Timeline - William Batchelder Greene

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Wm. B. Greene Timeline & Miscellany


  • April 4: William B. Greene born in Haverhill, MA. Records show the name as "Green," and this is probably before WBG's father changed his own name from Peter Nathaniel Green to Nathaniel Greene.


  • Mary Gardiner Greene born in Haverhill, MA.
  • In 1831, the Greenes moved to Boston, where Nathaniel established the American Statesman.


  • May(?): WBG enters Chauncy Hall School, Boston, G. F. Thayer, principal.


  • May: WBG leaves Chauncy Hall School, enters Haverhill Academy, Haverhill, Ebenezer Smith, Jr., principal.


  • October: WBG leaves Haverhill Academy.
  • October 9: WBG sets out from NYC, en route to Havre and then Paris. Accompanying him is E. Henderson Otis (Mrs. H. G. Otis, Jr.). He stays with a relative, Mr. Welles, and attends school. He is in France until at least Nov. 17.


  • March 21: WBG accepts appointment to military academy at West Point.
  • July 1: WBG admitted to West Point.
  • July: in The Military and Naval Magazine, "List of the cadet appointments for 1835, to enter the military academy between the first and twentieth June" includes "William B. Green, of Suffolk county [MA]."


  • July 1: WBG withdraws from West Point.


  • November 3: in Niles Weekly, report of WBG's appointment to 7th Infantry. [p. 159]


  • July 1: WBG appointed 2nd Lt., 7th Infantry, US Army.
  • July 11: in Army and Navy Chronicle, notice of appointment of "Wm. B. Green."
  • December 14: in Senate Executive Journal, "William B. Greene, of the State of Massachusetts, to be 2d lieutenant, 1st July 1839." p. 230


  • February 9: stated date of composition of William B. Greene's "Song of Espousal," "Fort Russell, East Florida."
  • June 23: in Senate Executive Journal, M. Van Buren nominates "Nathaniel Greene at Boston" for the post of "deputy postmaster." p.293
  • November 19: in Army and Navy Chronicle, William B. Greene's "Song of Espousal" reprinted for The Token for 1841. [source: Boston Evening Gazette] [p. 334]


  • early November: WBG returns to Boston.
  • November 9: Ralph Waldo Emerson mentions Greene's return in letter to Margaret Fuller. The same day, Fuller asks, in a letter to Emerson, "how do you like our military-spiritual-heroico-vivacious phoenix of the day?" The reference is to Greene, who is already a favorite of Elizabeth Palmer Peabody.


  • April 1/2: Emerson writes to Greene via Elizabeth Peabody. Greene has been attempting to schedule a meeting with Emerson. Emerson suggests April 4.
  • April 4: WBG's 23rd birthday. According to a letter to Emerson, written that day, he has a prior commitment to spend the day with Ida Russell (a participant in some of Fuller's conversations.) He asks to visit Emerson April 7.
  • April 7: The meeting with Emerson apparently takes place.
  • October 12: WBG accepted as "resident student" at Newton Theological Institution. He will concentrate on research as he tries to determine his proper religious vocation.
  • November 25: Emerson, in a letter to Frederic Hedge, reports that WBG preached at Orestes Brownson's Society for Christian Union and Progress "a week or more since."


  • February 1: in Christian Reflector, "William B. Green, Boston" is listed among "resident students" at Newton Theological Institution. [p. 20]



  • July 26: in Christian Register, account of the Annual Visitation and Exhibition, Friday, July 18, at the Cambridge Divinity School. William B. Greene was 8th among presenters. with "The Scholastic Philosophy in Connection with Christianity." [p. 118]
  • August: in Monthly Religious Magazine, "Annual Visitation of the Cambridge Divinity School," announces graduates and dissertations, including, "The Scholastic Philosophy in Connexion with Christianity," by Mr. William B. Greene. [p. 286]
  • September: in Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, notice of Cambridge Visitation. [p. 280]
  • November 8: in Christian Register, "Ordination," "On Wednesday last, Rev. William B. Greene, recently of the Theological School, Cambridge, was ordained as Pastor of the First Congregational Church of South Brookfield. The Council assembled at 10 o'clock, of which Rev. Dr. Thompson of Barre was chosen Moderator, and opened the meeting with Prayer. The public religious services were introduced with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Allen of Northborough. Selections from the Scripture were read by Rev. Samuel May of Leicester. The sermon was preached by Rev. James F. Clarke of Boston from II. Cor. iv. 13. 'We also believe, and therefore speak.' The Ordaining Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Wellington of Templeton. The Charge by Rev. Dr. Parkman of Boston. The Right Hand of Fellowship by Rev. Mr. Nute of Petersham. The Address to the People by Rev. Alonzo Hill of Worcester. The Benediction by the Paster. The services were attended by a numerous assembly, and we rejoice in the good prospects of that ancient and respectable Society." p. 178
  • December 22: Marriage of William B. Greene and Anna Blake Shaw, at the New North Church.


March: in Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, notice of William B. Greene's participation in the ordination of Rev. Frederick Henry Bond, January 7, in Barre, MA. [p. 316] In The Monthly Religious Magazine, notice of February 4 ordination of Hubbardston, MA. Reading of the Scriptures by William B. Greene. [p. 142] June 27: in Christian Register, "Sunday School Convention at Templeton," reports "Short addresses were then made by Rev. . . . Green of South Brookfield. . . ." p. 103 September 14: Elizabeth "Bessie" Greene, daughter of William Batchelder Greene and Anna Blake Shaw Greene, born, Brookfield (?), MA. [familysearch.org]


  • October 9: in the Christian Register, William B. Greene responds to "A Personal Trinity" (Boston Recorder, August 12, 1847) with a short letter. [SCAN IN FULL]
  • November 20: in the Christian Register, William B. Greene's second reply to the author of "A Personal Trinity."


  • February 26: in Christian Register, "Personal Experience," extracts from Greene's The Incarnation. [p. 2]
  • April 22: in Christian Register, reports ordination on April 12 of Rev. G. W. Weeks, "recently of Brookfield, having been * invited to and accepted the Pastoral charge of the Unitarian Society in Pomfret, Vt., at their request he was ordained by a Council convened by the First Congregational Church in Brookfield--Rev. W. B. Greene, Pastor. . . . Charge by Rev. W. B. Greene. . . . Mr. Weeks has been a much respected and successful Minister of the Methodist denomination, in Brookfield." [source: Springfield Republican] [p. 67]
  • May: in Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, a review of Greene's The Incarnation. [p. 466-7]

June: in The Monthly Religious Magazine, a report of the Ministerial Conference at "Church of the Savior," Wednesday, May 31. "Rev. W. B. Green designated the diversities that obtain among Unitarians, and took the ground that no man denying the Resurrection is theologically a Christian. Adjourned." [p. 288]

  • July: in The Monthly Religious Magazine, account of installation of Rev. Ephraim Nute, June 21. Sermon by Rev. Mr. Greene of Brookfield. [p. 334]
  • August 12: in Christian Register, notice of donations to the American Unitarian Association includes: "From Rev W B Greene of Brookfield for Tracts 10.00." [p. 131]
  • September: in Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, a short review of Remarks in Refutation of Jonathan Edwards. [p. 307]
  • September 9: in Christian Register, "We rejoice to know that a young preacher, by the name of Penniman, who has studied with Rev. W. B. Greene of Brookfield, is about to devote himself to the care of the church at Savannah, that he will receive ordination as an Evangelist, and take charge of the society sometime in the next month. Dr. Penniman has been quite acceptable in the practice of medicine in Worcester county, and confidently trust will be blest now as a Physician of souls." [p. 147]
  • October 7: in Christian Register, reports ordination as an Evangelist of Dr. J. Allen Penniman. ". . . charge by Rev. Mr. Green, of Brookfield. . . . Dr. Penniman has been a respectable physician in Brookfield. . . ." [p. 163]

November: in Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, another report of Rev. J. Allen Penniman's ordination, September 29, in Worcester. Sermon by Rev. William B. Greene, from Hebrews viii. 5. [p. 472] Also noted in The Monthly Religious Magazine, p. 525.


  • May: in Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, short notice of Greene's Letter to Eber Carpenter. [p. 516-7]

October: in The Rural Repository, "Notes by the Way" (Prisoner's Friend) reports, "Leaving Brookfield, we called on our devoted friend, Rev. Mr. Greene, in the South parish. We were kindly received here and encouraged in our labors, not by good words only, but by something more substantial." p. 85

  • November 24: in Christian Register, a review of Equality. [SCAN IN FULL]
  • December: in The Massachusetts Quarterly Review, notice of the publication of Equality, with the note: "This is a valuable and keen criticism of the Currency, and Institutions, and Practices, connected with it, showing how easily Capital prevails over Labor. We regret to have no space for extracts." Josiah Warren's Equitable Commerce, 2nd ed., is also noted. [p. 160]


  • March: in The Massachusetts Quarterly Review, "Two New Trinities," a review of George F. Simmons' The Trinity: its Scriptural Foundation and the early construction of Church Doctrines respecting it, and William B. Greene's A New Gnosis. PP196-200 cover Greene's text. [SCAN FULL TEXT]
  • March 16: in Christian Register, "A corresponent of the Lowell Advertiser, writing from Washington, states that Mr. Nathaniel Green, after eighteen years' service as Postmaster of Boston, has, within a few days, closed his account of millions with the post office department, and upon a final settlement received a check for seven hundred dollars and the thanks of the head of the department for the faithful discharge of his duties and the prompt settlement of his accounts." p.43
  • July 13: in Christian Register, reports ordination of Mr. Francis Le Baron as "Evangelist and minister at large" in Worcester, MA. "Charge, by Rev. Wm. B. Greene of Brookfield." p. 111
  • August: in The Monthly Religious Magazine, a report of the ordination of Francis Le Baron.
  • September: in Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, yet another report of the ordination of Francis Le Baron. [p. 316]
  • October: in The Rural Repository, "Notes by the Way" (Prisoner's Friend) reports, "S. BROOKFIELD. Rev. Mr. Greene here has aided us from year to year, and expressed the deepest interest in our cause." p. 96
  • November: in Monthly Religious Magazine, "Intelligence," reports on the Autumnal Convention in Springfield, MA, Oct 15-17. SELECTIONS: "Rev. Mr. Greene of Brookfield asked, how men could be brought to recognize these truths; what was meant by coming to and humbling the soul before Christ?" [p. 520-528] [SCAN IN FULL]


  • May: in Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany, notice of Christian Hymns for Public and Private Worship, 26th ed. Boston: Crosby & Nichols. Includes contributions from "Rev. W. B. Greene's . . . Brookfield, Mass." [p. 535]



July 22: in the Liberator, a report of the debate in the Massachusetts State Constitutional Convention, Tuesday, July 12, including William B. Greene's speech. [SCAN IN FULL] Augest 19: in the Liberator, on page 131, under the heading "POLITICAL RIGHTS OF WOMEN," notice of Greene's speech of July 12, published in full on page 153. "Our readers will find, on our last page, a very able defence of the right of the Women of Massachusetts to vote upon the adoption of the amended Constitution of the State, by Rev. WILLIAM B. GREENE, of Brookfield. It was made in the Convention; and if right, not might--reason, not prejudice--justice, not precedent--had prevailed, its appeals would have been as successful as they are unanswerable. Mr. Greene makes his democracy a matter of PRINCIPLE, and deserves the credit which belongs to an honest, consistent and outspoken man."


August 14: in the Liberator, "Collections for the Anti-Slavery Society" includes $100 from "Anna Shaw Greene, Jamaica Plain. [p. 131]

  • November 20: in the Liberator, a notice and review of The Radical Deficiency of the Existing Circulating Medium. [p. 186] [SCAN IN FULL]
  • December: in The Monthly Religious Magazine and Independent Journal, a short review of The Radical Deficiency of the Existing Circulating Medium: "Half a dozen years ago, several citizens of Brookfield, of whom Mr. Greene was the leading and directing mind, presented a paper to the State Legislature, praying permission to establish a mutual bank, for which the property of all stockholders should be pledged, to an extent not exceeding three quarters of its real amount, and whose bills should be redeemable, at all their places of business, not in specie, but in all manner of goods. The plan and the argument here offered have an ingenious amplification and defense in this compact volume. In moeny or metaphysics, in banking or in abstract contemplation, Mr. Greene's intellect is equally ready, energetic, brilliant, and "impracticable." If the book--which is virtually a bright criticism on may points of political economy, as well as a special plea--is not read in such times as these, the author may well despair of a hearing." [p. 432]


January: in The North American Review, a notice of the publication of The Radical Deficiency of the Existing Circulating Medium. [p. 299] December 22: Francis Parkman writes from Paris to his sister, Molly, "I am well lodged, Hotel de France, 239 Rue St. Honore—I have felt much better since arriving. I find abundant occupation for the winter. I often see Anna Greene, and have been at Howland's and Mrs. Wharton's. For the rest, I shun Americans like the pest. I have not even given my address to my bankers, Hottinguer & Co., to whom please direct. I tell them to send my letters to Wm. Greene."


  • January: in The North American Review, a notice of the publication of The Radical Deficiency of the Existing Circulating Medium. [p. 299]
  • January 19: Francis Parkman writes from Paris to his sister, Molly, "I see Anna Greene almost daily. Greene is a capital fellow, and nothing of a parson."


  • September 12: in The Independent, "Incidents of the 14th Massachusetts Regiment," two examples of troop discipline under Col. William B. Greene. [p. 3]


  • January 16: in The Round Table. A Saturday Review of Politics, Finance, Literature, Society, mention of "Nose of a Notary," published by Loring and translated by "a daughter of Col. Greene, of the Post." [p. 78]



  • March 1: in American Literary Gazette and Publishers' Circular, a notice of the publication of The Theory of the Calculus. [p. 252] Repeated March 15, p. 285.
  • July 1: in The Literary World; a Monthly Review of Current Literature, a notice of the publication of The Theory of the Calculus, by Wm. B. Greene. [p. 31]


  • May: in The Religious Magazine and Monthly Review, notice of Transcendentalism, 4th edition, and The Facts of Consciousness and the Philosophy of Mr. Herbert Spencer: These "are the titles of two remarkable pamphlets by Mr. William B. Greene, and will furnish what William Corbett would call "a bone to gnaw," to those who have a liking for such hard problems in Psychology. We look upon Mr. Greene as an able and independent writer, less satisfactory, perhaps, than he would be were it not for the slight excess of individualism which marks his productions." [p 544]
  • May 1: in American Literary Gazette and Publishers' Circular, notice of The Facts of Consciousness and the Philosophy of Mr. Herbert Spencer. [p. 14]
  • August 1: in American Literary Gazette and Publishers' Circular, notice of the publication of Transcendentalism, 4th edition. [p. 187]
  • November: in Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, notice of the publication of Transcendentalism, 4th edition. [p. 528]



April: in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, a short review of The Blazing Star [p 95-6] [SCAN IN FULL]



  • May 7: Bessie Greene and Susan Dimock die in wreck of the Schiller, off the Scilly Isles.
  • May 11: in New York Times, "Miss Susan Dimock, M.D., of Boylston street, Boston, and Miss Bessie Green, daughter of Col. W. B. Green, of the same city, were well known there and highly respected. Hopes are still entertained of their having survived the terrible disaster, because Miss Dimock was an excellent swimmer. [p. 1, col. 5] Also, "The following dead have been indentified:. . . Miss S. Dimock." [p. 1, col. 4]

Socialistic, Communistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments (1875):

    • June 1: in The Literary World; a Monthly Review of Current Literature: "These 'Fragments' are a series of Essays on the before name questions, by a representative American writer and thinker. The advance ground taken, the vigorous thought displayed, and the finely cultivated style of the author will interest numerous readers, who will find very much that is valuable within these pages." [p. 2]
    • June 24: in the New England Evangelist: "This book is well described by its title. Its author, Col. Green, has his own independent views, and as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Labor Reform League, has said much at different times to indicate the fact. With much he says we agree, and with much we disagree. But the author is evidently an honest thinker, and entitled to a hearing. His use of English renders his thoughts sufficiently perspicuous." [p. 2]
    • July: in The Unitarian Review and Religious Magazine: a short notice. [p. 112]



  • November 29: Death of Nathaniel Greene.


  • July 9: in letter to Sarah Shaw, Lydia Maria Child writes, "Dear Bessie Green's rule never to separate a mother from her illegitimate child was a wise provision for this craving of human nature." [Child, Selected Letters, p. 552.]
  • October: in The New-England Historical and Genealogical Register, Charles Carleton Coffin's "Memoir of Nathaniel Greene" provides one of the best biographical sources available to date. Portions are taken from a history of Boscawen and Webster, NH. A daughter of Charles Gordon Greene, Mrs. Charlotte G. Cunston, is identified. [pp 373-8] [SCAN IN FULL + PORTRAIT]


  • September 24: in The Literary World; a Monthly Review of Current Literature, a mention of Three Vows and Other Poems, by William Batchelder Greene [II]. [p. 331]
  • November: in The Dial; a Semi-monthly Journal of Literary Criticism, Discussion, and Information, a mention of ]]Three Vows and Other Poems]]. [p. 156]
  • December: in The Californian, a mention of Three Vows and Other Poems. [p. 537]


  • April 28: in The Literary World; a Monthly Review of Current Literature, a mention of Cloud Rifts at Twilight, by William Batchelder Greene [II]. [p. 142]
  • May 24: in the Christian Union, a short, positive review of Cloudrifts at Twilight," by William Batchelder Greene [II]. [p. 663]
  • May 26: in The Literary World; a Monthly Review of Current Literature, a short review of Cloudrifts at Twilight: "We have made a conscientious effort to discern either rhyme or reason in the Cloudrifts at Twilight of William of William Batchelder Greene [G. P. Putnam's Sons. $1.25], and have had difficulty in finding either. Flashes of reason there are now and then and even occasional revelations of a definite purpose, but most of the productions in the volume seem like the incoherent ravings of delerium." [p. 167]
  • July: in The Catholic World, A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science, a short review of Cloudrifts at Twilight: "Mr Greene's verses are beautifully printed on admirably thick paper. It grieves us not to find anything more hearty to say by way of recommendation of his volume. Considered as a poet, we dare not recommend him to take comfort in the thought he has embodied in his "Heart of Grace." "Oblivious fame," we fear, will go on sleeping, let him raise his voice never so high and pile up the "numbers of his songs" until they resemble Pelion upon Ossa. Fame is rather deaf to poets in our generation anyhow. They multiply like rabbits in Australia under the fancied necessities of so many monthly magazines, and though a good many of them manage rhyme and rhythm with more facility and correctness than Mr. Greene, and though they constitute a mutual admiration society, most of them, being "critics" as well, it is more than doubtful that fame will consent to carry the burden they impose upon her beyond their tombstones. Mr. Greene's will hardly go so far." [p. 571]