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The Greene (Green) Family of Long Island

Notes On the Greene (Green) family

     Surgeon John Greene was born in 1597, Probably at Bowridge Hall, Gillingham, Dorsetshire, England, where his father Richard and grandfather Richard ( son of Robert) resided. He was married in 1619 at St. Thomas Church in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, to Joan Tattersall, and there he did practice his profession as a surgeon. He sailed in the ship "James" on April 6, 1635 from Southampton, England and arrived in Boston on June 3, 1635. He lived in Salem, Mass for two years and was a friend of Roger Williams. On August the 1st. 1637, he was bound in 100 marks to appear at the next Quarter Court for having spoken contemptously of the Magistrates. At this he departed for Providence to join Roger Williams. On Sept. 29, 1637 he was fined 20 Pounds and to be commited till paid, and enjoined not to come into the jurisdiction of this Court upon pain of fine and imprisonment at the pleasure of the Court for speaking so contemptuously of Magistrates. On March 12, 1638 he sent a letter to the General Court of Mass. charging them " with usurping the power of Christ over the churchs and men's consciences" etc., and for this he was ordered not to come into Mass. under pain of imprisonment and furthur censure.
     He was one of the twelve to whom Roger Williams deeded the land he bought on Oct. 8, 1638 from Canonicus and Miantonomoh. In the same year he was on of the twelve original members of the First Baptist Church. For 144 Fathoms of Wampum he and ten others on Jan. 12, 1643 then bought from Miamtonomoh the tract of land which became the town of Warwick Sept. 12, 1643 the men of Warwick were summoned to Boston on the complaint of Pomham and Socconocco, but they refused to go, as they claimed they were beyond the limits of Mass. authority. Soldiers were sent and besieged the settlers in a fortified house. He escaped but all the rest were carried to Boston and imprisoned until March, when they and he were banished. With two others he went to England to obtain redress for thier wrongs. He was oblieged to take a ship from New York, he returned in 1646 successful. He was commisioner in 1654, 1655-6-7.
     His wife Joan died about the time of his leaving from England. He married Alice Daniels, a widow, who died in 1643. He Married again this time to Phillis (?), who survived him and died Mar. 10, 1688. He Died in 1658, leaving a will which was proven Jan. 7, 1659. He named his wife, Phillis executrix (except as to matters with William Arnold, which his son John was to attend to). In the will he gives to his wife, sons John, Peter, James, and Thomas and to daut. Mary Sweet and grand child Ann Hade ( his daut. Joan's child).
    The marriage of John Greene and the baptisms of all his seven children, recorded in the Parish Register of St. Thomas's Church at Salisbury, England, are still existant. He is therein styled "Mr." and "Gent", a mark of some distinction at that date. He resided at Salisbury with his family, following his profession for about sixteen years. On April 6, 1635, he was registered for embarkation at Hampton, England, with his wife and six children (one having probably died in England before this date), in the ship "James", of 200 tons, William Cooper, Master, for New England. After a voyage of fifty-eight days he arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, June 3, 1635.
    John first settled at Salem, Massachusetts, where he was associated with Roger Williams, purchasing or building a house there, but soon after Mr. William's flight from Salem (1636) he sold it and joining Williams at Providence, Rhode Island, secured his home lot, No. 15, on the main street. He was the first professional medical man in the Providence  Plantations. He is alluded to in Goodwin's "Pilgrim Republic" (page 407) as "one of the two local surgeons" at Providence in 1638,
though we are told "the people of Providence relied soley upon him for surgical aid long before his removal to Warwick in 1643".
    John Greene, surgeon, was a prominent man in the public affairs of the town and Colony and enjoyed the confidence and respect of his associates through a long and active political life, holding office almost continuously until the summer before his death, when he refused to accept the office of Commissioner, being repeatedly urged thereto. A few months later, the General Court of Massachusetts at the request of Edward Rawson, Secretary of the Colony (whose wife, Rachel Perne, daughter of John Greene's sister, Rachel), granted him permission to visit Boston in the coming spring, but he did not live to accomplish this visit. He died and was buried at Conimicut, Warwick Co., Rhode Island, it is supposed beside his first wife (?), in the first week of January, 1659.
    Although John Greene must have been in Providence as early as April 27, 1637, as mentioned in a letter of Joshua Verin of that date ("we six which came first"), and when "the first portions of grass & meadow were appropriated to Throckmorton, Greene, Harris, Verin, Arnold, and Williams, June 10, 1637 (see Rhode Island Colonial Records, Vol. I, page 17), his name is not mentioned on Massachusetts records until August 1,  1637: "Mr. John Greene of New Providence bound to Quarterly Court first  Tuesday of seventh month next for speaking contemptuously of magistrates in 100 marks (Massachusetts Colonial Records, Vol. I, page 200).
    The late Henry E. Turner, M.D. of Newport, in "The Greenes of Warwick in Colonial History", (page 7), writes: "However insignificant in the aggregate of historical items this transaction may appear, it was one of the earliest assertions of entire and absolute opinion in defiance of either secular or ecclesiastical authority, and was one of the scintillations from the profound which aided to kindle the flame which is now lighting the world in its march to universal emancipation, and it seems to me to entitle John Greene to a high place among the apostles of fine thought.
    In all transactions in Warwick, John Greene was a prominent figure, enjoying fully the confidence of his fellow citizens and suffering in common with them from the machinations of their enemies in Massachusetts, inasmuch as, though he escaped imprisonment, he was with them under the ban of outlawry by name, and was forced to submit to interference with and destruction of his property.
    In "Letters from the Pawtuxet" by Henry Rousmaniere, on "Genealogy of the Greenes" published in the Providence Journal, May, 1859, mention is made of John Greene as "This Adam of Shawomet (Warwick), who was driven out of Massachusetts, not Paradise, for the great crime of obeying his conscience in religion" and "who left to his family a fair name and a large landed estate.
    His will was dated December 28, 1658, and proved January 7, 1659. He left his large estate to his descendants, much of the property being still in the possession of his posterity. John Greene is mentioned in the "Colonial Records of Rhode Island, pages 241, 278, 304, 325, 326, 337, and 354; Commissioner, 1652, 1654, 1657, Magistrate, 1656.

    All of the above information was taken from pages 52 through 58 of "The Greenes of Rhode Island with Historical Records of English Ancestors", by Louise Brownell Clarke, Knickerbocker Press, New York, N.Y., 1903. (Now available on CD in searchable pdf Format)

Another good source of information is "Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island" by J.H. Beers, 1908