This site served as the family cemetery of the Williams family, descendents of Roger Williams, Rhode Island’s founder, from 1710 to 1871. The cemetery is located in the Roger Williams Park & Zoo, a 4.5-acre urban park in the historic district of Providence. Roger Williams was a controversial figure whose preachings idealizing freedom of religious worship set him at odds with the Puritans of Massachusetts, who banished him from their state. He founded Rhode Island as a colony which welcomed the religious of all persuasions, and served as the colony’s Governor from 1654-1658. His descendents continued to take active civic roles in Providence and Rhode Island history. The land for the park – which had been farmed by generations of Williams descendents – was bequeathed to the city of Providence by Roger Williams’ great-great-great-granddaughter, Betsy Williams, in 1871, at which time it ceased to be used as an active burial ground for the Williams family. The Roger Williams Park was designed by landscape architect Horace Cleveland in 1878, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.