Originally of St. Albans, co. Hertfordshire, James Williams was a merchant tailor of London who resided in Cow Lane in the parish of St. Sepulcher's without Newgate in London. He was married to Alice Pemberton, daughter of Robert and Catherine (Stokes) Pemberton. They were the parents of Roger Williams (founder of Providence, Rhode Island) and three other children, Sidrach, Catherine and Robert.
Abstract of the Will of James Williams, citizen and merchant tailor of London, 7 September 1620, proved 19 November 1621.
I will and my mind is that, my debts being paid and funeral expenses discharged, all the residue of my goods and chattels shall be divided into three equal parts; one third part whereof I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Alice for her part and portion therein, according to the custom of the city of London. And, for that my son Sydrack and my daughter Catherine, now the wife of Ralph Wightman, citizen and merchant taylor of London, have "binn" by me already preferred and each of them hath received a sufficient portion of my estate, therefore I will that neither of them shall claim or have any customary part or portion of that estate whereof I shall be possessed at the time of my decease. And yet, nevertheless, my will and meaning is that my sons Roger and Robert Williams shall have but one moiety or half part of the other third part of my estate equally between them to be divided, and the other moiety thereof to remain to such other child or children as I shall have living at the time of my decease. The other third part of my estate, which is in my power to dispose, I give and bequeath as followeth, vizt. to my son Sydrack twenty and five pounds and to my said daughter Catherine Wightman twenty five pounds, to be paid to each of them severally within one year next after my decease, and to my said sons Robert and Roger Williams twenty and five pounds apiece, to be paid unto each of them severally at his age of four and twenty years. To my godson James Wightman, son of the beforenamed Katherine Wightman my daughter, five pounds in money, to be paid unto his father for the use of his said son. To Eliabeth Pemberton, Ellen Woolley and Elizabeth Bryan, my god daughters, to every of them twenty shillings apiece, to be paid to their several parents or governors, &c. To Thomas Nicholson, citizen and currier of London, ten shillings, to Elizabeth Kinge, wife of Robert Kinge, clothworker, twenty shillings and to my kinswoman Alice Harris, now dwelling with me, forty shillings. To Robert Parke, my "Jemmall" ring and to Edward Waterhouse my dagger, knife, chain and girdle. To the poor of St. Sepulchres without Newgate, London, wherein I now dwell, ten pounds in money and bread to be distributed amongst them on the day of my funeral or the day after, as follows, vizt. to the poor in Smithfield quarter thirty five shillings in money and thirty five shillings in bread, to the poor in Holborn Cross quarter twenty shillings in money and fifteen shillings in bread, and to the poor in old bayley quarter thirty shillings in money and thirty shillings in bread. To the poor of the said parish without Smithfield Bars twenty shillings in bread. To Alice and Roger Bryan, children of Henry Bryan, coachmaker, ten shillings apiece. The residue to my wife Alice Williams whom I do make and appoint sole executrix of this my last will. And overseers thereof I do make and appoint my brother in law Roger Pemberton, my said son in law Ralph Wightman, my kinsman, Thomas Morse and the said Robert Kinge, to whom twenty shillings apiece. (Com. Court of London, Vol. 24, fol. 50.)
Abstract of the Will of Alice Williams of St. Sepulchres without Newgate, London, widow, 1 August, 1634, proved 26 January, 1634.
My body to be buried in the parish church of St. Sepulchres. To my son Sidrach Williams one hundred pounds to be paid within ten years after my decease (i.e., ten pounds yearly). If he shall not live to receive the whole one hundred pounds what remaineth unpaid at his decease shall be paid to such children as he shall leave behind him.
Item, I give to my son Roger Willias now beyond the seas ten pounds yearly to be paid unto him by my executor for and during the term and space of twenty years next after my decease. And if he the said Roger shall not live to receive the same himself fully in such manner as aforesaid then I will what remaineth thereof unpaid at his decease shall be paid to his wife and to his daughter, if they survive, or to such of them as shll survive. And it is my will that my executor shall give security to the overseers of this my will for the due payment of both the said legacies, as well to my eldest son Sidracke Williams as to my son Roger Williams, in such manner and form as aforesaid by assignment of the lease or leases (of my dwelling house and other tenements standing and being on that side of the way wherein my dwelling house is situated) unto the overseers of this my will, or to such other persons as they shall think fit and indifferent to be trusted, by such sufficient assurance and conveyance thereof as my said overseers shall think fit and convenient.
To my daughter Katherine the now wife of John Davies, clerk, twenty pounds yearly for and during the like term and space of twenty years next after my decease. In case of her death what remains upaid &c. shall be paid as follows, the one half to the children she had by her former husband Ralph Wightman deceased, or to the survivor of them, and the other half to the said John Davies, if he shall survive, or to his children by my said daughter, or to the survivor of them. Security to be given for such payment out of the lease of the messuage or tenement called the Harrow in Cow Lane, over against my dwelling house on the other side of the way, and of three several tenements backside next adjoining.
To my grand child James Williams, son of the said Sidrack Williams, five pounds within four years after my decease. To my grand child Anne Williams my chain of gold, two of my gilt spoons and one of my gilt cups. To my grand child James Wightman two of my siliver beakers one wine bowl and two silver spoons. To Dorcas Wightman, his sister, one braod silver bowl and one other silver bowl; and to her sister Rebecca Wightman one other silver bowl and one other broad bowl of silver. To my grand child Elizabeth Davyes one wilver salt and two gilt spoons, and to my grand child Hester Davies one beaker, one pot tipt with silver and two spoons. I will and bequeath that my chest of linen, that is to say, the wainscot chest now standing at my bed's feet in my lodging chamber under the window, to be equally divided between my said daughter's five children beforenamed &c. To my god daughter Alice Ballard my best gown and kirtle, my scarlet petticoat, best petticoat, two best smocks, two best coyfes and forty shillings in money, and to her daughter ten shillings. To her brother Roger Bryan forty shillings. To Alice, the wife of Robert Barthorpp, the ten pounds which her husband oweth me and ten pounds more and my bible and my tawney rug. More to the said Robert Barthorpp and his wife five pounds to buy them blacks for mourning and twenty shillings apiece to their three children. To my said son Sidracke Williams for blacks for his mourning three pounds and to my said son John Davies for blacks for himself his wife and children ten pounds. To my maid servant now dwelling with me my gown and kirtle with the embroidered lace and ten shillings. To my godson Robert Wolly twenty shillings, and to my other two god sons Tobyas Harvest and John Walker ten shillings apiece. To the poor of St. Sepulchres seven pounds, in bread or otherwise, about the time of my funeral, and forty shillings to be at that time bestowed upon a supper for my tenants at the house over the way called the Harrow. To my said son John Davies, my loving friend and neighbor John May, scrivener, my good friend Robert Klinge, clothworker, and to the aforesaid Robert Barthropp for their pains to be taken for me in assisting my executor as overseers of this my will twenty shillings apiece.
All the rest and residue of my goods &c. &c. to my son Robert Williams, he paying my debts and legacies and performing my funeral and I make, constitute and ordain the said Robert Williams my full and sole executor.
Wit: Henry Walker, John Collys (his mark), John Thomas, John Hubbard, John May scr. (Com. Court of London, Vol. 27, fol. 12).
NEHGR Vol. 43, July, 1889 - Genealogical Gleanings in England, Henry F. Waters, A.M.
TAG (The American Genealogist) Vol. 28, No. 4, October, 1952 - Roger Williams, Winifred Lovering Holman, S.B., F.A.S.G.
TAG (The American Genealogist) Vol. 20, No. 4, April, 1944 - Additions and Corrections to Austin's Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, G. Andrews Moriarty, A.M., LL.B., F.S.A.