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First Name: Jonathan

Last Name: Williams

Birthplace: Boston, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 1751

Date of Death: 18 May 1815

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
Jonathan Williams

•  War of 1812


Jonathan Williams
Colonel, U.S. Army

Jonathan Williams was born in 1751 in Boston, MA.

A nephew of Benjamin Franklin, he served as an agent to the U.S. Commission in France during the Revolutionary War, where he became embroiled in the controversy between Silas Deane and Arthur Lee. Well educated in both science and the law, he gained fame as an experimental scientist, publishing several science papers, especially in the area of military fortifications.

Williams was appointed to the U.S. Army as a Colonel by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, and was installed as the first Superintendent of the newly-established U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His term was marked by governmental neglect in operations and later public distrust. Despite such obstacles he kept the school alive during its early years, building the foundations which Sylvanus Thayer later used to mold the school into its present day education and military tradition. Colonel Williams resigned from the Army at the beginning of the War of 1812 when he was denied command of the New York City fortifications.

He was made a brevet Brigadier General in the New York State Militia, and was elected to the U.S. Congress, but died before he could take office.

Death and Burial

Colonel Jonathan Williams died on 18 May 1815. He was originally buried on Pine Street between 4th and 5th Streets in Philadelphia, PA, and was re-interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia in 1862.

Honoree ID: 3227   Created by: MHOH




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