1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Papers of William Greene (1743-1826)

 Merchant of East Greenwich, Rhode Island

 Personal papers, 1775-1826

 Size: .5 linear foot

 Catalog number: MSS 469

 Processed by: Lori Salotto, November 1999.

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            William Greene (1743-1826) was born in Potowomut Neck, Warwick, Rhode Island to Nathanael Greene (1707-1768) and Mary (Mott) Greene (1708-1753). He was one of seven children born to his father and his second wife. He had a sister, Phebe (1741-1741) and five brothers: Jacob (b. 1739/40), Nathanael (b.1742), Elihu (1746-1827), Christopher (1748-1830), and Perry (b. 1749). He also had two half brothers, Benjamin (1733-1762) and Thomas (1735-1760).

            Greene was a merchant in East Greenwich and continued to do business up until his death. He was very active in shipping during the Revolutionary War. He died in East Greenwich, unmarried, at the age of 83.


Clarke, Louise Brownell. The Greenes of Rhode Island with Historical Records of English Ancestry. (New York, 1903). pp. 127, 210.

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Scope and content:

            This collection contains account books, loose accounts, correspondence, memos, ship accounts, and cargo records from 1775-1826, as well as several copies of his last will and testament dated 1808-1819. The loose accounts often span many years, starting for example in 1801 and being settled in 1813. Generally, the accounts are filed according to the date they were settled so a thorough search of earlier or later years may reveal an account of interest. There is one item of note in this collection. There is a partial Articles of Agreement between the owners of the armed sloop General Greene. It details how the sloop will be fitted in a "warlike manner" and also outlines who gets what in terms of prizes.

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            These records are believed to have arrived as part of the "Albert C. and Richard W. Greene Collection." The actual date of the accession is not known for sure, but the collection was in hand by the late 1940s. Therefore, the date of 1948 was assigned to the collection.

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Processing note:

            This collection was processed by Harold Kemble circa 1985. It was reprocessed in 1999 by Lori Salotto.

            Researchers should be aware that some items filed as papers of William Greene (1743-1826) may pertain to other William Greenes. Great effots have been made to properly distinguish among them, but the papers were at one point improperly interfiled.

            Many items have been transferred to other collections, in particular, see the Papers of Col. William Greene (1764-1829) in Mss 470. A detailed transfer list can be found in the collection file.

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Oversized vol. 1. Cash accounts book, 1775-1779

This volume includes accounts for the following vessels:
Adventure (Sloop)
Betsy (Sloop)
Britania (Brig)
Caty (Catey) (Schooner)
Dolphin (Sloop)
Endeavor (Sloop)
Florida (Sloop)
Friendship (Sloop)
General Greene (Sloop, privateer)
General Sterling (privateer)
Greenwich (Sloop, privateer)
Hero (Ship)
Hope (Sloop)
Industry (Sloop)
Nancy (Brig)
Phenix (Brig)
Ranger (Schooner)
Reynolds (Ship)
Saint James (Ship)
Sally (Sloop)
Seaflower (Sloop)

Box 1, folder 1. Loose accounts, 1776-1779

Box 1, folder 2. Loose accounts, 1780-1799

Box 1, folder 3. Loose accounts, 1800-1804

Box 1, folder 4. Loose accounts, 1805-1809

Box 1, folder 5. Loose accounts, 1810-1814

Box 1, folder 6. Loose accounts, 1815-1819

Box 1, folder 7. Loose accounts, 1820-1830 and undated

Box 1, folder 8. Loose accounts for nephew William P. Greene, 1800-1814

Box 1, folder 9. Account books, 1811-1821, includes vital statistics of family members

Box 1, folder 10. Articles of agreement (partial) for the Privateer General Greene, undated

Box 1, folder 11. Cargo book, 1815-1818 and brig Louisa and brig Maida cargo record,


Box 1, folder 12. Correspondence, 1812-1825 and undated

Box 1, folder 13. Journal, 1806-1809

Box 1, folder 14. Last will and testaments, 1808-1819

Box 1, folder 15. Memoranda book, 1813-1821

            Account with Martin Miller, 1818

            Notes on the weather, 1815,1821

            Notes on calving, 1821

            Death records, 1813-1820

Box 1, folder 16. Memos, 1792, 1812-1818, and undated

Box 1, folder 17. Ship account book (several ships),1761-1770

                              List of ships:

                                    Ship Merry Gould, 1762-1764

                                    Sloop Polly, 1767-1770

                                    Sloop Seaflower, 1761-1762

                                    Brig Victory, 1765-1768

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Adventure (sloop)

Britania (brig)

Catey (sloop)

Dolphin (sloop)

Endeavor (sloop)

Friendship (sloop)

General Greene (privateer)

General Sterling (privateer)

Greenwich (privateer)

Industry (sloop)

Louisa (brig)

Maida (brig)

Merchants - Rhode Island - East Greenwich

Merry Gould (sloop)

Nancy (brig)

Phoenix (brig)

Polly (sloop)

Privateering - East Greenwich - Rhode Island

Saint James (schooner)

Sally (sloop)

Seaflower (sloop)

United States - History - Revolution, 1775-1783 - Economic Aspects

Warren (brig)

Victory (brig)

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