Williams Township was officially created on 7 February 1869. In 1869, the township area was separated from Wiconisco Township, which it had been part of since 1840. Prior to being part of Wiconisco Township, the same area was part of Lykens Township from 1810 to 1840, and before that, it was part of the parent township of Upper Paxton Township from the time of the establishment of Dauphin County in 1785 to 1810.
Records of Williamstown indicate that its first borough council met on 30 July 1887 and about the same time the governance of Williamstown became independent of the township. It is the only incorporated borough in Williams Township, the non-incorporated villages or areas being Dayton, Greenfields, Frogtown, and Mountainside which remain part of the township.
The following explanation is from William Henry Egle‘s History of the Counties of Dauphin and Lebanon of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, published in Philadelphia in 1883 by Everts and Peck:
On 7 February 1868, the township of Williams [Township] was formed from the township of Wiconisco [Township] the court directing the boundary lines as follows:
“Beginning at a black-oak on the Schuylkill County line east 46 1/2 degrees south 1380 perches; thence south 81 degrees west 1400 perches along the highlands of Berry Mountain; thence due north 400 perches; thence north 60 degrees east 415 perches to the place of beginning.”
As thus formed, the township is bounded on the north by Lykens Township, on the east by the Schuylkill County line, on the south by Jackson Township, and on the west by Wiconisco Township, and includes most of what is commonly called Williams Valley. Although one of the smallest townships in the county, it is by no means the least important. It is the centre of the Lykens Valley coal basin, and the termination of the Summit Branch Railroad. Its early history and the development of its coal interests are part of the history of Lykens Valley. The business of the township centres in the mining operations.
Chronologically, Williams Township was the next to last township formed from the area in Dauphin County that lies north of Peter’s Mountain, Wayne Township being the last, which was formed in 1878.