An Inventory of Wills and Estate Records for Williams Families of Granville Co NC

My ancestor, Henry Williams, was the son of Daniel Williams who wrote a will in Granville County, North Carolina in 1759. You can read Daniel’s will in a previous post here. I retreived a copy of Daniel Williams’ 1759 Granville Co., NC will from the North Carolina State Archives in downtown Raleigh. While I was there, I also took inventory of all of the Williams surname files that were in the same box of original wills and also an inventory of the Williams estate files as well. Here is a listing of this inventory:

Granville County Wills 

Name Date Estate?
Agnes Williams 1803 YES
B F Williams 1925 -
Charles Williams 1819 YES
Daniel Williams 1759 YES
Elijah Williams 1854 -
Elizabeth Williams 1871 YES
J T Williams 1912 YES
James Williams 1845 YES
James Williams 1892 YES
John Williams 1799 YES
Joseph Williams 1773 -
Mary D Williams 1896 -
Nathaniel Williams 1831 -
Robert Williams 1822 -
Robert Williams 1905 -
Thomas Williams 1761 -
Thomas Williams 1825 -
William Williams 1765 -
William Williams 1777 -

Granville County Estates

Name Date Will?
Agnes Williams 1803 YES
Alfred Williams 1866 -
Benjamin Williams 1842 -
Charles Williams 1819 YES
Daniel Williams 1760 YES
David Williams 1862 -
Eliza Williams 1862 -
Elijah Williams 1842 -
Elizabeth Williams 1788 -
Elizabeth Williams 1871 YES
George Williams 1851 -
George W Williams 1900 -
Henrietta Williams 1887 -
Hettie H Williams 1889 -
J Williams 1770 -
James Williams 1847 YES
James Williams 1891 YES
John Williams 1770 -
John Williams 1779 YES
John D Williams 1912 YES
John H Williams 1865 -
Judge John Williams 1799 -

Source Information:

Granville County Wills: 1749-1968, Cr. 044.801.41, North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, NC

Granville County Estates: Cr. 044.508.590, North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, NC

Henry Williams’ Role in the NC Militia During the Revolutionary War

Last year I wrote a postabout my ancestor Henry Williams, asking the question, Was he really a Revolutionary War Soldier? like William S. Powell indicated in his book When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1977 (Durham, NC: Moore Publishing Company, 1977).

Although Powell did not provide sources in his book, he did note that he donated all research materials to the Gunn Memorial Library in Yanceyville, NC. I called the Library and they said they did not have any of Powell’s papers, but that they were probably located at UNC’s Wilson Library. The Finding Aid for Powell’s papers that are housed at the Wilson Library does mention papers relating to Caswell County History, but offers no specifics.

In the meantime, I happened to come upon the “Compiled service records of soldiers who served in the American Army during the Revolutionary war” – a set of microfilm put out by NARA that was scanned and digitized and put online for free public access on the Internet Archives website and can be downloaded for free here.

Henry Williams Service Card Front Page

Henry Williams Receipt Roll

Henry Williams Company Pay Roll

I downloaded 3 pages total.
The first page was the front of Henry Williams’ service card.
It had the following information on it:
Henry Williams
Collier’s Regiment
North Carolina Militia
(Revolutionary War)
Private | Private
Card Numbers:’
1. 37119798
2. 450594
Number of personal papers herein: 0

———————————–
Page 2:

W | Collier’s Regiment | N.C. Militia
Henry Williams
Appears on a Receipt Roll
under the following heading:
“Rec’d of Captin John Johnston specia tickets in
pay for the under Named for serving one Tour of
Duty under his Comand on the 16th of Decem.
1780 Discharged”
(Revolutionary War)
Roll Dated
July the 29th 1783
Remarks:
Number of Record: 1
W P Riply, Copyist

———————————–
Page 3:

W | Collier’s Regiment | N.C. Militia
Henry Williams
PW , Capt. John Johnstone’s Co. in Col.
John Collier’s Reg’t of No. Carolina
Militia, commanded by John Butler, Brigadier General.
(Revolutionary War)
Appears on
Company Pay Roll
of the organization named above,
dated: Dec 22, 1780
What time paid from Sept 8, 17__
What time paid to Dec 22, 17__
Number of Days 106
Pay per day in dollars 1
Subsistence per month 20
Total amount in dollars 176
Remarks:
Shannon Copyist
———————————–

And then another researcher I’ve been working with found the following on footnote.com – a scan of the Pay Receipt that included Henry Williams, a Private, no. 16 down on the left hand side.

Pay Roll for Capt John Johnstone’s Company

Pay Roll for Capt John Johnstone’s Company in John Collin’s Regiment of No. Carolina Militia Commanded by John Butler Brigadier General December 22, 1780.
No: 16
Name: Henry Williams
Rank: Pvt
What Time Paid from: 8 Sept
What Time Paid to: 22 Dec
Number of Days: 106
Pay per day in Dollars: 1
Subsistence per month: 20
Total amount in dollars: 176

———————————–

The existence of these documents is a good indication that our Henry Williams was a participant in the Revolutionary War, however, Powell’s book said he was a “Colonel” and these documents mention only a “Private” Henry Williams, so there is unfortunately some discrepancy.

I guess the hunt for Powell’s original source materials will continue. The Powell collection that is housed at the Wilson Library is huge. According to the finding aid, materials on Caswell County are in folders 121 and 16. I plan to peruse these folders in the new few weeks.

1790 Granville Co NC Census – Williams

1790 Granville County, North Carolina Census Report

There were 14 WILLIAMS families listed on this report. At the time of this post, the 1790 images were not available to view online at ancestry.com.

Name and Film No. information:

Capt Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 92; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Charles Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 91; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Daniel Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 90; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Gideon Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 90; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Jeremiah Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 90; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Jno Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 90; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
John Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 89; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Nath Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 91; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Sam Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 90; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Solomon Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 92; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Thomas Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 88; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Thos Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 91; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Walter Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 89; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
William Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 89; Family History Library Film: 0568147.

1790 Caswell Co NC Census – Williams

1790 Caswell County, North Carolina Census Report

There were 10 WILLIAMS families listed on this report. At the time of this post, the 1790 images were not available to view online at ancestry.com.

Name and Film No. information:

Bennett Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 82; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Col Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 82; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Daniel Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 82; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Elizabeth Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 82; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Jacob Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 81; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
James Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 79; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Jerremiah Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 82; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
John Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 82; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Thomas Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 83; Family History Library Film: 0568147.
Tobias Williams Roll: M637_7; Page: 83; Family History Library Film: 0568147.

1777 Tax Lists Caswell County NC – Williams

In 1777 Caswell County, NC consisted of 6 districts – Richmond, Gloucester, St. David’s, St. Luke’s, St. James, and Nash. In 1792, St. Lawrence, St. Luke’s, St. James, and Nash counties became Person County.

According to the 1777 Caswell County Tax list, there were 8 Williams men being taxed:

St. David’s District – Henry Williams was taxed for 3722 acres, 6 white polls, and 6 black polls; Colonel John Williams was taxed for 1299 acres, 0 white polls, and 0 black polls

Gloucester District – 0 Williams families were taxed

St. James’ District – George Williams was taxed and Thomas Williams was taxed for 194 acres, 17 white polls and 6 black polls

St. Lukes District – Benjamin Williams was taxed

Nash District – Benjamin Williams and John Williams were taxed

Richmond District – William Williams

Source: Caswell Co., NC List of Taxables for 1777, 1780, & 1784 , microfilm, North Carolina State Archives, Call No. 020.70001

1784 Tax Lists Caswell County NC – Williams

In 1784 Caswell County, NC consisted of 8 districts – Richmond, Caswell, Gloucester, St. David’s, St. Lawrence, St. Luke’s, St. James, and Nash. In 1792, Caswell County was split into two counties – Caswell and Person. St. Lawrence, St. Luke’s, St. James, and Nash counties became Person County in 1792.

According to the 1784 Caswell County Tax list, there were 5 Williams men being taxed:

Richmond District – 0 Williams families were taxed

Caswell District – 0 Williams families were taxed

Gloucester District – 0 Williams families were taxed

St. David’s District – John Williams, Att, taxed for 1500 acres on Country Line Creek, 1 white poll and 6 black polls

St. Lawrence’s District – Tobias Williams taxed for 0 acres, and 1 white poll (0 black polls) and William Williams taxed for 163.5 acres on Cane Creek, 1 white poll and 0 black polls

St. Luke’s District – 0 Williams families were taxed

St. James’ District – Bennett Williams was taxed for 231 acres on Deep, 1 white poll and 0 black polls

Nash District – John Williams was taxed for 0 acres, 1 white poll and 0 black polls

Source:Caswell County NC Will Books 1777 – 1814, and 1814-1843 (Abstracts), 1784 Tax List, Guardian Records, etc… by Katherine Kerr Kendall (searchable online at ancestry.com); abstracted from the NC State Archives, Book C.R. 020.701.1, Compiled by Henry E. Kendall

Henry Williams – A Revolutionary War Soldier?

Many researchers of my Henry Williams have indicated that he was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War, citing page 71 of William S. Powell’s book When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1977  (Durham, NC: Moore Publishing Company, 1977) as their source. This is the only source I can find indicating that Henry Williams was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  I did not find a pension application for him or his widow or heirs in Heritage Quest’s Revolutionary War database.

Maybe Henry Williams was in the Caswell County militia and maybe he was active in that militia during the Regulator Movement (of which William S. Powell also wrote a book about – The regulators in North Carolina: a documentary history, 1759-1776).  However, I do not believe he saw duty during the Revolutionary War.  His brother, Colonel James Williams, was instrumental in the War.  He was living in the 96th District of South Carolina at the time.  In 1780, James Williams travelled to Caswell County, NC to visit his brother. It was there he wrote his will and transferred much of his property and possibly his slaves to his brother’s house for safe-keeping from the Tories. That Henry Williams was at home with his family, instead of away at war also indicates to me that he did not participate in the War.

After James’ death during the Battle of King’s Mountain in October 1780, Henry Williams, his brother and executor of his estate, reported an accounting of $25,000 that had been given to his brother, James Williams from the State of North Carolina to use to raise militia in Caswell County and surrounding counties to fight against the Tories. James’ son John Williams testified that this money was used to rally troops who were taken to King’s Mountain with him.  There is no mention of Henry Williams’ active participation in the rallying or marching of said troops. [Source: Graves, William T., James Williams: An American Patriot in the Carolina Backcountry, San Jose: Writers Club Press, 2002, p. 56]

The Author, William S. Powell, did not provide any sources or a bibliography to his book aforementioned. He did, however, note that all notes, chapter materials, and source material was given to the Gunn Memorial Library in Yanceyville, NC.  I therefore intend to visit this library and review his notes to see what source he used for his list of Caswell men who saw action in the Revolutionary War.

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