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.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Our Family and the Founding of Williamson, West Virginia
From the Fortress of Solitude
Today I'd like to shed new light on an age old family tradition concerning the founding of Williamson, West Virginia.
I've heard for years that our family founded Williamson, West Virginia. Finding that connection was a major goal when I started this family history blog nearly one year ago. Sadly, after much research I drew the conclusion that it was just a myth with no substance.
Today, I believe I can offer evidence that there is truth to the story. It is my opinion that Williamson West Virginia was founded by my 3rd cousin, 4 times removed. His name was Benjamin Williamson.
Now the evidence. We begin with the Relationship Chart (click to enlarge).
Please remember that I haven't rock solid proof that Matthew Williamson was the son of Cuthbert Williamson Jr. but all the facts point to this line as our line of descent (refer to the previous post on Matthew Williamson's line). The facts are so obvious that I'm 90% sure this is our correct Williamson Family Tree.
Given that point, then we see that our 2rd Great Grandfather George Matthew Williamson was
a 3rd cousin to Benjamin Williamson, the founder of Williamson West Virginia. This is something George Matthew would have known and it would have been a topic of conversation in the George Matthew Williamson home - hence the story being passed down to our generations.
Therefore, I believe the story of our family's tie to the founding of Williamson, West Virginia is another strong fact that proofs I've found our Williamson line and can now take our genealogy back further to the earliest days of colonial American and the old world and boy are there some interesting relatives on this line to tell you about. Watch for further posts.
For Your Information, this is the History of Williamson, West Virginia taken from the town's web site.
History of Williamson, West Virginia In 1756, Major Andrew Lewis and his exposition were traveling through the area that is now Mingo County. The men ran out of food, but killed a buffalo between present-day Williamson and Kermit. The men cut the meat into small strips called "tugs". They ate the tugs while stopping by a river. Later, this river was referred to by Lewis as "the river where we ate the tugs". Therefore, the river was named the Tug River.
The first settlers arrived in the Williamson area sometime in the 1790's. Between 1800 and 1810, the area that is now downtown Williamson was acquired by a man named Anthony Lawson. The land was cleared in the early 1820's. The first white child to be born in Williamson was Amanda Lowe, my great-great-great-grandmother. This occurred in 1826. Lowe's father, Thomas Patrick Lowe, came to this area from North Carolina in 1825. He assisted in clearing the land and built the house later known as the Ben Williamson house. Thomas Lowe's father-in-law, Isaac Brewer, came to the area from the Church Valley of Virginia in 1800.
Thomas Lowe sold his land in 1839 and moved his family to Marrowbone Creek. After moving, Lowe granted his slaves their freedom. Around the same time, Anthony Lawson sold the land that is now downtown to his friend Benjamin Williamson, who was also an early inhabitant of the area. Lawson and his brother Harry lived in what is now East Williamson.
Benjamin Williamson divided the land up evenly among his children. His son, Benjamin, Jr., got the section that is now the business section of Williamson. Benjamin Williamson, Sr. died in 1854. His grave can be seen in the Williamson Cemetery on Reservation Hill.