Sunday, May 1, 2011

Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island 1612-1676

Tombstone of Elder John Crandall
From:Westerly and It's Whitnesses, Page 282

Crandall Ground (2)...This is found about forty rods west fo the Pound Road, and west of the Old Crandall house (now the residence of Mr. Charles Crandall), and without inclosure. None of the fifteen or twenty graves are lettered. Here lie the remains of John Crandall, 1st, and his two wives; John Crandall, 2nd, and his wife Anna; Esther, Lewis, Hannah and Joshua Crandall; Lydia Crandall, lwife of Charles; John Crandall, son of Charles.

John Crandall 1612-1676

John Crandall was born in 1612, in Monmouthshire, England. His father was James Crandall. He had at least two brothers, Edward and Henry. They grew up in the midst of the reformation and the personal reign of King Charles I, it was a time of great strife.

In 1634, John left England and, with his two brothers, went to Boston, Massachusetts. Writers have John as the minister of the Puritan Congregational Church in Salem Massachusetts, in the year 1635. At this time, there was much opposition to all dissenters from the authorized tenants of the Puritans. John was a devout believer in complete religious freedom. He could not stand the religious intolerance and narrow mindedness of the Puritans. While acting as minister of the Salem Church, he adopted the opinions of the Baptists, which were very obnoxious to the Puritans.

In the autumn of 1635, John was dismissed as pastor and left to settle, along with Roger Williams, in the Narragansett country (which is now known as Rhode Island). He was one of the founders of Providence and was living there in 1637.

John married Mary Opp and they had seven children: John, about 1649; James, about 1651; Jane, about 1653; Sarah, about 1654; Peter, about 1655; Joseph, 1651; and Samuel, 1663.

He was one of the original people to purchase land from friendly Indians. This tract of land was in the southwestern tip of Rhode Island. He settled Westerly, Rhode Island and built a house there. He was the first Baptist Elder in Westerly.

John helped set up a government which more nearly expressed the independence and freedom that he felt. In 1663, John went to England with Roger Williams, John Clark, and Obediah Holes to petition King Charles II for a charter for Rhode Island to become a free state. the charter was a guarantee from the king, and his successors, that the inhabitants of Rhode Island were to have political and religious freedom forever. They arrived in England on July 2, and the Charter was signed on July 8th.

Elder Crandall was well calculated both by talent and suffering to lead his people in the devotions. He took an active part in the border difficulties between Massachusetts and Connecticut and subsequently between.

His wife, Mary, died on August 20, 1669. He deeded his land and all of his possessions to his eldest son, John, on October 3, 1670.

John married Hanna Gaylord and they had two children: Jeremiah, August of 1673, and Eber, 1676.

Because of the Indian War, John moved his family to Newport, Rhode Island.

He was a colonial pioneer, First Baptist Elder, a Deputy Commissioner, and a statesman.

John Crandall died on November 29, 1676, in Newport, Rhode Island.

This record was compiled and written in June 2001 by Louise Crandall Huefner and Rebecca Huefner Chapman.

More information on John Crandall can be found here and here.

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