Emma Massengale managed home, ranch
Joy Graham

This is the third in a series of columns on Milam County women.

Emma Massengale Williams is the third profile of a Milam County woman who provided leadership in her time. Emma was a pioneering wife, mother and leader in the community of Maysfield.

The daughter of Alfred M. and Emily McKinney Massengale, Emma was born in 1852.

Emma married Thomas Herbert Williams on June 27, 1875. They had seven children: Amelia, Harriett, Julia, Virginia, Emma, and two sons who died in infancy.

Thomas Herbert Williams died in February 1890.

Three years later, in 1893, Emma took the responsibility of building a large Victorian family home. This added to the responsibilities of managing the 600 acres of farm work and the cattle operation.

Emma was ver y interested in the children’s education and worked in the community to improve the school system in the Maysfield Community.

It was ver y unusual in the 1890’s for a woman to take on duties that were usually done by a man.

Though she had workers who lived on the property, the day to day decisions were hers to insure the family would survive.

She died in 1898 leaving the five daughters, with the oldest being Amelia Worthington Williams.

Amelia was left with the irony of taking on the responsibilies left with her four sisters and the plantation.

Emma’s daughter, Harriett, married Hubert Atkinson. The Atkinsons, were neighbors to the Williams family.

A f ter the wedding Huber t moved to the Williams place and assumed management of the operation. This relieved Amelia of her overseer role of the plantation.

Daughter Virginia married Andrew Freeman of Cameron. They lived in Cameron.

Another daughter Julia, married Laurence Smoot, a lawyer, of Austin.

Emma Massengale was devoted to her husband and family and spent her life’s work making sure that her children received an education that would enable them to succeed in life.

She endured trying years, continuing to make a living, and instill in her daughters the values they would need throughout their lives.

Emma Massengale Williams is remembered by her ancestors for living her life of leadership to her community and to her family.

Research: Matchless Milam, History of Milam County 1984; pgs 264-5.

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