I was born in Lawrenceburg, TN in 1937 but my mother's roots in Nashville go way back.
Elisha Williams was born about 1749 and married Sarah Josey in Windsor, NC in 1775, producing three sons
and one daughter. The last child, born 1786, was Josiah Frederick Williams. Josiah, who attended the University of North Carolina
and then moved with his family to Nashville about 1804.
Josiah Frederick Williams was married in 1815 to Margaret Peggy Philips, born in 1799 at her parent’s
large farm off Dickerson Pike, about six miles north of Nashville, south of Old Hickory Blvd. Her father was Joseph Philips
Jr who had come to Nashville in 1791 from Tarboro, Edgecombe County, North Carolina with his wife Milbry Philips nee Horn.
The population of Nashville at that time was about 300.
The Philips’ family cemetery, Sylvan Hall, is circled by a high stone fence and remains today in the
middle of a housing development near where the original house stood until about 1960. Members of both the Philips and Williams
families are buried there.
In 1817 Josiah Williams built a brick house, one of the first in Davidson County, named Maplewood on his
1,400 farm situated 4 miles from Nashville on Gallatin Pike just before Briley Parkway.
Maplewood was the scene of the marriage of three of Colonel Williams’ daughters to the three Ewing
brothers with the weather so cold the wedding guests were driven across the river on ice.
Another of Josiah Williams daughters, Mary Thomas, married James C. Warner, a prominent iron manufacturer,
in 1851. Their sons, Edwin and Percy Werner, nonated and are the namesakes of the large parks on west end.
One of Josiah Williams’ sons, James H. Williams, born in Nashville, TN 1826, moved to near Osceola,
AR in 1849 to manage some of his father’s land in that area. Before leaving Nashville, he married Mary E. Finley and
they had two children. Shortly after arriving in Arkansas Mary died and James married Juliette Marion Heath who gave
birth to the father of my grandmother, Edward Heath Williams, born 1859. He had two other sons, William Williams, born between
1848-1857, and Henry Ewing Williams, born 1860. My grandmother, Mamma Nelle, eventually ended up in Lawrenceburg in 1920 where
she lived until she died in 1973.
Colonel Jere Baxter, born in 1852, purchased the house and land surrounding Maplewood in 1884. He founded
the Tennessee Central Railroad in 1893, connecting Nashville and Knoxville. He had for many years been a collector of objects
of art and Maplewood was filled with treasures brought from all over the world. There was also an extensive library, containing
many volumes of rare editions.
However, as Nashville grew, the land became more valuable and on April 27, 1922 the last of the land, 27
acres, and the home at Maplewood were subdivided and sold at auction.
The Philips home remained until it was sold in 1960
to the Bellshire Methodist Church, and in time razed for the church building which stands on the site.
After moving around the country, I have been living in Hendersonville with my wife Janice since 1989, within
just a few miles of my 1800 roots, and am now retired.