James Williams was a government agent in the late 1920s and was part of "The Untouchables" lead by Eliot Ness in Chicago. He was beaten to death by the gangster Jerry Scaletti and his "bodyguard" Jasper Tate. Although he never lived to see them, he is the grandfather of Ash and Cheryl Williams.
Not much is known about James Williams before his untimely death, except after serving with the United States Army, he graduated from the University of Maryland and later became a Federal Agent. At some point, he was married and had the first of two children, Kent Williams. Before his death, he discovered that his wife was expecting their second child.
James was held captive by Jerry Scaletti and Jasper Tate in 1929 for interrogation on information on a book called The Neconomicon. After refusing to tell Scaletti anything and denying he knew what he was talking about, he managed to free himself from a chair and attacked Scaletti. Scaletti then called his partner, Jasper Tate (who was cursed by The Necronomicon as a child) and had him beat James to death. Just a few minutes later, his grandson from the future, Ash Williams, arrived to Chicago via a portal that sent him across time and space, and later got revenge for his grandfather's death on the gangsters who murdered him.
- After being found by Eliot Ness and asked what his Christian name is, a time displaced Ash Williams responds with Ashley James Williams, and later remarks that his middle name comes from his grandfather.
- It's possible that James' second child, who he never lived to see, is the father of Ash and Cheryl, due to the fact that Ash says "I wonder why dad never talked about it" (on James being an Untouchable).