Next, I began looking for records to verify this information. The 1860 census shows my 4th great-grandparents, John & Ann (McClure) Williamson living near their son, William's family. The children appear to be Julia and Jane (not James, as the Bowdoin book suggests). I couldn't help but notice that Lydia was much younger than William.
This divorce record shows that a divorce was granted to Lydia (Alfreda) in 1866. According to the obituary, William would have been completing his Civil War service about that time. I wonder if leaving his much younger wife for a couple of years contributed to the divorce. I noticed that he is the defendant and his wife is the one requesting the divorce.
I haven't found any further records for Lydia Alfreda (Bean) Williamson or for the child, Jane. It is possible that another child was born between 1860 and 1866 and named James but I found no record of that. It would seem likely that she remarried since she was only about 35 when she was divorced. In 1870, William is living in Bethel with his 14 year old daughter, Julia and his uncle, William. Would a young girl be living with her father if her mother were alive? Or at 14 was she acting as housekeeper for her father and elderly uncle? My 4th great-grandmother died and my 4th great-grandfather, John Williamson, remarried a woman named Jane. William's sister, my 3rd great-grandmother married to my 3rd great-grandfather, Elias M. Carter. They are all living in close proximity with only the Farwell family between them.
I am still looking for a death record for William in Kansas. I'd love to know why he chose Kansas and moved at age 68. Perhaps it was for better farming. Did his Civil War service cause him to prefer agriculture over working as a doctor? I'm still looking for Civil War records for him. Did he ever remarry? It doesn't sound like it from the obituary. Was he alone in Kansas? The obituary says both his children died "in youth." Julia was alive at age 14 so when did she die? I'd like to find a death record for her. What happened to William's wife after the divorce? I've explored some of her family to see if I could find her living with any of them but no luck yet. I've looked for marriage records and found one possibility but it needs more investigation. I don't have a death record for Lydia so perhaps she died fairly young without remarrying. So many questions and so little time!