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Williams (Benajah) diaries
ARC Mss 85  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Five handwritten diaries by Methodist preacher Benajah Williams (1789-1864) documenting his activities during the years 1818-1862.
Background
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.
Extent
2.34 linear feet (2 flat boxes)
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Research Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Research Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Research Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
Availability
The collection is open for research.