An American Family History

Autobiography by James Harvey Green

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine. It can be mild, but one in 20 infected persons experiences rapid loss of body fluids leading to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

In the Civil War (1861 to 1865) eleven Southern states seceded from the U.S. and formed the Confederate States of America.

A Whig was originally a supporter of the American Revolution and from about 1834 to 1855 was a member of the political party that opposed the Democrats. The party supported the supremacy of Congress over the Presidency and favored modernization and economic protectionism.
The indigenous population in the United States before the arrival of Europeans included many distinct tribes and languages

The first U.S. railroad opened in the 1830s. In 1869 the first transcontinental railway was completed.

Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. It was initially part of North Carolina.

I was born June 2, 1833, at Middletown, Butler Co., Ohio. My father was Eli Green, my mother Mary Fox Green. Eli was born April 1799 in Kentucky and moved to Ft. Hamilton, Ohio, when young.

Mother’s family came down the Ohio River on a flat boat which she managed as her husband was sick. Grandma Temprence died at 83. She lived in a cabin, by herself, four miles from Hamilton. She smoked a pipe as did most of the older ladies of southern Ohio. One time, for a prank, I gave her a high‐strung horse to ride home from a visit. She was then over eighty, but mastered the animal as well as any man. Her children persuaded her not to ride the horse again.

Father had a nice farm and was well off, but he signed the note of a friend and lost everything. He then moved to Muncie, Indiana, then back to Roseville which was on the other side of he Miami River from Hamilton. A long covered bridge with a toll house at the end connected the two towns.

Father was six feet tall and weighed 200 pounds. He was a fine sight as he carried the flag in his military company. He died of cholera in 1852. [He died in 1849 and was on the 1850 Federal Mortality Schedule]. At the time I was working as apprentice on the Dayton Gazette and went home by stage coach. I was 19 years old.

I did not care for school, and until 15 was puny, having chills and fever in the fall for three months. At 15, I went into the printing office.

The school was divided into three grades, taught by two women and a man for the third grade. One of my best friends was Joe Howells, son of the editor of the Hamilton Intelligencer, a weekly paper of Whig policies. Joe carried the paper route and we would meet, have a game of marbles and then I would carry part of the route for him. Joe was full of play, a good swimmer and runner, and always in good humor. The other boys liked him, too.

My father asked Mr. Howells to make a Ben Franklin out of me. Mr. Howells disliked Ben Franklin thoroughly, but took me in. Joseph and [his younger brother] William Dean Howells, and a printer named Dan Thorpe worked for the paper, and I was the Devil. I went to live with Mr. Howells and stayed four or five years. They were a devoted family, intelligent, industrious, poor and charitable. All had a sense of humor.

Will had read all the classics and learned German and Spanish. His first success was poems for the Ohio Farmer and an eastern magazine. He got a position on the Cincinnati Gazette and later was legislative reporter for the Ohio Journal. During the Presidential campaign he published, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, which was well received, and had a small volume of poems, Poems by Two Friends, published. Coauthor was John J. Piatt. After [Lincoln’s] election, Will was made Counsel to Venice, where he stayed eight years. So you see, his value in the election was rewarded, which seems to be a precedent today followed. After his return to America, his prestige grew. He used material gathered while in Venice for his novels.

When Mr. Howell’s sold the Intelligencer, I remained with John P. St. Charles, the new owner. After a time I went to Dayton and worked for Mr. Howells, carrying a route of morning papers, daily, on a pony. When a paper was started at Roseville, I went back to work for $7.00 a week, my largest wages so far.

When the paper folded, I started out to tramp, working one day in Eaton, Richmond (Indiana), Indianapolis, Terra Haute. At Springfield I set up a school six or eight miles from town with 30 pupils to start on Monday.

In a Springfield barroom a driver was looking for men to drive cattle to New York at 50 cents a day and return fare. I engaged to go with the 150 cattle and two other drivers. One led an ox in front, two drove the cattle behind. The boss could not read or write so I wrote his love letters for him and kept his account book. We went 10 or 15 miles a day, pasturing the cattle at night, and sleeping where we could find a dry place.

At Cleveland, Ohio, we shipped on a steamer for Dunkirk, and by car to Hoboken where the cattle went across the river at night 50 at a time. The Negro guide got drunk so I had to cross the best way I could. When we reached the Bull’s Head Yards, we had been on the road for 73 days and were dirty and tired. Two or three days were spent sight‐seeing in New York and then by rail to Chicago across the lake to Milwaukie, where I got work on the Milwaukie Sentinel and stayed a year.

At Lafayette (Indiana) I bought a small printing office and started a weekly paper at $1.00 a year – called the Gazette. The Kansas—Nebraska bill was before Congress and the North was excited that Kansas might become a slave state.

Selling my paper, I went to Kansas with a cousin, Isaac Stackhouse, and B. A. Goliday. We landed in the fall of 1854. There was a bitter feeling in the river towns against free state emigrants. After buying cooking pots, food, axe and a pack horse, we went back to the tavern to get our things and pay the bill. At the bar were some ruffians with schock hair, watery eyes, dirty flannel shirts and revolvers at their waists. They looked daggers at us but did us no harm.

We encamped near the Shawnee Indian Reservation. It was beautiful country with rolling hills, timbered streams and extended 20 miles west. The Indians were pretty civilized. The emigrants from New England had pitched their tents and settled. Pomeroy and Dr. Rodmon [Robinson] were the leaders. Lawrence was on the Kaw and Kansas Rivers. [The Kaw River is another name for Kansas River] There were no houses – all tents.

We pitched our tent eight or 10 miles out on a creek [probably Wakarusa]. A group of Indians joined us and gladly took what we gave them of our food. These Kaw Indians were fine, physical specimens. The women….ed around, playing with their ponies and dogs.

I got a job in a Westport newspaper office and in the spring went to Ft. Riley as my sister and family were there. I took up land, had 20 acres in corn, 40 tons of hay. I hauled 200 cords of wood to the Fort.

A slave ran away and the owner asked me to print some bills to post for his return. I stalled as much as I could and at last as I was about to print them I ran into the fuming man and spilled all the type and had to do the job over. He would have shot me if he had not wanted the bills so much. I was happy to learn the slave got safely away.

Mother and my other sister came out to Kansas to settle so we had a settlement of our own. The first legislature was held in Pawnee between Ft. Riley and Three Mile Creek on which our claims were. They adjourned to the Shawnee Mission near the Missouri line. They made it a death penalty to help a slave escape, to harbor one, or to teach one to read or write. Most of the members were from Mississippi, elected by men coming over from Missouri on Election Day and taking over the polling places. The free state settlers of Kansas were cruelly treated.

Old John Brown, and his son came to the territory, and took a hand in the fight. In our settlement all was quiet. F. M. Conway was the only Free State legislator elected, and was from our county. Capt. Nathaniel Lynn (afterward killed in the battle of Milford, Mo.) marshaled his company of soldiers out of Ft. Riley and camped near the forks. He said ‘any man entitled to vote and anyone trying to stop them would be shot.’ This is how the Free State candidate was elected, but he was not allowed to serve.

I left Ft. Riley and went to Lawrence to act as foreman and editor of the Herald of Freedom. That winter we were fighting with the border ruffians and on one of their raids they destroyed our office. I then went down the river and bought a new outfit and shipped back to Lawrence. “I thought it was a good chance to visit friends in Ohio and so I went to Jefferson to see the Howells who were printing the Ashtabula Sentinel. There I met Jane R. Hervey and decided not to go back to Kansas. Instead I went to work for the Cleveland Leader until 1856 when I went to Wisconsin where my old friend, William Hill, had a paper. He wanted me to go into partnership with him. I went back to Jefferson and was married to Jane and moved to Wisconsin.

In 1861 I enlisted and was the Captain of Co. F. of the Wisconsin Infantry, serving until March 1, 1865, when I was discharged at New Orleans, La.

The President called for 75,000 volunteers and so many enlisted that only part of them could be cared for. I was not fortunate enough to be in the first call. It was not until after Bull Run that I enlisted. I was attending the Dan Rice Circus and when the show was half through, Dan Rice came into the ring and read the dispatch of the defeat of the Union Army at Bull Run and that the Rebels were marching on Washington. He told us that the show was over and that our country called us to defend her. All who would join to call aya. Before 12:00 o’clock, enough had enlisted to form a company. We were accepted by the state and soon received orders to report at Madison.

We enlisted in July, went to camp in August and were at the front, October 1861, numbering 1,000 officers and men. An old eagle caught by an Indian became our mascot. We called him ‘Old Abe’ for President Lincoln and we were called the Eagle Brigade.

Three days after we left camp we were at the battle front at Frederickstown, Missouri. We had marched all night and camped for breakfast when a cavalry troop out scouting came upon the enemy drawn up for battle. The call to fall in came and we started for the front line where the Rebels had been waiting. The corn had been cut and shocked. It seemed that there was a Rebel behind each shock.

Our next camp was at Suphur Springs, Missouri, 20 miles from St. Louis. Many were sick with measles, small pox, and disentary, and we lost as many from sickness as from battle. We now numbered 700 men.

The Mississippi River was full of broken ice when we went down to Cairo, the only dry spot was the levies, the rest was a sea of mud. Gen. Grant commanded the Post, and I was in his tent. He seemed indifferent and unsure. About 50 of us were detailed to the commander of a gun boat ‘Benton’ which was patrolling the Mississippi River. It was a good place, warm and dry, and good food.

In my four years’ service, the worst march was from Birds Point on the Missouri side to Point Pleasant, below Island 10, where we were to man the rifle pits. We went through a swamp over a railroad whose ties and rails had been taken up. We crawled on the stringers 10 to 15 feet above the swamp, shedding knapsacks and blankets and coat. At Point Pleasant, we shot at gun boats carrying supplies to New Orleans. When our gun boats broke the blockade, we captured hundreds of Rebels and arms.

Gen. Pope gathered 30,000 men and took them down the Mississippi River on steamboats to open the river to Memphis. Orders came to turn back and go up the Tennessee but the battle of Shiloh was over when we reached there, so we got off at Hamberg and formed the left wing of an army of 200,000 soldiers under Gen. Halleck. He was a West Point man and went by the book. Gen. Grant was second in command.

We marched two miles a day, rebuilding roads and bridges to use in case of retreat. If Grant had been in charge, we would have marched quickly and won Beauregard’s army in 24 hours. As it was, we had to retreat under fire and lost many men. I was reported killed, but had sent word to my mother that I was alive. “Gen. Pope pleaded to come to our rescue, but Gen. Halleck refused. Three officers and 20 men were killed and 100 wounded.

General Grant resumed command and we fought with Forrest and his guerillas almost every day. In August we were sent to Tennessee, guarding the ferries on the river. Our tents were pitched in a beautiful grove by the river and the Negroes brought us peaches, chickens, butter, potatoes, eggs, and watermelons. Soon we were in battle again, losing many men. The Rebels lost 3,000 with 1,000 prisoners. Our service ended with the capture of Mobile.

After being discharged from the army, I returned to Jefferson and worked again for the Cleveland Leader as night editor until 1866 when I went to Fremont with Wilcox and bought the Fremont Journal which I published until December 1868. Then I came to Medina and bought the Gazette in January 1869. Jane and the children came in February 1870.

The first Europeans settled in the Northwest Territory in 1788. Migrants came from New York and New England. Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state on March 1, 1803.

Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.
An early American tavern (or ordinary) was an important meeting place and they were strictly supervised. Innkeepers were respectable members of the community. Taverns offered food and drink. An inn also offered accommodation.
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th president of the United States.
When Kansas was officially opened to settlement in 1854, both abolitionists and pro-slavery settlers rushed to the territory to determine whether it would become a free or a slave state. It was admitted to the union as a slave-free state on January 29, 1861.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822 – 1885), the 18th President of the United States, was the commanding general who led the Union Armies to victory.

Kentucky was originally a Virginia county and included the lands west of the Appalachians. In 1780, it was divided into Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties. Kentucky officially became a state on June 1, 1792.



Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2023
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