Monday, January 9, 2012

I Was Destined to Become a Baptist

Written for GBE2 Week 34 Prompt - History

     Several years ago, some distant cousin in my Dad's family decided to trace the Williams family tree.  Once finished they sent copies to all the living relatives.  Dad, in turn, made copies and gave to us girls so we would have a record of our family history and genealogy.  

     Reading through such a list can be quite interesting.  After several pages of names including the usual outlaws and in-laws, Indians and gypsies came a name that I vaguely recalled from history.  That name belonged to none other than Roger Williams.

     For those of you, who like me, have seen many moons since you studied early American history, let me refresh your memory.

     Roger Willliams was one of the thousands of Puritans who departed from England in the 1630's to escape religious and political repression at the hands of the King and the Church of England.  Even though he had been privy to the planning of the exodus, he did not make the trip to America until 1631.  When Williams, an ordained minister,  learned that the established churches in America did not want to break ties with the Church of England he refused to accept offers to pastor churches in Boston and Salem.  He settled in the Old Plymouth colony where he found a church to attend that had completely separated from the Anglican church.  

     In 1633 Williams returned to Salem and accepted an Assistant pastors position, later becoming the minister upon the former ministers death.  He began to preach his concept of "soul liberty", separating church and state and removing the government from religious matters.  He believed  they were founded on two different principles with the church based on the love of God and the state being based on the sword.

     By 1635 the magistrates had had enough of Williams radical ideas.  He was arrested, tried and convicted on charges of sedition, heresy, and refusing to swear allegiance in God's name.  Before Williams could be banished to England, he fled to Narragansett territory where he puchased land from the Indians to start his own settlement.  He called it Providence where everyone could have freedom of religion, completely separate of Anglican rule.  Providence became part of Rhode Island.

     Williams held church services in his home several times a week and after about 2 years they became the first Baptist Church in the New World.  

     I didn't grow up in a Baptist Church.  I married into one in 1972 and have been a Baptist ever since.  I guess you could say it's in my genes.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat



15 comments:

  1. How interesting is that? Makes a girl go hummmmmmmmmm....doesn't it?

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  2. Nicely done bit of history Kat. Sometimes the thing you are intended to do, just keeps looking until it finds you:-)
    k~

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  3. I love learning about my ancestors! My grandfather's family has been traced back to being a part of the first colony settled here in America.

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  4. @ Jo - Thanks, yes it does! :D)
    @ k~ - So true, I believe destiny (or divine
    intervention) has a way of finding us.
    @ Taylor - Family history is definitely
    interesting!

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  5. @ Jo - Thanks, yes it does! :D)
    @ k~ - So true, I believe destiny (or divine
    intervention) has a way of finding us.
    @ Taylor - Family history is definitely
    interesting!

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  6. very interesting, it really does make you go hmmmm (like Jo said)

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  7. That's amazing! So fortunate you were able to trace your family history! Seems like divine intervention!

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  8. @ Claudia - Thank you.
    @ Sylvia - Thanks Sylvia!
    @ Anna - I can't take the credit, a distant relative did the
    research.

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  9. That is fascinating! My Mom had extensive genealogy records of our family. Unfortunately, the records burned in the fire that took her life. I did find her rough notes after her death and gave them to my sister because she is trying to replicate the lost records. I know we don't have it all, but it is a good start. I love your story!

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  10. Fascinating, yes! Roger Williams--hey, I remember that name, too. Destined to be a Baptist...well I don't know about that but as Beth said, full circle indeed.

    I'm Italian. Our family history gets mixed up fairly quickly. It's been traced back several hundred years but is meaningless...nobody famous or well known.

    My wife on the other hand...well her history goes back to Robert Burns and has some fascinating characters before him. Like yours, hers can certainly give some to talk about!

    Nice job

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  11. We have a friend named Roger Williams. Gee! I never realized Roger was a heretic. He is, however, unique. Roger just turned 70 in December, and he's still running ultra long distances. I wonder if he knows this interesting history connected with his name.

    Joyce
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/

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  12. That was interesting, Kat. I reckon it is possible that there is something in the blood that does come out. My friend has been researching her family tree and discovered bricklayers about one hundred years ago. Guess what her son is *wink*

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