JOSEPH GARDNER WILLIAMS, one of the substantial citizens of the Lawn district of Taylor county, owning one of the splendidly improved farms of this locality, was born in Calhoun county, Alabama, on the 4th of February, 1862. His father, Z. B. Williams, was born October 31, 1824, in South Carolina, whence he removed to Alabama when in middle life, being accompanied by his wife and three children. Mrs. Williams had borne the maiden name of Permelia Emeline Dunken and was probably a native of South Carolina. They settled in Calhoun county, Alabama, where they continued to make their home for many years. The father engaged in freighting before the advent of railroads but later his principal occupation was farming, which he continued with considerable success throughout the greater part of his life. His death occurred December 27, 1887, when he was sixty-three years of age and his wife passed away in the spring of 1901. They reared a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters, but since the death of the parents two daughters and two sons have passed away.
Joseph G. Williams made his home with his father until about twenty-two years of age, during which time he acquired his education in the public schools. He was then married, and after his marriage resided in Alabama for about two years, devoting his energies to agricultural pursuits. In the fall of 1885 he came to Texas, where he has since lived. He first settled in Kaufman county, where he began farming and met with fair success in the venture, but on account of failing health he decided to seek a home elsewhere and made his way to western Texas. He found, however, that he was paying out more for medicine and doctors’ bills than he was earning from his farm and in consequence he left that place, and in the latter part of December, 1890, arrived in Taylor county, having but limited financial resources with which to gain a start here. He first put in a crop about eight miles west of Abilene, but this did not prove very productive. Later he leased land from Dr. Bowlin in the Jim Ned valley, and there he made his home for four years. By this time he managed to save capital sufficient to enable him to invest in land for himself, and accordingly on the 16th of January, 1896, he removed to his present place, situated two miles northwest of Lawn. Here he owns two hundred and fifty-five acres of valuable land, of which one hundred and sixty-five acres are under cultivation, constituting one of the best improve farms of the county.
Mr. Williams was married in Alabama on the 13th of December, 1883, to Miss Lucy Permelia Landers, a native of that state, and a sister of the Landers living in the Lawn country. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have become the parents of six sons and two daughters, namely: Jessie, born October 19, 1884; William Z.,, born September 29, 1887; Draper D., born March 5, 1890; Lucy P., born July 12, 1892; Hammon B., born September 18, 1894; Thomas J., born January 10, 1897; Lulu E., born December 14, 1901; and Miles R., born October 1, 1903. Mr. Williams has been a member of the Baptist church since about seventeen years of age, and has taken considerable interest in church work. Although he has met difficulties and obstacles in his business career he has overcome these by determined purpose and unfaltering energy and has steadily worked his way upward to success, being now the possessor of valuable property interests in Taylor county.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 476-477.