William Robert Lamb, Texas Populist leader, was born on October 21, 1850, in McNair County, Tennessee, one of seven children of John Madison and Parmelia A. (Thomason) Lamb. His father was from Missouri. While he was a boy his family moved to Claibourne Parish, Louisiana, where William's mother died. When his father moved to Arkansas, William was bound out for eighteen months to a local Claibourne Parish man, and when his contract was up he worked for two other men in the parish. In 1869, the year his father died in Bowie County, Texas, William moved to Collinsville, Grayson County, Texas, where he worked as a stationary engineer. In 1871 he moved to Denton County and worked first as a rail splitter and then as a hired hand for area farmers. On October 12, 1873, Lamb married eighteen-year-old Drusilla E. Wilson of Jackson Parish, Louisiana, and began farming on rented land. In July 1876 he took a preemption on land in Montague County adjoining the block on which the town of Bowie was later laid out. He built a log cabin on the land and in 1883 moved his family to it. By March 12, 1891, when his wife died, Lamb had five children. On April 24, 1892, he married Mrs. Elizabeth Mary Greenwood Pepperell.
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