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Williamson family papers

Identifier: MSS 122

Scope and Contents

Williamson family papers, 1854-1950 and undated, is arranged into the following series: Dakota Indians, genealogical research, personal papers, photographs, and biographical material.

The Dakota Indians series (1862-1914 and undated) contains information obtained from Indian prisoners at Camp McClellan about the Dakota Conflict, a letter about A.W. Williamson’s experience at Fort Ridgely, and parts of Thomas Williamson’s translation of the Bible into Dakota.

The genealogical research materials series (1854, 1950 and undated) contains genealogical notes on the Pogue-Williamson family taken by Thomas and A.W. Williamson and others and correspondence about the publication of the Pogue family genealogy.

The personal papers series (1862-1907) contains correspondence to and from A.W. Williamson, including letters from a number of family members, and materials relating to several of his jobs.

Photographs (undated) contains several photographs of A.W. Williamson and members of the Pogue family.

The biographical material series (1880-1912 and undated) includes biographical sketches and remembrances written about A.W. Williamson after his death, information about the erection of a monument at his grave site, and the pamphlet “A Memorial Discourse on Rev. Thomas S. Williamson” by Rev. S.R. Riggs.


  • Creation: 1854-1950 and undated


Language of Materials

English and Dakota

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

Thomas Smith Williamson, 1800-1879 Thomas Smith Williamson was born in Union District, South Carolina 6 March 1800. He received his bachelor’s degree from Jefferson College in 1819 and then studied medicine in Philadelphia and New Haven, receiving his medical degree from Yale in 1824. In August 1832 he entered Lane Seminary, graduating the following year. He spent most of the rest of his life as a Presbyterian missionary to the Dakota Indians of the upper Midwest. He established the missions at Lac Qui Parle (in residence 1835-1846), Kaposia (1846-1852), and Pajutazee, or Yellow Medicine, (1852-1862), Minnesota. Following the Dakota Uprising of 1862, Thomas Williamson met with President Lincoln and advocated for the release of Dakota prisoners of war. In the late 1830s, Thomas Williamson, with Stephen R. Riggs, began working on the first Dakota translation of the Bible. The first translations were published in Cincinnati in 1839 by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Williamson had two sons: Andrew Woods Williamson, a professor at Augustana College, and John Poage Williamson, a Presbyterian missionary to the Santee Sioux. Thomas Williamson died 24 June 1879.

Andrew Woods Williamson (1838-1906) Andrew Woods Williamson was born 31 January 1838, in Lac qui Parle, Chippewa County, Minnesota. He enrolled at Knox College in 1853, graduated from Marietta College in 1857, and then went on to Yale University to receive his master’s degree in natural sciences. He was a member of the Union Army during the Civil War from 1861 to 1866 when he was honorably discharged after injuries and sickness. He was first stationed at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota, where he took part in the Dakota Conflict, and then took part in the Vicksburg campaigns. After he recovered from the war, he studied law in Minneapolis and then taught and/or acted as principal at various schools and colleges from 1866 to 1880. A.W. Williamson came to Augustana College as the chair of Mathematics and Astronomy in 1880, following a conversion to Lutheranism. During his 26 years at Augustana, A.W. Williamson served as secretary of the general faculty and as vice president from 1887 to 1888. He was also very involved with the local community, serving as an alderman for the City Council of the seventh ward from 1887–1889 and was a supporter of Grace Lutheran Church in Moline, Illinois. He retired from Augustana in 1905 and passed away 1 October 1906 in Portland, Oregon due to years of failing health. Williamson was the author of a number of publications, including The Descendants of the Robert and John Poage, Pioneer Settlers in Augusta County, VA; Is the Dakota Related to the Indo European Languages; and Plane and Solid Geometry on the Suggestive Method.


0.4 Cubic Feet (/ 1 box)


The Williamson family papers, 1854-1950 and undated, primarily includes the papers of Thomas S. Williamson, a missionary to the Dakota Territory who collaborated with Stephen Riggs on a Dakota translation of the Bible, and Thomas's son, Andrew Woods Wililamson, who fought for the Union Army during the American Civil War and participated in the Dakota Uprising of 1862. Included in this collection are handwritten accounts of the Dakota conflict complied at Camp McClellan by Thomas S. Williamson, 1862, partial Dakota translations of the Bible, genealogical information, correspondence, and other papers related to the Williamson family.



Custodial History

Materials received from Richard W. Oram, Special Collections Librarian at Washington and Lee University, 14 December 1982. The materials were apparently originally assembled by Sumner C. Williamson for a Pogue-Williamson genealogy, then given to a local public library, which gave them to Washington and Lee University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Richard W. Oram, December 1982.

Related Materials

Thomas S. Williamson papers, 1839-1939, Minnesota Historical Society Thomas Smith Williamson papers, 1858-1875, South Dakota State Historical Society John Poage Williamson papers, 1866-1915, South Dakota State Historical Society Stephen R. Riggs and family papers, 1837-1988, Minnesota Historical Society Alexander G. Huggins and family papers, 1833-1976, Minnesota Historical Society Pond family papers, 1833-1970, Minnesota Historical Society

Processing Information

Processed by Kelsey O'Connell, 2009. Revised by Sarah Horowitz, 2011 and Atticus Garrison, June 2016.

Williamson family papers, 1854-1950 and undated.
Atticus Garrison
June 2016
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Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States