Williams Ranch was three miles south of Mullin, its shipping point, and eight miles northwest of Goldthwaite in central Mills County. The site was a ghost town just off U.S. highways 84 and 183 in 1990. The settlement was founded in 1855 by John Williams around a spring in the center of his ranch. Serving as the trading post for a large, sparsely-settled area, the hamlet had a schoolhouse and several stores. A mill was erected in 1877. The stone walls of this mill became the permanent register for the customary public posting of cattle brands. The community was a major stop on a stage line between Austin and Brownwood. Williams Ranch had its time of greatest development between 1881–84, when there were several businesses and a population of 250. Telegraph service was established in the Florida (Hutch) Hotel and was a popular place for those sending telegraph messages as well as for onlookers. Williams Ranch had a post office from 1877 to 1892. During these peak years, the settlement was also the headquarters for West Texas cattlemen who held many conferences there. Telephone lines from Austin to San Angelo eventually passed through the settlement, and many personages visited, including Gen. Robert E. Lee. Several reasons for the demise of Williams Ranch include the failure of the railroad to come through and strong disagreements between old and new residents. In 1958 the settlement was no longer a town, but a rural community consisting of scattered farm houses and probably as few as four houses left in the old city limits. A cemetery site remains, and a historical marker for Williams Ranch has been erected in Mullin.
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