|The Stockbridge Mission|
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In 1738, Ephraim Sr. (1691-1754) and his family settled at the Indian mission in Stockbridge, one of four white families invited to do so. These colonists were to serve as neighbors and Christian exemplars for the families of Housatonic Indians who had gathered four years earlier under the missionary John Sergeant (1710-1749). Ephraim Jr. joined his father there from 1742 to 1745; it is not certain exactly how he occupied himself during these early years. Around 1752 to 1754, Ephraim returned to Stockbridge to handle family and business affairs.
The Williams family quickly became involved in town government and the administration of the Stockbridge mission. Sergeant, who had married Ephraim Sr.'s daughter Abigail, established an Indian boys boarding school, an educational and Christianizing venture, and Abigail (Williams) Sergeant was herself installed as headmistress of the Indian girls school. Upon Sergeant's untimely death in 1749, Ephraim Sr. took over administration of much of mission business.
When Rev. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was called in 1751 from Northampton to fill the vacant ministry, already manifest hostilities between him and the Williams family flared over theological issues and management of the Indian school and mission. By 1752, infighting among the whites was threatening the administration of the mission.
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Bloody Morning Scout