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Rev John Clarke

Photo added by Bill McKern

Rev John Clarke

  • Birth 3 Oct 1609 Westhorpe, Mid Suffolk District, Suffolk, England
  • Death 20 Apr 1676 Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA
  • Burial Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA
  • Memorial ID 53975601

American Colonial Leader. He received an extensive education including study at the University of Leyden while living in Leyden, Holland, where the Separatists resided after leaving England, and he became qualified as a physician and an ordained clergyman. In 1637 he traveled to North America and was the first Baptist minister in the English colonies. He intended to settle in Boston, but was identified as a supporter of Anne Hutchinson and decided because of religious differences with local leaders to travel further south, where he purchased land from Native Americans, founding what is now the city of Newport, Rhode Island. As more white settlers populated the area, Newport and other towns organized as a colony, and Clarke was responsible for its constitution, the first in the colonies to guarantee religious freedom. In partnership with Roger Williams, in 1663 Clarke traveled to England as the colony's agent and was responsible for obtaining from King Charles II a royal charter, the document which named the colony Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He served in the Rhode Island Assembly from 1664 to 1669, and as Deputy Governor from 1669 to 1672. Clarke's will created a trust for education and relief of the poor, and the John Clarke Trust, currently administered by Bank of America, is the oldest educational trust fund in the country. Several places in Rhode Island are named for him, including Newport's John Clarke Elementary School and its Baptist house of worship, United Baptist Church, John Clarke Memorial.

Bio by: Bill McKern

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bill McKern
  • Added: 21 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 53975601
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev John Clarke (3 Oct 1609–20 Apr 1676), Find A Grave Memorial no. 53975601, citing John Clarke Cemetery, Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .