(b. c. 1780; d. 17 October 1840), Episcopal clergyman and abolitionist. Williams was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the son of Peter Williams Sr., a slave, and Mary Durham, a black indentured servant from Saint Kitts in the Caribbean. Williams Sr. was a revered sexton and undertaker for the John Street Methodist Church in New York City before the Revolutionary War, in which he had served as a Patriot soldier. Following the conflict, the church purchased him from his departing Loyalist master in 1783 and then allowed him to work for his freedom, which he purchased in 1796. Williams Sr. became a founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in New York City and a leader of the city's black middle class.
From Encyclopedia of African American History: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: United States History.