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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Dallas County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Rufus W. Williams, lumberman and merchant, Holly Springs, Ark. This prominent business man was originally from Butts County, Ga., where he was born in 1842, and was the fifth of nine children born to Dr. John W. and Martha (McCord) Williams. He was early taught the duties of farm life, received his education in the common schools, and when the war broke out, enlisted in the Confederate Army, Company D, Twelfth Arkansas Infantry, and operated as orderly sergeant in Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana and Georgia. He was captured at Island No. 10, and made his escape and joined his command. He was with Gen. Bragg through Kentucky, was at Corinth, Perryville, Port Hudson, Mansfield, Jackson’s Ferry and others. He surrendered at Marshall, Tex., in May, 1865, and came home, where he was married in 1866 to Miss Fannie Key, daughter of Joseph L. and Betsey Key, natives of Georgia and Arkansas, respectively. Mr. Key died in Holly Springs, in 1852, but his widow is still living. Mrs. Williams was born in Butts County, Ga., and died in 1882. She left six children—five sons and one daughter. Mr. William’s second marriage occurred in 1883, to Mrs. Addie Gaston, sister of his first wife, and a native of Dallas County, Ark. To this union were born five children. Mr. Williams has lived in and near Holly Springs since his residence in Arkansas, and is one of the leading and substantial citizens. For over twenty-three years he has been engaged in the lumber and saw-mill business, owning a good water-mill and about 1,400 acres of good timber land on Tulip Creek. He has also been engaged in merchandising. His first presidential vote was for H. Seymour, in 1868, and he is a Democrat. He is treasurer of the Masonic fraternity, St. John’s Lodge No. 38, at Holly Springs, and a man universally respected. Mrs. Williams is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The parents of our subject were born in North Carolina, were married in that State, and from there emigrated to Georgia, thence to Alabama, and finally, in 1854, to Dallas County, Ark., passing their last days at Holly Springs. The mother’s death occurred in 1882, and the father’s in 1884. He was a very successful physician, followed his profession for fifty-four years, and was the oldest physician in this part of the State. He was county and probate judge of Butts County, Ga., for a number of years, and was a man of education and unusual intelligence. When he first settled in Arkansas there were but two physicians in twenty miles of Holly Springs. He was the son of Randolph Williams, who was born in North Carolina, and who died near Nashville, Tenn., where he had followed agricultural pursuits. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and was in the battle of New Orleans. He was of Irish descent. The maternal grandfather of our subject, John McCord, was a farmer by occupation, and died in Georgia. He was also a soldier in the War of 1812. He was a prominent man, and was probate judge of Butts County, Ga., for over twenty years.

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This family biography is one of 55 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Dallas County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Dallas County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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