In 1636 Boston courts decided Roger Williams had to return to England. He was creating problems in the colony, accused of having diverse thoughts. Roger encouraged freedom of religion, ‘soul liberty’, a separation of church and state. He would ask the courts and churches to explain how stealing lands from the native Americans fit in with the beliefs of the new colony. As the colony prepared to export him, Roger Williams fled in the night. He headed down river to present day Providence, Rhode Island. With help from the Narragansett tribe he founded a colony based on his beliefs. March 24, 1638 the first land deeds were signed by the native people selling the lands and witnessed by Roger Williams and Benedict Arnold (Gov’r not American Revolution soldier).
Years later Roger’s son Daniel said, “Can you find such another now alive or in this age? He gave away his lands.” It is pretty amazing for those times and anytime: Roger owned all that land, legally and he thought, ethically purchased, but he didn’t keep the lands he shared them. He wanted the new Providence Plantation to succeed so he started deeding land to his friends and followers and they all started working on building a place built on Roger’s ideas.
Rhode Island Roots. Warwick, RI: Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 1975–. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.)
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