Beyond his fame as the founder of our colony, the average Rhode Islander knows little about Roger Williams. On Saturday, September 28th(9am-4pm) at the Smith’s Castle’s Seminar “Roger was Here,” Rhode Island history enthusiasts and students will have an opportunity to remedy that gap. Williams’ impact reached far beyond what is generally known, to affect some of the core beliefs expressed in the U.S. Constitution, particularly in relation to governance, tolerance and individual freedoms, issues as relevant today as they were when he lived in the late 17thcentury. Much of his work was conceived at North Kingstown’s own Smith’s Castle and its site, Cocumscussoc. 

Two prominent keynote speakers will participate in the event and speak about their recent books.  J. Stanley Lemons, Professor Emeritus at Rhode Island College, is co-author of Decoding Roger Williams: The Lost Essay of Rhode Island’s Founding Father, analyzing Wiliams’ final theological treatiseJames A, Warren, an independent scholar, is the author of God, War, and Providence: The Epic Struggle of Roger Williams and the Narragansett Indians against the Puritans of New England. 

Participants will also have the opportunity to attend break-out sessions by other presenters in the morning and afternoon. Tim Cranston, North Kingstown Town Historian, Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Associate Professor of History at Roger Williams College, and John McNiff, Superintendent Ranger at the Roger Wiliams Memorial Park will join to present “Roger Williams: Early Life and Works.” Lorén Spears, educator, essayist, artist and Director of the Tomaquag Museum, will present “A New Key into the Language of America,” related to Roger Williams’ 1643 book describing 17thcentury New England native languages. 

Opening remarks by Smith’s Castle President Chet Browning and Seminar Organizer and Moderator Robert A. Geake will be followed by and Indigenous Blessing by Lorén Spears and a presentation by Charles Laurent’s Rocky Hill School students. A Panel Discussion of all presenters, moderated by Seminar Organizer and Historian, Robert A. Geake, will conclude the day. 

A registration form is available online at the Smith’s Castle website:  (See link in “Events”).  Registration will close on September 21, 2019. Continental breakfast, lunch and a tour of Smith’s Caste are included in the registration fee. 

  This program was made possible through the generosity of the Friends of Smith’s Castle and the North Kingstown Arts Council.


  • Occurs Saturday, September 28th, 2019 — all day


Smith's Castle

55 Richard Smith Drive
North Kingstown RI, 02852

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