While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Peter Goddard
The Old Eighteen
Ezekiel Williams was a member of the Old Eighteen at the battle of Gonzales. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

WILLIAMS, EZEKIEL (?–1844). Ezekiel Williams was an important figure in the Texas Revolution. He arrived in DeWitt’s Colony from the United States in January 1829 and that same year joined Capt. Abner Kuykendall on an expedition against the Indians. On May 1, 1831, Green DeWitt signed a land grant to Williams, a single male, for one-fourth league of land (just more than 1,100 acres). In November 1832 Williams served as the first alcalde of the ayuntamiento of Gonzales. The proceedings of the ayuntamiento of Gonzales record that on August 12, 1833, Williams and B. D. McClure were appointed to review and appraise the lots of Gonzales. On April 21, 1834, Williams became judge for DeWitt’s Colony.

Ezekiel Williams was one of the Old Eighteen who refused to surrender the Gonzales “Come and Take It” cannon back to the Mexicans. When Francisco de Castañeda and his men arrived on the west bank of the Guadalupe River on September 29, 1835, high water and the eighteen militiamen in Gonzales prevented Castañeda and his men from crossing the river and recovering the cannon. Castañeda became aware that reinforcements were arriving on the other side of the river, so he moved his men seven miles north of Gonzales and set up camp on land owned by Williams. The ensuing battle occurred on Williams’s land and precipitated the Texas Revolution.

Williams was appointed a captain in the Texas Revolutionary Army at the Consultation at San Felipe in November 1835. After the formation of the Republic of Texas, Williams and other  important men from Gonzales, including James Tumlinson Sr., Francis Berry, Robert Smith, James Tumlinson Jr., and John Tumlinson, unanimously voted for Sam Houston for president and Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar for vice-president. On September 5, 1836, Williams also attested that some of the men from Gonzales were in favor of the Republic of Texas being “attached to the United States of the north.” Unfortunately, Williams did not live long enough to see the annexation of Texas. He died on December 13, 1844, in Gonzales. He was never married.


John Henry Brown, History of Texas from 1685 to 1892 (2 vols., St. Louis: Daniell, 1893). Proceedings of The Gonzales Ayuntamiento 1833, 1834, 1835 & 1836 and Gonzales Town Council 1836–1846, Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas, DeWitt Colony Government-Index (http://www.sonsofdewittcolony.org/gonminutes.htm), accessed January 7, 2018. “Williams.” DeWitt Colony Biographies, Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas (http://www.sonsofdewittcolony.org/dewittbios3.htm#williams), accessed February 16, 2018.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Peter Goddard, "WILLIAMS, EZEKIEL ," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwill.

Uploaded on February 19, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...