Thomas Smith Williamson

Last updated
Thomas Smith Williamson
BornMarch 8, 1800
Fair Forest, Miami Florida

Thomas Smith Williamson (March 1800 – June 24, 1879) was an American physician and missionary.

Williamson, the only son of Rev. William and Mary (Smith) Williamson, was born at Fair Forest, Union District, S. C., in March, 1800; in 1805 his father, wishing to set at liberty the slaves which he had inherited, moved to Manchester, Ohio.

He graduated from Jefferson College, Canonsburg, Pa, in 1820, and soon after began to read medicine with his brother-in-law, Dr. William Wilson, of West Union, Ohio. He also attended a course of medical lectures in Cincinnati, before attending the Yale Medical School, where he graduated in 1824. On receiving his degree he settled in Ripley, Ohio, where he soon gained a good practice, and was married, April 10, 1827, to Margaret, daughter of Col. James Poage

A half-formed purpose to devote themselves to missionary work was rendered stronger by the early deaths of their first three children; and after spending one winter at Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, and being licensed to preach the gospel, Dr. Williamson was appointed by the American Board in the spring of 1834 to visit the Indian tribes west of and near the Mississippi River and north of the State of Missouri. The result was the establishment by the Board of a new mission, of which Dr. Williamson was put in charge. As soon as navigation opened in the spring of 1835, he left Ohio with his family, and until 1846 was stationed at Lac-qui-parle, among the Dakotas, in the western part of what is now the State of Minnesota. In 1846 he removed to Kaposia, five miles below St. Paul, and after the cession of these lands to the government, followed the Dakotas in 1852 to their reservation, and selected as his residence a spot some thirty miles south of Lac-qui-parle. He continued there until the Indian outbreak in 1862, and afterwards made his home at St. Peter, Minn., where he died, June 24, 1879, in his 80th year. His wife died in July, 1872.

From the time of his entrance on the missionary work, he gave himself unreservedly to the elevation and Christianization of the Dakotas; he lived to see among them ten native ordained ministers and about 800 church members, connected with the churches which he had planted. The crowning work of his life, the translation of the Bible into the language of the Sioux nation, was only completed, in connection with Rev. Dr. Riggs, about three months before his death. His three surviving sons were all college graduates, and one of them was associated with his father in the missionary work.

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the 1880 Yale Obituary Record .

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota</span> County in Minnesota, United States

Yellow Medicine County is a county in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Minnesota. Its eastern border is formed by the Minnesota River. As of the 2020 census, the population was 9,528. Its county seat is Granite Falls.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota</span> County in Minnesota, United States

Lac qui Parle County is a county in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2020 census, the population was 6,719. Its county seat is Madison. The largest city in the county is Dawson.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Hastings Sibley</span> American politician and military leader (1811–1891)

Henry Hastings Sibley was a fur trader with the American Fur Company, the first U.S. Congressional representative for Minnesota Territory, the first governor of the state of Minnesota, and a U.S. military leader in the Dakota War of 1862 and a subsequent expedition into Dakota Territory in 1863.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions</span> 1810–1957 American Christian missionary organisation

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) was among the first American Christian missionary organizations. It was created in 1810 by recent graduates of Williams College. In the 19th century it was the largest and most important of American missionary organizations and consisted of participants from Protestant Reformed traditions such as Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and German Reformed churches.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lac qui Parle River</span> River in Minnesota, United States

The Lac qui Parle River is a tributary of the Minnesota River, 118 miles (190 km) long, in southwestern Minnesota in the United States. A number of tributaries of the river, including its largest, the West Branch Lac qui Parle River, also flow in eastern South Dakota. Via the Minnesota River, the Lac qui Parle River is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River, draining an area of 1,156 square miles (2,990 km2) in an agricultural region. Slightly more than two-thirds of the Lac qui Parle watershed is in Minnesota. Lac qui parle means "lake which speaks" in the French language, and was a translation of the Sioux name for Lac qui Parle, a lake on the Minnesota River upstream of the mouth of the Lac qui Parle River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Little Crow</span> Chief of Kaposia band of Mdewakantons

Little Crow III was a Mdewakanton Dakota chief who led a faction of the Dakota in a five-week war against the United States in 1862.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kaposia</span> Historic Dakota village in St. Paul, Minnesota area

Kaposia or Kapozha was a seasonal and migratory Dakota settlement, also known as "Little Crow's village," once located on the east side of the Mississippi River in present-day Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Kaposia band of Mdewakanton Dakota was established in the late 18th century and led by a succession of chiefs known as Little Crow or "Petit Corbeau." After a flood in 1826, the band moved to the west side of the river, about nine miles below Fort Snelling.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joseph Renville</span> Dakota translator and fur trader (1779–1846)

Joseph Renville (1779–1846) was an interpreter, translator, expedition guide, Canadian officer in the War of 1812, founder of the Columbia Fur Company, and an important figure in dealings between settlers of European ancestry and Dakota (Sioux) Natives in Minnesota. He contributed to the translation of Christian religious texts into the Dakota language. The hymnal Dakota dowanpi kin, was "composed by J. Renville and sons, and the missionaries of the A.B.C.F.M." and was published in Boston in 1842. Its successor, Dakota Odowan, first published with music in 1879, has been reprinted many times and is in use today.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gabriel Renville</span>

Gabriel Renville, also known as Ti'wakan, was Chief of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Sioux Tribe from 1866 until his death in 1892. He opposed conflict with the United States during the Dakota War of 1862 and was a driving force within the Dakota Peace Party. Gabrielle Renville's influence and political leadership were critical to the eventual creation of the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, which lies mainly in present-day South Dakota.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Enmegahbowh</span>

Enmegahbowh was the first Native American to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stephen Return Riggs</span> American clergyman and linguist

Stephen Return Riggs was a Christian missionary and linguist who lived and worked among the Dakota people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Augustin Ravoux</span> French priest and missionary

Augustin Ravoux was a French priest and missionary who served in the area preceding Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, in Minnesota.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eli L. Huggins</span> American general and Medal of Honor recipient (1842–1929)

Eli Lundy Huggins was an American Brigadier General and author who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Indian Wars. He was also the commander of the 8th Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Spanish–American War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hypolite Dupuis</span>

Hypolite Dupuis was known as a "veritable old settler" in the Minnesota River Valley when it was largely inhabited by Native Americans. He was a French Canadian fur trader who eventually settled in Mendota, Minnesota, opened the first general store there, and served as the first treasurer of Dakota County.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fort Renville</span>

Fort Renville, originally called Fort Adam, was a fur-trading post established by Joseph Renville and built in 1826. The fort was used as a trading post for the Columbia Fur Company, which was later purchased by the American Fur Company. The American Fur Company continued to use the post until 1846, when it moved to another site. There are no visible remains at its site, a half mile from the Lac qui Parle Mission, in Lac qui Parle State Park near Watson, Minnesota, United States. It was a significant post during the fur-trading years, but fell out of use after Renville's death in 1846. The site has been damaged by flooding and is now held in preservation by the Minnesota Historical Society. It is not open to the public. There is an overlook of the site with a sign detailing a brief history of the fur-trading post for visitors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lac qui Parle Mission</span> United States historic place

Lac qui Parle Mission is a pre-territorial mission in Chippewa County, Minnesota, United States, which was founded in June 1835 by Dr. Thomas Smith Williamson and Alexander Huggins after fur trader Joseph Renville invited missionaries to the area. Lac qui Parle is a French translation of the native Dakota name, meaning "lake which speaks". In the 19th century, the first dictionary of the Dakota language was written, and part of the Bible was translated into that language for the first time at a mission on the site of the park. It was a site for Christian missionary work to the Sioux for nearly 20 years. Renville was related to and had many friends in the Native community, and after his death in 1846, the mission was taken over by the "irreligious" Martin McLeod. The relationship between the mission and the Dakota people worsened, and in 1854 the missionaries abandoned the site and relocated to the Upper Sioux Agency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gideon Hollister Pond</span> American politician

Gideon Hollister Pond was an American Presbyterian missionary, clergyman, and territorial legislator.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Poage Williamson</span> American missionary, politician, and writer

John Poage Williamson was an American missionary, politician, and writer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Asa Bowen Smith</span> American Congregational missionary

Asa Bowen Smith, also known as A.B. Smith, was a Congregational missionary posted in Oregon Country and Hawaii with his wife Sarah Gilbert White Smith. In 1840, Smith wrote the manuscript for the book Grammar of the Language of the Nez Perces Indians Formerly of Oregon, U.S.. He conducted the first census of the Nez Perce. After eight years as a missionary, he returned to the Northeastern United States where he was a pastor of the Buckland Congregational Church in Massachusetts and of the Congregational Church in Southbury, Connecticut.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alonzo Barnard</span>

Alonzo Barnard (1817–1905) was a Presbyterian missionary to Native Americans. He helped people escape slavery and taught formerly enslaved people in Ontario, Canada. He met his wife Sarah Philena Babcock Barnard (1819–1853) at Oberlin College and they worked together as missionaries and abolitionists with other graduates from Oberlin. Called the "Oberlin Band", they were led by Rev. Frederick Ayer. They worked initially for the Western Evangelical Missionary Society, and then the American Missionary Association after 1846. He ran one of the first printing presses in Minnesota, which was used to print books in the Ojibwe language. He established several mission stations and was a fund-raiser for the mission.