October 29, 2022 | Last updated May 30, 2023

Flashback Friday: Preacher’s Sermon Book and Diary Includes Webster, Dawes Counties

The NSHS Archives collections contain a preacher’s sermon book and diary dating from 1907-1947. The Rev. John B. Williams held numerous pastorates during this time throughout Kansas and Nebraska. The sermon book shows that he preached at Junction City, Mayview, and Plainville, Kansas before coming to Nebraska.

Sermon book of Rev. John B. Williams (RG5704.AM)


Once in Nebraska, the sermon book shows that Rev. Williams preached at Guide Rock, Inavale, Chadron, Dakota Junction, Blair, Dorchester, Riverdale, Unadilla, Lincoln, and Greenwood. The sermon book shows that he recorded the name/topic of the sermon, the date and location where he preached, the number of people in attendance, how well he felt the sermon was received by the congregation, and finally, the weather that day. Several pages at the back of the volume record some of the weddings, baptisms and funerals performed by Rev. Williams.

Page showing sermons preached in 1912-1913 (RG5704.AM)


The second volume in the collection is more of a personal diary kept by Rev. Williams. It records daily activities as well as observations on the weather, trips taken, people he visits, etc.

Page from Rev. Williams’ diary, 1915 (RG5704.AM)


Rev. John B. Williams passed away in 1950 and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. For more information about Rev. Williams, see the finding aid on our website.

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