Saturday, March 30, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Greeley (Greele) of Salisbury, Massachusetts

My immigrant Greeley (Greele, Grele) ancestor is Andrew Greele (as it was spelled in early records) who was in Salisbury, Essex County, Massachusetts by 1640. He died there on June 30, 1697. His wife was Mary Moyce (or Moyse) and they had six children. All I know of his wife Mary is her name and death date of December 24, 1703, in Salisbury (found in Salisbury Vital Records).

Salisbury, Essex County, Mass.
Source: Wikipedia Commons
I am not sure where Andrew Greeley came from or exactly when he arrived in Massachusetts, but by 1640, he owned land on a river in the area of Salisbury which is now part of Seabrook, New Hampshire. By the early 1650's, he had built a sawmill there, which was run by three generations of Greeleys until 1747, when it was sold out of the family. Andrew's name appears in various records in both Salisbury and Haverhill (three towns to the left of Salisbury in the image to the right) throughout the latter half of the 17th century, including records having to do with committees appointed to "lay out the lines" between New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

He is also noted as operating other mills, as well as running a ferry at Haverhill. It appeared that he was financially comfortable until he had to sell his Haverhill property to pay the debts of his son Benjamin, who died in December 1690. The following spring, he returned to Salisbury to live with his son Andrew. He remained in Salisbury until his death June 30, 1697.

Andrew and Mary had six children: Philip, Andrew, Mary, Joseph, Benjamin, and Westwood. All except Andrew, who was born in Haverhill, were born in Salisbury (found in Haverhill and Salisbury Town Vital Records).

Each generation seemed to have large families and they reused names, so I always need to refer to my genealogy program to remember who is who. Note that in my line there are five Samuel Greeleys in a row, and only the fifth one was given a middle name! I am descended from Andrew and Mary's fourth child and third son, Joseph.

Generation 2: Joseph Greele (1651/52-1745) married Martha Willford in February 1694/95 in Haverhill. (There is disagreement about her surname, which is also found as Corliss.) They lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts for most of their lives, though he died just over the border in Hudson, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. They had ten children, all believed to be born in Haverhill. Their oldest son was Samuel.

Generation 3: Samuel Greele (1695-1771) married Rachel Robenson before 1721. He was born in Haverhill and died in Hudson, New Hampshire. According to the Greely-Greeley genealogy, he was a bricklayer. I have not researched Rachel's family. They had nine children, also all born in Haverhill. The oldest was Samuel.

Generation 4: Samuel Greele (1721-1802) married Abigail Blodgett in 1744. Her ancestors were in Chelmsford, Massachusetts for a couple of generations, though she was born in Haverhill and died and was buried in Wilton, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. They had six children, all born in Hudson, New Hampshire, and the fourth child (and second son) was Samuel.

Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Source: Wikipedia
Generation 5: Samuel Greele (1752-1798) married Olive Read in 1779. All I know of her is her dates and parents, Robert and Hannah. He was born in Hudson and died in Wilton, New Hampshire, where he is buried in Vale End Cemetery. According to the Greely-Greeley genealogy, he was killed by the fall of a tree. They had six children.

In the green-shaded image of New Hampshire at right, the dark green area represents Hillsborough County. In the county image to the right of that, the red town is Hudson and the yellow square indicates where Wilton is.

Generation 6: Samuel Greele (1783-1861), was married four times and fathered two children with his second wife, Louisa May. He was born in New Hampshire, graduated from Harvard College in 1802, and lived much of his life in Boston. He died in Swampscott, Massachusetts.

Generation 7: Samuel Sewall Greeley (1824-1916) seemed to be the first one in my line to regularly go by Greeley instead of Greele. See his obituary and read about his Civil War service.
Generation 8: Ethel May Greeley (1875-1931)
Generation 9: Lowell Townsend Copeland (1900-1974)
Generation 10: My mother
Generation 11: Me

Secondary sources that I have used to learn about this family include:

George Hiram Greeley, Genealogy of the Greely-Greeley Family (Boston, Mass.: 1905), which can be found at Google Books and the Internet Archive.

David W. Hoyt, The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts (Providence, R.I.: 1897), which can be found at Google Books.


  1. We are also from Andrew Greeley's line. Our family descends from Philip. We come from Minnesota though many of my own family have settled in Colorado.

    1. Hello cousin! There are probably lots of Andrew Greeley descendants, as I believe there were same large families in the early generations. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Hello! I'm descended from Andrew Greeley's line through his son Andrew. We are in Ohio!

    1. Hello cousin! We must be 8th or 9th cousins. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Thank you for this helpful information! I am also descended from Andrew, through the son Joseph, who would be my greatx8 grandfather. I've just started researching, so I have much to learn. It appears my family lineage has not strayed far from MA/NH for the past 300+ years. We are in Sterling, MA.

    1. I think it's interesting to see families that stay in or near one location for generation after generation. Although I've lived in Massachusetts all my life, neither my parents, nor my grandparents, nor my great grandparents were born here. But I've got plenty of New England roots earlier than that!
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. Hello Elizabeth,

    I too am descended from Andrew Greele and his son Andrew and wife Sarah Brown. I and my mother have been researching the Greeley Family for many years.

    David A. Greeley

    1. There must be a lot of us descendants of Andrew Greeley and as you can see, I mention the Greely-Greeley genealogy at the end of my post.

  5. Hi My husband is a descendant of Ann (Robin Ann) Greeley whose dad was Jonathan Greeley. I am trying to figure out how he is related to Andrew and would appreciate any help. I have it on good authority that he is.
    Also, Elizabeth I am a Goldstein and noticed that you are researching that.

    1. As I noted in the blog post, much of my information comes from the Greely-Greeley genealogy, which can be found online at Internet Archive and Google Books. As a secondary source, it's a good place to look for clues.

      My husband's mother is a Goldstein, but her father allegedly changed his name before immigrating from Romania to New York.

      Best of luck in your search and thanks for the comment.