canal, which is marked “No Trespassing” at regular intervals. Walking the canal wasn’t the daring thing. Everyone walks the canal, ignoring the warning not to trespass. I believe, along with so many other canal walkers, that the warning is for vehicles - not pedestrians. Besides, no one patrols the canal anyway.

Back to my story. To get onto the canal from where I was required a walk up someone’s very long private driveway. I walked up to the start of the drive and strained to see if anyone was lurking about, someone like the owner perhaps. The drive ends at a large, French Louis XIV style home. Now, if it were some aluminum sided bungalow then I wouldn’t have been so apprehensive, thinking common folk understand common folk. This chateau intimidated me. I had visions of me breaching the compound, triggering alarms, and moments later running for my life from a platoon of the French Foreign Legion.

I hesitated to move forward and hesitated to retreat and walk the rest of the way home on the public road. It was the school teacher in me that reminded me that rules are to be obeyed. Let’s face it, I’m well known in Pleasant Grove. My guilt ridden imagination gave me a vision of the headline the town’s local fish wrapper newspaper would print if I was apprehended: “Well Known, Yet Eccentric Pleasant Grove Teacher, Arrested for Trespassing onto Federal Government Property through a Neighborhood Driveway - Intentions Unknown!”

The debate raged internally for ten seconds or so before I decided to ‘Man Up‘ and live daring. I stepped forward into the breech and moved as quickly as I could (without breaking into what I perceived would be interrupted as a guilty jog) up the driveway - my eyes never veering from the chain link gate and the yellow triangle reading “No Trespassing - US Govt. Property”.

There was no horn or alarm. Not even a dog’s bark broke the still of the afternoon. A moment later I was safely onto the canal and freedom. I’d done it! I trespassed and felt so alive. I’ll confess I’m feeling pretty invincible right now and about thirty years younger. Wow, I need to do this more often. Come to think of it, there is a Army Reserve Compound near the high school. That might make for an interesting next challenging moment. I’ll keep you informed.

Tonight we take a moment to discuss one of the possibilities for the Williamson name in America. As many of you know that have been regular readers of this blog, the first Williamson ancestor of ours to cross the Atlantic pond for America still eludes me. The furthest back any of us have traced the family line is the father of George Matthew Williamson, my Great Great Grandfather. We know his father was Matthew Williamson and the family lived near Lynchburg Virginia around 1830. From the research I’ve done I’m settling on one of two theories for the orgin of our family. I’d like to take the next two posts and discuss them. Tonight I’ll start with the Wales Theory.

Are the Williamsons from Wales?

Well, are we? That I don’t know. I’ve heard it said that someone in the family remembers someone saying that they heard from someone else that our Williamson family originated from Wales. Is this true? Does anyone have information to shed on that? If so please share.

OK, If we are descended from a family of Williamsons that came from Wales then our Atlantic crossing Williamson Great Grandparent might be Hugh Williamson, who came from Wales about 1720's and first settled in New Kent County, Virginia., and then moved with the tide of emigration to Western Pennsylvania. Various deed books give Hugh’s descendants owning land in Pike, Floyd, Johnson, and Martin counties. Floyd County is where our family of Williamson’s seems to be at that time.

Hugh Williamson was born about 1710 in Wales and died around 1813. He immigrated to America around 1724. He had one son named Alden Williamson, born around 1750.

Once again, Does anyone in the family ever recall anyone mentioning a Welsh origin to our family name?

More to come.



  1. Wouldn't that make Hugh Williamson 103 years old when he died?? Is that even possible back then?

  2. Keep in mind that many Scots were displaced into Wales and England in British history. My thought is that the surname Williamson is Scotch in origin and that Hugh was of that descent, just living in Wales. Also, many Scots migrated to England as a means to get to America and didn't actually take up a long term residency there.

  3. well im a descent of alden we have a book on the williamson family tree but it just goes back to hugh but that as far as it goes back but my understanding theres a book that goes back past hugh and that some williamson were knights in the royal family in wales. and i realize yea ur right back in those days it would be hard to think of someone living to be a 103 but williamson s seem like the do have long life spand.but reseach that ive and over look my speliing but actually the williamson name had came from william the conquerer

  4. I am a descendant of Hugh Williamson as well. We started with my Grandmother who lived in Mingo County WV. Hugh was the last on the trail, all we know is he came by boat from Whales, his son and fathers name was Alden