John Williams, an American clergyman, known as " the redeemed captive," born in Roxbury, Mass., Dec. 10, 1644, died in Deerfield, Mass., June 12, 1729. He became pastor of the church in Deerfield in 1688, and in 1704 was captured with his wife and six children by a party of French and Indians, and carried to Canada. On the second day's march Mrs. Williams fell from exhaustion, and was despatched with a tomahawk. He was well treated in captivity, and in 1706 was redeemed, and arrived in Boston Nov. 21, with 57 other captives, among whom were two of his children. His daughter Eunice, 10 years of age, was left behind, and married an Indian. He resumed his pastoral charge at Deerfield, and published a narrative of his captivity, entitled "The Redeemed Captive." (See Deerfield).
John Williams, an English missionary, born at Tottenham, near London, June 29, 1796, murdered at Dillon's bay in the island of Erromango, New Hebrides, Nov. 20, 1839. At the age of 20 the London missionary society sent him with his wife to Eimeo, one of the Society islands. Thence, after acquiring a knowledge of the language, they removed, first to Huahine, and finally to Raiatea. He was very successful here for about five years, after which he visited the Hervey islands and founded a mission at Raratonga (1823). He learned the language of the Hervey islands, prepared some books, and translated a portion of the Bible. Having no vessel, he made all the necessary tools, and in 15 weeks built and launched a boat 60 ft. long and 18 ft. wide, the sails being made of native matting, the cordage of the bark of the hibiscus, the oakum of cocoanut husks and banana stumps, and the sheaves of iron wood. In this vessel, within the next four years, he explored almost the whole of the South sea islands. During this time the Samoan mission was established, and the translation of the New Testament into the Raratongan language completed.
He visited England in 1834, procured the publication of his Raratongan Testament by the British and foreign Bible society, raised £4,000 for a missionary ship, the Camden, published a "Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands, with Remarks upon the Natural History of the Islands, Origin, Languages, Traditions, and Usages of the Inhabitants" (London and New York, 1837), and prepared plans for a theological school at Raratonga and a high school at Tahiti. After his return in 1838, he sailed with one companion for the New Hebrides, to plant a mission, but both were killed by the natives. Of several memoirs of Mr. Williams, the most complete is that by the Rev. Ebenezer Prout (1843).