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Williams family papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1180

Scope and Contents

The Williams Family Papers consists of correspondence, documents, and financial records kept by descendants of William Williams who lived in and near Wethersfield, Connecticut, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The papers include those of Elisha Williams, his second wife Elizabeth Scott Williams Smith, and his nephew Ezekiel Williams, merchant and sheriff of Hartford County.


  • 1711-1930
  • Majority of material found within 1724-1800


Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Williams Family Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Francis Parsons (Yale BA 1893, LLB 1897, MA (Hon) 1925), 1937. Other additions are noted at the folder level.


Organized into four series: I. Elisha Williams Papers, 1711-1759. II. Elizabeth Scott Williams Smith Papers, 1735-1775. III. Ezekiel Williams Papers, 1751-1812. IV. Other Papers, 1724-1930.


0.96 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Williams Family Papers consists of correspondence, writings, documents, and financial records kept by descendants of William Williams who lived in and near Wethersfield, Connecticut, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The papers are those of Elisha Williams, his second wife Elizabeth Scott Williams Smith, and his nephew Ezekiel Williams, merchant and sheriff of Hartford County. The correspondence is with family members and associates; the writings consist of sermons and essays by family members; documents are primarily related to the settlement of Elizabeth Smith's estate in the United States and England. Other papers include an engraved circular letter from London publisher James Rivington advertising a new edition of a work by Philip Doddridge.

Williams Family of Connecticut and Massachusetts

The papers in this collection were largely donated by Francis Parsons of Hartford, Connecticut, and document his ancestors from five generations above him, all descendants of Robert Williams (1608-1693) and his wife Elizabeth Stalham (1595-1674), who emigrated from England to Roxbury, Massachusetts, in the seventeenth century. Their son Isaac Williams (1638-1709) had a son William Williams (1665-1741), and it is the two sons of William Williams, Elisha (1694-1755) and Solomon (1701-1776), and their descendants, whose papers are present here. These families were prominent citizens and religious leaders in and around Wethersfield, a town south of Hartford. Much of the information about the family was taken from The Ancestors and Descendants of Ezekiel Williams of Wethersfield, 1608-1907, by Mary Dyer Williams McLean (Privately printed, 1907). The principals in the papers are the following family members:

Elisha Williams (1694-1755), fourth child born to William Williams and his first wife Elizabeth Cotton Williams (1665–1698), was a Congregational minister, legislator, militia soldier, jurist, and the fourth rector of Yale College (1726-1739). He married twice, first in 1714 to Eunice Chester (died 1750), with whom he had six children, and second to Elizabeth Scott in 1751.

Elizabeth Scott Williams Smith (1708-1776) was the daughter of Thomas Scott (1680-1746), independent minister at Norwich, England. A poet and hymnist, she married Elisha Williams in 1751 and moved with him to Connecticut. In 1761 she married a prominent New York jurist, William Smith (1697-1769) and lived in New York City. After his death she returned to Wethersfield to reside at the home of Ezekiel Williams, the nephew of her first husband, until her death there on June 13, 1776.

Ezekiel Williams (1729-1818), son of Reverend Solomon Williams (1701-1776) and Mary Porter Williams (1703-1787), was a merchant in Wethersfield and sheriff of Hartford County from 1767 to 1789. He was married to Prudence Stoddard (1734-1822), with whom he had eleven children.

Francis Parsons (1871-1937), the donor of the papers, was the son of John Caldwell Parsons (1832-1898) and Mary McClellan (1844-1871). He was a banker, lawyer, and author in Hartford. and the great-great-grandson of Ezekiel Williams (1729-1818).

Williams Family Tree

Family members appearing in the papers are underlined.

Robert Williams (1608-1693) m Elizabeth Stalham (1595-1674); 7 children, including

--2 Isaac Williams (1638-1709) m1 1660 Martha Park (1641-1674), m2 Judith Cooper; 12 children including

----3 WILLIAM WILLIAMS (1665-1741) m1 1686 Elizabeth Cotton (1665–1698); m2 1699 Christian Stoddard (1676-1764)

------4 William Williams (1687-1687)

------4 William Williams (1688-1760)

------4 Martha Williams (1690-1766) m Edward Partridge

------4 ELISHA WILLIAMS (1694-1755) m1 1714 Eunice Chester (died 1750), m2 1751 ELIZABETH SCOTT (1708-1776)

--------5 Eunice Williams (1716-1741)

--------5 Elisha Williams (1717-1784) m1 1742 Prudence Robbins, m2 1749 Mehitable Burnham; 7 children

--------5 Samuel Williams (1720-1740)

--------5 William Williams (1722-1741)

--------5 Anne Williams (1731-1750)

--------5 Mary Williams (1735-1776) m Eliphalet Williams (1726-1803); 5 children

------4 John Williams (1697-1697)

------4 SOLOMON WILLIAMS (1701-1776) m 1723 Mary Porter (1703-1787)

--------5 Solomon Williams (1723-1723)

--------5 Solomon Williams (1725-1743)

--------5 Eliphalet Williams (1726-1803) m Mary Williams (1735-1776); 5 children

--------5 EZEKIEL WILLIAMS (1729-1818) m 1760 Prudence Stoddard (1734-1822)

----------6 Emily Williams (1761-1850) m 1785 Samuel William Williams (died 1812); 11 children

----------6 John Williams (1762-1840) m1 Sophia Worthington (1765-1813), m2 Mary Dyer Silliman; 9 children

----------6 HARRIET WILLIAMS (1764-1850) m David Parsons (1748-1823); 11 children including

------------7 Francis Parsons (1795-1861) m Clarissa Brown; 4 children including

--------------8 John Caldwell Parsons (1832-1898) m 1870 Mary McClellan (1844-1871)

----------------9 FRANCIS PARSONS (1871-1937) m 1897 Elizabeth Alden Hutchins (1872-)

----------6 Ezekiel Williams (1765-1843) m Abigail Ellsworth (1774-1860); 1 child

----------6 Prudence Williams (1767-1853) m Bezaleel Howard (1753-1837); 4 children

----------6 Mary Williams (1769-1850) m John Salter (1769-1831); 12 children

----------6 Esther Williams (1771-1820); unmarried

----------6 Solomon Stoddard Williams (1773-1840); unmarried

----------6 Christian Williams (1775-1803); unmarried

----------6 Thomas Scott Williams (1777-1861) m1 1812 Delia Ellsworth (1789-1840), m2 Martha Coit (d. 1867); no children

----------6 Samuel Porter Williams (1779-1826); m1 Mary H. Webb (d. 1815), m2 Sarah P. Tyler; 13 children

--------5 William Williams (1731-1811) m Mary Trumbull (1745-1831)

--------5 Mary Williams (1733-1794) m Richard Salter

--------5 Thomas Williams (1735-1819) m Rebecca Welles

--------5 Christiana Williams (1738-) m John Salter

--------5 Moses Williams (1740-1750)

--------5 Samuel Williams (1741-1742)

--------5 Eunice Williams (1745-1836) m Timothy Stone

------4 Elizabeth Williams (1707-1753) m Samuel Barnard

------4 Israel Williams (1709-1788)

--------5 William Williams (1734-1808)

------4 Dorothy Williams (1713-1808) m Jonathan Ashley

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call number: Uncat MS Vault 12:1

Guide to the Williams Family Papers
by Beinecke Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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