What’s Wrong with Nathanael Greene?

As we joined in that annual celebration of Independence Day (aka, 4th of July; aka Annual Cookout Feeding Frenzy; aka The Celebration of Nathan’s Hot Dog-eating Contest), I watched part of the History Channel special about the American Revolution.  Yeah, it’s a bit nerdy and lazy, but I am into the war history stuff.

The episode that I saw talked extensively about a little-known, almost-forgotten general by the name of Nathanael Greene.  He was Washington’s most valued and trusted general.  He enticed General Lord Cornwallis into chasing his army all over South Carolina/North Carolina/Virginia.  Cornwallis and his men were so tired that they decided to rest in camp at a place called Yorktown.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it?  In a Mel Gibson movie, if not in history class…

Greene, along with state heroes Andrew Pickens, Thomas Sumter, Daniel Morgan, and Francis Marion, is credited with destroying the southern campaign mounted by the British.  In fact, some historians argue that it is Greene who is responsible for “setting up” Washington to ultimately win the war.

Here is a little-known fact:  The city of Greenville, SC is named in honor of Nathanael Greene.  So why is it that we never hear anything about that?  Daniel Morgan has a major avenue, a square, and a statue in Spartanburg.  Francis Marion has a town and a college.  Pickens and Sumter have monuments at the state house.  Greene has a statue in Greenville, but he never gets discussed.

I know Michelin and BMW are a big deal, but those are companies.  Greene is the man who is responsible for their ability to exist in this city.

So, for a little mindless fun after celebrating the 4th, how about a little love for the greatness of our namesake, Nathanael Greene?  Maybe the Greenville “Drive” should become the Greenville Generals!

Okay, enough nonsense about team nicknames…back to theology tomorrow.

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4 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with Nathanael Greene?

  1. Agreed! I thought the same thing when I moved here & 6 years ago when I went to pastor in Greene County, GA, (yes after the same Nathanel Greene). He’s got lesser known things named after him, the county seat of Greene County, GA is: Greensboro; and the private school there is Nathanael Greene Academy. I didn’t know Greenville doesn’t have a statue or anything after him, that’s sad. I watched some of the same special on History too. Great nerds think alike. Jason

    • Greenville does have the statue but that’s about it. Never plays up their namesake. It would bother me less but everything in Greenville is connected to Michelin or Beemer, and there is more to the city than new industry. We never see/hear much about the mill heritage that was so prominent for so long. Although there are mixed reviews on the “mill hill”, it is still the history of the city. If that’s not a good angle, then why not emphasize the work of one of the most underrated generals in American history?

      • The reason we never hear of Greenville, SC as being named for Gen. Nathanael Greene is because this is not a proven fact. It is simply speculation by those who would fantasize or hope this is a true fact.
        There is no evidence in the County of Greenville, SC or in the South Carolina Department of Archives and History which supports this theory.
        I personally spent hours searching for proof with the help of researchers in the SC Dept of Archives and History. No documents to support this theory were found.

      • And yet, we have a statue of the man in downtown Greenville and others have written about it, even if some facts are in dispute.

        Still doesn’t change that it would be a much more interesting nickname for a local sports team! (Although I’m pretty sure Natty Greene wouldn’t pay the kind of sponsorship dollars that Michelin or BMW do)

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