Note: Relationships, such as grandmother, 2nd great, etc., are expressed from the perspective of the grandchildren of Willis Edgar and Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove.
When great grandmother Mary Jane Elizabeth Williams was born (February 14, 1867, in Pearson, Georgia) her father, Allen Raymond Williams (born on March 13 1826 in Barnwell, South Carolina), was 40. Her mother, Sarah Ann Parker (born on June 5, 1842, in Coffee County, Georgia), was 25.
Sarah Ann was the daughter of William Parker Jr. Folks Huxford writes of him in his "Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia" history ;
"William Parker and Sarah Lastinger 's son, William Parker (Jr), born 1804, grew up in Bulloch and Emanuel Counties and married in Emanuel Co. Elizabeth Edenfield, born 1813, daughter of David Edenfield, R.S.(Revolutionary Soldier), and she died 1895.
Soon after marriage, William Parker and family moved to Lowndes County and settled on the west side of the Alapaha River in what is now Lanier County. They were living there in 1836 when the Indians, soon after the outbreak of the Indian War, attacked the Parker home in the absence of the family and pillaged it and burned it."
When his plantation was attacked in the summer of 1836, Sarah Ann Parker's father, 3rd great grandfather William (Short-Armed Bill) Parker, Jr., was 32 years old. Her mother, Elizabeth Edenfield, was 23. It was five years before Sarah Ann was born and her family was living in Lowndes County .
In a letter dated May 9, 1948, excerpted from the book, The John Lastinger Family of America: A Record of the Decendants of John Lastinger by Aurora C. Shaw, copyright 1960, 2nd great grandmother Sarah Ann (Parker) William's son (our great grand uncle) John writes to a 'Cousin Vonice';
"My mother was Sarah Ann Parker, daughter of William Parker the II as I know the family history, half-brother to Calvin Greenberry Washington Parker, your great-grandfather.
William (Bill) Parker the 1st was married three times. He lived in the home of my grandfather or my grandfather lived in his home during the Indian War. Mother remembered him well. He lived to be very old, he was too old to fight in the Indian War during 1835. He lived in the home of my grandfather William that year.
During that year the first Indians (grand)mother ever saw appeared first at the spring where Grandmother and a midwife had been washing that day. It was just before my grandmother gave birth to one of my mother's sisters, Morning Parker Davis, who (later) lived in Sanderson, Florida, until moving to Coffee County in about 1892.
My mother was born in 1841, she died in 1932, at the age of 90 years, 7 mo. and 4 days, here in Douglas, Ga. She and a younger sister, Millie Bowen, are buried at Axson.
Her mother, Betsy Strange Parker was buried at Axson at the age of 80 yrs. born in 1815. Aunt Morning (Parker Davis) was buried at Axson. She lived to be 84.
My mother was born in South Georgia, but the family was reared in Fla. My grandfather, William Parker, the 2nd, was buried 15 miles this side of Cedar Keys, Fla.
Now back to robbing of our Grandfather William Parker II. As I have the information, my grandmother, Besty Strange Parker lived in our house in Axson during during her last days. She told our family of the robbery which happened as above stated in 1835…"He (Col. Johnnie Williams) relates that this story was printed in the History of Clinch County, by Folks Huxford. He also further states, "One of the Parkers married a Lastinger and a Lastinger married a Parker, married each other's sister."
A couple of Merritt family genealogists have transcribed and preserved 'The Douglas Enterprise' article dated June 10, 1927 about 2nd great grandmother Sarah Ann (Parker) Williams birthday party. The researchers included some notes at the end of the piece.
86TH ANNIVERSARY OF MRS. WILLIAMS
The anniversary celebration of Mrs. Sarah Parker Williams occurred last Sunday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Lyman Adams, six miles south of Douglas.
Mrs. Williams was 86 years old last Sunday and about three hundred of her children, relatives and friends assembled to do honor to this wonderful old lady. The occasion was celebrated by a big dinner, speeches and music by the celebrated Gillis string band of this county.
...The children of Mrs. Williams present were: Calvin W. Williams of Axson, Mrs. Mamie (Mary) Jane Merritt of Ware County, Martha Ann Adams of Coffee county, George W. and Emma Gillien Williams of Coffee county, and Asilee Sutton Williams of Cogdell, and J. H. and C. H. Williams of Douglas.
One of the interesting features of the occasion was an Indian story told by Mrs. Williams herself.
"When she was quite a young child her mother ____ ___ ___ between Alapaha and Nashville, the Indians were still in this county, and one day when she was with her mother and another elderly lady that had been left at home, five Indians came up to the spring close to the house and so the women grabbed the children and made off behind the home as fast as they could until they reached the woods.
They soon heard the Indians in ____ ____ __xes and trunks of the house. They ripped open feather beds scattered the feathers and carried away the tickings with all the other _______ they could carry. They p___ the tracks of the women and started out after them, but they were too far in advance and by hiding in the woods managed to escape.
When the men returned home they ___ up a party and went after the Indians, and killed three of them, two escaped and got as far as the Satilla river into the present town of Axson, one of these was a man and the other a squaw.
The man was shot and killed but the squaw managed to escape by jumping into the river. She came out on the other side and was wounded and begging for water. They gave her water but she was afterwards killed. "
SOURCE: Satilla Regional Library, Genealogy Dept., Douglas, Coffee Co., GA.
The Douglas Enterprise June 10, 1927
Submitted by Lourice Lott Merritt
Research Note: Alapaha developed from a trade settlement on the site of a Seminole village with the same name. The current town of Lakeland, Georgia, was originally named "Alapaha" and existed before the town that now bears the name.
Research Note: This story is recounted in the History of Clinch County (1916) by Folks Huxford and in Ward's History of Coffee County (1930) by Judge P. Ward. Judge Ward doesn't exactly have the facts straight and claims it is "the first time they are put into history." This story had been recorded in 1916 by Huxford, including quotes from the person telling the story, which were collaborated by others and it gives a much more detailed account.
I don't know if the reporter got the story wrong or whether Sarah Ann Parker Williams' memory was fading, but she had not been born when this attack occurred.
Story updated January 29, 2009 by Rhonda Renee (Grantham)