This week I have been reading a book about Roger Williams and have thought about this post I wrote five years ago. I am making a few slight changes, but it is mostly my thoughts from that time.
Did you know that Roger Williams lived in Plymouth Colony for about two years in the early 1630’s?
Many of us may be familiar with the fact that Roger Williams was in Massachusets and after being banished founded the colony of Rhode Island.
However, it is not common knowledge that Roger Williams lived in Plymouth Colony with the Brownists or Pilgrims as they are know today. See my post: Were the Pilgrims Puritans?
The map above is a modern day map from Google which includes current highways, but it will give us an idea of where Boston, Salem and Plymouth are in relation to each other. Salem is about 15 miles from Boston and Plymouth is about 35 miles.
Roger Williams and his wife Mary arrived in Boston on February 5, 1631 on the ship Lyon. They had left Bristol, England in December 1630. Also on the ship was another set of immigrant ancestors. John and Judith Perkins along with their six children were also passengers on the Lyon. I descend from their son John Jr. who was 22 at the time. Both Roger Williams and John Perkins Jr. are my 10th great grandfathers.
When Roger Williams arrived in Boston he turned down a position as minister with the Boston church and instead went to Salem. However, at the end of the summer of 1631 he moved to the Plymouth Colony.
It was only two years later that Roger Williams was convicted of sedition and heresy and ordered to leave Massachusetts. He left in January 1636 and fled to what is today Rhode Island where he started a new settlement at Providence.
Of course there are more facts and details, but I only wanted to give a broad outline.
Roger Williams became a Puritan while studying at Pembroke College at Cambridge. After graduating his only chance for a position in the church was as a private chaplain. Roger Williams became a chaplain for Sir Walter Masham.
While in the service of the Masham family Roger met Mary Barnard and they were married in December 1629. It was only a year later that they were on their way to America as they fled for safety from Bishop Laud and the High Commision.
Now for the connection to Plymouth Colony. Mary Barnard was the daughter of Richard Barnard of Worksop who had worked with William Brewster, Richard Clyfton, William Bradford, John Robinson and other separatists who later moved to Leiden in Holland. See my post Scrooby for more information.
Mary was born in 1609 which was after the separatists moved to Holland. However, I can imagine her father telling her stories about them after the news was received that they had sailed to Plymouth in 1620.
When Roger and Mary made the decision to sail to Massachusetts I am sure that her father would have reminded her that he had friends in the Plymouth Colony.
In any case, we do find that Roger and Mary Williams did go to the Plymouth Colony when they first ran into troubles in Salem. When in Plymouth they were closely aligned with the Brewsters and Bradfords.
It reminds me that even today when we run into troubles away from home we often seek refuge with our family friends or connections.