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STEPHEN WILLIAMS    


Family

Rev. Stephen Williams  was a member of a family that included many of the prominent ministers in the Connecticut River Valley.  His father, Rev. John Williams, was pastor of Deerfield, Massachusetts.  His mother, Eunice Mather Williams, was the daughter of Rev. Eleazar Mather of Northampton and the niece of Rev. Increase Mather of Boston.  Two of brothers, Eleazar and Warham, also became pastors and his sister, Esther, married Rev. Joseph Meacham.  Collectively, members of the Williams family were sometimes known as the “River Gods” due to their prominence and influence in the valley.

Stephen Williams married Abigail Davenport, the daughter of Rev. John Davenport of Stamford, Connecticut, on July 3, 1718.  They had six sons and two daughters:  John (born on March 8, 1720); Stephen (born on January 26, 1722); Eunice (born on September 1, 1723); Warham (born on January 7, 1726); Samuel (born on May 31, 1729); Davenport (born on May 11, 1731); Martha (born on May 13, 1733); and Nathan (born on October 28, 1735).

His son John became a farmer and lived in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.  His sons Stephen, Warham, and Nathan studied at Yale College and became ministers in Connecticut at Woodstock, Northford and Tolland, respectively.  Samuel remained locally and cared for his father in his old age.  His son Davenport joined Captain Colton’s troop in May, 1758 and died of disease in October, 1758 as he returned from a military campaign. 

His daughter, Eunice, remained in Longmeadow and married William Stebbins.  Daughter Martha moved to Enfield, Connecticut and married Dr. Samuel Reynolds, the son of Rev. Stephen Williams’s good friend, Rev. Peter Reynolds of Enfield.

On August 26, 1766, his wife, Abigail Davenport Williams, died.  Reverend Williams married a second time on September 6, 1767 to Mrs. Sarah Burt, the widower of his good friend Deacon Nathaniel Burt. 

Sources

  • The History of the Williams Family by Stephen West Williams

  • Not to Fear the Face of Man: A Biography of the Rev. Dr. Stephen Williams First Minister to the Longmeadow Congregational Church 1716 to 1782 by Margaret Stoler 1974

  • The Journals of the Rev. Stephen Williams by Andrew Medlicott

by Elizabeth Hoff


Longmeadow Historical Society

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