A Brief History: The Nathanael Greene Homestead, located at 50 Taft Street in Coventry, Rhode Island, is also known as Spell Hall. Built in 1770, Nathanael Greene lived at the location with his family until leaving in 1783. At that point, Nathanael sold the homestead to his brother Jacob and Jacob’s wife Peggy. Even though it served as a tenement house in its later years, the homestead stayed in the Greene family until 1915. In 1919, the Greene Homestead Association was formed with the goal to restore and care for the property, eventually making it a house museum, which remains today. The property even became a National Historic Landmark in 1972.
The most notable person to have occupied the homestead is likely the person who built it; Nathanael Greene himself. Born on July 27th,1742, Greene was trained as an ironmaster from a young age. With an impending war on the horizon, Greene built the homestead in 1770 as a place for his family to stay safe. Early on in the foresight of the American Revolution, Greene joined the Kentish Guards of East Greenwich. Within the ranks, he managed to convince a British sergeant to join their cause who brought with him great insight to British intelligence. This gained Greene great respect and adoration, and helped in his promotion to Major General. During the war, Greene was involved in many battles and led his troops “Fearlessly, as if death accompanied him casually”. After the war, Greene faced enormous debt from outfitting his men throughout the war. Greene died, only 10 years after America gained it’s independence, of sunstroke in 1786 while riding his horse on his plantation in Newport. He was buried in the Christ Escopial Church cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. His body was exhumed several years later, then reburied in Johnson Square in Savannah, Georgia.
Haunted History: As with many structures still existing from that age, the Nathanael Greene Homestead has had its fair share of paranormal reports. In an interview with local paranormal investigators, Richard Seimbab (a volunteer at the Greene museum) told of several types of paranormal claims. He reported the ghost of what appears to be Elizabeth Margaret (the last Greene family member to inhabit the residence) appearing in several places in the house. The most prominent and recurring report is of the baby carriage located in Elizabeth’s room being moved from one side of the room to in front of the door apparently on its own. There are also several reports of door latches unlocking, sounds of voices and footsteps, and, perhaps the most odd of all, the smell of freshly baked bread coming from the kitchen which is now inoperable. The most recent claim is the sound of a horse drawn carriage traveling up to the house, past the house, then fading to silence behind the house with no carriages to be seen.
The Nathanael Greene Homestead is a place of great history. It’s walls can tell a long tale dating back to the great war among americans. Nobody knows for sure if this location truly holds spirits of it’s former inhabitants, however it is most definitely possible. All we can do is hope that whoever still lurks it’s hallways, they approve of the way this historic place has been cared for and preserved.