Williams-Williams Wedding

I am sharing this life sketch of David Davis Williams and Rebecca Price Williams.  The original version was written by William Jenkin Williams and found in the records of Eliza Williams Rees with insights from her granddaughter Betty Mifflin Bushman taken from family interviews and her own experience.  For the most part I will stick to the original history.  I do not have any photos to share, but since I have the history, I wanted to make it available.

Before I jump into the rest of the life sketch, I think it is important to connect these individuals to my family history.  I have previously written of the marriage between David D Williams and Gwenllian Jordan.  David D Williams had a brother named John Haines Williams.  David Davis Williams is the son of John Haines Williams.

I will provide more family information after the life sketch.

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“David D. Williams was born in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales on June 19, 1852, a son of John Haines Williams and Sarah Jane Davis.  He came to the United States with his parents, settling first in Pennsylvania in 1858.  In 1860 the family moved to Ogden, Utah, crossing the plains with in a handcart company led by Captain Elias Morris.  It was the second ox team to land in Ogden.  From there the family went north to the Malad Valley where they settled in Muddy Creek, living in a dugout where some of the children were born.  They later moved to Gwenford.

“Rebecca P. Williams was born on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1857, at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales, a daughter of Jenkin Williams and Eliza Price.  She was baptized (LDS) in Wales on December 11, 1867 by her father, Jenkin, and confirmed by John Thomas.  With her parents, she came to this country for the gospel’s sake, settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After living there two years, they went to the Malad Valley in the year 1872.

Younger Rebecca Price Williams

Younger Rebecca Price Williams

“On Rebecca’s birthday, December 31, 1877, she and David were married in St. Johns, Oneida, Idaho by Justice of the Peace William H. Waytell in the presence of Benjamin Waldron and Mary Ann Daniels.

“David was baptized (LDS) 8 March 1878 by John Evan Price and confirmed by Samuel D. Williams.

“He and Rebecca took up a farm in Gwenford where they lived for about twenty years.  During this time David operated a freighting business between Kelton, Utah and Helena, Montana, a trip that would take him about three months.  He served as a deputy sheriff, was the first Chief of Police of Samaria, Idaho, and even worked as a blacksmith.  Later he went into the confectionery business and operated a business and general store, D.D. Williams Candy Kitchen, with Rebecca in Samaria until his death June 27, 1927.  He was a man, it is said, who could not be idle.   His daughter, Eliza, described him as a wonderful husband and  father.  His granddaughter, Mae Rees Mifflin, remembers him with great fondness also.  She named her first child, Darla Dean, after her grandfather.  It is a wonder that Darla was not nicknamed Dee Dee too.

David Davis Williams

David Davis Williams

“About him, a grandson, Ray Earl Rees, told the following story:  Their daughter, Eliza (Ray’s mother), had a washing machine.  In order to help her elderly parents, she would do their laundry.  Every Monday morning Grandpa David would drive his buggy the few miles to Malad with a bundle of clothes for her to wash.  Grandpa would drive the team around to the north road and enter the farmyard by the back way.  About the time he was expected, Ray would wait out by the gate to open it for his grandfather.  Then he would climb up in the buggy with him and ride up to the house.  Always Grandpa Williams had a sack of candy for Ray.  He could depend on that treat and waited eagerly for it each Monday morning.

“When the family would visit their grandparents in Samaria, it was a treat to go in to the store and see all the candies on display behind the glass counter.  Rather than give the children candy, Grandpa Williams would give them each a nickel and let them do the choosing.  They were not allowed to go around the counter, but while he smiled encouragement to them, they would stand before the counter and choose their treat.

“He was the sweetest man who ever drew a breath, Ray said about his grandfather.

“David was always a prominent figure in our childhood stories about family as our mother was said to be his favorite.  He even appeared to her to tell her goodbye after his death.

“It seemed so romantic to my sister and me that he and Rebecca married on my favorite holiday of the year, New Year’s Eve.  That day was also Rebecca’s twentieth birthday.  Her present was our handsome, nice great-grandfather.  What a perfect party time to have a wedding anniversary.

“Rebecca is remembered by her daughter, Eliza, as a wonderful mother and homemaker, never being one to go away from home.  She had a wonderful alto voice and when the children were small, she would often gather them around and sing to them.

“After her children grew up and married, she helped her husband in keeping the confectionery store.  Many remember stopping there as youngsters on their way to Mutual to share a soda and socialize.  They were always reminded not to be late for their church meeting by Rebecca, who would usher them out the door at ten minutes ’till.  Later the teenagers would reunite there to pick up where they had left off.

“Her daughter, Eliza, described her this way, Rebecca P. Williams was loved by all who knew her.  She was kind to everyone and did not have an enemy on earth.

“Great-Grandmother Rebecca was always a colorful figure to my sister and me.  As the youngest surviving child in her family of eleven children, we loved the story of how when the family came from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, she was assigned to carry a beautiful crystal bowl for her mother.  With it wrapped in a shawl, fourteen-year-old Rebecca later carefully tended it all the way to Idaho.  Through interesting circumstances, that bowl was inherited by our grandmother, then Mama, and finally Darla.  Since Darla also inherited Grandma Rees’ beautiful china closet, it seemed quite natural that the Welsh bowl would always rest inside it.  At any rate, I never ever expected it to be mine.  One day when I was picking up Darla to bring her to my house for a day’s visit, her daughter, Alyce, walked out to the car with us.  In her hands, Darla was carrying something wrapped in a piece of fabric.  She handed it to me with a smile saying that she had a present for me as a little thank you gift because I was so good to her.  With Alyce looking on and smiling too, I turned back the cloth to see the Welsh bowl.  Ignoring my protests that it was hers and that I could not accept it, she said she knew it would be safer in my home, that I would take good care of it and always treasure it.  Alyce said they had talked it over and both felt that it should be mine.  How I love to hold and admire that bowl.  Made of clear glass in a square shape, scalloped edging runs along its rim and base.  With a small pedestal and lion heads at each square corner, it is truly a work of art and indeed a special item. I love knowing of its history and importance in our family.  When we would look at it as children and hear its story, it was always viewed in quiet awe or discussed in hushed tones.  Never, ever, did I think it would be mine.  I felt amazed, quite honored, and a bit afraid of the responsibility.

“David died on 27 June 1927 after an illness of eight months.

“Later Grandma Rebecca moved to Malad  where she resided just across the street from her daughter, Eliza.  I remember Grandma carefully preparing a plate of dinner each evening for her mother.  It was usually the job of Uncle Ray to deliver it with a caution to hurry so it would be hot for his grandmother.  When I was around, he would often grab me by the hand and together we would dance across the street as he deftly carried the napkin covered plate in one hand and dragged me along with the other.

“I remember her as a frail little lady, a bob of white hair on top of her head, wire-rimmed glasses perched on her nose as she looked us over.  Books and magazines were plentiful in her small apartment and always a deck of cards.  In addition to reading, she liked to play games, playing Solitaire to entertain herself when no one else was around.

“Rebecca died on March 30, 1936 at the age of 84, a few months before my fifth birthday.

Rebecca

Rebecca Price Williams

“Both are buried in the Samaria Cemetery.

“Thirteen children were born to David and Rebecca, five boys and eight girls:  Sarah, William Jenkin who died in infancy, Mary, David, Phoebe, Jenkin, Eliza, Margaret, John, Catharine, Beatrice, Frances Orenda who died as a baby, and George.”

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Some more family history information.

David Davis Williams born 19 June 1852 in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 27 Jun 1927 in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho.  He was buried 30 June 1927 in Samaria.

Rebecca Price Williams born 31 December 1857 in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales and died 30 March 1936 in Malad, Oneida, Idaho.  She was buried 2 April 1936 in Samaria.

David and Rebecca were married 31 December 1877 in St Johns, Oneida, Idaho.

Their children are:

Sarah Elizabeth Williams born 22 August 1878 in Samaria and died 31 February 1968.  Buried in Draper, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married James Benjamin McGuire (1872-1952) 30 September 1900 in Samaria.

John Jenkin Williams born and died 23 September 1879 in Samaria.  Buried in Samaria.

Mary Jane Williams born 10 April 1881 in Samaria and died 14 January 1975.  Buried in St Johns.  She married John Nelson Hill (1872-1913) 22 February 1899 in St Johns.

David Joseph Williams born 26 February 1883 in Samaria and died 4 April 1973.  Buried in Malad.  He married Ester “Essie” Katherine Munsee (1888-1967) 25 March 1908 in Ogden.

Phoebe Ann Williams born 12 December 1884 in Samaria and died 15 March 1942 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  Buried in Riverton, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married Thomas Charles Jones (1883-1922) 4 July 1903 in Samaria.

William Jenkin Williams born 24 Jul 1886 in Samaria and died 5 Jun 1963.  Buried in Samaria.  Married Mary Mae John (1901-1989) 26 February 1921.

Eliza Mae Williams born 10 February 1888 in Samaria and died 6 July 1967 in Ogden.  Buried in Ogden.  Married Gomer Vaughan Rees (1883-1971) 24 November 1904 in Samaria.

Margaret Rebecca Williams born 25 November 1889 in Samaria and died 9 November 1980.  Buried in New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas, Ohio.  Married Walter Russell Ripley (1895-1979) 13 December 1913 in Malad.

John Haines Williams born 31 May 1891 in Samaria and died 25 February 1957 in Malad.  Buried in Malad.  Married Eleanor Jones (1899-1975) 29 March 1916 in Malad.

Catharine Zina Williams born 14 August 1893 in Samaria and died 19 Oct 1988 in Salt Lake City.  Buried in Malad.  Married Elijah R van Ables (1892-1961) 12 December 1920 in Malad.

Beatrice Estella Williams born 30 July 1894 in Samaria and died 9 December 1976.  Married Carl William Jones (1892-1958) 4 April 1913 in Malad, later divorced.  Married Allen John Keehn (1888-1957) 16 November 1938 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.

Frances Orenda Williams born 6 May 1897 in Samaria and died 10 September 1897 in Samaria.

George Thomas Williams born 22 February 1901 in Samaria and died 24 June 1962 in Pocatello.  Buried in Restlawn Memorial, Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho.  Married Theona Withers (1906-1990) 4 October 1924 in Malad.

Letter from David Williams to Wales

I just came upon this letter written by David D Williams to his sisters in Wales.  In it he describes his trip to Utah from Wales.  The letter was originally written in Welsh.  I have written of David and his immigration in his biography.  As mentioned in the history, David is the son of Frances Henneys and John Williams born in Wales in 1832.  He immigrated to Utah in 1864.  I am including a picture of some rolling hills in Southern Wales that I took with some friends in 2003.  Funny how he thinks how beautiful Utah was (then), and yet we feel the same about his Wales!

Ogden City

October 13, 1864

My dear sisters,

I have reached the end of my journey in the valley of Great Salt Lake well and happy, and I hope that you are the same. I shall now give you some of the history of my trip from the Old Country. This little letter is not large enough to describe all I saw, but I shall do my best to describe the outstanding features as briefly and inclusively as possible. We started from Aberdare on May 17th for Merthyr, where we stayed overnight. Next morning, the 18th, we started for Liverpool. After leaving the old rugged, craggy mountains of Wales behind us, we came to the flat plains of England and there saw the most desirable land such as we had never seen in all our lives. It was full of apple trees, plums, pears, and all kinds of other fruit, nature was a feast of beauty, all kinds of beautiful buildings of red brick. By evening we reached Liverpool. (One-half dozen words obliterated by creased paper) the streets were all paved. There is no time now to give details about this place. Next day we went down to the docks, and there we saw the General McClellan. This immense vessel laid about 70 yards long carrying 2000 tons. After getting everything in order, the steamboat pulled us on to the river, where we saw the great eastern, the world’s chief wonder. May 21st, we set sail for New York across the Atlantic Ocean. We saw many large fish. About the banks of Newfoundland we saw many large icebergs, some of them 200 feet high, and the portion above the surface of the water was but a third of the whole, so this enormous block would stand 600 feet high if it were all visible. We had a successful journey. We got one bad storm for about 24 hours. We were on the ocean for a month and 3 days. After reaching New York, we were taken to customs offices where all immigrants have to pass. After getting all in order there, we started out by steamboat on the river Genessee for about 160 miles to Albany. Here we took the train, and away we went for hundreds of miles along the borders of Canada. Then we crossed the river to St. Clair and through a part of Canada, then recrossed the same river to the United States and on to Buffalo. Here laid a large lake called Buffalo Lake. I don’t know its size but it was scores of miles long. After changing trains, we went on to Quincy. This lies on the bank of the Mississippi River. We crossed this river to the State of Missouri. Here is the most delightful land we ever saw, vast plains for hundreds of miles. I did not see a single mountain during my journey from New York to Wyoming (in Nebraska). We went along the banks of Mississippi for about 900 miles to St. Joseph. This was as far as we went by train. We were on the train for 11 days and nights, and were very tired for want of a place to sleep, having traveled 2000 miles.

From here we went by steamboat on the Missouri River for 200 miles to Wyoming, and here we came to the plains. We stayed in Wyoming for 3 weeks. July 21st we started over the plains, a company of 500 to 600 people, men, women and children, and about 80 wagons. After traveling on the plains for about 11 weeks, we reached the City of Great Salt Lake on Oct. 4th. This is the most beautiful city I ever saw in my life. It is full of apple trees, plums, pears, peaches, damsons, grapes, melons and all kinds of other fruit. The buildings are large and beautiful, and you seldom see a double house, but each house separate with a garden adjoining. The streets are all straight for miles, not a crooked street in the city. I stood by Brigham Young’s house facing the south, and I could see 20 to 30 miles of perfectly straight road. We can see for 80 miles here better than you can see for 20 there. After being here several days, I learned that father and my brothers were in Ogden City, 40 miles away, and that Richard is coming down to the festival (conference). This gave me no small amount of joy, for this was the first news I had of my father that he was alive. I saw Richard in the city, and when the festival was over, we started for Ogden City. John has moved out 200 miles from here, and he and his family were well when last heard from. Father is well and contented and he was as glad to see me here as I was to see him, and to hear that you are all well there. They want you to come next time and would love very much to see you. This is three times as good a country to live in if you care to work. I know that Sally is unable to come without help, but if Mary is able to come if nothing untoward has happened, and I would advise you, Mary, to come out next time, so we can later help Sally and her family. I would like to know whether or not you intend coming next time so I can give you a few instructions. It is a great country if one is wise to take advantage of the elements, and to do everything for one’s self, for which I can greatly commend these people, more so than the people of the old country. The women make all their own clothes – weave, roll, and everything; it’s a poor place for a tailor to live on his trade. They also make soap, candles, vinegar, yeast and everything for their own use. These people raise the material for sugar, and make molasses like the tressels you have, except that it is much better. The sugar is all in this molasses, and the refuse that comes from this is what you have for treacle. There is nothing else in particular that I can add at present. Father sincerely sends his regards to you, to his old neighbours, and to all the Saints, and hopes to see some of their names in the paper as immigrants the next time. Richard sends his regards to you and to all the saints and his acquaintances. Give me an answer as soon as you can, so I can have sufficient time to write back if you should come out next time. If you want to know anything, ask in your letter and I shall answer it with pleasure.

This briefly from your dear father and your brothers, John, David and Richard Williams.

Please give this letter (accompanying this one ) to William Rees.

A few words to William Rees, my brother in the gospel. I have taken my pen in hand to send you a few lines, hoping you are well and happy, and enjoying the comforts of the gospel, as I do myself at present; and I thank God for that. I intended to give you a little news of the plains and its creatures. But from what we hear, it is not likely there will be an immigration over the plains for some time, because the Indians are rather cruel and are at war with the United States. We were on the plains for 11 weeks because of difficulties. We joined another train (wagon train) and in all we had 150 wagons with about 1200 people; our train was about 4 miles long. The last train of saints came to Salt Lake City on Oct. 20th. Trains of gentiles had joined them along the line, and I heard people saying that they stretched over 10 miles while traveling. Eighty of the rich people of Salt Lake City were called, last festival (conference) to go south 600 miles and raise cotton, and the rich everywhere are being called on to help; and there is also a widespread call for people to go there to settle. They are going to build ships on the Colorado River, for that is the way the next immigrants will come, around the Cape Horn. I have to finish at present for want of space on this paper, with fond regards to you, to Thomas Griffiths and his family, to Mary Hoskins and her family, and to all the saints alike.

This briefly from your old brother in the Gospel, David Williams.

D.R. Mr. David Williams, Ogden City,