The genealogist of the Greenleafs says: “From all that can be gathered it is believed that the ancestors of the Greenleaf family were Huguenots, who left France on account of their religious principles some time in the course of the sixteenth century, and settled in England. The name was probably transiated from the French Feuillevert.* Edmund Greenleaf, the ancestor of the American Greenleafs, was born in the parish of Brixham, and county of Devonshire, near Torbay, in England, about the year 1600.” He came to Newbury, Mass., in 1635. He was by trade a silk-dyer. Respecting the family coat-of-arms the genealogist gives, on page 116, the following interesting statement: —

“The Hon. William Greenleaf, once of Boston, and then of New Bedford, being in London about the year 1760, obtained from an office of heraldry a device, said to be the arms of the family, which he had painted, and the painting is now in the possession of his grand-daughter, Mrs. Ritchie, of Roxbury, Mass. The field is white (argent), bearing a chevron between three leaves (vert). The crest is a dove standing on a wreath of green and white, holding in its mouth three green leaves. The helmet is that of a warrior (visor down); a garter below, but no motto.”

Whittier has thus alluded to this surmise : —
“The name the Gallic exile bore,
St. Malo! from thy ancient mart,
Became upon our Western shore
Greenleaf for Feuillevert.”

Extract from: John Greenleaf Whittier: His life, genius, and writings, The Werner company, 1895

For more concerning the French heritage of Greenleaf/Feuillevert >>

John Greenleaf Whittier connection >>

Genealogy link


4 thoughts on “Greenleaf

  1. I’m related to the Greenleaf and Coffin families. Mary Helen (Greenleaf) Bruce, born in New Sharon, Maine, was my grandmother. I have traced my Greenleaf family, hus- band or wife, through the fourth grandparents of King William I, known as William the Conqueror, and have bio-graphical notes on many of these ancestors. I welcome notes (or email) from interested persons and will share information. Home address is 27 Bristol Court, Kennebunk, ME 04043, tel. 207-985-8411.

    Bruce Wright

  2. I am also related to Edmund Greenleaf through the Giles Badger Family. I am amazed that I have found so much information! Anyone related can email me at I just wanted to let you know that I am out here!

  3. My ancestor is Greenleaf Boles (1787-1871) of Methuen, MA and Hudson, NH. I haven’t found his ancestors – any information gratefully received! I do have documentation on his descendants through my Goodwin line. Happy to share information.

  4. My husband is related to John Greenleaf Whittier, possibly through a sibling of his. My father-in-law was born to a John G. Whittier and Grace Coffee (Coffin?) In New York in 1909, third oldest of eight children. If anyone has any information at all, we would appreciate hearing.

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