Joseph M. Williams was born May 3, 1912, at Republic, Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
Prior to enlistment in the Pennsylvania Motor Police, he enrolled in the ROTC at West Virginia University, Morgantown. Private Williams enlisted in the Pennsylvania Motor Police from South Uniontown, on April 1, 1938, and was assigned to Troop A-2, Harrisburg. He was 25 years old and 5’8½” tall.
At 11:50 p.m. on October 8, 1938, Privates Williams and Charles H. Craven were on U.S. Route 30, 4 miles east of Gettysburg, checking motor vehicles for identification. The Troopers had two vehicles stopped and left their patrol car to inspect the operators. A car driven by a Hanover resident struck Privates Williams and Craven. It then hit the patrol car before coming to rest in a ditch. Privates Williams and Craven were taken to Annie M. Warner Hospital, Gettysburg. Private Williams was pronounced dead upon arrival. Private Craven died three days later.
Private Williams is buried in the Sylvan Heights Cemetery, North Union Township, Fayette County. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Rose Williams, of South Uniontown. At 26, Private Williams had completed seven months of Pennsylvania Motor Police service. This was the Department’s first double tragedy resulting from a motor vehicle accident.