I am really pulling my hair out on this one. But the line I am researching has been so fascinating and I MUST find this piece of the puzzle :) so let me give a summary to begin.
I began researching my maternal line about 4-5 years ago. I remembered my grandmother stating that her grandfather was a great grandson of the Revolutionary War patriot known as David Williams who captured Major John Andre. She did not know any more than that because her mother (as she states) was very secretive and rarely spoke of anything like this (family history).
I was not sure where to start my research but my grandmother really got the ball started when she gave me a marriage certificate/license for her grandparents.
David Campbell Williams
b. abt. 1879 in Schoharie, Schoharie County, New York
Sophia Julia Bertha Wagner
b. 1889, Schenectady, Schenectady, New York
d. January 12, 1965 Pontiac, Oakland County Michigan.
Married: December 30, 1911 in Rotterdam, Schenectady, New York
His parents are listed as William C. Williams and Sina Turner
Through various Lineage Books at DAR and other excellent sources I was able to determine that David C. Williams was indeed a grandson of the patriot David Williams. So this has made my search all the more interesting due to the events surrounding this family (for example, the RARE hand-stamped medal that David Williams was given by George Washington himself was last in the possession of the New York Historical Society, yet when I contacted them to learn more, I was shocked to learn that the medal had been stolen along with another similar medal that was given to one of David’s comrades for their capture of John Andre.)
So, I wanted to learn more about my great-great grandfather David Campbell Williams who came from his family’s well documented “Williams Hill” in Schoharie, New York to Detroit, Michigan sometime after 1912.
Here is his brief timeline with my brick wall:
1. 1880-1910 - I can find David C. Williams on every census for the Schoharie area when he is 1 year of age until age 30 when he is boarding in Schenectady where he obviously met Sophia.
2. 1911 - David married Sophia Wagner in Rotterdam. The document states he is 31 years of age at this time.
3. After they marry, they have a daughter (my great-grandmother) Helen H. Williams who was born in 1912.
4. 1912-1920 – Sometime between this time-frame, David and Sophia came to Michigan.
5. 1920 - They had a son named David C. Williams Jr. who was born in Rochester Michigan. (He is the one online in various places who was KIA in WWII on January 27, 1945.)
6. 1923 - They had another daughter named Mary Williams who was born in Michigan. (David and Sophia had another son named “Billy” or William Williams, but the child died at age 5 and I have no information on him other than that.)
Move up in the time-frame since this is where my brick wall begins…
7. 1942 – I have a letter dated 1942 FROM David C. Williams Sr. to his daughter Helen H. Williams (my great-grandmother). Here is the text of the letter:
July 5, 1942
“Any contact in the future will as in the past, have to come through the court.
Personal contacts are not desired, and will not be ecognized.
This apply’s to all conscerned.”
David C. Williams
As this letter implies, there must be some court records somewhere in possibly Oakland County Michigan. (I am coming at the end of August!! Wooooo!) So I am hoping to dig up more and learn why this letter was generated in the first place. In the meantime, I loose David C. Williams completely after this time.
I cannot find him and Sophia on the 1920 or 1930 census. I do know that Sophia remarried to Walter Sanderson, but do not know when she and David divorced or when she and Walter were married. I am still digging on that…
I also cannot find when David may have died and where. This is my BIG missing puzzle piece. I am assuming it was somewhere in Michigan, but have only found two census images from 1930 that might have him on there. One is of a man who is married to a “Lelah” but the other data (such as the parents birth places) does not jive. The other 1930 census has a David Williams who is 56 yrs old and sounds much more like my David and there is even another clue, it states on this census for Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan that his occupation was a “crane operator”, this is very similar to what is listed on David’s marriage license to Sophia in 1911 which as “craneman”. This could very well be him, but I still am lacking a death date for him and just am at a loss as to where to go with these tiny clues.
I have Googled, and Genwedded, and Find-A-Graved, and all others until I am blue in the face and without sleep for days :)
I would love to find David C. Williams death date and place. Any ideas?