The three families represented in this collection were related through three generations of women: Lydia Bassett Belding, Maria Belding Gaines, and Frances “Fannie” Gaines Williamson. Lydia Bassett (born May 1, 1799) married Ludovicus Belding (born November 25, 1791). Their daughter Maria (born March 12, 1821) married William Haney Gaines in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on April 23, 1849. Maria’s first daughter, Frances “Fannie” Lydia Gaines (born June 27, 1850), married Curnel Sam Williamson on October 18, 1875.
William Haney Gaines helped establish Gaines Landing in Chicot County. He was born on June 30, 1797, in Augusta County, Virginia, and was raised in Kentucky. As a teenager he worked as a blacksmith and a cartwright. About 1830 he settled in Chicot County, where he raised cotton on a government land grant. Gaines married Althea Early on June 10, 1839, but she died in 1849. By the time he married Maria Belding, he had amassed large landholdings. He died on January 1, 1894. Both he and Maria are buried in the Belding-Gaines Cemetery near Hot Springs.
Curnel Sam Williamson was born on April 5, 1851, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He and Fannie Gaines had four children: Maria; Etna; Curnel Sam, Jr.; and Mary Frances. The Williamsons divorced in 1902, and Sam died on October 2, 1944.
This collection contains correspondence, diaries, financial documents, and legal papers. The families represented in this collection are connected through three generations of women, descendants of Hot Springs area pioneers: Lydia Bassett Belding, Maria Belding Gaines, and Frances “Fannie” Gaines Williamson.
Belding-Gaines-Williamson Papers. Riley-Hickingbotham Library Archives and Special Collections, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas.