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Nicholas Greenberry

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Nicholas Greenberry

Nicholas Greenberry
4ºLeaders of the Protestant Associators of Maryland
In office
Preceded by Lionel Copley
Succeeded by Francis Nicholson
Personal details
Born circa 1627
Died December 17, 1697
Annapolis, Maryland
Profession governor and Commander of the Military Forces of several counties of Maryland.

Colonel Nicholas Greenberry (December 1627 – December 17, 1697) was the 4th Royal Governor of Maryland, and Commander of the Military Forces of Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties.


  • Early life and family 1
  • Land ownership 2
  • Revolt 3
  • High court appointment 4
  • Seal of Maryland 5
  • References 6

Early life and family

Nicholas Greenberry was born in England in about 1627. He married Anne (surname unknown) in England about 1670. Little is known of Greenberry's life in England, except that he was a highly educated person with military experience. He may have been the Nicholas Greenberry baptized 15 December 1640 at Irnham, Lincolnshire, but that remains unproven. A Nicholas Greenberry also shows up in the state papers of Charles II:

In June 15(?), 1667 a note by Walter Cowdry, keeper of Newgate, of seven prisoners, ordered to be transported by their own consent, and of Nich. Greenberry, left to Lord Chief Justice Kelynge.
In June 1667 was the Petition of Nicholas Greenberry to the King, for reprieve or release from prison; is committed for want of sureties, on suspicion only of burglary, yet is to be tried for his life at the assizes, at Brentwood, Essex. Desires to serve under Lord Belasye at Tangiers, or elsewhere beyond seas. Annexes, 93. I. Declaration by John Shadwell, clerk of Newgate, that Greenberry was committed August 31, 1666, for want of security, and afterwards impeached before Lord Chief Justice Kelynge for breaking into a dwelling house.[1]

Nicholas and Anne Greenberry had four children: Charles, born 9 February 1672 in England; died 1713 in Anne Arundel County; Katherine, born c. 1674 in England; Anne, born c. 1676 in Anne Arundel County; and Elizabeth, born 23 September 1678 in Anne Arundel County.

Greenberry arrived at Patuxent, in the Maryland Colony, aboard the sailing ship Constant Friendship in 1674. He was accompanied by his wife, two children, and three servants. On 9 July 1674, Capt. William Wheatly, master, claimed rights due for transportation of 43 passengers on board, including "Mr Greenberry his wife & two Children."[2]

Nicholas Greenberry died on December 17, 1697 and is buried in St Anne's Churchyard in Annapolis, Maryland.[3] The inscription on his tombstone reads:

Here Lyeth Interred The Body Of Col Nicholas Greenberry Esq Who Departed This Life The 17th Day Of December 1697 Aetatis Suae 70

Land ownership

According to Maryland Land Warrants, Annapolis Land Office, Liber 15, folio 837, Greenberry was granted a warrant for 350 acres (1.4 km2) of land located in "Providence" (now Annapolis) on July 29, 1674.

Later, in 1680, Nicholas bought another tract of land near "Providence" called "Fuller" from Colonel William Fuller. This land was resurveyed and renamed "Greenberry Forest". Greenberry called the home "Whitehall", a name it retains to this day. In later years, this home became the residence of Horatio Sharpe, governor of the Maryland Colony. Sharpe had a Georgian mansion built on the site.

In 1685, Colonel Nicholas Greenberry bought 250 acres (1 km²) of land called "Towne Neck". This is located at the mouth of the Severn River and became known as "Greenberry Point". The colony's Deputy Governor, Governor Notley, was forced from office for hanging two Protestants for rebellion against authority. He was replaced by a Committee of twenty citizens. Greenberry was one of the gentlemen justices chosen as a member of that committee.


On July 27, 1689, the Protestant Association, under John Coode, seized St. Marys, the capital of the colony, in a revolt against the proprietary government. This same year, Nicholas was captain of foot in the Anne Arundel County Militia. He was promoted to Major in 1690. He then quickly received a commission of Colonel, and was appointed Commander of the Military Forces of Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties.

The proprietaryship was disallowed on 27 June 1691. Sir Lionel Copley took the office as governor, and quickly appointed Greenberry as a member of the council. Copley died in September 1693, at which time Greenberry was appointed by Sir Edmund Andros, Governor of Virginia, as President of the Council, Acting Governor of Maryland, and Keeper of the Great Seal of Maryland. Greenberry served in this capacity until he was replaced on 26 July 1694 by Francis Nicholson by a commission from the King dated in February 1694.[4]

High court appointment

On 2 March 1695, Nicholas Greenberry was on the high Court of Chancery of Maryland.[5] Here is the way it reads verbatim:

"William ye third by ye grace of God of England, Holland, France, and Ireland, King Defender of ye faith &c to Coll. Nicholas Greenberry, Kneln Chesteldyne and Ma'r Edw. Dorsey, Esqrs. Greeting.
"Whereas by a late commission granted by us and our Royal Consort Mary lately deed dated ye 14th day of last Coll. Henry Jowles, Esq. was instituted Chiefs Judge in Chancery & Keeper of our Great Seal of Maryland & Kenelm Chrseldyne & M'jr Edwd. Dorsey, Esqs joynt Commissioners & Assistant Judges in our high Court of Chancery for ye sd province and whereas ye said Coll. Henr. Jowles, Esq. being at present afflicted with ye Gout & other indispositions of body is therefore unable to attend ye said Court of Chancery and ye causes in our said Court require a dispatch & cannot without public prejudice be delayed, KNOW YET WE have therefore assigned you ye sd. COLL. NICHO. GREENBURY.
"Kenelm Chesldyne and Ma'r Edwd. Dorsey, Esqs. Commissioners & Judges of our high Court of Chancery in our sd province of Maryland until such time as ye above said Coll. Henr. Jowles (together with ye assistant Judges joynt in ye said Commission with him) shall be able to attend his said office and to keep the cause to be kept all ordinances, rules &c. March 2, 1695."

Seal of Maryland

According to Charles Francis Stein, in his Origin and History of Howard Co., Maryland, on page 214, he writes:

"I made a careful examination of the seal impressions left by Nicholas Greenberry and his son. The shield, having a bend with three lozenges (diamond shapes) can be seen without much difficulty, and the crest above the knight's helmet, seemingly a horned animal's head in profile, was most evidently a unicorn. "Pursuing the matter further, I discovered that there was one family arms listed as having the combination of a band with three lozenges on the shield with a unicorn's head for the crest. This is the English family of CARRINGTON, a family of ancient noble descent. According to Burke, the chief line of the Barons of Carrington became extinct in the time of Queen Elizabeth. Colonel Nicholas Greenberry was born a generation later, in 1627. It would seem probable that he was closely related to the Carringtons. Could it be that his mother was a Carrington and his father perhaps a member of the royal family?"

Nicholas Greenberry died at the age of 70 on 17 December 1697 at "Whitehall". His wife Anne died 27 April 1698 at the age of 50. Both are buried in St. Anne's Episcopal Church Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland.[6]


  1. ^ Great Britain. Public Record Office; Mary Anne Everett Green; Francis Lawrance Bickley (1866). Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Charles II: 1660-[1685]. H.M. Stationery Office. pp. 192–. 
  2. ^ Maryland Land Patents 18:160
  3. ^ findagrave|
  4. ^ Archives of Maryland 51: preface pp. 45-48
  5. ^ This is recorded in Seated in the High Court of Chancery, Liber P.C. No. 2, folio 320.
  6. ^ St. Anne's Episcopal Church Cemetery
Political offices
Preceded by
Lionel Copley
Proprietary Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
Francis Nicholson
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