Saturday, March 3, 2012

What's your story, John Williamson?

I really wish I had more information about my ancestor, John Williamson (1787-1887). He came from Ireland but doesn't seem to be Irish. He is said to have come in 1821, well before the flood of immigrants caused by the potato famine. Apparently, he loved England and was a member of the Church of England. It seems especially difficult to find Protestant records in Ireland. He lived to be 100 years old! What an accomplishment! He outlived two wives, Ann McClure Williamson (1789-1861) who immigrated with him and Jane (1795-1872). All are buried in the family plot in the Middle Intervale Cemetery. His daughter, Rebecca, married my third great grandfather, Elias Mellen Carter. That is how my family intersected with the Williamsons. We (the family) know his first wife was Ann McClure. Relatives named for this branch of the family include my great aunt, Rebecca Williamson Carter and my first cousin once removed, Ann McClure Carter.

It would appear that his brother, William, came with him and settled in Newry. They were both shoemakers. John turned to farming when he settled in Bethel, Maine. He is profiled in Lapham's History of Bethel as a prominent citizen. Lapham calls him "a lover of nature", "well educated" and "well versed in ancient history." John is also described as a very devout man who carried his Bible with him and had memorized large portions of it. Lapham describes him as social and interesting, both "entertaining and instructive." In the later years of his life he lived with his daughter, Rebecca and son-in-law, Elias Mellen Carter. 

If you came from Ireland, why did you love England? Your name is more English than Irish so how did you come to live in Manorhamilton, Ireland? Did you leave behind relatives in Ireland? Since both you and your brother were shoemakers, do you come from a long line of shoemakers? 
Middle Intervale Cemetery

Rebecca Williamson Carter Bailey - my great aunt

Source: Lapham, Howard B. "History of Bethel:." Google Books. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <>.


  1. Don't know if you seen this, but the naturalization record of William Williamson, supposed son of John, says that he arrived in Eastport in Aug. 1822:

    Lapham's History of Bethel says that John "came to Bethel in eighteen hundred and twenty-one with his wife and children." But deeds show that John was already living in Bethel when he bought land of James Beatty, 17 Nov. 1819 [see Oxford County Deeds (Eastern Division), 18:225], and when he sold it to Peter Kimball, 11 June 1821 [Oxford County Deeds (Eastern Division), 20:45]. The 1820 census shows John living in Bethel with one other person (age and sex not given) in his household.

    I think it's entirely possible that John went back to Ireland to retrieve his family after selling his land. Unfortunately, I can find no record of the Wiliamsons arriving in Eastport in 1822 passenger records.

    1. Thanks for the hints Chris. I will add them to the information I have so far on the Williamsons. I did not have the naturalization record you provided so that is a great addition to my artifacts.