Roger Williams Landing 1636
Providence Harbor Walk at Fox Point & India Point
Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, was born in London in 1603. After graduating from Cambridge University in 1627, Williams took holy orders in the church of England. In 1630 he emigrated to the New World and settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
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
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." (Marker Number 12.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Colonial Era • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1603.
Location. 41° 49.072′ N, 71° 23.285′ W. Marker is in Providence, Rhode Island, in Providence County. Marker can be reached from India Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located in India Point Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Providence RI 02903, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bridging the Seekonk (within shouting distance of this marker); Tockwotton and the Indiamen / Sails to Rails 1835: Providence's First Train Station (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); 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); Gano Park - Centuries of History (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Landing Place of Roger Williams (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fox Point Cape Verdean Community (approx. 0.4 miles away); Providence River Bridge (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Providence.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 1,086 times since then and 49 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week October 9, 2016. Photos: 1. submitted on June 21, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 16, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. 6. submitted on October 8, 2016, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.