John Clarke

1609-1676. One of the founders of Rhode Island. Born near London and trained as a physician, he left England in 1637 for Boston. Following a dispute there with the Puritans when he supported the banished Anne Hutchinson,* Clarke and other colonists were driven out and bought from the Indians an island they called Rhodes. In April 1639 he was one of those who settled Newport, where he practiced medicine, participated in local government, and became also pastor of the Baptist church. Having collaborated with Roger Williams,* Clarke's unifying zeal was further seen in his accompanying Williams to England in 1651 to seek a new charter. Williams went home three years later, but Clarke remained as sole agent for the colony until 1663, when he secured from Charles II the royal charter that determined Rhode Island law until 1842. He resumed his pastorate at Newport and was three times elected deputy governor of the colony.