Benjamin Franklin and Catharine Ray Greene: Their Correspondence, 1755-1790

By William Greene Roelker | Go to book overview

II. The Hostess 1758-1774

CATHARINE RAY took Franklin's advice to "bless some worthy young Englishman" and was joined in matrimony with William Greene, Jr., at Newport, April 30, 1758, by Edward Sands, warden. Catharine was the daughter of Deborah (Greene) Ray; and William, Jr., her husband, was the son of William Greene, both parents the great great grandchildren of Surgeon John Greene, first of the name to emigrate to America. He had landed at Salem in 1635, where he came into friendly association with Roger Williams.

William Greene, Jr., brought his bride to live in the home of his father at the corner of Love Lane and Division Street in Cowesett, the southernmost part of Warwick, about half a mile west and up the hill from the village of East Greenwich, through which ran the Boston Post Road. The mansion house was a "stone-end" house said to have been built in the 1680's, two and one half stories high, with a great stone fireplace on the west side of the "Fire Room" or "Hall." In 1758 the original homestead was some seventy-five years old and seemed small. In anticipation of the marriage of William, Jr., to Catharine Ray an addition was begun consisting of a parlor and a bedroom and attic above it on the west side of the stone chimney.

It is probable that Caty sought to tell Franklin of her approaching marriage, as there is a hint that a letter which contained the news went astray. Not two months after her wedding Franklin wrote his wife from London: "You mentioned sending a letter of Caty's, but it did not come." 1

Franklin landed at Philadelphia, November 1, 1762, after completing the mission for the Colony of Pennsylvania. When Caty learned that he had returned, she wrote promptly to congratulate him on his safe arrival and to tell him of her happy marriage. In reply Franklin expressed his pleasure at her happiness, asked her to write him everything that had happened to

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