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Green Family Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: JEJ
Date: Nov 1970

Biographical History

Members of the Green family whose papers are found in this collection resided in Massachusetts, New York and South Carolina.The principal figures are Timothy Green and his son, Timothy Ruggles Green, both lawyers and merchants in New York City.

Timothy Green was the son of Dr. John Green of Leicester, who emigrated to America and married Mary Ruggles of Sandwich, Mass. The family settled in Worcester around 1770. Timothy graduated from Brown in 1786, married Mary Martin of Providence, and practiced law in Worcester briefly before moving permanently to New York City. He engaged in commerce and land speculation with brothers and branches of the Green family in Columbia, S.C. While returning from Charleston in December 1813, Timothy Green was lost at sea. Meltiah, a brother who had worked for him as a commission merchant, had died of yellow fever on the Island of St. Bartholomew four years earlier.

Timothy Ruggles Green inherited his father's legal practice and mercantile interests in New York City. He eventually formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, John W. Mitchell. Their trade and real estate transactions, however, were never on the grand scale of Timothy Green. Timothy Ruggles Green, who devoted much of his time to an equitable distribution of his father's estate among the family, died in December, 1840.

His mother, the widow of Timothy Green, supported herself by opening a boarding house and running a girl's academy in New York. Records in the collection indicate that the school was in operation between 1828 and 1834, and that two instructors were her daughters, Mary and Elizabeth.

Two genealogical charts, Green family (A) and Green family (B), give the family trees for John Green (1736-1799) and Timothy Green (1765-1813) respectively.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Green Family Papers are divided into three sections: correspondence; legal and financial records; and miscellany. The collection spans more than one hundred years (1774-1889), with the bulk falling between 1795 and 1840.

Correspondence, 1786-1889, includes letters mailed from New York City as well as Guilford, Niagara, Poughkeepsie, Red Hook, and Syracuse, New York; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Columbia, South Carolina. Subjects discussed in the correspondence include land and lumber transactions, financial affairs, legal matters, merchant reports, family affairs and the salt works in Onondaga County. In addition to a dozen members of the Green family, the correspondents include Asa Danforth (1 letter) and his son Asa Danforth, Jr. (16 letters), James E. Mott (2), Robert Swartwout (1) and Nicholas Ware (1). An index of correspondents, which also lists postmarks, is provided at the end of this inventory.

More than a dozen letters from Asa Danforth, Jr. to Timothy Green deal with commerce and industry around Lake Onondaga. The subjects under discussion include salt mining, land speculation and road building in the decade following 1797. At one time, Green seems to have been hounding Danforth for a disputed debt of more than $100,000. An unusually testy letter by Danforth reveals that he was in jail, and he then proceeds to lash out at Green, who apparently had a hand in his confinement.

Legal and financial papers, 1774-1861, are filed alphabetically under the names of their former owners. The largest sections are for Mary Martin Green, Timothy Green, Timothy Ruggles Green and John W. Mitchell. There is a special section of court suits, arranged by title. Items in the main section include bills and receipts, deeds and related land agreements, bank books, shipping papers, property inventories, debt summonses and wills.

The most important papers in the legal and financial section concern land sales between 1774 and 1840. The transactions dealt with extensive tracts in Connecticut, New York and Georgia. A recurring name in the documents is Asa Danforth, and the transactions often concern the development of the salt industry around Lake Onondaga. Aaron Burr is also mentioned on a few promissory notes. One document bears the signature of Timothy Green and DeWitt Clinton; it is an agreement of 1795 relating to 100,000 acres south of Lake Ontario. Another transaction, dated 1797, released 24,000 acres of land in Franklin County, Ga.

Among the quaint items in Miscellany are a broadside from 1851, the autograph of Cadwallader David Colden on an undated note, and several sheriff's warrants from Worcester County, signed by Judge Levi Lincoln.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is filed chronologically. Legal and financial papers are subdivided into general information and material relating to lawsuits; within these, material is arranged alphabetically. Miscellany is likewise arranged alphabetically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Danforth, Asa.
Green family -- Archives.
Green, Mary Martin.
Green, Mary Ruggles.
Green, Timothy Ruggles.
Green, Timothy.


Real property, Exchange of -- Connecticut.
Real property, Exchange of -- Georgia.
Real property, Exchange of -- New York (State)


Onondaga County (N.Y.) -- History.

Genres and Forms

Bills of sale.
Promissory notes.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Green Family Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 1965-1969.

Table of Contents


Legal and Financial


Selected index to correspondence


Selected index to correspondence