In 1636, Roger Williams, recently banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of his religious beliefs, established a settlement at the head of Narragansett Bay that he named "Providence." This small colony soon became a sanctuary for those seeking to escape religious persecution. Within a few years, a royal land patent and charter resulted in the formation of the "Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," which incorporated Williams' original settlement and espoused his tenets of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. During the ensuing decades, thousands of Baptists, Quakers, Jews, and Huguenots relocated to Rhode Island from other New England colonies, the British Islands, and Europe in search of religious freedom.
One such individual, John Thomas, an immigrant from Wales, made significant contributions to early settlements at Jamestown on Conanicut Island and at Wickford on the nearby mainland of Rhode Island. He was the first town constable of Jamestown in 1679, and later owned hundreds of acres of land in the towns of North and South Kingstown.
This fully indexed work traces and sketches the lives of his descendants, many of whom were at the forefront of the great American westward migration, and represents the most comprehensive compilation of them to date. It is the result of twenty years of extensive research and includes detailed information from military pension archives, will and estate records, agricultural data, county histories, and migration patterns that far exceeds the standard for genealogical works of this scope and magnitude.
It is important for us to remember those who helped shape our nation. This work provides valuable information for those who are interested in this family and its evolution in America.
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