William was born in Athens, Georgia. Preceding his birth, his parents had lost two infant girls, Mary Ann and Sarah Elizabeth, who died from some childhood diseases.
During his youth in Athens, William was accidentally hit in the eye by his younger brother, Joshua. In spite of the loss of sight in his eye, he worked as a craftsman during his lifetime. Even at the age of fifteen, he was reported in the 1850 census as a carriage maker. Since that was his father's occupation, he evidently helped in the family business.
In 1860 William was working in Covington, Newton County, Georgia with his cousin Eldred Floyd, as a painter in a carriage making business. They both boarded with a Miss Martha Berry. On September 10, 1860 (Book C 1850-1867 Newton County) he married Catherine M. Robinson, daughter of Joseph and Martha Robinson. Joseph was a prosperous farmer in the Covington area.
William served during the War Between the States from 1863 to 1865 when he was wounded. He enlisted in Athens in Hudson's Battery, Captain Hudson's Company, Georgia Light Artillery (Arsenal Battery) and was discharged in Athens, according to the 1907 tax digest of Clarke County. A search of Civil War records in the Georgia Archives fails to reveal any record of his service but since many of the records of these local units were lost, this is not unusual.
In 1867 William and "Kate" were living in Atlanta on Peters Street and William was employed as a carriage trimmer (Atlanta City Directory, 1867), but by 1870 they were back in Covington and he was a carriage trim maker (Newton Co. census p.86, line 21) and had four children. A grandson, Lucius G. Duncan remembers that William operated a small harness making shop in later years.
It is not known when Kate died or when William moved to Athens, but in 1910 he owned a home there at 185 Childs Street. His sister, Eveline, and daughter, Libby, lived with him (1910 Clarke Co., GA census, ED11 Sheet 68.) He died at the age of 92 and was living at 449 Hull Street in Athens. 
- Silas Reynolds and His Georgia Descendants by Charlotte Wilbanks Bryan (1991)