Local historian pens new book focusing on older communities in southeast Chambers County

Published 10:30 am Thursday, December 22, 2022

VALLEY — Local historian Ron Williams has recently compiled a new book, “Fieldstone Pillars, Book 2.”  Like Book 1, it continues to focus on the older communities in the southeast corner of Chambers County including Hopewell, Berlin, Osanippa, McGinty, Bethlehem and Glass as well as the Lee County communities of Striped Nation and Blanton, which are just over the county line.

Williams’ ancestors were pioneers in this part of Chambers County. He grew up in the Hopewell community in the home built by his third great grandparents, David S. and Nancy Woodall Williams, in 1839.

Growing up in the old Williams homeplace and listening to the stories of the older members of his family and community fostered in Ron a love of local history.

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Fieldstone Pillars 1 and 2 is a collection of more than 30 years of research relating to the places and families of the area.

“Our history is built on fieldstone pillars,” Williams wrote. “I grew up in a house which rested on stones that had been wrestled from the ground by my pioneer ancestors. The old homeplaces and one-room schoolhouses sat on fieldstone pillars. Our ancestors worshipped in churches with fieldstone foundations. Every bite of food was cooked in a fieldstone chimney. When someone who had lived in that house died, a single fieldstone was placed at the head of their grave and another one at its foot.”

The book is filled with newspaper clippings and pictures which relate to the area as well as personal reflections of those who called the area home in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is 225 pages of memories, and there is a surprise on every page.

Some special sections of the book are of the memories of the late Ernest Williams and the late Mattie Lee Hunt Wood.

Williams wrote of his childhood growing up on the Holladay farm off Ben Brown Road. He shared many colorful memories of his school days in the one-room schoolhouses of the area and of life on a farm in the early 20th century.

Wood, who was the sister of River View’s M.M. Hunt, wrote of her childhood in the late 19th century in “I Remember.”

“I do know that I was the fifth child of George and Cynthia (or ‘Simpy,’ as Papa called her) Hunt,” wrote Wood. “They were good Christian people (Baptist) but, seems to me now, very poor. Still, Papa was amongst the most prosperous farmers in Striped Nation, the name of our community.”

Memories of many other families are included as well.

Anyone interested in getting a copy of Fieldstone Pillars 2, may contact Ron Williams at (706) 773-5330 or email: hopewellroad@yahoo.com.