Jenks Watterman Williams

by Edmund Starling, 1886


was born in Henderson County, on the tenth day of August, 1826, and was educated from the common schools of the county. His paternal great-grandfather was one of the Transylvania Company, and the first signer of the ordinance establishing the Town of Henderson. Subsequently, he led the company to Henderson, and, on his return to North Carolina, was taken sick and died, at Frankfort, of cramp colic. The father of Jenks W. Williams was John Williams, born in Granville County, North Carolina, March 28th, 1785. The exact time of his coming to Henderson is not known, but thought to have been between 1800 and 1807. On the fifth day of November, 1807, he married in this county, Susanna Starks. Susanna Starks Williams, the mother of Jenks W., was born June 9th, 1790, in Granville County, North Carolina. There were ten children born unto Mr. and Mrs. Williams, Jenks W. being the youngest son. The father of our subject settled a farm near Grave Creek Church, and cultivated it up to the time of his death. On Friday, July 10th, 1812, he was baptised, and, on the following Sunday, received into Grave Creek Baptist Church. Subsequent to that time he was authorized to preach the Gospel. Although not educated in medicine, he was, for a number of years, the principal and only physician of the entire country surrounding his home, and, through his unheard of philanthrophy, declined to charge anyone who needed or asked his services. He was known oftentimes to ride miles, doing good without asking a reward of any character whatever. His mission was to do good, and for that he is now reaping his reward in a better life. This good man departed this life July 21st, 1840, leaving a large family of children and a loving Christian wife. Twenty years subsequent, to-wit: June 11th, 1860, after a life of toil and self-sacrifice, Mrs. Williams died. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Samuel Farrel Williams, born in North Carolina, and immigrated to Henderson in 1793. He fought at the battle of New Orleans, and died in Henderson County in 1838. His paternal grandmother was Rebecca Stevens Dudley, of English descent. She immigrated to Henderson from North Carolina at an early age, and died in 1833.

Jenks W. Williams, on the sixteenth day of January, 1855, married Miss Mary Weaver, daughter of Littleberry Weaver, a beautiful woman, and one who has shown marked motherly talent in raising her children. She is a woman full of energy in the face of adversity or prosperity, and has performed life's duties nobly and as becoming a good, true wife. She was born in the City of Louisville on the tenth day of April, 1839, and came to Henderson when only three years of age. By her marriage, seven children have been born, five living, Lillian Jasper, Eliza, Mary, Jenks and Sallie. Lillian married Joseph Bennett and has two children, Jenks W. and Lida; Sallie married John P. Moore, of New York, and has one son, John. The mother of Mrs. Williams was a daughter of Colonel Robert Smith. She died in 1883 at the home of her son Albert.

Jenks W. Williams, from early life, has made the town his home, and has proven himself a useful citizen. He has held several offices, and in every instance has proven himself worthy of the trust. During the year 1866, '67, '68 and '69, he served as Jailer of Henderson County; in 1857 and '58 as Constable; in 1886 as City Councilman. For ten years he was engaged in the tobacco business with Joseph Adams, and subsequently in the same capacity with other tobacconists. In 1869, while Jailer of the county, the Ku-Klux attempted to mob a prisoner confined in the jail. Mr. Williams was found at his post, and, mainly through his influence, be that what it may, the mob dispersed, leaving the prisoner still in the jail. For several years Mr. Williams was proprietor ot[sic] the Commercial Hotel on Third Street, and then of the Hord House, until 1884, when he rented his present house on Main near First Street. This house he fitted up in handsome style. It contains twenty furnished rooms, and a dining room of eating capacity for sixty-two persons. The hotel is a credit to his energy and taste, and is largely patronized. Mr. Williams is very much like a well regulated clock-never idle.

-The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 809-10;

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