Biography - William Green

WILLIAM P. GREEN. It is with pleasure that the biographer takes up the life record of William P. Green, one of the most prosperous and best known of the citizens of Cobden and a man who is identified in an important sense with its development and that of the country surrounding. A man of strong commercial instinct and of considerable executive ability, all enterprises with which he becomes identified seem pretty sure of success. For twenty-three years a salesman, he has dealt since 1903 in coal and ice in Cobden and he is also leasing four valuable farms for apple-growing, being associated in this with the Lamer Brothers under the firm name of Lamer, Green & Lamer. They have devoted two hundred and forty acres to this branch of agriculture and have 9,000 fine trees, all apple. Since 1900, when they first engaged in this interesting work they have made sales to the amount of $11,043 and have 1,200 barrels in storage, which raises this amount to $15,000. Mr. Green also sells spraying machines and has recently sold one car-load of these commodities to fruitgrowers.

William P. Green was born October 28, 1854, in Union county, Illinois, the son of William and Cornelia (Bennett) Green. Nathaniel Green, the grandfather, an energetic South Carolinian, came to this county about 1803. He was the father of Mastin, David and William Green. Mastin and David were born in South Carolina and William was born in this county in 1806. The father died here soon after and the boys located in the Mississippi Bottoms. These brothers are all dead.

When they located in the Mississippi Bottoms they resided for a time with an uncle who managed Green's Ferry on the Father of Waters. The boys lived the wholesome, strenuous life of the pioneer, raising crops in the summer and in the fall and winter going into the woods where they made a flat-boat on which they floated their produce down to New Orleans and sold it. They were industrious and thrifty and in this way accumulated considerable money. In 1844 they were driven out of the bottoms by floods and they went to the hills. David Green settled on his farm at Green's Crossing near Cobden and opened a general merchandise store at that place in 1854. William Green, father of him whose name inaugurates this review, removed to Jonesboro and continued farming. He owned a section of land west of that place, and this he tilled up to the time of his death in 1865. This good man, who was respected and influential in his community, reared a family of four children. Florence W., born October 26, 1834, died August 15, 1899. He married Annetta Cover January 17, 1865, and their surviving children are as follows: Otis, Daniel, John H., Florence E., James A. and Roy. Mollie, second of the subject's sisters, married Calvin Miller first and after his death became the wife of A. C. Stage, her present residence being in Chicago. The subject is third in order of birth and the youngest member of the family is David M., an Arkansas farmer. The father, William Green Sr., was one of the organizers of the Union County Agricultural & Mechanical Society, which held the first county fair in this county. He was a member and deacon in the Baptist church of Jonesboro and his hand was given to all good causes. In his time he accumulated considerable wealth. His wife, whose maiden name was Cornelia Bennett, died in 1855, in the infancy of William, Jr.

William P. Green received his education in the public schools and continued to reside upon the paternal homestead until 1877. Even as a very young man he manifested commercial instincts and was most successful as a salesman. He has ever since been active in this line and in 1880 he established himself independently in the mercantile business, in which, as previously mentioned, he remained continuously engaged until 1903. His subsequent interests and activities have been touched upon. Longfellow has said, "The talent of success is nothing more than what you can do well and doing well whatever you do, without any thought of fame." Illustrative of this sentiment has been the life of the subject and his career should serve as an incentive and inspiration for others.

No one could be more loyal to the best interests of the section than Mr. Green, for it is dear to him with many associations and for over a century has been the scene of the family history, of which he has every reason to be proud. Whenever he has served in public office it has been with faithfulness and efficiency and doubtless even higher honors lie before him. From 1908 to the spring of 1912 he served as police magistrate ; he has acted as town clerk several times and for nine years was a member of the Cobden board of education. In addition to his activities previously mentioned, Mr. Green has other interests of exceedingly broad scope and importance and has leased 40,000 acres from the Finley Oil & Gas Development Company in Southern Illinois for the purpose of prospective oil and gas development. His executive ability, tireless energy, engineering skill and genius in the broad combination and concentration of applicable forces, it is safe to say, will make a success of this vast enterprise. The, company of Lamer, Green & Lamer have also recently engaged in the buying and selling of fruits and products in carload lots.

Mr. Green laid the foundations of a happy household and congenial life companionship by his union in 1886 to Ada B. Lind, of Cobden, daughter of A. Lind, one of the old residents. Of the five children born to them, three are living, namely: Joseph B., of California; Cornelia, teller of the Cobden Bank; and Clarence. The family are active in the good work of the Baptist church and the fraternal affiliation of the head of the house is with the Knights of Pythias. The name of Green is widely and favorably known, the third generation in this section reflecting the good qualities of the first.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 609-611.

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