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STEPHEN WILLIAMS    


Service as Chaplain in French and Indian War

 In 1745, Reverend Stephen Williams was asked by Massachusetts Governor William Shirley to join Colonel Joseph Dwight’s regiment as its chaplain.  From July to November, he served the regiment at Louisbourg, which was the British outpost on Cape Breton Isle.  When winter came, he became very ill and in November, weak and pain-wracked, he was carried aboard an English frigate and returned to Boston to recuperate for 3 months from dysentery.  In gratitude, the Province of Massachusetts House of Representatives in January awarded him £ 25 for his extraordinary services as chaplain.  He returned to Longmeadow February 6, 1746.

Ten years later, he was again requested to join regiments under Ephraim Williams and Timothy Ruggles for an expedition to Crown Point.  As an incentive, the Colony voted him £ 5 per month over and above the standard chaplain compensation.  With his congregation’s consent, he left on July 1, 1755 to join the regiments leaving for the shores of Lake Champlain and the fort at Crown Point.  Two months later, he and the regiments were attacked by French and Indians under General de Diskeau.  Rev. Williams returned to Longmeadow to resume his pastoral duties on October 28, 1755.

The next summer, his old commander (now Brigadier General) Joseph Dwight asked Rev. Williams to be chaplain for an expedition to Lake George.  On June 2, 1756, Rev. Williams left to join his troops.  Soon after the British victory at Lake George, he was taken ill again and was returned to Longmeadow. When the Revolutionary War came, he frequently noted in his diary his concern for the soldiers and civilians.  Although he was disturbed by the “arbitrary and tyrannical measures” of the Crown, he was slow to welcome a total break with the British government.  His congregation, which was much more supportive of the Patriot cause, disagreed with his conservative stance but they remained loyal to their beloved Rev. Williams.  When Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, he rejoiced with his people at the end of the conflict.  

Sources

by Elizabeth Hoff


Longmeadow Historical Society

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