Roger Williams' house lot in Providence sits on what is now modern day North Main Street. In Roger’s time however it was a bustling Native American trade highway that rested right on the banks of a Great Saltwater Cove. The location gave Williams access to fresh water, a consistent food source from the cove, open land for farming and easy access for trade among the English and Native Americans. With everything he needed to thrive now sitting at his doorstep, Roger began to set up a colony. However, this colony was not based around a church, such as it was in Massachusetts or New York, but instead the land was distributed based around the resources and needs. This led to each colonist getting a six-acre plot of land that stretched from the Great Saltwater Cove, up to what is known as present day College Hill.
When Roger Williams died in 1683, he was buried behind his house on this six-acre lot. Years later Roger Williams casket was exhumed in order to place it at a memorial for him. In the process it was discovered that a near-by apple tree root had entered his coffin. The root seemed to grow down what was his spine, split at the hips and continued down each of his legs before turning up at the feet. It is believed that the tree root sucked the nutrients from his dead body and is known today as “The tree root that ate Roger Williams”. This tree root has been preserved and sits just down the road from the National Memorial in the John Brown House historical site located on Benefit street. The rest of Roger Williams' remains can now be found under the statue at Prospect Terrace.
Last updated: October 8, 2020