Ephraim Williams

Fort Massachusetts Commander active during the French and Indian War. 

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Ephraim Williams was born in Newton, Mass in 1715.  His family was involved in many positions in the military, church, and the court. He was married in 1719 and became father of six children with his wife Abigail Jones. In 1737, Ephraim's father had been selected to take him and his family to settle in Stockbridge, Mass  to be neighbors of the Housatonic Indians. In all, Ephraim examines three towns and one of which is Williamstown, Mass. In 1742, Ephraim officially moves to Stockbridge. Along the colony's northern border, many forts have been built due to an outbreak of war. In responce to this, in 1745, he recieved a "commission as captain in the Massachusetts provincial forces".  He was mainly stationed at Fort Shirley and supervised Fort Massachusetts while it was being completed. A year later, Williams loctaes to Fort Massachusetts but unfortunetly wasn't present when it underwent an attack by the French and the Indians. Just after the reconstruction of the fort, it is attacked once more by the French. Ephraim was leading a small party at the time and attempted at rescuing a few of his men. In 1750, lots of land in the area, later known as Williamstown, were put up for sale. Williams ended up purchasing two of these lots, yet never building anything upon them. Meanwhile, problems begin to build between the Williams family and the Edwards because of dispute over  indian management, schools, and theological ideas since Jonathon Edwards was an active leader in the church etc. Ephraim's father dies in 1752, leaving him in charge of "his father's estate in Stockbridge, Mass." Now, due to the outbreak of The French and Indian War, Williams had been named commander of Fort Massachusetts. During 1755, he engages himself in a serious campaign to defeat the French at Crown Point on Lake Champlain. After he heard of the defeat of another major general,Edward Braddock, he realized the danger he put himself in and created a "new" will which he sent to his cousin Israel Williams. In this will, he wants people to establish a school and town etc. west of the Fort Massachusetts, which is later known as Williamstown. By the month of August, his troops and him had been sent back to Fort Edwards to assist troops and to provide protection from the French. Sadly, while on the road, Ephraim and his group were attacked and he was shot and killed.

 

The image above is Ephraim Williams's will, it states as follows,

"Last Will and Testament, July 22, 1755

In the name of God Amen. I Ephraim Williams of Hatfield in the County of Hampshire in New England, now at Albany in the Province of NewYork, on my march in the Expedition agains Crown-point, being of Sound & perfect mind and memory (blessed be God therefor) But not knowing how God in his Providence may dispose of my life, and remembring the uncertainty of it at All times, I do therefore make and publish this my last will and Testament in the following manner.

First I give my Soul into the hands of God that gave it, and my body to the dust from whence it was taken, humbly hoping for Pardon Acceptance and a Resurrection to immortal glory, thro the merits & mediation of a Glorious Redeemer, and as touching such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give bequeath and Dispose of the Same in manner and form following that is to Say:

Item. It is my will & desire that my just Debts, and funeral Charges be first duly paid and discharged, by my Executors hereafter named out of my Estate.

Item. It is my will and desire, that the Deed I gave my brother Elijah Williams [to] my house and homestead at Stockbridge, and my note hand payable for one hundred pounds, in twelve months after my Parents decease, as Also his mortgage Deed And his bond to me be destroyed, & made of none Effect.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my beloved brothers, Josiah Williams, and Elijah Williams, and the heirs of their bodies my homestead at Stockbridge, with all the Buildings and Appertenances therunto belonging, with all the Stocks of Cattle and Negro Servants now upon the place, to be Equally Divided between them upon the following Conditions and not Otherwise. Viz. that they pay Annually to my Hond. mother for her Support twenty six pounds thirteen Shillings & four pence, and also provided, they fulfill the Obligations I laid my Self under, in a Certain bond to my hond. Parents for their Support and Decent Interment, exclusive of the money I there oblidged My Self Annually to pay her, provided also that they pay unto my Sister Judith Williams or the heirs of her body the Sum of One hundred pounds, and to my Sister Elisabeth Williams, or the heirs of her body, the Sum of one hundred pounds, and to the heirs of my Sister Abigal Dwight born of her body the Sum of One hundred pounds, to be paid them Severally within twelve months after my hond. mothers Decease. In Case my Sisters Judith or Elizabeth should Come to die without heirs, then it is my will that her or their part or parts Shall Devolve to the heirs of my Sister Abigal Dwight.

Item. It is my will that in Case one of my afors'd Brothers die without Issue, then the whole of the above bequest revert to the Survivor, and the heirs of his body, provided he fulfil the above Obligations laid on them both, but in Case both my said brothers die without Issue, then my will is that that the above mentioned the money be put Out to interest, and that the said Interest shall be used for Some pious or Charitable purposes, as the Propagating Christianity the Support of the poor in the County of Hamshire, or for Schools on the frontiers in the County aforesd. to be at the Direction of my Executors herein After named, and After their Decease to be at the Direction of the justices of the Sessions for the County Aforsaid. But in Case my Brother Elijah Williams should deny or refuse to Destroy the above mentioned writings as above directed, then it is my will he pay to my hon.d mother Annually for her Support, twenty Six pounds thirteen shillings & four pence and also the Sum of thirteen pounds Six Shillings and eight pence to my Brother Josiah Williams annually until my hon.d mothers decease, after which to pay to my Sisters and the heirs of my Sister Abigail Dwight as above Directed, and that within one twelve month after my hond. mothers decease, also to pay to my Brother Josiah Williams or the heirs of his body the Sum of four hundred pounds and in Case my Said brother Josiah Should die without Issue, then it is my will that my brother Elijah Shall pay the Said Sum of four hundred pounds to my Executors to be Appropriated by them to Some or all of the publick uses above mentioned.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my beloved brother Thomas Williams, one hundred pounds to be paid him out of my bonds, but in Case of his Decease in the present Expedition, to be equally Divided amongst his five Daughters Viz. Elisabeth, Ann, Cynthia, Mary & Martha.

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved Cousen Thomas Williams Son to my brother Thomas Williams, nine hundred Acres of Land known by the name of the equivalent, and joining upon the township of Stockbridge, and in Case he dies without Issue, I give it to my beloved Cousens, Erastus Sergeant, and John Sergeant, to be equally divided between them, but in Case one die without Issue the whole to go to the Survivor, if they both Die without Issue the whole to be Appropriated to publick uses as before mentioned.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my loving Cousens Elijah Graves, Moses Graves, John Graves, and Martha Graves, Children of Moses and Martha Graves, the Sum of one hundred pounds, to be Equally Divided between them. In Case any dies without Issue, then the whole to go to the Survivor or Survivors; and in Case they all should die without Issue, then the said hundred pounds to be Appropriated to the Publick uses as above Directed; the Said money to be taken out of Moses Graves and Elisha Chapins joint bond, and to be put on Interest until the Children come of Age.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my beloved Cousens James, and John Gray, sons of James & Sarah Gray fifty Acres of Land, lying north of the great pond in Stockbridge, (so called) bounded upon land of their father James Gray on the East, by Josiah Jones land on the west, by the Great pond on the South, and the town line on the north, to be equally divided between them, but in Case they die without Issue, then the said land to be Disposed of for Publick use as aforsaid.

Item. I give and bequeath unto loving Cousens William Williams, and Israel Williams, sons of Israel Williams Esqr. & Sarah his wife, two lotts of Meadow land, in Hatfield great meadow the Contents of which & the bounds may be Seen in a deed given to me of the Same, by Moses Graves of Hatfield. The lott lying nearest to pine bridge I give to William, and the other to Israel, and in Case one of them dies without Issue, then both lotts to go to the Survivor, if they both die without Issue then the Lotts to be Disposed of for the Publick uses as above Directed.

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved Cousens Eunice Williams, jerusha, Elisabeth, and Lucretie Williams, Daughters of Israel Williams Esqr. & Sarah his wife, the sum of twenty Pounds Each. In Case any of them die without Issue their part to be equally divided among the Survivors, and in Case they all should die without Issue, then the money to be Disposed of for publick uses as aforesd. Item. I give & bequeath to my loving Cousen Elizabeth Williams, over and above the twenty pounds above mentioned, my Silver Cream pott and Tea Spoons.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my loving brother Thomas Williams, all my wearing Apparel, my Shoe Buckles, but in Case my Said Brother should die I then give them to my Surviving brothers to be equally Divided among them.

Item. I give to my beloved friend & kinsman Israel Williams Esqr. of Hatfield my Sorrel mare now at Northhampton, and my bald Colt now at Sheffield.

Item. I give to my trusty and well beloved friend John Worthington Esqr. of Springfield, my Chambers Dictionarys, with the whole of Popes works, and some other books that Came in the Same box now in his hands, and also my french fire Arm, my Case of pistols and hanger, in Case the french dont get them, but if he dies without Issue then the above Articles to be given to the eldest Male heir in Colln. Israel Williams family.

Item. I give & bequeath to my beloved Brother Thomas Williams, my fire Arm now in his Possession.

Item. I give the remaining part of my Library not Yet Disposed of (excepting my large bible and Ridgleys body of Divinity) to my beloved brothers, Thomas and Elijah Williams to be Equally Divided between them, but in Case my brother Thomas Dies his part to go to his Son Thomas, and in Case my Brother Elijah Dies without Issue, then his part to be given to my Cousens William & Israel Williams, to be equally Divided between them, over and above the Lotts of Land bequeathed them above, and it is my will & Desire further that my Cousen William Williams above mentioned Shall have the perusal of the books hereby given to my Brother's Thomas & Elijah, any reasonable time upon his Desire.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my brother Thomas Williams's two Eldest Daughters three Silver Spoons now at hatfield, and a Silver tankard now at Stockbridge, and what Silver may be bequeathed me by my Aunt Cook in Newtown.

Item. I give to my Brother Josiah my large bible and Ridgleys body of Divinity.

Item. I give to Soloman and Israel Stoddard Sons of my Great Benefactor John Stoddard Esqr. Deceased, my two Colts now at Northhampton.

Item. I give & devise & remitt to the poor Distressed & Imprudent Captain Elisha Chapen the Sum of One hundred pounds, to be Deducted out of the bond Given jointly by Moses Graves and Said Elisha Chapen, the Said hundred pounds to be remitted Out of the Said Chapens part.

Item. It is my will & Pleasure & Desire that the remaining part of lands not yet disposed of Shall be Sold at the Discretion of my Executors, within five years after an Established peace, And the interest of the money, and Also the interest of my money Arising by my bonds and notes, Shall be Appropriated towards the Support and maintenance of a free School (in a township west of fort Massachusetts, Commonly Called the west township) for Ever, provided the Said township fall with in the jurisdiction of the Province of Massachusetts bay, and provided, also that the Governour & General Court give the Said township the name of Williamstown, and it is my further will & Desire that if there Should remain any monies of the above Donation for the Said school, it be given towards the Support of a school in the East township where the fort now Stands. But in Case the above provisoes are not Complied with, then it is my will & Desire that the Interest of the above mentioned monies, be Appropriated to Some pious & Charitable uses, in manner & form as directed in the former part of this my last will & testament.

Lastly. I nominate and Appoint my trusty & well beloved friends Israel Williams Esqr. of Hatfield, and John Worthington Esqr. of Springfield, in the County of Hampshire, and Province of Massachusetts bay of New England, to be Executors of this my last will & testament, and I hereby revoke Disanul and make void, all former wills & testaments by me heretofore made done or executed, And I Do hereby Confirm, and Allow this and no other to be my last will & Testament, and Desire it may be Observed as Such. In Witness whereof I have here unto Sett my hand and Seal the twenty Second Day of July, in the twenty ninth Year of his Majesties Reign, and in the Year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and fifty five.

Eph Williams "

 

Ephraim Williams' Memorial.