The 275th birthday of Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene has been recently noted with celebration. He is a noted Rhode Island historical figure known beyond our borders. What is not known to many, for sure, is the close relationship he has with the notable Perry brothers, namely Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry.
They were sons of Christopher Raymond Perry, who was second cousin of Maj. Gen. Greene. It is notable that military figures like Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene, a leading personality of the American Revolution, and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, leading figure in the War of 1812, were closely related.
Christopher Raymond Perry’s sister, Elizabeth Raymond Perry, wife of Stephen Champlin, was an ancestor of first lady Frances (Folsom) Cleveland, wife of President (Stephen) Grover Cleveland. Edward Perry, an early settler to New England, has multiple well known descendants.
My fifth great-grandfather Simeon Perry, whom I have two descents from, was a second cousin of Maj. Gen. Greene also. Simeon Perry locally made his mark as the first town clerk in Hopkinton, and was an early town clerk in Richmond, among other activities. I have three lines from Simeon’s sister Elizabeth Perry, wife of Elisha Babcock. These lines are on my maternal side.
Lt. Col. Ruth M. Briggs, who served in World War II in the Women’s Army Corps, in 1966 was the first woman to be a United States Senate nominee of a major political party in Rhode Island. Running as a Republican she was defeated by U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, a Democrat, in his first re-election bid. Lt. Col. Briggs is also a descendant of both Simeon Perry and his sister Elizabeth.
Lt. Col. Briggs is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Ashaway, the Perry brothers in Island Cemetery in Newport, and Maj. Gen. Greene in Savannah, Ga.
I thought the readers of The Westerly Sun would like this information. I would note the work of author William Marion Wright for information I used for this letter.