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The Greenmans

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

John Greenman, Jr., was the earliest known of the family to come to America. It is believed that John came from Somersetshire, England and arrived in America in 1631. He initially settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay Colony. In that year he was admitted as a freeman to the colony. The records are incomplete, but since Dorchester was founded at that time by settlers arriving with the Winthrop Fleet, he may have been among them and may have arrived aboard the ship Mary and John. In 1636 he was amoung the purchasers of Taunton, Massachussets but left soon after for Newport, Rhode Island. John was admitted as an inhabitant of Newport on 20 May 1638.

John's son Edward’s place and time of birth are uncertain. If his father arrived about 1631, then Edward would have been born in England. However, it is possible his father arrived as early as 1628.

On 10 April 1642, Edward was assigned land in Newport, Rhode Island. If he was given land from common ground he had to have reached his majority (21 years old); this means he was born earlier than 1626. On 20 February 1647 and 1 April 1648 land transactions occurred in Newport County, Rhode Island. He and his brother David were on a 1647 deed of land transferred to John Greene, Jr. husbandman of Newport; both brothers were referred to as wheelwrights.

For the quarterly court session of Newport, Oct 1646 Edward and others were awarded monies on a complaint against Jeremy Gould for damage to a fence. Named as a freeman of Newport in 1655, he became involved in Newport politics and he was a commissioner in 1657. He filed a complaint with the town on 28 July 1658 for want of land. The town ordered that land near his dwelling should be laid out for him from common grounds.

A document dated 15 September 1661 provided a list of houses and lots drawn and cast. It showed Edward owning Lot 39. That same year he was admitted as freeman to Westerly. Between 1668-1670 and 1682, he was deputy to the General Assembly of Rhode Island.

By 1682, Edward was shown as owning land in Newport. In 1684, Edward was a witness to Edward Roybson’s will; and on 18 May 1686 Edward was named as trustee for the 2 minor children of Edward Robinson. In 1688 he served as Grand Jury Foreman.

He married Mary Clarke about 1662, in Westerly, Kings County, Rhode Island. They were the parents of at least 5 sons and 2 daughters. Edward died in 1688 at the age of 62.

Edward and Mary's son William Greenman was born in 1671, in Newport. He married Anne Clarke about 1703. They were the parents of at least 4 sons and 3 daughters. William died in 1732 at the age of 61, and was buried in Common Ground Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island.

Jeremiah Greenman was born about 1703, in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut to William and Anne Greenman. William married Sarah Blakeman on 6 September 1720, in Stratford. They were the parents of at least 3 sons and 3 daughters. He died in 1762, in his hometown, at the age of 62.

The Reverend Nehemiah Greenman was born at Stratford, Connecticut on 4 July 1721. He graduated at Yale in 1748 and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Suffolk very soon after. During his first year, his parish was made up of Moriches, Westhampton and South Haven on Long Island, New York. He then began preaching at Pilesgrove (now Pittsgrove) and was installed there on 5 December 1753.

The first Presbyterian church in Salem County, the "Piles Grove" Congregation was officially organized in 1741 when the Reverend David Evans was installed as pastor by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. It was unofficially begun in 1738 by Reverend Daniel Buckingham, a traveling missionary. In 1770, the congregation was renamed "Pitts Grove" in honor of the English statesman William Pitt. The original church building was constructed of cedar logs, built on land obtained from Louis duBois, who had emigrated from New Paltz, New York to Pittsgrove Township. The structure had two large stoves and plain wooden benches.

Old Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church, Elmer, NJ

As the congregation grew, a larger building was necessary. In 1767, under the pastorate of the Reverend Nehemiah Greenman, the old log structure was taken down and a new (current) brick church was built in its place. This brick building is a beautiful example of Georgian architecture. The Old Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church is one of South Jersey's most significant restored colonial church buildings. Nehemiah continued to be the pastor until 9 April 1779. He died before the next November.

One of two entrances to the church
The center stone of the lintel

The center stone above read "N.G. V.D.M. 1767 P.G.C." The "N.G." is for Nehemiah Greenman; the "V.D.M." is for Verbi Dei Minister (minister of the Word of God); "1767" is the year of the church's construction; and "P.G.C." is for Piles Grove Church.

Nehemiah's younger sister Amey was born on 24 October 1727 in Stratford. She also made her way to Southern New Jersey where she met Peter DuBois. Peter DuBois was the eighth child of Louis and Margaret He was born in Pittsgrove, Salem County, New Jersey on 10 April 1734. He was an intelligent and thrifty farmer and a pious and consistent Christian gentleman. He was a lieutenant in the first company of minuteman in Salem County formed on 20 September 1775. This company was under the leadership of Peter's cousin, Captain Jacob DuBois. Peter was later a captain during the Revolution.

Amey married Peter in 1758 and they had five sons and two daughters. Peter died on 21 August 1795. Amey died on 2 June 1807.


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