James “Jim” Albert Williams

Aug. 31, 1869 - Feb. 14, 1931

Submitted By:

Lucretia Morales, lmorales@crosswind.net


*Note: James Albert Williams is my great-grandfather.  I have done research off and on for the last three year or so trying to find out more about him.  Through several sources I have been able to put together some of his life.


James A. Williams was born in Cumberland Co., Kentucky to J. Williams (born in Tennessee) and Mary Stotts (born in Cumberland Co., Kentucky).   I have not found him on an 1870 or 1880 census and know it is him.  He is on the 1900 Gradyville, Adair Co., Kentucky census:


James A. Williams,  born Aug. 1868, age 31, married 10 yrs.

Monty D., wife, born Dec 1872, age 27

Alpha, daughter, born June 1894, age 6

Alma, daughter, born April 1897, age 3 (my grandmother)

Alline, daughter, born October 1899, age 7mo.

The mother had given birth to 5 children, only 3 living.  The whole family was born in Kentucky.  They rented their home.  The mother and father could read, but only she could write. 


*Note: I have not been able to locate a marriage record for James and Montra.  The 1900 census indicates that they had been married for 10 yrs. so I assume that they married in approximately 1890.  Apparently Montra died sometime between June of 1900, when the census was taken, and December 1900.  There is a marriage record for J. A. Williams and Alice Breeding on December 19, 1900 with R. G. Breeding as surety.  A Breeding genealogist (who is related to Alice Breeding) tells me that Alice was a Breeding by birth and also her first marriage was to a Breeding.  Alice was born in Kentucky but it is unknown exactly where…my guess would be Adair Co.  She first married James Breeding and they had two children:   Ennis Reed Breeding, born January 1890 in Moody, McLennan Co., Texas;  Ina Leal Breeding, born 1892 in McLennan Co., Texas.  At some point she went to Adair Co. after her first husband, James Breeding had passed away.  After she and my great-grandfather, James Albert Williams married in 1900 they moved to China Springs, McLennan Co., Texas.  They are on the 1910 McLennan Co., Texas census:


James A. William, age 41, born in Kentucky

Alice, wife, age 43, born in Kentucky

Alpha, daughter, age 14, born in Kentucky

Alma, daughter, age 10, born in Kentucky

Alline, daughter, age 10, born in Kentucky

Lela, daughter, age 3, born in Kentucky (the next census has that she was born in Texas)

Marshall, son, age 1 ½, born in Texas

Ida Breeding, step-daughter, age 18, born in Texas


No one in my family ever knew anything about my great-grandfather.  My grandmother, Alma Williams Burge, died in childbirth in 1927.  One of my first cousins, who is quite a bit older than me, remembered visiting her “Aunt Alphie” in a county home in Waco, McLennan Co., Texas as a child.  When I mentioned that our grandmother had a half brother (Marshall) and a half sister (Lela) my cousin knew nothing of them and did not recollect every hearing about them.  Through the Breeding genealogist, who is a descendant of Alice Breeding through the son Ennis, I came into contact with two children of my half great-uncle Marshall.  I recently met two of Marshall’s daughters.  The elder of the two related to me some interesting oral history about James Albert Williams.


James “Jim” Albert Williams was supposedly a Methodist circuit rider preacher while in Kentucky.  I have not found anything to support this except that in my grandmother’s, Alma Williams Burge’s obituary in 1927 her funeral did take place in a Methodist church. 


James “Jim” Albert Williams was said to have had a liason with a woman in Kentucky and a child was born to this relationship and he took this child to raise.  I believe this child was my grandmother, Alma Williams Burge.  I had seen the 1900 Adair Co. Kentucky census first and thought that Montra was her mother.  Later when I sent off for her death certificate it named her mother as Ellen Patton.  I was later also able to obtain a death certificate for her older sister,  Alpha Williams, after finding her death date.   I ordered her death certificate and it did list the mother as Montra Duke.  This confused me and I could not fathom why Alpha, who was the oldest, would have Montra as her mother and my grandmother who was younger having a different mother.  After hearing the story about James Williams supposedly having a liason with another woman it occurred to me that the story was probably true and that my grandmother was the “child born of this relationship” and he took her to raise.


I had posted a message on the Adair Co. Ancestry.com message board about James Albert Williams and “Monty” Duke.  I received a reply from a gentleman who researches the Duke family.  The following is his reply to me:


“I just saw your query on the Adair county list.  I know absolutely nothing about James Williams, but my great-grandmother Mary Magdalene Duke had a sister named Montra Duke.  She was born about 1872 (this would fit for the 1900 Adair Co. Kentucky census)  to Daniel Martin Duke and Mary Womack.  We don’t know what became of her and according to the family stories she may have died young.”


I believe her to be one in the same.  


James “Jim” Albert Williams died in a tragic accident in Hill Co., Texas in 1931.  He worked for the State Highway Department painting the center stripes on the highways.  On February 13, 1931, he had been bent over painting and when he raised up he stumbled and fell back into the path of an oncoming bus.  The following are two different obituaries for him.


FEBRUARY 13, 1931



J.A. Williams, 61, state highway worker who was struck by a bus on the Hillsboro highway Thursday died Friday morning at 2:30 a.m. in a Hillsboro hospital.
Mr. Williams, who was a resident of China Spring, will be buried there Saturday, but arrangements had not been made Friday. Surviving Mr. Williams are the following children: Mrs. C.E. Crowson, China Spring, Miss Alpha Williams, Waco; Marshall Williams, of Fort Clark; Mrs. C.K. Holt, China Spring, and a stepson, E.R. Breeding of Abilene. Wilkirson-Hatch had charge of the service.

FEBRUARY 14, 1931


Funeral for J.A. Williams, 61, state highway worker, who died from injuries received when he was struck by a bus near Hillsboro, was to be held at China Spring at 4 o'clock Saturday with Rev. Mack Smith officiating. Surviving Mr. Williams are the following children: Mrs. C.E. Crowson, China Spring, Miss Alpha Williams, Waco; Marshall Williams, of Fort Clark; Mrs. C.K. Holt, China Spring, and a step-son, E.R. Breeding of Abilene. Wilkirson-Hatch had charge of the body.


James Albert Williams and his second wife, Alice Breeding are buried in the China Springs Cemetery near Waco, McLennan Co., Texas


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To see a larger photo of this headstone, click on the thumbnail.

April 2003