Notes on Greenleaf Family

 

Of the origin of the family, from all that can be gathered, it is believed that the ancestors of Edmund were Huguenots, the name being a translation of the French "Feuillevert." As the name has not been found among the English parishes, other than at Ipswich, County of Suffolk, England, it is believed that the family (Feuillevert) came as French refugees to England with many other Huguenots, who fled from their homes on account of their religious principles, and settled in England some time in the sixteenth century. Edmund Greenleaf was a silk-dyer by trade; a trade that does not appear among the English industries until about the time of the coming of the French refugees.

On the parish records of St. Mary's la Tour in Ipswich, County Suffolk, England, is recorded: "Edmund Greenleaf, son of John and Margaret, was baptized 2 Jan. 1574." This may be too early for the Edmund Greenleaf who came to America. Other sources suggest a birth date about 1590.

 

In 1634 he came to Massachusetts from England aboard the Mary and John. He was one of the first settlers to come by water to Newbury, Massachusetts. Agawan Plantation near Ipswich, Massachusetts. He had nine children in England. Newbury, Massachusetts freeman in 13 March 1638/9. 22 May 1639 he was permitted to keep a house of entertainment. Capt. later an Ensign was granted 122 acres. Lived by the old town bridge in Newbury. He also had a tavern. Com. of the General Court to end small businesses in 1642. By trade he was a silk-dyer. Removed to Boston about 1650; his dyehouse located by the spring 30 (5) 1655. His will dated 22 Dec. 1668, probated 12 (2) 1671.

Among the family relics still preserved is the cane brought to this country by Edmund Greenleaf; it bears the initials "J. G." on a silver band near the handle.

All of the nine children named in the chart, and whose baptismal records and deaths appear on the parish records of St. Mary's before mentioned, were born in England. Mr. Greenleaf lived near the old town bridge in Newbury, where for some years he kept a tavern. He was admitted a freeman on 13 March 1639,* and on 22 May of the same year was "permitted to keep a house of entertainment."

A freeman in the early days of the colonies was one who held the right of franchise. No one was allowed that right without first becoming a member of the church. The laws were made by a quorum of the "assistants" or "magistrates" sent out and commissioned by the company in London, which held the charter.

The law compelling church membership was passed by the 'assistants' in 1631. In 1676 five sixths of the people of Boston were non-voters, because they were not church members, and were thus shut out from any participation in the local government.

The name of Edmund Greenleaf appears: - June 1, 1642.-"On a commission of Newbury." Sept. 8, 1642.-"Ordered to send home an Indian woman." Sept. 27, 1642.-"On a committee to take charge of certain orders by the council." Nov. 11, 1647.-Requests his "discharge from military service." May 2, 1649.-On appraisement of real estate. (Massachusetts Bay Records, Vol. I. page 258; Vol.II. pages 16, 23, 30, 215, and 276).

Capt. Edmund Greenleaf moved to Boston with his wife Sarah about 1650 (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. VI. Page 102), where he buried his wife, and afterwards married Mrs. Sarah Hill, widow of - Wilson, 2d, of William Hill, of Fairfield, Connecticut, who had several children by her former marriage. This marriage was rather an unhappy one. In the early part of 1671 Mr. Greenleaf died. His will, a very curious document, written, as is supposed, by himself, was proved 12 Feb. 1671, and is recorded in the ' Probate Records' in Boston, in the volume for 1669 to 1674, page 112.

The following is a copy, the orthography being corrected: - 'In the name of God, Amen. The two and twentieth day of December, sixteen hundred and sixty-eight, I, Edmund Greenleaf, being mindful of my own mortality and certainty of death, and uncertainty of the same, and being desirous to settle things in order, being now in good health and perfect memory, do make, appoint and ordain this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following: that is to say-first and principally, I give and bequeath my soul into the hands of my blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, who hath died and gave himself for me, and his blood cleanseth from all sin, and through his righteousness I do only look for justification and salvation; and do commit my mortal body, after this life is ended, into the dust from whence it was taken, there to be preserved by the power and faithfulness of my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, until the resurrection of the just, and then to be raised up by the same power to immortality and life, where I shall see him as he is, and shall ever be with him; and in this faith and hope I desire, through his grace and assistance, to live and die, and at last to be found of him in peace.

'Nextly, my will is, being according to God's will revealed in his word, that we must pay what we owe and live of the rest, unto whose rule the sons of men ought to frame their wills and actions; therefore, my mind and will is, that my debts shall be truly and justly paid to every man to whom I shall be indebted, by my executors hereafter named.

'And first I do revoke, renounce, frustrate and make void all wills by me formerly made; and I declare and appoint this to be my last will and testament.

' Imprimis-I give unto my son Stephen Greenleaf, and to my daughter Browne, widow, and to my daughter Coffin, to each of them twenty shillings apiece. Item-I give unto my grandchild Elizabeth Hilton, ten pounds. Item-I give unto my grandchild Enoch Greenleaf, five pounds. Item-I give unto my grandchild Sarah Winslow, five pounds, if her father pay me the four pounds he oweth me. Item-I give unto my eldest son's son, James Greenleaf, twenty shillings; and after my funeral expenses, debts and legacies are discharged, I give and bequeath the rest of my estate unto my son Stephen Greenleaf, and to my daughter Elizabeth Browne, and to my daughter Judith Coffin, equally to be divided amongst them and their children. And, further, I desire and appoint my son, Stephen Greenleaf, and Tristram Coffin the executors of this my will, to see it executed and affirmed as near as they can; and I further entreat my cousin, Thomas Moon, mariner, to see to the performance of this my will.

"n witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this twenty-fifth day of December, 1668.

(Signed) EDMUND GREENLEAF

"Signed, sealed, published, and declared to be my last will in the presence of us,

"GEORGE RUGGELL", "JOHN FURNISIDE."

 

NOTE. In reading the personal sketches of some of our early ancestors it will be observed that little is said of individual characteristics, personal appearance, etc. Search has been made in vain for such accounts concerning Edmund Greenleaf and some others. Could we have found in these early days some such biographical material and correspondence as appears in our time it would have been more satisfying. We want to know more in detail, more of the life of those who so earnestly wrought out our early history, and gave form to our destinies, an insight to their chief characteristics, and to follow them, with the mind's eye, through all the vicissitudes of their life; to be with them in their storm and sunshine; that we may the better realize their trials, adversities, and joys, and catch at least a glimpse of the experiences of their sympathies and affections.7

He was also known as Capt. Edmund Greenleaf.8 He immigrated in 1635 to Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, New England.2 He was made a freeman on 13 March 1638 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, New England.9,2 As of 1642, he was also known as Lieutenant Edmund Greenleaf.10 He ended military service on 11 November 1647 in Massachusetts, New England; Requests discharge from military service.8 He and Sarah Moore emigrated circa 1650 from Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, New England.8 His marriage with Sarah Jurdaine was unhappy.11,12 He left a will on 25 December 1668 in Massachusetts, New England; Estate of Edmund Greenleaf of Newbury/Boston

Essex Probate Docket # None

In the name of God, Amen. The two and twentieth day of December, sixteen hundred and sixty-eight, I, Edmund Greenleaf mindful of my own mortality and certainty of death, and uncertain of the same, and being desirous to settle things in order, being now in good health and perfect memory, do make, appoint and ordain this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following; that is to say first and principally, I give and bequeath my soul into the hands of my blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, who hath died and gave himself for me and his blood cleanseth from all sin, and through his righteousness I do only look for justification and salvation; and do commit my mortal body after this life is ended, into the dust from whence it was taken there to be preserved by the power and faithfulness of my Redeemer Jesus Christ until the resurrection of the just, and then to be raised up by the same power to immortality and life, where I shall see him as he is, and shall ever be with him; and in this faith and hope I desire, through his grace and assistance, to live and die, and at last to be found of him in peace.

Nextly, my will is, being according to God's will revealed in the word, that we must pay what we owe and live of the rest unto whose rule the sons of men ought to frame their wills and actions; therefore my mind and will is that my debts shall be truly and justly paid to every man to whom I shall be indebted, by my executors hereafter named.

And first I do revoke, renounce frustrate and make void all wills by me formerly made ; and I declare and appoint this to be my last will and testament.

Imprimis - I give unto to my son Stephen Greenleaf, and to my daughter Browne, widow, and to my daughter Coffin to each I twenty shillings apiece.

Item - I give unto my grandchild Elizabeth Hilton ten pounds.

 

Item - I give unto my grandchild Enoch Greenleaf ten pounds.

 

Item - I give unto my grandchild Sarah Winslow, five pounds if her, father pay me the four pounds he oweth me.

 

Item - I give unto my eldest son's son, James Greenleaf, twenty shillings; and after my funeral debts and legacies are discharged,

 

I give and bequeath the rest of my estate unto my son Stephen Greenleaf, and to my daughter Elizabeth Browne and to my daughter Judith Coffin, equally to be divided amongst them and their children.

And, further, I desire ad appoint my son Stephen Greenleaf, and Tristram Coffin the executors of this my will see it executed and affirmed as near as they can; and I further entreat my cousin Thomas. Moon, mariner to see to the performance of this my will.

 

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this twenty-fifth day of December, 1668.

(Signed) EDMUND Greenleaf [L.S.]

Signed, sealed, published, and declared to be my last will in the presence of us,

George Ruggell John Furnside

 

 

The inventory of Mr. Greenleaf's estate, which was, appended to the will amounted to 131-5s-9d The following paper is also recorded in the "Probate Records," appended to the will, as, probably, assigning the reason why the name of his second wife, who appears to have outlived him, was not mentioned:

Source: Boston Probate Records 1669-1674, pg. 112 as printed in:Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, James Edward Greenleaf, Boston, 1896.13 He will was proven on 12 February 1671 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, New England.8

 

 

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