THE REV. DWIGHT WILLIAMS, preacher, poet, and author, and a resident of Cazenovia, was born April 26, 1824.
His father, Elijah Williams, was born here July 13,1796, and is said to have been the first white male child born in Cazenovia. He died in 1844. His father was James Williams, a soldier in the War of the Revolution and of 1812, and a son of Lieutenant Joseph Williams, from Leverett, Mass., who served two years in the French and Indian War, taking part in several engagements, and was later a soldier in the War of the Revolution, was present at the battle of Saratoga, and served--until the close of the struggle. It was in this latter war that he attained the rank of Lieutenant. He came to Cazenovia in 1794, with a family of three sons and two daughters. He was one of the first Trustees of the Presbyterian church in Cazenovia, organized in 1798. He lived to the age of ninety-three years, dying in 1857. The family has thus been identified with the town for a century.
Elijah Williams, the father, married Sophia Brigham, a daughter of Phineas and
Susanna Brigham, both of Marlboro, Mass. They became the parents of three children, namely: Jane, who died in Cazenovia, when but fifteen years of age; Harriet, now the widow of Van Rensselaer Leland, who was the son of Colonel Yale Leland, a prominent farmer of the town of Madison. She is now a resident of Norfolk, Va.
Dwight Williams received his education in Skaneateles Academy and Cazenovia Seminary, and in 1851 became a member of the Oneida Conference. He has remained a member of this conference, now known as the Central New York, up to the present time, a period of forty-two years. He was married in July, 1855, to Keziah Elizabeth Lane, of Westmoreland, Oneida County, and a daughter of James Lane. Four children hallowed this union, one of whom, a son, bears his father's name, and is by profession an artist; one son died in infancy; Susan Brigham is unmarried; and Mary Harriet is the wife of Richard Vernam Barto, a prominent businessman of Tacoma, Wash. The mother of these children died May 10, 1883, at the age of forty-nine. She was a lovely and accomplished woman, of a true Christian character.
Mr. Williams is now retired from the active work of the ministry, and devotes his time largely to literary work. He is a poet of no mean order, and published his first volume of miscellaneous poems in 1876. This edition is now out of print; but a second volume, published by Phillips & Hunt, and entitled ,
"The Beautiful City in Song," has found many appreciative readers. He possesses, also, a unique and interesting collection of booklets containing gems of poetical thought. During the period of his active ministry he was the pastor of congregations in Camillus, Hamilton, Oxford, Clinton, Auburn, and many other places. He was for some time on the editorial staff of the
Watchword, a temperance paper, and has been thoroughly identified with the Prohibition movement on the platform and by many prose and poetic contributions. He occupied, also, the position of assistant editor of the
Northern Advocate. He has written largely as a stated contributor to the
Home Journal, the Northern and Christian Advocates, and the
Union Signal. He still does partial pulpit work, but his literary work engages his chief attention. He has written a variety of elocutionary poems, some of which have passed into standard use. His latest effort, "The Mother of the Wonderful," is a poem of long and careful study, and is much commended by some of our eminent poets and critics. This poem perhaps represents the spirit, the scope, and style of his work equal to any he has produced. In the Sullivan centennial, 1878, he was invited to read a poem at that interesting celebration at Waterloo, N.Y.
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