1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 Papers of Col. William Greene (1764-1829)

 Merchant of East Greenwich, Rhode Island

 Papers, 1787-1818

 Size: 1.25 linear foot

 Catalog number: MSS 470

 Processed by: Lori Salotto, November 1999

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            William Greene (1764-1829) was born in Warwick Neck, Rhode Island to Benjamin Greene and Mary (Fry) Greene, who were second cousins. He married his cousin Celia Greene (1762-1796), daughter of Governor William Greene, on November 7, 1786. They had four children: Benjamin (b. 1788), Mary (1790-1868), Simon Ray (1792), and Catharine Celia (1794-1826).

            Greene was commander of the Kentish Guards, an independent company of volunteer militia in East Greenwich. He was also a merchant and co-owner of the schooner Attempt, with Jonathan Salisbury and Ray Greene, which conducted business in the West Indies.

            Greene began a mercantile partnership with William Sarle on November 15, 1798 and they conducted business together until March 8, 1804. While in business togther Greene & Sarle contracted Eben Marvin and Daniel Pearce to build the brig Catharine Ray. They also were co- owners of the schooner Mary along with Ray Greene and John Sprague.

            Greene also served as a cashier at the Rhode Island Central Bank of East Greenwich for many years.


Clarke, Louise Brownell. The Greenes of Rhode Island with Historical Records of English Ancestry. (New York, 1903). pp. 287, 464-465, 173-174.

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Scope and content:

            This collection contains account books, loose accounts, correspondence, ship accounts, Rhode Island Central Bank shareholder information, and loose accounts of Greene and Sarle from 1787-1818. Some of the account books apparently belong to the partnership of Salisbury, Greene & Greene as they contain extensive accounts with the schooner Attempt and all three partners, and seem to have been kept in several different hands.

            Also found in this collection are three letters from Jonathan Benthall, the Captain of the Schooner Mary. These letters were sent in October 1799 and August 1800 to Greene and Sarle discussing the state of the economic market in St. John, Antigua, saying "I do not find the market so favourable...the island is much glutted with every kind of American produce."

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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 Col. William Greene (1764-1829) 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 William Greene (1743-1826) in Mss 469. A detailed transfer list can be found in the collection file.

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Series I: Personal business accounts

Box 1, folder 1. Loose accounts, 1789-1792

Box 1, folder 2. Loose accounts, 1793-1799

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

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

Box 1, folder 5. Loose accounts, 1810-1815

Box 1, folder 6. Correspondence: business, 1800-1812

Box 1, folder 7. Correspondence: Ray Greene, 1800

Box 1, folder 8. Correspondence: Ray Greene, 1801-1803

Box 1, folder 9. Daybook, 1787-1791

Box 1, folder 10. Daybook, 1804-1805

Box 1, folder 11. Daybook, 1805

Box 1, folder 12. Ledger, 1792-1793, with separate index (Salisbury, Greene & Greene?)

Box 1, folder 13. Pocket expense book, 1800-1803

Box 1, folder 14. Rhode Island Central Bank: shareholder information, 1806-1818

Box 1, folder 15. Schooner Attempt account book, 1793-1794 (Salisbury, Greene & Greene)

Box 1, folder 15a. Blotter, April - July 1793 (Salisbury, Greene & Greene?)

Oversized vol. 1. Daybook, 1792-1793 (Salisbury, Greene & Greene?)

Oversized vol. 2. Daybook, 1793-1799

Series II: Greene & Sarle records

Box 1, folder 16. Loose accounts, 1798-1799

Box 1, folder 17. Loose accounts, 1800

Box 1, folder 18. Loose accounts, 1801-1802

Box 1, folder 19. Loose accounts, 1803-1804

Box 1, folder 20. Articles of agreement, 1799-1800

Box 1, folder 21. Correspondence, 1799-1801

Box 1, folder 22. Daybook, 1799-1800

Box 1, folder 23. Daybook, 1800-1801

Box 1, folder 24. General store, sales account book, November 1798 - June 1799

Box 1, folder 25. General store, sales account book, 1798-1801


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Attempt (schooner)

Benthall, John

Catharine Ray (brig)

Greene, Ray (1765-1849)

Greene & Sarle

Lucretia (schooner)

Lydia (Brig)

Mary (schooner)

Merchants - R.I. - East Greenwich

Rhode Island Central Bank

Salisbury, Jonathan

Sarle, William

Sprague, John

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