Rev. Manchen Williams

November 16, 1914 - April 9, 1998
Role: Tophand, Preacher
Nicknames: Mack, Coyote Preito - Black Wolf

Reverend Mack was born on Martin O’Connor’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 grandmother’s brother who was full Cherokee. His paternal grandfather, Thornton Williams, was a Tom O’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.

Introduction to Rev. Mack

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Rev. Mack Williams
Rev. Mack Williams – Well, cowboyin' is… the way we had it out when we was kids, we didn't call it too tough, I guess. But, it is a tough life if you just want to know cause, one thing about it, it never did rain on us. If it rained, it just rained. And mosquitoes didn't get too bad and what not. When I was a cowboy you just out there. You gonna work and that was it. Horses fallin' on you and throwin' calves, and calves throwin' you and ridin' and things like that. Getting broke up. I have this leg cracked right here. Have these two ribs broke right here. The thing about it, out there at the ranch, I was at home. That was just the whole thing. I was at home. And I didn't think I'd ever leave there, and just start preachin', that's the only thing that got me away from there but I didn't think I'd ever leave there. If I could recall my days back as a kid, I'd call 'em back and go to the ranch rather than go anywhere I've been. If I hadn't been preachin' I'd have been on the ranch still.


“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