Roger Williams Landing 1636
Roger Williams believed in the separation of church and state and liberty of complete religious freedom. He maintained that the Indians were the rightful owners of the land and that the English Crown's grant of land for the colony was illegal. For these "dangerous opinions" the Bay Colony magistrates ordered him to be deported. Williams began an epic journey toward Narragansett Bay about mid-January 1635.
In the middle of a hard winter, Williams attempted to hike through the frozen New England landscape to the quarters of the Wampanoag sachem Massasoit at Swomans (Warren). He stayed there until spring and was given land in present-day East Providence to start a settlement. When the Plymouth Governor forced him the leave, Williams canoed across the Seekonk River, landing on the West Bank, and was greeted by the Narragansetts.
Williams then paddled around Fox Point and up to the confluence of the Woonasquatucket and the Moshassuck, where Narragansett sachems Canonicus and Miantonomi gave him land. He named it "in commemoration of God's Providence," and dedicated it
To establish legal title, Williams went back to England twice and eventually helped get a Charter for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Williams barely made a living as a farmer and operated a trading post near Wickford while maintaining a household in Providence. He thought of himself, first and foremost, a friend to the Indians. Most of his life was spent in negotiations between the Indians and the authorities of Massachusetts Bay. He was respected by the Indians as was no other English man. Even King Philip listened to his council. When Canonicus, Sachem of Narragansett, lay dying, he asked Williams to close his eyes for him. Williams wrote, "When the hearts of my countrymen and friends failed me, His infinite wisdom and merits stirred up the barbarous heart of Canonicus to love me as his son to his last gasp."
Williams died at the age of 80 during the winter of 1683, having established a colony that was, in the words of the Royal Charter, "a lively experiment... with full liberty in religious concernments."
Location. 41° 49.072′ N, 71° 23.285′ W. Marker is in Providence, Rhode Island, in Providence County. Marker can be reached from India
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Welcome to India Point Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fox Point: The 19th Century Port of Providence/Shipping Expands Around the Point (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fox Point Cape Verdean Community (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Fox Point Hurricane Barrier/A Second Life for the Hurricane Barrier (approx. 0.7 miles away); Colonial Wharf at South Water Street: 1910-1942 /Fox Point and the Night Boat Era 1822-1932 (approx. 0.7 miles away); John Brown House (approx. 0.9 miles away); Providence (Water Street) (approx. 0.9 miles away); Horace Mann (approx. one mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Providence.
Categories. • Colonial Era • Notable Persons • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 779 times since then and 41 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. 5. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on October 8, 2016.