Person:Ephraim Williams (1)

Ephraim Smith Williams
Facts and Events
Name Ephraim Smith Williams
Gender Male
Birth[8] 7 Feb 1802 Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Marriage 13 Mar 1825 near Auburn Village, Oakland, Michigan Territoryto Hannah Melissa Gotee
Census[3][11] 19 Sep 1850 Flint, Genesee Co., MI
Census[4][12] 11 Jun 1860 Flint, Genesee Co., MI
Census[5][13] 28 Jul 1870 Flint, Genesee Co., MI
Census[6][14] 21 Jun 1880 Flint, Genesee Co., MI
Death[1] 20 Jul 1890 Flint, Genesee Co., MI
Burial[2][9] Oak Hill Cemetery, Pontiac, Oakland Co., MI
Other[1][10] Michigan Biographies, 1878 Biography
Other[1][10] Michigan Biographies, 1878 Biography

resided in Flint, MI

cf. Mich Pioneer & Historical Collections, Vol X, p.194, 204, in which latter page he is referred to as holding the office of Postmaster in Flint, with son Elias G. serving as his clerk & Asst postmaster for 7 years prior to his enlistment in the Civil War ibid p.205 - obituary notice of Mrs. E.S. Williams, naming her grandfather James Harrington of Auburn, Oakland co., MI, with whom she resided until her marriage. From 1829 to 1840 she and her husband resided Saginaw City, moving for a while to Detroit and Pontiac, before settling at Flint, where for many years she suffered as an invalid before her death. Both the Saginaw Courier & Saginaw Enterprise carried laudatory obituaries. A Flint newspaper stated she suffered from mercury poisoning due to its use in a medication used to treat her 30 years before her death

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Michigan Biographies, 1878: American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Michigan, Volumes I-II..
  2. Cemetery Records of Oak Hill Cemeetery, Pontiac, Oakland Co., MI.
  3. 1850 Census of Flint, Genesee Co., MI.
  4. 1860 Census of Flint, Genesee Co., MI.
  5. 1870 Census of Flint, Genesee Co., MI.
  6. 1880 Census of Flint, Genesee Co., MI.
  7.   Cemetery Records of Oak Hill Cemetery, Pontiac, Oakland Co., MI.
  8. Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1635-1850. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1891)

    "Ephraim-Smith Williams, son of Oliver & Mary Williams, was born Feb. 7, 1802."

  9. Ephraim S. Williams memorial, in Find A Grave.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ephraim Smith Williams
    of Flint, was born in Concord, Massachusetts, February 2, 1802. His parents were Oliver and Mary (Lee) Williams. His father was a prominent merchant in Detroit, before and during the War of 1812. He was born in the homestead of his ancestor, Robert Williams, one of the two progenitors of all who bear that name in this country,--the other being Roger Williams. Robert Williams came from Norwich, England, about the year 1638. Mr. E. S. Williams is the fourth among fourteen children, seven of whom are living, and nine of whom settled in Michigan. The family removed to that State in 1815, going from Concord, Massachusetts, to Buffalo, New York, in a wagon. The latter city had just been burned by the British. After much delay, they embarked in a small schooner, and, in nine days, arrived in Detroit. The father here found that his business and property had been involved in the general destruction that laid waste the frontier,--the most that he saved being his residence on Jefferson avenue, where the Webster Block now stands. This the family occupied until March, 1819, when they settled in Oakland County, near Pontiac.
    In the spring of 1828, E. S. Williams, with his brother, Gardner D. Williams, engaged in the fur trade in Saginaw City, under the auspices of the American Fur Company. There he remained twelve years. The two brothers built, during this period, the first sawmill in Saginaw Valley. The entire region between Grand Blanc and Saginaw--a distance of fifty miles--was uninhabited, save by savages. Where now are carriage roads and railroads, were then but Indian trails; and the pioneers encountered many hardships and dangers. They usually traveled in companies, of a dozen or more, for mutual protection and assistance; and, when swamps or fallen timber, impassable for ponies, were encountered, the animals were sent around, and the men carried their wives and children over on their backs. "Our oldest children, Mary and Oliver," writes Mr. Williams, in the "Genealogy of the Williams Family," had only Indian children for playmates, and the Chiefs gave them Indian names, in token of their friendship. The Indian wives and daughters would take them to the pay-grounds, where, by direction of the Chiefs, they would draw their share of money with the Indian children." During his residence in Saginaw City, Mr. Williams was elected County Clerk and Register of Deeds, and prepared the first Circuit Court record of that county. He was also appointed Postmaster, by President Jackson, and held that position until 1840. In that year, he removed to Pontiac, where he carried on mercantile business and farming. In 1850 he again removed to Flint, engaged in the grocery and crockery business, and built the first brick block in the city. Upon the election of Franklin Pierce. Mr. Williams was appointed Postmaster of Flint, and retained his office eight years. The Genesee Democrat testifies to his efficiency in the above-named office, as follows: "We do not expect easily to fill the place of the accommodating, gentlemanly, and efficient occupant, E. S. Williams, Esq., who will vacate the office, taking with him the best wishes of all our citizens." In 1861 he was elected Mayor of the city of Flint. One of the Flint papers of that time contains the following with reference to this event: "The friends of Colonel E. S. Williams will be pleased to learn that the Democracy of Flint, in the face of a heavy Republican majority, and against one of the best men, have elected him Mayor of that city,--an honorable position, conferred upon an honorable man." He was again nominated, and nearly elected, in opposition to H. W. Crapo, since Governor of Michigan. About the year 1826, he received, from Governor Cass, the appointment as Adjutant of the first regiment of militia troops organized in the Territory. Mr. Williams has been a member of the Masonic Fraternity for twenty-five years. He was Master of the Flint Lodge, No. 23; a member of Washington Chapter, No. 15; and has been, for several years, the Treasurer of Genesee Valley Commandery, No. 15. He is not a member of any religious society; but attends, with his daughters, the Episcopal Church.
    Mr. Williams married, March 13, 1825, Miss Hannah M. Gotee, daughter of Elias and Martha G. (Harrington) Gotee. Her grandfather served with General Washington through the Revolution. Mrs. Williams shared with her husband the cares, privations, and final success of his active and eventful life, for forty-nine years. She died February 12, 1874, leaving five children. In the long pioneer life of Mr. Williams occurred many incidents of interest, among which is the following, quoted from the Indian and Pioneer History of the Saginaw Valley. It vividly illustrates the character of the red man, and proves him really possessed of that courage and chivalric sense of honor latterly ascribed only to the ideal Indian. Mr. Williams was personally cognizant of the whole affair, and says that the account is in no respect exaggerated. It is one of the most remarkable incidents in the annals of border life: "Nah-way-go was a young Saginaw brave, living, in his youth, at Green Point, and, in his later years, upon the lake shore. He is described as a model of native strength and grace. While living at the former place, he killed a son of Red Bird, who lived on the Tittibawassee Reservation. The relatives demanded satisfaction, and, by Indian law, his life was the forfeit. He presented himself at the wigwam of the chief mourners, where the warriors of the family of the deceased had assembled, and informed them that he had come in order that they might strike at his heart. He bared his bosom, and took his position for the selected number to pass by him and inflict the wound. They passed and inflicted, as they hoped, the mortal thrusts. That done, and Indian usage being satisfied, he was making the best speed he could, with his streaming wounds, to his own wigwam, when he was struck in the back by a cowardly Indian; but this, as it appears, like the other blows, was not fatal. He was yet enabled to reach his wigwam, where his young wife was anxiously awaiting his return. She received him and bound up his wounds, and he was restored, after fearful suffering. Afterwards, finding the coward who had wounded him in the back, he visited him, summarily, with Indian vengeance,--death. Soon after, when the Indians were assembled in large numbers at Saginaw City, at a "payment," an altercation ensued between Black Beaver, an Indian of considerable note, and the young brave, Nah-way-go,--the former reproaching him with the outrage he had committed upon the Indian who had struck him in the back. Nah-way-go defended the act as just and brave. The reproof was repeated, and, upon the instant, he slew Black Beaver. . . . . A warrant was at once issued by Colonel Stannard, acting as Justice, for his arrest. Nah-way-go fled back to the east side of the river, and, accompanied by a friend, secreted himself in the woods, upon what is now the site of East Saginaw. He preferred to trust himself on the same side of the river with the tribe whose leading warrior he had stricken down, rather than endure the mortification of arrest and punishment by the white man's law. He sent word to two of his white friends, Antoine Campau and Mr. E. S. Williams, desiring them to cross the river and come to the woods in which he was secreted, when, on their giving a signal, he would come to them. They did so, and he soon made his appearance. He informed them, that he had sent for them for advice; that the white man's punishment, imprisonment, was only fit for cowards; death by the hands of his own race was glorious, in comparison, if any relative of Black Beaver should choose to make it a cause of vengeance. They advised him to cross back to his own camp, present himself to his people, and let the affair take the course warranted by Indian usage. The arrest by the officer was waived, and he presented himself at his own camp, openly. The hour for the burial of Black Beaver arrived; many Indians gathered as mourners and spectators at the place for burial, which was between the old Campau trading-post and the river. The body had been placed in the coffin; the relatives, their faces streaked with black paint, had gathered about it; the few white settlers then in the valley were all there as spectators. The fearful outrage, so near to their own doors, had absorbed and engrossed the attention of all. While the solema Indian rite was in progress over the remains of their favorite warrior, Nah-way-go was seen approaching from his camping-ground. He was dressed in full and careful costume,--tomahawk and knife in his girdle, and a small canteen of whisky at his side; his whole appearance was imposing and gallant. He made his way with lofty and majestic step to the center of the mourning group. Walking, with measured step, to the side of the coffin, he placed upon it his tomahawk and knife. He filled his calumet with kinnikinic, composedly and with dignity; after smoking from it himself, he passed it to the chief mourner, who declined it. He then passed it to the next, and the next, with the same result. He passed his canteen of whisky with the same formality, and with the same result. He then unfastened the collar of his hunting-shirt, and bared his bosom. Seating himself with calm dignity upon the foot of the coffin, and turning his face full upon the chief mourners, he addressed them thus: 'You refuse my pipe of peace; you refuse to drink with me; you wish my life. Here it is. Strike deep; strike not in the back; strike not and miss. The man that does this, dies when I meet him on our bunting-ground.' Not a hand was raised. Upon the dark and stoical faces of that cloud of enemies by whom he was surrounded no feeling found expression except that of awe; no muscle moved. He rose, and, towering to his full height, exclaimed: 'Cowards, cowards, cowards!' As composedly as he had taken them out, he restored, unmolested, the tomahawk and knife to his girdle, and, with his canteen at his side, walked away from the strange scene. He had awed his enemies, and was evidently master of the situation. Removing soon after to the lake shore, away from the scene of his early feuds and fearful exploits, he fell, ultimately, upon the hunting-ground, in a personal rencounter with a relative of one of his early victims." The numerous offices of trust reposed in Mr. Williams by the people in the different places in which he has lived, fully attest the high estimation placed upon his labors. While faithfully fulfilling these duties, he was promoting the best interests of his town, and building up a name which will be held in grateful remembrance long after he has passed away. Mr. Williams is tall, and still powerful, though seventy-six years of age. His clear eye, ruddy complexion, erect form, and vigorous step show little or no trace of the many years of care and hardship through which he has passed, and promise ease and usefulness in those to come.
  11. Ephraim Williams; age 48; male; merchant; b.Mass.
    Hannah M.; age 40; female; b.NY
    Mary M.; age 24; female; b.Michigan
    Oliver; age 20; male; clerk; b.Michigan
    Julia A.; age 17; female; b.Michigan
    Ephraim S.; age 15; male; b.Michigan
    Elias G.; age 13; male; b.Michigan
    Jenny; age 7; female; b.Michigan
    Susan E. Forey; age 19; female; b.L. Canada
  12. Ephraim S. Williams; age 58; male; white; postmaster; real estate 12,365; personal 600; b.Mass.
    Hannah M.; age 51; female; b.NY
    Elias G.; age 22; male; dept. post master; b.Michigan
    Betsy; age 20; female; b.Michigan
    Jenny; age 17; female; student; b.Michigan
    Eliza Kline; age 20; servant; b.Ireland
  13. Williams, E.S.; age 68; male; white; grocer-retired; real estate 12,000/personal 1000; b.Mass.
    Hannah; age 61; female; white; keeping house; b.New York
    Jennie M.; age 24; female; white; at home; b.Michigan
  14. Williams, Ephraim S.; white; male; age 78; widowed; retired merchant;
    b.Mass.; father b.Mass.; mother b.Mass.
    ----- Jennie M.; white; female; age 36; single; house keeping;
    b.Michigan; father b.Mass.; mother b.NY