Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874|
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois
William G. Greene
Success is the creature of energy and tact. Men may sometimes blunder into fame or fortune, but, unless they possess sterling qualities, the sequel is their lives is apt to prove that they were unworthily entrusted with great advantages. Opportunities come to every man, but only a few seize upon them and rise with them to success. In a great emergency men spring to the front and become prominent as leaders. It is not so much because their opportunities were greater, but that they possessed the qualities which in all ages have been recognized as the masters of success, and by which they were enabled to take advantage of the
------ tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Neglected, all the voyage of their lives
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
These truths, which have been happily expressed in the saying that every man is the architect of his own fortune, are, perhaps, nowhere more decidedly manifest than in new settlements. Here extrinsic aids are peculiarly absent. Family influence loses its power. Every man stands on his own merits. If anything is accomplished, it must be by individual exertion . Added to this, the rough discipline of pioneer life, the rugged development of character by actual contact with hardships, the courage and confidence born of meeting obstacles and overcoming them, and we have the school in which the highest types of manhood have been developed. It was the training by which Abraham Lincoln rose from obscurity to eminence, and it was by profiting by the same experience that a friend of the early days of the martyred President, William G. Greene, rose to the position he now occupies among the wealthy and influential citizens of Illinois.
Mr. Greene s ancestors were of English descent. His grandfather, Jarvis Greene, was one of the pioneer settlers of Kentucky, emigrating there from North Carolina while the country was yet a wilderness. His life on the frontier was insecure, exposed as he was at any moment to the depredations of the savages, and he was at last killed by the Indians at the battle of Blue Licks, August, 1781.
It was in a fort at Bryant Station, erected by Daniel Boone as a protection against Indian attacks, that William Greene,
the father of the subject of our sketch, was born. His early life was spent in the Kentucky wilds. Here were no facilities for obtaining an education, and a single half-day of schooling is all that he ever enjoyed. At the age of twenty-one, he married Elizabeth Graham, then seventeen, whose parents had removed from North Carolina to Greene County, Kentucky, when Elizabeth was ten years of age. Soon after this marriage he built a log cabin, cleared a piece of land, and settled down near the old homestead in Kentucky. He resided here ten years, during which two children were born. Mr. Greene then removed to Overton, Tennessee, and engaged in farming on the Cumberland, near the mouth of Obey s River. The remaining six children were here born.
It was on this farm, in northern Tennessee, that William G. Greene, the fifth of the children in the order of their birth, first saw the light. He was born January 27, 1812. His father remained fifteen years in all in Tennessee. At that time the tide of immigration was settling toward the fertile and beautiful lands of Illinois, and Mr. Greene resolved to try his fortune in the new country. The farm was accordingly disposed of, a few household goods and other articles were packed together in a wagon, and the family, the younger members in the rude conveyance, and the elder boys trudging along on foot, started on their northward journey. The region to which they were directing their steps was not yet known by the name of Illinois. The French settlers of St. Louis had bestowed upon it the name of St. Gamie; and Sangama, Sangaman, and Sangamon were variations of this. The Tennessee family reached a point now in Menard County, near where Tallula is at present situated, and there settled, purchasing from one Royal Potter a farm, on which were some slight improvements. This spot was afterward the residence of the elder Mr. and Mrs. Greene till their death.
William was a boy of nine when the family made Illinois their home. Thence forth his history has been closely identified with that of the Prairie State. His early education was such as the rude advantages of a community destitute of any system of public instruction could furnish. The first school he attended was kept in a log schoolhouse, built by the combined efforts of the neighborhood. It stood on Rock Creek, and the school was taught by a man named Compton. He afterward was a pupil of T. M. Fletcher, one of the pioneer teachers in that section of the State, who taught under the old shed of a hand-mill. But though the facilities for obtaining an education were necessarily very restricted, to the active mind of young Greene they were enough to form the basis of a sound and substantial education. His mind was quick to catch the intricacies, and learning, seldom made attractive in these days, yielded up her charms to the mind of her young devotee as he wooed her in summer under the shade of the wildwood, or in winter by the flickering light of the back log fire.
The rough nurture of the wilderness, however, was effectual in developing his character. There was but little money in the community. St. Louis, one hundred and twenty-five miles away, was the only market for farm products. The roads were rough paths through an unsettled country. When going to market, to have stopped at the taverns along the route would have consumed more than the little money obtained for the produce, and hence while on the journey they were accustomed to sleep in hollow logs, a supply of provisions for themselves and of provender for their horses having been brought along.
In reference to one of these trips to St. Louis, Mr. Greene relates a thrilling adventure. He was then seventeen or eighteen, and, with his companions, a stalwart young man of his own age, was returning from St. Louis in the month of November. A pleasant day ended with a sudden change of temperature. A driving storm of sleet and hail swept over the prairie. Night was coming on, and the two pushed forward to a point some distance ahead where lay an immense log, well known to the habituTs of the route, in whose capacious hollow travelers frequently found refuge for the night. They reached the spot just at dusk, unhitched the horses, gave them some of the corn still left in the wagon, and then sought their expected shelter, already benumbed by the stinging blast and the bitter cold.
The log was of immense size, with a hollow nearly five feet in diameter, running back to a great distance. To their consternation it was already occupied, and by a dangerous foe. A wild sow with her litter of pigs had made it her nest, and, upon their attempting to effect an entrance, a fierce grunt and a vigorous dash in their direction warned them that she was a formidable enemy. It was almost a case for despair, and hearts made of less stouter stuff would have shrank at the prospect. No house was near enough to be reached. To spend the night on the prairie, almost frozen as they were, was certain death, and no better fate awaited them should they venture into the log and place themselves under such disadvantageous circumstances within reach of the ferocious animal. It was but for a moment they hesitated, and then Green determined to effect a dislodgment by strategy.
He remembered that it had been a favorite amusement of him and his companion to overturn a canoe in the water, and then, getting under it, listen to the deafening noise occasioned by some one pounding on the upturned bottom. Reminding his companion of this, he told him the only hope of saving their lives was by striking the log a terrific blow with a stick of timber, when perhaps the tremendous noise engendered in the hollow would startle the beast from her lair. His companion was large and stout-framed, a giant of physical strength, and to him was assigned the task of striking the blow on which life and death depended. A heavy piece of timber, twelve feet in length, was poised in the air, and circling it round and round, carefully gathering his strength for the effort, he brought it at last down on the log with a tremendous crash. Before the echo had died away, the old sow had rushed in dismay out of the end of the log, and Green and his companion lost no time in putting themselves before the entrance, where they kept her at bay with clubs.
The two entered the log - Greene first - and a bed of leaves gave promise of a comfortable night, when a new danger awaited them. Somehow, one of the pigs had remained behind, and a prolonged squeal, as Green lay down upon it, was the first intimation they had of its presence. In a second the infuriated mother was upon them; but fortunately Green s muscular companion had time to turn himself upon his back, and, poising his feet in the air, he met the attack with a furious kick that sent the sow out of the log and himself back a few feet in the direction of Greene. The assault was repeated once or twice, and meanwhile the pig was caught and thrown out of the log, and they were left in peace. They emerged in the morning from their quarters to find the pigs frozen to death. It was amid such adventures as these, and the hardships incident to a new settlement, that William G. Greene developed those qualities which afterwards made his career so successful.
The house of Greene s father was within a few miles of Salem, and when Abraham Lincoln made that place his home, in 1831, Greene became one of his acquaintances, and a friendship was formed that lasted till the death of the latter. Lincoln was then twenty-one, and Greene three years younger, but as far as education was concerned the latter had the advantage, and from him Lincoln learned his first lessons in English grammar.
It was in 1832, when Mr. Greene was twenty, that he entered into his first speculation, which deserves to be mentioned, not only on account of its success as a first business venture, but by reason of its historical association with Lincoln, the incident being mentioned in detail by Holland, in his Life of Abraham Lincoln, and by other biographers of the distinguished President.
A man named Reuben Radford kept a small store in New Salem. The Clary s Grove Boys, an organized band of desperadoes and a terror to the community, often visited the village, and kept Radford in constant alarm. He had kept the place two or three weeks, when, one night, he went over to his brother-in-law s, a few miles away, and left a younger brother, Jackson Radford, in charge, instructing him, if the Clary s Grove Boys came, not to let them have but two glasses of whisky apiece. That very night the Clary s Grove boys came. They were refused the whisky, and thereupon turned young Radford out, and helped themselves. Before they dispersed the store was pretty well torn out, and the contents lay in a mass of hopeless confusion on the floor.
It happened the next morning Greene had started before daylight, with a bag of corn before him on the horse, to the old mill just below Salem, in order to be first with his turn. Just before reaching Salem he was passed by a man riding rapidly on horseback. It was Radford, who had heard of the fate of his grocery, and was galloping to the scene. Greene arrived on the spot a moment after Radford, just in time to hear him exclaim, I ll sell this thing to the first man that makes me a bid! Greene rode up to the solitary window, and sticking in his head and taking a hasty glance of the state of affairs, said, I ll give you four hundred dollars for it. The offer at once was accepted, with the understanding that the purchaser should have six months in which to make payment. Greene met Lincoln a short distance from the store, and the latter proposed to go over and take an inventory of the contents. This was done, when the value of the contents was found to amount to over eight hundred dollars.
The same day he sold the store to Lincoln and a man named Berry, they taking Greene s place on the note for four hundred dollars, and giving him in addition two hundred and sixty-five dollars in money, and a fine horse, saddle, and bridle belonging to Berry. Radford would not consent to the arrangement about the note unless Greene became their security, to which at last he agreed. The business soon went to pieces; Greene assisted Lincoln to close up the store, and then as surely was compelled to pay the note of four hundred dollars to Radford; thus Lincoln became indebted to Greene for that amount. In their conversations this was invariably humorously alluded to as the National Debt. Six years afterward, when Mr. Greene had removed to Tennessee, and Lincoln had become a lawyer in Spring-field, the latter wrote to him, stating that he was ready to discharge the liabilities of himself and former partner to the utmost farthing.
The friendship between Greene and Lincoln was never interrupted. Horse-racing was then one of the amusements common in the vicinity of Salem, and Lincoln was frequently selected as judge in these races. The honesty of his decisions gained for him the soubriguet of Honest Abe, in bestowing which upon him Mr. Greene bore his part.
The year 1831 witnessed the breaking out of the Black Hawk war, and a call for volunteers was issued by Governor Reynolds. A company of mounted rangers, of which Adam Smith was Captain, responded from the vicinity of Mr. Greene s house, and in this company he was a private. No fighting occurred during the campaign. The troops first made Rushville, in Schuyler County, their rendezvous, and then marched to Rock Island, where they old treaty with Black Hawk was reaffirmed, by which his tribe was confined to the western bank of the Mississippi. On this occasion, Mr. Greene saw the celebrated chief. In the spring of 1832 the war was again renewed. Black Hawk crossed the Mississippi with a large force of warriors, with the intention of ascending Rock River, and the Governor again issued a call for troops. A company was raised from that part of Sangamon now comprising Menard County, in which Mr. Greene enlisted, and of which Abraham Lincoln was chosen Captain. Their service of ninety days was characterized by hardships rather than glory. The company, after a short stay at Beardstown, moved on the 27th of April, and, after a few days of rough marching, reached the mouth of Rock River, and afterward proceeded to Ottawa, where the company was mustered out of service.
On Greene s return home, he worked a year on his father s farm, and then, in 1833, became a student in Illinois College at Jacksonville. He remained here three years. The college had but recently been founded, and at that time had an industrial department connected with it. The students were paid six to eight cents an hour for their labor. Rooms were furnished them, but they paid for board, washing, and tuition. Greene was a diligent student, and here laid the solid foundations of a liberal education. He studied late into the night, and recited and worked by day. With such unflagging industry did he pursue his college course, that at its termination he had not only paid his expenses, but had the means with which to enter one hundred and sixty acres of government land.
Richard Yates was a student in the institution at the same time, and a lasting friendship was formed between the two. On one occasion, while Yates was a guest of Greene s during a vacation, the latter took him up to Salem to make him acquainted with Lincoln. They found him flat on his back on a cellar-door reading a newspaper. Greene introduced the two, and thus the great war Governor of Illinois and the great war-President began their acquaintance. Lincoln, on invitation of Greene, went back to dine with them. At this meal the future President, in his awkwardness, managed to upset his bowl of bread and milk. Mr. Greene well recollects the confusion with which the accident covered Lincoln, which Mrs. Greene, the hostess, who was always attached to the ungainly backwoodsman, tried to relieve as best she could by affirming it was her fault in setting the bowl at the wrong place on the table.
At the conclusion of his college course, Mr. Greene went to Kentucky, near Danville, where he first became a private tutor in the family of Mr. George Carpenter, a prominent man of the neighborhood. He also taught a grammar school by lectures for some time, with great success, and then went to Tennessee, and took up his residence in White County in the central part of the State. He here became principal of the Priestly Academy.
It was during his residence here that Mr. Greene became acquainted with the lady who now is his estimable wife. Her maiden name was Louisa H. White. She was the daughter of Woodson P. and Nancy White. Her father was one of the first citizens of the County, and for several terms was a representative in the State Legislature. The marriage was celebrated March 31, 1837. Mr. Greene was twenty-five at the time, and his bride seventeen.
He continued to teach school for a few months after his marriage, and then returned to Illinois, where he lived about eighteen months. He returned to Tennessee, and was appointed Deputy Sheriff of the County. He also engaged in agricultural operations. In 1842 he removed to Mississippi, and settled at Aberdeen, in the northeastern part of the State. By reason of the unhealthful mess of the climate, he resided here but six months, and then moved to Memphis, where, on a capital of little more than a hundred dollars, he started a family grocery and provision store. The two and a half years of his residence in Memphis were occupied with this and other business operations. He made several trips down the Mississippi in a flatboat, carrying farm-products to the New Orleans markets. During his residence in Memphis, his business enterprises met with favorable results and he acquired a considerable amount of property.
In the spring of 1845, he returned to Illinois with his family, now consisting of his wife and three children, each of whom had been born in a different State. He purchased a farm in Mason County, on Quiver Creek, and began operations as a general land-dealer and farmer, in both of which he was very successful. He sold his property in Mason County, in 1853, and purchased the farm near Tallula, on which he has ever since resided. Here he engaged largely in farming and stock-dealing, meeting with a success similar to that which has characterized almost every enterprise in which he has engaged.
In addition to agriculture, his attention of late years has been directed in other channels of enterprise. He has largely assisted in the development of the railroad system of the State. He has one of the original directors of the Tonica and Petersburg Railroad, which has since become incorporated with the Jacksonville Division of the Chicago and Alton Road. He was interested in building up several towns along the line. Mason City is one of these. Greenview has its name from him, and he was one of the original founders of Tallula. His keen business foresight brought him in possession of several town sites along the route of the Chicago and Alton Road, and afterwards, when the towns became built up, he was enabled to realize a handsome return from his investments.
The Jacksonville Division was in a very precarious condition at the conclusion of Yates s administration as President. The whole enterprise, indeed, was in serious danger of a collapse. Mr. Greene was at that time one of the directors, and, at the urgent solicitation of his colleagues, particularly Yates himself, he consented to assume for a time the Presidency. The energy and business sagacity he brought to his duties were chiefly effectual in placing the road on a firmer basis than it had ever before known. The company was saved from bankruptcy, and the judgment of the other directors thoroughly justified in assigning him the task. He was active in obtaining the charter of the Springfield and Northwestern Railroad; was one of the original board of directors, and its first President. It was largely through his energy that subscriptions for the building of the road were obtained, and a part of the road constructed. Upon the road passing into the possession of the present lessee, Mr. Greene retired from the management.
Mr. Greene s political conviction, prior to the Presidential campaign of 1860, led him to set mostly with the Democratic party. He, however, voted for his old friend, Lincoln, for President, in whose nomination, indeed, he bore an important part, as appears from a record of the following incidents, which deserve to more widely known:
In 1859, Richard Yates was an aspirant for the Governorship of the State. He was opposed by Peter Sweat, who seemingly stood an equal chance for the Republican nomination. The canvass in the Republican party, prior to the meeting of the Convention, was carried on with some warmth on the part of the friends of both candidates. Yates was fearful of the result. Lincoln at that time had risen to prominence. He was recognized on all sides as the ablest and most influential Republican in Illinois; and his debates with Douglas in the senatorial campaign of the previous year had given him some little national reputation. He so far had occupied a neutral position, and had not thrown the weight of his influence in favor of either side in the contest. One day, Yates, who had been a member of Congress, and thus had acquired acquaintance and influence among the Republicans of the East, and also wielded considerable power at various points in the West, came to see Greene. He said he was certain of the nomination and election as Governor, provided Lincoln could be induced to lean on his side; and also, that the latter would be the Presidential candidate of the Republican party the following year, should certain springs be put in motion. He asked Greene, as a mutual friend of the two, to enlist Lincoln in his favor in the race for Governor, with the understanding that he (Yates) should do all in his power in order to bring Lincoln into prominence as a candidate for the Presidency in 1860.
Mr. Greene assented to the arrangement, and, getting in a carriage, they rode over to Springfield, and once more the three, who had made a mutual acquaintance at Salem a quarter of a century before, stood together. Their circumstances had greatly changed since that first meeting. One had become an active member of Congress, and now, with high hopes, was looking forward to the gubernatorial chair. His college friend, aided only by his energy and shrewdness, had hewn his way through obstacles before which others would have shrank, and had raised himself from an obscure youth to a wealthy and prominent citizen of the State. He who had awkwardly risen from the cellar-door, newspaper in hand, to greet the two, twenty-five years before, was rapidly growing into fame as a statesman of broad and liberal views, a man to meet the emergencies of the times, and the prophetic eye could already have seen the laurels with which a nation, in whose salvation he bore the most prominent part afterward, decked his brow.
Greene and Lincoln retired to one side, and the former briefly unfolded the plan. Lincoln was to support Yates for Governor, and Yates was to obtain for Lincoln invitations to deliver addresses at points in the East, by which he would be brought into the foreground of national politics, and with the aid of other agencies the way be paved for his nomination for President. The arrangement was agreed to by all parties. Yates was duly nominated and elected Governor, and, in accordance with the plan, invitations soon came from various points for Lincoln to deliver political addresses, and it was the popularity gained by these speeches that largely won the nomination at Chicago in the following May.
Mr. Greene voted for Yates for Governor in 1859, and Lincoln for President in 1860. When the rebellion broke out, his sympathies were warmly enlisted in support of the administration, and Central Illinois knew no stronger Union man than William G. Greene. Three of his sons enlisted in the army, and fought during the war. When, at the darkest hour of the struggle, the Government called for money, with a firm confidence in the result, which never forsook him, he did not hesitate to do what he could to furnish the Government with means to carry on its work.
Upon the passage of the Internal Revenue Law, considerable trouble was apprehended from its working in the Ninth Illinois District, in which Menard County was embraced. President Lincoln selected his old friend, Greene, as the man above all others to put the law in successful operation in the district. With some reluctance he accepted the appointment, but after the work of collecting the revenue was thoroughly organized, and the danger of a conflict between the authorities and the people had passed, the office was resigned.
His friendship with President Lincoln was still maintained, and he was frequently his guest at Washington, where he always met with a cordial greeting. The President relied much on his judgment is giving correct statements of the condition of popular sentiment throughout the country in regard to the war. In his own section, his assistance was important in preventing threatened collisions between agents of the Government and parties disaffected with the war measures. His influence was always sought by aspirants throughout the State for political appointments at the hand of the President. He continued an earnest supporter of the Administration while Lincoln remained in office, and when at last the hand of the assassin finished the work of the People s President, just as he had brought the country safely through the horrors of a civil war, none mourned more sincerely over his untimely grave, or lavished richer honors on his memory, than his old-time friend, William G. Greene.
He continued a member of the Republican party for some years after the war. In 1868 his name was brought prominently forward as the Republican candidate for Congress. His political views at present at conservative, and in 1872 he supported Mr. Greeley for President.
Mr. Greene has been closely identified with business enterprises near his home, and his energy and capital have done much toward the development of the manufacturing and commercial interests of the County. In connection with Mr. J. A. Brahm, in September, 1866, he established at Petersburg the first bank in Menard County. The institution, known as the banking firm of Brahm & Greene, is on a firm and substantial basis; and was one of the few banks that went through the panic of the autumn of 1873 without a suspension of payments, although much of their deposits were locked up in other cities, and for the time beyond their control. So great was the confidence of the public in the men who composed the firm, that though banks and commercial firms were suspending in almost every city from inability to meet their obligations, no unusual run was made on the bank, and no serious withdrawal of deposits occurred. He is also largely interested in the South Valley Coal Shaft, opened two or three years ago in Petersburg; and is one of the principal parties who have brought to their present successful operation the woolen-mills of the same place. In the town of Petersburg he has ever taken a deep interest, always maintaining that it should be made the manufacturing centre, for which its natural advantages adapt it. The growth of the town has afforded him peculiar gratification.
Mr. And Mrs. Greene have had nine children, of whom seven, six sons and one daughter, are now living. The children inherit largely the peculiar characteristics of their parents. The sons are enterprising farmers. The only daughter, Miss Katie, is now securing an education at the old Moravian Seminary at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The elements of Mr. Greene s success are readily traced in his character. If his prosperity has been beyond that of most men, it is because he has thought more, planned better, and brought to the execution of his designs an energy and perseverance that seldom fail in the accomplishment of their object. Born to the necessities of labor, the early circumstance of his life afforded no promise of golden success. That was something almost foreign to the rude time and community in which he grew to manhood. The virgin soil of the new settlement easily yielded the simple means of subsistence, but offered little beyond. The actual wants of life were supplied, but that was all. Of luxuries there were none, and little scope for the exercise of that genius which in the commercial metropolis piles up stately fortunes; fills the air with the busy hum of a thousand spindles, the clang of giant-armed machinery, and whitens every sea with the messengers of trade. Had Mr. Greene s early life been cast amid abundant opportunities for enterprise, it is safe to say that the splendid faculties with which nature has fitted him for business operations would have won a place for his name among the millionairesand merchant princes of the land. As it was, the rough backwoods life, the hardships of whose training have brought upon the stage so much of sterling worth, while it afforded no wide field for talent, yet was not without its influence in cultivating shrewdness, energy, and decision, qualities which always and everywhere must be relied upon to produce success. Fortune is a fickle goddess. She commonly frowns before she smiles. Those that woo her successfully must first withstand her buffetings, and in the school of a thousand emergencies and difficulties gain the bravery and shrewdness that at last carries the day. It was by such a process that William G. Greene climbed to a position of influence and wealth, showing as each successive step rare ability and sagacity.
To a natural shrewdness he added habits of observation that made his judgment in matters of business almost unerring. Combined with this, a promptness to seize upon the salient points of a transaction, and decision enough to assume at once the responsibility of a contract, we have the elements of the keen, successful business man. The key note to his future career was struck in the first trade he ever made, --that with Reuben Radford, so interesting from its historical connection with Lincoln. He had sagacity enough to form at a glance a correct idea of the worth of the wreck which the Clary s Grove boys had left behind them, and though not out of his minority, when the proposal to sell was made he had the nerve to promptly offer four hundred dollars - a sum of great magnitude in those early days - for the lot of broken glass and scattered groceries, worth in reality, as the inventory made with the assistance of Lincoln afterward showed, more than twice that amount. It was by such qualities as were displayed in this transaction that his subsequent success was achieved. Keen to discern the exact moment when a bargain could best be made, accurate to weigh its advantages and disadvantages, quick to decide, his career could not have been far otherwise different than it was. It was not by simple industry that his means have been gained. Other men have been as industrious and energetic, and yet have completely failed or else come far short of his achievements. An ever-ready tact, a keen discrimination, a careful balancing of chances, a quick foresight into the future, all these supplied something without which simple energy would have floundered in the byways and missed the high road to success.
It might be expected of such a man that he would make acquisitions and accumulate property. But no one could charge him with loving money for its own sake. He possesses nothing of the miser in his composition. He has made his wealth a means of comfort and happiness to himself and others. His residence is a model of quiet elegance and taste. His home is surrounded with every comfort, and, in conjunction with his wife, who forms a worthy example of the amiable and dignified matron, he dispenses a genial and generous hospitality with the ease and grace of the olden time. His private life has been embellished by deeds of liberality of which we forbear here to make mention, but which honor alike the goodness of his heart as they do justice to his wisdom and forethought. Young men of ability, for whom his penetration has enabled him to see a brilliant and successful future, he has always been ready to assist. In all local enterprises, an appeal to him for aid has never been in vain. In every public improvement he has been an active participant, subscribing for all measures looking to the public welfare with a liberality that has never been wanting.
He is a man of genial sympathies, whom wealth could never make narrow minded. In his recital of the incidents that have marked his varied and adventurous life, one discovers a simple eloquence and warmth of imagination that might have made him an orator had his life run in other channels. Hardly a man has fewer personal enemies. Exact justice he has desired from others, but this is something he has ever been ready to give. His obligations have been promptly met, and no man can say that William G. Greene ever went back on his word. He is still in the vigor of life. His hair has become silvered, but his piercing eye has lost none of its brightness, and the same shrewdness and careful enterprise mark his business operations as have built up his ample fortune. Successful in life, he is yet broad in his views, liberal in spirit, a genial companion, with taste and culture sufficient for the enjoyment of the wealth which he has made his own, not through any meretricious influences, but solely by virtue of the inborn and self-acquired qualities which constitute the self-made man.