Amy Bennett Williams' Essays

Fridays @ 8:45am

Amy Bennett Williams touches our hearts each week with a special Essay. From the beauty found in Southwest Florida to heart-warming stories of family, friends and neighbors, her essays take us around our community and often into our past.  Her essays extol the beauty found in the commonplace objects and places – and are delivered with a touch of tenderness.

Williams is a long-time writer for The News-Press who started emptying ashtrays and writing obits and now has the coolest job title she can imagine: Storyteller. She's also author of the pictorial history book, "Along the Caloosahatchee" and is at work on another. She and her husband, Roger, also a writer, live in rural Alva with their two sons and way too many animals.


Mar 24, 2017
Clark Maxwell via Flickr Creative Commons

The village of Goodland in Collier County is marked as the official site where Hurricane Wilma made Florida landfall during the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season. However, News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams tells us that many years before that, the quaint fishing village served as the vital backdrop for childhood visits with her grandfather.  For her, the community and it’s long-preserved character are infused with touchstone memories, formative experiences and provided that initial attraction that eventually led her to build a life here in Southwest Florida.


Feb 17, 2017
Amy Bennett Williams

Hendry County may be a sparsely populated and mostly rural region, but it also holds a wealth of historic markers.  In this week’s encore essay, News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams takes us to the LaBelle Ranch Supply store, where among the bags of deer pellets, cattle cubes and hog feed for sale, she discovered a historic treasure marking the lives and hard work of the region’s cattlemen who’ve passed on.

Wild Bill Belvin

Feb 3, 2017
Southwest Florida Historical Society

In last week’s essay from News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams we heard an unusual story of local folklore about the Caloosahatchee Sheman who, legend has it, roamed the wooded areas along the Caloosahatchee River with his pet alligator named Devil sometime in the 1800s.  Although thorough searching has uncovered no truth behind the tale, it did lead Williams’ to the story of another local legend who allegedly spent a year in the woods living off Southwest Florida’s natural bounty.  This week, Amy Bennett Williams brings us the story of “Wild Bill” Belvin. 

Sheman Legend

Jan 27, 2017

Newspress storyteller Amy Bennett Williams has an avid interest in Southwest Florida history…particularly the stories you’ll hear told by the region’s old-timers. But this week’s encore essay involving a strange tale of pirate treasure, murder, revenge, and a pet alligator named ‘Devil,’ likely goes in the category of ‘folklore’ rather than ‘history.’

Heavy in the Bag

Jan 6, 2017
Amy Bennett Williams

It’s a sensation most of us are all too familiar with: that sense of being overwhelmed by the tasks and responsibilities on our plates, and feeling guilty over things we haven’t gotten to, or that we’re worried we’re not quite doing right. It’s a sensation News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams is all too familiar with herself, as she explains in this week’s encore essay.