Individual Record 15

Name}   Williams, Theodore John (John T.) Family History} Hancock              
  Title}   Race} White Sex} Male
Birth:   Date} Exa   7 Nov 1860 Place} Pittsburgh (?), Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Marr1: Date} Cir      1883/1886 Place}       (Link)
Marr2: Date} Exa 14 Feb 1903  Place} Jackson, Jackson, Michigan     (Link)
Death: Date}  Exa   2 Nov 1933 Place} Napa, Napa, California
Burial: Date}  Exa  4 Nov 1933 Place} Tulocay Cemetery, Napa, Napa, California
 Marker} Yes   Area
Source 1}     9 = Biography
Source 2} 375 = Biography
Source 3}   89 = Biography
Source 4} 103 = 1870 USA cen
Source 5} 104 = 1880 USA cen
Source 6} 101 = Geog history
Source 7} 110 = Newspaper
Source 8} 111 = Newspaper
Source 9} 109 = Prison recrd
Source 10}  22 = 1900 USA cen
Source 11}1427=Marriage rec
Source 12}  26 = 1910 USA cen
Source 13}304 = 1920 USA cen
Source 14}242 = Newspaper
Source 15}  72 = Birth record
Source 16}  79 = Marriage rec
Source 17}164 = Geog history
Source 18}675 = Photographs
Source 19}676 = Photographs
Source 20}  15 = Death certif
Source 21}  30 = Cemetery rec
Source 22}788 = Family history
Source 23}1246=Letter
Parents: } David P. Williams & Mary Ann McCaw
   Relationship No.} 54
1st Household No.} 190 = Detroit, Michigan
      Occupation 1} Evangelist
       Occupation 2} Farm laborer
       Occupation 3} Well driller
  Religion/Church} Presbyterian
Spouses:    First} Nelson, Pamelia Elizabeth
              Second} Bird, Myrtle A.
 Total Number of} 2  
Notes:  Theodore's life consisted of three distinct and very different periods:
  1. His early years in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, from 1860 to about 1894 or 1895.  This period included his first marriage.

  2. His wild years that began with his joining a "free love" religious sect in Ohio and Michigan (and perhaps Pennsylvania and Kentucky) that included his imprisonment at Ionia from 11 Nov 1899 until 14 Feb 1903, and ended with his marrying Myrtle on 14 Feb 1903 — and his first wife Pamelia Elizabeth marrying Myrtle's brother Theodore Bird on the same day.

  1. His later calm and quiet final years in California with Myrtle and their three children (Daisy, Simeon, and Dave) — during which no mention was made of his earlier wild life.  This period lasted from 1903 until Theodore's death in 1933.

During his trial in Adrian, the Detroit Tribune wrote "Theodore Williams would easily pass muster as a 'Flying Roller'.  His long black beard and heavy growth of hair gave him a picturesque appearance."

Later, "Williams said the Lord had been crowding him hard for days and he must have money to start a home for his people."  Also, "Williams said he formerly had a nice home, and gave that up, also leaving his wife and children; they taught that in addition for forsaking property one must undergo hardship and privation and forego all worldly lust."

In 1899 at Ionia, Theodore was described as having a dark complexion, black hair, medium forehead, "L mar" eyes, large nose, medium mouth, a square chin, considerable hair on heart and body, height 5' 9 and 3/4", weight 151 pounds, and "does not chew".

After arriving in Napa, Theodore built a well-boring machine with a derrick 28 feet tall and a hand-turned auger.  This combination could drill water wells to 100 feet deep.  Lengths of 1¼-inch diameter galvanized pipe coupled together were used for lowering a 6 foot by 7 inch auger into the ground as the well deepened.  The auger was made in San Francisco.  With his horse, he would move the machine to the drill site, set up the tripod and blocks and cables, start the well with his shovel, get the auger going, and empty the mud.  Theodore with his horse and boring rig was a familiar sight in the southwest end of Napa County, with his drill paraphernelia loaded on his springwagon and trailing his long tripod derrick.  He worked at boring water wells, especially all 26 wells in the Cutting tract, until his death in 1933.

His granddaughter Viola said "My remembrances of Grandma and Grandpa Williams mainly were of two soft-spoken, loving people.  Grandpa had been a United Presbyterian minister.  They were both very religious, but didn't go to church, as far as I remember."  (Source 375)

Time of Birth}   Time of Death} 4:30 p.m. Fraternal/Social}  
Baptism Date}   Place}   Click to enlarge
Confirm. Date}   Photo} Theodore circa 1908
Immigr'n Date} N/A Port} N/A
Education: Grade}              or Top 2 Degrees}  
Military: Service} None
Health Condition}  
 Cause of Death} Heart failure
Last Updated
by} Dan Hancock
Date Updated}  27 Jan 2019
Date Created}  21 Jun 1994
Copyright © 2003, 2006, 2010, 2013 by Daniel W. Hancock.  All Rights Reserved.

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