WILLIAM GREENE came to New England on an unknown vessel at an unknown date, but by or before 1640, for in ‘that year, he was recorded as an inhabitant of Charlestown. In May, 1640, that town had asked the General Court³ for additional land '' accommodate such useful men as might settle here, and form ‘a village for the improvement of such remote lands as are already laid out. " Consequently, grants. were made in May, 1640, and again in October on condition of their being built upon within two years. A committee of Charlestown men was appointed in September to explore the territory and suggest a plan for the town, and during the winter a number of trips were made toward that end. We are told that "The committee was obliged to spend nights without shelter ‘whilst Frain and snow did bedew their rocky beds." During one exploratory expedition some of the company had sheltered themselves "under the body of a large tree, which lay at a distance from the ground, no sooner was the last of them come from under it, at break of day, than to their amazement it fell; and they were obliged to dig out their provisions, their united strength being insufficient to move it." Some of the men who had been intending removal to this prospective settlement became discouraged "the way being so plain backward that divers never went forward again."
But even before the survey was completed, some thirty-one men, mostly residents of Charlestown, met on December 18, 1640, at the home of Thomas¹ Graves and agreed upon and signed a series of "Town Orders" which were to apply to the new village or settlement and one of these signers* was WILLIAM GREENE. Their preamble was similar to the earlier part of the "General Laws and Liberties", including such phrases as "The free fruition of such liberties and privileges as humanity, civility and christianity calls for as due to every man.. ." and "... the tranquility and stability of Christian Commonwealths. . . ." But the practical gist of the matter was that each signer agreed²º to pay six pence per acre for tracts then laid out, twelve pence per acre for land surveyed later; agreed that all who did not build within fifteen months must give up their lots and none were to sell without permission of the group. All orchards and garden plots were to be well enclosed; and "‘no manner of person should entertain ‘inmates either married or other , more than three days without the consent of ‘four of the Selectmen under a penalty of six pence for each day's offence; and, finally none were to cut young oak timber ‘under eight inches square under penalty of five shillings for
*Other men who signed these orders were FRANCIS KENDALL, JOHN Turn, JOHUA CARTER (THOMASI), Edward Converse (who called John¹ Parker "kinsman") and James¹ Parker, later of Groton of whom the last two named were brothers of Our JACOB¹ PARKER.³
332 DAWES AND ALLIED FAMILIES
each offense. Small things, some may think, to follow so high sounding.a preamble. But let them not be despised; for such are the fibres of our national tree."³
In June, 1641, the General Court extended substantial help to this new group by granting two years immunity³ from public rates (colony taxes) to Charlestown Village which is the name the settlement bore until September 8, 1642, whenil it was incorporated and given the name of Woburn. After this it was, in a civil way, co-equal with its parent town. But even when it was surveyed, built and~ incorporated it "was still but half founded", for, as Edward Johnson said, it would be "as unnatural for a right New England man to live without an able ministry, as for a smith to work his iron without a fire." However, these villagers were not hasty, for they continued their membership in the Charlestown church for a couple of years and WILLIAM GREENE even acquired membership at Charlestown¼ as late as November 9, 1643. But "after much agitation" (deliberation] and, we are told,19 after the erection of a meeting house and parsonage, they had invited the neighboring churches to meet and help them organize a church³,19 on August 14, 1642, a month prior to the incorporation of the town. Three months later, in November, 1642, their minister, the Rev. Thomas Carter was ordained. In view of the trouble which came to Malden Church (see Call, pp. 134-7) as a result of their. lay ordination of their own pastor in 1649, it is interesting to note that in Woburn just seven years earlier, a lay ordination had occurred,19 as there had earlier still at Salem in 1629, at Charlestown in 1630, at Boston and at Newtowne in 1633. In other, words, up to 1642 it had been approved Congregational usage.19 And here at Woburn we are told" that the situation had been discussed in advance as differing opinions were arising, and the Woburn church was firm in maintaining the right of lay ordination, "fearing the tendency to ‘a dependency of churches and so a presbytery and they would not allow it.³" So, though at least one of the magistrates as well as ministers and elders from neighboring churches were present, two of the Woburn members laid their hands upon the candidate's head and said, "We Ordain thee Thomas Carter to be Pastor unto this Church of Christ."19 Then they asked a visiting elder to lead in prayer.19 So it was accomplished "without the [official] presence or permission of hierarchy, Protestant or Catholic."³,18 But evidence is seen in this case of the odd situation of a government made up of church members which in turn attempted to exert civil limitations upon the church. The increasing tendency of civil powers to dominate the church is further seen in the fact that Gov. Winthrop was displeased with this ceremony of ordination, for he ‘held that Woburn had no "members fit to Solemnize such an ordinance" and that it was performed "not so well and orderly as it aught"."18 This becomes especially significant in view of the greatly increased disapproval accorded the Malden church a few years later (see Call, pp. 134-7) because they performed the lay ordination 18 of Rev. Marmaduke Matthews.
Capt. Edward Johnson, a contemporary neighbor and personal friend of WILLIAM GREENE, in his "Wonderworking Providence of New England" tells at length19 and intimately of the conditions under which our GREENE, CARTER, SNOW and KENDALL ancestors lived. The people of the seacoast settlements spoke of Woburn as a "remote land". It was a "watery swamp" difficult to travel through and covered with "an unknown woods". Johnson wrote that "Every one who could lift a hoe to strike it into the earth aided in raising the first crop; but they had to
GREENE FAMILY 333
stand stoutly to their labors and tear up the roots and bushes which abounded, the first year bearing them, in useful vegetables, a very thin crop" so thin indeed "that they were forced to cut their bread very thin for a long season", though fish which abounded in the streams helped greatly.15,19 In February, 1640, the first bridge was laid over the Aberjona River* and was for years called "Could Bridge" probably because of its being built during severe weather.15
There was a considerable delay in establishing the boundaries between Charles-town and Woburn, which were under discussion at least by 1643 and onward. In March, 1646, Woburn decided "to send to the selectman of Charlestown the following admirable letter, a model of directness of purpose and of Christian courtesy:
"Much Respected and Aintient ffreinds:
Wee are Bould to interupt your present presious Implyments [employments] with Request for Issue [decision] of those things which sartaine of our Beloued Brethren amoung you were chosen unto, now out humble Request is that they may End it forth with, if other wise they cannot so doe our further Request is that sume others unintrested in the things may put a ffreindly Isue to the same, our last Request is that if nether of these will doe then in a brotherly and ffreindly way to petistion to the generall court that wee may not bequeth mattor of diferanc to our posteryty, thus with hope of a presant answer in writting to our soe Resanabl Request Wee Remain yours to be commanded in all sarius of loue in Christ our Lord."19
In March, 1649, the matter of boundaries was still pending and "four of the selectmen of Woburn were chosen to speak with their ‘brethern of Charlestown about ‘settling the bounds' ", which finally in January, 1651, was accomplished after at least eight years delay.³ In this connection, mention was made of an outlying tract, now Wilmington (see map, p.255) lying between present day Reading and Billerica, which was called the "Land of Nod". It is believed³ that its remoteness from the existing church was the cause of its receiving that odd name, in memory of Cain when he went "from the presence of the Lord."
In the successive divisions of common lands, tracts were frequently named from peculiarities of their terrain,15 as Waterfield, Rockfield, Linefield, etc. As has been shown, Charlestown Village became Woburn, and its outlying "Waterfield" became Winchester, among whose original owners were Seth Sweetsir, second husband of our ELIZABETH (___) HAYWARD, THOMAS CALL, and Daniel Shepardson (DANIEL ).15
At an unknown date, but by 1643, WILLIAM GREENE married, probably at Charlestown, HANNAH CARTER (see Carter, p. 145). She had become a member of Charlestown Church4 on September 2, 1639, and WILLIAM was admitted to that organization, 1,4 on November 9, 1643, and was made a freeman on May29, 1644. His father-in-law THOMAS CARTER, senior, of Charlestown had received a grant of one lot in what became Woburn, and had purchased an adjacent equal amount ___ the whole tract totaling one hundred and thirty-five acres. On March 30, 1647, CARTER acknowledged a deed of gift which transferred one half of this tract to WILLIAM GREENE and he presently deeded the other half to his son Capt. JOHN CARTER, the latter transfer being unfortunately reported as bearing dates of
*A stream running through the center of Winchester and on into the Mystic River. The Indians of this section were called Aberginny men, 9 a common derivation no doubt.
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April 6, 1648, May 3, 1648, and January 20, 1649-50. The land of .WILLIAM GREENE lay to the northwest of, and adjoining that of his brother-in-law CARTER.1,11,14 After the death of THOMAS CARTER in 1652, (his will having made bequests to his widow, his children and to four of his grandsons) his widow MARY and her sons Samuel and Joseph asked the advice of the General Court11,17 concerning the handling of these legacies to the grandsons. On September io, 1653, the Court approved of their suggested plan of turning over the £10 bequests to the parents of each of these four minor Iegatees, plus the acre of ground for each (or the proportionate price for which it sold) __the respective parents binding themselves to meet certain rights of the widow MARY as well as to safely keep the gifts for their children.17
Within three or four months of this action, WILLIAM GREENE was attacked by his final illness and he, calling himself of Woburn, "being sick of Boddy, yet in good & perfect memory" made his will"16 on January 6, 1653-4, the day before his death.5,6 The will specified that his wife HANNAH should have one third of all his movable goods, also one third of the house and land during her life, and made her his executrix to dispose of the remainder of the estate to their children as they became twenty-one or married. It required, however, that if HANNAH should marry again the named overseers, the testator's brother-in-law, JOHN CARTER, and his friend, Capt. Edward Johnson should have the power "to disspose of my Children & there portions according to there discression." It gave to John , the eldest son, a double share and referred also to the £10 bequest which the grand _ father, THOMAS CARTER, had made to John Greene. The testator divided his remaining estate equally among his other children "as well sons as daughters". The named overseers were also witnesses to the document and helped to take the inventory of the estate on January 28, 1653-4. On April 4, 1654, Ens. JOHN CARTER made a deposition when he proved the will." From this time on JOHN CARTER and his brothers, Thomas , Samuel and Joseph maintained a careful oversight, trusteeship and probably legal guardianship over these five nieces and nephews." Their mother HANNAH was married again, to a Thomas Brown of Charlestown who was born about 1628 (aged thirty in 1658) and she died¹ presumably at Charlestown in 1658; MARY GREENE and her brothers and sister very likely lived subsequently with their Carter relatives. On April 4, 1671, when they were all grown, JOHN CARTER distributed¹¹ "their inheritance among them and John Greene acknowledged receipt from his "much respected uncle JOHN CARTER, Senior, of Woburn" of all the estate willed him by his ‘father and also of a part of the estate due to his brother Ebenezer , which he agreed to pass on. Thomas Kndwlton of Ipswich. receipted for the share due to his wife, Hannah Greene, daughter of WILLIAM , and JOHN SNOW of Woburn gave a receipt "as of the full of" his wife s portion from "her father WILLIAM GREENE".¹¹,27
A most eloquent item" is recorded as of a Woburn family, and though it is of a ; much later date it is too rare to omit. It evidently pertains to the habit of arranging for food and shelter for the aged and indigent and shows that Woburn was debtor , to,Daniel Reed, jr.
"to boarding Sally priest nine weeks at z sihillings] per week ending ye 5th of March"
totaling eighteen shillings. Then is added,
GREENE FAMILY 335
"to her bringing the itch into my family I leave to your generosity, but money should not hire me to have it."
And the town responded by paying him the eighteen shilling account and also "allowed for the Itch £1-0-0".15
Some writers8 erroneously claim that JOHN SNOW married a Hannah Greene, carelessly giving our MARY her mother's name."Hannah Greene (WILLIAM ) is by some compilations" confused with Hannah (Thomas of Maiden) and is made to marry Joseph Richardson (Richardson Memorial, J. A. Vinton, 1876, pp. 186-7, Vinton Memorial, p. 381, 395). The fact that Thomas Knowlton receipted for her share¹¹ of her father's estate is conclusive.
1. Genealogies and Estates of Charlcstown, Mass., T. B. Wyman, 1879, pp. 137, 186-7, 438, 441.
2. Vinton Memorial, J. A. Vinton, 1858, p. 394.
3. History of Charlestown, Mass., R. Frothingham, 1845, pp.105-11.
4. History of the First Church, Charlestown, Mass., W. I. Budington, 1845, pp. 247-8.
5. Vital Records of Woburn, Mass., I, 110, 243; II, 83; III, 116.
6 .History of Woburn, Mass., S. Sewall, 1868, pp. 74-5, 114, 598, 615-6. 619,634,640-1.
7. Genealogy of the RICHARD SNOW Family, G. W. Snow, Long Beach, Calif., Mss. deposited at Newberry Library, Chicago, Ill., p. 11.
8. History of Lexington, Mass., C. Hudson, 1913, II, 143, 251-2.
9. Savage II 307; New England Register III, 190; Records of Massachusetts Bay Colony, II, 293.
10. New England Register, III, 190.
11. Woburn Historic Sites and Old Houses, W. R. Cutter, 1892, pp. 28, 36-7, 39.
12. Vital Records of Ipswich, Mass., II, 265; Savage II, 42-3
13. Felch Family, W. F. Felch, I881, p. 9.
14. Boston Record Commissioners Report, III, 95, 111-2.
15. 250th Anniversary of Winchester, Mass., 1890, pp. 6-13; The Winchester Record, Winchester Historical and Genealogical Society, II, frontispiece, pp. 5, 12, 15,196.
16. New England Register XVI, 74.
17. Records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, III, 329; IV, 176, 404; History of Middlesex County, Mass., D. H. Hurd, 1890, I, 349, 379.
18. Budington's History of Charlestown Church, pp. 15, 21, 197-8; Frothingham's Charlestown, pp. 67-8, 110, 123-30; History of Malden, Mass., D. P. Corey, 1899, pp. 126-64
19. Wonder-Working Providence E. Johnson with Introduction by W. F. Poole, 1867, lixxii-viii, xci-vi.
20. Winchester Record, I, 261-2.
21. Sewall's Woburn, pp. 61, 126-8; Cantabrigiensis; Parkhurst Genealogy, G. H. Parkhurst, 1897, pp. 10-1.
22. Search of Middlesex Co. Records by Miss E. L. Moffatt, Allston, Mass., Court Records I, 196, 210.
23. Planters of the Commonwealth, C. E. Banks, 1930, p.141
24. New England Register, XIV, 358; LXI, 65.
25. Hurd's Middlesex Co., Mass., 1, 349,379,383.
26. "Some Ancestral Lines . . ." R. M.Tingley, 1935, p. 191; Vital Records of Norwich, Conn., I, 31.
27. The Snow-Estes Ancestry, N. E. Snow, comp. by M. M. Jillson, 1939, I, 5, 54-7, 339-40.