The Rev. Benajah Williams was born in Pownal, Vermont in 1789, and soon after moved to Cazenovia, New York with his family.
He married his wife Jerusha Wiliams in 1808, and by 1816 he was first licensed to preach in the Methodist faith. Williams
was quickly assigned as a traveling preacher to many circuits (which were assigned routes provided by the church in order
to ensure access to religious services for residents of rural areas) inside of New York including Old Bloomfield, Caladonia,
Sweeden, Batavia, Danaville, Plattsburg, Naples, Scottsville, Elba, Richmond, and East Liberty, with Honeyoe Falls serving
as his central station before 1840. Williams life was very difficult for him and his family, and often most of his annual
salary was paid in produce by members of his congregation. Perhaps because of this, he briefly left New York and relocated
to Chagrin Falls, Ohio where he owned and operated an iron foundry beginning in June of 1840. He would return to his preaching,
however, in 1848, and this time he was assigned to the Coudersport, Pennsylvania circuit. Williams was known to be a strict
man, shunning and condemning extravagance or display in dressing such as jewelry and adornments. This garnered him the reputation
of an extremist, though most accounts note that he was well regarded and kind in many other areas. Williams was also a known
Abolitionist, and he was known to distribute anti-slavery materials along with his religious teachings. Wiliams was known
to be suspicious of Catholicism, and saw the Pope as a threat to Republicanism and the Protestant Church.
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