The Greenleaf Genealogy

The following article was taken from a magazine published in 1882 entitled The Literary World (Vol. 28).  It is basically a book review on a newly published (at the time!) tome on the genealogy of the Greenleaf family.  In reading the article you will discover what this particular genealogy is of interest to the literary community.

The Greenleaf family is connected to me through Phebe Adams, wife of Nathanial Currier through my great-grandmother Jennie Lucy Currier Walton’s paternal line.   Edmund Greenleaf, a patriarch of one the early New England first families had three children connected to our family.   Edmund’s son, Stephen, married Elizabeth Coffin, the daughter of another prominent and patriarchal forefather, Tristram Coffin.  Mr. Coffin’s daughter, Judith, married, Tristram Coffin, Jr.  Thus,  siblings married siblings – there wasn’t a huge selection at the time and their families were apparently well acquainted.  Their decendants, Henry Adams and Sarah Dole (who married five generations later) decend from Stephen and Judith’s lines, respectively.  Also, John Greenleaf, another sibling and son of Edmund,  was married to Lydia Frost Pierce (2nd spouse for each).  They had no children together, yet Lydia and her first husband were the great-grandparents of Henry Adams.  Phebe Adams was  Jennie Walton’s great-great grandmother.


Whose leaf alto shall not wither.”

THE compiler of a good genealogy of an honorable family is a public benefactor, whose service to the community is generally far out of proportion to the return he receives for it. The Greenleaf Genealogy will furnish, probably, no exception to this rule. The family is an important one; it has filled a prominent and at times and points a distinguished place in American history, and Mr. James Edward Greenleaf of Charlestown, Mass., has performed a great task in the preparation of this work. We shall do what in us lies to secure attention for it, and widen its distribution.

The handsomely printed octavo of 553 pages is an extension and an enlargement of a genealogy published by the Rev. Jonathan Greenleaf, D.D., in 1854. The lapse of nearly half a century has afforded time not only for a considerable increase of materials, but for improvements in the methods of constructing such a work, and the present compiler has taken advantage of both with intelligence, patience, and zeal. There are few literary labors that call more loudly for the exercise of these qualities.

The threads which have been so skillfully woven into this fabric are chiefly these: (i) A brief history of the Massachusetts town of Newbury, of which one Captain Edmund Greenleaf was one of the original settlers in 1635; (2) a chapter of personal histories of Greenleafs who have attained distinction, with special regard to military and naval service; (3) the genealogy proper of all the descendants of Edmund Greenleaf (born abont 1574), arranged by families and generations ; (4) a list of unconnected Greenleaf families whose names and some data concerning whom are entered without being fully followed out; and (5) a number of illustrations, including portraits, which add much to the interest and value of the record. There are an abundance of notes, historical and genealogical, indexes, a chart, and blank pages for the insertion of manuscript additions.

It is a long and shining line — the line of Greenleaf. There was Captain Stephen Greenleaf, “the great Indian fighter” of his time, the latter half of the seventeenth century; and the Rev. Daniel Greenleaf, who was another St. Luke; and the brothers William and Stephen Greenleaf, re

Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family. Compiled by James Edward Greenleaf. Printed by Frank Wood. For sale by the author (Charlestown, Mass.), and by William B. Clarke & Co., Boston. $7.50.

spectively sheriffs in Boston under the governor and king at the time of the Revolution; and Rebecca Greenleaf, who married Noah Webster, the lexicographer; and the Hon. Simon Greenleaf, also the famous Royal Professor of Law at Harvard College; and James Greenleaf, his son, who married a sister of the poet Longfellow; and Benjamin Greenleaf, of whose common school arithmetic alone 560,000 copies were printed from the first set of plates; and John Greenleaf Whittier, who took his middle name from his greatgrandfather on the maternal side.

The paper on which this book is printed was made by a manufacturing company at Holyoke, Mass., of which O. H. Greenleaf is president and O. S. Greenleaf treasurer, and it is bound in leafy green; so that from frontispiece (of the author) to colophon, without and within, it is true to its- title. We add it to our row of genealogies with the satisfaction that attends the making of a distinct acquisition.


One thought on “The Greenleaf Genealogy

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