Ephraim Williams, an American soldier, born in Newton, Mass., Feb. 24, 1715, killed near Lake George, Sept. 8, 1755. In early life he was a sailor, but afterward became a soldier, and in the Anglo-French war (1740-48) he was a captain in the provincial service in Canada. In 1750 the government granted him 200 acres of land in the present townships of Adams and Williamstown, on which Fort Massachusetts was built. He was placed in command of that and of all the line of border forts W. of the Connecticut river. In 1755, after the renewal of hostilities between England and France, he was appointed to the command of a regiment intended to cooperate with Sir William Johnson in the projected campaign against Canada. On his way thither, under a presentiment of his early fall, he devised his landed and other property for the support of a free school among the settlers, from the avails of which, 38 years afterward, Williams college arose. (See Williams College.) On the morning of Sept. 8, 1755, at the head of 1,200 men, he was ordered on a reconnoissance of Dieskau's advancing force, fell into an ambuscade of French and Indians near the head of Lake George, and was shot through the head. The alumni of Williams college in 1854 erected a monument to his memory on the spot where he fell.

He was never married.