Eleazer Williams

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1854 portrait

Eleazer Williams (May 1788 – August 28, 1858) was a Canadian clergyman and missionary of Mohawk descent.[1]

Williams was born in Sault St. Louis, Quebec, Canada, the son of Thomas Williams, and was educated at Dartmouth College. He published tracts and a spelling book in the Iroquois language, translated the Book of Common Prayer into Iroquois, and wrote a biography of Chief Te-ho-ra-gwa-ne-gen (Thomas Williams).

Missionary career[edit]

1853 portrait

In 1815, Williams joined the Episcopal Church. In 1817, Bishop John Henry Hobart appointed Williams to be a missionary to the Oneida people in upstate New York.[2]

In 1820 and 1821, Williams led delegations of Native Americans to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where they secured a cession of land from the Menominee and Winnebago tribes in the Fox River Valley at Little Chute and along Duck Creek.[3] Historians have disputed the significance of Williams' leadership to this migration compared to that of the Oneida people themselves, including Oneida leader Daniel Bread.[3] The following year Williams made his home there and was married to a Menominee woman named Madeleine Jourdain. In 1826 he was ordained a deacon.[4] [5]

In 1839 and afterwards, Williams began to make the claim that he was the French "Lost Dauphin".[6] During the 1850s he openly became a pretender to the throne of France,[7] but he died in poverty at Hogansburg, New York.[4]

Williams was buried at Saint James' Cemetery in Hogansburg on August 28, 1858. In 1947, his remains and tombstone were moved to Holy Apostles Cemetery in Oneida, Wisconsin.[8] His tombstone at Oneida indicates that he was a Freemason.

Legacy[edit]

William's plot of 19 acres of land at his Wisconsin home was designated Lost Dauphin State Park by the state.[9] It was later taken off the list of state parks and the house was burned.[10] It remains designated as Lost Dauphin Park with the land remaining state owned.[11] The flagstone foundation of the house remains visible.[11]

Publications[edit]

Title page for Gaiatonsera ionteweienstakwa
Title page from Iontatretsiarontha, ne agwegon ahonwan igonrarake, ne raonha ne songwaswens = A caution against our common enemy

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hauptman, Laurence; McLester III, Gordon (2002). Chief Daniel Bread and the Oneida Nation of Indians of Wisconsin. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3412-3. 
  2. ^ Hauptman 2008, p. 90.
  3. ^ a b Hauptman 2008, p. 91.
  4. ^ a b Williams, Eleazer 1788 - 1858.
  5. ^ Phillippe 1985.
  6. ^ "Eleazer Williams, Chief or the 'Lost Dauphin'?". Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. July 25, 1931. p. 2. Retrieved May 4, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ Wight 1903.
  8. ^ "Remains of Famed Indian Missionary to Go to Oneida". Monroe Evening Times. April 22, 1947. p. 8. Retrieved May 4, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ "Lost Dauphin State Park". Wisconsin State Park System. 
  10. ^ "Oneida history". Oneida tribe. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Godfrey, Linda S.; Hendricks, Richard D.; Moran, Mark; Sceurman, Mark (2005). Weird Wisconsin: Your Travel Guide to Wisconsin's Local Legends... Sterling Publishing Company. pp. 54–55. ISBN 0760759448. Retrieved August 10, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]