The search for his parents requires some sleuthing. His name gives us a hint as to the date of his birth since he was probably named after General Nathanael Greene, who was virtually unknown before 1781 — certainly an unknown in South Carolina. Being named after General Greene should also indicate that NGG Sr was born in South Carolina.
In 1818 NGG was appointed as a Roads and Ferry Commissioner for the Keowee area. Keowee was the first settled area in old Pendleton District, now Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties. We know from land records that NGG Sr’s home was in the Devil’s Fork area. This is also where the movie Deliverance was filmed.
Commissioners were selected from among local citizens. Based upon NGG’s wife’s age (74 in 1850) we can safely assume that NGG Sr was born very close to 1781. However, being born in 1781 would make him some 5-6 years younger than his wife unless her given age of 74 in 1850 was wrong. It is highly likely that the 1850 census is wrong about her age: her father’s birth was 1762, which means that he would have been 14 if she were born in 1776. Not likely.
1753-1781 is where we need to look for NGG’s parents. 1753 is when the first white settlement was established in this area. Many families settled here from Virginia and Pennsylvania. I checked to see if NGG’s wife’s family could offer a hint. Both of her parents were born locally in the 1760s. Her grandmother was also a South Carolinian born as Catherine Isabell Chitta Loftin from Charleston. Her grandfather Thomas Morgan, was from Groton, New London, Connecticut, born in 1725. So that ends the possibility of the families having migrated together, unless they migrated from eastern coastal Carolina when the British established the fort at Keowee in 1753. That is a strong possibility.
About Keowee’s settlement, from Wikipedia:
Before European settlement in North America, the Native American nation of the Cherokee lived in the area and had a settlement called Keowee town along what they called the Keowee River. It was capital of the Eastern or Lower Cherokees. In 1753, white settlers built Fort Prince George across the river from Keowee Town. The Cherokee were historical allies of the British Crown, and were left on their own and defeated after the British loss at Sullivan’s Island in 1776. After being decimated by a large force of the Continental Army and South Carolina militia under the command of Colonel Andrew Williamson, the Cherokee from the Carolina highlands and Georgia petitioned for peace. The Treaty of Dewitt’s Corner, signed May 20, 1777, stipulated the new border to be the crest of the Oconee Mountains, and the Cherokee ceded almost all the land in modern Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, and Greenville counties of South Carolina.
Much of the Keowee area, to include the old town are now submerged due to the construction of a dam in the late 1960s.