Atkins Library has acquired the papers of the late Ann Williams, and they are now available for research. Williams led an active life as an author, historic interpreter, leader, wife, and mother. While not a native to Mecklenburg County, she became an ardent scholar of its 18th and 19th century histories, after moving here with her husband in 1969.
The Ann and Jim Williams papers contain material documenting the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite from 1985-1990, when Ann Williams was president of the Hezekiah Alexander Auxiliary. It also includes letters and legal documents regarding lawsuits as well as agendas and minutes of the Charlotte City Council regarding the operation of the site. The collection also includes the personal papers of Ann Williams which document her research, historic reenactment materials, genealogical evidence, publisher correspondence, and drafts of her books.
Patricia Ann Jones Williams was born on August 7, 1940 in Jacksonville, Florida to Ellis and Billie Hobbs Jones. Ann and her husband Jim moved to Charlotte in 1969 and lived here for the rest of their lives. In the late 1970s, Ann got interested in local history and became active at historic sites throughout Mecklenburg County, where she and Jim served as Revolutionary War reenactors. Ann extensively studied the letters and journals of those who had lived on antebellum piedmont plantations and mastered the workings of plantations, especially those pertaining to cotton and slavery.
Ann wrote several books concerning Charlotte history, including Your Affectionate Daughter, Isabella. She also co-edited and transcribed many important local documents, such as Life in Antebellum Charlotte:Private Journal of Sarah F. Davidson, 1837 , and the Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson, 1834-1856. Her proudest achievement was her novel, The Uncommon Bond of Julia and Rose in which she created a story with the goal of telling the experience of slavery through the eyes of those who lived through it. Ann died on February 20, 2020 in Charlotte.
An online guide to the collection is available, and the Ann and Jim Williams papers are open for research in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of J. Murrey Atkins Library (see hours).
Image: Ann Williams weaves the Alexander Family Kentucky Beauty on the loom at the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite in Charlotte (detail).
Citation: Williams, Ann. “The Alexander Family ‘Kentucky Beauty’: The Unraveling of a Coverlet Draft.” North Carolina Folklore Journal 29.2 (Fall-Winter 1981): 94-101. Published by the North Carolina Folklore Society; contributed to North Carolina Digital Collections by Appalachian State University.