Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Ephraim Smith Williams, Genealogy of the Williams Family from Their First Settlement in America , 1868

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, May 2012

Summary Information
Title: Ephraim Smith Williams, Genealogy of the Williams Family from Their First Settlement in America
Creator: Williams, Ephraim Smith, 1802-1890
Inclusive dates: 1868
Extent: 1 volume
This manuscript volume chronicles the genealogy of the descendants of Robert Williams, a native of Wales who settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts, around 1638. The book, written by Ephraim Smith Williams in 1868 and presented to his daughter Jenny, concentrates on his branch of the family and includes information about the Gotee family, his wife's ancestors, and a brief biographical sketch of his father, Oliver Williams.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1989. M-2467.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Ephraim Smith Williams, Genealogy of the Williams Family from Their First Settlement in America , William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Ephraim Smith Williams, the fourth child of Oliver and Mary Lee Williams, was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on February 7, 1802. His father Oliver, an early settler of Detroit, Michigan, traded goods with local Native Americans in the years before the War of 1812. His family joined him in Michigan in 1815. Around 1830, Ephraim Smith Williams moved to Saginaw, Michigan, where he and his brother George worked for the American Fur Company. He served as Saginaw's postmaster for several years, until 1840. Ten years later, he moved to Flint, Michigan, where he served as the city's postmaster and mayor. Williams married Hannah Melissa Gotee on March 13, 1825, and they had seven children: Mary Abigail (1826-1872), Oliver Harvey (b. 1830), Julia Ann (b. 1833), Ephraim Schuyler (b. 1835), Elias Gotee (1838-1884), Eliza Melissa (1841-1842), and Jenny Maria (1844-1936). Ephraim Smith Williams died on July 20, 1890.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Ephraim Smith Williams wrote this 52-page genealogical manuscript, titled Genealogy of the Williams Family from Their First Settlement in America , for his daughter, Jenny M. Williams, in 1868. The book chronicles the genealogy of their branch of the Williams family from the arrival of Welshman Robert Williams in Roxbury, Massachusetts, around 1638. Most Williams family members were born in Roxbury until the early 19th century, when Oliver Williams, the son of Benjamin Williams and Anne Fuller, moved his family to Detroit, Michigan. Genealogical information includes the names of Williams family members, their spouses, and their descendants, covering successive generations into the 1860s. Dates of births, deaths, and marriages are recorded when known. Ephraim Williams added information until at least 1885, often making notes of recent deaths. Other annotations record his relationship to certain family members, and he identified his two namesakes as well as his father's half-siblings. Though most branches of the family remained in Massachusetts, others lived as far away as Michigan, Texas, and California. Several generations of the Gotee family, ancestors of Ephraim's wife, Hanna Melissa Gotee, are also represented.

The genealogical information is supplemented by a half-page dedication note and 3 pages of family history. This additional information briefly relates some events from the lives of Oliver Williams and his son, Ephraim Smith Williams, including Oliver's experiences as an early settler in Detroit, Michigan, and as a British prisoner during the War of 1812. Other topics include a description of travel between Detroit and Saginaw, Michigan, in the 1810s and 1820s, and observations about the region's development, especially the diminishing Native American presence. Also included are brief biographical notes regarding Ephraim Smith Williams.

Subject Terms

    • Detroit (Mich.)--History--Surrender to the British, 1812.
    • Gotee family.
    • Michigan--History--19th century.
    • Roxbury (Boston, Mass.)
    • Saginaw (Mich.)
    • Williams family.
    Genre Terms:
    • Genealogies.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Ephraim Smith Williams, Genealogy of the Williams Family from Their First Settlement in America ,  1868 [series]