Williams was of English, Welsh, and Huguenot ancestry.
Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams III on March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, United States; the second child of Edwina Dakin and Cornelius Coffin "C. C." Williams. His father was a traveling salesman, and for many years the family lived with his mother's parents. His parents were resentful of each other, his mother once described her husband as "a man's man" who loved to gamble and drink. When Williams was about 13, they moved to a crowded tenement in St. Louis, Missouri. Williams had two siblings, sister Rose Isabel Williams and brother Walter Dakin Williams.