Roger Williams

By Nick McIntosh

Family History

Roger Williams was born in London on December 21, 1603. The record of his birth was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666 when St. Sepulchre's Church burned. At the age of 11, he had a spiritual-conversion experience of which his father disapproved. His father, James Williams, was a merchant tailor in Smithfield, England. His mother was Alice Pemberton .

Williams seemed to have 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.

Political Affiliations

Roger Williams was loyal to the church more than he was to England or to the colonies. The political and religious leader Roger Williams is best remembered for founding the state of Rhode Island and advocating separation of church and state in Colonial America. His views on religious freedom and tolerance, coupled with his disapproval of the practice of confiscating land from Native Americans, earned him the wrath of his church and banishment from the colony. Williams and his followers settled on Narragansett Bay, where they purchased land from the Narragansett Indians and established a new colony governed by the principles of religious liberty and separation of church and state.

Contribution to in colonial development

Williams was the first abolitionist in North America, having organized the first attempt to ban slavery in the original thirteen colonies.Williams started the first Baptist Church in America, the First Baptist Church of Providence. Roger Williams was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. “A Key Into the Language of America (1643)” This little book was the first dictionary of any Indian language in the English language and published to feed the great curiosity of the English about the Native Americans. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Rogers also was one to separate religion to citizenship.


Integrity - the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

Roger Williams was an honest man and he had strong moral principles. Roger Williams did not support slavery and he was one of the first abolitionists to have organized an attempt to abolish slavery in any or all of the thirteen colonies. Williams also believed in religious freedom and did not despise anyone for having any other religion.


Citizenship - the status of a citizen with rights and duties.

Roger Williams was a great citizen and went to church and he even became a minister. He did not believe in slavery and he believed in religious freedom.