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Guide to the Papers of the Williams Family
1739-1842 (Bulk 1747-1770)
  MS 698

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jan Hilley

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 04, 2011
Description is in English.

Container List

Series I. Correspondence (1747-1842, undated)

Scope and Contents note

This series contains 143 letters, the majority either received or written by Dr. Thomas Williams (1718-1775). In many of the letters he is referred to as Col. Williams, as they were written during his service as a military surgeon. Box 1, Folders 1 through 3 contain letters written to Dr. Williams from a variety of family members, military associates, physicians and others. Box 1, Folder 4 contains a series of letters written to Dr. Williams and his wife, Esther, by her father Rev. William Williams (1688-1760) who was Thomas's father-in-law and his cousin. In Box 1, Folder 5 are letters written to Esther Williams. The first sixteen are from her husband, written mostly while he was serving in the military. Letters written to Col. Ephraim Williams are contained in Box 1, Folder 7. Dr. Thomas Williams' son, Solomon, is the recipient of letters in Box 1, Folder 8. The final folder in this series contains letters to and from other Williams family members and associates. It is difficult to ascertain the recipient of some of the items.

Among the many letters of interest in this series are those that provide first-hand accounts of military activity during the French and Indian War. Two items in Box 1, Folder 8, written in March of 1842 by Dr. Stephen W. Williams (grandson of Dr. Thomas Williams), contain copies of a number of letters that fall into this category. In one, Dr. Williams tells his wife about the September 8, 1755, ambush (Early Morning Scout) and the death of his brother Ephraim, as well as the continuing battle at Lake George and capture of the French Baron Dieskau. Given his responsibilities as surgeon, he is able to describe the wounds sustained by many individual soldiers. Most of the other letters written in 1755 and 1756 also contain accounts of military action. A letter in Box 1, Folder 6, written by William Williams to Col. Ephraim Williams on September 2 (six days before Ephraim's death), includes a discussion of Ephraim's will along with comments about the state of the ongoing war.

A letter in Box 1, Folder 8, written August 22, 1755, to Monsieur St. Luke Lacorn by John Hawks, asks for help in locating captives in Canada. Several of the items mention smallpox and smallpox inoculation (Box 1, Folder 3, January 1765, #95 and Box 1, Folder 5, December 1776, #104). There is a letter in Box 1, Folder 8 written on July 11, 1750 to "the Gentlemen assembled at Deerfield" regarding a complaint against Ebenezer Hinsdale who was accused of intemperance.

Other letters focus on family, financial and personal affairs, health and illness issues, and local news. Many are filled with religious reflections, particularly those sent by Rev. William Williams.

Within each folder, the letters are arranged chronologically. The condition of the items is mixed. Many are fragile, some torn or missing pieces. Legibility is good in most cases.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letters Received by Dr. Thomas Williams (1 of 3)
1748-1754
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Letters Received by Dr. Thomas Williams (2 of 3)
1755
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Letters Received by Dr. Thomas Williams (3 of 3)
1756-1775
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Letters Received by Dr. Thomas Williams and Esther Williams from Rev. William Williams
1748-1759
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Letters Received by Esther Williams
1747-1795
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Letters Received by Col. Ephraim Williams
1754-1755
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Letters Received by Solomon Williams
1778-1821, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Other Williams Family Letters
1747-1842, undated

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