Williams, Solomon

honorificReverend; Mr.
Birth: June 4, 1700 in Hadley, MA
Death: February 29, 1776 in Lebanon, CT
Affiliation:

Windham Association; Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge

Education:

Harvard (1719), D.D. Yale (1773)

Faith:

New Light Congregationalist

Nationality:

Anglo-American

Occupation:

Minister

Residence:

Lebanon, CT (from 1722 to 1776-02-29)

Marital status:

Married Mary Porter, also from Hadley, MA, in 1722. They had ten children, eight sons and two daughters.

Biography:

Solomon Williams was a Congregationalist pastor in Lebanon, CT from 1722 until his death in 1776. As pastor at Lebanon, Williams rose to prominence as a theologian and engaged in extensive correspondence and debate with some of the most eminent minds of the day. He was one of the rare truly moderate New Lights during the Great Awakening: he managed to maintain the respect of both Charles Chauncy, the rabid anti-revivalist, and George Whitefield, the famous evangelical. Williams also established a library in Lebanon and a very well-known grammar school, which became something of a feeder for Yale. Williams supported Eleazar Wheelock and Moor’s Indian Charity School through much of the 1750s and 1760s. He was something of a mentor to Samson Occom, and he became president of Wheelock’s Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK). It is unclear why Williams is not named as a trustee of Moor’s in Wheelock’s 1768 will; perhaps Wheelock feared that Williams would not outlive him. Williams continued to run the Connecticut Board even after Wheelock relocated to New Hampshire in 1770. Despite the SSPCK’s disappointment in Wheelock, Williams and Wheelock seem to have remained on cordial terms. Their correspondence ceased in 1772, after Wheelock tried (and failed) to open a New Hampshire Board to replace the one in Connecticut (with, it might be added, the Connecticut Board’s blessing).

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Sources:

Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. Dartmouth College Library. A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Papers of Eleazar Wheelock. Hanover: Dartmouth College Library, 1971. Family Tree Maker. "Solomon Williams (b. 04 Jun 1700, d. 28 Feb 1776)." http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/c/h/a/Gary-Chandler-1/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0988.html Accessed 4/15/14. Sprague, William Buell. “Solomon Williams, D.D.” 321-326. Annals of the American Pulpit: Volume 1, Trinitarian Congregational. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1857. Woodward, Ashbel. “Ancient Grave Yard at Lebanon, Conn.” In The New England Historical & Genealogical Register and Antiquarian Journal, Volume 12. Boston: Samuel G. Drake 1858. Pp. 55-63. Accessed via GoogleBooks.