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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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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Thomas L. Williams, farmer and dairyman of Valle Township, is the son of James L. and Jane (Mitchell) Williams, and was born in Washington County, Mo., in 1841. The father was born in Spartenburg District, S. C., was left an orphan when a child, and when a young man went to Kentucky, where he was married. In 1830 they removed to Washington County, Mo., where they remained until 1841, at which date they came to Jefferson County and located one and a half miles south of where De Soto now stands, and which was then a wilderness. He improved a good farm and lived there until 1866. He was a farmer and miner, and brought some slaves from Kentucky to Missouri. His father, Thomas Williams, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. The mother of Thomas L. was born in Allen County, Ky., in 1804, where she was reared and married. She died in 1876. Both parents were members of the Baptist Church. Thomas L. received his primary education in the much talked of log schoolhouse of early days, with slab seats and dirt floors, and finished at the academy in De Soto. In 1864 he went to California via New York and the Isthmus, was there two years engaged in blacksmithing for mining companies, and also did six months’ work of the same kind for the Pacific Railroad Company. After spending another six months blacksmithing he returned to his home, and in 1872 was united in marriage to Miss Fannie, daughter of Samuel Greer, and a native of Jefferson County. Her father was born in Kentucky, but was an early settler of Missouri, and her mother’s maiden name was Vaughn, a sister of Gen. Claiborne Jackson’s wife. The following four children were born to Mr. Williams’ marriage: Virdie Ella, John L. and Henry L. (twins), and Willie L. Mrs. Williams died February 15, 1885, and June 9, 1866, he married Mrs. Rebecca Mcllhatton, a native of Virginia, widow of Oliver Mcllhatton, and the daughter of William L. and Jerusha Lemaster, early settlers of Jefferson County. Mr. Williams has made farming his chief occupation during life, but has worked about two years in the machine shops of De Soto, and in 1888 engaged extensively in the dairy business, having about forty cows. He is one-half owner of the old home farm, situated one mile south of De Soto, and forty acres near Vineland. He is a Republican in his political views, and his first presidential vote was for McClellan, in 1864. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Baptist Church. His eldest brother, Judge Willis Williams, was born in Allen County, Ky., and was a well-known farmer of Valle Township. He served as county judge from 1880 to 1881, and his brother John (deceased) was the first Democrat of Jefferson County, and elected to the office of county collector after the war. He was twice elected and died during the last term of office. He was a faithful and honest official.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Jefferson County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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