CAPTAIN J. H. WILLIAMS is the owner of a valuable farm of four hundred acres, much of which he rents and in his farming operations he has met with the success that results from close application. He was born in Fayette, Howard county, Missouri, in 1834, a son of John T. Williams, whose birth occurred in Virginia. The mother bore the maiden name of Sally Porter and was a native of Kentucky. Both parents have now passed away, Mr. Williams dying in Missouri in 1847, while his wife departed this life in California in 1870 at the age of seventy years. They were the parents of thirteen children, twelve of whom reached adult age, while six are yet living, as follows: Newton, a resident of Oregon; Nancy E., who is the widow of James M. Wilson and resides in Preston; Harriet, the wife of P. H. Russell, of California; Caroline, the wife of Jesse L. Cravens, of Fayetteville, Arkansas; J. H., of this review; and Joseph P.,who is also living in Oregon. In early life the father removed to Missouri and there conducted a hotel up to the time of his death.
Captain Williams, whose name introduces this record, was a youth of thirteen years when he went from his native county to Jasper county, Missouri, where he was living at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war. Espousing the cause of the south he joined the Confederate army in April, 1861 and was made captain and adjutant of a regiment under General Price with the division of Missouri. In 1862 he joined the Confederate forces under General Hinman and was adjutant in Lewis’ Missouri brigade with the rank of captain. He served throughout the entire period of hostilities and participated in many engagements, including the battles of Oak Hill and Carthage, Missouri, Prairie Grove, Arkansas, Ginger Ferry on the Saline river in Arkansas, the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, and many skirmishes, but though often in the thickest of the fight he was never wounded nor taken prisoners. When the war was over he returned to Howard county, Missouri, where he remained for a year, acting as a clerk during that period. He then came to Texas in 1867, settling first at Sherman, where he was engaged in merchandizing until 1869. In that year he came to Preston Bend, and engaged in farming and cotton raising. He has since been very successful in his business undertakings. He manifests keen discrimination and enterprise in his business affairs and his labors have brought him a measure of success. When he first took up his abode in this locality it was a typical frontier district, in which wild animals were frequently seen, while the Indians occasioned serious depredations in running off stock and also rendering life to a large degree unsafe. Captain Williams, however, had no trouble with the red men.
In 1898 the captain was married to Miss Belle Smith, a native of Alabama. He is one of the public spirited men of this district, enjoying the confidence and trust of his fellow citizens and is accounted one of the representative residents of Preston. He belongs to the Masonic order, to the Fraternal Union of America, and in these organizations as well as in social and business relations is held in the highest esteem by all with whom he comes in contact.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 542-543.