"Took an unknown woman as a wife and begot 2 children; Jessie and Sarah."
- John Atlas, 1985
William Steven Atlas, Sr. was born between 1845 - 1847 in Arkansas or Louisiana, and died between June and October 1880 in Lake Providence, LA after being hit by lightning. He was a farmer and was said not to be very close to his other siblings, although at one time, he lived near his brothers Andrew and John. William was a registered voter. He owned a small farm where he paid taxes on livestock, animals and wagons. In 1870, he had $100 worth of real estate as per the US Census for that year.
William had involvement with the government formed Freedman’s Bureau on August 10, 1869 through the following memo written by G.W. Rollins, Lake Providence Field Office Administrator for the Freedman’s Bureau:
Correspondence Records - August 10, 1869 - Letter on behalf of William Atlas from the Lake Providence Office administrator, GW Rollins, calling for a stolen horse to be returned, at once, to William Atlas; said thief of the horse was to appear at the Freedman's Bureau office in Lake Providence at once.
The following notations are the locations where William Steven Atlas, Sr. and his family were living based on census and parish tax records:
- 1870 US Census: Louisa, Carroll Parish, LA
- Bet. 1873 - 1877, Longwood Plantation, Carroll Parish, LA
William, Sr. married Sarah Hewlett.
Sarah Hewlett was born between 1840 - 1849 in Louisiana, and died May 25, 1926 in Lake Providence, LA from a stroke. Sarah’s origins are somewhat unclear, but research has shown that she and her family were in the town of St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, LA as early as 1870. Sarah was the daughter of Robert Hewlett and an unknown woman. Robert Hewlett was the son of Suckey (which could be a nickname for Susan or Susanna) Hewlett and an unknown man and was emancipated by his former slaveholder, Mrs. James New, in 1851. Robert’s children were Sarah, Mary, Rosa/Rosaline, and Henry. It appears as though Sarah and Mary came to East Carroll Parish, LA at the same time as they are living next door to one another on the 1870 US Census. Sarah and her siblings owned land in St. Francisville up until 1917. Here is one earlier land record between them and others:
West Feliciana Clerk of Court – Conveyance Record - Sarah Atlas by AIF to Willis T. Forrester on 01/12/1909 –
Book Z, Page 428 – ¼ LT 5 for ½ LT 4 SQ 11 – Mary Hewlett (who became Mary Diggs, widow of Perry Diggs,who became Mary Jackson, widow of Isaac Jackson of Lake Providence, LA), Sarah Hewlett (who became Sarah Atlas, widow of William Atlas of Lake Providence, LA), Rosalie Ogden (of Saint Francisville, LA, widow of Reuben Ogden), Henry and Emaline Hewlett (nee Emaline Pruett), (represented by Henry Hewlett through power of attorney, who also is trading with them), traded their ¼ undivided interest of lot 5 in square 11 in St. Francesville worth $200 with J. Hereford Perey (husband of nee Christine Howell of Saint Francisville, LA) and Willis Forrester (husband of nee Emelie Weber of Saint Francisville, LA). Perey and Forrester trade to Jackson, Ogden, Atlas and Hewlett their undivided ½ interest in lot 4, square 11 worth $200. Mortgage on some of the land for Henry Hewlett and Rosaline Ogden in Mortgage Record Q, page 478. None of the parties could read or write as they did not sign their names.
Children of William Steven Atlas, Sr. and Sarah Hewlett:
- King John (born between 1861-1866, died unknown);
- William Steven, Jr. (born between 1866-1875, died February 3, 1938);
- Mary M. (born between 1868-1870, died May 20, 1931);
- John (born about 1868, died unknown);
- Rosaline (born between 1870-1871, died unknown);
- Henry (born between 1874-May 1877, died unknown) ;and
- Joseph Wallace (born May 7, 1877, died unknown).
Oral history said that William Steven Atlas, Jr. fled Lake Providence, LA to Arkansas between 1910 and 1919 after it was discovered that he was married to a French woman, Elnora Doan. Elnora's 1920 US Census record lists her as married, but does not list her husband. On the same census, William Steven, Jr. was married to Eliza Keyes and had started another family. All were living in East Carroll Parish. Further research has proven that Elnora Doan was a mulatto woman from Madison Parish, LA and that her and William, Jr. may have just split ways by 1920.