Father Tom and Virginia: 183 Combined Years of Wisdom and Humor

Sep 3, 2012 | 3 comments

At the 71st “Annual Williams Clan Picnic yesterday, Cousins Virginia Williams Jones and Father Tom Williams wore the mantle of leadership with their usual humor and aplomb.  According to the printed program, Virginia (variously called “Ginger” or “Gin”), born in 1915 and the oldest member, was the officially designated “Leader” and Father Tom, just a kid at 86, the “Chaplain.”

In an unofficial headcount – no one, especially the kids, stayed still long enough to be certain – was 82, which someone else estimated, also unofficially, was probably less than half the number of descendants of Lewis David Williams of Ilwaco and Captain “Rees Williams of Chinook who arrived here 142 years ago.  Maybe less than a fourth if you count the spouses and ex-spouses which Williams seem to do.  They are definitely an inclusive rather than exclusive group.

We are included sort of by default.  My mother’s cousin Barbara Espy married Bronk Williams (who was Leader Virginia’s brother) and so my second cousins – usually referred to as the ‘Red House Cousins’ – are Williamses.  I have always considered that I am a Williams ‘outlaw’ or ‘connection.’

But, at a Williams gathering, no one has time to figure out the intricacies.  There’s way too much talking and laughing, eating and story-telling to think about family credentials.  The closest anyone ever comes to that is Jesuit Priest Father Tom, himself, who keeps a weather eye out for which folks cross themselves along with him at the Invocation.

“Watch yourselves,” he said with his usual droll humor.  “We’re outnumbered.”


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    I love family events with extended cousins, in-laws and out-laws and Oysterville has to be a perfect place to connect with the past and reforge family bonds. These are the things that bind a family together. It sounds like a good time was had by all.

  2. leslie

    I had a fabulous time and so did our kids and our cousins who came from L.A. to attend. My 8 year old son cant wait until next year’s…… in Chinook ( we can walk to that one)

  3. Kristina Jones

    Oh Sidney, that was a GOOD one! I love the photo of Tom and Mom. We have had so much fun coming to our family reunions… I can well remember when we gathered at picnic tables between Uncle Rees and Aunt Marg’s house and Uncle Jack and Aunt Julia’s. The fireplace/barbeque was stoked with wood and we had smoked salmon, salt salmon, fresh salmon and hamburgers… followed by the male members’ trips to the woodshed for an occasional pick-me-up and gathering around Aunt Marg’s piano to hear Papa (D. Walter) on the piano and Uncles Rees and Jack and Aunt Nell singing close harmony. Everyone had a wonderful time. We kids were included in all the festivities and the whole family reveled in “just being a Williams/Espy”. Thanks so much!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *