One of the great things about working in the Special Collections Department of the Denton Public Library is that we not infrequently meet descendants of early Denton County pioneers. Recently we had a request for info about an “F.H. Williams” who had apparently lived in Denton Co. in the 1850s. The patron mentioned that this third great grandfather was married to a Margaret Stewart and was originally from Virginia. This would be a chance to explore old tax and deed records that historians are fortunate to still have for Denton County since the original stone courthouse burned in 1874.
The C.A. Bridges book, “History of Denton From Its Beginning to 1960” quotes the Dallas Herald from February 1856 stating that a Fred H. Williams was appointed interim sheriff of Denton Co. apparently to fill the remaining term of Felix McKittrick who resigned either in late 1855 or early 1856.”150 Years of Denton County Sheriffs from 1846 to 1996″ by Thurman and Lucas has substantially the same info and adds that C.A. Williams was elected on August 24th 1856. Thus, Fred H. apparently was sheriff for about six months.
Mr. Williams can be found in the Denton Co. Tax Rolls 1846-1910 as living in Pilot Point in 1855 (click on the image to see full size):
I asked Mr. Alec Williams, who a direct descendant of C.A. Williams and local historian, if he knew anything about Fred Williams and he did not but was intrigued. The only other record we have so far located is the 1860 U.S. Census where it finds he and his family living in Grayson County and his occupation is listed as “stock raiser”, which was probably also his livelihood while sheriff. Pilot Point is not far at all from Grayson so this makes sense. Here is that census:
One can see that the name on the census matches as he is married to a Margaret and was from Virginia. Thanks to a request by a patron in New Mexico we have been able to fill in a little more information about an important early Denton County pioneer!
-posted by Chuck Voellinger, Special Collections Librarian.