He was named for his father, who was a respected minister of the Society of Friends (Quakers)... Because of Quaker beliefs about education, Greene was only taught reading, writing, and business math...From: Matthew Baltz, "Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution" on official website of Harwich Public Schools, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (http://www.harwich.edu/depts/history/HHJ/ngreenej.html; viewed 9 July 2005):
His heritage stems from Quaker immigrants five generations prior, who left Salisbury, England in 1635 to escape persecution for their religious beliefs. His father, also named Nathanael, was a respected minister among the Society of Friends, as well as the owner of a series of forge, grist and saw mills... Greene showed an unusual interest in the military for a Quaker. On September 30, 1773, Greene was cast out of a meeting with the Society of Friends for attending a 'place of Publick Resort,' namely, a military parade. Later, on July 20, 1774, at the age of 32, Greene married Catherine Littlefield, a young, non-Quaker woman nineteen years of age... The decision to join the militia was not without consequences, for taking up arms was strictly against his pacifistic Quaker heritage... Greene's story is one that should always be remembered, for without the self-sacrificing service of the 'Fighting Quaker' from Rhode Island, the country may not have finally gained its independence over 200 years ago.