Williams Family from Evansville, Indiana

 

William married Feriba Ann Darnell on December 15, 1866. This was 2-1/2 years after he was shot and 1-1/2 years after he was discharged from the Army. The Williams and Darnell families had known each other by living close and going to school together in Marrs Township. For all we know Feriba was the one he wrote to during the war. They may have been very good friends before the war. They had plenty of time to do so. And he served with her uncle William Harry "Doc" Darnell in the war. They must have compared notes from home being neighbors.

Their first child was Andrew Jackson Williams born June 1, 1868 in Posey county, presumably on the family farm in Marrs Township. Andrew was, of course, named for the American president who was immensely popular with the huge farming population of the day and all the "common man". Feribaís brother also had the same name. Feriba and William also had a second son William Albert Williams born February 22, 1870. We know little about him.

Feriba and William had two sons; 12 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren. A quick count of the great great grand children shows 27. We have lost track after that but know at least that one great great great grandchild is getting married as this is written. And the Confederate gun could have been off the width of a human hair and it all would have changed for these 61 people and their children.

But on Christmas Day 1870 William suddenly died of a heart attack. It seems to have occurred in Henderson Kentucky while visiting relatives for Christmas. The Ohio River was frozen over enough to walk on and apparently there was a family celebration of some kind. William was 36 years old. The crossing was certainly an exertion in that the river usually doesnít freeze flat like a lake but rather with lots of ridges to be climbed over. Nothing like as bad as the least exertions during the war. But there were two young children to care for. It would seem likely that he would have gone across the river to the Kentucky side on Christmas Eve and not tried to come back on Christmas. But, maybe it had nothing to do with the crossing. Maybe something to do with his arm wound. We will probably never know.

The widow Feriba was only 34 at the time. Andrew was a 2-1/2 year toddler and William was a baby at 10 months. Likely the baby was being taken to see elderly Kentucky relatives that couldnít come to Posey County. William couldnít have carried Andrew easily with the war wound and perhaps he over exerted himself. The river doesnít freeze over often This was a rare opportunity. The grandparents were all dead by this time. Feriba must have been in a terrible state with two young ones and a small farm to take care of. We know that she also married a W.H. Heuring after William died, but donít know anything about him. As mentioned in the early part of this piece, in late 1938 Walter Williams took his infant son (now 63 years old) to the celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary of Feribaís sister (Pvt. William Williamsís sister-in-law). Thus a Civil War contemporary in her later years meets a child who now works on the Space Shuttle program and fully expects to live well into the 21st century.

Winna Martin Williams had a sister Ursula who married a minister John Benoni Stinson. We have read of him in history of the area as a church founder in Posey County. He always uses his middle name.

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Copyright © 2001 Williams Family from Evansville, Indiana