Writing Mary Williams Back into the Historical Record

Mary Barnard married Williams in 1629, and for the next 50 years, followed him from England to New England, moving from Boston to Plymouth to Salem, and ultimately, with a toddler and infant in tow, to Providence, the town her husband founded when he was exiled for his “new and dangerous” opinions But who was Mary Williams?

In this talk, Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Associate Professor of History at Roger Williams University (above, left) explores multiple ways of discovering more about Mary Williams and the lives of seventeenth-century women in this 103-minute March 21, 2021 video recorded on March 21, 2019 of her Zoom presentation.

(Above, left) The manor of Sir William Masham, a county magistrate, where Mary Barnard worked as a maid and where Roger Williams appointed as a chaplain. Roger and Mary married at All Saints Church in High Laver, Essex, England.

After landing in Plymouth in 1631, where he met the Massasoit Ousamequin, he moved to Salem in 1633 where he was forced to leave, heading to Sowams, where he was sheltered for 14 weeks before going to Omega Pond and eventually to found Providence. In 1653, when Roger was in England, he wrote how much he missed her, even though she chose to stay in Providence while he was away.