John Williams: His Family And His Community
John Williams worked as a cabinetmaker in New Castle, Delaware during the eighteenth-century. Born to Hendrick (Henry) Williams-Neering, John Williams was one of six children. Upon his father’s death in 1694 or 1695, he was left the sum of ten pounds. His sisters Sarah and Mary were also specifically mentioned in their father’s will, while the other three children remain unnamed. Henry Williams’s estate was to be divided up equally amongst his six children except for the specific bequests to John, Sarah and Mary.
It has been stated that John Williams provided goods and services for his community, but who comprised this community? What is today Delaware and Pennsylvania had a diverse population in the eighteenth-century, especially in regard to religion. Considering the fact there were churches that welcomed people from different countries and religious backgrounds in this area, it is safe to assume that John Williams would have served the entirety of these diverse religions, providing coffins for burials in churchyards across the Pennsylvania and Delaware. One such church is Old Swedes Church located in what is today, Wilmington, Delaware. In regard to John Williams and coffin-making, it is probable that Williams constructed coffins for individuals who attended this church. In other words, John Williams' business was utilized by many individuals and families in Delaware who had diverse religious backgrounds, reflecting the population of Delaware in the eighteenth century.