In 1756, Major Andrew Lewis and his exposition were traveling through the
area that is now Mingo County. The men ran out of food, but killed a buffalo
between present-day Williamson and Kermit. The men cut the meat into small
strips called "tugs". They ate the tugs while stopping by a river. Later, this
river was referred to by Lewis as "the river where we ate the tugs". Therefore,
the river was named the Tug River.
The first settlers arrived in the Williamson area sometime in the 1790's. Between 1800 and 1810, the area that is now downtown Williamson was acquired by a man named Anthony Lawson. The land was cleared in the early 1820's. The first white child to be born in Williamson was Amanda Lowe, my great-great-great-grandmother. This occurred in 1826. Lowe's father, Thomas Patrick Lowe, came to this area from North Carolina in 1825. He assisted in clearing the land and built the house later known as the Ben Williamson house. Thomas Lowe's father-in-law, Isaac Brewer, came to the area from the Church Valley of Virginia in 1800.
Thomas Lowe sold his land in 1839 and moved his family to Marrowbone Creek. After moving, Lowe granted his slaves their freedom. Around the same time, Anthony Lawson sold the land that is now downtown to his friend Benjamin Williamson, who was also an early inhabitant of the area. Lawson and his brother Harry lived in what is now East Williamson.
Benjamin Williamson divided the land up evenly among his children. His son, Benjamin, Jr., got the section that is now the business section of Williamson. Benjamin Williamson, Sr. died in 1854. His grave can be seen in the Williamson Cemetary on Reservation Hill.