Joshua and Jane Verin were some of the first colonists in the settlement of Providence. Religious meetings happened in Roger Williams’ house: Joshua chose not to attend, while Jane did. For her “disobedience,” Joshua beat Jane, raising concerns amongst other colonists.
Margaret Manchester, Associate Professor of History at Providence College, will discuss the historic Verin case, a situation of domestic violence and liberty of conscience. By reconstructing as much as possible the biographies of the founders, we can draw connections between the women of Providence and their direct and indirect influence on the decision making. Ultimately, the absolute right to freedom of conscience was affirmed in gender neutral language in the Rhode Island Charter of 1663.