Family Reunions Reveal Interesting Stories

I was once asked if our family history had anyone who was "known" for doing something at an unusual age. I immediately thought of my husband's great grandfather, William William Womack. Yes, you read that right.

W. W., as the family refers to him, has a bit of a reputation when it comes to matters of age, as if the name wasn't enough. Now I admit that I have not taken the time to thoroughly document this man’s life so what I am about to share is a compilation from several sources, mainly other researchers. There are some discrepancies.

W. W. was born January 15, 1846 (some say 1839) in or near Bienville Parish, Louisiana. He was the son of Robert and Wrizopa (Southern) Womack, pictured below.

W. W. first married Ruth Adams in 1867 when she was 19. They had six children:

Zelia Elizabeth Womack, born July 30, 1868 (married Thomas Lonzo Wiltcher)
George A. Womack, born July 14, 1871
Richard L. Womack, born June 14, 1873
Newport Womack, born September 20, 1876
Lewis Womack, born 1878
Fannie Womack, born May 25, 1879 (married William Bridges)

Per an online transcription, only the first 4 children were listed in the 1880 census for Winn Parish, LA. Ruth died about 1885. Here is where it gets unusual.

Three years later, when W. W. was 42 years old (some say he was 49), he married a second (some say third) wife, Sallie Smith, who was 16 years old, a difference of 26 years! Sallie was born July 24, 1872 in Union County, Arkansas. They married on December 9, 1888 in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. It is rumored that W. W. spent some time in Arkansas due to a brush with the law in Louisiana but I can't confirm that.

W. W. and Sallie had thirteen children:

Whitton Womack, born September 25, 1889, died 1901
John William Womack, born June 25, 1892
Jesse Franklin Womack, born November 23, 1893
Claude Earnest Womack, born March 6, 1895
Loney Womack, born August 20, 1896 (married Ralph Alford)
Andrew Van Buren Womack, born January 27, 1898
Gilbert Womack, born October 20, 1899
Shug Womack, born August 7, 1901
Lige Womack, born January 1, 1903
Amey Womack, born March 13, 1905 (married Lemuel Hunter)
Lanis L. Womack, born November 27, 1906
Alice Womack, born March 20, 1908, died 1909
Horace Womack, born September 15, 1909

Below is a photo of W. W. and Sallie taken between July 1909, when Alice died, and September 1909 when she gave birth to their last child, Horace. Do you think she ever wore anything other than maternity dresses?

When Horace was born, Sallie was 37 years old and W. W. was 63 years old (some say 70 - either way, it's unbelievable). W. W. died May 25, 1925 in Louisiana. Sallie died July 12, 1951 in Jackson Parish, Louisiana.

There is a photo hanging on the wall in our house which shows twelve of W. W.’s sons. It was taken May 26, 1925, the day after their father died. They are, left to right, George, Richard, Newport, John, Jesse, Claude, Andrew, Gilbert, Shug, Lige, Lanis and Horace. Sallie's sons (the last nine in the photo) certainly favored her.

A Sallie Womack Reunion is held every year in July at the VFW Hall in Jonesboro, Louisiana. A family reunion is an excellent opportunity to exchange stories about out ancestry.