Eld. Zachariah Williams 1849-1923

Transcribed from Kentucky: A History of the State, W.H. Perrin, J.H. Battle and G.C. Kniffin, ca. 1886.

Zachariah T. Williams, merchant, was born February 22, 1849, in Russell County. His father, Preston G. Williams, a native of Burke County, N.C., was born October 1, 1805, and was married October 27, 1831, to Miss Prudence A., daughter of Zachariah and Nancy (Montgomery) Taylor, the former of Kentucky, the latter of Virginia. This marriage occurred in Adair County, where Mr. Williams had lived since 1808, and has been blessed by eight children: Nancy J., wife of Benjamin P. Rowe, and the mother of three children, one of whom is a son; Isaac N., who married Miss Helen Bradshaw, and is the father of eight children, three of whom are sons; Albert N, who died August 31, 1854, in his 16th year; Lucy A., married first Arthur Bradshaw, by whom she had two children, a son and a daughter, and married second to James M. Carter, and has by him four children--two sons; mary Louvenia, wife of William Conover, and the mother of ten children--four sons; Leslie A., married to Miss Martha S. Bryan, and the mother of three daughters; Zachariah T.; and Eliza F., wife of Samuel B. Conover, and the mother of three children, one a daughter. All of this family are living except one.

Mr. [Preston] Williams received an estate of from his father, and in 1831 settled at his present location, a farm at that time of 400 acres. He has, besides farming, carried on a wagon-shop, and in ante bellum days owned between thirty and forty slaves. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been members of the Christian Church since May, 1834, and a part of this time he has held the office of deacon. His politics since the war have been Democratic, before which event he was an old time Whig. Mrs. Williams is in the seventy-third year of her age (1886).

Aaron Williams, grandfather of Zachariah T. Williams, was a native of Rockingham County, N.C., and born in 1773. He was a hatter by trade, and afterward turned his entire attention to farming, carrying on a water mill at Reynolds' Creek, Adair County, in addition. He was married about his twenty-second year to Miss Lucy, daughter of John and Lucy (Williams) Wall, native of the Old Dominion, and they were the parents of nine children: Polly (Bradshaw, Maria (died in infancy), Preston G., Eliza (Montgomery), Lucinda (Bradshaw), Parmelia (Turner), Alvan, Clarissa (Taylor), Aaron and Drewry. Aaron Williams died in his fiftieth year.

Drewry Williams, great-grandfather of Zachariah T. Williams, was a native of the Old Dominion, a veteran of the American Revolution and was married to Miss Martha Guinn, a daughter of Albern Guinn, of Virginia. he had three children by this marriage: Aaron, Charlotte (Bradshaw) and John. His second marriage was to Miss Phyllis Hayes, by whom he had six children: Andrew, Abner, Drewry, Elijah, Westley and Milton.

Aaron Williams, great-great-grandfather of Z.T. Williams, emigrated from Wales to the United States and settled in Virginia.

Preston G. Williams eleven years ago fell from a wagon and has since been a cripple unable to walk without crutches, and seven years ago he lost his sight, and yet he bears his two great afflictions with Christian fortitude.

In boyhood Z.T. Williams received a business education in the schools of Russell and Adair Counties, which he attended every winter--three months--until eighteen years of age, after which he taught two terms of in the common schools of Russell County. He remained at home, working with and for his father, until twenty-one years of age, at which time, February 24, 1870, he was united in marriage to Miss Clemmie J., daughter of Cyrus and Sarah (Murrah) Wheat, the former a native of Adair County, the latter of Tennessee.

He began the battle of life with no estate, and embarked in the general merchandise business in 1871, at Montpelier, Adair County, with Mr. Cyrus Wheat, which he has since continued. In addition to this Mr. Williams, in partnership with Mr. Wheat, carries on a farm of 400 acres. Messrs. Wheat & Williams carry a stock of general merchandise and drugs worth $3,000, and have a fine trade. In 1883 Mr. Williams was elected on the Democratic ticket to the Lower House of the Kentucky Legislature; he is a notary public, but has never sought political preference.

To Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been born six children: Luther, Lawrence, Loren, Lillie May, Sallie P., and Joseph A., all living. Mr. Williams is a member of the Christian Church, of which he is an elder. Mrs. Williams is also a member of the Christian Church.

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The Adair County News, January 3, 1900

(no headline)

Eld. Z.T. Williams has tendered his resignation as pastor of the Christian church, this city [Columbia.] It is not yet known who will take his place. We understand that Mr. Williams will leave for the east in the Spring and will visit Jerusalem and other cities in the Oriental country. The church here is very much devoted to Mr. Williams and regrets to give him up.

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Mrs. Z.T. Williams Dead

The intelligence of the death of this highly respected and much beloved Christian lady will be felt throughout the county, and especially did it bring sorrow to the homes of the people living in the Montpelier section. It was here where she was born and reared and where she had been a Samaritan from early girlhood. A kind and sympathetic neighbor, a devoted wife and a loving mother; a friend to the unfortunate; a God fearing and God serving woman.

For weeks husband and children watched tenderly by her bedside, hoping and praying that her life might be spared, but God's will is unchangeable, and at six o'clock Wednesday afternoon May 6, 1903, her spirit took its flight.

The deceased was the estimable wife of Eld. Z.T. Williams and the daughter of Cyrus Wheat, who was known to almost every body in Adair county. Besides the husband who has been so sorely bereft, there are six children, Luther, Lawrence, Loren, Jo, Sallie and Lillie, whose sorrow can only be conceived by those who lost a dear mother. May God in his infinite wisdom heal the wounds of the broken hearted, and may this dispensation of Providence bring the husband and children closer to their Maker, looking forward to a reunited family in that home beyond the skies.

"The way is long to the Valley of Rest,

Down the dim uncertain years;

But we'll reach the valley when God thinks best,

Where never is a rain of tears.

We'll forget the gloom of the weary way,

Where the thorns grew red along

With answers sweet to the prayers we pray;

The Spirit of Peace will speak that day;

And a sigh will be the song.

And deep in the beautiful Valley of Rest,

We shall pass from the storm-swept sod;

With tired hands folded above the breast,

We shall say to the Silence how God knew best,

And dream in the light of God."

Mrs. Williams was fifty-odd years of age and had been a member of the Christian church since early in life.

The following ministers officiated at the funeral: W.K. Azbill, Jo Q. Montgomery, and A.H. Baugh.

The interment was at Pleasant Hill, many relatives and friends being present. To the surviving husband and children, the writer extends his heartfelt sympathy.

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The Adair County News, May 27, 1903


As I glanced over the paper this morning to see the news from my home land, mine eyes fell upon the death of cousin Clemmie Williams, of Montpelier. It grieved me sorely for she was one of the best friends I ever had on this earth. I was reared hard by her home; many difficulties lay in my way for an education, many, many times have we alone talked together and planned to bridge yawning gulfs. Her didn't consist only of mere talk, but there were gifts went with her plans. I knew her as I have known but few persons and I can say that I have never known a truer and nobler woman on earth. She had great force of character; not emotional but deeply spiritual. Her home was her throne and there she reigned, in positiveness, grace, love and beauty. Many times have I gone to that home wearied in body and worried in mind; the shadows many and dark had gathered about me, and in her kind and thoughtful way chased them away and left sunshine and gladness in my life. In those years of struggle and awful worry that came to me; those years it seemed my very heart would break if I didn't get through school. She encouraged me in a thousand ways. She and her noble husband, God bless him, stood by me like I was a son. Their home was my home; my success, if any, was their joy. Her life was as pure as the drifted snow. Her greatest ambition in life was to help do noble things for those about her, and she set in motion influence that will tell a great tale for humanity's good and God's glory for ages to come. She loved her home, her country and her Savior. Her life of great activity on earth has ended; her life of gifts and helpfulness will long be remembered. She has gone to return no more but thank God there were stars in her crown when the sun went down. I am a better man because she lived, and I am sad because she has gone. She has left her children a great heritage--better than thrones and dominions and may they ever walk in the pathway in which she started them. Well done, good and faithful servant, rest in peace and joy. /s/ [Rev.] G.W. Perryman, Paducah, Ky.   

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The Adair County News, December 21, 1904

Approaching Marriage

On Wednesday, December twenty-eighth, at one o'clock, at the home of the bride's father, Mr. E.M. Smith, in north Glasgow, Eld. Z.T. Williams, of Montpelier, Ky., will be married to Miss Mary Smith. Elder J.H.O. Smith, of Valparaiso, Ind., brother of the bride-to-be, will officiate at the marriage. The wedding will be a quiet home affair, only a few relatives and friends will be present.

The contracting parties are too well known in this section to need any words of eulogy from us.

The bride-to-be is one of Glasgow's most amiable ladies, being known for her varied accomplishments and high standard of Christian character, and many womanly graces.

The prospective groom is a well known and highly popular minister of the Christian church, in which capacity he has labored faithfully in South and Central Kentucky for the past fifteen years. Immediately after the marriage the parties will start for Louisville, enroute for Mr. Williams' home at Montpelier, and after a short stay may return to Glasgow, as Eld. Williams may engage in pastoral work in Barren county.

The above announcement is from the Glasgow Republican, but we desire to add a few words in testimony of the high character of the prospective groom, as Adair is his native county, and where he has gained an enviable record from his youth up. A Christian gentleman, honored and respected, there is not a doubt but he will make a loving and faithful husband. Should he decide to leave us, expressions of regret would be heard from all points of the county. If he remains in Adair his intended bride will be happily received and made to feel that she is among a hospitable and home-like people.

[The marriage license was issued in Adair County.]

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Eld. Z.T. Williams Dies Suddenly at San Antonio, Texas, Where He Was Visiting.


A Shock To This Community.


Eld. Z.T. Williams, the best known minister in all this part of Kentucky, died suddenly at the home of his son, Eld. Lawrence Williams, San Antonio, Texas, Sunday morning, January 7th, at 2 o'clock. A dispatch to relatives here, received about 9 o'clock, conveyed the news of the sad event which soon spread over the town of Columbia, where the deceased had resided for a number of years. Many hearts were made sad on account of the passing of this good man, who was loved by every body for his Christian character and many deeds of kindness. There has not been a death of Columbian for many years that brought more genuine sorrow. He was especially devoted to his companion and children, and they are the greatest losers. The Christian Church has lost a veteran in the cause of Christ, and his loving admonitions to the ungodly will not soon be forgotten.

When he was a comparatively young man he represented Adair county in the Kentucky Legislature, making an energetic member, and a short time after he returned home he announced that he would preach the remainder of his days and during his career as a minister he became the pastor of several different Churches, the Church of Campbellsville and the one at Horse Cave being two of the number. For twenty-one consecutive years was the pastor of the Church at this place, many sinners coming into the fold during his reign as pastor.

A few years ago, on account of declining health, he resigned the pastorate here, but here never failed to be a regular attendant, doing everything in his power to advance the cause of Christianity. He was a man who had a good word for everybody he met, and if nothing commendable could be said, he had no comment to make unless it was for a willful and unlawful act. For some years he had been a director in the First National Bank, this place, making a very efficient officer.

Pages could be written on the life and character of this good man, and in years to come his life will be spoken of as one worthy of emulation. He was 74 years old.

The deceased was a member of Columbia Lodge No. 96, Free and Accepted Masons and also a member of Columbia Chapter 7.

As we write, arrangements for the funeral and burial have not been made, but it is known that he will be interred in the city cemetery, and that it is likely to occur Thursday.

The whole town is in sympathy with the surviving companion, sons and daughters. May God give them fortitude to bear the great loss that has come into their lives, is the wish of the editor of this paper.

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The Adair County News, Tuesday, January 16, 1923

Funeral of Eld. Z.T. Williams


The account of Eld. Z.T. Williams death, in San Antonio, Texas, was published last week.

The body and members of the family reached here last Wednesday night about eleven o'clock, driving to the late home of the departed minister. All Thursday forenoon friends called to take a last view of one who they honored, loved and respected in life. About twelve o'clock the remains were conveyed to the Christian church and many who did not call at the dwelling, gathered about the casket until the hour for the services to commence. There were a number of ministers present, the pastor of the Campbellsville Church, the pastor of the Somerset congregation, Eld. G.W. Montgomery, Eld. Arthur Baugh, who preaches for a Church in Lincoln county, Rev. Carson Taylor, of the Baptist church, who conducted the song service, Rev. Jesse L. Murrell and Rev. Sleamaker, both of the Methodist church, and the pastor of the local congregation, Eld. J.I. Wheeler, were on the platform. All spoke in glowing terms of the life and character of the deceased, and the great work he engaged in for almost half a century. The church building could not accommodate the large audience, and many were compelled to stand. The beauty of all the talks was the truthfulness uttered. Rev. Murrell did not make a talk, but read some verses, his own composition, in commemoration of the departed. They were sublime and touching. After all the eulogies had been paid, and thanks of his son, Eld. Lawrence Williams, for such deep manifested kindness of friends at San Antonio and at home, the remains were conveyed to the city cemetery and there deposited under a bank of flowers.

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The Adair County News, Wednesday, August 28, 1935



Funeral Services Were Held At the Columbia Christian Church Tuesday Afternoon.


Mrs. Z.T. Williams, one of Columbia's most respected and beloved older citizens, died late Monday afternoon following a three-months illness. Though her death was not unexpected, due to the seriousness of her condition, her passing cast a shadow of sorrow over the entire community.

Before her marriage Mrs. Williams was Miss Mary Margaret Smith. She was born October 18, 1859 in Warren County, Ohio, about 50 miles north of Cincinnati. She was reared in a Christian home, from earliest childhood, having the advantages of schools and active religious work. She confessed faith in Christ and was baptized into the Christian Church at nine years of age.

He education was acquired at the Waynesville High School, Warren County, Ohio; at the Teachers' Training School of Holbrook's Normal University and Butler College, near Indianapolis. After finishing her education she taught for a number of years.

She did special church work for some time and was then called into rescue work, which she continued until 1902. At that time, Mrs. Williams, then Miss Smith, came to Glasgow, Ky., where her parents were living.

In 1904 she met Rev. Z.T. Williams and they were married, December 28, 1904, making their home at Montpelier, Adair County. In 1906 they moved to Columbia, rev. Williams becoming pastor of the Christian Church. He also preached for other churches in the county and did evangelistic work throughout this section of Kentucky until his death in January, 1923.

Mrs. Williams cheerfully and heartily engaged in her husband's work and their lives together were unusually happy because of their congeniality in the work of the Lord.

Since 1906 her life has been living among the people of Columbia and neighboring churches, all of whom she was interested in and loved. She greatly appreciated the kindness and love shown her by the people of her husband's churches and friends of other denominations.

Mrs. Williams is survived by the following: four step-children: Mrs. Lillie Epperson, of Corbin, Ky.; Luther Williams, Cave City, Ky.; Rev. Lawrence Williams, of Lampass, Texas, and J.A. Williams, Hutchison, Kansas; one brother, Dr. J.H.O. Smith, Oklahoma City, and a niece, Mrs. E.H. Fishback, Anderson, Ind.

Funeral services were held at the Columbia Christian Church Tuesday afternoon at 2:30, conducted by Rev. A.H. Baugh, of Hustonville, with Rev. H. Gordon Bennett assisting.

The active pallbearers were: Henry Moore, Frank Callison, Charlie Hood, Robert Hutchison, J.S. Knifley and P.P. Dunbar. Honorary pall bearers: S.C. Neat, W.I. Ingram, Ores Barger, L.C. Winfrey, Eros Barger, W.R. Myers, G.R. Reed, Horace Jeffries, Braxton Massie and Bruce Montgomery. [In the 1880 Greene County, Ohio, census records, Mary Smith resided with her parents, Edward M. (born Ky.) & Sarah Smith (born Ohio), along with an older brother, James (later known as Rev. J.H.O. -- short for James Oliver Henry -- Smith) and a younger brother, George Smith.]