Schley County-Bios

Ellaville Resident - Robert D. Williamson

Larry Burton"
I have never had the chance to visit Ellaville. But from the stories my grandfather told me as a child I felt like I grew up there too. His name was Robert Danial Williamson and I think he was born 1902. His father owned a general store in Ellaville. He was the valedictorian of a class of 11 and went on to UGA. He settled in Charlotte, NC in the 20's where he had a wonderful life.

There so many stories he told of his childhood and his best friend Joe Chaney that we live his childhood through him. Ellaville will always be a special place in my families life.

Ellaville is named for Ella Burton, daughter of Robert Burton who sold the land for the townsite. Nearby Pond Town was settled in 1812.

From "The Wesleyan Alumnae," Macon, Georgia. Published quarterly by the Alumnae Association of Wesleyan College, July, 1925. pages 28, 29 & 30.

Note--Chapter of Wesleyan Experiences written by Mrs. Ella Burton Scarborough, of Americus, Ga., formerly of Ellaville, Ga., which was named in her honor.

It was in 1861 that my sister, Clara, afterwards Mrs. Chas. F. Crisp and I entered college. I was thirteen years old and Clara or "Honey," as I called her, was twelve.

My father was a Captain in the Confederate army and my mother like all Southern women, followed him as much as possible, from pillar to post, so we were sent to Wesleyan College in October, 1861, and there we stayed for safe keeping until the close of the war.

Up to this time neither Honey or myself had even so much as laced up our own shoes or combed our own hair, so we were forlorn little girls indeed until our father came to see us and was so aghast at our neglected appearance that he went home and sent Frances, our black mammy, to look after us and she was with us until lack of funds necessitated our leaving college.

I do not believe that I was so unkempt as Honey, because I was fortunate enough to find a friend in Miss Laura Haygood, one of the oldest girls at the time. I was sick and she was wonderfully kind to me, took me into her own room and nursed me until Frances came.

Dr. Bonnell was President of Wesleyan at this time. He was a fine man and an unusual executive.

The college was crowded, it seemed to me that there were a thousand girls and yet we had very little sickness.

How we kept the buildings and grounds sanitary with none of our modern appliances is remarkable.

I recall that large cans of disinfectants were placed in every nook and corner.

I took lessons on the harp and guitar from Miss Lula Guttenberger and piano lessons from her father.

I had French from Dr. Swartz and embroidery from Mrs. Swartz. Little Cosby Smith taught mathematics and it was an almost daily occurrence for him to say to Honey, when she was inattentive, "Stick a pin Miss Clarissy, stick a pin."

Honey was brighter than I, but I believe I was more of a student. She was up before faculty once for sticking her head out of the front door, which was against the rules, and calling to Mr. Solomon and some other of the trustees to "Step, Step, Step."

On only one occasion was I reproved and that was an injustice. It was in the dining room and I inadvertently poured more syrup into my plate than I could eat. Mrs. Mollie Redding, the housekeeper, at whose table I sat, told me to carry my plate to the President. After I had threaded my way through the crowded room to Dr. Bonnell, he said gently: "That is all right, Miss Ella, just go back to your seat and finish your meal."

Dr. W.C. Bass, afterwards president of the college, was professor of Natural Science, and Dr. Foster taught us Latin.

My autograph album brings to my mind recollections of many warm friends of those early days. Some of the girls I remember, of course, better than others. Baby Payne, as we called her, the daughter of Bishop Payne of Mississippi, was a lovely girl; Lizzie Clifton of Perrys Mill, Ga., stands out in my memory. She married a politician. Loulie Bonnell, an angel on earth died and numbered one more in heaven.

Annie Shumake, of Burke Co., Ga., and Annie Wright, of Albany, Ga. are written large in the album.

There was more sad days than glad ones for Wesleyan girls in the Sixties. Tidings from loved ones who were killed, wounded or taken prisoner in battle were not unusual.

But we were young and busy and some of us were very happy hearted. I remember one little incident that is typical to this day: A new girl had arrived and we gathered on the back porch, close to the dining room door to see her as she came out to supper with Dr. Bonnell. "Who is she? Who is she?" was whispered and she suddenly turned, made us a sweeping bow and said, I am Miss Roberta Harrison of Quincy, Fla."

One other event that will always linger a pleasant memory is my first romance. My father would take us to the Lanier House to spend the day on the occasional visits he made us, and if a show worth while was in town, we were taken to see that too. During one of these visits to the theatre, a young soldier, at home recovering from a wound received at Gettysburg, was in the audience.

It was love at first sight. The next morning I received a bunch of beautiful roses brought by my old friend, Minnie Tindell, with a message that he wished an introduction. This was arranged through our mutual friend, Col. Thomas Mangham.

From this time on to the close of the war my college life was a dream. Every day I was remembered with flowers, books or music. I still have in my possession one song, "Under the Daisies," where he sleeps, the wound proving fatal at last.

An amusing incident was a prank that Honey played. She said that she had always hung up her stocking Christmas eve and she was going to get one from Mother Evans and hung it in Dr. Bonnell's study. This she did and Christmas morning she went down to find a keen little switch and a poem which ran this:

Miss Clara Belle Burton,
I love you for certain;
Would love twenty times more,
If you would learn to spell better,
When writing a letter,
As your papa has told you before.

(Notes "Ella Leila Burton was born 17 February 1847 at Pond Town, Georgia. She was the daughter of Robert Burton, Jr., and Martha (Wilkinson) Burton. Ella had red hair and fair skin. She and her sister Clara Belle Burton (23 July 1848 - 22 April 1907) attended Wesleyan College in Macon during the Civil War. They were both accomplished musicians. Ella married Edward D. Amos of New Jersey on 22 Sept 1869. He died 15 Dec 1870, leaving her with one child, Annie Clair Amos (4 Sept 1870 - 1931). Ella married John Scarborough of Ellaville, a lawyer, on 27 Nov 1877. They moved to Americus. They had three children: Robert Henry (born 28 Oct 1879), Stella (born 7 July 1882) and Leila (27 July 1887). Ella was widowed again when her husband John died in 1911. Ella died in Americus 29 Dec 1926 .")

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