Rhode Island February 03, 2020
Few People Know The True History Of The General Nathanael Greene Homestead In Rhode Island
If you live in Rhode Island, you’re probably a bit of a history buff — after all, the Ocean State is full of
famous historical landmarks. But we also have some hidden treasures not many people are aware of, including the former home of a Revolutionary War general. The General Nathanael Greene Homestead is now a museum, but even some lifelong Rhode Islanders don’t know about it.
The General Nathanael Greene Homestead is located in Coventry, a little town in Kent County that's rich in history.
Coventry was first settled by English colonists in the early 18th century, when the town was part of Warwick.
The homestead, which was originally called Spell Hall, was built in 1770 by Nathanael Greene himself.
A few years later, Greene would marry Catharine Littlefield, and not long after that, he'd become a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War.
Greene had always though the Revolutionary War was inevitable.
He joined in the establishment of the Kentish Guards of East Greenwich, a military unit organized by charter of the Rhode Island General Assembly. This didn't bode well for his lifelong Quaker faith -- eventually, he was suspended from Quaker meetings.
Greene soon rose in the rankings, becoming a major general.
And here's what most people don't know -- he had a reputation of being General George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Everyone knows who George Washington is, but it's interesting that not nearly as many know of Greene.
Later on, Greene faced some serious debt from the war, mostly from the letter of credit he'd used to provide money for provisions for his troops.
He and his family sold the homestead to his brother and moved away. It stayed in the family for several generations until the Kent County Chapter of the Rhode Island Sons of the American Revolution purchased the property in 1919 and turned it into a museum.
Visiting the homestead is fascinating, especially when you find the cemetery down the hill from the property.
Most of the headstones belong to the family, but there are several from Revolutionary War soldiers who were being treated for smallpox at the homestead.
The General Nathanael Greene Homestead is open to the public for tours from April 1st - October 31st.
The cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children, and you'll learn all kinds of fascinating historical tidbits. During the open season, the homestead museum is open Friday - Monday.
Want to learn more about this story?
Visit the General Nathanael Greene Homestead this year. We love writing about fascinating off-the-beaten path places like this. If you have a favorite place you think we should cover, let us know.
Address: 50 Taft St, Coventry, RI 02816, USA