Shall We Gather at the River?
By Marlene Morris and Susy Wetz
It has been nearly four centuries since Roger Williams, John
Greene, and Samuel Gorton set foot on American soil. These were men of strong character who stood
firmly on their commitment to liberty.
It was a time when Puritans and Pilgrims arrived in New England, seeking
freedom of religion and thought. A dangerous
clash of ideals aroused the wrath of Governor John Winthrop. These three men were persecuted; they were
tried in court; they were physically attacked; they were banished from
We fast forward to the late 1700s when the pioneers, the
descendants of these three men, found their way to the frontier of Washington
County, Ohio. Another generation of
brave men and women founded what we today know as Newport, Ohio. It was not an easy decision to leave the
region where most people lived within fifty miles of the Atlantic Coast. The travel itself was fraught with danger and
hardship. The Indians in the Ohio
Country were not pleased to see the white man encroach on their land. One out of four babies born on the frontier died
before the age of four. Women were
isolated and depressed in the drafty cabins darkened by a canopy of primeval
forests. Cholera, diphtheria, small pox,
yellow fever, and ague brought heartache to the small communities in which
medical care was much the same as in the Middle Ages. Yet, the pioneers persevered and organized communities that
formed the state of Ohio in 1803.
We are proud to present the story of the brave souls who
crossed the Atlantic Ocean and those who crossed the Allegheny Mountains. The story spans more than two centuries,
concluding in the mid-1800s. However,
this story in reality has no end. The
descendants of Williams, Greene, Gorton, and the early pioneers in Washington
County continue to blaze trails. Some of
the descendants are living in faraway lands.
Some are living in Newport.
It was our goal to research and write the story that brings
life to the brave men and women, our ancestors, who explored new
frontiers. The world is a very different
place in the 21st century, and it will be a very different place in
succeeding centuries. We need the
inspiration of those who braved the unknown and left lovely footprints on our
land and on our hearts.
The 2008 Greene Reunion Book is available on Amazon.com .