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Parsons-Williams Family Correspondence

Identifier: MSN/COL 8501

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of eleven letters and two records dating from 1757 to 1777. Six of the letters are directed to Sarah Williams (four from the years before her marriage to Parsons, one from the time of the marriage, and one from after Parsons' death). Most are from female friends or relatives. There are three letters from Joseph Parsons, Jr. to his father, mostly relating to land and debts. Two additional letters (April 1764) were provoked by the ill health of Joseph Parsons, Jr. There are also two records, one relating to Parsons Jr.'s election as minister of Brookfield, and one to his financial arrangements with his father.


  • Creation: 1755-1757


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

The eleven letters in this collection were either written by or addressed to three members of the Parsons and Williams families: Rev. Joseph Parsons (1702-1765), his son Rev. Joseph Parsons, Jr. (1733-1771), and his daughter-in-law Sarah Williams (1737-1800). The elder Parsons graduated from Harvard in 1720 and served as minister in Bradford, Massachusetts from 1726 until his death in 1765. He and his wife Frances Usher had three sons; the oldest was Joseph, Jr., who followed his father to Harvard, graduating in 1752. In 1757 Joseph Parsons, Jr. was elected minister in Brookfield, Massachusetts. In 1763 he married Sarah Williams, of Waltham, Massachusetts. Williams' family background was not unlike her husband's; both her father and grandfather were Harvard-educated ministers. The couple remained in Brookfield and had one daughter, Sarah Parsons, born in 1764. The elder Joseph Parsons died in 1765, the younger in 1771. Sarah Williams Parsons remarried in 1777, to Eliphalet Williams, a Yale-educated minister from East Hartford, Connecticut. She bore two additional children before her death, in 1800.


.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged by document type (letters, then records) and thereunder by date, one item per folder.

Physical Description

13 documents.

Parsons-Williams Family Correspondence
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556