John Williams (September, 1752 – July 22, 1806) was an American physician and politician from Salem, New York.
Williams was born in Barnstaple, England in September 1752; received a liberal education; studied medicine and surgery in St. Thomas’ Hospital, London; served for one year as surgeon’s mate on an English man-of-war; immigrated to America in 1773 and settled in New Perth, Charlotte County (now Salem, Washington County), N.Y.; engaged in an extensive medical practice.
Williams was a member of the New York Provincial Congress in 1775, to which body he was reelected and served until its dissolution in 1777. He was appointed surgeon of the State forces in 1775. Williams was a colonel of the Charlotte County Regiment in 1776 and retained command throughout the Revolutionary War. He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1777 to 1779 when he was expelled for the act of defrauding fellow soldiers of their earned wages.
He was a member of the New York State Assembly in 1781 and 1782, and again a member of the State senate from 1782 to 1794. Williams was appointed a member of the first board of regents of the University of the State of New York in 1784. He served as brigadier general of militia in 1786. Williams was a delegate to the State ratification convention in 1788. He was a member of the Council of Appointment in 1789.
In March 1789, Williams received a small number of votes running as a Democratic-Republican in the 5th District for Congress, but was defeated by Federalist Peter Silvester. In January 1793, Williams ran again as a Democratic-Republican for Congress, this time in the 9th District to which Washington County had been re-districted, but was defeated by Federalist James Gordon.
In December 1794, Williams was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the 4th, and in December 1796 was re-elected as a Federalist to the 5th United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1795 to March 3, 1799. In April 1798, he ran for re-election as a Federalist in the 7th District to which Washington County had been re-districted, but was defeated by Democratic-Republican John Thompson. In April 1802, he ran for election again as a Federalist in the 12th District to which Washington County had been re-districted, but was defeated by Democratic-Republican David Thomas.
He was a large landholder; a promoter and director of a company organized to build the Erie Canal as a private enterprise, the project later being taken over and completed by the State, and a judge of the county court. Williams died in Salem, N.Y., July 22, 1806; his interment is at Salem Cemetery.