Randall Holden Sen. was born circa 1612 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England to Randall Holden (1585-1616) and died 23 August 1692 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island of unspecified causes. He married Frances Dungan (1632-1697) 1648 in Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island.


Randall Holden (c. 1612–1692) was an early inhabitant of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, was one of the original founders of Portsmouth, and one of the co-founders of the town of Warwick. Coming from Salisbury in England, he is first recorded in New England as one of the signers of the compact establishing the settlement of Portsmouth by followers of the banished dissident minister, Anne Hutchinson. Following a few years on Aquidneck Island (called Rhode Island), he joined Samuel Gorton and ten others in establishing the town of Warwick in early 1643, on land purchased of the Indian sachems.

1637 Portsmouth Compact Signer

Plaque commemorating the Portsmouth Compact 1638-1936

He was one of the signatories of the 1637 Portsmouth Civil Compact founding Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the 2nd settlement in the new colony of Rhode Island. This group, most of were caught up in the events of the Antinomian Controversy from 1636 to 1638, had followed the family of dissident preacher Anne Hutchinson and her family from Massachusetts Bay Colony seeking religious freedom. This document was the first compact to declare both political and religious separation.

1642 Warwick Settlement

Warwick City Hall

Warwick was founded in 1642 by Samuel Gorton and his followers convinced Narragansett Indian Chief Sachem Miantonomi agreed to accept 144 fathoms of Wampum for what was known as "The Shawhomett Purchase". This included the present day towns of Warwick, Coventry and West Warwick. The following year, a major dispute erupted over the purchase leading to significant trial in the colonial courts.

The first few years of the Warwick settlement were fraught with difficulty, and the settler's lands were claimed by Massachusetts, who sent soldiers to apprehend the Warwick settlers for supposed infractions against the local Indian sachems. The Warwick settlers were hauled off to face trial in Boston, but their charges had nothing to do with the sachems; instead they were charged with heresy and sedition based on their religious views. Being sent to various jails in the Boston area, they were eventually released, but were banished not only from the Massachusetts colony, but also from their own Warwick lands. Holden soon thereafter joined Gorton and John Greene on a trip to England to seek redress for the wrongs committed against them. Being successful in their mission, Holden and Greene returned to New England in 1646 with a new charter for their settlement, and protection from the crown.

Upon returning to the Rhode Island colony, Holden became heavily involved in the affairs of his town of Warwick, and of the entire colony. During the next 40 years he frequently served in a variety of roles as councilman and treasurer at the town level, and in the colony he was often Assistant to the President (or Governor), Commissioner, or Deputy. Holden was so highly respected within the colony that in 1676 during the dire events of King Philip's War he was one of 16 of the colony's most esteemed citizens to be called to the General Assembly for their counsel. Holden continued to serve the colony into his mid 70s, only a few years before his death in 1692 at the age of 80.

Marriage and Family

Holden married Frances Dungan, the daughter of William and Frances (Latham) Dungan. With wife Frances, Holden had 11 children, one of whom was

  1. Randall Holden, Jr., who was very active in colonial affairs, serving for many years as Deputy, Assistant, Major, and Speaker of the House of Deputies.
  2. Charles Holden (1666-1717), married Catharine Greene, a daughter of Deputy Governor John Greene (1620-1708), Jr., a granddaughter of fellow Warwick co-founder John Greene, and ancestors of state governor William Greene.
  3. Susannah Holden married Benjamin Greene, another grandson of Warwick co-founder John Greene.


Offspring of Randall Holden Sen. and Frances Dungan (1632-1697)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Randall Holden (1649-1679)
Frances Holden (1649-1679) 29 September 1649 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island 1679 Middlesex County, Massachusetts John Holmes (1654-1712)
Elizabeth Holden (1652-1730) August 1652 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island 6 January 1730 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island John Rice (1646-1731)
Mary Holden (1654-1700)
John Holden (1656-1678)
Sarah Holden (1658-1731) 16 February 1658 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island, United States 28 June 1731 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island, United States Joseph Stafford (1648-1697)
Randall Holden (1660-1726) April 1660 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island 13 September 1726 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island Bethiah Waterman (1660-1742)
Margaret Holden (1663-1740)
Charles Holden (1666-1717) 22 March 1666 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island 21 July 1717 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island Catherine Greene (1665-1753)
Stukeley Holden (1670-)
Susannah Holden (1670-1734) 8 December 1670 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island 11 April 1734 Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island Benjamin Greene (1665-1757)
Joseph Holden (1672-)
Anthony Holden (1673-1734)


Notable Descendants

A great grandson through his daughter Frances was John Gardner who served as the deputy governor of the colony for several years, and was also the sixth Chief Justice of the colony's Superior Court. Other descendants of note are actor William Holden and cowboy artist Earl W. Bascom.



Footnotes (including sources)