August 30, 1817, Deerfield, Massachusetts.
February 1899, Connecticut.
Indian Hill Cemetery, Middletown, Connecticut.
John was the son of Ephraim Williams and Emily Trowbridge.
He was educated at Deerfield Academy, Harvard, and Trinity College, Hartford, where he graduated in 1835. His parents were Unitarian, but his time at Harvard convinced him to join the Episcopal denomination. He was ordained deacon in 1838 and priest in 1841. Williams was Rector of St. George’s Church, Schenectady, New York (1842–48), then served as president of Trinity College (1848–53), and at the same time professor of history and literature.
In 1851 Williams was elected Assistant Bishop of Connecticut (53rd bishop in the American Episcopal church). On the death of Bishop Brownell in 1865, Williams succeeded him in the sole charge of the diocese. At the same time, from 1854 on, he served as dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Middletown, and was its principal instructor in Church history and theology.
In 1887, Williams succeeded Alfred Lee of Delaware as presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States. In 1896, he was acknowledged as the senior bishop in the Anglican communion.
Williams’ works include: