Yuma County, Colorado

COGenWeb Logo

Home Page Photograph Index Site Index

Yuma County Pioneer Photographs:

John Irvin and Ella Pearl (Dietrich) Williams, Jay A. Williams, Witherbee

In 1900 Putnam County Illinois, John I. 15, is the oldest of six kids of I.S. and Annie Williams.  James R. is 13, Vida J. 11, Jay E. 10, Grace 7, and Mary 4, all born in Illinois.

1909 "John Williams made a trip to Kaw, Nebraska, this week to look after his cattle.  He says they stood the stormy weather in good shape.  John will bring his cattle to his homestead as soon as the weather permits."

January 28, 1910 "John Williams returned from his old home in Putnam, Ill., Monday bringing with him a wife."

John, 24, and Ella, 23, are in Yuma County in 1910, married six months..

1913 "John Williams has a new Ford automobile." 

Also in 1913, John was elected president of the Needmore Telephone Company.

Also in 1913 "John Williams is enjoying a visit with his sister and husband from Wyoming."

John proved up two quarters in 30 and 31, 5N 42W in 1916.

Jay A. Williams served as a private in WWI "Med. Det."

In 1920 John I. 34 Illinois and Ella P. 33, Kansas, have Mary E. 9, Charles A. 6, and Bertha A, 1, all Colorado.

Jay, brother, 27, Illinois, is also with them.

Jay proved up a quarter in 29, 5N 42W in 1920.

John I. Williams married Mary Ellen Coughlin September 5, 1926.

In 1930 Logan County, Ella P. 43, Kansas, says she's married but no spouse, has Mary E. 18, Charles A. 16, Bertha A. 11, John Alden 10, daughter Jessie C. 9, all born in Colorado, and Albert E. 5, born in Illinois.

In 1940 Marshall County, Illinois, John I. 55, says he's married, but no spouse.  Mary E. 28 Colorado, J. Alden 20 Colorado, Albert E. 15, Illinois, and uncle Thomas G. Russell, 79, Illinois, are with him.

John I Williams 1885-1957 and Ella Pearl Williams 1886-1972 are buried in Henry Cemetery, Marshall County, Illinois.  Albert E. Williams 1924-2004 and Charles are also buried there.

Holyoke Enterprise, Holyoke, Colorado, September 6, 2007

Bertha Shaw died July 27, 2007 at the age of 88.

Born in a sod home in northeastern Yuma County on November 22, 1918, Bertha Williams Shaw was the third of six children born to John Irvin Williams and Ella Pearl Dietrich Williams.

“Grandma Birdie,” as she was affectionately known by her family, lived in a soddy that had doubled as the Witherbee Post Office on her parents homestead much of her early life and attended Prairie Valley school near her home. Bertha did not have an opportunity for any formal education beyond eighth grade, but that did not stop her from being a life-long learner and becoming versed in a number of subjects.

On June 27, 1946, shortly after his return from serving in the military during World War II, Bertha married Lester L. Shaw, a childhood friend and neighbor. They had three children, sons Rex and Mark, and daughter Linda.

Early in life, Bertha exhibited an extraordinary talent for music. She worked to become proficient on a number of instruments and could play the guitar, banjo, violin (fiddle, as she called it), harmonica, accordion, piano and Hawaiian guitar.

Bertha was a hard worker throughout her life. While still young, she helped her mother care for the family through very austere times during the Great Depression.

Throughout her life she had a close relationship with all her siblings. She looked to her older brother Charlie who, as the oldest son, assumed many family responsibilities. She had great fun with her sister, Jessie Carol, who was near her in age and was also close throughout her life to her brother John Alden who remained for many years on the Colorado homestead.

Grandma Birdie loved spending time with her grandchildren who spent many happy hours with her.

On January 15, 1994, after 47 years of marriage, Bertha was preceded in death by her husband Lester. She was also preceded in death by her parents, brothers John Alden Williams and Albert Williams and sisters Mary E. Williams and Jessie Carol Carlson French.

She is survived by brother Charles Williams of Henry, Illinois; sister-in-law Mary Williams of Wheatland, Missouri; children Rex Shaw and wife Kris of Walden, Mark Shaw and wife Annette of Wray and Linda Wegher and husband Gene of Gillette, Wyoming; seven grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; close nephew Anthony Carlson and wife AnneMarie of Santa Rosa, California and their children; and many other relatives, friends and neighbors to whom she brought much joy.

In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged to the Hillcrest Memorial Fund at Hillcrest Care Center in Wray.

Services were held July 31, at Spellman-Schmidt Funeral Home with Noel Sullivan officiating. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Spellman-Schmidt of Wray, internment was at Holyoke Memorial Park.


Charles A. Williams, 95, of Henry, Illinois died Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, at 4:15 a.m. at Heartland Health Care Center. Charles was born March 3, 1914, in Yuma County, Colo., in a sod house to John Irvin and Ella Pearl (Dietrich) Williams. He married Margaret Bergance. She preceded him in death, on Dec. 4, 2001.Surviving is one niece, Linda Wegher of Gillette, Wyo.; and three nephews, Mark Shaw of Wray, Colo., Rex Shaw of Walden, Colo., and Tony Carlson of Santa Rosa, Calif. Two brothers, Albert and John Alden Williams; and three sisters, Mary Williams, Jessie French and Bertha Shaw, preceded him in death. Charles had farmed in Colorado before entering the U.S. Army. He served in World War II in Italy, where he was wounded. After the war, he came to Henry and owned and operated a radio and television repair store until his retirement. He was of the Methodist faith and was a member of Henry American Legion. He was a member for over 60 years. Memorial services will be held Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009, at 10 a.m. at Calvert & Johnson Memorial Home, 513 Carroll St., Henry. The Rev. Peg Emmert will officiate. Burial will follow in Henry Cemetery, with full military rites accorded by Henry American Legion Post 323.Memorials can be made to the Henry American Legion or to Heartland Health Care Center's activity fund. -


Mary E. Rehfeld (Clay) Williams died at her home in Wheatland, Mo., on May 2. Mary was born to August and Mary Rehfeld on July 11, 1915, in Holyoke.

She attended Phillips County High School and graduated in 1933. After graduating, she moved to Denver, where she met and married Henry L. Clay in 1938. Mary and Henry lived in Denver, later moving to Springfield, Ill., and then relocating to Holyoke in 1947. They had four children.

Henry Clay died as the result of a car accident in 1960. Mary was working at the American Legion Club at the time and later became manager of the club, where she worked until 1971.

Mary married John A. Williams in 1971. John and Mary moved to Wheatland in 1974, where they built their dream home on a peaceful country road. They enjoyed raising cattle, gardening, playing cards and frequently entertaining their grandchildren.

Mary was known for cooking, baking, canning and playing Scrabble. Mary loved words and worked crossword puzzles as a hobby.

John Williams died in 1995. Mary continued to live in the home they loved so much, even though independence became more difficult as she got older.

Mary was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Humansville, Mo.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents and four siblings, Arnold Rehfeld, Alfred Rehfeld, Victor Rehfeld and Winifred Lindsay.

She is survived by one sibling, Ardis Kelly of Delta; children, Allan T. Clay of Lakewood, Mary K. Vyrostek of Wheatland, Cheryl Silletto of Aurora and Vicky Stapleton of Holyoke; 12 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Mary was a person who, in spite of physical challenges, had a clear and active mind until the last few weeks of her life. She appreciated simple things and valued family and her faith. She will be greatly missed.

A graveside service was held in Holyoke on May 10 with a luncheon and fellowship following at Zion Lutheran Church. There will be a memorial service for Mary at the Humansville Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on June 1.


French, Carol, also known as Jessie Carol French and Alita, 85, of Hilo, Hawaii, died Nov 1, 2006.  Born in Yuma Colorado.  A Homemaker.  Survived by son, Anthony Carlsen; daughter, Linda Wegher; brother Charles Williams; sister Bertha Nee Williams; a granddaughter.  Private service held.  Arrangements by Dodo Mortuary, Hilo. 

Dale Ellis French died Dec 13, 2005 in Hilo Medical Center - survived by stepson Anthony Carlsen, stepdaughter Linda Wegher.

Back to Pioneer Photographs.

This page is maintained and copyrighted by Lee Zion.