Famous Authors in our Branches

Having done some genealogical research I just thought I’d share a few famous authors and editors in my family history. So apparently I come by my interest in writing honorably.

These (maternal) ancestors share my old New England heritage of original settlers of Massachusetts and Maine (Kittery, Elliot, Newburyport, etc.) One thing they had in common was loving New England and they wrote about it often!

Family Names: Frost, Greenleaf, Jewett, Noyes

Here are the most well known, a following page will show others.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet

For I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
–The Road Not Taken

Other Works

Article includes information about his family – Tells of his great-great grandfather, Maj. Charles Frost who was a great “Indian Killer” from whom he was both fascinated and appalled by and wrote of. Note: This ancesetor, who is also one of my great grandfathers was an original settler of Kittery, Maine (Elliot/Berwick area). His mother and sister were taken captive and murdered by Indians. He fought heartily to protect colonists for years and died at their hands being avenged for his treachery toward them.


John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Poet and Author
For all sad words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are these,
‘It might have been.’
–John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier looked at his family heritage as a source material for creative writing is one of the earliest collectors of American folk traditions evidenced in two of his works, the Supernaturalism of New England (1847), the work at hand, and Legends of New England (1831). Whittier was a grandson of Edmund Greenleaf, one of the origianal settlers in Newburyport, MA.

Other Works

The Name (on his family name, Greenleaf)

“… I love the vanished past – I love to listen when
The legend of its stirring times is told by aged men –
The hunter’s tale of forest deeds – his struggle with the storm –
His struggle with the savage bear, and cougar’s fearful form.

I love the spell that lendeth to each old familiar stream
The dimness and incoherence of some mysterious dream,
That linketh supernatural things to native hill and glen
and blendeth with the present view a glimpse of what has been.”
— John Greenleaf Whittier


Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)

Novelist and Short-Story Writer

“What has made this nation great?
Not its heroes but its households.”

“The thing that teases the mind over and over for years, and at last gets itself put down rightlyon paper – wherether little or great, it belongs to Literature.”
— Sarah Orne Jewett

Her works include: Deephaven (1877, her first book, made up of sketches of a New England town, The Country of Pointed Firs (1910), A Country Doctor, A White Heron, Tales of New England (1890), The Tory Lover (1901; a novel)

Other Works

Correspondence from John Greenleaf Whittier to Sarah Orne Jewett

Sarah Orne Jewett was a grandaughter of a wealthy shipping merchant from Berwick, ME decending from Joseph Jewett of Rowley, MA.

More writers . . .

John Frost (1800-1859)

His historical and biographical publications include “History of the World” (3 vols.); “Pictorial History of the United States” (2 vols., 1844); ” Beauties of English History”; “Wild Scenes of a Hunter’s Life “; “Illustrious Mechanics” ; “Book of Heroes” ; “Book of the Army “; and “Book of the Navy.”

Benjamin Greenleaf (1786-1864)

Published a series of mathematical text-books, the first of which was his ” National Arithmetic” (1835).

Moses Greenleaf (1878-1834)

His historical and legal texts include –

“Sketches of the Ecclesiastical History of Maine” (1821), Reports of Cases in the Supreme Court of Maine, 1820-’31, Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1842), ” Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists, by the Rules of Evidence administered in Courts of Justice, with an Account of the Trial of Jesus” (1846)

James Noyes (1608-1656)

Among his published works are: “A Catechism for Children,” printed 1644 and written at the request of the general court of Massachusetts; “The Temple Measured” (1647), and “Moses and Aaron” (1661). Also published were his “Election Sermon” (1698) ; a poem on the death of Joseph Green (1715); and verses prefixed to Cotton Mather’s “Magnalia.”

Deacon Cutting Noyes

Wrote the memoir of his uncle Rev. James Noyes, in Mather’s Magnolia (1702).

James Oscar Noyes (1829-1872)

Journalist, Editor and Author

Correspondent in Turkey, Palestine, and Egypt of the New York “Tribune,” the Detroit ” Free Press,” and other journals. Proprietor and chief editor of the ” Knickerbocker Magazine” in 1858. He published “Roumania ” (1857) and “The Gypsies” (1858).

Eli Noyes

Minister and Missionary, edited “The Morning Star,” a Free-Will Baptist journal. Delivered and published “Lectures on the Truths of the Bible (1853) and a Hebrew grammar.


These authors, whose work has spanned centuries, used a variety of instruments to write: quill and ink, fountain pen, ball point pen, lead pencil, graphite pecil, typewriter. They wrote on paper made of: rags, cotton, woodpulp. Their writing styles and genres varied as well: historical, legal, biographical, poetry, prose, short-story, novel, etc. Yet, one tool they all did share, having equal access to at any given time: the mind.


Did you know . . . By 1810, there were 185 paper mills in the United States.


One thought on “Famous Authors in our Branches

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