Williams, William (1803–1894)

By: Carol E. Carpenter

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1996

Updated: March 19, 2019

William (Bill) Williams, settler and soldier, son of Maria Priscilla and Thomas Williams, was born in Tennessee on October 25, 1803. By 1818 the family had moved to Missouri Territory (present Arkansas), and around 1819 they moved to Texas through what is now Red River County. They had close ties to and traveled with Chief Bowl and the Cherokees. Soon after coming to Texas, William and his brother Leonard were captured by Indians. Held prisoner for months, they eventually were released or escaped, finding their way back to settlements on the Red River. William offered his services as a soldier to Col. Peter Ellis Bean during the Fredonian Rebellion in 1826, for which he was awarded a land grant on October 30, 1834. As a volunteer in James Bradshaw's company, Williams saw action in the battle of Nacogdoches in 1832. He was in the Army of the Republic of Texas from June 22 to September 22, 1836, and was a ranger in Capt. Michael Costley's company from September 11 to December 11, 1836. Williams worked for the pacification of the Indians to prevent them from allying with Mexican forces. He formed the Christian church in Mount Calm in spite of declaring himself to be a Catholic upon entering Texas. Williams first married Mary Isaacs, who was part Cherokee and the sister of Nancy Isaacs, his brother Leonard's wife. In 1827 he married Cinderella Jane Shaw, the niece of Colonel Bean. William and Cinderella were the parents of fourteen children. By 1877 they were living next door to their youngest son, Y. L. Williams, east of Ranger in Eastland County. Blind for years before his death, William died on May 14, 1894; Cinderella preceded him in death in 1890. Both are buried in Ranger's Pioneer Cemetery.

Carolyn Reeves Ericson, Nacogdoches, Gateway to Texas: A Biographical Directory (2 vols., Fort Worth: Arrow-Curtis Printing, 1974, 1987). Grant Foreman, Indians and Pioneers (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1936). Residents of Texas, 1782–1836 (microfilm, San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1984). Dorman H. Winfrey, A History of Rusk County (Waco: Texian, 1961).

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

Carol E. Carpenter, “Williams, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 04, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/williams-william.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1996
March 19, 2019