The more I think about your William Withers of Georgia, the more I believe he and my wife's William Withers of SC are the same person.I just assumed the SC William stayed there because his family lived in Charleston in later years and thought he probably died some time after 1860.But I never found a death record--he just disappears after the early 1860's.The pieces fit together well.William and his family are in the 1860 South Carolina census but are nowhere to be found in 1870.The Georgia 1870 census has William in Habersham Co. with son William E. and daughter "Rosilie R."She is 16, ie. born about 1856.In 1860 the SC "Rosie" is 4 (I incorrectly said 4 months).In 1860 son William was just about 10.In 1870 William E. is said to be 11 but I am sure this is an error.Children are invariably listed in descending order of age and he is listed before Rosilie.Not only that, he is given an occupation (farm worker)--11 year olds are definitely too young to have an occupation listed.I suspect the census taker meant 19 instead of 11.My theory is that that William and Harriet broke up shortly after going to Georgia and that they permanently separated.She returned to Charleston, where several of her daughters lived.
Your family tradition says there were just two children, but maybe that just refers to the ones who went to Georgia, or at least stayed there.If William and Harriet moved to Georgia in the 1860's, they might have only taken their younger children.I count at least 8 in all.Daughters Georgiana (b. ca. 1837) and Annie (ca. 1844) never married and stayed in Charleston to become teachers; Margaret (ca. 1839) married in ca. 1856. Sarah (ca. 1842) remained single and perhaps went to Georgia but was back in Charleston by 1880.Comanda was born ca. 1854 but not subsequently mentioned--perhaps she died.You mentioned a son Edmund L.He wasn't listed in the 1860 census but I found someone I assume to be him in 1910 in Atlanta age 50, so he could have just missed that census.An E. L. Withers shows up in one Charleston directory (1883).Unfortunately, the directory neglected to give his address so we don't know if he lived with the other Charleston Withers in Ann Street.If so, he would surely have been a part of the family.The census takers, by the way, couldn't agree on son William's middle initial.He is "E" in 1870, "H" in 1880 living with Harriet, and "F" in the same household in the 1883 directory.
There are a couple of anomalies.Harriet calls herself a widow in the 1880 census and in directories but William lived until 1900.Perhaps it was just more socially acceptable in that era to be seen as a widow than to admit to a failed marriage.Meanwhile, William told the 1880 census taker that he was single (versus the other choices of married, widowed, or divorced).We know that wasn't true.In the 1900 census he described himself as a widower.Harriet's last directory entry in Charleston was 1893, so it is possible she died then.
I wonder if you have any more information about William in Georgia?Do you know when he arrived there?I am also curious about the rice mill (he was called a farmer in the census).Does your family lore have any more information about what William was like?Or what the old place in Habersham was like?Any information would be appreciated.
I've also been doing some work on the earlier Withers, in case you are interested.