Greene,  John Robert of Quidnessett I

Greene, John Robert of Quidnessett I

Male 1605 - 1695  (90 years)

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  • Name Greene, John Robert  [1
    Suffix of Quidnessett I 
    Born 15 Aug 1605  Gillingham, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Baptism 27 Dec 1605  Shrewton, Wiltshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Arrival 1635  Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    St Christopher, West Indies before USA 
    Find A Grave Memorial 102367501 
    Died 6 Dec 1695  Kent, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • It is believed that there were to cousins named John Greene in early New England that were both married to women named Joan.

      The other John Greene was known to been in the Warwick area.

      As a young man John migrated to the New World, sailing on the ship "Matthew" to the West Indies.

      He stayed there for a few months and then went to Massachusetts with Richard Smith to Narragansett Bay where Richard had a trading post at Quidnessett. Together they established trade with the Indians.

      For a time they were the only white settlers at Quidnessett until Roger Williams and a Mr. Wilcox purchased land there in 1643 or 1644.
      Williams then sold his holdings to Richard Smith in 1651.

      John Greene became one of the early shareholders in this land.

      He married Joan Beggarly on one of his business trips to Massachusetts in 1642.

      In 1679 John Greene testified for "forty years and more" earlier he had lived with Richard Smith who first began a settlement in the Narragansett stating that he and Richard Smith had settled in the Narragansett 42 years earlier (notified in a petition to the King) where there were no English within 20 miles. This happened when Massachusetts and Maine split off and the colonizers testified they had been defending their property for 40 or more years and the King could not give the land away to someone new.

      In March of 1682, he divided his land among some of his sons who remained in Rhode Island, some of them having gone to New Jersey.

      John's Wife was still alive when these deeds were executed.

      There are some old dilapidated graves in what was once a part of John of Quidnessett's land.
      Two of thes crude headstones bear the initials D.G. and R.G., marking the graves of John's son, Daniel and his Wife, Rebecca.
      The oldest is marked either J.G. or I.G. and is believed to be Joan Beggarly's.
    Buried Coventry, Kent, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Maple Root Cemetery
    Person ID I19643  Sullivan Burgess Family Tree
    Last Modified 6 May 2018 

    Family Beggarly, Joan,   b. Abt 1620, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1682, Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 62 years) 
    Married 1642  Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Greene, Enfield,   b. 1645, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1728, East Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)  [natural]
     2. Greene, Welthian,   b. 1658, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
     3. Greene, Edward,   b. 1643, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
     4. Greene, Daniel,   b. 1647, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1730, North Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)  [natural]
     5. Greene, Henry,   b. Bef 1650, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1694, Shrewsbury, Monmouth, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 44 years)  [natural]
     6. Greene, John Robert II,   b. 6 Jun 1651, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Oct 1729, Coventry, Kent, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)  [natural]
     7. Greene, Robert,   b. 1653, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
     8. Greene, James,   b. 1655, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Sep 1728, North Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)  [natural]
     9. Greene, Benjamin,   b. 1665, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
     10. Greene, Sarah,   b. 1652, Quidnessett, Washington, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [natural]
    Last Modified 6 May 2018 
    Family ID F6784  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 15 Aug 1605 - Gillingham, Dorset, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - 27 Dec 1605 - Shrewton, Wiltshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsArrival - St Christopher, West Indies before USA - 1635 - Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1642 - Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 6 Dec 1695 - Kent, Rhode Island, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Coventry, Kent, Rhode Island, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Greene, John Robert
    Greene, John Robert

    Documents
    Greene, John Rhode Island, Vital Extract
    Greene, John Rhode Island, Vital Extract
    Greene, John Will first page
    Greene, John Will first page
    Greene, John US, Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 - John Greene
    Greene, John US, Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 - John Greene

    Headstones
    Final Resting Place Maple Root Cemetery
    Final Resting Place Maple Root Cemetery

    Family Crest
    Greene Family Crest
    Greene Family Crest

  • Notes 
    • The identity of John Greene, II, son of John Greene of Quidnessett. is disputed. I have written a page setting forth the positions and arguments of various writers.

      JOHN1 GREENE is known as John Greene of Quidnessett to distinguish him from another contemporary John Greene. The other John Greene, known as John Greene the surgeon or John Greene of Warwick, was the ancestor of General Nathanael Greene (See Family PR37), famous in American history as Washington's second in command during the War for Independence.

      A third John Greene is also alleged to have settled in Rhode Island. This is John Greene of Newport. However, Louise Prosser Bates concluded that John Greene of Newport was the same person as John Greene of Quidnessett. Mrs. Bates did identify a probable third immigrant John Greene who is discussed in footnote on page *.
      Lora S. La Mance claims that John Greene of Quidnessett was related to John Greene the surgeon and that they are both descended from the Gillingham Greenes in England. Subsequent researchers have taken the view that the relationship of the two John Greenes has not been proven and that the ancestry of John Greene of Quidnessett is unknown.
      The compiler accepts the interpretation of these later researchers that there were only two John Greenes that settled in Rhode Island before 1650 and that the alleged English ancestry of John Greene of Quidnessett has not been established.

      John Greene died between 24 Mar 1681 2 and 25 Sep 1685. The latter date is the date of a deed from Joseph Clark of Newport to Francis Brinley which makes reference to land which was formerly in possession of "John Greene, I of Narragansett, now deceased. "

      The time of John Greene's settlement in Rhode Island can not be determined exactly. He testified in 1679 that "forty years and more" earlier he lived with Richard Smith who first began "a settlement in the Narragansett. " A week later in a petition to the King, he stated that he and Richard Smith had settled in the Narragansett forty-two years earlier, where there were no English within twenty miles. These two statements would place the time of his settlement between one and three years after Roger Williams' settlement at Providence in 1636. We know that John Greene was in Rhode Island by 1647 because he is named in deed dated 1647 from David and Edward Greenman. But an earlier date than 1647 is probably correct since he also stated in his 1679 testimony that he "did improve land and mow meadows several years before Warwick was settled by any English man. " Since Warwick was settled in 1642, this would place the probable time of his settlement between 1637 and 1642.

      Therefore, about 1639 John Greene worked for Richard Smith at an Indian trading post in the wilderness of the Narragansett. This area was called Aquidnesset by the Indians which was shortened to Quidnessett by the colonists. Hence, he is known as John Greene of Quidnessett.

      According to Roger Williams, Richard Smith had left England "for conscience' sake"; and it is not difficult to imagine that both he and John Greene came to Rhode Island to extricate themselves from the religious yokes placed on the colonists in the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies.
      John Greene was probably unmarried at the time he settled in Rhode Island since his oldest son was not born until about 1643. Nothing is known of the Wife of John Greene, except that on 24 March 1682 Joan Greene joined her Husband John in deeds transferring a hundred and twenty Acres of land to their son, Daniel Greene, and sixty Acres to their son, James Greene, on condition that they each pay 30s a year as long as either their Father or mother was alive. We do not know if she was his only Wife and the mother of all of his children, or if she were a later Wife. Two or more marriages were quite common at the time because of an early death of a prior spouse.

      The Narragansett country in which Richard Smith and John Greene were the first settlers was the subject of a controversy between the colonies of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut as to which colony had jurisdiction. Rhode Island claimed the Narragansett country, but Connecticut and Massachusetts did likewise. Connecticut made its claim in 1663 and did not fully relinquish it until 1741. Massachusetts was less forceful in their claim basing it on various requests for assistance made by residents in the Narragansett. These requests included those by the residents of Warwick when they were quarreling with the town of Providence and request for aid during King Philip's War. John Greene and Richard Smith at one point threw in their Lot with Connecticut probably because the Rhode Island Assembly had sought to void any purchase of land from the Indians without permission of the Assembly. The result was that John Greene was arrested on 11 May 1664. In court John Greene tactlessly spoke his mind offending the court and was forced to retract his statement. He then revised his position and requested that the court pardon his "offense in adhering to the government of Connecticut. " This pardon was granted and he was permitted to return home.

      In 1679, John Greene participated in a petition to the King seeking to resolve the jurisdictional disputes between Connecticut and Rhode Island over the Narragansett region.

      John Greene participated in several major land purchases, including the purchase of Fone's Neck which became East Greenwich where he later moved and the island of Conanicut, now called Jamestown.

      Identifying John Greene, II
      Son of John Greene of Quidnessett

      John O. Austin in Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island and other writers identify John Greene, II, son of John Greene of Quidnessett as the John Greene who married Abigail and died in Oct. 1729. In his will proved in Warwick, he gives his age as being in his 79th year or there abouts (Austin, p 86; Beaman, RIGR, lll:282). That places his birth ca 1651. The will is recorded in Vol. 1, pp 301-303 of Warwick wills. Both Austin and Beaman examined the original independently and there is no major difference in their abstracts, other than the surname of daughter Hannah. Austin calls her "Hannah Andrew" and Beaman calls her "Hannah Aldro. " Neither report a son Andrew as reported by Walter and Ella Greene (A Greene Family History, 1981) and Huling (Narragansett Historical Register, ll:137-144, 1651-176, 253-264; lll:20-33, 320).

      Louise Prosser Bates in articles published in Rhode Island Historical Collections, XI:69-78, 117-121; XII:15-26 identifies John Greene with Wife Mary Jefferay as the son of John of Quidnessett. Austin calls this John Greene, "John Greene of Newport. "

      The descendants of John and Abigail are many and they, quite naturally, would like to establish their ancestry. Generally, they follow that given by Austin and others, that John, who married Abigail, was the son of John of Quidnessett. What are the arguments in support of each position?

      Date of Birth

      Austin and Huling list the birth date of John Greene, II as 6 June 1651. This is the same date of birth as that given to a John Greene, son of John and Anne (Almy) Greene and grandson of John Greene, surgeon, of Warwick (Clarke, The Greens of Rhode Island, pp 62, 71). Arnold (Rhode Island Vital Records) lists this birth date for John Greene, son of John and Ann, in the vital records of Warwick. LaMance (The Greene Family and Its Branches, 1904, p 74) says that he was born in 1645 and that the 16 June 1651 birth date usually assigned to him really belongs to John3 of the John Greene, surgeon line (as reported by Clarke). The reason LaMance gives for the 1645 birth date is that he owned land with his Father in 1666. There was some squabble about the land and John, II and his brother spent some time in New York, USA. She reports that when he moved to East Greenwich in 168_ he was called "Lieutenant John Greene of New York, USA. " In order to own land in 1666, he would have had to be 21 years old. Hence the 1645 birth date. This 1645 birth date conflicts with his age as given in his 1729 will, but then ages reported by elderly persons at the time have proved notoriously inaccurate. Usually, however, their ages are overstated, not understated. John Greene does state in his will that he was in his "79th years or there abouts. " So he was unsure of his age.

      Bates says that Lieutenant John Greene of Newport was born probably about 1640. She probably reached this conclusion because his Wife was born in 1642.

      Analyzing the likely birth dates of the three John Greeneā€™s:
      John3 Greene, grandson of John Greene, surgeon, of Warwick, b 6 June 1651.
      John Greene, Wife Abigail, died 1729, b ca 1651 (possibly as early as 1645 per LaMance).
      John Greene, Wife Mary Jefferay, b ca 1640 (possibly as late as 1645 if this is the son in the 1666 "John Greene and Son" discussed below).

      John Greene and Son in 1666

      Huling reports about this 1666 land entry. "In 1666 the proprietors of the northern part of Quidnessett neck made a division of their lands, previously, so far as appears, unsurveyed. On a plat which purports to indicate the boundaries of each piece of property in that region in that year, a tract of one hundred and fifty-one Acres is assigned to 'John Greene and Son. '... Previous to 1800 the whole of this property had been purchased from Greene's descendants by the Allen's, in which latter family nearly all of it is now owned. " Note, the plat says that the land is owned by John Greene and Son, but the son is not named.

      In March 1681-2, John Greene and his Wife Joan conveyed to their son, Daniel Greene, one hundred and twenty Acres bordering on Allen's Harbor, 3 4 the Farm now owned by Mr. Joseph Allen, 3 4 and also to their son, James Greene, sixty Acres adjoining across the brook to the northward, the consideration in each case being the same, viz., the annual payment of thirty shillings as long as the Father or mother should live. At this time the land next north of James Greene's estate was owned by a John Greene, presumably the son of the elder John, who three years later was a resident of East Greenwich. In Feb. 1682 John Greenman acknowledged, for himself and his brother David, the deed he had given Greene to land in Newport in 1647.

      Analyzing this information: In 1666 the son in "John Greene and Son" is not named. John Greene of Quidnessett with Wife Joan convey this land in Quidnessett to sons Daniel and James in 1681 2. A neighboring landowner is another John Greene. Austin says this neighboring landowner is John Greene, the son of John Greene of Quidnessett.

      John Greene of Newport and John Greene of Narragansett

      Bates notes that Richard Smith of Narragansett and John Greene of Newport each bought one-fortieth of the islands of Conanicut and Dutch. John Greene was said to have been the first man who improved his land there. The land was purchased 17 Apr 1657. In Jan. 1661, Greene sold his land. Austin says this is John Greene of Newport, Husband of Mary Jefferay. On 25 Sep 1685, the adjoining landowner sold his land which was bounded by land formerly in possession of "John Greene, I, of Narragansett, now deceased. " These transactions identify John Greene of Newport and John Greene of Narragansett (Quidnessett) as the same person according to Bates. The 25 Sep 1685 deed also indicates that John Greene of Quidnessett was deceased by that time.

      Analysis: Bates conclusion appears logical. Quidnessett is a part of the Narragansett. John Greene of Quidnessett lived in Newport some of the time in the 1640-1650s. So he could have been known as John Greene of Newport, John Greene of Quidenssett, and John Greene of Narragansett. But the later references in the 1680s to John Greene of Newport would be a different person. Bates also did not say that the John Greene of Newport who married Mary Jefferay is the same person as John Greene of Quidnessett.

      Oath of loyalty

      Bates notes that in May 1671 John Greene and his sons, Henry Greene and Daniel Greene, took the oath of loyalty to Rhode Island. Where was John Greene, II and his other brothers?

      Questions and analysis: The absence of Edward and John might support LaMance's idea that John and Edward were in New York, USA at this time. Benjamin, Robert and James were too young to take the oath. If John was born later than May 1650 (as the 1729 will of John with Wife Abigail suggests), he also would be too young.

      Fones Purchase

      1 Jan. 1672, John Greene of Quidnissitt was one of the men engaged in the Fones' purchase, which was confirmed to the twenty-four partners in 1677. This land was the genesis of the town of East Greenwich in 1677. John Greene and John Greene, II signed a letter with John Fones and others on 27 July 1679 regarding this land purchase. John Greene, sr., drew the ninth house Lot and the third ninety-acre Farm. Edward Greene sold these to George Vaughn in deeds stating that they descended to him by will of his Father, John Greene, deceased.

      Bates goes on to say that John Greene, II, called at the time Lieutenant John Greene of Newport, had a special meeting of the townsmen of East Greenwich called, 14 May 1685, when as a Fones purchaser he was recognized as a townsman and was allowed to draw his town Lot and Farm. He drew the sixth town Lot and the nineteenth Farm. Austin also states that "Lieutenant John Greene of Newport" was admitted a freeman of East Greenwich and was granted 100 Acres. Austin says this Lieutenant John Greene of Newport is the one who married Mary Jefferay. (Note, this is the transaction to which LaMance says he is described as "Lieutenant John Greene of New York, USA. " Huling also mentions that "Lieutenant John Greene, of New York, USA, " was admitted a freeman in East Greenwich 14 May 1685, "concerning whose origin nothing more is known, but who may have been the partner of Fones in the above purchase. " A review of East Greenwich deeds and records might clarify whether this is "New York, USA" or "Newport. ")

      Per Bates, on 1 May 1690, John Greene of Newport sold to Giles Peirce the ten-acre house Lot that Lieutenant John Greene of Newport had drawn in 1685. Lieutenant John Greene of Newport's Farm Lot was sold 13 Feb 1707 8 by Thomas Langford and Wife Sarah of East Greenwich to Zachariah Jenkins of Barnstable. No deed has been found that explains how this Farm came into the possession of Thomas Langford. A Thomas Langford was one of the beneficiaries named in the will of John Greene of Newport. This will dated 4 Sep 1694 is recorded in Taunton, Massachusetts, USA.

      Bates says that Lieutenant John Greene of Newport, was born probably about 1640. He married Mary Jefferay, daughter of William and Mary (Gould) Jefferay of Newport. Lieutenant John died suddenly at Seekonk, Massachusetts, USA, 4 Sep 1694. He was admitted a freeman of Newport in 1668.

      Analysis: Even though John Greene, II was one of the original Fones purchasers and signer of the 1679 letter, he was not a resident and hence may have been ineligible to draw his town Lot and Farm. Where was he? Wandering around New York, USA as LaMance says or in Newport? Huling probably read the East Greenwich records and read "Lieutenant John Greene of New York, USA. " Austin read the same record as "Lieutenant John Greene of Newport. LaMance claims to have researched many original records. Bates probably also read the original record and read "Lieutenant John Greene of Newport. " We have an obvious conflict and an important one that demands that anyone trying to identify this Lieutenant John Greene also read the original record and make his own determination of whether it says "New York, USA" or "Newport. " However, Bates subsequent evidence when the property was later sold supports her reading of "Newport. "

      John Greene of Newport

      On 26 Oct 1670 John Greene, II of Newport and Edward Greenman petitioned the General Assembly that the estate of Thomas Flounders, lately executed for the murder of Walter House at Kingstown, after the expenses for the execution were paid might go to his late Wife Sarah (Greene) and her child.

      Lieutenant John Greene of Newport is mentioned in the Newport town records in 1679, 1681, 1682 3, 1683 and 1684. On 14 May 1685, Lieutenant John Greene of Newport drew house Lot and Farm in East Greenwich. In 1686 7 he is back in the Newport records. 21 May 1690 he sells his town Lot in East Greenwich and disappears from Rhode Island records. He died at Seekonk, Massachusetts 3 Sep 1694 and his will is proved in Taunton.

      Analysis: John Greene does not appear to have remained in East Greenwich very long. Austin says that "he never have settled at East Greenwich probably, but doubtless disposed of his land there, as did so many other Newport owners. " He may have been a resident 14 May 1685 when he was made a townman or freeman of East Greenwich. But he appears to have been back in Newport in 1686 8 (approximately 18 months later). The other possibility is that he never left Newport and John Greene of New York, USA drew the house and Lot in East Greenwich in 1685.

      John and Abigail Greene

      Arnold (Vital Records of Rhode Island) lists the birth of John and Abigail Greene's three oldest children: James, John, and Jane, in the Birth Certificates of East Greenwich between 1685 and 1690. But this is the same period that Lieutenant John Greene of Newport is being reported in the Newport records.

      Walter and Ella Greene report that John Greene leased land in East Greenwich from David Shippee in 1685. Is this the same person as Lieutenant John Greene of Newport?

      Analysis: At first blush the Birth Certificates of John and Abigail Greene's three oldest children in East Greenwich seem to indicate that they were residents from 1685 to 1690 1. However, the early birth entries were usually entered in batches, not sequentially. Arnold does not indicate when these entries were made, but they appear on one page of the record (1-10). If they were entered in a batch (all at one time), then the entry must have been made in 1690 1 or later. If this is the case, then we can only postulate residence in East Greenwich at the time of entry in 1690 1, not between 1685 and 1690 1 and the possibility of residence earlier. Unless the entry specifically says the children were all born in East Greenwich, the mere recording of their births in East Greenwich is not proof of the place of their birth. Oftentimes, in the early Rhode Island records when families moved they might have recorded the births of children with the clerk in the new town where they lived, even though the children were born elsewhere. Again, reference to the original record needs to be made to determine when these entries were made. Walter and Ella Greene do not indicate if there is any identifying terms used to indicate which John Greene leased this land. Perhaps, both two different John Greene's were living in East Greenwich at this time: Lieutenant John Greene of Newport and another John Greene (perhaps the one who married Abigail). The original record needs to be read for clues to identify this John Greene, lessee.

      Qualifications of Bates

      Walter and Ella Greene have this to say about Bates. She "searched original records in Rhode Island and had access to extensive notes of George Sears Greene. The library of the Rhode Island Historical Society at Providence has on file her scrapbooks (over a hundred bound volumes) in which she pasted copies of documents, letters, and miscellaneous genealogical data. Every name in these many volumes has been carefully indexed on cards which are filed alphabetically. One must conclude she was a thorough and systematic searcher. Using the records of land transactions to prove her arguments, Bates contends that the man referred to as John Greene of Kingstown (Quidnessett) and the man referred to as John Greene of Newport were one and the same person. "

      Analysis: This description by Walter and Ella Greene suggests that Mrs. Bates' conclusions need to be carefully considered. In fact, Walter and Ella Greene write, "I believe this bears further investigation by those whose family lines are directly affected."

      Other information for Greene family researchers:

      Summary of information from many sources about John Greene of Quidnesse
      The family of John Greene of Quidnessett from my book, Ancestors and Descendants of William Browning Greene and Mary Hoxsie Lewis with Allied Families. Advertising circular for Lora LaMance's The Greene Family and Its Branches.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1072] Rhode Island: Birth. Death and Marriage Records.
      Record for John Greene