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Jonathan Williams. Engraving by R. W. Dodson, after a painting by Thomas Sully. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-91220).

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Williams, Jonathan (26 May 1750–16 May 1815), merchant, lay scientist, and first superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Jonathan Williams, a successful merchant, and Grace Harris. His father provided him with the finest education then available. Following several terms at Harvard College, Williams ventured to London in 1770 to conduct family business and finish studying under the aegis of his great-uncle ...