The Rhode Island Ironmaster

Born in Rhode Island of Quaker parents, Nathanael Greene was taught to live modestly and labor long. Unlike many of his friends, he never knew the boyhood pleasures of hunting and fishing. At age six he was herding sheep, at ten he was digging ore for his father’s ironworks, and at 14 he was doing a man’s work at the forge. It was at the forge, while balancing on one foot when working the trip hammer, that he developed the limp that would characterize his gait throughout his life.As he matured, he began longing for the education he had been denied by his father, a strict Quaker who considered “book learning” unessential beyond the three “R’s”: ‘readin’, ‘ritin’, and ‘rithmetic.’ When Nathanael discovered a bookstore in Newport, he began saving money to buy books. Gradually, by making and selling miniature anchors and toys in his spare time, he earned enough

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