Dwellers at the Grey Lea
IN THE EARLY 1640's three brothers, "dwellers at the Grey Lea," not many miles from Nottingham, England, landed at Boston. They called themselves Greeley. On arrival there each brother promptly went his separate way.
Benjamin, ancestor of Horace, settled as a farmer and blacksmith at Salisbury on the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. When or whom he married is not known. His son Ezekiel, who moved a few miles farther north to Hudson, New Hampshire, seems to have been the only Greeley in four generations to be regarded as hard and crafty. At his death he divided his acres among thirteen children including Zaccheus Greeley, great-grandfather of Horace. Zaccheus lived to the age of ninety-five -- long enough to realize that he had an unusual boy in his great-grandson Horace, familiarly called "Hod."
The second Zaccheus, like his father, year in and year out plowed the fields he had inherited, but with no result other than an ample table for the family and barely enough money to buy a supply of rum and tobacco to pass around evenings among visiting neighbors. Hospitality in that form was regarded as imperative; too often it came before expenditures for home or clothing.
In time a third Zaccheus appeared in the world. He was the father of Horace -- "born, I think," wrote Horace, doubtfully, "in Londonderry." This Zaccheus knew his Bible thoroughly. He added to it an equally deep knowledge of tavern drinking. He worked farms on shares and also contracted to cut timber, until