Roger Williams

Roger Williams (abt. 1606 - 1683)

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Rev Roger Williams
Born about in London, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Hatfield, Essex, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Providence, Rhode Islandmap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 11,178 times.

Categories: Founders and Settlers of Rhode Island | Puritan Great Migration | Notables.

The Puritan Great Migration.
Roger Williams migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Roger Williams is notable.
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Reverend Roger Williams, President of Rhode Island Colony 1654-57, was born in London, but no record of the exact date survives, the DNB guesses c.1606.[1] He was the son of James Williams (d. 1621) and Alice Pemberton (d. 1625), daughter of Robert Pemberton and Catherine Stokes (sister of Roger Stokes).[2] According to the records of the Roger Williams Family Association, published as Roger Williams of Providence, R.I., he was born about 1601 in London, but the great fire of London destroyed the church which housed all the birth and baptism records of the family.[2]

Some family trees claim a birth of 21 Dec 1603 at Long Lane, London, Middlesex, England and christening at St Sepulchre, London Christ Church Greyfriars Newgate, London, England or High Laver, Essex, England, [citation needed]

Roger's father was a merchant tailor of London.[2] His siblings were: Sydrach, Catherine and Robert.[2]

As a teenager, he was associated with Sir Edward Coke, who employed Williams to take notes of sermons and speeches in Star Chamber. Through Coke's influence, he matriculated Pembroke College in 1624, going BA in 1627.[1]

He left Cambridge in 1628/9 to enter the Essex household of Sir William Masham as family chaplain. He married, on 15 Dec 1629 at High Lever Church, Essex, England.[2], Mary Bernard (bap. 1609, d. in or after 1676), the daughter of the clergyman and religious writer Richard Bernard, who was serving as a maid in the Masham household.[1] [3]

Flag of England
Roger Williams migrated from England to Colonial America.
Flag of Colonial America

He met with other dissenters Thomas Hooker and John Cotton and they discussed with other dissenting clergy to invest in the Massachusetts Bay Company and migrate to the New World. He migrated with his wife in 1631 on the Lyon, residing initially at Salem, then Plymouth, back to Salem in 1633 and finally to Providence, Rhode Island by 1636.[1]

Roger Williams established what would become Rhode Island, having been kicked out of Salem and Plymouth for the quality of his preachings. "His favorite theme was liberty of conscience in religious matters, and that civil magistrates as such have no power in the church, and that Christians as such are subject to no laws or control, but those of King Jesus." This did not go over well with church and civil leaders.[4]

His exact date of death is not known, but he died between 27 Jan 1682/3 and 15 March 1682/3 on his Providence farm.[5][1]

A monument on Prospect Terrace, Providence, was dedicated June 29, 1939 by the Roger Williams Memorial Association.[2]


Mary Williams Sayles (1633 - 1681)

Freeborn Williams Clarke (1635 - 1710)

Providence Williams (1638 - 1686)

Mercy Williams Winsor (1640 - 1705)

Daniel Williams (1641 - 1712)

Joseph Williams (1643 - 1724)

He died on April 1, 1683, in Providence, Rhode Island, having lived a long life of 80 years.


Allen, Zachariah, Esq. Memorial of Roger Williams (Cooke & Danielson, Printers, Providence, 1860)

Descendants of Roger Williams

Roger Williams (Wikipedia)

Austin, John Osborne. Ancestry of Thirty-Three Rhode Islanders (J. Munsell's Sons, 1889)

Anthony, Bertha Williams. & Weeden, Harriett Wood. Roger Williams of Providence, Rhode Island (Cranston, R.I.: B. W. Anthony and H. W. Weeden, 1949, 1966)

Virkus, Frederick Adams. The Compendium of American Genealogy: First Families of America (Chicago, A.N. Marquis & company, 1925-)

Austin, John Osborne. The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (1887)

Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1862) (4 vols)

Wilkinson, Rev. Israel, A. M. Memoirs of the Wilkinson Family in America (Jacksonville, Ill.: Davis & Penniman, Printers., 1869)

The Blue Laws (Case, Tiffany & Co., Hartford, 1838) Page 63-67

Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Volumes I-III. (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1995) Pages 2007-10


Smith, Joseph Jencks. Civil and Military List of Rhode Island, 1647-1800 (Preston and Rounds Co., Providence, R.I., 1900) Page 2: "1649. May. To have leave to sell a little Wine or Strong Water to some natives in theare sickness: Mr. Roger Williams."

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Francis J. Bremer, ‘Williams, Roger (c.1606–1683)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Anthony, Bertha Williams Roger Williams of Providence, R.I. (Forword) Np: Published by Mrs. C. W. Bertha Williams Anthony, 1949, HathiTrust accessed May 30, 2015
  3. This marriage entry is in the parish register for High Laver. These are all on-line at SEAX
  4. Israel Wilkinson, Memoirs of the Wilkinson Family, Jacksonville, IL: Davis & Penniman (1869), pp 3-6
  5. Anderson, Robert Charles, Roger Williams The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III. (Pages 2007-10 ) Online database accessed February 5, 2015:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010.

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No known carriers of Roger's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 12
Roger Williams Statue
Roger Williams Statue

Roger Williams Map Rhode Island
Roger Williams Map Rhode Island

Roger Williams Image 3
Roger Williams Image 3

Roger Williams Image 4
Roger Williams Image 4

Providence First Lots
Providence First Lots

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On 23 Jun 2018 at 06:50 GMT Patricia (Prickett) Hickin wrote:



On 23 Jun 2018 at 06:19 GMT Erik Granstrom wrote:

Can we have the image 4 picture be his profile picture?

On 25 Apr 2018 at 18:46 GMT Bob Fields wrote:

Williams-11723 and Williams-934 appear to represent the same person because: Father of same daughter Mary Williams. None of these new profiles, imported by gedcom, have dates :(

On 26 Nov 2017 at 03:15 GMT Dave Jenkins wrote:

I saw no reference to John M. Barry's "Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty," printed in 2012. A pretty good read considering the times in which we live. A little irony, Williams worshiped at the same St. Sepulchre church in London in his youth as did John Winthrop's sister Anne Fones and her family. There is a statue in Williams' honor as part of the Reformation Wall in Geneva, Switzerland w/ other prominent figures of early Protestantism. Finally, a plug for Resolved Waterman as the first husband of Mercy Williams. Thanks. D. Jenkins

On 26 Nov 2017 at 00:19 GMT Dave Jenkins wrote:

Williams-58325 and Williams-934 appear to represent the same person because: Same date of death and reference to the Roger Williams Family Association on the part of Williams-58325

On 24 Mar 2017 at 03:52 GMT John Martin wrote:

I edited the profile subsequent to the recent merge, but I am no Wiki expert on formatting. Those on the Trusted List, please feel free to clean up the bio & sources further, as needed.

On 24 Mar 2017 at 02:02 GMT Beryl Meehan wrote:

Williams-934 and Williams-49523 appear to represent the same person because: please merge

On 2 Jun 2016 at 11:48 GMT Anne B wrote:

Williams-33552 and Williams-934 appear to represent the same person because: despite minor date issues the same guy

On 2 Jun 2016 at 11:46 GMT Anne B wrote:

Williams-41196 and Williams-934 appear to represent the same person because: definitely the same man despite minor date issues.

On 8 Jan 2016 at 19:51 GMT Mark Smith wrote:

Hello, I am related to Roger Williams and I was wondering if you have coordinated with the Roger Williams Family Association at all on the data. They have significant data on many generations of the family and would be helpful in filling in a lot of holes. For example, I believe I can add approx 11 generations from one of Joseph Williams (born 1673) daughters that is not on your tree at all. Anyway, I am new to all this and am looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Mark

Roger is 22 degrees from Rosa Parks, 21 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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