Williamson W. Milburn
1808 - 1863
On March 30th, 1808, only 32 years after the Declaration of Independence
was signed, in
Joshua G., his first son with his second wife Mary, leaves in a letter dated, June 15, 1910 the following story. “I know nothing of my father’s ancestors and could learn nothing of them as he was left an orphan very young. I have often heard of him being bound out to an old Quaker family and being separated from his only brother who was also bound to another family, and they grew to manhood without knowing anything about each other. Ever afterwards I have heard him say he was sixteen years old before he ever wore a pair of shoes, and being mistreated and growing without any restraint thrown around him and without any education.’’
On a photocopy of his obituary, there is a handwritten notation written
much later in 1988 by either Louise Milburn Simpson or her father Lee Milburn
that states, “Parents of Williamson and his brothers died in Yellow Fever
Mode Milburn (grandson of Williamson, son of
Adoniram) in his Memoirs written between 1955 and 1964, leaves this
information. “Williamson Milburn was born March 29, 1808. His Father was an
Irish rebel, purportedly having abandoned a large estate when he left
This is what we* who have researched his history believe to be closer to
the truth. Williamson’s father left
The state of
Williamson married Prucy Yarbrough, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth on
January 6, 1829. Prucy was about 22 years old, and Williamson was 21. Their first
child was Joseph E. born October 4, 1829 in
(Andrew Jackson was President of the
In the 1830 census, Williamson, Prucy , a male child between 5 and 10 years old (possibly a relative) and Joseph were living alongside 4 families of Yarbroughs. Amon, Ambrose, Elizabeth, John, and Josiah. Also listed was Gideon Welborn. (Melborn??)
M. J. Milburn was born about 1831, and was known as Mack.
William Milborn of Jackson Co, GA was involved in a land transaction, and their third child, a girl, Maryann was born.
Jan 12, 1835, Williamson, Prucy and their 3 children moved to and purchased
land in Marengo Co. Alabama. It wasn’t only Williamson’s family that moved to
Williamson sold the land he had owned less than 18 months in Marengo Co
on Aug 22, 1836 and moved to Sumter Co. Alabama to begin his calling as a
Baptist minister at the
Julia Milburn, their fourth child was born in 1836. Number five, William T. was born in 1838.
His wife, Prucy Yarbrough Milburn died in March of 1838 leaving Williamson with 5 children, the youngest an infant.
The first covered wagon train went from
In January 1839, Williamson married Mary Ann Leticia Seale the daughter of Joshua (British decent) and Ellender Haseltine (German decent) Seale. She was born October 11, 1821,(only 8 years older than Joseph, Williamson’s oldest son) and spent her childhood in Hinds Co. Ms. She is listed in the Mississippi Revolutionary Soldiers, Family Records, pg. 267 as “Morgan” but she signed her name in documents as “Mary A. L. Seale.”
In 1839, Williamson changed churches, becoming Pastor of Siloam Baptist Church. In 1840, Williamson proposed establishing a church library.
In the 1840 census, the Ambrose and Hardy Yarbrough families along with Williamson Milburn lived next to each other, and all were owners of slaves. Williamson owned 4 male and 5 female slaves.
In March of 1841, a building committee including Louis P. Seale and Joe
B . Yarbrough was chosen to raise funds and design the
Williamson performed weddings between June 21, 1836 and Aug.8, 1837 and witnessed wills in 1841.
Mary and Williamson had their first child together on April 3, 1842, a boy named after her father, Joshua Gracie Milburn. Her first child, and Williamson’s 6th. In 1843, Mary gave birth to another son, James, and in 1844 they welcomed baby Nancy Ellen.
In 1844, Williamson, Mary, their children and Mary’s family the Seales,
moved to Union Parish
(These are some prices of items Williamson and Mary might have paid on a trip to the local drygoods store in 1844. Coffee, 10-11 cents per pound with tea being more expensive and less popular at 25 cents per quart. Salt by the sack was 2 cents per pound; pepper, 25 cents ; sugar, 12.5 cents per pound. Corn Whiskey was 50 cents per gallon and was consumed by most members of the family at every meal. It was also used as a remedy for chills, fever and snake bite. Butter (6-1/4 cents per pound) and feathers (25 cents per pound) were the most frequently tendered items. The feathers, probably goose were used for bedding, a considerable improvement over straw “tick”. No store would be complete without candy for the children. “stick twist” was 6-1/4 cents per stick.)
In 1841 the “Preemption Act’ gave squatters in New Orleans , who had improved their land the right to be the sole purchaser of that land for $1.25 an acre (up to 160 acres).
In 1850, Williamson bought 80 acres of land next door to the Levi Seales who had the land in Union Parish since the 1820’s.The land the Milburns bought was also close to the Norsworthy family, that becomes important to Williamson’s 3 oldest children who marry into the Norsworthy family during the Civil War. Mary had her 6th child, (Williamson’s 11th,) Martha Ann on March 11, 1850.
Williamson, his father-in-law Joshua and brother-in-law Lewis P. Seale sold slaves. In the book, “Some Slaveholders and Their Slaves Union Parish Louisiana 1839-1865” by Harry F. Dill and William Simpson, Heritage Books, Inc. 1997, on page 86, book D., p 483, it states;
“Know ye all men that, I Williamson Milburn, have this date sold to Elias George a negro woman named Rachel, 25, for $1200.
7 Aug 1851 (s) Williamson Milburn
(s) Elias George
Witnesses: John Marsh, William Merrill
Recorded 7 Aug 1851”
*The anti-slavery movement was gaining speed. In 1851, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.
In 1850 and 1851, Williamson and Mary lost 2 of their children to
Scarlet Fever, James, age 8 and George, an infant. They sold their 80 acres in
Union Parish, and in 1851, moved to
According to a letter written in 1988 by E. Irene Milburn Anderson,
J.G.’s granddaughter, she adds insight to the move to Starrville. “When Mary
Ann Leticia & Williamson Milburn moved from
In 1854, Williamson began his pastoring again in Gum Springs
-Starrville. In 1855 he built a home “of hhand-picked lumber free of any
knotholes with the walls of solid oak.” The foundation was built with wooden
pegs, strong enough to last 140 years when in 1996, it was moved to Texas
Highway 69 just south of I-20 near
Adoniram Judson was born in 1857 in the house his father built. On Valentines Day, 1859, Mary gave birth to her last children, twin boys; John Roland and a baby who died that very day. A total of 16 children for Williamson; thirteen who lived to adulthood.
According to Glen Howard , a submitter to http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/tx/starrville.html
, Starrville was located at the
intersection of FM757 and 16. It was founded in 1853 on the
The 1860 Smith Co.Tx census lists the following - Aug 15 pg.121
W. Melborn 52 m Mnstr Baptist Miss 4200 5000 GA
Ann Melborn 39 f MS
Joshua Melborn 19 m Farm Laboror
Susan Melborn 12 f LA x
Martha Melborn 10 f LA x
Sarah Melborn 7 f TX
Judson Melborn 3 m TX
John Melborn 1 m TX
John Wilcoxen 21 m Farm Laborer GA X
The “ X “ denotes that he or she attended school within that year.
In 1860, Williamson owned 6 slaves.The 1860 Slave Schedule For Smith County Texas page 41- column 2 -Starrville Beat shows the following;
# Slave Owner No Age Sex Color Fug. Man DDBll Houses
19 W. Melburn 1 50 M B
20 W.Melburn 2 50 F B
21 W.Melborn 3 40 F B
22 W.Melburn 4 7 F B
23 W. Melburn 5 5 M B
24 W.Melburn 6 2 F B
Before the Civil War broke out on April 11, 1861 at
Not only was Williamsons name on the Muster Roll, but so was Joseph his oldest son who also became licensed to preach as a Missionary Baptist during the first year of the war.
Another son, Joshua G. was also on the Muster Roll. Joshua’s entry into
the war was against his fathers wishes. He relates the story like this. “I was
in school at Bellview,
M. J. or Mack as he was called, also enlisted in the Confederate Army in
the Second Texas Lancers on April 26, 1862. He listed his age as 32. His
brother Joseph’s wife, Mary M. Norsworthy had a brother named James who was in
the same Cavalry company as Mack. Mack was captured on Jan 11, 1863 (2 days
before his father’s death) and died at
*Doug Hale wrote a book about Colonel Elkanah Greer’s Regiment , and in
1993 published it in Norman Oklahoma .“The Third Texas Cavalry in the Civil
War” is about the regiment that was recruited from 26 counties in
From the Memoirs of Mode Milburn... “In the wave of patriotic enthusiasm
which swept across the south in the wake of the fall of
Record shows she was left with 420 acres, 4 slaves, livestock AND a large family.
In another writing of Mode’s he added the following to the story. ‘When
Jess Butler met Williamson, there was an argument over
In the letters of childhood memories written in 1941 by Lee (Leonidas Judson) Milburn, son of Joshua, the oldest son of Williamson and Mary, he writes, “although he was over age...he was a very rabid Secessionist.......and he (Williamson) and a Union sympathizer by the name of Butler, engaged in an argument over the war situation and Butler shot and killed him.”
Erin Archambeault, great-great- great granddaughter of Williamson
Milburn found a more detailed account of Williamson’s death in “Born in
“Meanwhile, Jesse joined Company G of the 11th Texas Infantry on
February 10, 1862. The young man was apparently popular with his infantry
cohorts, for on June 23, 1862, the men elected him second lieutenant. However,
January of 1863 found Jesse back home on his farm. In and around Starrville, he
was heard to make Unionist or “submissionist” statements. Had he deserted? Was
he on furlough? What explained his inconsistent behavior? Whatever the case, he
soon ran afoul of a Starrville vigilante group that was led by the local
preacher, Williamson Milburn, who had served with Company K in the Third Texas
Cavalry. The vigilantes’ self-imposed task was to roam the country to ferret
out Unionists and force them to join the Confederate army to prove their
Apparently unarmed when Milburn bellowed,
Smallwood, James. The History of
Jesse Butler was later killed by his own brother-in-law.
Williamson died about 5 months before the Battle of Gettysburg.
Lt. Milburn’s Obituary
DIED at 12:o’clock January 13th,1863, in Starrville, Smith County, Texas, Elder Williamson Milburn, aged 54 years, 9 months and 14 days.
The deceased was born in the State of
Early in life he became a member of the Baptist church, and for thirty years was a minister of the Gospel. It was not his fortune to enjoy the benefits of an early education, but being a man of great natural powers, he acquired a large store of information, principally drawn from the Bible, and eloquently did he tell the story of the cross; often have congregations remain spell-bound at his burning words and felt as they went away that surely “he had been with Jesus.” But they will hear him no more; his spirit rests with the Savior he loved.
At the commencement of our difficulties he
took the ground that secession was the south’s only hope and was strong and
uncompromising in his opinions. A purer patriot we believe has never lived nor
died. He not only spoke but acted for his country, and his country’s honor.
Though at an advanced age in life, he firmly took his stand in one of the first
regiments that left the state, committing his wife and children to the mercies
of God, and leaving for
When he fell, society lost a good citizen, the country a brave soldier and the church a useful minister. A wife and nine children mourn his loss. Though he cannot come to them, they can go to him. While we say farewell, we feel that it is not forever. His grave to-night is a lonely spot, visited only by the mournful winds. But when Jesus comes the jewel will not be forgotten.
M. Starrville, July 22nd, 1863
In the abstracts of the Smith Co, Tx Probate records 1846-1880(Andrew l. Leath)-----
Williamson W. Milburn, dec’d
Mary Ann L. Milburn, surviving wf., pet. for appt. of appr. of com. prop.
1/29/1863. Appr.; Andrew Baxter, John H. Rowland, William W. Hall. Inv.,420 acres $5050, 4 slaves $3050, 3 horses $230, 2 mules$300, 24 cattle $144, hogs $125,etc. W.W. Milburn d. Jan. 1863
(file: 57 PMB: C-471,475. C-1/114, 122 123. D/162, 189.)
The historic research on Williamson was found by several recent “sleuth”
ancestors. * Linda Kelley McNiel , Nancy Kelley Hargesheimer, Al and Mike
Foster, Annette Mitchell Halden, * Lynn
Milburn Lansford and June Milburn Pritchard. The majority of the information
has been verified by many independent sources and can be obtained by contacting
one of the researchers. Other details of his life were taken directly out of
the personal letters and written memories from the following descendents. Joshua Gracie Milburn,
My many thanks for all the hard work and communication done in this
Family and Historical effort by Linda K. McNiel , and Nancy K. Hargesheimer.
Without their years of work, Williamson’s life would still be an unsolved
mystery to all of his descendants and to the states of
Lynn Milburn Lansford
April 24, 2006