Richard Williams was born in January of 1606 in Wotton-under-Edge to William and Jane (Woodward). He was baptized at St. Mary’s and died around 1692 in Taunton, Massachusetts.
Frances Dighton was born March 1, 1610/11 in Gloucester, Gloucester, England to Dr. John Deighton and Jane (Bassett). She was baptized in St. Nicholas Church. She died between 1705 and 06 in Taunton, Massachusetts.
The were married February 11 between 1631 and 33 in Witcomb Magnor, Gloucester, England.
Richard and Frances Williams came to American in about 1636. They remained a short time in Dorchester, but eventually went on to Taunton. Richard Williams was very popular and prominent in Taunton affairs and come to be known as “The Father of the Town”. Richard Williams was among the first purchasers of the Teticut Purchase, The North Purchase, and the South Purchase, now comprising collectively of Taunton, Raynham, Berkeley, Norton, Mansfield, Easton, and Dighton. He was one of the original shareholders in the Iron Works of Taunton and received income from it until 1691. In 1693 his son Thomas directed that these moneys go to his mother, Frances. This continued until about 1700.
The town of Dighton was named for Frances Dighton Williams. Dighton was originally part of Taunton’s South Purchase and other surrounding towns. It was separated in 1672, officially incorporated on May 30, 1712. It was named for Frances Dighton Williams, wife of Richard Williams, a town elder. At the time of incorporation, the town included land on both sides of the Taunton River.
Photo by Carolyn Cunningham
The photo depicts the signing of the covenant founding the First Church of Christ (now the First Parish Church) in 1637. Pictured are Elizabeth Pole, her brother William, Richard Williams, and Rev. William Hooke. In 1647 a church building was erected on Church Green in Taunton, the first of four church building to occupy the site. The photo is from the Williams Window which was installed in the current church building in 1950.