History of Williams, California
From: Colusa County
Its History Traced From A State of Nature
Through The Early Period of Settlement
And Development To The Present Day
By: Justus H. Rogers
Orland, California, 1891
This prosperous place derives its name from W. H. Williams, a large land owner and on whose land the place was
laid out. The town had only an inchoate existence, and was not known to the outside world till sometime in February,
1876, when Mr. Williams began circulating maps showing the advantages which would accrue to those purchasing town
lots there. Many availed themselves of this opportunity and have profited not a little thereby. At this period
it was foreseen by all that the Northern Railway would make Williams a station on its line. Hence, as the laying
of the tracks day by day sensibly shortened the distance between Arbuckle and Williams, town lot purchasers locked
in, buildings were rapidly erected, and when the first train moved into the place, the long continued ear piercing
salutation of the locomotive whistle greeted a live little town of stores and dwellings, whose inhabitants were
confident without being boastful. Much to the future advantage and peace of mind of this people, the tonguey and
lungy "boomer" did not come on this train. The first denizens of this place were sensible business people.
They were conservative in their ambitions and modest in casting the horoscope of their bantling burg, which could
scarcely be expected, without more or less self restraint, from a people who had just laid the foundations of their
town on a spot to which the fertile plains between it and the Sacramento River on the east, and the rich soils
of the foot hills nourished by canon streams on the west, were to prove tributary and to find a market and an outlet
for their generous abundance.
The character of the business places and their number, together with the number of those engaged in the various
trades and professions, are as follows: General merchandise, two; drugs, one; hardware, two; tin shop, one; furniture
and undertaking, one; boots and shoes, one; livery stables, two; blacksmith shops, three; paint shop, one; barber
shop, two; hotels, two; restaurant, one; lumber yard, one; ice house, one; meat market, one; saloons, eight; flouring
mill, one; Williams Agricultural Works; warehouses, two; fruit and variety store, two; harness shops, two; millinery
and dress making, three; bank, one. There are, of course, all the needful commercial machinery of express office,
post office, telegraph and telephone. The bank is conducted by the Stovall-Wilcoxson Company, largely interested
in the business of the community. The Williams Roller Mill was erected in 1877 by a stock company, but several
additions and many improvements have been made to it since. It has a capacity of eighty barrels of flour per day.
A foundry and machine shop is also an important feature in the industrial life of the town.