A Guide to the Reverend Henry Williams Papers 1856-1901 Williams, Henry Reverend 1945-4

A Guide to the Reverend Henry Williams 1856-1901

A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives
Collection Number 1945-4


Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University

Special Collections and Archives
Johnston Memorial Library
P.O. Box 9406
Virginia State University
Petersburg, Virginia 23806
Phone: (804) 524-5749
Fax: (804) 524-6959
Email: ledwards@vsu.edu
URL: http://www.vsu.edu/library/index.htm

© 2002 By the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University.

Funding: Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Lucious Edwards, Jr.

Special Collections and Archives, Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University
Collection number
The Reverend Henry Williams Papers 1856-1901
50 items
The Reverend Henry Williams

Administrative Information


No restrictions on access.

Use Restrictions

No use restrictions.

Preferred Citation

The Reverend Henry Williams Papers, 1945-4, Special Collections and Archives, Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA.

Biographical/Historical Information

The Rev. Mr. Henry Williams was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia on October 13, 1831. Although Virginia born he grew to an adult in Ohio. As a youth Mr. Williams became interested in becoming a minister. His formal education was limited to schools located in his neighborhood and never attended college or Divinity School.

Sometime before the Civil War Mr. Williams (new minister) traveled to West Africa where he worked as a missionary. He didn't remain very long returning. He did not remain very long returning to the United States to do missionary work during the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War and while on a missionary tour he came to the city of Petersburg During his stay he met with and talked with a number of people from the Gillsfield Baptist church. The church was looking for a minister and extended to him an offer to preach a guest sermon. Much to his surprise the church extended to him a call to become their minister. He was the African American minister at Gillsfield during the Nat Turner Rebellion in 1831.

With this sermon, The Rev. Mr. Williams was offered the position of Pastor. He would continue in that position until his death in 1900.

Henry Williams was more than Pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church. He was very active in Church Politics around the Commonwealth. In 1890 he established the Bethany Baptist Sunday School Association, which still exist today.

Scope and Content Information

The Henry Williams papers consist of some business and personal correspondence. There are several speeches, which one calls for the employment of black teachers in the cities segregated school system. The Scrapbook contains numerous clipping from state newspapers.

Series Description

Series I. Correspondence Container: 1 Letters, mostly concerned with personal matters, arranged chronologically 1873-1901.

Series II. Financial Container: 1 Local and Tax receipts for the 1870's-1890's

Series III. Speeches Container: 1 Several speeches, most updated. However, one speech dated 1856 appears to have been written as an anti-slavery presentation, another speech dates from 1875, and is an appeal to the citizens of Petersburg to have black teachers for black students.

Series IV. Printed Container: 1 1889 Political Broadside, Republicans or Democrats.

Series V. Notes Container: 1 Note concerning some church business

Series VI. Photos Container: 1

Series VII. Scrapbook Container: 2

Contents List

Series I. Correspondence
  • Box-folder 1:1
    Correspondence 1873
  • Box-folder 1:2
    correspondence 1889
  • Box-folder 1:3
    correspondence 1891
  • Box-folder 1:4
    Correspondence 1896
  • Box-folder 1:5
    Correspondence 1899
  • Box-folder 1:6
    Correspondence 1900
  • Box-folder 1:7
    Correspondence 1901
  • Box-folder 1:8
Series II. Financial
  • Box-folder 1:9
    Tax Receipts (Gallia Co. Ohio) 1865,1868
  • Box-folder 1:10
    Tax Receipts Virginia 1871-1879
  • Box-folder 1:11
    Tax Receipts Virginia 1880-1889
  • Box-folder 1:12
    Tax Receipts Virginia 1890-1901
  • Box-folder 1:13
    Tax Receipts Petersburg
Series III. Speeches and Writings
  • Box-folder 1:14
    Speech Untitled 1856
  • Box-folder 1:15
    Speech- "The Vow of a Negro" 1858
  • Box-folder 1:16
    Speech- "To The Colored Citizens of Petersburg" 1875
  • Box-folder 1:17
    Speech- "Economy of Management"
  • Box-folder 1:18
  • Box-folder 1:19
  • Box-folder 1:20
    Writing- To whom it may concern 1890
Series IV. Printed
  • Box-folder 1:21
    (A) Broadside (B) Books Bigelow, Marshall T. punctuation and other Typographical Matters. Boston 1881 (3rd Edition) Luther, Martin. Smaller Cathechism; To which is added The Order of Salvation and An Analysis of the Cathechism. New York,1852 Emerson,Joseph. The Improvement of the Mind. Boston,1855. Mell,P.H. A Manual of Parliamentary Practice. New York,1874. Carey,M. VINDITIVE HIBERNIGAE or Ireland Vindincated. Philadelphia, 1819. Weems, M.L. The Life of Benjamin Franklin with many Choice Anecdotes. Philedelphia,1829. 1889
Series V. Notes
  • Box-folder 1:22
    Names of individuals who gave Bibles to pulpits 1880
Series VI. Photos
  • Box-folder 1:23
    Mrs. Eunice Robinson Polland The Reverened Mr. Henry Williams
Series VII. Scrapbook
  • Box-folder 2:1
    Mostly news clippings. The scrapbook was indexed by James Hugo Johnston Jr.