THE BETHELJOURNALS—THE WILLIAMSON CONNECTIONS

Rebecca Williamson Carter Bailey (1913-2003) and Richard F. Williamson  (1918-2005) known by many in Bethel and Newry as Becky Bailey and Buster Williamson were fourth generation descendants of John and William Williamson, respectively, who came to Bethel in the 1820’s from the town of Manorhamilton, Ireland. Why did they come here? It was more than three decades before a potato blight/famine struck the country.

Manorhamilton is located in County Leitrim, a maritime county of the northern province of Connacht in Ireland.  The English had taken land from the O’Rourke clan and gave it to Frederick Hamilton, a Scottish Presbyterian in 1621 for his military service. Hamilton constructed a castle which was finished in 1634; Hamilton proved to be a very unpopular fellow. English annexation of land, leaving the residents to work as peasants for absentee landowners may have been a reason for the Williamsons to leave.

John Williamson arrived in Bethel in 1821 with his wife Ann, son William and young daughter Rebecca. They settled less than one-half mile down Middle Intervale road from the Carter’s Brick End house. Both John and the elder William Williamson were considered excellent shoe makers. John soon added farming to his occupations. William left for Newry. More about William in Newry comes later.

About 1835 Elias Carter and Rebecca Williamson married. They and all the Carters that followed them grew up in the Brick End House which had taken three years to build starting in 1816. Elias Carter became one of the most prominent men in Bethel. Bethel historian Lapham wrote that fewer citizens have a more enviable record of public service. He was town clerk, treasurer, selectman, Representative in the legislature and county commissioner. “It was in the capacity as selectman that he appeared at his best.” Carter according to Lapham was admirably fitted for the duties as the town’s chief executive.

Elias and Rebecca Carter had eleven children, the five youngest girls all died of diphtheria in 1861. Rebecca’s mother, Ann McClure Williamson, also died in 1861. Following her death Rebecca and her sons looked after her father John in his later years. He lived to be a hundred; dying in 1887.

Becky Bailey and Buster Williamson:  their Williamson Connections

Williamsons were well known names in 19th Century Sunday River and Middle Intervale

Manor Hamilton Castle in the center of the village Manor Hamilton, Ireland — Google Street View.  The two Williamson families of this story left there 170 plus years after the castle had been completed.

The Carter’s landmark Brick End House started in 1816 and finished three years later was the home where Elias Carter and Rebecca Williamson Carter began life together.

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Bruce B. Bailey was the son Howard and Edith Spinney Bailey and was born in Newry, October 17, 1914. He served in the Army for two and a half years in the European Theater during World War II. He married Rebecca W. Carter in 1942. Both attended the University of Wyoming; she received an M.A. in 1948.  Bruce was noted for animal husbandry—he was notably mentioned during preparations for Bethel’s first living nativity. He died September 30, 1991 at age 76.