328 – Nov. 24 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


Susannah was the great granddaughter of Roger Williams

November 25, 1707 – Valentine and Susannah Wightman received a summons from the County of New London, Connecticut (Groton) to appear before Richard Christopher…to answer to the charges and be dealt with as the Law directs. In 1704 a company of Dissenters petitioned the “Hounorable Court at Newhaven” that though they differed in “some Poynts of Religion” but “yet we desier to live Pesable…with our neighbors…that since it has Pleased the Almity God to put it into the hart of our grasious Queen to grant us dissenters proclaimated liberty of Conscience…and we understand that your laws requires us to Petition to you for the Settling of our Meeting…do beseech of you that you would not deny us herein…that our meeting might be…held at Will Starks in New London.” The request was ignored, and accepting silence as consent, the group of 12 dissenters called Mr. Wightman to be their pastor. The young pastor, his wife, and his two children came to Groton from Rhode Island on Sept. 6, 1707. Susannah was the granddaughter of Obadiah Holmes and the great-granddaughter of Roger Williams.The case against them was resolved on June 4, 1708, when it was proved that Wightman was in compliance with the Toleration Act of England which was in effect in America at that time. From 1712 to 1714, Wightman made regular trips to New York, and his converts were formed into a Baptist church, which became the first in New York City. In sharp opposition of the Standing Order churches he founded Baptist churches in Waterford, Lyme, Stonington, and other places. A man named Wait Palmer was converted to Baptist views under Wightman’s ministry and he baptized Shubal Sterns who became the “Father of the Separate Baptists.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins /Thompson/ , pp. 491-92.

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