Final words of the fervent, a rogue or a public servant?

returned to sender

The above epitaph certainly leaves a bit of room for interpretation, doesn’t it?

Leaving out the wholly literal – and decidedly unpleasant – vision of James E. Williams being returned physically to the womb of his aged mother, we’re left with a few other options:

  • That the epitaph refers to the concept of Mr. Williams’ soul returning to God, from whence it came;
  • That Mr. Williams was a real jackass and was sent to his maker before his time was actually up because those around him had had more than their fill of him; or
  • That Mr. Williams was a former postal worker and the inscription was a means of underscoring his years of service.

While No. 2 is the most entertaining option, it would seem that if the decedent was real pill it’s likely his cohorts would have helped him shuffle off this mortal coil long before he reached 79 years of age.

Given that Mr. Williams is buried in the Hannah AME Church Cemetery in rural Newberry County, SC, it appears that No. 1 and possibly No 3 are the more probable explanations.

Of course, it could simply be that Mr. Williams wanted to ensure a chuckle to those passing by.

5 thoughts on “Final words of the fervent, a rogue or a public servant?

  1. James Edward Williams
    Newberry Observer, The (SC) — Friday, December 21, 2012
    LITTLE MOUNTAIN – Funeral services for Mr. James Edward Williams, 79, will be conducted on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, at 11 a.m. at Hannah A.M.E. Church.

    Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

    Mr. Williams departed this earthly life and entered into the arms of Jesus on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, at White Oak Manor in Newberry.

    Born in Newberry County, he was the son of the late Melinda Williams Boyd and the late Jesse Burton. At an early age he moved to Philadelphia, Pa. and became a member of Friendly Baptist Church where he served on the deacon board, senior choir and male chorus. Upon his return to South Carolina in 1994, he joined Hannah A.M.E. Church where he was a trustee and a member of the senior choir.

    Mr. Williams was also the founder of the male chorus.

    Surviving are his wife, Lillie C. Williams of Little Mountain; four daughters, Wanda Bryant of Savannah, Ga.; Denise Williams of Philadelphia, Pa.; Judy Lang (Donald) of Yeadon, Pa.; Monique Williams of Philadelphia, Pa.; one son, Mark Williams (Bernadette) of Philadelphia, Pa.; sisters, Vivian Hair (James) of Prosperity; Ruthie Coxs (Billie); Hazel Cannon (Sherman) all of Columbia; Velcenia Williams (Andrew) of Chapin; Hattie Hinnant (Eddie) of Columbia; brothers, Ernest Boyd (Bessie); Harold Boyd (Lucinda); Robert Boyd Jr. (Rosa) all of Prosperity; Rev. Jessie Burton (Louise) of Columbia; Joseph Burton (Rosetta) of Irmo; Paul Burton (Mary) of Columbia; David Burton (Pamela); Eugene Burton (Shirley) all of Irmo; four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, one uncle, Lewis Burton of Newberry; a hosto nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

    Family and friends may send expressions of condolences and sign the online guest book at

    Services entrusted to F.B. Pratt & Son Funeral Home, Inc.

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