TOWN OF WILLIAMSBURG
By Peggy Smith Hake
Did you know there was once a town platted which laid about a mile and half southwest of present-day Iberia? It sat on approximately 10 acres of ground and included 20 lots and a public square. The streets named in the old survey were High, Main, Broadway, Mercantile, Locky, and Water. It was on an old trail that led from Tuscumbia and southward through the Big Richwoods to Waynesville in Pulaski County. The town's square sat on a section line between Sections 25 and 26 in Township 39 Range 13. It was given the name Williamsburg and I will try to relate the story to you, the best I can determine.
On May 28, 1840, Squire Williams and his wife, Jane, received a Certificate of Entry for this land, which included about 240 acres. They erected their home on the land and apparently Squire had great plans to establish his new town on the old trail used by traders and hunters. He drew up the projected plan; had the town site surveyed; and recorded his town's plans at the courthouse. I do not know what happened during the years 1840-1847, but it was on the 19th day of May, 1847, a judgment was rendered against Squire by a man named Michael Allen of neighboring Cole County in the amount of $1,079.05. His land was seized by Samuel C. H. Witten, the Miller County sheriff, who had surveyed the town of Williamsburg over seven years earlier!
All property owned by Squire Williams was sold to Thomas Winston and Phillip Miller of Cole County. They were in the trading business and it was their intention to once again set up a trading post on this old trail. When they bought the land from the sheriff, the town of Williamsburg, containing the 10 original acres, was not included in the sale. Later, on 12 Nov 1847, they bought the 10-acre site from Squire and Jane Williams. I do not know what happened to the Williams' after this land transaction. They may have moved on west from Miller County.
The town never materialized after the sale in 1847. The traders, Winston and Miller, sold the land to Wilson Lenox on 4 Jan 1850. There was some type of tenements on the site at the time of the sale because they were named in an old deed found at the courthouse. Wilson Lenox and his partner, Andrew Corley, established a trading post about a quarter of a mile from the old town site on Rabbit Head Creek after 1850. It was a popular trading post which was located beside the old train in the years prior to the Civil War.
Iberia did not have a mail service so a post office was set up in the Lenox-Corley trading post for the residents of the Big Richwoods. During the Civil War, the trading post was destroyed by marauding troops in the area. Wilson Lenox died in 1863 during the devastation era of Miller County's history of those war-torn years. His wife, Susannah, his wife, moved to Rolla in Phelps County, and eventually their plantation, containing about 600 acres, was sold for debts that had been incurred against the partnership of Lenox and Corley.
So, the proposed town of Williamsburg never became a reality and it's namesake, Squire Williams, became just another name that disappeared from the county's past history, lost somewhere in obscurity. The land is owned today by the Graves and Condra families. If you use your imagination, you can almost see Old Williamsburg sitting there on the rolling hills of Richwoods Township.
Regional Ancestral Names: Allen, Austin, Blevans, Corley, Dyer, Henderson, Lane, Lenox, Long, Mace, Record, Reynolds, Short, Stewart, Williams