Ned E. Williams Elementary School > N. E. Williams' Biographical History

N. E. Williams' Biographical History

Ned Edward (N. E.) Williams

September 15, 1864 - November 28, 1945

A Biographical History


The Beginning 

Ned  E. Williams was  born  a  slave on  a  plantation  owned  by James  W. Williams  in Sabine   County, Texas, to Miss Partha (Parthenia) Williams on September 4, 1864. She was between thirteen and one-half (13 1/ 2) and fourteen (14) years old when  he was born. His father was unknown. He was reared in Shelby County near East Hamilton until he was approximately sixteen (16) years old. Partha (Parthenia) had three (3) other children younger than Ned. The other children were Jake, Della, and Ludie. She was also born in Sabine County in 1850 and died at the age of 86 in the home of her son Ned in Longview, Gregg County,Texas, in 1936.


The Journey


In 1880 Ned migrated by wagon train to Kansas and lived in the Coffeyville area with other members of the family. Kansas proved to be no better than East Texas (in addition to the weather being rather hostile at the time). After about eighteen (18) months, he and various family members decided to return to Shelby County,Texas.  Instead, they stopped at a farm owned by Dr. Mitchell in Gregg County near Longview because they were out of funds. During this time, he privately studied books he had acquired along the way. Slaves and ex-slaves were discouraged from reading books or getting an education. At that time, no schools existed in Gregg County for Blacks. He lived on the Mitchell farm for about six (6) years. Since he was mostly self-taught and very studious, he was encouraged by Professor F. A. Glenn (white) to enter the teaching profession. He took the examination and passed. He started his teaching career at a small school in the community of Fredonia about eight (8) miles southwest of Longview, Texas. After teaching about three (3) short terms in 1883, he was called home to the community of Greenville, about eight (8) miles southeast of Longview in about 1889 to assist in setting up and serving as administrator/principal of a school that would later bear his name.


The school operated under five (5) different names: Greenville School (1884-1918), Gregg County Training School 1918-1946, Ned E. Williams Industrial School 1946-1952, and Ned E. Williams  High  School  (1952-1964), and  Ned  E. Williams  Elementary  School  (1964-1971).


Professor Ned, or "Fess" as he was called by those who knew him, attended Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, in the 1880's; and later he attended Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, during the time Dr. Booker T. Washington was president and Dr. George Washington Carver was an instructor.


When he returned to Texas, he regularly corresponded with them until they passed away. Dr. Booker T. Washington died in 1915. Dr. George Washington Carver died in 1943. Dr. Carver made his first visit to Longview in 1927 and stayed in the home of Professor Ned E. Williams for about a week to visit the school and community.


Shortly before Dr. Carver passed, he was scheduled to make another visit to the Williams family and school in Longview. The visit was called off because of scheduling problems during the war (World War II) and his illness. Professor Ned E. Williams never saw Dr. Carver again before Carver passed in January 7, 1943.