Philips Family

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(6) Benjamin Franklin Williamson

Benjamin Franklin Williamson

Born 21 Aug 1819 in Maury County TN
Died 29 Mar 1896 in Windsor, Henry County MO

Benjamin is the son of John Stark Williamson and Ann Philips, the daughter of Benjamin Philips (1765-1820).

Biographical Sketch of Col. B. F. Williamson, Johnson County, Missouri Jefferson Township   
From "The History of Johnson County, Missouri," Kansas City Historical Co. 1881

COL. B. F. WILLIAMSON,  postoffice, Windsor, one of the esteemed and prominent citizens of  Jefferson township, was born in Maury county, Tennessee, August 21, 1819, of English-Welsh ancestry.  His father, John S., was a soldier of 1812. 
The  subject of this sketch came to Henry county in 1840, subsequently to Johnson, where he now resides, in 1850. 
When the civil war broke out in 1861, he espoused the cause of the south, entered the Windsor guards, afterward served under Gen. Sterling Price, and was in the surrender of Shreveport, Louisana.  His son, John S., served faithfully and bravely as a cavalry soldier.  He was slightly wounded at the battle of Pea Ridge. 
Col. Williamson was married in Kentucky, March 4, 1841, to Miss Martha J. Cross, a daughter of a prominent farmer of that state.  Eight children were born, all living except John S., who was murdered, September 17, 1871.  The following is a list of the names of the children, with dates of their births: 
  • Mary F., February 14, 1842;
  • John S., April 2, 1845;
  • Thomas B., January 3, 1847;
  • Eliza C., June 11, 1849;
  • Tennie A., September 14, 1851;
  • Lucy J., July 6, 1855;
  • George T., July 31, 1851;
  • Mattie S., April 14, 1866. 

Mrs. B.F. Williamson, the wife of the subject of this sketch, was born August 11, 1825, of Irish ancestry.  The Col. entered the land where he now resides, in section 27, township 44, range 24, in the year 1851. 

His place is handsomely located on the southern brow of High Point, overlooking considerable country, containing some the finest arable land of the state. 

Mr. Williamson opened the first coal mine of the vicinity, by sinking a shaft prior to the war.  All of his fine, fertile, black limestone land is underlaid with excellent coal, varying in thickness from two to six feet.  His farm consists of about 287 1/2 acres of land, which will never wear out by cultivation.  It is the very best corn-producing land.

He is an enterprising agriculturist and stock raiser.  At present he has on hand 500 head of Southdown and Shropshire blooded sheep, which are paying well. 

In politics the colonel has always been a true democrat.  Although somewhat embarrassed by the late war, he submits nobly and honorably to the times. 

In religion he and his dutiful wife are consistent members of the Southern Methodist church, and are among its most zealous workers and supporters. 

The colonel is a reading, thinking gentleman, of the better class of citizens, who is always above stooping to injure even an enemy.  At home he is devoted to his domestic duties, among friends pleasant and affable, and to strangers kind and hospitable.

1883 History of Henry County Missouri

Old Settler's Reunion and Picnic 

The largest gathering ever seen at Windsor was on the 16th day of September, 1882, when some 3,000 people gathered together for picnic recreation and a reunion of the old settlers of the county, and some joining them over the line from Benton, Pettis and Johnson Counties.

At half past nine the Windsor Cornet Band headed the procession, followed by the order of the Legion of Honor, then the old settlers, order of Good Templars, with the people en masse, stretching out nearly a mile behind. After marching through the principal streets they proceeded to Beaman's Grove, a beautifully shaded lawn, when they came to order under the direction of Col. G. W. Goodlette, the marshal of the day, who, with a few appropriate remarks, gave way to the introductory speech of the mayor of Windsor, which was received with applause. It was neat and appropriate to the occasion, and introduced the orator of the day, the Hon. John I. Martin, deputy grand commander of the A. L. of H., of St. Louis, whose eloquent speech was preceded by an earnest prayer from the lips of the Rev. E. B. Phillips.

The speech of Mr. Martin was a literary gem, sparkling and eloquent, with a fine display of oratorical power, combined with a voice of great volume and of singular sweetness. He was listened to with the deepest interest, and his peroration was a splendid effort, which went to the hearts of his hearers.

The next was a piece appropriate to the occasion, well delivered by Mr. Mack Goodlett, and a speech by the eloquent Colonel P. H. Shelton, closed the forenoon proceedings, and dinner was announced, and it was most heartily enjoyed. Like the feast of old, it not only fed the multitude, but there were basket after basket full still left, and no one was turned away hungry.

Colonel William H. McLane, of Clinton, and Major B. F. Williamson made speeches after dinner full of the reminiscences of olden times, full of pathos and humor, which came right home to the hearts of the "old settlers."

Mrs. S. A. Brown read in a clear, magnetic voice the reminiscence of "Will Carlton," and some excellent music was rendered by Miss Tennie Williamson, J. R. Bush and J. D. Lindsay. Dr. J. W. Gray then stepped forward and made a short and exceedingly eloquent speech, which was received with with a universal expression of favor. This closed the exercises of the day, and the multitude dispersed, feeling thoroughly satisfied, knowing that they would cherish this reunion in their hearts, and which would prove to them a pleasant memory for many long years.

M. E. Church, South

It was some years before the organization that preaching was first held among its members. For a number of years the circuit rider or preacher came among them as his time and duties called him, and the original members of the church, which became organized in 1853, had service or preaching held at their cabins. The Rev. W. W. Jones and Rev. W. Pitt were both preaching from time to time as far back as 1840 to 1845, and continued to do so up to nearly the time of the organization of the church in the year 1853.

The school house, erected some half a mile west of the present town site of the city of Windsor, was used as a church for three years after its organization. The church, as before stated, organized in 1853 under the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the original members were, Dr. W. T. Thornton and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. Horning, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Means, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Williamson, Mr. and Mrs. John Bell, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Duncan, Mr. and Mrs. James Baker, Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Beimers and Miss Baker.

Laurel Oak Cemetery 

This is a handsome piece of land containing some six acres, regularly laid out in lots, sixteen feet square, with walks of three feet in width, and no less than three driveways through the ground. In this beautiful spot, gently undulating is Windsor's "City of the Dead." Here all meet on a common level, and all will rise when Gabriel's trump shall sound. Bathed in the soft moonlight it is indeed an enchanting ground, standing in the circle which has been laid out in its center, and a beautiful view can be had. The monuments and headstones take a fantastic shape and imagination seems enthralled. Here they rest, where the grapes grow, and the flowers sing a soft, low requiem, as they are gently wafted by the passing breeze over their lowly head. Yes, Laurel Oak Cemetery is a beautiful spot, and the citizens of Windsor City have taken pride in its adornment.

The purchase of the ground was made and a company incorporated April 29, 1872. It was laid out and surveyed March 1, 1871, by J. H. Knapp. The incorporators were W. J. Colbow, T. W. McKinley, B. F. Williamson, J. R. Chappel and Edwin Bass; the latter sleeping his last sleep within its sacred enclosure.