Family tree of Roger WILLIAMS

American politician, Theologian

EnglishBorn Roger WILLIAMS

English Protestant theologian

Born on December 21, 1603 in London, England , United Kingdom

Died on April 01, 1683 in Providence, Rhode Island, USA

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Roger Williams was born in London. The record of his birth was destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666 when St. Sepulchre's Church was burned. At age 12 he had a conversion experience of which his father disapproved. His father, James Williams (1562–1620), was a merchant tailor in Smithfield, England. His mother was Alice Pemberton (1564–1634).

As a teenager Williams apprenticed with Sir Edward Coke (1552–1634), the famous jurist, and under Coke's patronage, Williams was educated at Charterhouse and also at Pembroke College, Cambridge (B.A., 1627). He seemed to have had a gift for languages, and early acquired familiarity with Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Dutch, and French. Years later he gave John Milton lessons in Dutch in exchange for refresher lessons in Hebrew.


Although he took Holy Orders in the Church of England, he had become a Puritan at Cambridge, forfeiting any chance at a place of preferment in the Anglican church. After graduating from Cambridge, Williams became the chaplain to a Puritan lord, Sir William Macham. He married Mary Barnard (1609–76) on December 15, 1629 at the Church of High Laver, Essex, England. They had six children, all born in America. Their children were Mary, Freeborn, Providence, Mercy, Daniel and Joseph.

Williams was privy to the plans of the Puritan leaders to migrate to the New World, and while he did not join the first wave in the summer of 1630, before the end of the year, he decided he could not remain in England under Archbishop William Laud's rigorous (and High church) administration. He regarded the Church of England to be corrupt and false, and by the time he and his wife boarded the Lyon in early December, he had arrived at the Separatist position.

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Geographical origins

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