Eleazar Williams (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: Eleazar Williams was an influential missionary who used his position to persuade the Iroquois to establish a new empire west of Lake Michigan.
One of thirteen children of Thomas and Mary Rice Williams, Eleazar Williams was placed in the care of Nathaniel Ely at Long Meadow, Massachusetts, where he was trained as an Episcopalian missionary. Between 1809 and 1812, he continued his studies with the Reverend Enoch Hale at Westhampton, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the American Board of Missions, in 1812 he began proselytizing among the Iroquois.
During the War of 1812, Williams served the federal government as superintendent general of the North Indian Department. He was also a scout.
With the Ogden Land Company, fellow missionaries, and the War Department, Williams collaborated in a scheme to relocate the Iroquois empire west of Lake Michigan. After forging Iroquois council members’ signatures, Williams left for Wisconsin in 1823, followed by the Oneidas and Mahicans, many of whom he had converted. Scorned by other Iroquois, Williams abandoned his plan in 1832.
Returning east in 1853, Williams claimed to be the lost dauphin of France, Louis XVII. The Reverend John Hanson wrote The Lost Prince in support of Williams's improbable claim.
(The entire section is 192 words.)
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