Tribute to Lewis Williams
Francis Williams was born the
first son of Lewis Williams and Frances Caufield,in the townland of Ballyratten just out
Moville, County Donegal, Ireland. The family were poor even by the standards of the time and when
the famine hit hard in 1847 Lewis with his wife Catherine took the terrible decision to take
passage for Canada with their four youngest children Samuel, William, Eliza and Sarah,
leaving Frances and his sister Jane in the care of their elderly grandparents. The intention was
that when the family were settled in Canada the two children would be sent for and the family
reunited. Nothing was ever heard of Lewis or Catherine or the children again.
It is thought
that the family maybe perished in the typhus epidemic which was raging in the Ottawa Valley at
that time although this has never been confirmed. Frances after waiting for many years for the
letter which never came,eventually married Annie Peoples the daughter of a neighbouring family in
Ballyratten and went on to have 12 children including Lewis Williams my grandfather. They continued to live and farm on the old homestead in Ballyratten.
It is to the memory of Lewis and Catherine Williams my great great grandparents and their young children Samuel, William, Mary Ann and Catherine Eliza that I place this memorial.
They lie in a place as yet unknown to me, in a distant land, but their memory still lives on and will continue to do so.
Your headstone stands among the rest, neglected and alone.
The name,the date, are chiseled out, in weather beaten stone.
It reaches out for all to see,it is too late to mourn.
You did not know I would exist, you died and I was born.
Yet each of us are part of you, in flesh, in blood, in bone,
And in my breast there beats a pulse entirely not my own.
Dear ancestor, the space you left those many years ago
Is filled today by all of us, who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you laughed and loved,I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this place and come to visit you.