Reverend Mack was born on Martin Oâ€™Connorâ€™s Peach Mott Ranch. He was one-quarter Indian and only spoke Spanish until he was twenty-eight years old. His given name, Manchen, came from his paternal grandmotherâ€™s brother who was full Cherokee. His paternal grandfather, Thornton Williams, was a Tom Oâ€™Connor [I] slave. He was freed before emancipation and continued working for the O'Connors as a freedman. His maternal grandparents were Francis Dolly Lewis Weathers and Isaiah Weathers, the famous preacher from Lewis' Bend, the freedman settlement on the San Antonio River. Both of his parents, Emma Weathers Williams and Butler Williams, worked on the Peach Mott Ranch; Butler as a cook. Mack always wanted to be a cowboy. He started working around thirteen years of age. During World War II he rode pasture because of the manpower shortage. Mack was greatly respected by ranch families, both the owners and the employees. On the short list of the most amazing people to work with, his input through the years gave us one of the richest pictures of how it really was and how those who did this work really loved and forever missed it. After his cowhand days were over, Mack became a preacher, a ranger with the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, an expert on nature and edible wild plants, and a respected civic leader.
“I’ll tell you about that ranch life. It was tough, but I never thought about it that way. If it rained, it just rained. Mosquitoes couldn’t get too bad to stop us. When I was a cowboy you were just out there — horses fallin’ on you, calves fallin’on you, your bones gettin’ broke up. If I hadn’t started preachin’, I ’d still be there. If I could recall my days back, I’d go to that ranch rather than anywhere I’ve ever been. I like that life.”
Cryin' For Daylight: Ranching Culture in the Texas Coastal Bend