John Whitmire emigrated to Franklin County, Mo., with his parents around 1816. In 1829, he married Elizabeth Williams, the daughter of Rev. Lewis Williams and his wife, the former Nancy Jump.
Williams was an early Baptist minister who descended from the Musick Family that founded Fee Fee Baptist Church in St. Louis County, the oldest surviving Baptist Church west of the Mississippi River. Williams, who was born in 1784, served in the War of 1812 before coming to Missouri.
The church was started by Rev. Thomas Roy Musick, who was Lewis Williams’ uncle. Musick reportedly held protestant worship services from a boat in the Mississippi River while St. Louis was still under Spanish rule.
Prior to the Louisiana Purchase, it was forbidden by Spanish law for protestant services to be held in the territory. The early church operated a school attended by Indian children and adults, as well as others.
Rev. Lewis Williams was the son of Joseph and Sarah (Musick) Williams. Nancy Jump’s family had also settled in the Fee Fee community before moving to rural Franklin County. At one point Lewis and Nancy Williams were living on St. John’s Creek in the northwestern part of the county.