Williams, John R., 1782-1854

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Williams was born in Detroit (Mich.) on May 4, 1782. In 1796 he served under Gen. Wilkinson in 1796 at Fort Marsac (Tenn.). In the War of 1812 he served as Captain of the artillery and was taken prisoner when Detroit fell. Later, Williams returned to Detroit, where he opened a general mercantile business. He was prominent in Michigan politics, serving as Delegate from the 1st District to the Constitutuional Convention of 1835; and as Delegate from Wayne Co. to the 2nd Convention of Assent, 1836. He was one of the first trustees of the University of Michigan in 1821. He prepared the first charter for Detroit, served as its first Mayor, and for six additional terms, 1824-1846. Williams was Senior Maj. Gen. of Michigan's State militia when he died on Oct. 20, 1854. (Information from Michigan Biographies v. 2, p.453.) John Winder (b. 1804) was U.S. receiver of public lands at Detroit (Mihc.), 1826-1828; bookkeeper of the American Fur Co., Mackinac Island (Mich.), 1828-1829; and clerk of the Michigan Territorial Supreme Court, 1829. (Information from Bentley finding aid.).

From the description of Correspondence, 1832. (Clarke Historical Library). WorldCat record id: 42787206

Williams was born in Detroit (Mich.) on May 4, 1782. In 1796 he served under Gen. Wilkinson in 1796 at Fort Marsac (Tenn.). In the War of 1812 he served as Captain of the artillery and was taken prisoner when Detroit fell. Later, Williams returned to Detroit, where he opened a general mercantile business. He was prominent in Michigan politics, serving as delegate from the 1st district to the Constitutional Convention of 1835; and as delegate from Wayne Co. to the 2nd Convention of Assent, 1836. He was one of the first trustees of the University of Michigan in 1821. He prepared the first charter for Detroit, served as its first mayor, and for six additional terms, 1824-1846. Williams was Senior Maj. Gen. of Michigan's State militia when he died on Oct. 20, 1854.

From the description of John R. Williams papers, 1771-1909. (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 51805891

John R. Williams was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1782, the son of Thomas Williams. After temporarily moving away during his childhood, he returned to Detroit as a teenager and worked for Joseph Campau, his uncle. At the age of 18, Williams joined the United States Army, serving as a "cornet," and he worked as a contract agent for Ormsby & Wilson, who supplied military forts along the Ohio River. In the early 1800s, Williams again returned to Detroit, where he and Campau began a successful mercantile business.

During the War of 1812, Williams served as captain of an artillery regiment, and was taken prisoner at the capture of Detroit. After the war, Williams began a political career, helping write the first charter for the city of Detroit and becoming the city's first elected mayor (he served several non-consecutive terms between 1824 and 1846). He later earned a commission as Major General of the Michigan Militia, a title he held until his death. Williams and his wife, Mary Mott, had ten children. Williams died in 1854.

From the guide to the John R. Williams papers, Williams, John R. papers, 1798-1801, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Lewis Cass papers (1774-1924) William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Campbell, James V. (James Valentine), 1823-1890. Papers, 1823-1881. Clarke Historical Library
creatorOf John R. Williams papers 1798-1801 Williams, John R.papers William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Williams, John R., 1782-1854. John R. Williams papers, 1771-1909. Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
referencedIn Burt, Flora,. Flora Burt family papers, 1820s-1980s. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Flora Burt Family Papers, ca. 1830s-1960s Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Huston, Almangan. Black Hawk War collection, 1831-1832. Clarke Historical Library
creatorOf Williams, John R., 1782-1854. Correspondence, 1832. Clarke Historical Library
referencedIn Lewis Cass papers (1774-1924) William L. Clements Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bank of Michigan. corporateBody
associatedWith Burt, Flora, person
associatedWith Burt, Flora, collector. person
associatedWith Campbell, James V. (James Valentine), 1823-1890. person
associatedWith Detroit Chamber of Commerce. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit (Mich.). Mayor (1824-1825 : Williams). corporateBody
associatedWith Huston, Almangan. person
associatedWith Lasselle, Jacques. person
associatedWith Michigan Territorial Militia. corporateBody
associatedWith Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864. person
associatedWith Ste. Anne's Church (Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith William L. Clements Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Winder, John, b. 1804. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Michigan--Detroit
Detroit (Mich.)
Detroit (Mich.)
United States
Michigan
Fort Massac (Ill.)
Michigan--Detroit
Subject
Fur trade
Indians of North America
Mayor
Northwest, Old
Real property
Shipping
Black Hawk War, 1832
Cholera
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1782-05-04

Death 1854-10-20

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