Archiver > RIGENWEB > 2000-01 > 0948819833

From: Beth Hurd <>
Subject: [RIGENWEB-L] Simon Henry GREENE of Warwick, RI
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 12:03:53 -0500

History of Washington and Kent Counties, Rhode Island
by J. R. Cole, W. W. Preston & Co., NY, 1889
Vol. III, pp. 1031 - 1033.

"Simon Henry GREENE was born in Centreville, in the town of Warwick, R.I.,
March 31st, 1799, and died at his own village of Clyde, in the same town,
April 26th, 1885, being a little over 86 years old. His parents were Job
and Abigail (Rhodes) Greene. His father was the eldest son of Colonel
Christopher Greene, of the First Rhode Island Continental Regiment, and was
in the right of Colonel Greene, who was killed in the revolutionary war
prior to its formation, one of the members of the Rhode Island Society of
the Cincinnati. On the reorganization of this society some years ago, Simon
Henry Greene was admitted a member in the right of his father, and was
elected its vice-president, in which office he continued until his death.

The subject of this sketch was educated in the school of his native village,
at an excellent private school in Stonington, and finally by Mr. David
Aldrich, at Woonsocket, R.I. In 1813-14 he was employed by his
brother-in-law, Abner M. Warriner, who was then manufacturing cotton checks
in Hartford, Conn., and on his employer's death, returned home. In 1815 he
took up a permanent residence in Providence, remaining there until 1838,
when he removed to Clyde, in Kent county. His first business training was
in the house of Aborn & Jackson, who were merchants as well as
manufacturers, being eventually associated with them as agents of the
Lippitt Manufacturing Company, under the firm name of Aborn, Jackson &
Greene. In 1828 he formed a copartnership with Edward Pike, under the style
of Greene & Pike, for the purpose of bleaching and finishing cotton goods,
afterward adding printing machinery, which business he enlarged after the
death of Mr. Pike in 1842, having acquired, by purchase from the latter's
heirs, the sole ownership of the property now known as the Clyde Works.

Mr. Greene was a member of the Providence city council from 1835 to the time
of his removal to Warwick, in July, 1838. While a member of that body he
was one of the City Audit, and was prominent in remodeling the public school
system and in creating the office of superintendent, a system and office
which were afterward adopted, first by Boston and then throughout the
country. He was elected by the voters of his native town and final
residence, a representative in the general assembly in 1840 and 1842. On
the death of his partner, Edward Pike, in the latter year, he declined a
re-election, but subsequently represented the town four years in succession,
from 1851 to 1854, when he again declined a re-election. In 1857, however,
his fellow-citizens chose him to represent them as a senator in the general
assembly, and successively until 1859 he filled that honorable office. In
1860 he was elected a delegate to the chicago Republican Convention, and
voted first for Salmon P. Chase, and then for Abraham Lincoln as the nominee
for president of the United States. He was also chosen for a presidential
elector in 1864, and with his colleagues, voted for the re-election of Mr.
Lincoln. Mr. Greene also served as a member and as secretary for a part of
the time on the school committee of Warwick for fifteen years. He was
deeply interested in the cause of popular education, as evinced by his long
service in its behalf.

Besides the public offices enumerated above, there were many others bestowed
upon him by his friends and fellow-townsmen, such as director in financial
institutions, member of the town's committee on finance, the latter
especially during the trying times of the civil war, moderator of town
meetings, chairman of conventions acting in the transaction of public and
political affairs; and in all these his name was ever known as a synonym of
honor, uprightness and fidelity. It was through his sagacity, strict sence
of justice, and inflexible determination, that an act was passed by the
general assembly, while he was a member of one of its committees on finance,
that a tax was levied upon the deposits in savings institutions, which had
been hitherto exempt, and a handsome addition was made to the revenue of the
state, without doing injustice to the depositors in those institutions. It
is a somewhat remarkable fact, that Mr. Greene never sought a public office
and was never ambitious for political preferment, but believing that it was
the duty of every good and loyal citizen to serve his fellowmen to the best
of his ability whenever called by them to perform public duties, he
cheerfully, though at times reluctantly, particularly when he thought his
private interests might suffer in consequence, gave his time and talents for
the public good.

He was the last of the pioneers of the manufacturing industry of the north
valley of the Pawtuxet river, among whom were Colonel Ephraim Talbot,
Ex-Governors Charles Jackson and Elisha Harris, James De Wolf, Doctor Caleb
Fiske, Benjamin C. Harris, Charles, Colonel Christopher and William Lippitt,
Benjamin Aborn, George Jackson, Amasa and William H. Mason.

His father, Colonel Job Greene, was connected with a company for
manufacturing cotton in 1794, and transferred to the company land and water
power by a deed bearing the date October 3d, of that year. This was at
Centreville, on the southwest branch of the Pawtuxet. It is therefore seen
that the family of Simon H. Greene has been identified with cotton
manufacturing, by means of water power, almost from its very beginning.

Studious from early life, his mind was well stored with useful learning, and
his acquirements in general literature enabled him to write with both
clearness and vigor of expression. In reading his preference was for
religious philosophy and while yet a young man he received the religious
truths taught by the eminent and learned Emanuel Swedenborg, and finally
became a member of the the Providence Society of the New Jerusalem church,
commonly called Swedenborgians. His religious belief, founded as it was on
the plain teachings of the Holy Scripture, was in him the controlling cause
of all his acts. It had relation to his whole life, and its life in him
resulted in beneficient acts, in whatever position he was placed, whether in
his own home where he presided with gentle firmness, dignity, urbanity and
grace, mingled with the most affectionate care of his family and dependents,
or in the refinement, geniality and pleasures of social life, or in public
office, or in the affairs of his extensive business.

He was married March 13th, 1822, to Caroline Cornelia, eldest daughter of
Edward Aborn, of Providence. Their children wre: Edward Aborn, Henry
Lehre, Christopher Rhodes, William Rogers, John Waterman Aborn, Caroline
Cornelia, George Frederick (died in infancy), george Frederick (2d),
Charles, Francis Clinton and Abby Susan."

Beth Hurd
Johnston, RI USA


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