1900 Mississippi Census – Giles is 18 years of age
Paternal Grandfather, Giles Williams is listed in the U.S. Census Records for the first time in 1900 due to two circumstances.
- Number one, he was born one year after the 1880 U.S. Census
- Number two, the 1890 census, the first census in which he was eligible for enumeration was destroyed in a fire and thus, is unavailable.
At the age of 18, Giles is still attending school! I was overcome with joy upon this discovery. Here is my grandfather, one generation removed from slavery, living on a farm in the deep south and his parents are “allowing” him to be behind a desk rather than behind a MULE! I had previously marveled over the widespread post emancipation examples of literacy evident within the Williams family. Seeing documentation of his enrollment in school at an age and in an era when most black men were already regarded as “grown” leaves me in deep awe. Many people living in the rural south often had to choose between bringing in the crop and educating the children, boys especially.
According to census records Giles’ father, Randall was literate. Unfortunately, Giles’ mother (who was Randall’s wife Lucy) was not literate, although she was the the progeny of a prominent white slave owner. There are several letters in the Hattie Maybell Collection “from” Great Grandmother Lucy actually penned by her daughter, Harriet. It is clear that the Williams family valued education.
Giles is accurately listed as 18 years of age and living with his parents and siblings, all of whom are in school except for one adult sister. His sister, Ada the mother of Cudn’ Hattie was married and living in Smith County.
- Randall Williams (b. April 1858) His given name is misspelled in the record. He was a landowner and worked as a farmer
- Lucy Williams (b. August 1861) – She was not employed outside the home
Also living in the home are siblings:
- Armilda (b. Nov. 1867) – She is listed as a “servant” at age 22.
- Clarence (b. April 1886) – The record incorrectly lists him as 16 , rather than correctly, as 14 years old.
- Harriet (b. February 1887 ) – Her name is misspelled.)
- Sophronia (b. December 1889) – A shortened version of her name, “Fronie” was listed.
Giles’ paternal grandmother, Mary Williams is 72 years of age which indicates that she had lived enslaved for about 36 years. She was middle aged when slaves were freed!
On Line # 41, Mary Williams is listed. Her month and year of birth are listed as January 1828. (The year of her is corroborated on her headstone and in the 1870 census record as well.) Her grave remains intact and marked at New Zion Cemetery in Simpson County, Mississippi. (A future post will feature paternal Great-Great Grandmother Mary Williams.)
Next Post: Giles Williams in the 1910 Census