Silas Williams #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Silas Williams

Silas Williams

This week on my #52 Ancestors post I’m going to reach back into the 18th century. Today I’m writing about my third great grandfather Silas Williams.

It was in researching this Williams family branch that my sisters and I launched our genealogy research “careers”. Look what you’ve done Silas Williams! You’ve created several genealogy monsters in our family. (Good for you!) So I have a special affection when I write about this area of my family tree.

Silas was born 20 August 1796 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His parents were Abel and Sarah James Williams. Silas was the sixth child of Abel and Sarah’s eleven kids. The family moved to Greene County, Pennsylvania for a few years and finally ended up in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. I’ll go into the reason for the move to Ohio in a future post when I write about Silas’ father Abel.

St. Matthews Church, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

St. Matthews Church, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

Silas would spend the rest of his life in Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio. He married Sarah (Sally) Lappin 15 July 1819. He was 22 and she was 20 years old. Like his father before him Silas was a prolific man. He and Sally had eleven children. My second great grandfather Isaac was their seventh child. These folks were hard working farmers. If you’ve ever seen the rolling hills of eastern Ohio you’ll know farming there wasn’t easy.

After eleven children and 20 years of marriage Sally died 11 September 1839 at 40 years old. Silas eventually married Susannah Wilkin 19 November 1846. Silas and Susannah had a son Thomas in 1847. Silas passed just a year later 1 October 1848 at 52 years old.

Silas’ story was first unearthed by my sister Mary Ellen about 1997-ish. Several trips were made from west to east across Ohio by my sisters and myself as we walked the steps of our 3x great grandparents. We stopped at St. Matthew’s cemetery and took photos of Sarah and Silas’ final resting place. On a whim I tried the door of the little white church next to the cemetery and to my surprise was able to walk in. What a simple yet beautiful place to worship.

St. Matthews Church Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

Silas Williams Headstone St. Matthews Church Cemetery, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

After several long looks around I saw two framed photos on the back wall. A few steps brought me face to face with Silas and Sarah. What an amazing find! Silas had donated the lot St. Matthew’s was built on so he and Sarah were remembered with their photos still hanging on the rear church wall. How many times does that happen in genealogy research! Another family member contacted the church and was able to have copies of those photos made. That’s the photo of Silas seen above.

Silas Williams was a husband, father, church-goer and farmer. I’m sure in retrospect Silas felt he lived a pretty uneventful life but nearly 218 years after his birth I’m sharing his story here. Your story is my story Silas and I’m very proud of it.

P.S. I’m a much better photographer today than I was in 1997! 🙂

Isaac Williams #52Ancestors

Isaac Williams

Isaac Williams

I’m behind on my #52 Ancestors posts by a couple weeks! But that doesn’t make this week’s ancestor any less important. I’m writing about my great great grandfather Isaac Williams.

Isaac was born 16 Nov 1830 in Fairfield Twp, Tuscarawas County, OH to Silas and Sarah Lappin Williams. He was the seventh of their eleven children. (Silas did have a twelfth child from a second marriage after Sarah passed.)

Isaac married Rebecca Holmes on 25 Aug 1853 in Tuscarawas, County, OH. He was a lifelong farmer.

After having lost two infant sons, the Williams family decided to move to Allen County, OH in 1863. Along with two daughters and a son, scads and scads of extended family accompanied the family on the move. 

Once in northwestern Ohio, Isaac settled his family in Monroe Township and continued farming. Unfortunately as a young father Isaac suffered even more loss when the son that moved with the family died and so did another son that was born after the move. Isaac’s last child, a daughter Mary Ellen born in 1871, was my great grandmother.

Now as far as I can tell, despite the terrible loss of four sons, Isaac lived a pretty good life. But I am curious about one thing. Isaac was born in 1830. He was a good candidate to fight in the Civil War yet didn’t. I have found absolutely no record of him serving in the war at all. I know the big family move was in the early 1860s. Are the two events, the war and the move, related? I’m not upset Isaac didn’t serve. A safe and alive Isaac produces me 120 years later! But I do wonder why he didn’t serve . . .

Isaac Williams died 20 Apr 1901 in Monroe Twp, Allen County, OH. He was 70 years old. I’m proud to share him with you this week as my #52 Ancestor.

Rebecca Holmes Williams Had Moxie #52Ancestors

Rebecca Holmes Williams and Family

Rebecca Holmes Williams and Family

Since March is Women’s History Month and I lucked into writing about a female ancestor last week I’m going to continue through the month honoring my female ancestors. This week I want to tell you about another of my great great grandmothers Rebecca Holmes.

Rebecca Holmes is a direct branch on my maternal side. She’s my mother’s, mother’s, mother’s, mother and in my mind she is a symbol of strength. Let me tell you why.

Rebecca was born 14 August 1833 to Margaret Junkins and William Holmes in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. She grew up in eastern Ohio and married Isaac Williams in 1853 when she was 20 years old.

Fast forward a couple years to 1860, Rebecca is the mother of two girls, her third child, a son lives only ten months. Add to that Rebecca’s fourth child another son lives just nine months before passing away. Rebecca has a fifth child yet another baby boy and is pregnant again when the family decides to move from Tuscarawas County to Allen County, Ohio. It’s not just this small family that makes the move. There is a passel of people that make this journey.

Rebecca Holmes Williams

Rebecca Holmes Williams

Along with Rebecca and Isaac on this migration are her parents, eight siblings many with families and her grandparents. Also included in the move are several of Isaac’s brothers and their families. It had to have been an event to remember with the number of people involved.

Finally in Allen and neighboring Harding County the families settle down. Most continue farming. It’s at this point I realize that Rebecca would have moved across the state knowing she’d never visit the final resting place of her two sons again. Buried in a small church cemetery in Tuscarawas County I can only imagine her final farewell and heavy heart. [Read more…]

Mary Ellen Williams Marshall is the Culprit! #52Ancestors

Family history - Genealogy research

My great grandmother Mary Ellen Williams (Marshall)

Any of us who refer to ourselves as genealogists or family historians have a favorite ancestor. You know that one person we can’t get enough of. No matter what, we somehow circle back to them whether we’re looking at family pics or at pedigree charts our eyes always seem to find the favorite’s papers or charts. I’m no different. I have three ancestors I’ve spent a good deal of time researching but if asked for my hands down, absolute favorite, numero uno ancestor it has to be Mary Ellen Williams Marshall. It’s her life and story that piqued my genealogy interest. My delving into family history lays at her feet. So who is she?

I have written about her previously here and here and here if you care to read those posts but for this week’s 52 Ancestors I’ll share her with you this way.

Mary Ellen Williams Marshall is my maternal great grandmother. Born September 26, 1871 she was the youngest child of Isaac and Rebecca Holmes Williams. She married George S Marshall in 1891 and had three children. Gladys her oldest is my grandmother. So why the fascination on my part?

George & Mary Ellen Williams Marshall Farm

George & Mary Ellen Williams Marshall Farm

Mary Ellen died at a flourishing age. Consumption claimed her at only 36 years old. She left her husband George with two daughters ages 16 and 12 and a five year old son. Even though he was still a young man at 40 years old, George raised his children alone and then went on to live with his oldest daughter for the rest of his life, never marrying again. [Read more…]

I have another vintage family photo story for you. This one just a little bit embarrassing on my part.

Silas Williams

Silas Williams

I have another vintage family photo story for you. This one just a little bit embarrassing on my part.



So I’m going through my craft stuff. If you read my post last Saturday you’ll know why I’m combing through my craft supplies.



Anyway I have a small box of family pics I use just for crafts. They’re images I’ve printed on my computer or duplicates I’ve made at Walgreen’s just for the purpose of cutting up and using in projects. They’re in with the rest of my supplies so they don’t get mixed up with my genealogy family photos.



Low and behold at the very bottom of my craft photo box are these two 5×7 black and white pics. My jaw dropped. These people are my 3x great grandparents! I know I have one and only one copy of their photo and it’s here in my craft box not scanned and placed in a digital file or at the very least in their binder.



Holy Moly!! I have no idea how they crept in here among my crafts but thank heavens I caught them before they became part of next week’s Crafting Genealogy. Me who rejoiced less than a week ago over some new found family pics am storing my great great great grandparents among my craft stuff in the basement!!


Before I go on I do want to take a minute and tell you who they are.

Silas Williams was born 20 Aug 1796 in Bucks County, PA. His father Abel was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.

He married Sarah (Sally) Lappin on 15 July 1819 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. She was born 20 May 1799 in Fayette County, PA. They had eleven children.



Sarah Lappin Williams

Sarah Lappin Williams

Silas and Sarah donated some of their land in Tuscarawas County for a church to be built and to this day their photos hang in the back of the church. That’s how me and my genea-sisters were able to get these photos. Silas died 1 Oct 1848 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio and Sarah passed 11 Sept 1839 also in Tuscarawas County, Ohio.



Just a thought if these folks sound the least bit familiar to you contact me at With eleven children I must have a ton of distant cousins out there!



So let this be a lesson to one and all. Don’t let your 3x great grandparents out of your sight. Who knows where they’ll end up!

Now I’m off to scan these old people and make more copies.



Have you misplaced your ancestors? I hope you’ve found them! If so tell me about it in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not the only one about to lose my genealogy card over this! 🙂