Daniel Williams

Daniel was born in Providence on February 15, 1641/2. On December 7, 1676 at Providence he married Rebecca Rhodes, daughter of Zachariah Rhodes and Joanna Arnold. His marriage was recorded by his father (then Town Clerk) as "the first marriage since God mercifully restored the town of Providence." Rebecca was probably born in Providence, but her birth date is unknown. Prior to marrying Daniel, she had been the wife of Nicholas Power, whom she married February 3, 1672/3. Rebecca and Nicholas had two children, Hope and Nicholas.

Unlike his father, Daniel's mind appears to have been more strongly set on worldly than on spiritual affairs. Says Governor Stephen Hopkins: "Roger Williams' son Daniel was a hard labouring, industrious man, and on it being observed to Mr. Williams that his son Daniel would do very well in life, he replied: Ah! my son Daniel is like a hog under a tree of acorns, very industrious in eating them but never considering whence they came."

On February 24, 1661 at a Town Meeting, Mr. Roger Williams Moderator, Daniel and his brother Joseph were each granted a full purchase right on the same terms as the original purchasers, on account "of same courtesies" received from their father by the proprietors of Providence.

"For as much as there hath been divers Bills presented by divers persons desiring to be accommodated with each of them a purchase right of land, whereof Daniel Williams & Joseph Williams were two of them who desired to be accommodated: the purchasers also having upon the tenth day of February 1661, taken their Bills into consideration but could not find that they could any of them be accommodated according to their desire without much damage unto the Town: it was therefore voted by the Major Part, that those persons who had put in their bills for lands should not be accommodated: yet upon the earnest requests of Daniel Williams, the Purchasers who are now assembled together having considered some Courtesies received from Mr. Williams do therefore notwithstanding the former Order, grant unto Daniel Williams and Joseph Williams each of them a purchase right of Land: and the Order still to remain in force against all the rest."

On February 19, 1665, Daniel was given lot #11 in a division of lands. On January 1, 1668, he took the oath of allegiance to Charles II. On October 26, 1670, Daniel was made Freeman of the Colony. He served as a Juryman 1675-79-85-1709. On May 10, 1674, he bought of John Fenner, 60 acres of land at Sectunkanoge (Johnston), near John Sheldons. On April 12, 1675, he was No. 62 in a drawing of lots on the west of the 7 mile line. On April 27, 1675, he served on the Grand Jury.

On February 24, 1678/9, he was granted by the town "A little slip of ye towns common on Waybosset side, for conveniency of fencing in of his meadow which he had of his father Williams." On March 3, 1678/9, he was on a committee to levy a rate. On July 1, 1679, Daniel was taxed 12s., 6. In the same year he was on a committee to levy a rate. On June 7, 1680, he was made Surveyor of Highways.

On January 23, 1683/4, he bought land of William Hawkins, Jun., bounded east on Moshassuck river and north on land of Shadrach Manton. On June 2, 1684, Daniel was elected Constable, but furnishing William Hawkins as a substitute, his fine was remitted. On March 20, 1684/5, he was a juryman.

On March 6, 1685, he bought of Valentine Whitman (Wightman) a house and house lot, bounded north on a home share now in possession of Daniel Williams, which was William Harris', now deceased, and south by a home share now in possession of Shadrach Manton. On September 1, 1687, he and estate of Nicholas Power, deceased, taxed 13s. 6d.

On June 3, 1665, Daniel was elected the Hay Warden. On June 26, 1665, he was a Grand Juryman. On June 5, 1693, Daniel was elected Constable but refused to serve. In 1698, he was again Hay Warden. On October 30, 1698, he bought of Richard and Ann Waterman a home lot, bounded south on lot of Samuel Winsor and north on William Hopkins.

On December 24, 1700, arbitrators were appointed to settle a difference "between Daniel Williams and William Hawkins about a fulling Mill which they the said Williams and said Hawkins built in partnership together on the land of the said Hawkins some time since." The arbitrators, Major John Dexter, Mr. John Smith and Joseph Jenckes, Jun., awarded and determined that Daniel Williams should pay William Hawkins 8 for his part of the fulling Mill, and that the said Mill with the dam, pond, water course and stream or streams, rack and tenter hooks and all other privileges and appurtenances should remain in the possession of the said Daniel Williams doth keep up and maintain a fulling mill in order and such a capacity, as that it may be capable to perform suitable service.

On March 4, 1701/2, Daniel sold land to Nicholas Power; northwest corner of Power and South Main streets. On November 10, 1702, he quitclaimed to John Sayles, Jn., the son of his sister Mary, 35 acres of land that his father, Roger Williams, had give him in his lifetime. On May 5, 1703, he sold Joseph Smith a fifty acre lot and a saw mill, about a mile south of Peter Place, his dwelling, and on both sides a small river. On January 4, 1704/5, he bought of Daniel Brown a house lot on the town street bounded north on lot of Samuel Right (Wright), and south on lot that was formerly Valentine Whitman's (Wightman's).

On January 28, 1705/6, Daniel was on a committee to lay out a piece of land below the dam at the corn mill of John Smith, on the east side of the Moshassuck river, to Capt. Richard Arnold and John Smith, for a saw mill, not to damnify the ford or highway. On July 27, 1709, he was on the Grand Jury.

In the following letter of August 24, 1710 from Daniel Williams, he very feelingly refers to some of the "courtesies" of his father to the town, which were the consideration for the above grant:

I thought good in short to present you with these few lines, concerning the bounds of Providence, &c. I have put forth several queries to several men in the township, to be answered; but have not any answer from any of them; and, as I judge, doth not care to have any discourse abou it. Therefore, now I speak to you all,l desiring your honors will be pleased to consider of the matter, and to answer me to one or two queries; that is, whether you have any thing under my father's hand to prove the bounds of this town afore those twelve men were concerned; or whether my father disposed of any of the township to any other persons since the twelve men were first in power, &c. If my father had disposed or sold his whole township, and they he sold it to, or have it under his hand, prove the sale, although it was but for a penny, God forbid that ever I should open my mouth about it, &c. It is evident, that this township was my father's and it is held in his name against all unjust claims, &c. Can you find such another now alive, or in this age? He gave away his lands and other estate, to them that he thought were most in want, until he gave away all, so that he had nothing to help himself, so that he being not in way to get for his supply, and being ancient, it must needs pinch somewhere. I do not desire to say what I have done for both father and mother. I judge they wanted for nothing that was convenient for ancient people, &c. What my father gave, I believe he had a good intent in it, and thought God would provide for his family. He never gave me but about three acres of land, and but a little afore he deceased. It looked hard, that out of so much at his disposing, that I should have so little, and he so little. For the rest, &c. I did not think it to be so large; so referring your honors to those queries you have among you,

Your friend and neighbor,
Daniel Williams
Providence, August 24, 1710

Daniel's homestead appears to have been next south of the Nicholas Power lot which was on the southeast corer of Power and South Main street; where, upon the 9th of May, 1712, five days before his death (May 14, 1712) he attempted to make certain deeds to his children "for their settlement" as follows: To his son Roger Williams he gave his homestead, a home lot on the town street bounded on the south with the lot of William Hopkins, and on the north with the lot of Nicholas Power, with a dwelling house, &c; "provided he disturb not his mother Rebakah Williams of her reasonable privilege and benefit in said dwelling house and premises during her natural life." He also gave him two forty foot lots by the salt water, one being opposite the above lot and the other opposite the home lot he gave to his daughter Patience the same day.

To his daughter Patience he gave a home lot on the town street that he bought of Richard and Ann Waterman October 30, 1698, bounded on the lot of William Hopkins on the north, and the lot of Samuel Winsor on the south, and described, as near the salt water at the south end of the town. He gave her also his negro girl named Ann, four cows, "and all the goods that she hath in her chests and trunks or that part that her mother condescends to."

To his son Providence he gave all his lands at a place called Wescotomsett, and a tract of land on the westward side of Chapatset river near the road that goeth to Woodstock; "provided he doth his part toward the relief of his brother Daniel as need requires."

To his son Joseph he gave "that tract of land whereon I have built which lieth a little southeastward from the mills which Capt. Richard Arnold built uon Woonasquatucket river also a dwelling house and fifty acres adjoining, also a tract of land uon Quonopauge hill a little northwest of Moswansicut Pond, always provided that he doth his part toward the relief of his brother Daniel as need requireth."

The only one of the above deeds that was signed and fully executed was that to son Roger. To the two deeds to Providence and Joseph was attached the following declaration:

"The above written instrument was made upon the request of Mr. Daniel Williams deceased and taken from his own mouth the 9th day of May 1712 and put in writing by me Richard Waterman, his sences being taken away from him soon after he had not opportunity to finish it.

Richard Waterman,
Justice June 17th 1712"

The same date Peleg Williams, the oldest son and heir, executed a release of the above described estates in consideration of the declaration of Richard Waterman.

To the deed to Patience, his daughter, is attached the following declaration, and a quitclaim and release from her brother Peleg:

"The above Instrument was upon request of the above named Daniel Williams, written by Mr. Richard Waterman Justice, and read to him the Ninth of May in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred and twelve; and the said Daniel Williams at the hearing thereof decalred himself to be readily willing to sign seal and deliver the same to his said daughter Patience Williams, but his said daughter Patience desiring him to take a little further consideration it was omitted.

We whose names are hereunder written were at the said time at the reading said Instrument to the said Daniel Williams who is now deceased and he declared himself earnest to confirm the same to his said daughter Patience but it was omitted for the reason aforesaid.

Subscribed to this Seventeenth day of June Anno Domini 1712

Charles Tillinghast
Roger Williams"

The same date, June 17, 1712, Peleg Williams released to his mother Rebecca for life, all his interest in lands in Providence, and one-half of certain meadows, and the movable estate of his father Daniel, deceased, undisposed of; "in consideration of my Honrd mother's right of thirds, and for the relief of my brother Daniel Williams."

This was to revert for life to his brother Daniel should he outlive their mother, and to be for the use of that one of the brothers or sisters that he, Daniel, should choose to live with, "provided they take sufficient care for his relief and do not let him want anything necessary," and reserving the right to take the land and look after Daniel himself if he saw cause.

The inventory of the estate of Daniel Williams, taken June 6, 1712, by Resolve Waterman and Malachy Roades (Malachi Rhodes, Rebecca's brother) was received by the Council June 17th, and the widow Rebecca appointed Administratrix. Among the items were two negro children, 40; four oxen, 18; ten cows, 30; young cattle, 7; a horse, 2; sheep and sheep's wool, 14; tobacco, 4, and a still, 6. The total amount of the inventory was 248, 16s.

Rebecca died sometime between June 12, 1725 (date of will) and January 1, 1728 (date it was proved). The Executor was her son Peleg. She left to son Providence, command of negroes Jack and Hope, but to be employed partly toward relief of my son Daniel, and if Providence die before Daniel, then son Peleg to have command of negroes for same use. At decease of sons Providence and Daniel, negroes to be freed if they prove good and profitable servants. To daughter Patience Ashton, negro Jenny, but not to be a servant for life except she commit some fault that may give just cause, or some other like reason, "so I leave it with my daughter Patience to deal Christian like by her." To sons Roger and Daniel, rest of estate equally. The inventory amounted to 164, 14s. Among the items was a negro lad, 80, and a negro wench, 65.


I'd be happy to exchange family information.
Please send e-mail to Sam Behling.

See lineage of Williams Family

Read the Biography of Daniel's great grandfather Mark Williams

Read the Biography of Daniel's famous father, Roger Williams

Read the Biography Daniel's grandfather James Williams

Return to Story Page

Return to Home Pagehome