June 16, 2012
This document outlines the information supporting the supposition Jonathan Williams (aka, the Indian Hunter) is the father of Thomas Williams (who married Ruby Tibbets). I’ll start with a little history about Northampton, list census info on Thomas Williams, and finish with Jonathan Williams.
And just where is Northampton, Ohio?
Ohio retroactively achieved statehood in 1803. Previously, most of north-eastern Ohio was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve. Northampton, Ohio was part of the early stomping ground of our Williams family and it is important to understand the various counties Northampton resided in over time (due to boundary changes).
The below in italics is lifted directly from the Northamption Historial Society site at:
Northampton was one of the 16 original townships in Summit County, Ohio. It was originally bounded by Portage Township on the south, Bath Township on the west, Boston Township to the north and Stow Township to the east. It was in the middle of Summit County, bordering Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. When created it was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve in Township 3N, Range 11W and was about 25 square miles (65 km2) in area. Northampton Township's land has been in the following counties: (Hoffman, 1970)
- 1788 - Washington
- 1797 - Jefferson
- 1800 - Trumbull
- 1808 - Portage
- 1840 - Summit
No incorporated areas were formed within the township but both Akron and Cuyahoga Falls had been annexing the southern part of the township. Also, a major portion of the township had been purchased by the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area (now the Cuyahoga Valley National Park), reducing the tax base. The residents of Northampton chose to join with Cuyahoga Falls so that their future would be settled. In 1986, Northampton Township merged with Cuyahoga Falls, the first time a township and city merged in Ohio. The township became Ward 8 in Cuyahoga Falls and special zoning to preserve some of its rural nature.
* Doyle, William B, LL.B. (1908). Centennial History of Summit County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company. ISBN.
* Grant, C.R. et al. (1891). Illustrated Summit County Ohio. Akron Map & Atlas, Co.. LoC 91-077450.
* Hoffman, Ione H (1970). Northampton Township Sesquicentennial 1820-1970 Souvenir History Book, Northampton Historical Society
* Barnholth, William I (1974) The Historical Background of the Cuyahoga Valley, Northampton Historical Society
The Marriage Record
Thomas Williams married Ruby Tibbet [various spellings] in February 1840 in Northampton, Portage, Ohio. (see www.familysearch.org )
1840 is when Northampton transitioned from Portage County to Summit County which leads nicely into the Census records.
The 1840 Federal Census at Northampton, Summit, Ohio recorded two Williams’ families: A Mrs. Williams and Thomas Williams.
Mrs. Williams is the head of her household; I presume she is the female aged 50-59 in the record. There are nine others in the household aged 0-30.
Thomas Williams is the head of the other household; two people are in it: one male aged 20-29; one female aged 15-19. This matches well with the marriage record of Thomas Williams and Ruby Tibbet.
In 1850 there are 1,146 people enumerated in the Northampton, Summit, Ohio Federal Census but none of them are Williams. Where did they go? Apparently, not far…
The 1850 Federal Census at Stow, Summit, Ohio is the earliest clear snapshot of Thomas Williams and his family. Enumerated are Thomas and Ruby Williams and six children (Almira, Jonathan, Nancy, George, Lydia, and Clark).
Enumerated directly above Thomas Williams’ family are George and Mary Ann Williams and five other Williams as well as Joana (sp?) age 66.
For those with access to ancestry.com here is the link to both the above families (they are on image 9 & 10 of 41): http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=8054&iid=4204703_00386&fn=Thomas&ln=Williams&st=r&ssrc=&pid=19598774
Also in Stow are Hannah and Marvin Williams. They hail from New York, are enumerated with other families not of the Williams surname and have no immediate or obvious connection to our Williams.
The 1860 Federal Census at Lima, LaGrange, Indiana recorded the next census presence of Thomas Williams and his family. Enumerated are Thomas and Ruby Williams and nine children (Jonathan, Nancy, George, Lydia, Elizabeth, Lucinda, Abigal, Thomas, and Alpheus).
The image is 17 of 27 at ancestry.com:
Of additional interest is the family of George and Mary Ann Williams and four children enumerated on image 10/11 of 27 at ancestry.com (Could this be the same family enumerated next to Thomas Williams in 1850?):
The 1870 Federal Census at Salem, Allegan, Michigan witnessed the presence of Thomas Williams and his family. Enumerated are Thomas and Ruby Williams and six children (Lucinda, Phineas, Alpheus, Thos. E., Fred M., and Delbert W.).
The image is 21/22 of 27 at ancestry.com:
See Other Census’ Detail toward the end of this document.
An Indian killer by any other name is, well, still an Indian killer…..
An extensive search thru various records revealed numerous references to Jonathan Williams the Indian killer, the Indian hunter, the frontiersman, etc… While the references are biographically interesting, few of them advance the family tree. A summary of findings follows; I also highly recommend a read of the references on the Works Cited Page as much more info is in them then is mentioned here (though not necessarily genealogically relevant).
‘The Western Reserve and Early Ohio’, while noting the usually array of Williams exploits, contains a vivid reference to Jonathan Williams:
Williams was six feet tall; noiseless and graceful. Dressed like an Indian. Swarthy complexioned and rumored that Indian blood ran in his veins. Had a Wife and family. Tradition has it that all his relatives were murdered by Indians before he came to Ohio. Brought up in Indian Wheeling (Cherry 1921: 253).
Lucius Verus Bierce’s Historical Reminiscences of Summit County also notes Jonathan Williams was brought up in Indian Wheeling (Bierce 1854: 119; Cherry: 253). One Jonathan Williams is listed as being among the early settlers to Trace-fork Creek [probably Lincoln county, Virginia] (Lewis 1887:732) but there is no positive linkage to Jonathan Williams the Indian killer except for the mention of one James Wells (who carries the same surname as one of the alleged wives of Jonathan Williams) and a general geographic proximity.
Jonathan Williams arrived in Hudson Township about 1804 (Perrin 1881: 421) and also lived in Boston Township in 1812 (Perrin 1881: 535), Northampton (numerous references) and Deerfield (Ellis 1998: 66, 137).
The stories of the killings of “George Wilson” and Nikshaw (son and son-in-law of Stigwanish) by Jonathan Williams are detailed at length (Howe 1902: VII 641; Cherry 1921: 254) and there is apparently a court record regarding these matters. “George Wilson” was killed at Muddy Brook, Stow (Bierce: 95); an illustration of “George Wilson’s” hatchet is in ‘The Archaeological Collection of the Western Reserve Historical Society’ along with the byline: “Illustration of the hatchet belonging to Wilson, last of his race and killed in Summit County, Ohio by Jonathan Williams on Mud Brook” (MacLean 1901:203). These events seem to have occurred 1800-1810.
There is a play called “ ‘Two-Feathers’ and the Spotted Pony” based on some of these tribulations; the website also has interesting references to Jonathan Williams, et al.
Marriage data on Jonathan Williams is sketchy. He was married to a sister-in-law to Christian Cackler (Cackler 1904: 25, 26) and Jehanna Wells on May 13, 1807 in Trumbull County (in possession of record copy).
Bierce provides a mini bio of Jonathan Williams, an old Indian hunter, living in Northampton at the time  who was brought up at what was called Indian Wheeling. Among many observations is the following:
He appeared to inherit the habits and disposition of the savage in dress, living, and temper. His second wife is living in Northampton. His first wife was a Cackler, a brother of hers now lives in Franklin, Portage county. Williams has a son living in Northampton, who is a quiet respectable man, not seeming to inherit his father’s love for border warfare, or hatred of the Indians (Bierce 1854: 120).
From Ohio hailed another frontiersman by the name of Daniel S. Judd. A sketch of Judd (Durant 1877: 304), places Williams in “camp at Cleveland” in 1812. (The “camp” being a military camp associated with the War of 1812.) According the Judd’s bio, Williams’ parents had been murdered by Indians and Williams’ “nurtured an implacable hatred towards the red race, and lost no opportunity to wreak the vengeance of an outraged and irascible nature”.
1827 marks the last noted appearance of Jonathan Williams at the opening of the Ohio and Erie Canal, where it was laid thru Northampton:
The Ohio and Erie Canal was laid through this township along the Cuyahoga River in 1825, was built in two years, and, on July 4, 1827, Job Harrington took his team to Akron, and towed the first boat [perhaps the State of Ohio] to Cleveland. On board was the Governor of the State, and other important officers, with many eminent citizens, and a band of music. The pomp and circumstance of this trip, with banners fluttering in the breeze, and inspiring strains of music echoing among the hills, was such a pageant as never before witnessed. Jonathan Williams, the old Indian hunter, was present, as the boat moved slowly into the lock at Old Portage, and stood gazing in wonder and astonishment when a friend ventured to ask his opinion. He said it “looked almost exactly as he expected it would, except the boat was about three eighths of an inch too long” (Perrin 1881: 505).
Jonathan Williams was present in north-eastern Ohio (primarily in Summit County) by the first decade of the 1800s. He likely shifted to this area of Ohio from the area now known as Wheeling, West Virginia. From whence he came before that is unknown, though I suspect Washington County, Pennsylvania.
Jonathan’s birth date is unknown. References to his exploits circa 1805 suggest he is, by that time, an adult. If he was indeed married first to a Ms. Cackler and then a Ms. Wells (in 1807), a likely birth year range is 1775-1785 – possibly before then but not likely to be after. A birth year in this range would place him in the 20-30 year old range circa 1805, which seems reasonable.
Two books (Hupfer; Price) and numerous LDS family trees have a fair amount of info on Catherine Cackler and her family and ancestors. Much of the data is unsourced but mention of a Cackler Family Bible is intriguing. While unsourced, the details contained in this books and files provide clues for geographic regions to look in. They also, with one exception, support most of the notions put forth in this document.
From LDS files and books by Hupfer and Price, children of Jonathan and Catherine (Cackler) Williams are named as John, Thomas, Margaret, and Rebecca. As per unsourced notes, they were all born 1809 - 1815. The issue with this is timing. We believe Jonathan was married twice - 1st to Catherine and 2nd to Jehanna Wells. (Lucius Verus Bierce stated as such in his 1854 book, Historical Reminiscences of Summit County, albeit the second wife was not named.) The Trumbull County marriage record indicates Jonathan Williams married Jehanna Wells on May 13, 1807 and the above named children were all born AFTER this date. Interestingly, two of the LDS family files include mention of two wives; the other wife is named as Hannah – a name similar to Jehanna.
The 1827 reference to Jonathan (the last dated reference found so far) describes him as an “old Indian hunter”. Using the previously proposed birth year range of 1775-1785, the1827 reference would make him about 40-50 years old, which again, seems reasonable.
I have not yet found any date of death for Jonathan Williams. Bierce’s 1854 book (pg 120) notes: “But death, at last, paid Williams in his own coin, and shot him.” Unfortunately, this sentence is set apart from prior and subsequent paragraphs and its exact meaning is, thus, difficult to know. If it means Williams was shot to death, then the date of death preceded the publication of the book (in 1854). The 1840 Census records for Mrs. Williams and Thomas Williams do not list anyone of an age likely to be Jonathan Williams so perhaps he passed between 1827 and 1840.
Bierce also (on page 120) described Jonathan Williams’ son living in Northampton (described in such a way as to imply he is an adult). “Historical Reminiscences of Summit County” was published in 1854 so one could assume the son was living in Northampton in a period leading up to 1854. The only male Williams named in the 1840 Federal Census of Northampton, Summit, Ohio is Thomas Williams (as noted in the first section of this paper). In 1850 there are no Williams in Northampton, but Thomas Williams and family are in nearby Stow. Also of note, is Thomas Williams’ first son is named Jonathan – perhaps named for his grandfather?
Another Williams family (headed by George Williams) is enumerated immediately above Thomas Williams (in 1850) and though I presume the families to be connected in some way, their link, or lack thereof (in spite of no small amount of research), is unknown at the time of this writing. Thomas moved to Lima, LaGrange, Indiana (1860 census) and another family headed by a George Williams (from Ohio) is also in Lima. After 1860 the George Williams family disappears from sight while Thomas pops up in 1870 in Allegan, Michigan.
The 1840 Federal Census of Northampton, Summit, Ohio also enumerates a Mrs. Williams and nine others aged 0-30. Mrs. Williams seem age appropriate to have been Jonathan Williams’ wife but the age range of the household suggests more than one family is included. (In 1850, Mrs. Williams (as a head of household) disappears, but the Thomas Williams family includes a woman of an age suitable to be Mrs. Williams a decade later.) The males in Mrs. Williams’ 1840 household seem too young to be the son Bierce refers to; also interesting is that Bierce refers only to one son of Jonathan Williams.
One “Mrs. Williams” is buried in plot C-120-01 in Stow Cemetery (Stow, Summit, Ohio) but no dates of birth or death are cited. While such a cemetery listing (given the surname) may not merit much attention, the enumeration of a “Mrs. Williams” in the 1840 census records in the same locale, gave me pause. However, the clerk for the cemetery noted Mrs. Williams is mentioned as the mother of Ray R. Cundiff, who also purchased all six graves in the lot. The other five graves are occupied by Cundiffs: William, Mary, Leelon, Maude, and Mattie.
On my list of things to do are:
1) Research Jonathan Williams in Summit, Portage, and Trumbull counties.
2) Research George Williams enumerated next to Thomas Williams in the 1850 census.
3) Find out if a “Roger Williams of Rhode Island” y-DNA haplotype has been identified.
4) Continue to encourage male descendants of Thomas Williams to have their y-DNA tested.
5) Approach research on Jonathan Williams from the Cackler and Wells sides.
In addition to conventional genealogy, I am attempting to use genetic genealogy to find our Williams ancestors.
Y-DNA (the Y chromosome) passes from father to son to son, etc.; y-DNA is fairly stable but over time minute changes (mutations) occur. Matches and close matches can prove (and disprove) blood relationships from within a fairly recent time frame (say within eight or ten generations or closer) and be very suggestive about the nature of connections further back in time.
As of this writing, there are three Williams men who’ve y-DNA tested. Two descended from Thomas Williams’ son Phineas; one descended from Thomas Williams’ son George Henry. The results match within a couple of markers of each other, thus proving their common ancestor is Thomas Williams. If we are able to find an ancestor predating Thomas Williams (either a direct ancestor or collateral Williams), a y-DNA test could prove or disprove the paper trail as we have a proven y-DNA haplotype for Thomas Willams.
Thomas Williams had eight sons; Jonathan, George Henry, Clark, Phineas, Alpheus, Thomas, Frederick Myron, and Adelbert. (Thomas also had six daughters but they are not mentoned in the same breath as y-DNA because they do not posses a Y chromosome.) We have y-DNA from two sons George Henry and Phineus but can we find y-DNA from the other sons? Maybe…We have family trees on Jonathan, Alpheus, and Frederick and they all had sons. Are there any living male descendants of theirs? The other sons (Clark, Thomas, and Adelbert) all probably died before 1911 as they are not mentioned as surviving brothers to Jonathan Williams in his obituary. I also do not have any records in my file that they were married or had children.
An autosomal DNA test evaluates 22 or 23 pairs of chromosomes (depending on the testing company used). The test can be used for males and females and matches are “predicted”, i.e., the software estimates the degree of relation you have with another person (male or female) based on the amount of shared DNA. The test works reasonable well if the relationship is within about five generations.
As of this writing there are four Williams cousins who tested with 23andme, an autosomal testing company. The four of us descend thru Thomas Williams’ son Phineas and the positive nature of the tests proves our common ancestor is Phineas. Unless other cousins descending from other children (male or female) of Thomas Williams participate, there is no proof from autosomal testing that Thomas Williams is Phineas’ father.
There are several Cacklers on 23andme that trace back to the same Cackler family as Catherine (they descend from Catherine's brother Abraham). The best estimate between us and them would be 6th or 7th cousin relationship, which is at the border of what 23andme can detect. Thus, a no match is not a clear indicate of no relationship. While I will double check the results from another angle, there is ***no match*** between the four Williams cousins and the four Cacklers. Again this not proof of no relationship but had there been a link, it would possibly prove we are also Cacklers. I'm thinking we are of the Wells lineage
Other Census’ Detail
1820 Census: 2x J Williams; 4x Jonathan Williams but only 1x Jonathan Williams in Boston, Portage, Ohio. 9 people in the household. 2 free white people over 25.
1820 Census: 10x other Williams families in Portage, Ohio but none in Boston.
1820 Census: 3x Cackler families in Portage; 4x Wells families in Portage – 3 of them in Northampton.
1820 Census: Isaac Wells, Jared Wells, Peter Wells – Northampton, Portage. John F. Wells Ravenna, Portage.
1830 Census: No Jonathan Williams or J Williams in Portage or Stow. Multiple Williams families in Portage. Two in Stow: James C. Williams and John Williams. No Thomas Williams in surrounding counties. Summit County did not exist in 1830.
1830 Census: 2x Cackler families in Franklin, Portage, Ohio. 6x Wells families in Portage; all in locales associated to Williams. Summit County did not exist in 1830.
1840 Ohio Pensioners census - No Jonathan Williams listed.
1840 Census: Thomas Williams in Northampton, Summit, Ohio. None in Portage. Only two people in the household. Brackets fit for proposed ages of Thomas and Ruby Tibbetts Williams. 1850 Census of same lists first child born in 1841, so it fits that no children are present here. There is a Thomas Williams in Tallmadge of the same county but the profile does not fit to the 1850 census of Thomas and Ruby.
1840 Census: There is a Mrs. Williams in Northampton, Summit, Ohio. One female 50-59; no age equivalent males. 9x others; 8x under 20. (Jonathan Tibbet on same page of census.)
1840 Census: Cackler families still in Ohio but spreading out. 3x Wells families still in Portage. 6x Wells families in Summit; 2 of them in Stow.
1850 Census Ohio Summit Stow
Thomas and Ruby Williams and six children.
Immediately above them (but enumerated separately) in the 1850 census are George and Mary Ann Williams and five other Williams none of the appropriate age to be children of George and Mary Ann. There is a Joana (sp?) age 66 who is a likely candidate as mother to Thomas as there is a report of Thomas’ mother as a Jehanna Wells. I surmise these two families are connected to each other.
1850 Census: Lots of Wells families in Portage. Lots of Wells families in Summit; one of them in Stow.
Works Cited and General References
Bierce, Lucius Verus (1854). Historical reminiscences of Summit County. Akron, OH: T & HG Canfield, Publishers. [available to read at www.archive.org ]
Cherry, Peter Peterson (1921). The Western Reserve and Early Ohio. Firestone Park, Akron, OH: R. L. Fouse. [available to read at www.archive.org ]
Durant, Samuel W. (1877). History of Oakland County, Michigan. Philadelphia, PA: L. H. Everts & Co. [available on-line]
Ellis, William Donohue (1998). The Cuyahoga. Landfall Press. [available to read at http://www.clevelandmemory.org/ellis/ ]
Lewis, Virgil Anson (1887). History of West Virginia. Philadelphia :: Hubbard Bros.,746 pgs. [available to read/download at www.archive.org ]
MacLean, John Patterson (1901). The archaeological collection of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Cleveland, Ohio: Pub. for the Society, 84 pgs. [available to read at www.archive.org ]
Randall, Harriet Bronson (1875). History of the Newton and Oviatt families. Columbus, Ohio: C. M. Cott, printer,, 1875, 40 pgs.