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Hannah Williams

Hannah Williams
(d. Dec. 16, 1722)

The first woman collector of the fauna and flora of the British colonies in America lies buried in the graveyard of St. Phillip's Church, the first Anglican Church built south of Virginia. St.Michael's Church occupies the former site of St. Philip's Episcopal Church.

Shipmaster William Halstead (or Halsteed) from South Carolina carried collections assembled by Williams to James Petiver, a London apothecary and Fellow of the Royal Society. Their common interest in natural history led Petiver to name several butterflies in her honor.

We do not have any early accounts of when Hannah Williams came to South Carolina, although her first husband was Mathew English by whom she had two children, Mary and Henroyda. As the widow Hannah English, she was awarded a warrant of 500 acres near Stony Poynt in November 1692. In May 1695 as Mrs. Hannah English alias Williams she was granted another warrant for 500 acres on land on the north side of Ashley River called Stony Poynt.

This 1000 acres of land was a wealthy source of undiscovered wildlife. This land would have provided her with unlimited scope for finding butterflies, vipers, snakes, lizards, birds, insects, plants and shells.

Source : Petiver's Gazophylacium naturae et artis...1767

St. Michael's Church Meeting & Broad Street Site of former St.Philip's Church

William's Yellow Tipt Carolina Butterfly (now known as Dog's Head)

William's Selvedge Eyed Carolina Butterfly (now known as Creole Pearly Eye)