George Bristol Williams Jr.

Youngest son of George & Reba Williams

Grandson of
Elizabeth Durham Williams
& Bayman Williams



Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Durham William's g-granddaughter, Florence, via Lishia Durham Heard




E-mails about the various Williams families encountered by Ned Heite,
primarily Kent County, DE.

Incidental mention of various Mitsawokett names.

From Ned Heite (former Delaware State Archivist), 22-28 Feb 1998:

We are currently working on a site that was occupied by Nathan Williams shortly before 1839. The site is on McKee Road in Dover, across the road from the site of the Carney house now at the Delaware Agricultural Museum.

Nathan Williams is something of a mystery. The site is identified in other documents as his, but I find no deed record.

Based on the census data, Williams was born around 1800. He is described in the census as colored and in another paper as a free negro. He disappears from the records here in Kent County about 1840.

The name Williams is not that unusual among Indian remnants. Yesterday at Piscataway I heard a story about an Indian named Williams who lived in southern Maryland around 1735. Hannah Durham, daughter of the Daniel Durham who died in 1801, married a Williams around 1801, because her name changes during the probate period. In a later generation, Elizabeth, daughter of Elisha Durham, married Baynham Williams and moved to New Jersey.

So we have two clues that might identify Nathan Williams with the surrounding community. Can anyone fill in the spaces? Was Nathan somehow related to these two Williams marriages to Durhams? It's too bad these folks didn't file flight plans, but then genealogy would be no fun.


During our visit to the Piscataway/Conoy last week (early February, 1997), a mystery man was discussed. This was an Indian named Williams, who during the early eighteenth century refused to vacate a site on the Potomac that the settlers wanted to claim. The Piscataway/Conoy of today can't identify him.

Around 1800 there was a Williams marriage in the Cheswold community (Hannah, daughter of Daniel Durham). Later, a Baynham Williams married a Cheswold bride, Elizabeth Durham, and moved to New Jersey.

I am trying to find as much as possible about Nathan Williams, who is identified as "colored" in the census. He appears on the local records for only a short time. He was gone from this site (on McKee Road) by about 1838. Coincidentally, the census date bracket for his birth is in the same general period as the marriage to a Williams!

So we have Indian-descended Williams families in the Potomac valley, Cheswold, and New Jersey. (Sorry, I keep saying Cheswold, Probably should say Mitsawoket!)

The Nathan Williams who lived on McKee Road could have been a member of this family (these families?).


From Ned Heite, 18 & 19 Mar 1998:

Chuck Martin from Ohio was here doing some archives research. I finally, I believe, convinced him that Thomas Gonseala, who arrived in Kent County a little after 1680 was the first Thomas Conselor. In his probate record, his name is spelled with a G, and his administratrix, almost certainly his widow, spells her name with a C.

We keep running into interesting race perception things. All the Consealors in Duck Creek and Little Creek hundreds were "Negro" in the 1803 statewide property tax assessment. Over in New Jersey, in the Salem County 1850 census returns, the Consealor men are all described as mulattoes. Their wives are described as white.

Does this difference in perceived status and race have anything to do with the exodus to New Jersey during the early nineteenth century? Thomas Consealor of Bloomsbury was the only "mulatto" in one of the store accounts of circa 1809-1814.

We had correspondence earlier this week from a Williams descendant, whose grandfather Williams was supposed to be an Indian. He lived in the Harrington area of lower Kent County, and pictures seem to indicate that he was indeed Indian, even though his marriage license (in 1900) described him and his wife as white. He moved around, working as a telegraph operator and a truck farmer.

I am pursuing the Williams trail because I am trying to nail down Nathan Williams, who occupied our site on McKee Road in Dover. He was alleged to be a "Free Negro" in a document dated 1838, but if so he was the only black Williams in Kent County. I figure he was born about 1800.

Well, now here is what is interesting about the Williams family. First, there was a Williams marriage in a Cheswold family at about the period of Nathan's birth. There were other individuals named Williams in the vicinity before 1800, but I have not been able to nail them down. But Williams was also an Indian name in Maryland. The Piscataway/Conoy told (archeologist) Cara Blume and me about an Indian named Williams who refused to vacate some tribal land on the Western Shore in the 1730s.

There was a John Williams who was an Indian living on the Locust Neck reservation in 1757.

I have the funniest feeling that it will be necessary to sew together all these threads of Williamses.


In my search for Nathan Williams, a few items have come to light relating to a wide range of subjects interesting to this group.

The Whitmans

One of the Bloomsbury site occupants was Agness, who first married Jeremiah Loatman, then William Sappington, and finally Samuel Whitman. Her son Jonathan and her son-in-law Stokely Morgan became involved in a court case that involved a debt of five pounds. Joshua Whitman went security for Morgan, who defaulted. When the constable went after Morgan, he had absconded. Now we know what happened to the daughter of Agness.

Samuel Dean

Samuel entered the United States service around the time of the War of 1812, and apparently died in Canada. There is an orphans court case from 1815, seeking to protect the estate of his daughters Rachel and Lydia. He left a plantation in Little Creek Hundred, which had a landing on Little Creek for oysters. The property was described as 100 acres, of which 20 is upland.

Edward Carney

I found a case from 1812 involving Edward Kearney, who also used the alternate spelling of Carney. It was an involved land suit against Thomas Hall and James Scotten over some land in Little Creek Hundred and a lot in Kenton. What is interesting is the two spellings in the same document. I have long understood that Kearney was the original Carney spelling, but this document shows it.

Williams Connections

Daniel Durham, who died in 1801, had a daughter Hannah Williams, married about that time. I am working on a site along McKee Road that was occupied by Nathan Williams in the 1830s. Who was the Williams that married Hannah? Was Nathan her son? There was a John Williams at the Locust Neck Nanticoke reservation 1759. Of course, the name John Williams is so common that it might be difficult to trace with any certainty.


In 1907, the government printing office printed the 1790 U S Census of Maryland. It is very interesting, and a whole lot better on the eyes than the microfilm. Unfortunately, the Somerset County return has not survived. In the Queen Ann's returns I found the Greenage heartland. Most interesting is the person whose name is transcribed as "Greenwich." Is that the origin
of the name?

The Queen Ann enumerator distinguished between Free Negro and Free Mulatto. Again we have the problem of subjective observation, but some of the results speak volumes.

Benjamin Grinnage is identified as F.N. (free Negro), with one free white female and six free persons of color in the household.

Another Benjamin Grinnage is F.N. with six free persons of color.

Others are also marked F.N. with free nonwhites in the household:

Jacob, with 4
Zachariah, with 8
and Cusby with 5.

In Caroline County, there was a Sherry Greenage with six free persons of color and four slaves in the household.


From Ned Heite, 4 Jun 1998

Winston Seeney's "Seney Internet Newsletter" this evening reported that (Dave Seeney is) running a webpage devoted to the descendants of Owen Seeney, of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Kent County, Delaware.

This morning in the Delaware Archives, I came across an undated fragment of a Chancery case in which Nathan Williams sued Owen Seeney over a piece of property. (My own family, the Blackshares, were involved in the dispute, but that is not why I checked it out.)

It happens that I am currently writing a report on the homesite of Nathan Williams, whose racial origins are ambiguous. He occupied the site about 1820-40, but there were also two other people by that name in Kent County at the time. If anyone knows about this case, particularly when it happened, I would be forever grateful.

(The case relates) to a cause between Owen Seeney and Nathan Williams. I can't find anything in the index relating to this case. Nor can I find any details in the text.

Seems like a bunch of good old boys were trying to snooker one another over a piece of property. Not much has changed in Kent County.

Here is an extract:


The answer of Owen Seeny to the bill of Complaint of Nathan Williams

"... that the said Nathan Williams did contract and agree with the said Thomas Blackshare to convey to him the said parcel of land as by the said Bill is expressed and did seal and execute the writing obligatory in the same bill mentioned as in and by the same bill is set forth: and this Defendant also saith that it is true that the said Thomas Blackshare did assign unto this defendant the writing obligatory aforesaid as by the said bill is set forth and that this defendant did thereupon give notice to the said Nathan Williams of the assignment of the said bond to him and did require the said Nathan to convey to this defendant the land mentioned in the said condition of the said bond according to the form and effect of the same condition which to do the said Nathan altogether refused and thereupon this defendant doth deny that the said bond was assigned to this defendant without any real or valuable consideration for the same and this defendant further saith that he does not know of any contract or agreement made between the said Thomas Blackshare, Nathan Williams and the said James Darling for or concerning the land and further the said Nathan Williams did put the said James Darling into possession of the same land by making livery and seisin thereof to the said James Darling and this defendant further saith that at or before the time of the making of the assignment of the said bond to this defendant, he this defendant did not know or had notice that the agreement aforesaid in the bill of complaint set forth was made between the said Thomas Blackshare and James Darling and the said Nathan Williams ..."

Yes, it seems to be all one sentence.

Next week some time I expect to check the loose papers from the Kent County courts, but the chancery docket doesn't seem to have an entry for this case.

Does anyone have any ideas?

The name "Nathan Williams" occurs in Kent County over a long period of time, and I am currently working on a site occupied by a person of that name. There are two others by that name, so I need to sort them out. I still suspect that the Seeney family now in Kent are descended from Owen, but the proof has not been forthcoming.


From Ned Heite 15 Jun 1998 -- notes from the archives

This afternoon as I was coming out of the Kent County administration building, I met our correspondent Chuck Martin coming in. The Martins had attended the pow-wow in Bridgeton this weekend, and Chuck was catching up on research. Next weekend is the presentation in Bridgeton. I'll probably be flying solo

Actually I am looking for that Williams family. They keep eluding my efforts to identify the Nathan Williams who lived in the Cheswold community before 1830.

Here is what I have. Does anyone have a clue about who these people are?

-- In 1790, James Williams, Jr. and Mariam his wife bought part of the "Greenwich" tract on Mudstone Branch in Kent County. This was land originally surveyed for Norton Claypoole in 1684. It became a subdivision this year. George Manlove sold the property as part of his mother's estate. In a rather complicated mortgage agreement, Williams deeded back part of
the property to Manlove.

-- In 1789, Joshua Fisher of Kent County deeded a farm to Solomon Williams of Queen Anne's County, Maryland, Farmer. This was 232 acres, 124 square perches, bounded by Leipsic Creek, Alston's Branch, and Walker's Branch, lying east of the Great Road from Dover to Smyrna. This is, roughly speaking, the quadrant northeast of the intersection of Route 42 and Route 15, at Bishop's Corner near Cheswold. The previous conveyance had been from James Raymond to Sarah Alston in 1725. It was part of "Little Tower Hill" and "Travellers Delight" tracts. This is a key part of the historic Cheswold community, and it comes at a time when one of the community acquired a husband named Williams. Unfortunately, Solomon does not appear in the census, anywhere in Delaware, any time.

Neither James nor Solomon is identified by race.

Court cases can be tedious, but I have been trying to match up the missing case file with no luck so far.

When I stumble on something interesting, however, I can't resist sharing it In the bastardy bonds, there is a notice of the illegitimate child of Jehu M. Reed in 1835, just as he was revolutionizing the peach industry by planting budded plants in his nursery. Reed lived at a place called Little Heaven, and he renamed a nearby gut the River Styx. On the far side of this stream was a farm he called Little Hell, which folklore states he left to his less-favored son. Wonder which one was the legitimate one?

Embarrassing as they are, bastard records can be useful. Three seem to be of interest to some in this group, so I'll pass them along and hope nobody is offended. Parents of illegitimate children were required to give bond to the overseers of the poorhouse, to ensure that the child would not become a ward of the state before reaching seven years of age, at which time they were considered workers able to earn their own keep.

Benjamin Grinage fathered a daughter with Margaret Lee 2 Feb. 1831.

William Hutt fathered Ann Cott's daughter, born 28 July 1834. I believe John Cott was her father, since he signed the bond. Samuel Johnson also went bond.

Ann Sammons declared that she was the mother, but would not name the father, of her male bastard born 20 May 1841. She gave bond, and Perry Jones was her surety. His relationship is not stated.

In the May term of Kent County Common Pleas for 1767, Joseph Snow, executor of James Snow, sued Benjamin Sisco and John Wilson to collect a note. I believe this is the earliest reference to a Benjamin.

It looks like the Seeney descent in Kent County from Owen Seeney can be demonstrated. Since I am descended from that lineage, I must do that research on my own time, so it will take a while.


From Ned Heite 16 Jun 1998 -- Williams

I have just spent two days at the Delaware Archives trying to sort out Williams lineages. At last count, I have four individuals named Nathan Williams in Kent County. They threw me out of the state archives at closing time, right in the middle of my last go-through of the 1804 assessment. By the way, the only Durham in that assessment for Duck Creek and Little Creek was Charles.

Two different Williams families from Maryland bought adjacent land at Bishop's Corner, the east edge of Cheswold. Neither, however, seems to have settled.

This all started when I discovered that one Nathan Williams, too old to be the one on my site, sued Owen Seeney over some land. I have since accounted for all the (acknowledged) children of the other two Nathans.


Has anyone else noticed how there are some affinities that we know exist, but can't nail down among these families? There will be a family in the neighborhood, and their name will appear in a later generation, but we can't nail them down. Was it unrevealed cousin marriages? Liaisons that were not reported? I tried the bastardy books and loose papers, but the families are almost absent.

Right now, I'm trying to nail down Benjamin Sisco (not to be confused with the Captain), who was a tenant of William Killen in 1804, at about the time John Sisco was at the adjacent Bloomsbury farm. Killen was the one who stated that Thomas Conselor and his brother were the only honest tenants he had ever had. Another document states that Thomas Conselor was the son of a man who had farmed one of the Ridgely farms, presumably Fox Hall. He was being considered for the rental of Hillyard's Adventure which lies between Killen's farm and Bloomsbury.

Are we confused yet?


From Ned Heite 22 Jun 1998 -- Found Nathan!

Nathan Williams has finally left a trail in the Delaware records.

In the 1839 delinquent list of the Dover Hundred assessment, he is written off as "good for nothing." That isn't as worthless as the fellow Kent County taxpayer on another delinquent list who was listed as "ran off with wife's daughter."

I'm still looking. I never had any suspicion there were so many Williams families.


From Ned Heite 23 Jun 3 & 2 July 1998: -- Hutt, Williams, Cott

Does anyone know anything about a family called Hutt? Nathan Williams apparently was married to a Hutt, and it was a Hutt who fathered the illegitimate child of Ann Cott, daughter of John Cott, who later (1840) married Elijah Durham, son of George.

What is interesting is that George was a son of Isaiah and Mary. When Isaiah died, Mary married John Sisco, who tilled the Bloomsbury farm.


I've been at the Archives doing some intensive research on the Nathan Williams site. I still don't know what happened to him and his family later in life, but I have been picking up a lot of biographical details I thought I would pass along. Hope someone finds a useful detail.

Caleb Greenage, age 5, was in the poorhouse in 1815

Benjamin Greenage of Dover Hundred fathered a female bastard born by Margaret Lee 2 February 1832, according to the bastardy bonds. His bond was signed by John Miller of Duck Creek Hundred.

William Hutt fathered a female child of Ann Cott, born 28 July 1832. John Cott (her father) and Samuel Johnson went bond 6 December 1834.

David and Rachel Hutt were admitted to the poorhouse June 2, 1845 from Little Creek Hundred. He was 87 and she was 75. She died June 22, 1845. He re-entered the poorhouse in December from Dover Hundred. David Hutt died at the poorhouse 15 Dec. 1847

Mary Cambridge died at the poorhouse 28 Jan. 1852 she was blind and had been a resident for some time.

Ann Sammons and Perry Jones gave bond 24 July 1841 for the support of a male bastard born to her 20 May 1841. She declined to name the father and they gave bond for support without naming the father.

Nancy Sammons, age 37, was at the almshouse between 6 and 9 December 1815, with three persons, probably her children, no ages given, named William, Robert, and Henry. All were listed in Murderkill Hundred, which then included the present West Dover.

In 1816, Peter Sammons, age 12, of Murderkill, was in the poorhouse April 1 and out on trial in December. Robert, age 8, came at the same time and was out July 9. Thomas and Henry Sammons of Murderkill were in the poorhouse June 18, December 2.

Alice Durham, Little Creek Hundred, age 33, entered the poorhouse in 1811

Stephen Loatmano of Duck Creek, 2 years old, was in the poorhouse June 11, out Aug 17, 1811.

In Common Pleas, Kent, May Term 1767, Joseph Snow, executor of James Snow, sued Benjamin Sisco and John Wilson, yeomen, over a note.

The James Seeney Question: The orphans court file of James Seeney (1831-1837), of the Owen Seeney family, indicates that he had a wife Caroline and three children named Thomas, Henry, and Mary. The daughter was in school in Greensboro, Maryland. She was 17 years old in 1842. William K. Lockwood, an in-law, was the administrator of the estate. Lockwood appears among documents in the Cheswold community, including Perry Handsor's marriage bond certificate.

From Ned Heite 25 Aug 1998: -- Still looking for Nathan

One of these days I am going to stop looking for Nathan Williams.

Does anybody have a line on what happened to the Williams family who were among the Nanticokes at Locust Neck when they had that dust-up about electing George Pocatus as their tayac or sachem? We have a Williams marriage in Cheswold around 1800, but I don't know who the husband was. Nathan was born just after that time.

Why does the word "infuriating" come to mind?

Going slowly over the Federal recognition guidelines, I believe it is absolutely possible to satisfy the stated requirements with just a little more work on the Cheswold community. I don't want to get anyone's hopes too high, and I know that the recognition gauntlet is depressing at best, but those guys in Washington are historians, and they should be able to understand a competent historical workup. In the past few months, I have seen glimmerings of attacks on the great void between 1700 and 1775, and I think it is do-able.

First, and we are working on this, the definition of "mulatto" and reassessment of so-called "mulatto" as always meaning "free black" definitions need to be reassessed. A journal article is in the works on this, to which reference may be made. It should be possible to extract the Indian records from the mass of undefined nonwhite entries.

The story of Indian people coming into the Cheswold enclave and forming a body needs to be fleshed out. The feds will recognize such amalgamations if they can be shown to have a coherence during a historical period.

There are lots of details like that, which will depend upon how you say it, not so much the content of what you say.

As a former bureaucrat (Delaware State Archivist), I may have entirely too much confidence in the bureaucratic process, but I think it is definitely worth a try.







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