<ul><li>Greenmanville was the community that flourished here from the 1850s-1870s. Explore what’s left and see how it has changed over time. Each stop has information, images, and evidence from the lives of the three Greenman brothers and their community. You’ll also be given documents that help us piece together the reputation and challenges of these men and their families. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the questions to discuss your thoughts and reactions with your group as you walk between stops. What makes you wonder, and what do you want to know? </li></ul>
Greenmanville Avenue, circa 1874 Greenmanville Ave. today
Greenmanville from the opposite bank of the Mystic River, circa late 19 th century Future Site of Mystic Seaport
Scale Model Read the following pages for this stop, enter the scale model, and find Greenmanville. As you walk to the next stop, look at how Mystic has changed.
These trees are all pretty young. After Mystic Seaport was established in 1929, the village green was actually the Seaport’s parking lot until 1956. The Mystic River Estuary is older than us all, and made this area perfect for building ships and sending them downriver to busy ports like New London or as far off as Asia. Notice how many ships are under construction in the Scale Model in Greenmanville and elsewhere in the area. None of the visible buildings were here in the 1830s when George, Clark and Thomas arrived from Westerly, RI. They weren’t even here 100 years later when Mystic Seaport was established. But keep looking - soon we’re going to explore the oldest original buildings at the Seaport where the Greenmans lived, worked, and worshipped. Inside the scale model of this land in the 1850s, look for the dirt road of Greenmanville Avenue. There are definitely more cars, traffic lights, and asphalt on it today, but it was still a busy road servicing the Greenman brothers’ businesses of shipbuilding and wool manufacturing. Look around you. What has been here the longest?
The view between Greenmanville Avenue and the Mystic River, late 19 th century. Note the swampy marsh with sloping banks to the deep river.
Lighthouse Point Take a seat on the bench and imagine ships being launched into this water. Meet the Greenmans, explore their shipyard, and then ask for the historic documents.
George Greenman 1805-1891 Organized, managed finances and contracts Clark Greenman 1808-1877 Methodical, managed construction Thomas Greenman 1810-1887 Creative, designed ships
There were lots of other shipyards in the area, but the Greenman yard was different. All busy yards were open 6 days a week, but the Greenmans were devout Seventh Day Baptists who worshipped on Saturdays and worked on Sundays. When they were in church on Saturday, Greenmanville residents could see neighboring shipyards at work. One story tells that the entire sermon stopped when everyone rushed to the windows to watch and cheer for a ship being launched from another yard. The Greenmans were religious enough to keep different business hours than everyone else in town, but that wasn’t the biggest challenge. Their faith was committed to the abolition of slavery, the prohibition of alcohol, and equal rights. We also know that not everyone in town supported these new reforms. What if the Greenmans’ customers or business partners disagreed? The Greenmans were active in these movements, but they were also successful executives running their business and making lots of money from building and owning ocean trading ships that connected North, South, and everywhere in between. We don’t know all the details, but you’ll soon see what’s left and how they juggled it all - business, religion, success, and morals. First, explore more about how the Seventh Day Baptist faith set the Greenman shipyard apart.
The ship Coldstream on the building ways here, circa 1866. The ship weighed 806 tons and was sold to Japan, where it was renamed Kotono Maru and became a training vessel for the Japanese Navy. It was broken up in 1912.
<ul><li>George, Clark, and Thomas started small by building local boats, but connections led them to build ocean trading ships for New York merchants. Soon the Greenmans weren’t just building ships, they were attracting a growing village of houses and stores for their employees, family, and friends, most of whom were also Seventh Day Baptists. We’ll see what few buildings are left, but this area was nothing more than a gently sloping beach. We believe that this beach was the location of important full-immersion baptisms. The Greenman families and their workers walked by the location where their children were baptized every day on their way to and from the shipyard, a reminder of the close relationship between religion and business in Greenmanville. </li></ul>
Charles Stillman, a Greenman descendant, plays outside the old Greenman Mill, near where the Greenman brothers’ children were baptized, circa 1885
George Greenman’s daughters: (back row) Bessie and Mary, (front row) Annie and Laura, circa 1870
The Greenman Mill Find a bench or picnic table near the brick mill buildings and private boats. This was also the first exhibit hall for Mystic Seaport in 1929.
<ul><li>The Greenman brothers’ shipbuilding operations were booming from about 1840 to 1865. After the many government orders for ships during the Civil War ended, production shifted to Maine where timber was cheap and available. The Mystic River’s shipbuilding era was slowly coming to a close. </li></ul><ul><li>The Greenmans were smart businessmen, though. They didn’t wait until the decline to diversify their business interests. In 1849, they started the Greenman Manufacturing Company right next to their shipyard. These brick buildings held the wool mill that brought new industry immigrants to the region. By 1900, no evidence of shipbuilding remained, but the Greenman brothers were gone too. </li></ul>
Mystic Manufacturing Company, circa 1899. The mill was originally the Greenman Manufacturing Company before the firm’s sale. Private yachts now dock here.
The Mystic Manufacturing Company (far left) and a Greenman-owned barn (right center), circa 1890s
Greenmanville Church Sit in the same space where the Greenmans talked, sang, and prayed. Read about their strong belief in social reform and ask for the historic documents to see how complicated the situation was.
<ul><li>So what did the Greenmans leave behind? The Greenmanville Church was originally located just down the street and looked different without the ship portrait and figurehead, but it held many central meetings and services. </li></ul><ul><li>The Seventh Day Baptist Church believed in social activism and preached against the sins of slavery and alcohol consumption. The Greenmans were popular community leaders in these causes of abolition and temperance. At the same time, it was often difficult to make choices that reflected these beliefs in their business practices. Examine the documents and uncover the complex relationships between profitable business activities and strong morals. How do you live out your values, successfully and unsuccessfully? </li></ul>
The Greenmanville Church before its move several hundred feet north, circa 1884 The historic location of the Greenmanville Church, currently where the Visitor’s Center is, as seen from the Greenman shipyard (now Lighthouse Point)
The collection box of the Greenmanville Seventh Day Baptist Church and a hymn book owned by George Greenman. The brothers were noted as having strong singing voices.
George and Clark Greenman Houses If we could see the footsteps of the Greenman families, there would be many overlapping in these backyards. George, Clark, and Thomas built three similar houses right next to each other when they arrived in Mystic. George and Clark’s houses aren’t open to the public, but take a minute to explore outside, comparing what you see to these photos.
The Clark Greenman House on Greenmanville Avenue, late 19 th century
Front porch scenes, Clark Greenman House, late 19 th century
The George Greenman house, circa 1870s/1880s Behind the Greenman Brothers’ houses, circa late 19 th century
Location - The Greenmans built their houses very close to each other, to their employees, and to their business. They could see it all from their windows. Does this mean a close connection to the community or a watchful eye over the source of their prosperity? 1870 Census – 8 Occupants Family Stories - Peek through the side porch window of the George Greenman house at the cabinet with shelves and a door. The last Greenman descendant to live here in the 1960s told an old family story that the cabinet, which rolls backward to reveal a tiny closet space, was once used to hide a fugitive slave. We’ve seen that George was an abolitionist and not afraid to take risks. Obituaries - We know even less about the Greenmans’ wives than we do about the brothers. Domestic life doesn’t leave much of a paper trail, but we do know that the Greenman women were also prominent in the community. Two different generations, grandmother and granddaughter, have these obituaries printed in the paper. George Greenman 64 Head of Family Abby C. Greenman 64 Wife Laura A. Greenman 26 Daughter Nettie Greenman 18 Daughter Phoebe Chipman 52 Housekeeper Lon Weston 36 Mill agent? Martha Weston 29 Stays at home Robert Weston 10 mo. Son of Martha
These houses are empty shells. Because the Greenmans’ personal papers have not survived, we know very little about what happened inside these walls. What other clues can we find? Ask for the historic documents after you finish this page. On the other hand… the house has many additions and the landscape looks completely different. Despite some photographs and maps, we still don’t get the entire picture. On the other hand... these are just statistics. We don’t know what all these people did, which rooms they had, or how long they lived here between censuses every 10 years. On the other hand... there is no proof for this story. The cabinet may not have even existed in George’s time, but later built when the house was remodeled. What else would the design be used for? Could it hide family silver, illegal alcohol during Prohibition in the 1920s, or just be a space-saving broom closet? On the other hand... aren’t most people remembered favorably after they die? What might have been left out of this account?
What were the family’s interests based on these books? What would your personality look like, based on the contents of your library? History of England Union Bible Dictionary Poetical Works of Robert Burns
Thomas Greenman House Walk inside Thomas Greenman’s home and take a look around. His house didn’t look exactly like what you see, however. Some of these items are from the other houses, and the décor is partly guesswork. A creative man, Thomas designed ships and held a patent for a self-clamping paper cutter. In 1879, he even installed a gravity-powered running water system in his home.
Thomas Greenman House, 1870 In addition to information about age and occupation, the U.S. Census also collects data about racial background. The Mundy sisters, listed as “M” for mulatto or mixed-race, are recorded as servants in these houses. What role did the Mundys play in the households? What was it like for two young African-American women to live and work in a mainly White Connecticut village? We’ve seen so many articles about the Greenman brothers and their business. But it’s often hard to uncover the stories of the Mundys, workers in the shipyard, or immigrants at the mill. For Lizzie and Sarah Mundy, the U.S. Census records are almost all we have left. We do know who was living here, based on the same 1870 census. Who do you notice in Thomas and Clark’s homes? Clark Greenman House, 1870 Thomas Greenman 50 Head of House Charlotte Greeman 50 Wife Sarah Mundy 24 Servant Clark Greenman 66 Head of House Harriet Greenman 58 Wife Evada Greenman 17 Son Hattie Greenman 15 Daughter Lizzie Mundy 24 Servant
We’ve seen some of what’s left of the Greenmans and their world, but what more do you wish we could find? What will you leave behind that may be found by the historians of the future? The Greenmanville story doesn’t end at the borders of Greenmanville. We’ve also explored how the Greenmans’ decisions were intertwined with religion, reform, economics, and community. We don’t know the full story, but the Greenman legacy continues to be felt at Mystic Seaport and beyond.