Iowa: Smoky Wigwams of the Dusky Savage Warrior

Obituary of an Iowa Pioneer: John Williams (1807-1885)

Uncle John Williams died at his residence in Jackson township, one mile north of Dale, June 15, 1885.

Dale was between Panora and Stuart. The Morrisburg church and cemetery are a little east of Dale. Georgia Williams Wilson’s children, including Clabe, grew up in that area.

The deceased was born June 26, 1807, in Virginia and had his life been spared 11 days longer he would have been 78 years of age.

He lived in Virginia until 1820 when he moved from there to Guernsey County, Ohio, where he remained in 1854, when he moved to Iowa and has since made his home here. Was married to Harriet Chilcoate in Guernsey County, Ohio in 1828.

Their union was blessed with 14 children, four boys and ten girls. The boys are living three in Iowa and one in Nebraska – of the ten girls, six are living and four have preceded their aged father to a better land. One of the surviving six daughters lives in Nebraska and remaining five are residents of Guthrie County.

The grandchildren living are 61, great grandchildren living 10, and one dead. [Clabe Wilson was one of the great grandchildren.]

Mr. Williams came to Ohio as he did to Iowa, a pioneer, when the wilderness was a mass of howling savage beasts and smoky wigwams of the dusky savage warrior were the only occupants.

First belonged to the Lutheran then the Wesleyan and during his life in Iowa was an active member of the U.B. Church and for many years its class leader at this place.

Children of John and Harriet (Chilcoate) Williams:  (* = buried at Morrisburg)

Eliza Ann Williams

*Elizabeth Williams (married James Johnson, no children)

Samuel Williams (married Martha Barr; grandparents of Clabe Wilson)

Martha and Samuel Williams

*Lucinda Williams (married John Kunkle, no children)

William Ellsworth Williams (married Priscilla Leach, 5 children, ancestor of Della Crowl)

Mary Jane Williams (married Abel Leach, 11 children)

*Rebecca Williams (married Joseph Moore, 9 children)

*Sarah Williams (married Levi Marlenee, 4 children)

*Lewis Williams (married Mary Jane Tuft, 7 children; Civil War, ancestor of J. B. Tiedeman)

Benjamin Williams (married Mary Elizabeth Marlenee, 4 children; m(2) Ann Ellen Williams; Civil War

Charlotte Williams (married John McCool, 13 children; ancestor of Lamonte Kunce)

*Caroline Williams (married Lewis Marlenee, 7 children)

*Ellen Williams (married John McCluen, 3 children; ancestor of Mrs. Hobe Garwood and Helen Keesey)

Adaline Williams (married Alonzo Maulsby, 6 children)

Morrisburg Cemetery, Guthrie County, Iowa

The Guthrie Vedette, June 25, 1885. Also: Lamonte (Williams) Kunce, 1860 Federal Census, Elsie Martinez.



  1. How sad if you had never documented all this data your family had carefully saved. Deanette

    • I worked on genealogy until our son was born in 1974, then did Cub Scouts Den Mom, etc. These day’s I’m using the framework from the genealogy, letters, photos, clippings, and other research to make sure that Clabe and Leora Wilson’s stories aren’t lost. They are the only central Iowa family who lost three sons during WWII (as well as three infants during the Great Depression). This post “feeds” book 3, “Leora’s Early Stories: Guthrie County Roots,” which is due out this summer!

  2. When my wife’s grandma Sheeder died in Guthrie back in the 70s, I remember hearing 7 children, 53 grandchildren, and the number of great grandchildren escapes me, but it was a huge number.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.