Saturday, February 7, 2015

Edward Williams

This is my 6th week entry for Amy Crow’s 52 Ancestor Challenge 2015. 

This week's theme is So Far Away
My interpretation of this theme is 
one ancestor who always seems to escape me, hence being "far away".

His name is Edward Williams, 
my 3rd great-grandfather.

Edward Williams was born to unknown parentage circa 1835.

According to his daughter, Clementine Williams Grant, he was born in Africa. [1] Due to the timeline, if this is accurate, Edward would have been smuggled into the United States by an illegal trade. The International Slave Trade was abolished in 1808. But, it was not uncommon for slave traders to continue to capture and sell Africans into slavery. Louisiana's numerous waterways provided one way to remain under the radar.

Military Service:
Edward served in the United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War. [2] He served as a Private in Company T-66th Regiment from Mississippi between 1864-1865. He enlisted in May 1864. This unit was organized 11 March 1864, from the 4th Mississippi Infantry (African Descent). I have been unable to locate any pension records for him via the US Archives. However, according to the 1890 Veterans schedule, I learned he was injured in the right leg from military combat.

Family Life:
Edward had both a wife and a daughter named Clementine. His wife was remarried by the end of the Civil War to a man named Raphael Victor of Edgard, Saint John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. His daughter, Clementine, is showing living in the household under the Victor surname. Later, I find little Clementine married to a man named Benson Grant.

Where are you, Edward?

By 1890, I found Edward living in Saint John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. He is in the same parish as his daughter. However, the location of his residence is the Louisiana State Penitentiary! What?!

Edward's story leaves me 
with more questions than answers.

Where was he from? Was he really from Africa? Did he get smuggled illegally into the country? How did he end up in Mississippi fighting in an African regiment? Why was he incarcerated after the war? So many questions! Edward's death also remains a mystery.

Due to Edward's fighting spirit. I am sure he gave many people a run for their money. I would love to uncover more information about his life. In any case, I am happy to shed some light, no matter how dim on our freedom fighter.

[1] Year: 1890; Census Place: Bonnet Carre, St John the Baptist, Louisiana; Roll: 5; Page: 1; Enumeration District:Special la state pravity

[2]Year: 1910; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 3, Saint John the Baptist, Louisiana; Roll: T624_529; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0079; FHL microfilm: 1374542


  1. Another fascinating and well-told tale! He led a multi-faceted life, didn't he?! I hope you can find out more about him to answer some of those questions that are still hanging out there.

    1. Thanks! He is such a mystery to me. I pray I can find out more as well.