(From The Heritage of Carteret County North Carolina, Vol. 1-1982, pub. By The Carteret Historical Research Association, Beaufort, NC.)

     Robert Williams was b. in Ruthin, North Wales, County Denbighshire, Ap 29, 1723, d. Sept. 4, 1790 at "Dinnant" the family home near Beaufort, N.C. He is buried 200 yards from the grist mill and dam on his property now owned by the International Paper Co.
     He sailed from London in 1763 and became a merchant in New Bern, N.C. In 1765 he came to Beaufort and built a Salt Works on 10 acres on the east end of Front St. This is now the Davis property and it is still listed as the "Salt Works Property" on the Tax lists.
     In April 1775, the British Parliament cut off all supplies coming to America.  This included the salt that was so vital for the preservation of foods etc.  On Apr. 23, 1776, the Provincial Congress at Halifax, N.C. chose Robert Williams, William Thompson of Carteret Co. and Waightstall Avery and Richard Blackledge of New Bern as Commissioners to produce salt.  Up until this time salt had been shipped in.  Robert Williams had traveled to many countries, having come from a wealthy family.  He had studied the salt evaporation process in France, Spain and Portugal and possibly China. The early Chinese records show they extracted salt from the sea water by evaporation.  They valued salt next to gold.  He tells in his letters of watching the process in France, Spain and Portugal and he had become very learned in the process.
     In a letter to James Coor he states "I shall not wait for Blackledge and Avery" and proceeded to build the Salt Works as it was already May and the season lasted only to August.  In a letter to Cornelius Harnet he mentions how some of the other Commissioners don't seem to be concerned about getting started because of the short season.  He goes into detail about how the salt could be put into cone shaped piles until it is taken away and even the weather does not hurt it even when exposed for up to three years.  He also says he expects between 10-25 bushel a day from the 18 marsh beds in hot dry weather.  He says "if there is no salt it will require but little force to subdue and starve the Province, which next spring must and will fall, of course, and tumble down itself, like an old house in a calm."
     Land was purchased from Arthur Mabsob on Gallant's Point where the Fish Factory now stands on Newport River.  It contained 10 acres and 40 poles or 82 poles front and 20 poles back.  At one point his partner mentions he got 1 peck of salt from 32 gallons of water.  There were other salt works of which Zarariah Harker's was one.
     In 1767 he returned to England and there he married an English lady named Elizabeth Dearman.  They came to America on his own vessel.  As the trip took about three months and it would be a lonely trip, Elizabeth asked a dear friend to come with them.  She was Anne Shoebridge of Essex or London.  Elizabeth died in 1773 and is buried in the cemetery at "Dinnant."  Robert and Elizabeth Williams had one son, Richard, b. Nov. 28, 1770.  Robert built the first brick house in Carteret Co. and had the brick brought from England.
     After a decent length of time Robert married Elizabeth's friend Anne Shoebridge, Oct. 10, 1774.  They had seven children of which at present I can mention , John, Elizabeth and Samuel.
     Anne Shoebridge was the dau. of Richard and Martha Belle Shoebridge (b. 1712 in Kent).  Their dau.  Anne b. Sept. 7, 1748, London.  She lived to be 97 years old, d. June 9, 1845 near Somerton, Belmont Co. Ohio at the home of her son, Samuel Williams, buried in the Friends burying ground in Ohio.
     Robert and Anne were members of the Core Sound Meeting and in 1771 Robert and Anne were condemned in meetings for his shortcomings and again in 1773 he was condemned in a letter from Horsley Down.  On July 13, 1774 he was disowned but was reinstated Aug. 11, 1779; he is listed as a minister, but he and his wife Anne were ordered to sit in silence in the meeting, taking no part in the business until the meeting was satisfied.  In May 15, l782 they were received into active membership.
     In 1800 Anne Williams, along with some, if not all her children, went to Ohio along with the Bordens, Pasquenefts, Dews, Jonas Small, Francis Mace and other families from Carteret Co. Jonas Small and Francis Mace were two of the families that returned.  Jean Kell has an excellent chapter about the Salt Works in her Book "Carteret Co. in the American Revolution."

Sources: Family records; Clarks and Saunders Colonial Records.
Ethel T. Elliott