Liberty of Conscience
Roger Williams National Memorial commemorates the life of the founder of Rhode Island and a champion of the ideal of religious freedom. Williams, banished from Massachusetts for his beliefs, founded Providence in 1636. This colony served as a refuge where all could come to worship as their conscience dictated without interference from the state. Read More
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Roger Williams was born in London, England around 1603 to James Williams (1562-1620), a merchant in Smithfield, England, and Alice Pemberton (1564-1634). Under the patronage of the jurist Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), Williams was educated at Sutton's Hospital and at the University of Cambridge, Pembroke College (B.A., 1627). He had a gift for languages and acquired familiarity with Latin, Greek, Dutch, and French. Interestingly, he gave the poet John Milton lessons in Dutch in exchange for lessons in Hebrew.
After graduating from Cambridge, Williams became chaplain to a wealthy family. He married Mary Barnard (1609-1676) on December 15, 1629 at the Church of High Laver, Essex, England. They had six children, all born after their emigration to America.
Before the end of 1630, Williams decided that he could not work in England under Archbishop William Laud's rigorous (and High church) administration, and adopted a position of dissent. He turned aside offers of preferment in the university and in the established church, and instead resolved to seek a greater liberty of conscience in New England.
Removal to America
In 1630, Roger and Mary Williams set sail for Boston on the Lyon. Arriving on February 5, 1631, he was almost immediately invited to replace the pastor, who was returning to England. Finding that it was "an unseparated church"—Puritan yet still aligned with the Church of England—Williams declined, instead giving voice to his growing Separatist views. Among these, Williams asserted that the magistrate may not punish any sort of "breach of the first table [of the Ten Commandments]," such as idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, false worship, and blasphemy. He held that every individual should be free to follow his own convictions in religious matters.
Williams' first argument—that the magistrate should not punish religious infraction—meant that the civil authority should not be the same as the ecclesiastical authority. His second argument-—that people should have freedom of opinion on religious matters-—he called "soul-liberty." It is one of the foundations for the United States Constitution's guarantees of non-establishment of religion and of freedom to choose and practice one's own religion. Williams' use of the phrase "wall of separation" in describing his preferred relationship between religion and other matters is credited as the first use of that phrase, and potentially, Thomas Jefferson's source in later speaking of the wall of separation between church and state (Feldman 2005, 24)
The Salem church, which through interaction with the Plymouth colonists had also adopted Separatist sentiments, invited Williams to become its teacher. His settlement there was prevented, however, by a remonstrance addressed to Massachusetts Bay Governor John Endicott by six of the Boston leaders. The Plymouth colony, which was not under Endicott's jurisdiction, then received him gladly, where he remained for about two years. According to Governor William Bradford, who had come to Plymouth on the Mayflower, "his teachings were well approved."
Life at Salem, Exile
Toward the close of his ministry at Plymouth, however, Williams' views began to place him in conflict with other members of the colony, as the people of Plymouth realized that his ways of thinking, particularly concerning the Indians, were too liberal for their tastes and he left to go back to Salem.
In the summer of 1633, Williams arrived in Salem and became unofficial assistant to Pastor Samuel Skelton. In August 1634, Skelton having died, Williams became acting pastor and entered almost immediately into controversies with the Massachusetts authorities. Brought before the court in Salem for spreading "diverse, new, and dangerous opinions" that questioned the Church, Williams was sentenced to exile.
An outline of the issues raised by Williams and uncompromisingly pressed includes the following:
- He regarded the Church of England as apostate, and any kind of fellowship with it as grievous sin. He accordingly renounced communion not only with this church but with all who would not join with him in repudiating it.
- He denounced the charter of the Massachusetts Company because it falsely represented the King of England as a Christian and assumed that the King had the right to give to his own subjects the land of the native Indians.
- Williams' was opposed to the "citizens' oath," which magistrates sought to force upon the colonists in order to be assured of their loyalty. This opposition gained considerable popular support so that the measure had to be abandoned.
- In a dispute between the Massachusetts Bay court and the Salem colony regarding the possession of a piece of land (Marblehead), the court offered to accede to the claims of Salem on the condition that the Salem church remove Williams as its pastor. Williams regarded this proposal as an outrageous attempt at bribery and had the Salem church send to the other Massachusetts churches a denunciation of the proceeding and a demand that the churches exclude the magistrates from membership. The magistrates and their supporters, however, were able to successfully pressure the Salem church to remove Williams. He never entered the chapel again, but held religious services in his own house with his faithful adherents until his exile.
Settlement at Providence
In June 1635, Williams arrived at the present site of Providence, Rhode Island. Having secured land from the natives, he established a settlement with 12 "loving friends and neighbors," several settlers having joined him from Massachusetts. Williams' settlement was based on a principle of equality. It was provided that "such others as the major part of us shall admit into the same fellowship of vote with us" from time to time should become members of their commonwealth. Obedience to the majority was promised by all, but "only in civil things" and not in matters of religious conscience. Thus, a government unique in its day was created—a government expressly providing for religious liberty and a separation between civil and ecclesiastical authority (church and state).
The colony was named Providence, due to Williams' belief that God had sustained him and his followers and brought them to this place. When he acquired the other islands in the Narragansett Bay, Williams named them after other virtues: Patience Island, Prudence Island, and Hope Island.
In 1637, some followers of the antinomian teacher Anne Hutchinson visited Williams to seek his guidance in moving away from Massachusetts. Like Williams, this group was in trouble with the Puritan authorities. He advised them to purchase land from the Native Americans on Aquidneck Island and they settled in a place called Pocasset, now the town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Among them were Anne Hutchinsons's husband William, William Coddington, and John Clarke.
In 1638, several Massachusetts credobaptists—those who rejected infant baptism in favor of "believer's baptism"—had found themselves subject to persecution and moved to Providence. Most of these had probably known Williams and his views while he was in Massachusetts, while some may have been influenced by English Baptists before they left England.
However, Williams did not adopt Baptist views before his banishment from Massachusetts, for opposition to infant baptism was not charged against him by his opponents. About March 1639, Williams was re-baptized himself and then immediately proceeded to re-baptize 12 others. Thus was constituted a Baptist church which still survives as the First Baptist Church in America. At about the same time, John Clarke, Williams’ compatriot in the cause of religious freedom in the New World, established a Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island. Both Williams and Clarke are thus credited as being the founders of the Baptist faith in America.
Williams remained with the little church in Providence only a few months. He assumed the attitude of a "Seeker," in the sense that although he was always deeply religious and active in the propagation of Christian faith, he wished to remain free to choose among a wide variety of diverse religious institutions. He continued on friendly terms with the Baptists, however, being in agreement with them in their rejection of infant baptism as in most other matters.
In 1643, Williams was sent to England by his fellow citizens to secure a charter for the colony. The Puritans were then in power in England, and through the offices of Sir Henry Vane a democratic charter was obtained. In 1647, the colony of Rhode Island was united with Providence under a single government, and liberty of conscience was again proclaimed. The area became a safe haven for people who were persecuted for their beliefs. Baptists, Quakers, Jews, and others went there to follow their consciences in peace and safety. Significantly, on May 18, 1652, Rhode Island passed the first law in North America making slavery illegal.
Death and internment
Williams died in early 1684 and was buried on his own property. Some time later in the nineteenth century his remains were moved to the tomb of a descendant in the North Burial Ground. Finally, in 1936, they were placed within a bronze container and put into the base of a monument on Prospect Terrace Park in Providence. When his remains were discovered for reburial, they were under an apple tree. The roots of the tree had grown into the spot where Williams' skull rested and followed the path of his decomposing bones and grew roughly in the shape of his skeleton. Only a small amount of bone was found to be reburied. The "Williams Root" is now part of the collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society, where it is mounted on a board in the basement of the John Brown House Museum.
Every day on campus and in the broader community, Roger Williams University’s own “lively experiment” in developing lifelong learners who work to improve society is inspired by the legacy of our namesake.
February 14, 1956, the YMCA’s Providence Institute of Engineering and Finance received a State charter to become a two-year, degree-granting institution under the name of Roger Williams Junior College.
Founder of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Roger Williams was the first major figure in colonial America to instill democracy, religious freedom, and understanding and inclusion of America’s native cultures – what he called his “lively experiment.” Through his scholarship in language, theology and law, and fearless advocacy for freedom and tolerance, Roger’s life reflected the value of learning and teaching.
At RWU, we dedicate our efforts to that spirit of love of learning and service toward the greater good. We are a private university with a public purpose, devoted to strengthening society through engaged teaching and learning. We are committed to making a great education accessible by investing in people and resources while holding the line on cost.
Here are some fast facts about where we came from:
- With a state charter in 1956, Roger Williams Junior College became a two-year, degree-granting institution housed inside the Broad Street Providence YMCA. Soon after, the school became Roger Williams College and began conferring bachelor’s degrees, quickly outgrowing the space at the YMCA building.
- The Bristol campus was built in 1969 on 80 acres of waterfront land that was formerly Ferrycliffe Farm, a dairy farm known for its prized Jersey cows.
- In 1992, Roger Williams College became Roger Williams University and another 50 acres of land was added to the campus.
- A year later, in 1993, the university established the Roger Williams University School of Law, Rhode Island’s only law school and a leader in public-interest law.
- In 2015, RWU opened its new Providence campus at One Empire Plaza, where we are uniquely positioned in the heart of the capital city to deploy our faculty and students to lend expertise and service to the greater community.
Today Roger Williams University is a leading education institution serving over 5,400 students through our Undergraduate, Graduate, Law and University College programs.
Roger Williams, known worldwide as “Mr. Piano,” was a virtuoso pianist whose hit, “Autumn Leaves” was the greatest selling piano recording of all time and the only piano instrumental recording in history to reach #1 on the Billboard charts.
Williams released over 125 albums with 21 gold and platinum, including his hits Autumn Leaves, Born Free, Impossible Dream, Maria, Till, Almost Paradise, Near You, Lara’s Theme (Somewhere My Love), Nadia’s Theme, and the movie soundtrack for Somewhere in Time.
Proclaimed, “The Pianist to the Presidents,” having performed for nine commanders-in-chief at the White House, Williams was a powerful and charismatic performer and a brilliant improviser, who could effortlessly switch between musical styles and touch any audience from teenagers to senior citizens.
Williams is photographed here with the “Roger Williams Limited Edition Gold Piano,” the only piano series Steinway & Sons has designed to honor a pianist. And as a “Steinway Artist,” Williams was the first pianist honored with Steinway’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Inside the Park
Community is alive and well inside Roger Williams Park! The Park today consists of expansive manicured grounds, recreational ponds, public gardens, extensive walkways, tennis courts, ball fields, playgrounds, public art, and the Roger Williams Park Zoo. The Park maintains several historic buildings used by the public, including the Bandstand, Museum of Natural History, Botanical Center, Temple to Music, and the Casino – just to name a few!
History & Culture
Roger Williams National Memorial was established by Congress in 1965 to commemorate Williams’s “outstanding contributions to the development of the principles of freedom in this country.” The memorial, a 4.5 acre urban greenspace located at the foot of College Hill in downtown Providence, includes a freshwater spring which was the center of the settlement of Providence Plantations founded by Williams in 1636. It is on this site that Williams, through word and action, fought for the ideal that religion must not be subject to regulation by the state but, instead, that it should be a matter of individual conscience. It was a remarkable journey that brought Williams to what is now the capital of Rhode Island and to where he put his beliefs into practice, giving “shelter for persons distressed of conscience.”
For further reading, the staff at the memorial has developed a short bibliography of the most popular and best researched works by and about Roger Williams and the period in which he lived.
Roger Williams was apparently a nephew of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island.
Children of Sidrach Williams and Anne Tyler are:
Note: the data on Shadrack agrees with my prior findings. I do not believe that Shadrack ever came to Virginia. He, and his partner, William Clobery, did ship merchandise to Virginia in 1625 from London. I believe (without proof) that he sent his son: Roger to VA to carry on his business and that Roger was, probably, born in London. http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Person:Sydrach_Williams_%281%29
1625 prob Eng-d. bef June 1677 Old Rappahannock Co., VA) Lived on TOTUSKEY CREEK [variant spellings]. Roger Williams of Northern Neck, VA is an ancestor of the . and her children, Roger Williams II, Shadrack Williams, and Ruth . who was granted 200 A. in Gloster Co., 20 Dec 1667. It was on E.
Marriage 1 ANN MOORE b: 1 JUN 1653 in VA Married: 1 JUN 1670 in ISLE OF WIGHT, VA. Children JOHN WILLIAMS , JR. b: 1 JUN 1671
Nancy wrote a note about my helping her by posting some info about Roger Williams. I do not recall having done so, but perhaps there are others who are descended from this particular Roger Williams, and may benefit from these notes. Roger's widow, Joan [whom some mistakenly think was a Frith--unproved from these notes] subsequently married twice after Roger's death, and seeming died a rather well-to-do widow.
Preparer: E.W. Wallace, Rev Nov 1999
ROGER WILLIAMS OF NORTHERN NECK VIRGINIA. (ca. 1625 prob Eng-d. bef June 1677 Old Rappahannock Co., VA) Lived on TOTUSKEY CREEK [variant spellings].
Roger Williams of Northern Neck, VA is an ancestor of the Simpson-Kincheloe-Canterbury family of Caswell Co., NC, previously of Northern Neck, VA. His wife probably was Joan (or Jane) (surname not proved). His conjectured daughter is Ruth Williams, wife of John Canterbury, as implied in documents other than his will. Lewis Loyd was her stepfather, and he left a will.
This is from an unsubstantiated source, and, again the maiden name of Joane cannot be proved by this writer:
Williams, Roger (1645-77) VA m. Joane Frith. Landowner.
(Mary Louise Marshall Hutton, SEVENTEENTH CENTURY COLONIAL ANCESTORS OF MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL SOCIETY COLONIAL DAMES XVII CENTURY, 1915-1975 (Ann Arbor, MI: 1976) (New Orleans PL Gen R 929.3 H98s, p. 116)
In 1664, Roger Williams purchased from William Barber 200 acres on the south . branch of Totoskey Crk adj. Edward Lewis.
(Ruth & Samuel Sparacio, ([OLD RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY DEED BOOK 1656-1664, Part II, [McLean, VA: The Antient Press] p. 78)
Other sections of the deed book indicate neighbors were James and Mary Samford, and later one Quintan Shereman. A John Simpson [spelled Sympson] and a Thomas Cheetwood purchased land in that county in 1664. The seller was John Chinley. References in later deed books ca. 1672 still refer to the land of Roger Williams on Totoskey creek.
On 4 Mar 1672/3 (Capt.) John Hull and Eliz. Hull sold approximately 650 acres "235 thirds" to Roger Williams. The preceding document concerns a patent to John Hull which he received by will from Miles Ryly. The land was on the north side of Rap(idan - partly erased) River. Some of the lines mentioned were Henry Austin, Thomas Freshwater, Robert Sisson, Court House, Cat Path.
Note biography of Joan Frith (?) and her children, Roger Williams II, Shadrack Williams, and Ruth Williams, wife of John Canterbury.
According to Eva Eubank Wilkerson, in INDEX TO MARRIAGES OF OLD RAPPAHANNOCK AND ESSEX COUNTIES, VA (Richmond: 1953), Old Rappahannock County "embraced lands lying on both sides of the Rappahannock River and was organized in 1656, being formerly a part of Lancaster County which was organized in 1652."
Wilkerson continues: "Courts were held alternately on the north and south sides of the river but all records were kept in the Court House on the south side. There are some records, such as, Land Grants, Deeds, Etc., of earlier dates than 1656 which were recorded under the name of Lancaster County and remained as records of Rapphannock County after the division was made."
"In April, 1692, Old Rapphannock County was divided into two distinct counties, the river dividing the same, the North side became Richmond County and the south side was called Essex County, courts to be held on the tenth of each month. Records of Deeds, Wills and Court Orders from 1655 to the present time are in the Record Room of the Court House in Tappahannock, Essex County, Virginia. "
There is reference in the 1676/77 will of one Nathaniel Frith, (Old) Rappahannock Co., to a daughter of Jone [sic] Williams, who is a GOD daughter of the decedent, Nathaniel Frith, NOT a granddaughter. That Goddaughter is named Rebecca Williams. At least, this is according to the transcription. Therefore, the surname of Frith for Joan, wife of Roger Williams, is called into question.
Will of Roger Williams, 26 Feb 1675 proved 6 Jun 1677, [Old] Rappahannock Co.:
"To my two sons Roger Williams and Shadrack Williams I doe give 225 acres of land apiece which is 450 acres between them. To wife Joane Williams I doe give the Plantation with 200 acres of land at the Plantation I say wherein she is at this present living. To eldest daughter Betty Williams one heifer marked in the right ear & a crop & two slits on the left & a nick underneath. All the rest of my cattle to my wife with the before-mentioned plantation & lands.
"Wit. Gerrard Greenwood, Robert Sisson.
"Proved by Robert Sisson 2 May 1677 and by Gerrard Greenwood, aged 34 years or thereabouts, 6 June 1677. Page 7 [probably of Will Book]."
(William Montgomery Sweeny, WILLS OF RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, 1656-1692, p. 52)
Ruth and Sam Sparacio, in their work A DIGEST OF FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS, state the will is from [Old] Rappahannock Co. Deed & Will Book 1677-1682, pp. 6-7.
Williams's wife Joan is confirmed to have married twice subsequent to this marriage--to a man named Wills and then to another man named Lewis Loyd. The marriage to Loyd can be confirmed through wills of each marriage partner. More research is needed.
Difficulty in Positively Identifying Roger Williams
The name Roger Williams is rather common in colonial Virginia, although the name Canterbury is largely confined to Northern Neck counties. Various men by the name of Roger Williams were claimed as headrights of other persons from 1635 to 1664, according to Nell Marion Nugent's CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS, Vol. I. The one transported in 1664 may have been this particular Roger Williams. The transporters patented land in Stafford Co., and among those transported besides one Roger Williams were Lawrence Washington, Nathaniel Pope, and Thomas Pope. Washington and Pope are names well documented to have settled in Northern Neck Virginia. In fact, Thomas Pope's patent in Westmoreland Co., 1664, appears on page 447 of Nugent, Vol. I. Nathaniel Pope patented 1000 c on S. side of Potomack Ri., Westmoreland Co. 6 Sept 1654, a good ten years before the following patent was granted. It must be kept in mind that fraud did occur in some of the patents:
Patent Bk 5-160 (38): "Col. Gerrard Fowke & Mr. Richard Haibert, 1680 acs. Staff. Co. 23 Mar 1664. Beg. on a poynt at the head of a small cr. faling into Rappa. Riv. near the Doegs Towne. Trans. of 34 pers. . " Among those transported, besides the males listed above, was one Joane Smith. Could she have been the bride of Roger Williams?
(Nell Marion Nugent, CAVALIERS & PIONEERS, V. I [Richmond: Virginia State Library and Archives, 1992 reprint], p. 446.
Roger Williams of Gloucester Co., 1667
Gloucester Co. was formed 1651 from York Co. It is not in the Northern Neck area of Virginia but is adjacent to it. However, note the mention of Rapphannock Co. in the second cited patent. Perhaps Roger Williams of Old Rappahannock Co. was a headright of Henry Prouse, who patented land elsewhere.
A Roger Williams and a George Hill were transported by one Henry Prouse, who was granted 200 A. in Gloster Co., 20 Dec 1667. It was on E. most River.
(Nell Marion Nugent CAVALIERS & PIONEERS, V. 2, 1666-1695, p. 28)
Evidently in the following year other persons, "Mr. George and John Mott," in 1668, also claimed these two men, Williams and Hill, as headrights, also an Ann Williams. They were granted 3700 acres on N. side in freshes of Rappahannock Co. (C&P, V. 2, P. 53). Old Rappahannock Co. was a Northern Neck Co., formed from Lancaster Co. Old Rappahannock was extinguished in 1692. (Question: Could Ann Williams have been a first wife of Roger Williams? Due to paucity of old Virginia records, the answer may never be known.)
In 1692, Richmond County and Essex County were formed. Richmond Co. was formed north of the Rappahannock River, while Essex Co. was formed south of the River. Old Rappahannock County was dissolved that same year.
There is reference to Roger Williams in the newly-formed Richmond Co. deeds. The deed gives some credence to the suggestion that the maiden name of Williams's wife Joan may have been Dudley (speculation).
"p. 107 (Barber to Dudley deed) Know all men by these presents that I Wm: Barber of Totuskey Creek in the County of Richmond have for a consideration in tobacco in hand have sold unto Richd. Dudley Senr. one parcell of land lying next the line of the land bought of Roger Williams and so running down the next Branch & so to Path Branch to the head and from the head to the Path & from the Path to the Line against yeilding and granting fro me my heirs or assigns to the said Dudley his heirs or assigns the land peaceably to enjoy forever & do warrant the same from all persons which shall lay any claim thereunto & do oblige myself to confirm this my act & deed in Court as Witness my hand & seal this first day of June 1695, the Land beginneth at the Corner tree next the Creek, the Path intended is the Old Path that leads over the Swamp to John Chapmans. /s/ Wm. Barber Witness: Charles Barber Recognitr: in Cur: Com: Richmond 5 die Junii 1695 et record 21st die.
(Ruth & Samuel Sparacio, RICHMOND COUNTY, VIRGINIA DEED BOOK 1695-1701 [McLean, VA: The Antient Press, 199?, p. 1)
Dear Researchers, If you use this material in your biographies (or any genealogical pursuit), please use the citations--a accepted practice of genealogists. If someone cannot replicate your research, then it is faulty research.
Name: Roger WILLIAMS Surname: Williams Given Name: Roger Sex: M Christening: 15 Dec 1625 St. Sepulchres, Newgate Par., London, England Death: 6 Jan 1677 _UID: 8706B9AF69366B4EB6B827FEC6CD9995A1D3 Note:
Change Date: 21 Feb 2010 at 18:55:33
Father: Sydrach WILLIAMS b: 1600 in St. Sepulchres, Newgate Par., London, England Mother: Anne TYLER b: 1604 in St Albans,Hertford,Hertfordshire,England
Marriage 1 Joan FRITH b: ABT 1650
Roger Williams of Rappahannock County, Virginia. He first appears in Rappahannock County in 1664, when he bought 200 acres on Totosky Creek and is styled "Roger Williams planter."
On February 3, 1671/2, he, together with his wife Joan, gave a quitclaim deed to Richard Dudley. His will, dated February 26, 1674/5, was proved May 2,1677. He names his wife and his children, Roger, Sydrach and Betty, his eldest daughter. On November 2,1677 Samuel Wills of Farnham parish, Rappahannock County, On November 2,1677 Samuel Wills of Farnham parish, Rappahannock in contemplation of marriage with Joan, relict of Roger Williams, gave over certain property to Roger, son of the deceased Roger Williams, to his brother Sydrach and to his sisters, Susanna and Anne. The children were to have it when they attained the age of 16 years. There was also another sister named Rebecca. (Rappahannock County Records, 1656-64) "Pemberton of St. Albans and The Mother of Roger Williams" by G. Andrews Moriarty I:660 from "Genealogies of Rhode Island Families" Indexed by Carol Lee Ford The Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. Baltimore, Maryland 1983 (974.5 RI/Genealogies SCGS) (Randall Library)
From Nancy Kiser: Will of Roger Williams recorded in Old Rappahannock County. "To my sons Roger Williams and Shadrack Williams I doe give 225 acres of land a piece. to wife Joane Williams I doe give the plantation with 200 acres of land. wherein she is at this present living. To eldest daughter Betty one heifer. " Witnesses: Gerrard Greenwood, Robert Sisson.
Roger Williams was a plaintiff in a suit in Northumberland Co,.VA in 1669 bequeathing to among other children. " My son, Shadrach Williams b. Feb 1, 1673 " My daughter Rebecca b. Jan 20, 1675 " My wife, Joane Frith.
Marriage: Roger married a Joane Jean Firth/Frith(Essex county Virginia Marriages 1655-1900 Book D6 Pg 35) and upon his death she married a Samuel Wills) WIKITREE
Son: Sidrach/Sidrack, Sydrach/Sydrack/Shadrack Williams Information sent to correspondant: Amelia Gilreath by Dr. James Courtney, found in London visit, "Boyd's Index" (my summary) THOMAS TILER married JUDITH CLINT Dau: Anne Tiler married 1. Francis Pinner B: 1599 D" 10 Jul 1637 10 Oct 1621 2. SHADRACK WILLIAMS B: 1594 (@@1600 PRIOR INFO) D: 1647. Barwick (in Elmett), Co. York, Eng.
Note: the data on Shadrack agrees with my prior findings. I do not believe that Shadrack ever came to Virginia. He, and his partner, William Clobery, did ship merchandise to Virginia in 1625 from London. I believe (without proof) that he sent his son: Roger to VA to carry on his business and that Roger was, probably, born in London.
Shadrack Williams, Children: from "Main International Genealogical Index (IGI)-British Isles. Shadrack Williams: Father: James Williams Mother: Alice Pemberton Born: about 1600, St. Albans, Hertford, England. Christening: 10 Jan 1600, St. Sepulchre-without-Newgate Parish, London , England. (christenings usually occured in first year of life. however, Shadrack may have been born in 1594.)
I found St. Sepulchre church, near old Newgate Prison, on my last trip to London. It is near the Tower of London, and is in the Old City of London area. It does not have a cemetery at this time. Visited mid-week and could not get inside the church or find the rector etc. The outside "bulletin board" was completely blank. Most of churches mentioned in the various wills and deeds that I have are still present in London. all of them "locked-up" during the wee week. Strange. From IGI: Christenings: St. Albans, St. Albans, Hertford, England HIS CHILDREN:
Anne, Shadrack's first wife died 1637: "Parish Records, Putney, Surry Co, England" Burials: 1637 July 10 ______(blank)_______, wife of Sydrach Williams, Gent. Judith, Shadrack's second wife, [email protected]@ Aug 1638: "Administrations, Prerogative Court, Canterbury" Judith Brown, Stepney, Middlesex admin. granted to Sidrack Williams, h. (husband) on 13 Aug 1638. IGI info: Marriage: Shadrach Williams to Judith Brown, 11 Apr 1637, St. Alphage Parish, Greenwich, Kent County, England. There is a discrepancy here in date - they were probably mararied 11 Apr 1638, and she died a few months later. Shadrack's children must have been by his first wife: Anne.
JAMES WILLIAMS DESCENT: (Married - Alice Pemberton) Son: Shadrack/Sydrach Williams, married 1. Anne Pinner 2. Judith Brown
As presented by William Mann Morrison, 280 Rockin Hill Drive, SW, Marietta, Georgia, 30060, Correspondent/author of "Morrison-Williams, Second Edition, 1989", p 166ff.
Morrison, in my opinion, makes a major mistake in the lineage of Sydrach Williams - who married Anne Pinner, England. He places him as a son of John and Anne (Weston) Williams of the Williams=Cromwell=Welch lineage - instead of being a son of James and Alice (Pemberton) Williams, of St. Albans, England. Morrison is an excellent researcher, however, and I am including several pages of his book that outline the Williams-Cromwell descents (plus some of my own research).
It has been well documented, elsewhere, that Roger Williams, of Rhode Island, son of James and brother of Sydrach - initially tried to marry a ward of Lady Joan Barrington, of London. Roger was serving as Chaplain to this family of Sir Francis and Joan (Cromwell) Barrington at the time. OLIVER CROMWELL, (LATER LORD PROTECTOR OF ENGLAND), was a nephew of this Lady Joan (Cromwell) Barrington. Therefore, Roger Williams, of Rhode Island and Oliver Cromwell must have known each other quite well. (see included Cromwell/Williams information, below).
Oliver Cromwell married Elizabeth Bourchier, whom he probably met at the home of his aunt - Lady Joan Barrington. Lady Barrington was a close neighbor of Sir James Bourchier, father of Elizabeth Bourchier.
Descent (including) JOHN WILLIAMS Son: MORGAN WILLIAMS, MARRIED KATHERINE CROMWELL, eldlest dau. of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex. Son: SIR RICHARD WILLIAMS, married Frances Murfyn, daughter of Sir Thomas Murfyn, Lord Mayor of London. (King Henry VIII had a Cromwell ancestry, which had "died out" and asked Sir Richard Williams to change his name to CROMWELL. so that the name could be perpetuated. Sir Richard did so. and was Knighted etc. ) Son: Sir Henry Williams alias Cromwell, Knight, married Joan Warren, dau. of Sir Ralph Warren, Twice Lord Mayor of London. Children: (including) 1. Robert Cromwell, married Elizabeth Steward Son: OLIVER CROMWELL, LORD PROTECTOR OF ENGLAND. 2. Joan Cromwell, who married Sir Francis Barrington, Bart. Then, according to Morrison's book information: ROGER WILLIAMS, BROTHER OF ABOVE SIR RICHARD WILLIAMS alias CROMWELL - Married Margaret Mathew Son: John Williams Son: John Williams married Ann Weston Son: SYDRACH WILLIAMS AND ANNE PINNER Son: Roger Williams married Joan ____________. NOTE: I believe this line to be in error! ▼References
Charters Rhode Island
By 1643 Williams's colony had grown to four settlements—Providence, Portsmouth, Warwick, and Newport—on Narragansett Bay. In 1644 Williams made a trip to England and secured a charter for a self-governing colony called Rhode Island, a name he chose because Aquidneck Island reminded him of the Greek island of Rhodes. After challenges to the legality of the charter in 1651, Williams served as president from 1654 to 1657 in order to guarantee the continuance of political and religious freedoms. During the first year of his presidency Jews settled in Newport, then Quakers followed in large numbers. Williams's own tolerance was eventually tested by the Quakers because they seemed to ignore the Bible and Christ in favor of the "inner light" possessed by all Christians. When George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, visited Newport in 1672, Williams was determined to confront him in a debate. Now over seventy years old, Williams dragged his frail body into a boat and rowed alone the thirty miles to meet Fox. The Quaker leader had already departed, so Williams engaged Fox's associates in a battle of published words.
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