Born in Monticello, Kentucky on May 18, 1828. One of the first acts passed by California legislators concerned the regulation of corporations and businesses, the enforcement of which was dependent, in part, upon the Attorney General. Consequently, Williams became immediately involved in corporate oversight.
He expressed an interest in aiding the Controller in tax litigation, however the passage of the Revenue Law of 1860 did not clarify the AG's role in tax matters. He later regretted his interest because of the over-augmentation of tax matters imposed on his office. Died in San Francisco in 1886.