Education of Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams was educated in the typical manner of children in Deerfield.  In addition, his father, Rev. John Williams, taught him to read the Bible and allowed him to read the books in his library.

His formal education was interrupted by the raid on Deerfield and his ensuing captivity from 1704–1705.  After he was redeemed from captivity in late 1705, he lived with relatives in Roxbury until his father and brothers were redeemed in the fall of 1706.  The Williams family then returned to Deerfield to help the town rebuild.

Deerfield was very crowded and housing was scarce, so another family moved in with the Williams family.  To make more room in the house, Stephen moved to neighboring town of Hatfield to continue his education with his cousin William Williams.

In July, 1709, sixteen year old Stephen was admitted to Harvard College.  He and his six fellow classmates studied Greek grammar, Hebrew grammar, logic, ethics, politics, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, declamation, and divinity.  Stephen was a scholarship student and his college expenses were met by several funds already established at Harvard to financially assist students.  He also borrowed many books needed for his studies from relatives and friends and had access to the library of his great uncle Cotton Mather (one of the largest libraries in Boston).

Later in life, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Yale College in 1741 and also from Dartmouth College in 1773.


  • The Journals of the Rev. Stephen Williams by Andrew Medlicott

  • Not to Fear the Face of Man: A Biography of the Rev. Dr. Stephen Williams First Minister to the Longmeadow Congregational Church 1716 to 1782 by Margaret Stoler 1974

  • The History of the Williams Family by  Stephen West Williams

by Elizabeth Hoff

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