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Albert Robinson Greene to Franklin G. Adams

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Greene, Albert Robinson

Board of Railroad Commissioners.


Topeka, Kansas, January 16, 1889


Hon F. G. Adams,

Secretary Kansas State Historical Society


Dear Sir,


In compliance with the request contained in your circular letter of 1st instant, I enclose herewith a brief sketch of my life.


My full name is Albert Robinson Greene.  I was born in the New England settlement of Mount Hope, McLean County, Illinois, January 16, 1842.  My father was a native of Rhode Island and belonged to the Nathaniel Greene stock.  His name was Elisha Harris Greene.  My mother, Lucy Stacey Greene, was the daughter of a Maine ship builder and was born in saco or Biddeford.  Both my parents were educated at the common schools of the country and were without fortune.  Father was one of the best men who ever lived, but he lacked the extraordinary force of character possessed by my mother.  Both were deeply pious.  Father was brought up a Quaker but renounced that belief at the age of 30 and united with the Congregationalists.  Mother also was identified with that church nearly her whole life.


In 1837, my parents removed to Central Illinois


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and settled on a farm.  The family consisted at that time of the parents and my three brothers, Henry Martyn, William Wilberforce and Thomas Waterman, the eldest being less than six years of age.  Henry survives and is at present editor of the Lawrence Journal.  William died at the age of 22 in Livingston County, Illinois.  He was deputy county clerk at the time.  Thomas was educated at Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, Illinois and after graduating, took a three years course for the ministry, at the Rochester Theological seminary.  He was pastor of Baptist Churches during the succeeding ten years, at Litchfield and Bunker Hill, Ill. St Louis, Mo, Lawrence Ft Scott and Junction City, Kansas and Denver Colorado, and was president of the College of California, at Vacaville, in 1877 when he died.


I was taught by my mother from the Bible until I was 7 years of age and then sent to the district school until I was 15 when the family removed to Kansas, in 1857.  I never went to school a day after this.  My life was spent on a farm on Elk Creek, Weller (Osage) County, 20 miles southeast of Topeka, until August 20, 1862.


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when I enlisted in Co “A” 9th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry.  I served in this company and regiment just 1000 days, the war having ended meantime.  I then returned to the farm and went to work.  On the 31, day of January 1867 I married Emma Boles the daughter of the neighborhood doctor and one of the earliest settlers of Kansas.  My wife died three months after our marriage.  On the 3. of August 1868, I married my present wife, Julia Anna Coblentz.  On the 7 of June 1869 mother died.  She was buried on the farm but subsequently her remains were removed to the Lecompton cemetery and laid beside my father who died June 27, 1884.  On the 10. of June 1869, my first child was born, at “Valley Farm.”  We named her Julia Emma.  In 1870, I removed to Lecompton.  On the 20. of May 1871, Jennie May, our second child was born in Lecompton.  In 1872, I removed to a farm in Shawnee County, two miles northwest of Richland.  In 1873 I moved to the hamlet of Richland and opened a store and post office.  Here our third child, Ariel Bernice, was born, and here she died three months later.  In 1874, in November I moved


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to Topeka; the panic of 1873 and drouth of the next year having ruined me financially and made it absolutely necessary to give up my mortgaged lands to my creditors.  I rented a house on the corner of 9th and Monroe and went to keeping boarders.  In March 1875 I became traveling correspondent for the Kansas City Journal.  On the 22 of September 1876, Arthur Albert, our fourth child was born cor 4 & Quincy, Topeka.  On the 6. of December 1878 our fifth child, Lucy Stacy, was born, in Lecompton, the family having removed there the year previously.  I held the position on the Journal for 7 years and during that time traveled extensively in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and the Indian Territory, and made several trips to my old army haunts in Arkansas.  In 1880 I was elected to the Senate from Douglas County, for a term of 4 years.  On the 14. of March 1883, I was commissioned Inspector of the General Land Office and went to Washington for instructions.  My district embraced the middle western, and southern states at first – but one year later I was given all the territories and the Pacific states.  In this way I traveled by a


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most circuitous and tedious route from southern Florida to Puget Sound and from the northern shore of Lake Superior to the Mexican boundary.  I spent weeks among the orange groves of the South and the fir and redwood forests of the Pacific coast.  I traversed the entire length of the Mississippi by steamer, threaded the Lakes to the Apostle Islands, crossed the plains on four different railway lines, staged from the head of navigation on the Sacramento Cal to the head of Rogue river in Oregon, and made two ocean voyages on the Pacific.  When the administration changed I sent in my resignation “to take effect at the close of business March 4, 1885.”  On the 21. of May, 1885 Lieut Gov Riddle and I bought the Minneapolis Messenger and in September of that year my family removed from Lecompton to Minneapolis.  On Christmas eve, 1885, Joseph G. Talbot, a drunken printer whom I had that day discharged, shot at me as I was sitting in my office, the bullet passing less than a foot directly over my head and shattering the window near which I was sitting.  He was arrested and placed under bonds of $500.


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but escaped and is still at large.  In May, 1886. I sold my interest to Riddle and removed to Cedar Vale, Chautauqua County, and bought the Star newspaper.  On the 31. day of March 1887 I was elected railroad commissioner.  On the 11. of January 1888, our sixth child, Carrie Prentis, was born.  At the annual encampment of the G.A.R. held in Winfield in February 1888, I was elected one of the delegates to represent Kansas in the 22 National Encampment in Columbus Ohio.  Soon after this latter encampment I was given a position as Aide de Camp on the staff of the Commander in Chief.  In the fall of 1887 I was elected one of five delegates from Kansas to attend the National Convention of Republican Clubs at Chickering Hall New York but was unable to attend owing to official duties.                      

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