Latitude / Longitude:
1,200 ft (400 m)
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Williams Ranch is the oldest settlement in Mills County, Texas, now a ghost town, with the oldest known cemetery in the vicinity dating back to the mid-19th century. The location is about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Mullin, and 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Goldthwaite, the county seat. When originally settled, Williams Ranch was located in the far southern portion of what is now Brown County. (Mills County was formed in 1887.)
Around 1855, a John Williams from North Carolina was passing through the area and decided to camp for the night beside a spring on Mullin Creek. Impressed with the location, he bought some land from a fellow whose last name was Williams(W. W. Williams) decided to stay and established a ranch on the springs. The reason the town is called Williams Ranch- because all of John Williams sons had Ranches there. During the next ten years, a community grew around Williams Ranch consisting of a number of homes, a hotel, a general store, a school and a number of other businesses including a stage stop. A post office operated in Williams Ranch from 1877 to 1892. The reason the town died was out of greed, because the railroad was going to go through there, but the people raised the price of their lands to high, so the railroad bypassed Williams Ranch, Texas. Outlaw John Wesley Hardin met Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb in Williams Ranch about a month before Hardin killed Webb. By the 1880s, the community had about 250 residents. Its demise began when it was bypassed by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885 but more for the reason of the feud that existed between the town’s original settlers and its newcomers.
Today, there is ample evidence of what was once a thriving ranching community including a well-maintained cemetery. The Allen family presently own property adjacent to the cemetery and are local historians.
Williams Ranch is sited near Mullin Creek, which rises in central Mills County and runs southwest for 12 miles to join on Brown Creek. The settlement served as a stage stop on The Wire Road, a dirt road running from Austin to Fort Phantom Hill near Abilene named for the telegraph line which was the first communication line between Austin and the military outpost. The local terrain is characterized by steep slopes and benches, surfaced by shallow clay loams or sandy soils, which support juniper, live oak, mesquite, and grasses.