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Sunday, March 3, 2019

ANC Williams Retirement

On today's date, (March 3rd) 1928, well-known Franklin merchant ANC Williams retired and closed his Main Street store. He had been in business for 62 years and is believed to hold the record for the longest continually operating business on Main Street. His store was located where Avec Moi is located on Main Street today.

Colored Tennessean, March 31, 1866 
ANC Williams was advertising his business in Franklin very early in his career,
shortly after the end of the Civil War
ANC Williams and sons in front of his store on Main Street at the site of today's Avec Moi
Williams was quoted in a newspaper article upon the occasion of his retirement as saying, "I wish you would tell the people of Franklin and Williamson county that I cannot begin to tell them just how much I appreciate the many favors done me during my life here. I am an old man now and I love to tell that I have many friends made through a good life and fair and square dealing.

According to this article, Allen Noah Crutcher Williams (others have said his middle name was Nevills or Nelson) was "born in the [Dr. Sterling] Crutcher family at Spring Hill, Tenn., Sept. 25, 1844, and when 18 years old was sold for $1,500 to Capt. Jack Williams of Spring Hill. . . . In 1862 he married Malissa Doyle, for many years a practical nurse, who died in 1916, four years after they had celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. They had 16 children, 11 of whom are living. There are also 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Several of his children are teachers and merchants." 

Photograph of ANC Williams and his wife Malissa Doyle Williams with children and grandchildren, courtesy of Rick Warick
The article continued to say that, "'Uncle Allen' is self-educated and his penmanship is good."

This is an example of ANC Williams' "good" penmanship. In 1873 ANC Williams opened a bank account for his 27-year-old wife Malissa Doyle Williams with the Freedmen's Bank in Nashville. He did the same for two other Franklin women. 

Since people did not carry driver's licenses or other forms of photo identification at that time, they would answer questions so that they could be identified when they returned at a later date, and also give a physical description of themselves. This is similar to the security questions answered on internet accounts today.

The newspaper article about his retirement continued, "In addition to the care of his large family and his business, he has done much for the spiritual welfare of his race, having been the minister for the Franklin Colored Church [today called the Cummings Street Church of Christ] since 1873. Not only to the people of Williamson County is he well and favorably known, but to Nashville jobbers and to traveling salesmen, who have called on him for many years. He owns his storehouse, the building adjoining and his home on Columbia Avenue, where since his retirement he will spend the remainder of his life." 
ANC Williams

Williams died two years after his retirement on March 24, 1930. His funeral was conducted at the 4th Avenue Church of Christ in order to accommodate the large numbers of people who wanted to attend

You can read more about him here.
The headstone for ANC Williams and his wife Malissa Doyle Williams is located in Franklin's Toussaint L'Ouverture Cemetery.

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