" My 3x great Grandfather was William Joseph Williams 1759-1823. He lived his last years in New Bern and is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery.
William Joseph Williams came to New Bern from Charleston, S.C. around 1804. He'd been a regular visitor to New Bern for about 25 years before that.
He was born in New York City the Son of William Williams 1727-1791 (Artist, Musician, Author of the first American novel, "Penrose", friend of Benjamin Franklin, tutor of Benjamin West,etc.) and Mary Mare (Sister of John Mare, Jr. 1738-1804, Artist, Merchant, moved to Edenton, member of first North Carolina Cabinet with Governor Caswell, co-founder of UNC, organized NC Masons, etc.).
He served as a Lieutenant in the British Army occupying New York City and during that time taught Art (to among others Samuel Dunlap, author of "the Rise of the Arts, etc. in America" 1826).
Thereafter he painted the portraits of George Washington (to whom he was recommended by his friend and patron, Richard Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, who was Governor of Virginia at the time), John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and other Revolutionary figures. His paintings are partially listed in SIRIS at the Smithsonian and are found in private collections and in museums including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, The Adams National Historic Site, The Rockefeller Museum at Williamsburg, The DuPont Museum at Winterthur and The Museum of Southern Decorative Arts at Old Salem.
Portrait of George Washington
painted by William Joseph Williams
He lived in Philadelphia, Georgetown and Charleston before settling in New Bern.
While living in New Bern (roughly 1804-1823) he returned to New York for a while and served as an Quartermaster Officer in the United States Sea-Fensibles during the War of 1812.
His Son, Joseph Augustus Williams was a New Bern Merchant. His Son, David published a Newspaper in New Bern.
His painting of the "Crucifixion" hangs over the altar at Old St. Pauls Roman Catholic Church in New Bern.
The painting was gifted to the Church by my family and was recently restored by the Conservators of the North Carolina Museum of Art.
He had been an Episcopal Clergyman and converted to Roman Catholicism. He was instrumental in founding St. Pauls.
Joseph Augustus Williams took his family to Charlotte during the Union bombardment of New Bern in the Spring of 1862.
I'm hoping that a listing in your "Craven Families" will spark interest and bring forward others who can add to the information I have. I'm particularly interested in learning where my 3x great Grandmother, Isabella Moore Williams, is buried. Other things that would interest me would be anything about the family businesses, locating any other Williams paintings that may be in the County and so forth.
(1) William Joseph was the particular friend of William Gaston and the historical literature contains references to their close relationship.
(2) The Williams home which later became known as "The Library" has been moved and restored in New Bern.
(3) William Joseph Williams had a strong connection with the Masons and at least two of the portraits at the old Lodge in New Bern appear to have been his work.
(4) There is a small study for "Crucifixion" by William Joseph Williams located upstairs in Old St. Pauls which was donated to the Church many years ago by my Cousins, Genevieve and Mary Williams.
(5) The New Bern Library has contemporaneous photogrphs of the Williams home and business prior to 1862 and also possesses copies of newspapers published by the Williams family in New Bern