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.
of Josiah Williams daughters, Mary Thomas, married James C. Warner, a prominent iron manufacturer, in 1851. Their sons, Edwin
and Percy Werner, are the namesakes of the large parks on Nashville's west end. The original land was donated by
Percy's daughter Percie and her husband Luke Lea.
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.