He entered political life as a member of the House of Commons in 1813, and was re-elected in 1814. He became a Representative in Congress in 1815, and continued a member as long as he lived. Whilst attending Congress he died on February 23, 1842. Greatly esteemed for his sterling independence and his integrity, his abilities were such that by common consent he was styled "the Father of the House." Mr. Adams' oration on the occasion of his death was a beautiful tribute to his worth, as was also the brilliant effort of Mr. Rayner. He never married.
(f) The twin-brother of Hon. Lewis Williams was Thomas L. Williams, long the Chancellor of Tennessee; he married Polly McClung, a niece of Judge Hugh L. White. The following are their issue: (1st) Rebecca, wife of the son of Gov. Shelby, of Kentucky; (2d) Melinda, wife of Chief Justice Napton, of Missouri; (3d) Margaret, wife of Hon. John G. Miller, Member of Congress from Missouri, and afterward of H. W. Douglas, of Nashville, Tennessee, and (4th) of Mrs. Dr. J. Walker Percy, of Huntsville, Alabama.
(g) Rebecca, married Colonel John H. Wimbish, of Virginia; issue: Rebecca, wife of Dr. Pleasant Henderson, and afterward of Hon. Roger Q. Mills, Member of Congress from Texas.
(h) Dr. Alexander, who married Catherine Dixon, only daughter of Colonel William Dixon, first Postmaster (1782) of Greenville.
(i) Fannie, married Colonel John P. Erwin, of Nashville, Tennessee.
(j) Nicholas Lanier, the last and youngest son of Joseph Williams, is now in his 79th year; resides at Panther Creek, enjoying a green old age, and preserving the respect and regard of all who know him. He was a member of the Council of State and also a Trustee of the University. He married Mary G. Kerr; issue: (1st) Bettie, wife of John A. Lillington; (2d) Joseph, a Trustee of University, 1875, married M. Lou, daughter of Tyre Glenn, of Yadkin County; issue: Glenn and Mary; (3d) Lewis, who lives in the old homestead in Yadkin; married Sarah A., daughter of Colonel Wm. G. Smith, of Anson County; issue: Mary G., Eliza Helms, William Smith, Lena Pearl, and Lanier Williams.
Jesse Franklin, born 1760, died 1824, the son of Bernard and Mary Franklin, the third of seven sons, was born in Orange County, Virginia, March 24, 1760. His education was limited. His father removed to Surry County just previous to the commencement of the war. The Tories were so troublesome, plundering the Whig families of everything valuable, that a fort was built near Wilkesboro', in which they secured themselves and families when actively engaged away from home. Troops were raised to suppress these outrages, when Jesse joined Colonel Cleveland, his maternal uncle, to disperse them. Of Colonel Cleveland as a partisan leader and his severity toward the Tories we have already written. Franklin was in the battle of King's Mountain as Adjutant of Colonel Cleveland's battalion, and displayed great courage. When the enemy was conquered, the commanding officer, after the fall of Ferguson, delivered the sword of that soldier to Franklin, saying, "You deserve it, sir!" This was preserved for a long time in the family as an heirloom. He was also at the battle of Guilford Court House. He performed some further unimportant military services, in partisan warfare against the Tories, who formed a large part of the population in this section. After the war most of these Tories left this part of the State.
After discharging a soldier's duty in the field, Mr. Franklin then became useful as a representative of the people. He entered the House of Commons as a member from Surry in 1793, re-elected 1794, and in 1795 he became a Member of the 4th Congress. In 1797 he was again elected to the Legislature, and in 1799 he was elected a Senator in Congress, and served until 1805. In 1804 he was chosen President of the Senate. It is worthy here to remark that at this date the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House (Nathaniel Macon) were both of the delegation from North Carolina. Proud days for the old North State!
In 1805 and 1806 he was elected Senator of the State Legislature; and in 1807 he was again returned to the Senate of the United States, and there served until March 4, 1813. Governor James Turner, of Warren, was his colleague in the Senate. His course in this highest legislative body of the world was marked by profound sagacity and elevated patriotism. The high appreciation of his abilities and his integrity is shown by his election as President of the Senate and his appointment as leading member on the most responsible committees. He was placed on the committee on the celebrated ordinance of 1787; also on the case of Smith, of Ohio, implicated in the treason of Burr, and in other important positions.
He was a warm advocate of Mr. Madison and of his war measures; and as violently opposed
Index - Contents