Williams Family Graves
The Williams family for whom the Inn is named owned this house for nearly 100 years. The parents and most of their nine children are buried at the Episcopal church cemetery, over on Alachua Street. Marcellus purchased the Williams house in 1859 from a Boston banker (name unknown) who built the house in 1856. The fret work or gingerbread surrounding the porches was designed by Robert Schuyler, a New York architect who help build several churches in the area. Emma and Marcellus are buried beside each other in the large central headstone.
The cemetery itself is beautiful with large overhanging live oaks and actually is on a hill, something unusual in florida. Perhaps they chose the high ground intentionally!
Marcellus Williams headstone
The Williams had nine children including Kate, Arthur, Emma, Herbert, Sallie, Fannie, Marcellus Jr., Edwin, and Farey. All are buried in this cemetery except Arthur (buried in Jacksonville), Edwin (buried in Georgia) and Farey, the last child for whom we have yet to find a record. Marcellus died the year Farey was born and and her mother, Emma, died four years later. She was listed in the Census records as living with her brother and sister at the Williams House.
Kate and Emma
The house remained in the family until the last of the children residing there passed and then it went through the typical experience of older homes including law officies, rooming house and boarding house. Somehow the majority of the beautiful woodwork, stained glass windows, fireplace mantels and tiles, and even some of the original wavy window glass survived all of these experiences and are still a part of the house today.
Marcellus Jr marker
Fanny Williams Tombstone
We had the great granddaughter of Edwin come here for a meeting and she brought us numerous letters written by the family members which added a real personal touch to the family presence at the Inn. Some things, like how difficult a journey it was from Jacksonville (where Marcellus spent considerable time marketing land in Florida) to Amelia Island are hard to relate to with today’s conveniences. But, in those days it was a carriage or horse ride up the coast to the ferry and then a ferry ride to the island followed by another carrriage or horse ride into town. A world of unpaved roads, no antibiotics, written communications, few restaurants, limited shopping, no air conditioning, no in door plumbing and houses that could be purchased from Sears Roebuck. How did they survive?
Herbert Williams marker
Sallie Williams marker
Tags: Guest Experiences, Historic homes, historical