William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
John Greenwood Journal, [after 1809]
James S. Schoff Revolutionary War CollectionFinding aid created by
Clements Staff and Meg Hixon, May 2012
John Greenwood journal
Greenwood, Clark, 1797-1838
This volume (7.5"x6") contains John Greenwood's memoirs about his experiences during the Revolutionary War (approximately 163 pages) and about his family and personal life (17 pages). During the war, Greenwood was a fife player with a Massachusetts regiment and served on privateers and other vessels in the Caribbean Sea. He originally composed his Revolutionary War memoirs in 1809; this item is a later copy made by his son Clark.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
John Greenwood Journal, James S. Schoff Revolutionary War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
John Greenwood was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 17, 1760, the son of Isaac Greenwood, a dentist, and his wife, Mary. From 1773 to 1775, he worked as an apprentice cabinetmaker under his uncle, Thales Greenwood of Portland, Maine, and he returned to Boston in early 1775. Greenwood enlisted as a fifer in Captain Theodore Bliss's company of the 26th Massachusetts Regiment on May 3, 1775, and he served for around 20 months. After 1777, he sailed in the Caribbean on vessels directed to intercept British ships. The British captured him on several occasions, though he escaped from prison each time. From February 13, 1778-May 13, 1778, he served as a fifer with John Hinkley's company of Lieutenant Colonel Symmes's guard detachment in Boston. After the war, Greenwood moved to New York, where he served as George Washington's dentist and influenced contemporary dental practices. He and his wife, Elizabeth Weaver, were married in 1788 and had 4 surviving children: Jane Weaver (1789-1861), Isaac John (1795-1865), Clark (1797-1838), and John William (1804-1838). John Greenwood died on November 16, 1819.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This volume (7.5"x6") contains John Greenwood's memoirs about his experiences during the Revolutionary War (approximately 163 pages) and about his family and personal life (17 pages). During the war, Greenwood was a fife player with a Massachusetts regiment and served on privateers and other vessels in the Caribbean Sea. Greenwood originally composed his Revolutionary War memoirs in 1809; this item is a later copy made by his son Clark.
After a brief note by Clark Greenwood, who transcribed his father's memoirs, the main narrative opens with John Greenwood's brief account of his early years in Boston and in Portland, Maine, and of the unrest that eventually led to the American Revolution (5 pages). Pages 5-51 consist of Greenwood's detailed recollections about playing the fife in a Massachusetts regiment in the Continental Army, and about his experiences in the military. After page 51, the memoirs focus on the interception of British ships in the Caribbean Sea, during which time Greenwood was captured as a British prisoner of war. In addition to his wartime experiences, he also briefly recounted some stories of his postwar life, such as the beginning of his dental practice (pp. 85-89). The remaining parts of the volume include a note by a Greenwood family member who had recently read the memoirs (January 11, 1894), and an additional 17-page autobiographical account by John Greenwood.
- Boston (Mass.)--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
- Caribbean Area--History--To 1810.
- Dentists--United States.
- Fife and drum corps.
- New York (N.Y.)
- United States. Continental Army. Massachusetts Regiment, 26th.
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Naval operations.
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Personal narratives.
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Prisoners and prisons.
- Greenwood, John, 1760-1819.
Additional Descriptive Data
Greenwood, John, and Isaac John Greenwood. The Revolutionary Services of John Greenwood of Boston and New York, 1775-1783. New York: [The De Vinne press], 1922.
Greenwood, John, and Isaac John Greenwood. The Wartime Services of John Greenwood: A Young Patriot in the American Revolution 1775-1783. A Record of Events Written During the Year 1809 at Such Leisure Moments as the Arduous Duties of a Professional Life Permitted the Dentist to His Excellency George Washington. Westvaco, 1981.
John Hinkley account book
Greenwood, Isaac J, and H. Minot Pitman. The Greenwood Family of Norwich, England, In America. [Concord, N.H.]: Priv. print. [Rumford press], 1934.
Krasner, David. "Greenwood, John." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press, 2000. DOI: 12-00350.
Massachusetts. Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. Volume VI: Fra-Gyp. Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Company, State Printers, 1899.
Arnold, Benedict, 1741-1807.Barbados, Naval Skirmish at, 1777.Boston Massacre, 1770.Boston Tea Party, 1773.Bunker Hill, Battle of, 1775.Caughnawaga (N.Y.)Cedars (Ont.)--Description.Dorchester Heights (Mass.)--Description.Education, Elementary.Fort Anne, (N.Y.)Gage, Thomas, 1719-1787.Gwynn's Island, Naval Skirmish at, 1781.Lechmere Point (Mass.)--Description.Lexington, Battle of, 1775.Manley, John, 1734-1793.Montreal (Que.)--Description.Privateers--West Indies.Putnam, Rufus, 1738-1824.Rall, Johann, 1720-1776.Saint Eustatius, Naval Skirmish at, 1781.Scalping.Sherburne, Henry, d. 1824.Shipwrecks.Soldiers--Great Britain--Conduct of Life.Supernatural.Ticonderoga (N.Y.)--Description.Tobago, Naval Skirmish at, 1781.Trenton (N.J.)--Description.United States. Army--Desertions.United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Casualties.United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Flags.United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--German mercenaries.United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Health aspects.United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Naval operations.United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Participation, Indian.United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Prisons and Prisoners.Washington, George, 1732-1799.