History and Genealogy of Williamson County, Texas.
The year is 1848 and 107 citizens of western Milam County petition the, "Honorable Legislature of the State of Texas" to form a new county. They explain that, "in their present situation it is very inconvenient for them to attend the courts of Milam County, most of them having to go from 40 to 50 miles." Both copies of the petition originally propose the new county be named San Gabriel, however this name is crossed out; one copy substitutes the name Clear Water.
But lawmakers in Austin chose instead to honor one of their own. In so doing, they named this county for a spirited man — he was an editor, a patriot, a country school teacher, a lawmaker, and a Major of the first Texas Rangers. "To Judge Williamson nature had indeed been lavish of her mental gifts, but as if repenting of her prodigality in that line, she later afflicted him with a grievous physical burden; his right leg being drawn up at a right angle at the knee, necessitating the substitution of a wooden leg, which circumstances gave rise to the name by which he was familiarly known — " Three-Legged-Willie" . . . .
He could leave a court room over which he had just presided with all the grace and dignity of a lord chief justice, and within an hour be patting Juba for some nibble footed scapegrace to dance." (Smithwick, p. 44) The colorful history of this county is matched by the colorful life of it's namesake, Judge Robert McAlpin Williamson (see picture of full length portrait that hangs in the State Capitol ).