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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

JJ Williams plantation - Austin/Alston link

Hello Toria,

Don't know if you've already received a response. But yes, Joseph John Williams (also known as J.J. Williams and Col. Wiliams) did have a large plantation in Tallahassee. If you check slave census records for Leon county, you will find several entries for either J. J. Williams or overseers managing land on his behalf.

While I don't know of any Clacks in my family line, I am descended on my father's side from Leon county former slaves who I believe were part of his plantation. My grandmother's grandfather was John Austin (of Leon county, born in either NC or GA), several Austins had Freedmen's records and many listed their place of residence as Col Joe J. Williams plantation. Obviously, as a Williams by birth, my paternal grandfather's father was Charles Williams (b. GA), who I also believe was a part of this large former slave population. My family lines can be traced in Leon county back to at least 1830, some moved on to Orange county in the late 1800s.

This is more history then you asked for, but I think it's relevant so bear with me...

It is interesting to note that I found the Freedmen's bank record of one Jack Austin (husband of Rachel), who may have been a brother to my John (different wives so not the same man), in his record he notes that he first came to Miccosukee circa 1828 with Augustus Alston (which is where I believe the Austin slaves derived their surname). Augustus Alston is a famous settler of Leon county and Florida territory, he was born in either Warren county, NC or Hancock county GA (the migratory pattern of his family). He was a politician and an active member of the Whig party, which was at polar opposites with the prevailing Democratic party in Florida at the time. He was involved in a famous duel the Read-Alston, where he challenged the local Democrat, Leigh Read, to a duel for insulting Augustus's friend. [The primary agitation between Whigs and Democrats in Florida at the time was strong disagreement over what type of banking system to set up, Whigs wanted a centralized banking system, and Democrats opposed it. Money, it's at the root of all, eh?]. Anyway, although Augustus was favored as a master marksman, Read won and Augustus Alston was killed in Leon county, Dec 1839. This set off a chain of events - His brother Willis Alston who had been living in Texas was sent by Alston's sisters to avenge their brother and killed Read on April 26, 1841. Willis fled back to Texas, where a friend of Read's one Dr. Stewart attempted to kill him, but himself was killed by Willis Alston, Alston was later dragged from Jail and killed in Brazoria. [For more on that, you can find many many references online to the Read-Alston duel.]

This left Mary Helen Alston back in Miccosukee a young widow with a large plantation to look after (and many slaves). She was the administratrix of her husband's estate and in 1843 Mary petitioned the Leon county court to allow her to purchase some of her husband's slaves with money from her own estate and sell some to pay off debts.

Ok - how does this all relate back to J. J. Williams -

Well, Mary Helen Alston was born Mary Helen Hawkins ca 1811 in Warren county NC, d/o Joseph Hawkins and Mary Alston.

Joseph John Williams was the son of General William Williams and Delia Haywood. J. J. Williams was the only surviving son of William and Delia when William died (which probably accounted for his large ownings). Delia had remarried to a Badger and had numerous other children through that marriage.

Both Delia and Mary Helen were the great granddaughters of one Col. Philemon Hawkins II, b. 1717 Charles City county VA, d. 1801 in Pleasant Hill, Warren county, NC.

So, J. J. Williams and Mary Helen Alston were cousins, and that may account for how many Austin/Alston slaves ended up working on the Williams plantation in Leon county florida. It may account for other links too.

I hope this information helps you, at least with slaveowning family names and migratory patterns. Perhaps we'll find out one day that we're related. *wink*

Best of luck,

Susan


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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