From the Fortress of Solitude
Tonight we meet the most famous Williamson in our direct Williamson family line. Of course, if you are a regular reader of the blog, you'll understand that this line cannot be absolutely proven (at the moment), but all lines of evidence point me down this road to Sir Joseph Williamson.
Here are the two sticking points on this Williamson.
1. The link between Matthew Williamson, George Matthew Williamson's father, and Cuthbert Williamson (see Relationship Chart below). I'm 90% sure they are father and son.
2. The relationship between John Williamson and Sir Joseph Williamson. Most feel that he is either his illegitimate son or a nephew.
Until I can prove otherwise (or someone out there can prove me wrong), I'm claiming this is our line and we are linked directly to Sir Joseph. So, tonight I'd like to introduce this, our most famous relative, to you.
I begin with the relationship chart.
(Correction to the Chart. Cuthbert Williamson Sr. died before 1751 not 1786 as mentioned in the chart above. By 1751 Elizabeth Allen had remarried Samuel Allen. Her maiden name appears to have been Curd. Thank you to an anonymous reader for pointing this out)
And now. A short Biography of Sir Joseph Williamson from Wikipedia
Sir Joseph Williamson, (25 July 1633 – 3 October 1701) was an English civil servant, diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons in England variously between 1665 and 1701 and in the Irish House of Commons between 1692 and 1699.
Williamson was born at Bridekirk near Cockermouth , where his father, also called Joseph, was vicar. He was educated at St Bees School, Westminister School, and Queens College, Oxford, of which he became a fellow. In 1660 he entered the service of the Secretary of State, Sir edward Nicholas. He was involved with the foundation of the London Gazette in 1665.
Williamson was elected a Member of Parliament for Thetford in 1669 and held the seat until 1685. In 1672 he was made a knight. In 1673 and 1674 he represented his country at the Congress of Cologne, and in the latter year he became Secretary of State, having practically purchased this position from Arlington for £6,000, a sum that he required from his successor when he left office in 1679. In 1677 he became the third President of the Royal Society, but his main interests, after politics, were in antiquarian rather than in scientific matters.
Just before his removal from the post of Secretary of State, he was arrested on a charge of being implicated in the popish plots, but he was at once released by order of Charles II. Charles however dismissed him after he gave orders to search Somerset House, the Queen's official residence, without the King's permission; the King remarked coldly " I do not wish to be served by a man who fears anyone more than me". After a period of comparative inactivity Sir Joseph represented England at the congress of Nijmegen, and in 1678 he signed the first treaty for the partition of the Spanish Monarchy.
In 1690 Williamson was elected Member of Parliament for Rochestor and held the seat until 1701. He was also elected MP for Thetford in three separate elections, but each time chose to sit for Rochester instead.
Between 1692 and 1695, Williamson was also MP in the Irish parliament for Clare. In 1695 he represented Portarlington for few months and subsequently LImerick City until 1699.
Williamson died at Cobham Hall, Kent, on 3 October 1701. He had become very rich by taking advantage of the many opportunities of making money which his official position gave him. He left £6,000 and his library to Queen's College, Oxford; £5,000 to found a school at Rocherter, Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School; and £2,000 to Thetford. A great number of Williamson's letters, dispatches, memorandums, etc, are among the English state papers. He has been described as one of the great English civil servants of his time and credited with building up an intelligence service which rivaled that of John Thurloe under Cromwell.