Owen Williams was born at Mount Villa, Pwlleli, North Wales in 1886, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Williams. The Cardiff Times reported on 9 July 1910:
"The President of the United States has forwarded through the British Foreign Office for presentation to Captain Robert Jones and Chief Officer James Jones, of the Cardiff Steamship 'Snowdonian', handsome pairs of binocular glasses, and also gold medals for Trimmer H. Dahmen and Seamen James McKenna, Owen Williams and David Jones, belonging to the same steamer, which have been awarded to them in recognition of their services in rescuing Captain Hudson, Mrs Hudson and the crew of the American schooner 'Henry Clausen Junior' on November 7, 1908. The rescue for which the awards have been made was of a particularly meritorious and timely nature. When the 'Snowdonian' arrived on the scene the crew had already abandoned hope of being rescued, and despite the encouragement they got from Mrs Hudson, who, it may be stated, was making a honeymoon trip, and stood in their midst singing hymns. The Snowdonian was on a voyage from Philadelphia for Messina, and at 11 o' clock on the morning of the 7th, the derelict schooner was sighted right ahead. All the crew, with Mrs Hudson, were huddled together on the top of the after house, the only part of the vessel above water. All the schooner's boats had been lost, so Captain Jones called for a crew to man a lifeboat, with the trimmer and three seamen as crew. The rescue work was attended with great difficulty and danger, but after a hard battle with the elements all were taken off the wreck. Before abandonment, the vessel was set fire to prevent her becoming a menace to navigation. The 'Snowdonian' is owned by Messrs. Owen and Watkin Williams and Co., Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff."