Rowland Williams

Rowland Williams was born in Bryan County, Georgia on February 16, 1812, son of Roland Williams and Jincy (Jane) Banks. He was a veteran of the Seminole Indian Wars in the Florida Territory. His first enlistment was in December of 1835 under Captain Andrew Jackson Bird's Company. At the time of his enlistment he was 23 years old, 5'8" tall with black hair and his occupation was farming. He joined Captain Niblack's Company in 1836 at Alligator (Lake City), Florida. He enlisted as a Private at Jacksonville on June 17, 1837 under Captain William Haddock's 1st Regiment of Florida Mtd. Volunteers and served until September 18, 1837. He next enrolled on November 14, 1839 as a Private in Captain Andrew Jackson Bird's Company, 1st Regiment of Florida Mtd. Volunteer Militia commanded by Colonel John Warren and was paid from December 3, 1839 at Fort Heilaman, East Florida until he was discharged at Thigpen's Deep Creek, East Florida on May 14, 1840. His last service was as a Private in Captain Aaron Jernigan's Company, 1st Regmt. of Florida Mtd. Volunteer Militia. He volunteered at Trader's Hill, Georgia on November 6, 1840 and was discharged at Moniac, Georgia on May 30, 1841.

Rowland Williams married Nancy Ann "Annie" Sweat in Columbia County, Florida in the spring of 1839. William Williams, Justice of the Peace, performed the service. Since the early Columbia County records burned the exact date of their marriage is unknown. Rowland probably met Annie while he was in the service in that area. Annie was born on May 13, 1816, daughter of Abner W. Sweat and Rebecca Anderson.

Abner W. Sweat was born in Cheraw District, South Carolina, in 1776, a son of James Sweat. He was brought by his parents in his boyhood to Beaufort District, SC., after the Revolution, and from there they moved to Bulloch County, Georgia. Abner W. Sweat was living in Tattnall County in the 1820 census but by the 1830 census had moved back to Bulloch County. From there he with his family moved to Columbia County, Florida about 1835. He served in the Indian War as a Private in Captain Aaron Jernigan's company, January 10th to September 30th, 1837.

Rebecca Anderson was born in South Carolina in 1790, daughter of John and Mary Anderson. Her father was born in 1759 in North Carolina. He served as a Private in the North Carolina Militia in the Revolutionary War, residing at the time first in Duplin County and then in Bladen County. After the War, he moved to South Carolina and then later he settled in Tattnall County, Georgia. Rebecca Anderson Sweat died in Baker County, Florida on December 26, 1883.

Rowland and Annie Sweat Williams had fifteen children:

1. John Anderson Williams, born April 10, 1840; married 1st, Martha ???; married 2nd, his cousin, Mary Ann "Mollie" Williams, daughter of Thomas and Matilda Herndon Williams, in Polk County on July 30, 1866.

2. Mary Ann Williams, born 1842; married James Washington Mathis (Matthews), 1st; married Edward Whidden, 2nd on April 20, 1867 in Manatee County, Florida.

3. James W. Williams, born 1843; married Clemantine Durrence, in Polk County on October 18, 1865.

4. Nathaniel Knight Williams, born April 11, 1844; married 1st, Susan Smith; married 2nd, Cecilia Durrence (sister of Clemantine) in Orange County on September 3, 1869.

5. Simeon Banks Williams, born August 22, 1845; married Mrs. Narcissus Clemantine Wingate Whidden, widow of Willoughby Whidden, on July 8, 1867 in Manatee County.

6. Martha A. Williams, born 1846; married 1st, John Ticeson (Tison); married 2nd, Joseph Patrick on October 1, 1866.

7. George W. Williams, born June 9, 1847; married 1st, Sarah Ann Gaskins; married 2nd, Minnie ?????.

8. Sarah "Sally" Jane Williams, born February 9, 1852; married 1st, James Washington Mathis (Matthews); married 2nd, Washington Morgan.

9. Ida Williams, born 1854?, died young.

10. Jasper Williams, born 1856?, died young.

11. Andrew Jackson Williams, born 1857; married Georgia Ann Cautheran (Cauthiran) on March 26, 1880.

12. William Williams, born 1860, died young.

13. Rebecca Ellen Williams, born November 28, 1860; married John Daughtrey in Manatee County on October 7, 1876.

14. Thomas Williams, born March 2, 1864; married Sophonia Amanda Drawdy on December 26, 1884 in Manatee County.

15. Memphis Meridian "Reid" Williams, born November 13, 1865; married Griffin Smith in Manatee County on March 30, 1880.

In 1851, Rowland Williams received a Bounty Land Warrant for 160 acres of land for his war services. At the time he was living on St. Mary's River, Columbia County, Florida. For some unknown reason about 1858, Rowland and his family decided to move further south. Perhaps he remembered seeing all of the rich land in that part of the country while he was a young man fighting Indians. They moved to Brownville, a small community in south Florida in what was then Manatee County (now Desoto) where they set up a homestead and farmed. They were living there in the 1860 census.

When the Civil War broke out, Rowland was too old to join but five of his sons fought in it: four for the South and one for the North. Rowland died on April 2, 1867 from throat cancer and was buried in an unmarked grave on their property at Brownville. Annie and the younger children moved to Orlando where her sons, James and Nathan, were living. James was sheriff of Orange County. They were listed there in the 1870 census.

Annie along with the families of John Williams, James W. Matthews and Joseph Patrick later lived at Fish Eating Creeek on the prairie. It was while she was living there that a storm ruined all the family papers which she had stored in her trunk. During the latter years of her life, Annie lived with various of her children in Fort Myers, Alva, Nocatee, and Fort Ogden. She received a widow's pension of $8.00 a month from the United States government, from July 27, 1892 to her death on April 12, 1908. She was buried at the Fort Ogden Cemetery. REFERENCES: Census: 1840 & 1850 Columbia County, Florida , 1860 Manatee County, Florida, 1870 Orange County, Florida ; Bounty Land Application of Rowland Williams; Annie Williams' Pension Application; "Abner W. Sweat" in Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia by Folks Huxford, Vol. V, pages 431-2; "John Anderson" in Pioneers of Wisegrass Georgia, Vol. V, page 7; Fort Ogden Cemetery; Marriage records of Orange, Polk & Manatee Counties, Florida ; Nathan Williams' pension application for CSA service; Simeon Williams' pension application for USA Civil War service; death certificate of George Williams.


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