Nathanael Greene (August 7 [O.S. July 27] 1742 – June 19, 1786, frequently misspelled Nathaniel) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Many places in the United States are named for him. Greene suffered financial difficulties in the post-war years and died suddenly of sunstroke in 1786.
Before the American Revolutionary war
Nathanael was the son of Nathanael Greene (1707–1770), a Quaker farmer and smith, and the great great grandson of John Greene and Samuel Gorton, both of whom were founding settlers of Warwick, Rhode Island. Nathanael was born on Forge Farm at Potowomut in the township of Warwick, Rhode Island, on August 7, 1742 new style. His mother, Mary Motte, was his father's second wife. Though his father's sect discouraged "literary accomplishments," Greene educated himself, with a special study of mathematics and law. The Rev. Ezra Stiles, later president of Yale University, was a strong influence in the young Nathanael's life.
In 1770, Greene moved to Coventry, Rhode Island, to take charge of the family-owned forge (foundry), just prior to his father's death. There, he was the first to urge the establishment of a public school and in the same year he was chosen as a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, to which he was re-elected in 1771, 1772 and 1775. It is debatable that he was a member of the General Assembly since there is no mention of his participation in his personal papers and because there were several of his contemporaries with the same name from Rhode Island. He sympathized strongly with the "Whig," or Patriot, element among the colonists
Revolutionary War hero.
In about 1993 we visited the home in which Nathanael was born. This home was then owned by Thomas Greene and his mother Anne Greene. This Thomas Greene is not a lineal descendant of Nathanael's.
July 27, 2001 we helped celebrate Nathanael's 259th birthday at "The Forge", Potowomut, East Greenwich, Rhode Island where he was born.
Seventeen U.S. states have named counties in Gen. Greene's honor. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Nathanael by comparing test results with other
carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Nathanael:
The biography of Catharine Littlefield Greene "Caty" by John and Janet Stegeman offers more information on Nathanael Greene's children. These included Martha Washington Greene (who married John C. Nightingale and then Henry Turner), Louisa Ray Greene (who married James Shaw), and Catharine Greene (who died in infancy). Also, Cornelia Lott Greene re-married after the death of Peyton Skipwith, Jr. her cousin Ned Littlefield (son of William Littlefield, Catharine's younger brother).