William served as Justice of the Peace and as Sheriff in Vermilion County, Illinois.
He was raised principally in Indiana, coming to Vermilion Co., Illinois, with the family. He had gone back to his old home in the summer after the family came to Illinois, and it was then that he married Eliza. William was the teacher of the first school in the southwestern part of Danville Township (Vermilion Co., IL), at Payne's Point. About 1835 or 1836, he managed a distillery in Danville, Illinois, and once took a flat boat of cargo to New Orleans by way of the Vermilion, Wabash, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers. He was frequently entrusted with affairs of Vermilion Co., where he served as Assessor & Tax Collector from 1651, as Assessor from 1854 to 1856, as Sheriff from 1862 to 1864, and as Commissioner of Highways. He was serving as Sheriff when his younger brother, John Jr., was shot during an argument which took place on the square in Danville. All this developed into a riot between the Northern & Southern sympathizers by the next morning. When Sheriff Payne attempted to put down the riot, another man was shot before he could get the two groups separated. This took place in August 1863. On the 1850 census William M. Payne is listed as a farmer; in the 1860 Census he is listed as a Pork Merchant.
Son of John PAYNE Sr. and Hannah EARLE.
Brother of Sabina, Delila, Peter, Morgan, Esther, Squire, John Jr., and Martin.
Husband of Elizabeth HAMILTON (1813-1890), daughter of Asa HAMILTON and Mary ENGLISH.
Father of Hamilton Montgomery, Christopher, Lineaus T., Mary A., Asa A., Irena, William M., Clara J., Charles E., and Hill L.
Elizabeth Jane Hamilton Payne
1813–1890 (m. 1830)