Guide to the Parsons-Williams Family Correspondence

MSN/COL 8501


Collection Summary

Title: Parsons-Williams family correspondence
Dates: 1757-1777, bulk 1760-1766
Collection No.: MSN/COL 8501
Creator: Williams, Abigail Leonard, 1703-1789
Creator: Dickinson, Hannah
Creator: Williams, Lydia
Creator: Parsons, Joseph, Jr., 1733-1771
Creator: Throg, Amos
Creator: Cushing, Jacob, 1730-1809
Creator: Rogers, Sally
Creator: Williams, Anne, b. 1759
Creator: Parsons, Joseph, 1702-1765
Extent: 13 documents; 1 container
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A small collection of manuscripts, mostly letters, relating to members of the Parsons and Williams families of late colonial Massachusetts.

Selected Search Terms

Parsons, Joseph, 1702-1765
Williams, Sarah, 1737-1800
Parsons, Joseph Jr., 1733-1771
Massachusetts (Colony) -- Manuscripts

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection

Preferred Citation: Parsons-Williams Family Correspondence Letters, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Parsons-Williams correspondence was purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2002-03, from Paper Trails of Charlton, Massachusetts. Arranged and described 2005, by George Rugg. Finding aid 2009, by Jacob Baska.

Biographical Note

The eleven letters in this collection were either written by or addressed to three members of the Parsons and Williams families: Rev. Joseph Parsons (1702-1765), his son Rev. Joseph Parsons, Jr. (1733-1771), and his daughter-in-law Sarah Williams (1737-1800). The elder Parsons graduated from Harvard in 1720 and served as minister in Bradford, Massachusetts from 1726 until his death in 1765. He and his wife Frances Usher had three sons; the oldest was Joseph, Jr., who followed his father to Harvard, graduating in 1752. In 1757 Joseph Parsons, Jr. was elected minister in Brookfield, Massachusetts. In 1763 he married Sarah Williams, of Waltham, Massachusetts. Williams' family background was not unlike her husband's; both her father and grandfather were Harvard-educated ministers. The couple remained in Brookfield and had one daughter, Sarah Parsons, born in 1764. The elder Joseph Parsons died in 1765, the younger in 1771. Sarah Williams Parsons remarried in 1777, to Eliphalet Williams, a Yale-educated minister from East Hartford, Connecticut. She bore two additional children before her death, in 1800.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of eleven letters and two records dating from 1757 to 1777. Six of the letters are directed to Sarah Williams (four from the years before her marriage to Parsons, one from the time of the marriage, and one from after Parsons' death). Most are from female friends or relatives. There are three letters from Joseph Parsons, Jr. to his father, mostly relating to land and debts. Two additional letters (April 1764) were provoked by the ill health of Joseph Parsons, Jr. There are also two records, one relating to Parsons Jr.'s election as minister of Brookfield, and one to his financial arrangements with his father.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged by document type (letters, then records) and thereunder by date, one item per folder.

Container List