The perfect story for the Halloween season…
digging up bones from a long neglected grave.
The people of Providence wanted to create a suitable final resting place and memorial to their founder. In 1860 Zachariah Allen and other community leaders went in search of the remains of Roger Williams. When they dug up the spot where they believed Williams’s remains lie, they found some nails, teeth and bone fragments. They also found an apple tree root.
Almost two hundred years after his death, tree root looked as if it had taken on the form of Roger Williams. It had traveled the length of Williams’s body splitting at the hips, bending at the knees and turning up at the feet.
Since 1860 the Rhode Island Historical Society has cared for this special tree root as representative of Rhode Island’s founder, and has had it on display in the John Brown House since 2007.
On October 22nd, with the special help from the Rhode Island Historical Society, this honored representation of Roger Williams will visit the Roger Williams National Memorial. For four hours, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, Roger will be back home.
Uncovered in an attempt to memorialize Roger Williams, the Roger Williams tree root will unite with the Roger Williams National Memorial on the memorials 50th anniversary. We will have refreshments (hot cider) and will talk about the process of how people, places and things are memorialized in our culture.
This project is part of the Pell Humanities Initiative in Rhode Island to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities.