Earle E. Williams

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Earle E. Williams (1898–1983) was a California historian who wrote articles, pamphlets, essays and biographies focused on the region around southwest San Joaquin County and Tracy, California where he grew up in and lived nearly all his life.

Williams was born on January 1, 1898 in Woodside, California to George and Frances Belknap Williams. In 1910, he moved to Tracy where he lived with his sister and her husband on their ranch in the Vernalis area and attended New Jerusalem School and Tracy Joint Union High School. After leaving school at age 16, in 1914, he worked locally in the aggregates industry for many years. In 1928, Williams married Elinor Counihan of Petaluma in settled in Tracy, California, where they raised two children. In 1946, he founded and built the Kerlinger Plant of Pacific Cement and Aggregates on the alluvial fan of Corral Hollow Creek. He operated the plant until he retired in 1965. Williams died on July 4, 1983.[1][2]

Williams was active in a variety of social and civic organizations including the Rotary Club, the West Side Pioneers (now the West Side Pioneer Association), San Joaquin Historical Society and the Native Sons of the Golden West. He was also president of the Tracy District Chamber of Commerce, the San Joaquin County Chamber of Commerce, and the San Joaquin County Historical Society; regional vice-president of District 8 of the Conference of California Historical Societies; and served on the Tracy Community Memorial Hospital board of directors, Tracy Planning Commission, and the Tracy City Council. He was also mayor of Tracy.[1]

Williams' extensive historical research made him known as "the historian" of southern San Joaquin County.[2] Among his writings are his books Old Spanish Trails of the San Joaquin Valley, El Camino Viejo: A Brief History of California's Forgotten Second Highway of the Pioneers, Carrell of Corral Hollow, and History of Tesla: A California Coal Mining Town.

The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley maintains a collection of Williams' correspondence, writings, photos, and research, relating to the history of Tracy and San Joaquin County, California. It includes his research materials and drafts of his many books, articles, and stories about the Corral Hollow area and its ghost towns, including San Joaquin City, Carnegie, and Tesla, along with El Camino Viejo.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b "School History". Earle E. Williams Middle School. Tracy, California. 
  2. ^ a b "Tales of San Joaquin City" (PDF). San Joaquin Historian. San Joaquin County Historical Society. 9 (2). April–June 1973. 
  3. ^ Bancroft Library. "Guide to the Earle E. Williams papers, 1853-1983 (bulk 1952-1983)" (PDF). University of California, Berkeley. 
  4. ^ Earle E. Williams photograph collection. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.