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 William Williams

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William Williams

  • Birth 23 Apr 1731 Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut, USA
  • Death 2 Aug 1811 Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut, USA
  • Burial Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut, USA
  • Memorial ID 2815

Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Connecticut. Born in Lebanon, Connecticut, where his father and grandfather had both been church ministers. After graduating from Harvard, Williams studied for the ministry under his father. Although he was a very religious man, and served as a church deacon for 43 years, Williams decided not to become a minister, but became a shopkeeper and entered politics. At age 21, he was elected town clerk of Lebanon, a post he would hold for forty-four years. He also served as a selectman of Lebanon for 27 years, as a member of the Connecticut legislature’s Lower House for 20 years, the Upper House for 23 years, and as a judge for 35 years. As was common in those days, Williams held several posts at the same time. As troubles began with Britain, he would write letters to newspapers complaining of British injustice. In June 1776, delegate Oliver Wolcott had to leave the Continental Congress due to illness, and Williams was sent in his place. He arrived in Philadelphia on July 28, 1776, too late for the vote on independence, but he still signed the document on August 2. He would remain in Congress for just over a year and a half, from 1776 to 1778. During this time, he helped to frame the Articles of Confederation. On February 14, 1771, Williams married Mary Trumbull, daughter of Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut’s first state governor. Mary and William would have three children. During the war, the family opened their homes to American soldiers. Williams would purchase supplies for the army with his own money, and reportedly went from door to door raising funds and collecting blankets for the army. Williams served as a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation in 1783 and 1784. In January 1788, Connecticut held a convention to decide whether or not to approve the proposed US Constitution. Lebanon sent Williams to the convention with instructions to vote against adopting the new Convention. Convinced that the new framework would help the country, Williams instead voted to accept the Constitution, and on January 9, 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to approve the Constitution. William Williams died on August 2, 1811, at the age of 80, exactly 35 years to the day that he signed the Declaration of Independence.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 27 Apr 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2815
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Williams (23 Apr 1731–2 Aug 1811), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2815, citing Old Cemetery, Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .