Roger Williams (c. 1603 between January and March 1683) was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America, the First Baptist Church of Providence. He was a student of Native American languages and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans.
Roger Williams was born in London about 1603. The record of his birth was destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666 when St. Sepulchre's Church was burned. At age 12 he had a conversion experience of which his father disapproved. His father, James Williams (15621620), was a merchant tailor in Smithfield, England. His mother was Alice Pemberton (15641634).
Read "A Plea for Religious Liberty," by Roger Williams, free from constitution.org.