This photo from Spring 1925 illustrates the connection in the Williams and Timbs families. In the back, from left to right: Robert L. Williams (the source of the story), Fannie Peters Williams, Wallace Timbs, Avery Timbs, Novella Timbs Peters, Bertie Williams Timbs. In the front row from left: Retha Timbs Hamm, Charlie Timbs, Lawrence Timbs, the author’s father.
Larry C. Timbs Jr. interviewed his aunt, Novella Timbs Peters (Eighty-nine in 2013. Babe in arms in the photo above.) She remembers her grandfather Robert L. Williams as a gentle, good man who went to church every Sunday. (Mr. Williams originally told the story, which is the core basis for Lawrence C. Timbs' self-published 1981 book Tragedy at Old Fish Springs.) The story, which Mr. Williams believed to be true, is the inspiration for Fish Springs: Beneath the Surface (published in 2014 by Ingalls Publishing Group).
"He (grandfather Williams) never was seen to lose his temper and was always good and kind. He got up every Sunday morning singing "Rock of Ages." He used to say if his kids or grandchildren did anything wrong, he'd get a switch after us but I don't ever remember him using it on any of us. He just threatened."
Aunt Novella added: "He chewed Brown Mule chewing tobacco and he loved a bottle of beer. Every time he got home from town grandma would smell his breath and say, 'Now you've been drinkin' that beer again!'"
"And he'd say, 'Now Fannie, even the Apostle Paul says wine is good for the stomach.'"
"And she'd say, 'Don't pull that Bible on me!'"
Aunt Novella thinks her grandfather Williams worked as some sort of timekeeper for the railroad, but she's not sure; she was only 14 when he died. He always carried a pocket watch--maybe because he worked on the railroad, my aunt said.
She noted that he was also very religious and always gave the blessing over the communion at Campbell's Chapel Christian Church near Piercetown where he was an elder.