Sarah <I>Greene?</I> Tefft

Sarah Greene? Tefft

Death 16 Mar 1672
Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island, USA
Burial Unknown, Specifically: Unknown
Memorial ID 53256687 · View Source
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A BIOGRAPHY OF SARAH TEFFT, by Laurence Overmire (7th great grandson), genealogist and family historian, updated Aug. 2017:

Sarah Tefft, the wife of Joshua Tefft, was by all accounts a Native American. She may have had a white father and a Native mother. She was probably born about 1640-1650. In a letter dated Jan. 26, 1675-6, Capt. James Oliver of Plymouth stated that "Joshua Teffe... married an Indian woman, a Wampanoag" (Drake's Book of the Indians, iii. 35).

William Hubbard in his "The Present State of New-England" (1677) states that Joshua "married one of the Indian Squaws."

The Wampanoag were the same tribe as Chief Massasoit (who befriended the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving) and his son Metacom (King Philip) who led the bloody war against the English colonists in 1675-76.

Rhode Island historian A. Craig Anthony, who has done a significant amount of research on Joshua and Sara Tefft, believes that Sara's maiden name was Greene, that she was probably an illegitimate daughter of John Greene Jr. of Warwick who eventually became deputy governor of the colony in 1690. It is interesting to note that John Greene most certainly was involved in dealings with his neighbors, the Narragansett and Wampanoag Indians. In fact, his homestead was built on land purchased from the Narragansett Chief Miantonomi. Could it be that the mother of Sara was indeed a Native American and perhaps a mistress of John Greene? John Greene did not marry until 1648, when he was 28 years old. Sarah, assuming she was similar in age to her husband Joshua, would have been born about 1640 when Greene was a bachelor in his young and vigorous 20's, about the same time, in fact, that the Greenes purchased their land from Chief Miantonomi.

According to Anthony, Sara is first mentioned in court records to answer for the crime of fornication. She avoided appearing before the court four times, but finally, her father paid a 40 shilling fine.

Anthony also discovered that Sara's first husband, Thomas Flounders, was executed in 1670 for murdering a man in a land dispute. The widow must have married Joshua Tefft soon after. She gave birth to a son, Peter, on Mar. 14, 1672. She died 2 days later, probably of birth complications. She was buried on the Greene family homestead in Warwick, Rhode Island. Her gravestone for a long time was believed to be the oldest marked stone in New England, but historian Anthony established that the death date, misread as 1642, was actually 1672, and therefore could no longer claim to be the oldest. The inscription reads:
TEfft IN thE MARCH 16

It is also interesting to note that a Joshua Tifft married Sarah Pindar on August 2, 1739. The couple were described as "Indians" in "Dr. Joseph Torrey and his Record Book of Marriages" (Rhode Island Historical Society). It seems likely this Joshua Tifft would be a grandson of Joshua and Sara, though he has not yet been identified as such. There was also a Joshua Tifft who served in the American Revolution in Capt. Josiah Child's company in Col. Philip B. Bradley's 5th Battalion of Connecticut Forces. This Joshua died on Sept. 23rd, 1777, and was appointed, posthumously, Corporal on Sept. 26th, 1777 (U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783,

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TEfft IN thE MARCH 16


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  • Created by: Laurence Overmire
  • Added: 4 Jun 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 53256687
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sarah Greene? Tefft (unknown–16 Mar 1672), Find a Grave Memorial no. 53256687, ; Maintained by Laurence Overmire (contributor 46950879) Unknown, who reports a Unknown.