Denise's Ancestor pages:

The Williams and The Payne's

Roots in Loudoun and Fauquier  Counties, VA

Purcellville, Unison, Round Hill, Bloomfield, Warrenton



 My grandmother  Ella Mae Williams


My grandmother Ella Mae in wedding gown, which she made.

My mother's mother was Ella Mae Williams - and the wife of Dennis Presley Roberts She was  the daughter of Mariah Luella Payne and Dennis Williams of Purcellville, VA in Loudoun County.



 Mariah Luella Payne                                Dennis Williams

 I  initially had very little information about them, because  my grandmother Ella Mae WILLIAMS died when my mom was 10 months old. Her death had to be in February or March of 1919. She died in the Bronx, NY and I have as yet had no success finding a death record, or where she is buried.

I do know, that according to my grandfathers WWI draft registration card in NY that they were living at 750 E 224th Street in the Bronx, on Sept 12, 1915. After her death, my mother and her siblings were taken to live with the Robert's side of the family. 

From stories told to me about her by my Aunt Mildred, I do know she was a an excellent seamstress and cook. She had migrated from Loudoun to Montclair NJ to work, where she met my grandfather, Dennis ROBERTS, who had also moved North to work for a shipping and railroad company.  After they married he had her stop working saying "you will now sew only for the family".  I have not figured out how she decided to go to Montclair, but the fact that her half-sister Mary Agnes was already employed in Montclair might have had something to do with it. 

Dennis WILLIAMS, (son of Hannah CARTER & ?- father's name not known ) was first married to Matilda Ann MASON, daughter of Julius and Maria MASON.  

They are listed in the 1870 census:

Name: Dennis Williams Estimated Birth Year: abt 1847 Age in 1870: 23  Birthplace: Virginia   Home in 1870: Southern District, Loudoun , Virginia Race: M  Gender: Male  Post Office: Bloomfield  

listed with Matilda (female black), 30, Ellzey L 5 (male black), and Maria (female, mulatto) 4.  

Matilda Mason Williams died of pneumonia, at age 30, May 18, 1874.  I have found no record of Dennis  in Loudoun prior to 1865, so I doubted he was a free person of color - but have not yet identified his slave owner. There are no slaves listed in wills and estate records in Loudoun, named Dennis that match his age.

There is however a free 12 year old mulatto in the 1860 census in neighboring Prince William county named Dennis WILLIAMS age 12, who is no longer there in 1870 or 1880. 


Name: Dennis   Williams
Age in 1860: 12
Birth Year: abt 1848
Birthplace: Virginia
Home in 1860: Not Stated, Prince William, Virginia
Race: Mulatto
Gender: Male
Post Office: Dumfries


Whether or not this is my great grandfather is still to be determined. 

Dennis  re-married on Aug 26, 1875 at the age of 37 to Mariah L. PAYNE, who was single and 28 years old.  

From "Loudoun Co Marriages after 1850, Volume 1: 1851-1880" by Duncan and Frain: 

date of marriage: 26 Aug 1875  groom: Dennis Williams, colored, laborer, 37y, widower, born and resides in Loudoun, son of Hannah 
Carter, bride: Mariah L. Payne, colored, 28y, single, born and resides in Loudoun, daughter of: not given
performed by: Alfred Wright (baptist); license of 26 Aug 1875; age proved by Fenton Furr 

I found them listed in the 1880 Census:

Census Place: Mercer, Loudoun, Virginia
Source: FHL Film 1255376 National Archives Film T9-1376 Page 465D 

Dennis WILLIAMS          Self       M  M  MU 40 VA Occ: Laborer Fa: VA Mo: VA
Luelen WILLIAMS           Wife      F M MU 39 VA Occ: Keeping House Fa: VA Mo: VA
Maria WILLIAMS            Dau       F S MU 15 VA Occ: Home Fa: VA Mo: VA
Elzy WILLIAMS               SSon    M S B 16 VA Occ: Farm Fa: VA Mo: VA
Mary Agnes WILLIAMS SDau    F S B 10 VA Fa: VA Mo: VA
Ann G. PAYNE               Dau     F S MU 9 VA  Fa: VA Mo: VA
Jos. D. WILLIAMS          Son       M S MU 4 VA  Fa: VA Mo: VA
John H. WILLIAMS         Son       M S MU 1 VA  Fa: VA Mo: VA

Dennis and Mariah Luella Payne Williams raised 11 children, including the 3 from his first marriage.   Their children were  James Dennis, John Henry, Sallie A., Edwin Asa,  Samuel Thomas,  George W., Leticia,  and Ella Mae. 

 Leticia Williams married James BASKERVILLE, from Mecklenburg County VA, and had 4 daughters; Mae, Bernice, Ethel, and Jean Baskerville.  They lived in Montclair NJ.  

My Aunt Bernice Baskerville  sent me photos of some of the other Williams children:


 My great uncle George WILLIAMS - who worked as an ash wagon driver in New Jersey.

He had only one whole hand - as a child he fell in a fireplace and severely burned on hand and it was taped poorly and he only could wiggle the thumb.  My aunt Bernice says "he could do everything that a person with two hands could do except he couldn't shuffle cards".  My aunt says all of the boys loved horses; they all grew up with them and used to work at a racehorse stable in Warrenton, Virginia in neighboring Fauquier County. 

Both George and Sam worked driving horse drawn cabs when they first moved to New Jersey from Loudoun.




Here is Samuel in the 1930 census.  I  was told he and his wife had no children.

Name: Samuel Williams 
Age: 42 years 
Estimated birth year: 1887 
Birthplace: Virginia 
Relation to Head-of-house: Head 
Race: Negro 
Home in 1930: Newark, Essex, New Jersey 
Occupation: Truck Driver
Parents' birthplace: VA
Image Source: Year: 1930; Census Place: Newark, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: T626_1335; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 94; Image: 0627. 

wife Catherine born in SC, father SC mother West Indies


Sallie WILLIAMS who married Lee BASIL

They lived in Pittsburgh, PA and had no children.  I am attempting to link her husband Lee to the numerous BASIL's of Loudoun county.

Elzey and Mary Agnes WILLIAMS  were the children of Dennis' first wife Matilda MASON. I am not clear about "Maria" listed in 1880 as daughter of Dennis and Luella.

Mary Agnes was known in the family as "Sistah Mary", which is what my aunts called her growing up.  She worked for many years as a cook for a family in Montclair NJ, and lived with them.  My aunts remember going to visit her there at the home of the BULL family - a brother and sister.  Aunt Bernice says "Sistah Mary was a large, imposing woman, with tiny little feet.  There were always wonderful things cooking in the kitchen, and when we would visit, Mrs. Bull would read to us from a storybook." They  say that the Bulls built a special apartment in their home for  Mary, and she had a piano, that they bought for her. She traveled with them as well. 


The only photo we have of "Sistah Mary Williams"

The people she worked for were Charles and Jennie BULL - a brother and sister  are found living in Montclair, Essex County NJ in 1920 and 30 census. In 1920 Charles is 63, and Jennie is 65. They were born in NY, there parents are listed as born in CT.

 Mary WILLIAMS  is found with them in the census of 1900, 1920 and 1930. I am trying to find other photos, or stories of her - and since neither of the Bulls seem to have been married, perhaps there are nieces or nephews who might remember Mary and her cooking.

 I didn't know for certain who Ann Geneva PAYNE was - though since Luella is a Payne  I thought she could be a younger sister or cousin, but there is also a strong possibility that she was Luella's daughter by a previous encounter.  She is listed as "daughter" in the 1880 census with the surname Payne.  Her marriage lists her as Ann Geneva Williams, daughter of Dennis and Luella Williams.

Luella died about 1921 and Dennis died about 1901 in Purcellville.

I didn't know g-grandmother Payne's name was Mariah, until I received the update below.  She is also listed in early records after her marriage as "Lou Elen, Louella, Ellen, LLewellyn, and Lulu, so if you are looking for ancestors in early records check out a variety of spellings.

I couldn't find her at all in the 1870 Census - until I looked for alternate spellings for Payne - I finally found her listed as "Pane".   Dennis and his first wife were not on any of the census indexes - so I had to go to microfilm copies of the original records from Loudoun county to find them - and I finally did - but it took quite a few hours of squinting at barely legible handwriting.

Somehow Dennis and Ella are cousins through a SCIPIO connection, according to my mom and Aunt Mildred.  I have not yet uncovered just how. (but I will!)

I have a portrait of the mother of Mariah Luella Payne (Williams) . No one in my family knows her name but she definitely looks like a "mixed" person.


Great Great Grandmother Payne

This is the family picture that fascinated me the most as a child, and I was always asking who she was, and unhappy when adults had no answers.  I hope to be able to give those answers to future generations of my family.   Was she a slave (quite likely)?  Or was she free (unlikely)?  Either way, I think she was a very strong woman.  It has been suggested that she may have been from Fauquier County - or married a Payne from Fauquier, but as of yet I have no other information. I am assuming because her children were slaves - she was a slave - but I currently have no proof - nor anything about her other than this photo.  My MtDNA tests indicate she had  West African ancestry, through her mother's line.  More I do not know.


Great Aunt Annie and her escape from slavery

Other information I have is that Mariah Luella had a sister, named Annie TATE who was a slave and who escaped on a barge from Loudoun to freedom as a young girl, reached Canada, then returned to the states and settled in Montclair, New Jersey. 

According to my aunts - who knew her, Great Aunt Annie and another girl were smuggled out of Loudoun  by a black bargeman.  I am currently trying to trace their journey - and have a suspicion that the bargeman was named Basil NEWMAN (a free man of color in Loudoun). They then walked overland, sleeping in fields.  One story they remember her telling  is about approaching a house owned by white people to ask for food.  They were allowed to sleep on the porch - next to the families dog to stay warm - but were given no blankets.  Aunt Annie didn't like to talk much about her experience in slavery - or at least didn't talk about it much in front of children.  My aunt's only remember that she left because she had a very "mean mistress".  From what I have been able to determine - she was not owned by the same family who owned her sister's Mariah and Hannah - who stayed behind, as slaves in Loudoun until emancipation.

Annie  married a man named surnamed YOUNG , perhaps in Montclair.  She later returned to Loudoun County, and owned property there. I am hoping to find runaway slave notices from VA that might identify her.   Mariah Luella was not a slave, according to family stories - but I think they are wrong, though I  have not yet found her owners - she is not listed as a free person of color in either Loudoun or Fauquier.  And there was another sister or half sister named Hannah, who oddly enough I find married to a man named William George TATE. 

In the 1910 Miracode Index for VA I found Luella living with her oldest son John:

John Williams Age: 30 State: VA Color: M    Enumeration District: 0070 Birth Place: Virginia Visit: 0003  County: Loudoun,  Relation: Head of Household  Other Residents:    Mother Lou Elen 64 Virginia Aunt Anna Young 65 Virginia  Brother Asa Williams 11 Virginia Brother Hubert 05 N J (Hubert is not a brother of John - more than likely he is the son of either John or James)

From this record I surmised that Dennis had died, though I as yet have found no death record, and have not located the cemetery where they are both buried. But this record was also the first record I have found listing and confirming the existence  Annie TATE (YOUNG) Luella's sister, who must have moved back home after the death of her husband in NJ.

I later found an earlier record of "Aunt Annie" living with her sister and brother-in-law James BASKERVILLE in  1910 census records.

Aunt Annie seemed to move back and forth between NJ and Loudoun.  I find her listed in 1930:

Young, Annie    Age: 81 Year: 1930  Birthplace: Virginia Roll:  T626_1332  Race: Neg Page:  10B   State: New Jersey ED:  524   County: Essex Image:  0468 Township: Montclair

In this record she is born 1849

In the 1930 census for Loudoun County VA –her house is listed as “closed – New Jersey” with a line through her name – Annie TATE. Directly under her name is a line through the name of a “Mary Davis” – indicating she also is in NJ is this Mary Davis related to Sarah?  Or is she Sarah?

Annie (Tate) Young is found in Montclair, Essex, NJ in 1930 age 81 widowed, listed as“aunt” of the h-o-h Sarah DAVIS, 59 widow – born VA. Sarah Davis has a son – Charlie 22, born NJ.
(This census information about her living with a Davis has been confirmed by my living aunt Baskerville).

Going back ten years to 1920 , I find Sarah Davis with son Charlie and two older sons, William Davis b. abt 1892 and Clarence Davis b. abt 1894, now with husband John W Davis, born NC.

In 1920, Aunt Annie Young is still in Essex County NJ, listed as age 74, – staying in the home of her niece Leticia Payne Williams (my grandmother’s sister) and husband James Baskerville.

Going back to 1910 Annie is living in Mercer, Loudoun VA , age 65, widowed ,with my great grandmother (her sister) Luella Payne Williams, in the household of Louella’s son John Williams in Loudoun. Annie is listed as no children born – none living, (though my aunt Baskerville now says Annie had children who died before she did).

This was where my research had hit a brick wall.

I decided to look for Sarah Davis ( I hadn't followed up on her) and found her, still in Montclair NJ in 1910 and low and behold – the two older boys, William and Clarence are now listed as step-sons to John W Davis. Their surname is now “Moore”, their father – (unknown first name) Moore is listed as born VA. Sarah is listed as married 3 years to John Davis. Charley, age 2, is a Davis. In the same house – there is a Walter Young (29, b.VA ) and his wife Rebecca.

The surname of Moore rings a bell because it is one I have in my tree – from Loudoun, related by marriage to my Payne’s and Tate’s. Many of them moved to Essex county NJ.

In 1900 – I look for Sarah Moore – with her sons. I find Sarah (misspelled) – working as a servant for a white family:
Name: Sarah Morre
Home in 1900: Montclair Ward 1, Essex, New Jersey

She is listed as having two children – but they aren’t with her. I now begin to search for Sarah’s children – surnamed Moore. Can’t find them anywhere in New Jersey. I was looking for son’s born New Jersey – as per census of 1910, and 1920.

I finally search without a birthplace and I find a Clarence and William Moore (the right ages, but listed as born VA) living with grandparents in Mercer, Loudoun county VA!!!

The grandparents are “John and Annie Young”. However Annie is listed as 13 children born – 11 living. And John Young is born 1824. Annie is listed as born 1843 (close to other records – 1945 usually) Could this be my Annie? Is the notation of “ 13 children born, 11 children living” a typo/error?

They are listed as married 39 years – which would place the marriage/union around 1861, which would still be during slavery – and according to my aunt, Annie ran away from Loudoun at about 14 or 15 – around 1861 – my aunt says because her mistress was very mean. Could she have left a husband/partner behind? And returned as soon as she could?

In the household in 1900 is a Jackson Young son, b. 1879, Cyrus Young son b. 1884.
Grandchildren in the house are;Rosie Tibbs b. 1889  William b. 1892 and Clarence Moore b. 1894 Ella Strother 3 months old.

In the 1880 census – I didn’t find them at first. John Young is listed as “Jackson Young” age 50. this time Annie is listed as 40.
Children listed are Sallie 12, Benjamin 10, Luther 5, Mary Jane 3 and Jackson 2.
No births listed in Loudoun birth register for John and Ann after 1880.

I find John and Annie listed in 1870:
Name: John Young
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1824
Age in 1870: 46
Birthplace: Virginia
Home in 1870: Southern District, Loudoun, Virginia
Race: Colored
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View Image
Post Office: Bloomfield

Ann or Annie is listed as mulatto – in records of 1870, 1880, 1910 and 1920.

Though "mulatto" actually has no scientific basis and does not indicate a person with parents from two ethnic groups - it does however  confirm that different census takers in 2 different states visually identified her phenotype as being of a light complexion. 

Loudoun county birth records list births of a Mary Jane 1876, Luther, 1874 and Jackson Young 1878 to a John and Ann/Annie Young

The 1870 census also lists a Cyrus Young b. 1822 – perhaps a brother of John?

I called my aunt  – and she remembers Charlie Davis, and one of the older boys – Clarence. She does not know anything about Annie’s husband – or children – but then she says grown-ups rarely talked about the past – and didn’t discuss anything in front of children, so she rarely knew how she was related to anyone. She does clearly remember aunt Annie talking about running away, and her stories of how she escaped.

I’m excited that I think I’ve finally “found” Aunt Annie in records. Though the circumstantial evidence leads me to believe this is Aunt Annie – I’d like to have some other records – death, marriage or cohabitation, to firm up my suppositions. Unfortunately my aunt Baskerville does not remember when Annie died - she thinks it was about 1935 in Montclair – and does not remember where she was buried.

So I have more digging to do – and will now try to trace the children who died before her. I’m hoping I can find some obits. Or someone descended from the Davis grandsons.

Hannah (Payne) TATE - my great grandmother's sister was someone I didn't know about until recently.  During a conversation with my Aunt Bernice, and her sister May - they mentioned that our great grandmother Louella had a sister Hannah.  At that time - they didn't know her married name.

My Aunt Mae remembered being taken on a trip to Virginia with Aunt Annie to see her grandmother - Annie's sister Luella,  and meeting relatives - among them an Aunt Hannah - and a little girl about her age - who she was told was her cousin - Ruth .    

A search of census records verified her story - I find my great grandmother Luella WILLIAMS (widow - listed as sister-in-law) living in the household with William and Hannah  TATE- and their granddaughter Ruth TATE.  

Here are William and Hannah in 1880:

1880 Census Place : Mount Gilead , Loudoun , Virginia

            Source:           FHL Film 1255376  National Archives Film T9-1376     Page 499B    

            Relation          Sex     Marr    Race   Age     Birthplace

William TATE            Self     M         M         MU      30        VA

            Occ:    Farmhand      Fa: VA            Mo: VA

Hannah TATE            Wife    F          M         MU      40        VA

            Occ:    Keeps House            Fa: VA            Mo: VA

Authur TATE  Son     M         S         MU      15        VA

            Occ:    Works On Farm         Fa: VA            Mo: VA

Luanna TATE            Dau     F          S         MU      12        VA

            Occ:    Works In House         Fa: VA            Mo: VA

Anna TATE    Dau     F          S         MU      9          VA

                                    Fa: VA            Mo: VA  

This Anna is probably named for Aunt Annie

 Had a hard time finding them in 1910 - but located them listed as George W. TATE, in Loudoun - apparently William was also named George.  If you are looking for ancestors make sure to do searches with middle name first - I've found a lot of these kind of juxtapositions in census data.

Notes and other information:

 my notes in italics, notes from P. Duncan in [ ]


From "Loudoun Co Marriages after 1850, Volume 1: 1851-1880" by Duncan and Frain:

date of marriage: 26 Aug 1875

groom: Dennis Williams, colored, laborer, 37y, widower, born and resides in Loudoun, son of Hannah Carter (which would make his birth date 1838- now I can start to look for Carter’s. Since his birth date is in the 30’s, need to see whether he is listed as freeman, or slave pre Emancipation. Also need to try to find his first marriage, since he is listed as a widower - have found no early Dennis Williams birth or census records in Loudoun, and am now looking in neighboring counties for his parents, as well as slave schedules and local wills. )  bride: Mariah L. Payne, colored, 28y, single, born and resides in Loudoun, daughter of: not given (Now know her name was Mariah Luella, which no one in the family knew.   And have figured  her birthdate 1847 – interesting, but frustrating the "daughter of not given" so we still don’t know who the mystery woman is, the only clue is Luella’s name is listed as Payne and Fenton Furr proved her age. I am currently looking for more information on Fenton Furr, who was a next door neighbor and white - am wondering what the relationship was ) performed by: Alfred Wright (Baptist); license of 26 Aug 1875; age proved by Fenton Furr


From "Loudoun Co Birth Register 1880-1896" by Duncan

[note: there were no births with Dennis Williams as the father listed in the 1853-1879 period]:

(Ella Mae) Ella May Williams, white female [should be colored female], b. 16 Oct 1880 in Loudoun, father- Dennis Williams a farmer in Loudoun, mother- (Luella) Ellen Williams, informant- Ellen Williams, mother

 Sallie A. Williams, colored female, b. 9 May 1882 in Loudoun, father- Dennis Williams a farmer in Loudoun, mother- (Luella) Lulu Williams, informant- Dennis Williams, father Between 1882 and 1884 his job listing changes from farmer to laborer – wonder if this has any significance)

George W. Williams, colored male, b. 27 Sep 1884 nr Bloomfield, father- Dennis Williams a laborer in Bloomfield, mother- Louella Williams informant- Dennis Williams, father must look at a map to locate Bloomfield and to see what "near Unison" means)(Letitia) Lutitia Williams, colored female, b. 22 Feb 1887 nr Unison, father- Dennis Williams a laborer nr Unison, mother- Luellen Williams, informant- Dennis Williams, father

Samuel T. Williams, colored male, b. 6 Nov 1888 nr Unison, father- Dennis Williams a laborer in Unison, mother- (Luella) Luellen Williams, informant- Dennis Williams, father

(Acie) Edward A. Williams, colored male, b. 24 Jun 1893 nr Unison, father- Dennis Williams a laborer nr Unison, mother- Louisa Williams, informant- Dennis Williams, father (Am still "missing" four of the children -and this does not include adoptees, because there is a boy who was "raised" as well)

[These are additional marriages from the marriage register [books to be published in the future]:

date of marriage: 23 Sep 1886 groom: Ellzey L. Williams, colored, laborer, 21y, single, resides Loudoun, parents: Dennis & Matilda bride: Mollie Moore, 24y, single, resides Loudoun, parents: John & Alice (Moore) performed by: N. Watkins

(Acie’s marriage) - date of marriage: 14 Nov 1912 groom: Edwin A. Williams, colored, laborer, 21y, single, born and resides Loudoun, parents: Dennis Williams bride: Mary E. Jackson, 18y, single, born and resides Loudoun, parents: Julia Briggs performed by: R. P. Dawson

date of marriage: 11 Dec 1894, license of 10 Dec 1894 groom: Alfred Moore, colored, 37y, laborer, widow, born and resides Loudoun, parents: John & Alice Moore bride: Geneva Williams, 24y, single born and resides Loudoun, parents: Dennis & Llewellyn (Luella) Williams performed by: Armstead Furr

On Feb 8, 2006 Pat Duncan posted some new information for me:

date of marriage: 13 Sep 1900, colored
Luther Young, 21y, laborer, single, b. and resides Loudoun, parents: Jack & Annie
bride: Ida Hooe, 21y, single, b. and resides Loudoun, parent: Alfred & Sarah F.

date of marriage: 10 Dec 1898, colored, in Middleburg
John Strother, 38y, farmer, widower, b. and resides Loudoun, parents: Lucy
bride: Alice Young, 32y, widow, b. and resides Loudoun, parents: Jack & Annie

date of marriage: 4 Jul 1881, colored
groom: Solomon Tebbs, 27y, single, laborer, b. and resides Loudoun, parents: Sol & Ellen Tebbs
bride: Mary E.Mettonton?, 26y, widow, b. and resides Loudoun, parents: Silas Young

date of marriage: 21 Dec 1905, colored
groom: Wm. Young, 38y, widower, laborer, b. and resides Loudoun, parents: Annie
bride: Alice Jackson, 30y, widow, b. and resides Loudoun, parents; Anderson & Louisa Gregg

Stay tuned for more updates as I gather more information. 

You can contact  me at :  if you have clues, or want to discuss your family searches.


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