Williams Monument

Buried here is Ephriam Williams, founder of Williams College, who died on September 8, 1755 during the Battle of Lake George.

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The Old Military Road between Fort Edward and Lake George was originally constructed in 1755. The British had recently completed the fortification at Fort Edward, then called Fort Lyman, and British officer William Johnson ordered a road to be constructed to assist in the construction of a new fort. Fort William Henry would be used to gain a foothold on Lake George and facilitate an attack on French-held Fort. St. Frederic at Crown Point.

French officer Baron de Dieskau aimed to stop Johnson’s progress by destroying the boats, supplies and artillery at Fort Lyman. He took the alternative route, going by way of South Bay to Wood Creek east of Lake George. Here he found himself between Johnson’s main force that was encamped on Lake George and the troops stationed in Fort Edward.

Johnson was soon alerted of enemy presence and sent a scout to alert the soldiers at Fort Lyman,  but Dieskau captured the scout and the valuable information he carried. When Johnson sent Colonel Ephriam Williams with 1,000 troops and 200 Mohawk allies to reinforce their position at Fort Lyman, Dieskau was prepared and ambushed Williams and his men. The Bloody Morning Scout was the first of three engagements in the Battle of Lake George.

During the action, Williams was shot in the head  Members of his regiment hid his body just after the battle to prevent it from being desecrated. A stone with Williams’ initials and the year of his death is located just across the street.

Ephraim Williams left his sizeable estate to support the founding of a free school. The school was founded in 1791 and converted to Williams College by action of the state legislature in 1793. His body was moved in the early 20th century to the chapel at Williams College. Williams College alumni erected the monument.

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