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Coventry in Kent County, Rhode Island — The American Northeast (New England)
 

The General Nathanael Greene Homestead

 
 
The General Nathanael Greene Homestead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
1. The General Nathanael Greene Homestead Marker
Inscription.

Homestead Overview
In 1770, this house was built by 27 year-old Quaker and iron-master, Nathanael Greene. The building is a well-preserved 18th Century structure of simple, yet refined design. The iron forge, which was located on the Pawtuxet River behind the house, manufactured ship’s anchors and chains. As part of various industries owned and managed by the Greene family, it served as the primary source of employment for the men of Coventry.

Greene’s sense of responsibility to his employees and his respect of formal education (which he lacked) prompted him to open the doors of his home and provide a teacher for the local children. Thus, the Homestead became known as “Spell Hall.”

Nathanael married Catharine “Caty” Littlefield, of Block Island, in 1774. They envisioned a quiet married life, but that was not to be, as Nathanael was already involved on the political stirrings between the American Colonies and Britain.

Immediately following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, militia Private Nathanael Greene was promoted by the Rhode Island General Assembly to the rank of Brigadier General and given command of the Rhode Island militia regiments. General Greene quickly marched his troops to the aid of Massachusetts. During the war, Nathanael’s brother Jacob, and his
The Gen. Nathanael Greene Homestead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
2. The Gen. Nathanael Greene Homestead Marker
wife Peggy, moved into the house with Caty.

The Continental Congress promoted Greene to the rank of major general. Nathanael Greene, a former Quaker, self-educated, with no military experience became known as the Strategist of the American Revolution. His sense of duty and discipline saved the Continental Army:

• At Valley Forge, in the winter of 1777/78, Major General Greene accepted a ‘demotion’ to Quartermaster General, bringing stability to that office and provisions to an army in the throes of certain death.
• In autumn of 1780, with the focus of the British Army in the South, Congress and General Washington assigned Major General Nathanael Greene command of the Southern Campaign to subdue the British. Greene, through keen tactics, including guerilla warfare and planned retreats, was able to weaken the British and gradually pull them into Washington’s snare, and ultimate defeat at Yorktown in 1782. Though the new nation rejoiced in the victory, Major General Greene continued to lay siege to the British in the South for another year, and, was forced to personally take on the financial responsibility of supplying his troops when all other means of obtaining sustenance for them failed.

Shortly after the war ended, Nathanael signed the house and forge over to Jacob, and in 1785 moved his family to Savannah, Georgia.

On June 19, 1786, Nathanael
The General Nathanael Greene Homestead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
3. The General Nathanael Greene Homestead Marker
Green died at the age of forty-four. Some believed the cause was sunstroke – others questioned whether it was due to the hardships of the Southern Campaign, and the stress of the enormous financial burden he was under. It was not until 1791 that Catharine Greene was able to successfully petition Congress and receive money toward repayment of the debt incurred by Nathanael to supply his troops, during the war.

The house remained in the Greene family for two more generations, before it was sold in 1915.

In 1919, four members of the Kent County Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution purchased the home, restored it and gave it the name we know it as today – the Nathanael Greene Homestead.
 
Location. 41° 41.65′ N, 71° 32.659′ W. Marker is in Coventry, Rhode Island, in Kent County. Marker is on Taft Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 50 Taft Street, Coventry RI 02816, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Nathanael Greene Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Nathanael Greene (within shouting distance of this marker); Liberty Tree Memorial (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Nathanael Greene Homestead Cemetery
The General Nathanael Greene Homestead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
4. The General Nathanael Greene Homestead Marker
(about 600 feet away); Kentish Guards Drill Field (approx. 5.3 miles away); General James Mitchell Varnum Home (approx. 5.3 miles away); June 12, 1775 (approx. 5.3 miles away); The Marlborough Street Chapel (approx. 5.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Coventry.
 
More about this marker. A portrait of Nathanael Greene at the Rhode Island State House, by Gari Melchers in 1908, appears at the left side of the marker.
Several pictures of the house are on the right side of the marker. The first has a caption of “Oldest known photograph of the Homestead in 1899.” The photo below that one depicts people in front of the house, and includes the caption “The day the Homestead was purchased on June 30, 1919. Left to Right: Henry Greene Jackson, Herbert M. Clark, Dr. Frank B. Smith & Dr. Benjamin Franklin Tefft.” The caption of the bottom photo is “Dedication Day of the Homestead in 1920.”
 
Also see . . .  The General Nathanael Greene Homestead website. (Submitted on May 16, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. Notable BuildingsWar, US Revolutionary
 
The General Nathanael Greene Homestead image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
5. The General Nathanael Greene Homestead
Parlor in the Gen. Nathanael Greene Homestead image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
6. Parlor in the Gen. Nathanael Greene Homestead
A portrait of Nathanael Greene hangs over the fireplace in the parlor.
Nathanael Greene's Desk image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
7. Nathanael Greene's Desk
This desk was used by Nathanael Greene when he lived in this house.
Gen. Nathanael Greene's Library image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
8. Gen. Nathanael Greene's Library
Battle at the Gen. Greene Homestead image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 16, 2015
9. Battle at the Gen. Greene Homestead
American and French troops beat back a British raid on Spell Hall.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 265 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   9. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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