Williams, John (unknown–unknown)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 13, 2020

Two of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists were named John Williams (a third was named John R. Williams). One of the two, probably a single man, although he was called John Williams, Sr., was a partner of Mills M. Battle and M. Berry in a sitio of land in present Matagorda County that was deeded to them on August 10, 1824. A Matagorda County history claims that this John Williams was born in Caswell County, North Carolina, and came to Texas with his eight siblings (including Robert H. Williams and Charles F. Augustus Williams), that he never married, and that he had died by May 1839, when his will was probated. Battle and Berry were in business in San Felipe, and it may have been their partner John Williams who was in the San Felipe area in 1833 when William B. Travis obtained judgments for debt against him for his clients Whetstone and William Inglish. The other colonist named John Williams received title to a labor of land in what is now Waller County on August 24, 1824. He may have been the man who voted in a colony election in April 1824 and who became a corporal in the militia in July.

Identification of the original colonists is complicated by other persons named John Williams who moved into early Texas. Pennsylvanian John Williams, thirty-two, and his wife, Margaret, arrived in Nacogdoches in 1828. John Williams, a single man aged twenty-seven and classified as a mechanic, was also in Nacogdoches, as were John Williams, forty, his wife, Elizabeth, and their six children. A John J. Williams was alcalde in the Ayish Bayou area in February 1824. A John Williams who served under John J. Tumlinson was killed by Indians in Reuben Hornsby's cornfield in 1836. The name John Williams also appears on a number of Texas Revolution muster rolls and post-revolution bounty land warrants.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., 1986–88). Thomas L. Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, 1835–1888 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days (Austin: Gammel, 1900; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Williams, John,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 05, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/williams-john.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2020

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