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C.N. Grinnell Genealogy

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The Grinnell Family has a long and interesting genealogy, and we are currently working a project to trace back the roots of our carving heritage. C.N. or Clarence Nathaniel, Grinnell described a 400-year heritage of craftsman and woodcarvers in his family.

Courtesy of the Grinnell family, we received this lineage tracing C.N. Grinnell back as far as 1590, but we're still collecting details on just how many generations of carvers and woodworkers existed in the various forks of his family tree. We welcome anyone's help in tracing this past, and mapping the transition of the Grinnell craftsman to the Saperstein line.

Please contact us if you have any corrections or additions!


Generation 1

1. Matthew 1 GREENELL was born about 1590 probably at England. Matthew died before 1643 at Newport, RI. He married Rose FRENCH 27 Aug 1615 at Lexden, Essex, England. She was born about 1590 probably at England. Rose died about 1673 at Portsmouth, RI.

2. i. Rose GREENELL, christened 21 May 1616 at St. Leonards Parish, Lexden, Essex, England.

3. ii. Matthew GREENELL, christened 18 Jul 1619 at St. Leonards Parish, Lexden, Essex, England, died 1620 at England.

4. iii. Mary GREENELL, born before 15 May 1622 at England, christened 15 May 1622 at St. Leonards Parish, Lexden, Essex, England.

5. iv. Thomas GREENELL, christened 20 Jun 1630 at St. Botolphs Parish, Colchester, Essex, England, died at Portsmouth, RI. Thomas raised the children of his nephew John MANCHESTER 1688.

+ 6. v. Matthew GREENELL, born after 1630, died about 1705.

+ 7. vi. Daniel GREENELL, born about 1636, died before 1709.

+ 8. vii. Mary GREENELL, born before 1640, died 1703.

Matthew was admitted as a resident to Newport (probably closer to Portsmouth) on 6 Aug 1638, and died sometime after. His widow Rose remarried twice afterward

Many books and articles have been written about Matthew over the years, mostly following the line that Matthew was a French Huguenot, of noble birth, born in 1602 at Macon, France, who came to the new world to escape religious persecution. Much new information has come to light from research performed in the late 1980s by Grinnell Jones, Jr., and William J. Cleaver, who independently and nearly simultaneously discovered marriage records for Matthew and Rose, and baptism records for four of their children in Essex County,England. Please refer to this books foreword, written by Edsel W. Grinnell, which discusses the origins of Matthew Greenell in much more detail.

Research continues on this line. Some information recently (1997) uncovered by Grinnell Jones Jr. of Salt Lake City, UT points toward the name of the actual ship upon which the Greenell family may have sailed to the new world, based on some records referring to the presumed brother of Matthews wife, Rose French Greenell. The information is so sketchy that it would be inappropriate to publish at this time, but there will likely be an article in the Grinnell Family Association Official Newsletter in 1997 or 1998 detailing Mr. Jones research and findings.

Generation 2

7. Daniel 2 GREENELL(Matthew 1) was born about 1636 probably at RI. Daniel died before 1709 at Little Compton, RI. He married Mary WODELL 1663 at Little Compton, RI. She was born about Nov 1640 at Boston,MA.She was the daughter of William WODELL and Mary. Mary died before 1701 at Portsmouth, RI.

They had 3 children:

+ 12. i. Daniel GRINNELL, born 1664, died 7 Jan 1741.

+ 13. ii. Richard GRINNELL, born 1669, died 1 Jul 1725.

+ 14. iii. Jonathan GRINNELL, born 18 May 1670, died 1742.

From an unpublished manuscript by Edsel W. Grinnell: Dannel/Daniel Greenell (as he is usually found on deeds) was the youngest son of Matthew and Rose (French) Greenell. His birth date and place are not known, with 1636 the year most commonly accepted and Massachusetts the most likely place. However, it is conceivable that he was born in England prior to his parents coming to America, perhaps as early as the mid 1620s.

Though his father is first recorded in Newport, RI (6 Aug 1638), Daniel apparently spent his youth in Portsmouth, RI (north end of Aquidneck Island). His first deed is recorded in Portsmouth, dated 4 Nov 1656. He was declared a freeman on 8 Jun 1657. About 1663, Daniel married Mary Wodell. Daniel and Mary resided in Portsmouth until about 1679 when they moved to Little Compton, RI on the east side of Narragansett Bay. While in Portsmouth, Daniel served in various civic capacities, such as Deputy to the General Assembly, juryman, constable, etc.

A number of deeds are recorded in Little Compton for Daniel Greenell with one deed of sale showing the property involved was a part of a purchase by him in March 1679.

Daniel is recorded by the Society of Colonial Wars as a Trooper in King Phillips War (1675-76), serving out of Rehobath, Massachusetts. His life span in this record is given as 1641-1703.

Austin and Emery record Daniel as a Malster (one who grew grain for and made malt).The last deed involving Daniel was made 6 Jul 1703 when he deeded land to his son, Richard. There is no record of death or burial for either Daniel or Mary. In all probability, this would be Little Compton. Wiley B. Grinnell reported in his book 500 Years of Grinnells (1977) that Mary (Wodell) lived to be more than 85. This information came from an account rendered by her daughter-in-law Patience (Emery) Grinnell, dated 25 Jun 1727.

Mary is a descendent of 10 signers of the Magna Carta in 1215.

J. O. Austins book Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (1887) offers this chronology:

24 Nov 1636


31 Mar 1658




5 Apr 1679

9 Nov 1681

31 Dec 1683


20 Jan 1688

5 Jan 1694

6 Jul 1703

Generation 3

13. Richard GRINNELL (Daniel, Matthew) was born 1669 at Portsmouth, RI. Richard died 1 Jul 1725 at Little Compton, RI. He married Patience EMERY 25 May 1704 at RI. She was born 1682 at Little Compton, RI. She was the daughter of Joseph EMERY and Elizabeth WASHBURN. Patience died 10 Mar 1749 at Little Compton, RI.

They had 9 children:

+ 39. i. George GRINNELL, born 25 Jan 1705, died 1768.

+ 40. ii. William GRINNELL, born 19 Mar 1707, died Jan 1778.

+ 41. iii. Rebecca S. GRINNELL, born 16 Dec 1710.

42. iv. Elizabeth GRINNELL, born 21 May 1713 at Little Compton, RI.

+ 43. v. Patience GRINNELL, born 24 Apr 1715.

+ 44. vi. Richard GRINNELL, born 8 Mar 1717, died 15 Mar 1789.

+ 45. vii. Ruth GRINNELL, born 3 Apr 1719, died 1747.

+ 46. viii. Daniel GRINNELL, born 20 Apr 1721.

+ 47. ix. Sarah GRINNELL, born 6 May 1723, died before 26 Apr 1797.

From an unpublished manuscript by Edsel W. Grinnell: Main references: Little Compton Town Hall (Marriage, birth and cemetery records), Little Compton Families by Benjamin F. Wilbour (1967), Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island by John Austin (1887), 3 books by William M. Emery, Genealogy of the Ezra Grinnell Family by L. H. Walkinshaw (1978) and 500 Years of Grinnells by Wiley B, Grinnell (1977).

Richards birth year is based on the cemetery marker in the Commons Cemetery in Little Compton that states he died in 1725 in his 56th year. Many sources wrongly give his birth as 1675. As a young boy the family moved to Little Compton on the mainland in what is now Rhode Island, but was Massachusetts Bay Colony during Richards life time. (Several townships were transferred to Rhode Island in 1747.) He spent the remainder of his life in Little Compton.

He married Patience Emery in 1704. Patiences father, son of Thomas Sadler took his mothers maiden name. Patience and Richard had nine children, all born in Little Compton. All but Elizabeth married and had numerous descendants.

Richard became a large landowner in Little Compton. There are many deeds recorded in the Town Hall. He was appointed by the Courts to be keeper of the ordinary (or Inn), an important local office in those times. He died the 1 July 1725 with his will proven the 20th of the same month. The inventory at the time of death showed wearing apparel, feather beds, still yards, loom, 5 old spinning wheels, 2 churns, 2 cheese presses, 2 silver tankards, scales, 2 pair of oxen, 4 steers, 10 cows, 2 heifers, 6 yearlings, a bull, 9 mares, 8 colts, a horse, a Negro called Toby (valued at 60 pounds) a Negress (55 pounds), 240 sheep, 60 lambs among other items. Son, George, was left 100 acres, 40 sheep, an old mare and an obligation to pay 50 pounds each to 2 of Richards daughters when they became of age.

Patience died the 10 March 1749 in her 68th year and her will made the 23 July 1747 was proven on the 18 March O49. The inventory taken showed a value of 1105 pounds, 2 shillings, 6 pence and included a Negro woman and boy. Although Richards grave is still to be found in the Commons Cemetery in L. C., no marker has been located for Patience.

Generation 4

39. George 4 GRINNELL (Richard 3, Daniel 2, Matthew 1) was born 25 Jan 1705 at Little Compton, RI. George died 1768 at RI. He married Mercy SANFORD 3 Jul 1726 at Portsmouth, RI. She was born 19 Jan 1704 at RI. She was the daughter of John SANFORD and Content HOWLAND.

They had 7 children:

+ 163. i. Lydia GRINNELL, born 7 Dec 1726.

+ 164. ii. Aaron GRINNELL, born 4 Jun 1728, died 1804.

165. iii. Jemima GRINNELL, born 18 Jan 1730 at RI. She married John TAYLOR 1747. He was born 1725.

166. iv. Kezia GRINNELL, born 18 Jan 1730 at RI. She married Job COOK 1755 at RI.

+ 167. v. Isaiah GRINNELL, born 24 Dec 1732, died about 1780.

168. vi. Eunice GRINNELL, born 2 Mar 1735 at RI.

+ 169. vii. Malachi GRINNELL, born 22 Jan 1737, died 1780.

From an unpublished manuscript by Edsel W. Grinnell: Main references: Birth record, Little Compton Town Hall; marriage record, Portsmouth Town Hall; Little Compton Families by Benjamin F. Wilbour; Boston Evening Transcript, genealogy column, 26 July 1920 and will, Little Compton Town Hall.

The record in the Portsmouth Town Hall reads in part, that George Grinnell and Mercy Sanford both of Little Compton in the County of Bristol came into the Town of Portsmouth and on the third day of the fifth month (old style) 1726 and in the evening of said day, were lawfully joined together in marriage before me. signed: Wm. Sanford, Justice. His relationship to Mercy, if any, is not known. Mercy was born the 19 January 1704, probably in Portsmouth, RI.

According to Wilbour the family resided on the west road on .... Brimstone Hill (in Little Compton). George is given as a farmer and apparently lived whole life in Little Compton. He died in 1768 with his will proven the 7 June that year and drawn the 11 July 1758. He left his homestead, stock and farming tackling to the oldest son, Aaron, with provision for Mercy in ye old end of the house to dwell in during her natural life. Aaron was made sole executor and was to pay his brothers, Isaiah and Malachi, 500 pounds each and 50 pounds each to the four daughters within one year of my decease. The will is signed, George Grinhill and has several variations of the spelling of the surname within the body of the document. It starts .... I, George Grenill, mentions son, Aaron Grinnill, wife Mercy Grenill, sons, Isaiah Grenill, Malachi Grinnill, daughters, Lydia Grinhill, Jemima Grenhill, Keziah Grenill, Unis Grinhill and executor, Aaron Grinnell. Whether this inconsistency is the fault of the clerk or the copyist is not known. There seems to be no record of when Mercy died or where either she or George are buried.

Generation 5

167. Isaiah 5 GRINNELL (George 4, Richard 3, Daniel 2, Matthew 1) was born 24 Dec 1732 at W. Greenwich, RI. Isaiah died about 1780 at Edinburgh, NY. He married (1) Katharine HILL 30 Jan 1757 at Newport, RI. Katharine died at W. Greenwich, RI.

They had 1 child:

+ 685. i. Mercy GRINNELL, born 6 Dec 1761, died 4 May 1859.

Note that many early researchers show a different ancestry for some of the children of Isaiah. The data shown here was found during the preparation of the 1st edition of the Grinnell genealogy in 1984.

Isaiah married (2) Sarah AUSTIN 1759 at W. Greenwich, RI. She was born 27 Mar 1734 at RI. She was the daughter of John AUSTIN and Alice WOOD. Sarah died after 1796 at Saratoga Co., NY.

They had 5 children:

686. ii. Utsey GRINNELL, born 1761 at RI. She married Joseph MOORE 1784. Known as "Betsy"

+ 687. iii. Amos GRINNELL, born about 1763, died about 1845.

+ 688. iv. Isaiah GRINNELL, born 16 Oct 1771, died 19 Jan 1861.

+ 689. v. Anna GRINNELL, born 1772.

+ 690. vi. Elsie GRINNELL, born 1 Jun 1777, died 12 Mar 1844.

From an unpublished manuscript by Edsel W. Grinnell: Main references: Birth record, Little Compton Town Hall; (1) marriage, Newport Historical Society Library (Newport Town Hall record); (2) marriage, West Greenwich (RI) Town Hall; Little Compton Families by Benjamin F. Wilbour; military record, Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolution; service pay, Massachusetts Archives, boston, Mass.; children, Boston Evening Transcript, genealogy column, 12 Sept. 1923 and various sources (children are usually attributed in error to Amasa Grenell of Galway, Saratoga Co., NY.)

Isaiah Grinnell, son of George and Mercy (Sanford), was born the 24 Dec. 1732 in Little Compton, RI. Positive proof on the various aspects of his life are lacking. It is believed that he married first to Katherine Hill on the 30 June 1757 in Newport, RI. His name in the record is given as Isaiah Greenhill. It seems they set up housekeeping somewhere in East Greenwich, RI and that Katherine died very early, possibly in giving birth to daughter, Mercy, believed to be born in December 1758. He then married sometime in 1759, Sarah Austin, daughter of John and Alice (Wood) Austin of West Greenwich. Isaiah is shown as Isaiah Grinold of East Greenwich. They had five more children. All but perhaps Elsie, were born in Rhode Island.

At some point in time they moved to Jericho (now Hancock), Berkshire Co., Mass. where Isaiah, Sr. served a short stint in the Revolutionary War. Austin relatives of Sarah were living in Jericho. In September 1777, Isaiah, with a contingent from Hancock, marched 70 miles nearly due North to Pawlet, Vermont in "answer to an alarm." Pawlet was the gathering place for American soldiers and supplies in preparation to stop Burgoynes march south from Canada. Isaiah returned to Hancock before the defeat of Burgoyne. He was nearly 45 and after the forced march to Pawlet may not have been fit or able to fight so was sent back home. As far as is known this was his only part in the Revolution.

The only place a record of his death appears is in Wilbour's Little Compton Families, where the year 1780 is shown. As he does not appear in the first census of 1790, this may be correct, though there does not seem to be any actual record.

His oldest daughter, Mercy, married in 1782 or '83 in Little Hoosick, NY, a very short distance from Hancock. Probably he died in that area. The family tradition has it thaL he was buried on his sons farm. If 1780 is correct, this would have to be son, Amos, as Isaiah, Jr. would have been only 7 or 9 years old in that year.

Mrs. Sarah Grinnell, thought to be Isaiahs widow was last recorded in Providence, Saratoga Co., NY in the 1790 census. Both sons, Amos and Isaiah, Jr. lived in the general neighborhood of Providence in the 1790s, so she was probably buried there. Isaiah seems to be the most likely candidate as the father to the children in this group. Formerly, these children had been attributed to Amasa Grenell. This Amasa lineage has been accepted by the DAR, SAR and Mayflower Society for decades and has been published many times. However, information on Mercy (1758), rectifying her birth from 1774 to 1758, makes it impossible for Amasa to be the father. Mercys age appears in several places in the military record of her husband, James Simpson. She can be found in the 1850 census at age 92 and in the 1855 State census as 96. The pension record for Simpson, mentions a Daniel Rogers as having helped fill out the papers. Rogers was a brother-in-law of Mercy's, thus establishing that this is the correct family.

Generation 6

687. Amos 6 GRINNELL (Isaiah 5, George 4, Richard 3, Daniel 2, Matthew 1) was born about 1763. Amos died about 1845 at Green Co., WI. He married Desire 1792 at NY. She was born 9 Oct 1765 at NY. Desire died 20 Dec 1843 at NY.

They had 4 children:

+ 1607. i. Mary Ann GRINOLS, born 31 Dec 1792, died 19 Feb 1868.

+ 1608. ii. Isaiah GRINNELL, born 1793, died 1880.

+ 1609. iii. Robert P. GRINNELL, born 16 Jul 1795, died 28 Aug 1868.

+ 1610. iv. Daniel R.GRINOLS, born 26 Mar 1798, died 31 Aug 1864.

Note that the surname Grennell was used at that time. Some children used OGrinols. Usage obviously varied. Amos was Grinold in some records It is likely that he died in WI though no burial data exists in apparently. On Desires grave marker the surname is OGrennell but Grinnell is used by most in this line. According to family legend, two sons had a falling out and drew straws to see who could use the surname. Daniel then chose Grinols and Mary Ann sided with him.

Amos was probably born in Rhode Island as were an older sister, Mercy (1758) and a younger brother, Isaiah (1773). His birth of ca 1764 is only an estimate, based on several census records from 1800 to 1840. He married about 1790, Desire, whose parents and maiden name are not known. The marriage most likely took place in the Northampton-Edinburg area, near the border of present day Fulton and Saratoga Counties. The first deed to be found involving Amos was made 7 February 1792, between "Jeremiah Van Rensselaer of Albany, NY, andAmos Grinold (sic) of Sacandaga in the County of Montgomery, yeoman (farmer)." Sacandaga being in what is now Fulton County, formerly part of Montgomery.

Amos and Desire had one known daughter and three sons. It was son Daniel who changed the spelling of his surname to Grinols. The 1800 census indicates there were two daughters, however, only Mary Ann is known.

Desire died in 1843 and is buried in the Town of Northampton in Kings Cemetery. Her remains were moved from an earlier site in the valley before the Sacandaga River became a man-made lake in 1930. Her marker reads, "Desire Grennell (sic), wife of Amos ..... age 78 yrs, 2 mo., 13 das". This would make her birth 7 October 1765. Sometime after the death of his wife, Amos, may have gone to Wisconsin. However, there is no proof to be found in Wisconsin that Amos ever lived there. No Death record, no cemetery record or any other evidence. The Green County Commemorative Biographical Record (1901) in noting Amos, states that he was "a farmer of French descent... (who)... passed nearly his entire lifetime in the Empire State... (and)... died when nearly 90 years of age."

Generation 7

1608. Isaiah 7 GRINNELL (Amos 6, Isaiah 5, George 4, Richard 3, Daniel 2, Matthew 1) was born 1793 at NY. Isaiah died 1880 at NY. He married Eunice JONES about 1815. She was born 1795. Eunice died 1867 at NY.

They had 6 children:

+ 3213. i. Nathaniel W. GRINNELL, born 1816, died 1870.

+ 3214. ii. Daniel R. GRINOLS, born Sep 1820, died 28 May 1900.

+ 3215. iii. William J. GRINNELL, born 1823, died 1901.

+ 3216. iv. Richard I. GRINNELL, born 1826.

+ 3217. v. Hiram E. GRINNELL, born 1829, died 28 Jan 1895.

+ 3218. vi. James J. GRINNELL, born 1831, died 1909.

Isaiah was a Farmer as well as a Carpenter and Wheelwright. He was born probably somewhere near the present border of Fulton and Saratoga Counties in New York State. He and Eunice resided in Northampton Township, Fulton County, NY. Isaiah was a carpenter and in the 1870 census is classed as a Wheelwright, probably making wagon and buggy wheels. There were six sons, all of whom attained adulthood and had descendants of their own. These boys must have inherited the fathers mechanical ability. Nathaniel (1816), the oldest, was a joiner (cabinet maker) and the next two or three generations were very adept woodcarvers. William (1823) was also a joiner; Richard (1826), a carpenter. Daniel (1819) is shown in 1870 as a millwright (one who built, designed and/or repaired mill machinery). Hiram (1829) was a cooper (barrel maker) and carpenter. James, the youngest (1831), was a grove cutter, in the City of Gloversville, NY.

Generation 8

3213. Nathaniel W.GRINNELL (Isaiah, Amos, Isaiah, George, Richard 3, Daniel 2, Matthew 1) was born 1816 at NY. Nathaniel died 1870 at NY. He married (1) Rose Ann. She was born 1830.

They had 5 children:

4926. i. Amanada Ann GRINNELL, born 1850 at NY.

+ 4927. ii. Leander W. GRINNELL, born 1851, died 3 Oct 1912.

4928. iii. Sarah Ann GRINNELL, born 1853 at NY.

+ 4929. iv. Harvey F. GRINNELL, born 1854.

4930. v. Melvin GRINNELL, born 1864 at NY.

Nathaniel married (2) Lilles BACON 1868.

Generation 9

+ 4927. Leander W. 9 GRINNELL (Nathaniel 8, Isaiah 7, Amos 6, Isaiah 5, George 4, Richard 3, Daniel 2, Matthew 1) was born 1851 at Medina, NY. Leander died 3 Oct 1912 at Medina, NY. He married Mercy Francelia WOOD. She was born 1854 at NY. Mercy died at Medina, NY.

They had 1 child:

+ 6614. i. Albert Atherton GRINNELL, born 9 Jun 1870, died 12 Nov 1945.

Mercy was known as OFrances and OAunt Frank.

Generation 10

6614. Albert Atherton 10 GRINNELL (Leander 9, Nathaniel 8, Isaiah 7, Amos 6, Isaiah 5, George 4, Richard 3, Daniel 2, Matthew 1) was born 9 Jun 1870 at Medina, NY. Albert died 12 Nov 1945 at Medina, NY. He married Ella Coleman FRENCH about 1890 at NY. She was born about 1858.

They had 2 children:

+ 8607. i. Albert Atherton GRINNELL, born 4 Nov 1892, died 9 Oct 1964.

+ 8608. ii. Clarence Nathaniel GRINNELL, born 18 Sep 1894, died 1981.

Bert was a wood carver. From 1908-12, he was superintendent of a furniture factory in Medina. He married Ella in about 1890. She had been his school teacher and 13 years his elder. Bert was also an inventor. In the 1930s, he was promoting a push-forward lounge chair of his own design. This type of chair is now found in many movie theaters. He is buried in Boxwood Cemetery in Medina as are his parents.

Generation 11

8608. Clarence Nathaniel 11 GRINNELL (Albert 10, Leander 9, Nathaniel 8, Isaiah 7, Amos 6, Isaiah 5, George 4, Richard 3, Daniel 2, Matthew 1) was born 18 Sep 1894 at Medina, NY. Clarence died 1981 at Freehold, NJ. He married Emma Carolyn PETRY 3 Aug 1921.

They had 1 child:

+ 10956. i. Richard C. GRINNELL, born Nov 1922. He married Margaret DUGERY 26 Jun 1948. They had four children. Richard was a mechanical engineer.

Data on this group from Lillian (his sister-in-law) and LDS. Clarence was known as OLarry. Larry served in World War I with the New York Infantry and received a battlefield commission in France as second lieutenant. The family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan in the 1920s and later to New Jersey. Larry was buried in Riverview Cemetery, Trenton, NJ.

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