This Month in Roger History: December

: Ashton Waldron, Herald Contributor


Roger Williams, born on Dec. 21, 1603, was the cofounder of the state of Rhode Island and a theologian who in 1956 had Roger Williams University named after him. It was in the month of December in which Williams tied the knot. Born in London to James Williams and Alice Pemberton, he was the third child of four. Not much is known of his youth, but he showed much interest in reading and writing. In 1621, Williams was granted a scholarship that allowed him to continue his studies at a Charterhouse School in London under the influence of Sir Edward Coke. In 1623, Williams was accepted to Pembroke College in Cambridge, but did not attend the university until the following year. Graduating in 1627 with his Bachelor of Arts, Williams went on to be a well-known scholar where all literature at Pembroke mentions his name. After leaving Cambridge, Williams was drawn to the English Church. He entered the Essex household of Sir William Masham as a family chaplain to a wealthy family. Through this family, he met Mary Barnard whom he married on Dec. 15, 1629. The couple married in the Church of High Laver in Essex, England. The couple set sail on board the “Lyon” in Dec. 1630 where they eventually arrived in Boston, later creating a family of six children. Mary, who was also serving in the Masham household as a maid, was the daughter of clergyman and religious writer, Richard Bernard. Williams was a man driven by God’s love and support.