G. Mott Williams Information

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G. Mott Williams
Bishop of Marquette
G. Mott Williams.tif
Province The Episcopal Church
Diocese Diocese of Marquette
ElectedNovember 14, 1895
Term endedOctober 1919
SuccessorRobert Le Roy Harris
ConsecrationMay 1, 1896 [1]
Personal details
Birth nameGershom Mott Williams
Born(1857-02-11)February 11, 1857
Fort Hamilton, New York, United States
DiedApril 14, 1923(1923-04-14) (aged 66)

Gershom Mott Williams (February 11, 1857 – April 14, 1923) was first Episcopalian bishop of Marquette. He was a church journalist, author, and translator. Williams graduated from Cornell University and received his Master's Degree and Doctor of Divinity from Hobart College. Although he passed the bar in 1879, Williams began an extensive career in the Episcopal clergy, having positions in Buffalo, Milwaukee, and Detroit before being made bishop. He was involved in many church commissions, include preparation and attendance at the Lambeth Conference of 1908.

Williams organized and was the first Major-General of the state's militia. He was also its chaplain for four years. He played a key role in making Michigan a state as the president of the Constitutional Convention of Assent. Williams was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion.

He was the son of Thomas Williams, a Civil War general who died in the Battle of Baton Rouge (1862). His grandfather John R. Williams was the first mayor of Detroit.

Early life

Williams, born February 11, 1857 at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York, [2] was the son of Civil War General Thomas Williams and Mary Neosho Williams. [3] [2] His father died in the Battle of Baton Rouge in 1862. [2] Gershom published his father's personal papers. [4] His grandfather was John R. Williams, the first mayor of the city. [5] Williams' great-grandfather, Thomas Williams, settled in Detroit in 1765 and the Williams family remained there from that time. [2] Prior to Detroit, the Williams family had settled in Albany, New York in 1690. [2] His paternal ancestors were Roman Catholics who at some point converted to the Episcopal Church. [2] His mother was the daughter of Dr. Joseph Bailey, who served in the U.S. Army. Her Dutch ancestors were from the Hudson River Valley area and New England. [2] Williams was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. [2]

He had a brother, John R. Williams and sister Mary Josepha Williams. [6] Josepha, was a physician and like her mother, Mary Neosho WIlliams, a significant landowner in Evergreen, Colorado. [3] Josepha was married in 1896 to Canon Charles Winfred Douglas, [7]

Following his father's death in 1862, Williams lived in Newburgh, New York where he was confirmed by Rev. Horatio Potter. [2]


He attended private and public schools before attending and in 1871 graduation from the Newburgh Academy [8] Williams had jobs as a timekeeper and bookkeeper before winning a two-year scholarship to Cornell University. During that time, from December 1874 to the spring of 1875, he traveled through Europe. [8] He graduated from Cornell University in 1877. [2] [9] Williams received a Master's Degree in 1889 and a Doctor of Divinity in 1895 from Hobart College. [9] He moved to Detroit in 1877 [2] to work in a law office and settle his father's estate. [8]



On December 29, 1879, Williams was admitted to the bar in Michigan. [2] [8] He was ordained a deacon by Bishop Harris in 1880 and served at St. John's in Detroit. Then, until 1884, he was rector at the Church of the Messiah. After that, he continued to serve as a rector at St. George's until 1889. During this time he was a church journalist and in charge of the African-American church, St. Matthew's. He had positions at St. Paul's in Buffalo and All Saint's in Milwaukee before becoming administrator and archdeacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan in 1891. [2] Williams was elected first bishop of Marquette on November 14, 1895 and consecrated May 1, 1896. [1]

He was on the commission appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in pursuance of resolution 74 of the Lambeth Conference of 1908 [10] on the relation of the Anglican Communion to the Church of Sweden. [11] Williams traveled to Sweden in 1920 in advance of the Lambeth Conference to ascertain Scandinavian Church relations [12]

Williams was deputy of the General Conventions twice. [2] He sat on the commission [13] and was Bishop-in-Charge of the American Churches in Europe. [14] He also sat on commissions to revise the hymnal and to create a Swedish version of the Prayer Book. [15] Williams translated the Common Prayer Book from English to Swedish. [16]

Williams resigned October 1919 due to a long-standing illness. [17]

Military and political

Williams played a key role in Michigan's statehood as the president of the Constitutional Convention of Assent. [8] Williams organized and was the state's first Major-General of the Michigan state troops. [8] He was chaplain to the Fourth Regiment (Detroit) of the Michigan state troops for four years, [2] [18] beginning December 18, 1883. [19] He was a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. [2]

Personal life and death

Williams married Eliza (Lily) Biddle of Detroit in 1879. [2] [20] She descended from the Biddle family of Philadelphia. [2] Her father was William S. Biddle of Grosse Ile, Michigan [20] [21] and she was granddaughter of John Biddle, an early mayor of Detroit and Congressman. [20] Her mother was Susan D. Ogden and her maternal grandfather was Judge Elias B. D. Ogden of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. [2] [20] Lily was sister to Dr. Andrew P. Biddle, General John Biddle, and First Lieutenant William S. Biddle, Jr. [20]

The couple had seven children: Susan, Thomas Victor, Dayton Ogden, Cecil, Rhoda, John, and Mary Josepha Williams. [8] He died April 14, 1923 in Paris, France. [22]


  • Gershom Mott Williams (1888). Between Two Christmas Days. Detroit, Michigan: Press of American Church Times and Michigan Churchman. LCCN  31030167.
  • Gershom Mott Williams (1910). The Church of Sweden and the Anglican Communion.
  • Gershom Mott (1910). Svensk-Engelska kyrkokonferensen i Uppsala (translation of the Book of Common Prayer) (in Swedish).
  • Gershom Mott Williams (1913). Human Questions and Divine Answers: Short sermons expressly written for lay readers in the American church. Milwaukee, Minnesota: The Young Churchman Company.
  • Gershom Mott Williams (1916). Swedish and American Church Life: A Tract for Swedes.


  1. ^ a b Episcopal Church (1951). "The Living Church Annual: The Yearbook of the Episcopal Church": 362.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "The Rev. G. Mott Williams, M.A.". The Churchman. Churchman Company. 1895. p. 709.
  3. ^ a b Melanie Shellenbarger (1 November 2012). High Country Summers: The Early Second Homes of Colorado, 1880Ð1940. University of Arizona Press. p. 238. ISBN  978-0-8165-2958-2.
  4. ^ "Michigan's Tuition Charges Were Small in 1827". The Michigan Alumnus. UM Libraries. 1935. p. 521. UOM:39015006954393. Biographical information about John R. Williams and other family members.
  5. ^ Clarence Monroe Burton; William Stocking; Gordon K. Miller (1922). The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922. S. J. Clarke publishing Company. pp. 926, 1294–1295.
  6. ^ Michigan Supreme Court; Harry Burns Hutchins; Randolph Manning (1879). Michigan Reports: Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Michigan. Phelphs & Stevens, printers. p. 558.
  7. ^ Thomas J. Noel (28 February 2007). Guide to Colorado Historic Places: Sites Supported by the Colorado Historical Society's State Historical Fund. Big Earth Publishing. p. 178. ISBN  978-1-56579-493-1.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Men of Progress: Embracing Biographical Sketches of Representative Michigan Men with an Outline History of the State. Evening News Assoc. 1900. p. 313.
  9. ^ a b John William Leonard; Albert Nelson Marquis (1901). Who's who in America. Marquis Who's Who. p. 1241.
  10. ^ Resolution 74 of the Lambeth Conference of 1908.
  11. ^ The Church of England and the Church of Sweden (1911).
  12. ^ The Living Church Annual and Churchman's Almanac. Morehouse Publishing Company. 1920. p. 93.
  13. ^ The Living Church Annual and Churchman's Almanac. Morehouse Publishing Company. 1920. p. 124.
  14. ^ Cameron Allen (July 1, 2013). The History of the American Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Paris (1815-1980). iUniverse. p. 634. ISBN  978-1-4759-3781-7.
  15. ^ The Living Church Annual and Churchman's Almanac. Morehouse Publishing Company. 1920. p. 141.
  16. ^ Episcopal Church (1920). Constitution and Canons for the Government the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Convention. pp. 101–102.
  17. ^ Episcopal Church (1920). Constitution and Canons for the Government the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Convention. pp. 100–101.
  18. ^ Facts and Figures about Michigan. General Passenger Department, Michigan Central. 1887. p. 22.
  19. ^ Gilbert R. Osmun, Secretary of State (1887). "Fourth Regiment of Infantry". Official Directory and Legislative Manual of the State of Michigan for the Years 1887-8. Lansing: Thorp and Godfrey, State Printers and Binders. p. 563.
  20. ^ a b c d e Robert B. Ross and George B. Catlyn, Revised by Clarence W. Burton (1898). Landmarks of Detroit: A History of the City. Detroit: The Evening News Association. p. 258.
  21. ^ A History of the Upper Peninisula of Michigan. Chicago: Western Historical Company. 1883. p. 136.
  22. ^ The Michigan Alumnus. University of Michigan Libraries. 1925. p. 481. UOM:39015071120995.