Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Benjamin Franklin, Patriots in the Maybelline family.

Excerpt from a letter written by Tom Lyle Williams' partner, Emery Shaver, to Tom Lyle Jr. in 1932 discussing the Williams family's roots in American history.

Dear Tom Jr,

Ann Franklin Harris was the half sister of Benjamin Franklin, the celebrated patriot and philosopher, and your great grandmother, many times over.

[Ann Franklin’s father Josiah Franklin, Born December twenty third, sixteen fifty-seven, in Ecton, North England, married twice. First to Ann Child, born sixteen fifty-two, who had seven children, the fifth, Ann, your direct descendant.  When Ann (Child,) Franklin died in childbirth on July forth sixteen eighty-nine, in Boston  Mass.  Josiah married a second time to Abiah Foulger on November twenty fifth,  Sixteen eighty-nine, and produced ten more children, seventeen in all and among  them the great Benjamin Franklin.  If you will pick up Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, you will be able to red part of your own ancestry. Since his father was your many times great grandfather, and in his story of his life, Benjamin tells all about it.  I hope all this does not confuse you, but I had to get off the main story of your descent to mention how you are descended from the Franklin line, for I know you will be interested.]
Deacon Jonathan Williams Jr. was a patriot of the “First Water” during our unpleasantness with Great Britain, the Revolutionary War. I know for certain he presided over the meeting held in Faneuil Hall directly after the Boston Massacre, to protest against that slaughter, and he headed the famous “Boston Tea Party,” when that group of men disguised themselves as Indians and went down to the wharves and threw the tea into the Harbor!  This should give you a new interest in history.

Deacon Jonathan Williams Jr. and his wife Grace (Franklin Harris) Williams, had many children but we have complete records of only two, Nancy and another Jonathan!  Jonathan Jr. and Grace (Franklin Harris) daughter Nancy married Samuel Bradford, the Marshall of Massachusetts, and your ancestor, her brother Jonathan 111, became the well-known Col. Jonathan Williams of the War of 1812. 

As a youth Jonathan 111, visited his grand-uncle Benjamin Franklin in England and through him secured a berth on several cruses to the West Indies.  Later, during the Revolutionary War, he was entrusted with several important commissions by Benjamin and was finally appointed Commercial Agent for the Colonies in Nantes, France, at the time that Franklin was Ambassador to France.  Later, through enemies of Franklin, Namely John Adams and Henry Lee, he was accused of dishonesty in an attempt to discredit Franklin, but he cleared himself, although it caused him the embarrassment of having to go into bankruptcy. 
Political enemies of Franklin rejoiced when they succeeded in humiliating him and his grand-nephew, however, it did them no good as Jonathan Williams 111 became famous as first Major, then Major General and finally Colonel Williams, organizer and first superintendent of West Point Military Academy.  I have a Photostat of an engraving made from his portrait that I shall also give you.  

While Jonathan 111, was Commercial Agent at Nantes, he fell in love with Marianne Alexander, the daughter of William and Christian (Aitchison) Alexander, of Scotland, of noble family and very rich (The Sheriff of Edinburgh.) A It seems William Alexander did quite a bit of select spying for Benjamin and was one of his closest friends, so you may be sure that it proved a brilliant match when Franklin’s grand nephew and Alexander’s daughter were married at the home of the Dutch Ambassador in Paris, and Franklin was present at the ceremony of course. 

Love, Uncle Dutch   

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