February 6, 2018 | Posted in Marriage | By

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, AR – For 80 years of marriage, Family Council will honor, I.B. and Ima Jewel Williams of Biscoe as Arkansas’ Longest Married Couple. The Williams, along with the Top Ten Longest Married Couples, will be celebrated at a special dessert reception at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion with guests Governor Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson. This is Family Council’s inaugural year searching for Arkansas’ Longest Married Couple. “We are excited to start this annual tradition of celebrating marriage and finding Arkansas’ Longest Married Couples,” Jerry Cox, President of Family Council said. “The Williams symbolize the good of Arkansas, a state that has always valued marriage, family, and God. The Williams, along with the Top Ten Longest Married Couples, will receive a Special Statement of Recognition from Governor Hutchinson, and the Williams’ family and friends will be present to celebrate this momentous occasion.

I.B. and Ima Jewel Williams, respectively 99 and 94 years old, met at church in Bayou Meto, Arkansas. The story goes that I.B. was attending church with a friend and sat behind Ima Jewel and would pull her hair. He told his friends that he was going to date her, but her dad would not let her date anyone. He then started walking her home from church which was several miles out of his way. One Sunday during summer, Ima Jewel had invited a friend and I.B. Williams and his friend to come over to her home. They were sitting around talking and playing house. He then asked her if she would like to play house for real and she replied yes. They married shortly after on September 4, 1937, and have kept their marriage covenant ever since.

“Congratulations to Arkansas’ Top Ten Longest Married Couples and a special salute to I.B. and Ima Jewel Williams on their amazing 80 year journey,” Cox said. Family Council is honored to have the opportunity to celebrate couples who exemplify devotion to God and their marriage covenant. Along with the Williams, the Top Ten Longest Married Couples will be honored at a special reception at the Governor’s Mansion Tuesday, February 20th. These are Arkansas’ Top Ten Longest Married Couples:

  • I.B. and Ima Jewel Williams of Biscoe – 80 years, married September 4, 1937
  • Marlin and Elsie Scott of Batesville – 79 years, married June 25, 1938
  • Betty and Cletus Hall of Berryville – 78 years, married July 22, 1939
  • Cleovis and Arwilda Whiteside of White Hall – 78 years, married July 24, 1939
  • Cecil and Lois Robertson of Heber Springs – 78 years, married September 8, 1939
  • Gussie and James Stephenson of North Little Rock – 78 years, married December 25, 1939
  • Thell and Margie Ellison of Natural Dam – 76 years, married June 24, 1941
  • Grady and Wilma Adcock of Hot Springs – 75 years, married July 3, 1942
  • JC and Avanelle Merritt of Greenbrier – 75 years, married July 9, 1942
  • ND and Anna Mae Edwards of Alma – 75 years, married October 24, 1942

Stories and pictures of Arkansas’ Longest Married Couples of 2018 will be released on our website the week of the reception.

Family Council is a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock with a mission of promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values.


Photo Credit: By Jeff Belmonte from Cuiabá, Brazil (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.