There is some dispute over the origin of the first Baptist Church established in what is now the United States of America. The following inscription from the tombstone of Dr. John Clarke establishes the truth to the claim that he, not Roger Williams, established the first Baptist Church on what is now the United States of America. It was scanned from the book, The First Baptist Church in America, by Graves and Adlam.


To the Memory of


One of the original purchasers and proprietors of

this island and one of the founders of the

First Baptist Church of Newport, its first pastor and munificent benefactor; He was a native of Bedfordshire, England, and a practitioner of physic in London.

He, with his associates, came to this island from Mass.,

in March, 1638, 0. S., and on the 24th

of the same month obtained a deed thereof

from the Indians. He shortly after gathered

the church aforesaid and became its pastor.

In 1651, he, with Roger Williams. was sent to England,

by the people of Rhode Island Colony,

to negotiate the business of the Colony with the

British ministry. Mr. Clarke was instrumental

in obtaining the Charter of 1663 from Charles II., which

secured to the people of the State free and

full enjoyment of Judgment and conscience in matters

of religion. He remained in England

to watch over the interests of the Colony until 1664,

and then returned to Newport and

resumed the pastoral care of his church.

Mr. Clarke and Mr. Williams, two fathers of the Colony, strenuously and fearlessly maintained that

none but Jesus Christ had authority

over the affairs of conscience. He died

April 20, 1676, in the 66th year

of his age, and is here interred.

Return to Index Page for Past Issues of The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator


email(active).gif (14954 bytes)

Last updated on Friday, March 04, 2011


free hit counters
free hit counters