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William Coddington

Coddington, William, 1601–78, one of the founders of Rhode Island, probably b. Boston, England. He came to America in 1630 as an officer of the Massachusetts Bay Company and was its treasurer from 1634 to 1636. He supported Anne Hutchinson in the antinomian controversy. With her, John Clarke, and other Puritan exiles, he purchased the island of Aquidneck (Rhode Island) from the Narragansett and founded Portsmouth (1638). Deposed (1639) as leader of the settlement by Hutchinson and Samuel Gorton, Coddington withdrew with Clarke and founded Newport. The two towns were joined under Coddington's governorship in 1640. He opposed, however, the union with the mainland settlements of Providence and Warwick, which took place in 1647 under a patent received in 1644 by Roger Williams. The commission Coddington received in 1651 to govern for life Aquidneck and neighboring Conanicut Island was denounced by the island people, and Williams and Clarke succeeded in having it revoked in 1652. Coddington remained influential in Newport affairs and was governor of the united colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1674, 1675, and 1678.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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