Walter Williams was the son of Sally and Emanuel Williams and the brother of Jones Williams, Carter Williams, Biddy Ann Williams-Christian, Annie Williams-Carter, Keziah Williams-Cross, and Isaac Williams. Family relationships are detailed in several Freedmans Bank records for accounts opened by him. The most extensive listing is in the record dated 08 AUG 1871. He first opened an account in Richmond in 1868 and described himself as a scholar in instructions. In 1872 he opened an account in New York where he described himself as a waiter employed by Mr. Dooley. In 1873 he opened an account in Washington, D.C. where he again described himself as a student.