This "raiders" division of the Gaspee. Info website is devoted to information about the Raiders as individuals.

In this section of
Gaspee Raiders
Paul Allen
Ephraim Bowen
Aaron Briggs
Abial Brown
John Brown
Joseph Brown
Joseph Bucklin
Abel Easterbrooks
Nath. Easterbrooks
Capt. Samuel Dunn
Capt. Rufus Greene
Capt. Greenwood
Benjamin Hammond
Joseph Harris
Capt. John Hopkins
Justin Jacobs
Joseph Jencks
Hezekiah Kinnicut
John Kilton
Abner Luther
John Mawney
Simeon Olney
Ezra Ormsbee
Benjamin Page
Capt. S. Potter
Barzilla Richmond
Nath. Salisbury
Capt. Chris. Sheldon
Capt. Shepard
James Smith
Turpin Smith
Capt Swan
Robert Sutton
Capt. Jos.Tillinghast
Capt. Abr.Whipple
Qualification for List
Boat Captains
Raider Connections

Go to
Gaspee History
for history, overall facts, background, results, and analysis of the  1772 attack itself.


Books: American Colonial and Revolutionary War history or the people involved. We have suggestions for you.




Copyrighted.  ©  2005  to 03/17/2010 Leonard H. Bucklin.   -----  The content of this site may not be reproduced except for brief excerpts for reviews or scholarly references..   
Copyright Notices, Privacy Policy, and Warnings & Disclaimers.


This is a history education and research web site of the
Joseph Bucklin Society.

References in brackets [  ] or in curly brackets {  } on any page in this website are to books, or other materials, listed in the Joseph Bucklin Society Gaspee Bibliography, or to materials held by the Joseph Bucklin Society.

Capt. Rufus Greene

Every witness to the Gaspee affair who mentioned names included the name "Greene".

The Greene family were owners of the Fortune, seized by Dudingston, and had a strong grievance against him.  Among the goods seized (as smuggled goods) was some rum.  During the period of the Gaspee raid the Greenes were in the process of bringing a law suit against Dudingston for damages for their lost rum.  The initial part of this legal process was political and investigative.  That is, the Greenes and others asked the Rhode Island governor to discover the authority of the person commanding the Gaspee.  The Gaspee raid took place after the governor was unsuccessful is actually seeing any written authority of Dudingston to see a vessel in the colony's waters and then send the seized ship off to Boston. After the Gaspee raid, that lawsuit was successfully concluded with a jury verdict adjudging improper seizure by Dudingston and damages assessed against Dudingston.  [See Bryant 1967 at pp 65-71, which details the lawsuits the Greene family filed against Dudingston.]

The Gaspee sailors testified that during the capture of the Gaspee one man verbally harassed Dudingston about payment for rum.  Although in past times many merchants had rum seized by Dudingston, only the seizure of the rum on the Greene's ship Fortune was both recent and also the subject of a pending lawsuit against Dudingston for payment for the seizure.  Thus the mention by participants of a "Greene" being in the raiding party seems consistent with the historical background. The question is: which Greene?

  • Nathaniel, the owner of the rum; 
  • Jacob, the registered owner of the Fortune, or 
  • Rufus, Jr., the Fortune's master. 

Our thinking as to which Greene was in the Gaspee raiding party  involves three main points:

Nathaniel said he was not there that night. [Nathaniel's biographer (George Washington Greene) reports this and gives as his source a conversation with Ephraim Bowen.]

It was Rufus Jr. who was the captain on board the Fortune when it was sized by the Gaspee.

Jacob, much older and senior in the family business, normally would have been wasting his time being on a voyage where Rufus Jr. was the ship captain.  One family member, a ship captain, was sufficient to take care of the family business involved in a voyage.  Given the nature of the businesses of the family and the need to manage multiple ship voyages, it is highly unlikely that two Greenes would have been aboard the Fortune on the same voyage.

Gaspee crewperson Peter May, who was on the Gaspee both at the time of the Fortune confiscation and also the attack on the Gaspee,  stated that he saw the same "Greene" on the Fortune and also among the attackers [Staples pp.67 and 76].

Thus, we settle on Rufus Greene, Jr., as being the Gaspee Raider.

If Rufus Greene, Jr., was the Greene raider, the most likely situations are that he either was in port with a ship in Providence or else he had traveled 25 miles from his farmlands in East Greenwich to be there specifically for some business on 9 June 1772.  The later option fits with the conspiracy theory of John Concannon of the Gaspee Virtual Archives;  Concannon surmises that the Gaspee running aground was no accident, but rather a deliberate trap engineered by John Brown.

[References in brackets] on any page in this website  are to books, or other materials, listed in the Joseph Bucklin Society Library Catalog.] or to materials held by the Joseph Bucklin Society.

Rufus's January 1773 description of the confiscation of the Fortune, for which Dudingston was successfully sued after the investigating commission was completed, was as follows

I, Rufus Greene, Jr., of East Greenwich, in the colony of Rhode Island, mariner, depose and say; that some time in February last, I was on board of and commanded the sloop Fortune, lying at anchor in the Narragansett Bay, off North Kingstown, having a quantity of rum on board, belonging to Nathaniel Greene & Co., when one Dundass, an officer of the schooner Gaspee, under the command of Lieutenant Dudingston, came on board and asked this deponent if he would take any freight on board; to which this deponent answered no; he then ordered this deponent to unlay the hatches; and this deponent telling the said Dundass that said hatches were unlaid, he then ordered him into the cabin; and being demanded by what authority he thus did, replied, "If you do not go into the cabin I'll let you know," drawing his sword; he then caught this deponent by the collar, and pushed him into the cabin; this deponent then came out of said cabin, and went forward to prevent the anchor's being weighed; he then clenched upon this deponent again, thrust him into the cabin, jammed the companion leaf upon his head, knocked him down upon a chest in said cabin, and confined him there for a considerable time; after this deponent entreating the said Dundass to let him free, he did so, and made a seizure of the said vessel and cargo, (as he said,) and put the letter "R" upon her hatches; then towed said sloop to said schooner (it being calm) with three boats. This deponent being commanded aboard the schooner aforesaid, obeyed; went before said Lieutenant Dudingston, and after some conversation, was ordered from his presence and confined in the gangway; this deponent asked said Dudingston if he had a commission to seize, &c., to which said Dudingston answered that he had a good commission from his Majesty, but showed none. The next day this deponent was put on board another vessel, and further saith not. RUFUS GREENE, Jr.

KENT, ss. EAST GREENWICH, Jan. 14th, 1773.

Personally appeared the above deponent, Rufus Greene, Jr., and being cautioned to speak the truth made solemn oath upon the Evangelists of Almighty God, that the before going narrative is true in all its parts.

Coram, HOPKINS COOKE, Justice P

Rufus, Jr., was the son of Rufus Greene, Sr., who was born on 2 Jun 1712 in East Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island. He died on 11 Dec 1784 in East Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island. He was the son of Jabez Greene (1673)

The senior Green brothers. Rufus, Jacob, Nathaniel, and Thomas.

Rufus Greene, Sr.,  was one of the senior Green brothers who did business under various firm names from the 1770's until the 1800's, including the names Jacob Greene & Co. and Nathaniel Greene & Co

The Greene brothers were an important merchant company of the time and in area around Pawtuxet, with their ships using Apponanug Cove.  Most of the land along the actual Apponanug Cove was owned by Jacob Greene & Co. The Greenes had buildings in Providence for their merchant shipping activities.  James, Nathaniel, and Thomas Greene all held property in Providence at the time. [1770 List of Providence Taxpayers]  The Greenes  used the seaport of Apponanug for docking and fitting out their ships which they sent in the triangular and coastal trades . The Greenes not only had ships and farms, but also a grist mill, sawmill, ironworks, wharfs and warehouses.

Nathaniel (shown at left) was the Greene  who many regard as the most important general in the Revolutionary WarAdditional knowledge about the important Greene family is available, after thirty years of effort, in the Papers of Major-General Nathaniel Greene. . The 13 volume publication by the Rhode Island Historical Society  not only documents the achievements of one of Rhode Island’s most distinguished sons, but also adds a wealth of information for   the study of colonial Rhode Island and of the American Revolution.

Major General Nathaniel Greene (1742-1786).

The Greenes were one-quarter owners of the Hope Furnace, an enterprise in which the Browns, the Greenes, and the Hopkins families were the owners.  In addition the Greenes were the owners of a forge near the Hope Furnace, which forge was famous for supplying anchors for ships of New England.

The Senior Green Brothers were:

  1. Brother Rufus Greene was for many years a successful sea captain and merchant.  However, he became the  manager of the Hope Furnace, a full time occupation normally not allowing for absences of several days.  As Rufus Sr. no longer was available for chip master duties, his son Rufus Jr., became a ship captain in the Greene family enterprises.  It was Rufus Jr., who was the captain of the ship Fortune that was seized by Lt. Dudingston's ship Gaspee, as noted above.
  2. Brother Jacob was the owner of record of the ship Fortune..
  3. Brother Nathaniel Greene was the owner of record of the cargo of 12 hogshead of rum that were seized.   This Nathaniel Greene was born in 1707, and was the father of the Nathaniel Green who was born in 1742. The son, b. 1742,  although publicly accused, vehemently denied having been a participant in the Gaspee affair when asked sometime after the Revolution had started.  Indeed, a letter from E. Brown To Artemas Ward survives which places this younger Nathanial Green with Ward in Boston on the night the Gaspee was attacked, only traveling to Providence the following day.  See Lee Patrick Anderson, Forgotten Patriot: the life and times of Major-General Nathaniel Green. This younger Nathanial is the one who went on to become General George Washington's second-in-command during the later part of the Revolution.
  4. Brother Thomas was one of the signers of the complaint against Dudingston that resulted in Governor Wanton requesting Dudingston to appear before him with his authority for what he was doing in the Rhode Island waters, even before the seizure of the Fortune and its rum.  

Genealogical Notes.

The Rufus Greene who was the raider was Rufus Greene, Jr., who born on 17 Mar 1747/48 in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He died in 1831 in Houndsfield, New York. He married Margaret Buckout [Buckhart]  on 10 Jul 1768 in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess, New York. Margaret was born about 1745 in East Greenwich, Rhode Island and died in Apr 1831 in Houndsfield, New York. They had the following children: John 1768 - 1837;  Nancy born 1770;  Phylotte born on 20 May 1772, died on 6 Jan 1866 in Salt Lake City, UT; James born in 1774; Caleb was born in 1775

Rufus Greene, Sr., was born  2 Jun 1712 in East Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island. He died on 11 Dec 1784 in East Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island. Rufus Sr. married Martha Russell on 13 Mar 1735 in Rhode Island. Martha Russel was born on 24 Jun 1716 in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts. She died on 30 Sep 1770 in East Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island.  They had 14 children, including: Abraham, Russell,  Phebe, Mary, Joseph, Rufus Jr., William, Caleb, Charles, Stephen, Martha, Jonathan, David,  and another Martha Greene

Rufus Greene Sr. (b. 1712) was the son of Jabez Greene (b. 1673) and the brother of Nathaniel Greene (b. 1707).  Thus, the named proprietor of Nathaniel Greene & Co, the owner of the run, was the uncle of raider Rufus Greene.