AMHERSTBURG FREEEDOM MUSEUM
The Green Family History Part 1 – From Elisha Young to John Green
While searching through the Museum’s collection, I came across an envelope with photos and information on the family of John Green so I decided to look further into his family history. As I researched, I was able to find information on several John Greens, including two others who lived in Amherstburg, so for this month’s family history I will feature branches of three (John) Green families. I’ll begin with the first John Green who was previously known as Elisha Young, followed by a discussion of a second John Green who was married to Margaret Brooks and lived in Amherstburg, and end with a third John Green who was married to Lucinda Baylis and also lived in Amherstburg.
Before reaching freedom in Canada, our first John Green was known as Elisha Young. He was from Mason County, Kentucky and was married to a woman named Charlotte. Elisha and Charlotte had two children named Pollyanna and Amos. In the Museum’s collection is an article written by Bernice B. Waddell titled “Elisha Young Who Became our John Green” which details Elisha’s escape. It says “Men, not all of them, not even half of them, but enough of them, began to question the right of slavery. They began to weigh the advantages of slavery against the disadvantages of slavery. The slaves were discontented – not all of them – but a large majority of them. It was during these days that we meet Elisha Young in Maysville of Mason County, Kentucky.”
“A strong able-bodied slave, most 30 years old, married to Charlet, even though she belonged to a different master. He was the type that sold easily in the courtyard. One day he fell from overwork, barely escaping death in a hemp field. By the time he was well, his master wanted to sell him, which was the fate of most slaves. Knowing the dreaded fear of the auction block, to be sold like cattle and separated from one’s family, Elisha asked his wife’s master to buy him … [Charlot’s enslaver was] willing to pay $900 for her husband. But alas! Elisha’s price was raised to $1000 … Charolet’s master … refused to pay more than $900.”
“Both Elisha and Charolet were sick with grief – so sure were they that they, like so many other slave families, were to be separated. Then, too, the new master was to be feared – who would he be? What would he be like? Would he work Elisha unmercifully, and would he be cruel? The suspense of an uncertain fate is the worst kind of torture. It haunts your days and rules your nights.”
Finally Charolet’s master suggested to Elisha that he should run away to Ohio by means of the Underground Railway. It was a long unspoken desire flamed into light. Dreams that had kept his company during those hours of toilsome labor. Day dreams that popped out of every cotton plant – a salary, a home of his own, his family to cherish and protect and free to do what he chose to do. Just the thought of such freedom was enough to give him all the energy and courage needed to shake the iron chains of bondage.”
“He was so thrilled, it was an easy task to persuade Charolet to leave her … master and go with him in quest of this life slaves knew nothing of. She, of course, took their two children, Pollyanna and Amos …. About midnight, a horse was stolen from Charolet’s master for her and the children to ride while Elisha with a bundle on his back kept up with the horse to the Ohio River. They were met by a Quaker, who had two skiffs ready for their departure. Hours always slip by faster when we have a lot of work to do, it seems.”
“Young could oar faster than the Quaker, but they were doing all they could to get under cover quickly. For in Ripley many spies were there, ever on the watch for runaway slaves and those who helped them. Day was breaking and just when the Quaker and Elisha felt that all was lost and the Quaker called that they would either die together or live forever and never die – for they knew that soon the spies would see them – the beauty of the early dawn was marred by a heavy fog. This thick mist covered these two lonely skiffs offering them the protection of night. Safely hidden in the fog they made their way to the country.”
“By [that] time Charolet’s master was frantic. He sent a man looking for her. Imagine, sneaking away from a life that one has always known and knowing the penalty of leaving it – the rustling of leaves, the chattering of the birds, any noise would frighten one. Naturally when a strange white man stopped, starred, and asked for a drink of water, Charolet’s very actions gave her away. By the time she got the drink he was gone, but he had a full description of her, little Amos and their humble hidden home.”
“When Elisha came home from hunting that night, there was much to tell and much to talk over and much to be done. He fixed a bell that could be rung in case the men came back and tried to steal his beloved family. When the alarm was sounded he and the other men hunting with him could rush to her rescue. Long days passed and most that poor Charolet could do was to cringe with fear – that nameless fear that haunts one. She was like a squirrel prisoned in a revolving cage, her mind kept endlessly spinning around in the prison of its own haunting remorses of what had been – and fearful misgivings of what was yet to come. She thought of her kind master, her beloved Kentucky, her babies – she was homesick for the life she knew best. ‘Tis no wonder that when the strange man came back, she went with him carrying her children without even ringing the alarm.”
“It was with heavy feet and a heavier heart that Elisha set out walking with a weapon for defense, looking for his wife and children. Back all the way to Kentucky he went, but she wouldn’t consent to leave this time, and he of course couldn’t stay there. There was only one thing to do – go to Canada. He hid in the day time and traveled at night until he reached Windsor.”
“In a new land, doing new things, living a new life, he fought the loneliness of his heart as long as he could. He was single for two years when he met a charming midwife, Dr. Molly of mostly Indian parentage. They were married and had seven children: Gilbert, Simon, Elizabeth, Mary, Harriet, John and Susie. In the new life our slave needed a new name – that was the custom – so Elisha Young, in bondage, became John Green, the freeman. The Green’s stayed in Canada until the children were almost grown, then they moved first to Ashley, Ohio and on to Van Wert.”
“It was only natural that John Green would often think and wonder about Pollyanna and Amos Young, his first born. He would so often entertain visitors with the story of his earlier days and first family. Now that all slaves were free, it was most interesting to listen to these varied runaway tales.”
“Pollyanna had had her troubles too. She was in the hands of the Wellington old maids, they were to keep her. When she was sixteen, they sent her to their brother Gartor, to keep house for him; telling her to come to them if he insulted her. Of course he did. She walked knee deep in snow for the protection that was offered her; but when Gartor came the protection vanished. Need one describe Gartor Wellington? What could be said of any man who used a girl against her will, not to mention that the girl was just sixteen years old. Lewis, her first child, was half white. Later, she married Mr. Underwood and Elisha, Charlotta Anna, and Mary Frances were born in slavery. Pollyanna had cherished the memory of her father for her mother had told her so often of him. She, too, delighted in telling of her thrilling trip in the Underground Railway.”
“Strange, but both Pollyanna and her father met the same man and he heard both their stories. Through him they were united. Pollyanna was 40 years old, but she moved to Van Wert and spent ten years with her beloved father. Her brother Amos and her mother were both dead when she found her father.”
“In the spring of John Green’s ninety-first year, he worked in his garden. In late summer, he caught cold and was sick for two weeks with la grippe and died in September. He would have been 92 in October. His body was gently laid away but his acts of usefulness lived on, the qualities and traits that were his slipped through the blood streams of his children and on to their children, and on and on – until today when we hear of many worth while achievements of the descendants of John Green, the only fitting comment is ‘What could you expect?!”
As mentioned in this article, John Green married a woman named Molly and they had seven children including Gilbert, Simon, Elizabeth, Mary, Harriet, John and Susie. Each child will be discussed next. Elizabeth married Jerry Williams and her sister Mary married a Mr. Highwarden, but there was no available information for Simon, Harriet, John and Susie. There was a lot of information for Gilbert’s line which will be discussed next.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 2.
The Green Family History Part 2 – 75 Years of Masonic Service
Gilbert married Nancy Pearl and another article found in the Museum’s collection gives details of their life together. Unfortunately, the full name of the author is not given, but she is referred to as Pearl in the document. I will refer to the document as ‘Pearl’s article.’ This thorough article says “Gilbert and Nancy Pearl received letters from members of John Green’s family in Ohio. They were always filled with merits of Ohio, and how the family wished that they would come and make it their home. Finally Gilbert and Nancy decided to leave Canada and join the rest of the family. They joined them at Ashley, Ohio. Their first two children, Arthur and Joseph were born while they lived there.”
“John Green got the urge to move farther north in the state. His choice was Van West County. The whole family again went together to this part of the state and remained there. For more than fifty years his descendants lived there. A few of the third generation are still living in the area. John Green was very happy. He had all of his family around him, grandchildren and great grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
“Gilbert and Nancy were in Van West County about a year, when they had another child whom they named Rosa. After two boys, the little girl child was received with much joy. Van West County was not to Gilbert and Nancy what they thought it would be, so they decided to move back to Canada. Polly Ann’s son Elisha and their son Arthur were near the same age. They were close playmates and loved each other dearly. When Gilbert and Nancy got ready to move, Polly Ann, who was a very sentimental person, hated to see the little boys separated. She suggested to Arthur’s parents to leave Arthur with her. She sold them on the idea that it would be difficult to travel with three small children. She said that she would gladly keep Arthur until they got back home and settled. She was persuasive enough to have them leave the child with her. Arthur wanted to stay. So they went back with the two children.”
“Arthur started to school with his cousins. He enjoyed it very much. He attended a whole school year. Places seemed far apart in those days, and travel was slow. His parents did not come back to see him nor was he sent to visit them. All the cousins loved him and he loved them and was getting more attached to them and Polly Ann. Gilbert’s sister Elizabeth was married to Jerry Williams and lived in Lima, Ohio. She was the type of woman who would stay away from her family just so long and she would have to go and see about them. She was very devoted to her father. Her father was making his home with Polly Ann. When she found Gilbert’s and Nancy’s child there, and found out how long he had been there, she was appalled. She told them that it was wrong for this little boy to be away from his own family. She said that he should be brought up with his own brother and sister and by his own parents. She went on to say to Polly Ann, that regardless how you feel toward this child, he has a father and mother and a brother and sister, and since they have not returned to take him home, I am going to take him to them. Elizabeth was a very strong person and when she spoke, the family usually heard. In a few days she took little Arthur to his parents in Canada. Knowing Elizabeth as I did, I am sure she made it unmistakingly clear to the parents why she brought their child home.”
“Gilbert and Nancy had three more children after they moved back to Canada – John, Frederick and Georgia. John died when he was eight years old, and Georgia was just an infant when she passed. All their children were reared in Canada. They grew up on the family farm near Chatham. They went to a French public school near by and later to a private colored school. They participated in school and church activities.”
“When the children were old enough to go to work, they left the farm and went to the city. Joseph spent most of his adult life in Toledo, Ohio and worked as a brick layer. Rosa as a young woman worked in Detroit, Michigan and Toldeo, Ohio as a domestic. She was a domestic, highly proficient in her work and much in demand. Joseph was a skilled bricklayer. He worked on many large construction projects. Arthur was a resident of Ypsilanti, Michigan most of his adult life.”
Before we continue with Pearl’s article about the Green family, I would like to share some more information about Arthur. He married Nellie McCurdy circa 1890. They lived in Canada for a time and had five children named Chauncey, Bessie Mae and Jessie Pay (twins), Wavey and Olive Pearl. In the early 1900s, they moved to Ypsilanti, Michigan, where Arthur worked for the city Utility Department. According to Clayton Collins, Arthur passed in the early 1940s, while Nellie passed circa 1950. Mr. Collins also shares that Chauncey worked for the Ypsilanti City Utility Department and married a woman named Hazel. The couple had no children. Bessie Mae married Robert Garth Collins and they had seven children including Clayton who recorded this information. His siblings were Roberta Mae, Guy Owen, Paul, Shirley Belle, Lois Pauline and Charles McCurdy. Roberta married James Henry Smith and their children include James H. Smith, Jr., Wavey Janette, Gail Elaine, Robert Lee, and Duane Allen.
Guy Owen married Carrie Blakemore in Anderson, Indiana, while attending theological school. He became the Reverend of an Episcopal Church in Detroit. They had two daughters named Karen and Dorinda. Guy’s second marriage was to Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Cromer and they had one daughter, Guyanne. Jackie, who worked as a principal of Presentation School of Detroit, passed away in 1973. Guy married a third time to Alma.
Guy’s brother Clayton married Jeanne, while their sister Shirley Belle married Thomas Douglas Smith and had four children named Thomas Douglas Jr., Bradford, Tony, and Cybil. Shirley’s brother Charles married Vercie Little and had two children named Tanya and Charles.
Arthur and Nellie Green’s next child is Jessie Pay. She married Guy McKinley Smith and they had a daughter named Wanda Mae, while Wavey passed at a young age. Their sister Olive Pearl married Theron Kersey in Ypsilanti and they had a son named Theron William Kersey Jr.
Now that we have discussed Arthur Green, we can continue with Pearl’s article. It continues saying “Frederick Green was born May 21, 1879. When he was fifteen years of age, he started to work as an apprentice to a chef cook for four years. At the age of nineteen, he was employed as a chef on a passenger boat that sailed the Great Lakes. At the age of forty-three, he retired from cooking and became interested in the Building Trades. He was a member of the AFL-CIO. He retired from this type of work when he was seventy-two. He and his wife Sarah Bibb were married in Toledo, Ohio, December 31, 1912. They were the parents of two daughters and a son. All their children received an education and were outstanding citizens, making a contribution to the communities in which they lived. Frederick and Sarah encouraged their children to aspire for the higher things in life and they did just that. They all are members of the Antioch Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio. Ruth Green Brown, the eldest child was interested in Religious Education and served her church in that capacity. Their son Frederick, Jr. was interested in the Credit Union of the Antioch Baptist Church. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors and is chairman of the credit committee. Frederick, Sr. has served on the Deacon’s Board and his wife Sarah for years was an ardent worker with the Missionary Society. The church has had a big influence on the family life.”
Before we continue with the information from this article, I wanted to insert the contents of a newspaper article that discusses Fred’s dedication to Masonry, having served for 75 years. The article is titled “Masons to honor brother” and is from 1975. It says “Fred Green and his wife Sarah will take a look back into time when his fraternal brothers William T. Boyd Lodge #79, F&M of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Masons gathered tonight at the Prince Hall Masonic Temple 1624 E. 55th St. Green, 96 last May 21, will hear his history as a charter member of the lodge traced back to its start in 1919, and his background before that. Curvis S. Rhyne, Most Worshipful Master of Ohio, and vice mayor of Alliance, will be on hand to make a special gift presentation celebrating Green’s Diamond Jubilee (75 years) as a member of the Cleveland lodge. Green first became a Mason when he joined Star Lodge in Canada in 1900. He was born in Essex County, Ontario, as was his father before him, son of an escaped slave in 1848.”
“Green’s father was born free because his grandfather had escaped as a slave via the underground route to Ohio, thence to Canada. When his parents returned to Ohio Green developed a varied work experience as a chef, serving on both lake ships and railroads, did construction work and worked in construction and street paving projects for the City of Cleveland. The present Worshipful Master, William Colvin, may recall or relate that Green served as Presiding Officer of the Royal Arch Masons, Cuyahoga Chapter #36 and as Emanuel Commander of Cleveland Knights Templar, during his long career in the Masons.”
The article concludes by saying “And perhaps, a tear may fall when they retrace his documented family history and the struggle of his grandfather to escape a slave plantation in Kentucky. But in the end they’ll applaud Fred Green and his wife Sarah, for his Diamond Jubilee as a Mason, and for their 63 years of marriage.” A separate article that shares similar details adds that Sarah was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Now we’ll return to Pearl’s article which continues with “Both Frederick, Sr.’s daughters married men named Brown. They are not related. Dorothy, the younger, is a retired business woman. When Dorothy was eighteen, James Brown went to her father and asked him for her hand. Her father told him that Dorothy was not ready for marriage. James insisted that he loved her and that he would do anything he could do to make her happy. Her father said, ‘Well, I was going to send her to school in order that she could be able to take care of herself.’ James could understand that, but it did not keep him from wanting to marry Dorothy at this young age. Finally her father said, ‘If you will send Dorothy to school, I will give my consent.’ These two young people were very happy. Dorothy graduated from High School in June 1934. They were married and James entered her in a professional school in 1934. She graduated from the College of Cosmetology in June 1937. Her husband set her up in business and for years she operated a very successfully Beauty Shop in Cleveland, Ohio. I had the pleasure of visiting in her home recently. Their home reflects welcome and love. James and Dorothy are gracious host and hostess. The regard they both have for Dorothy’s parents, who now make their home with them, is so precious, that an observer can’t help saying under their breath, ‘God bless this house, there is a wonderful foursome occupying it.’”
“Dorothy and James Brown have no children. It was a pleasure to visit them in September 1975. It was like I had known them for years, yet I had never seen them, when I decided to go to Cleveland and see her parents, whom I had not seen in years, Frederick, Sr. and I are first cousins. I knew his wife Sarah before they were married.”
“I was privileged to have met their daughter Ruth, but I had seen Dorothy and her brother Frederick, Jr. I telephoned Dorothy and asked her if it would be convenient for her to have me spend the night with them. She graciously said she would be delighted to have me. I then asked her if she would meet me at the station, she said, ‘Yes Pearl, but I have never seen you, how will I know you.” Jokingly I said, ‘I’ll wear a red rose.’ We both laughed heartily. Finally I said, ‘If you see an old lady at the station looking bewildered, it will be I.’ She said that she would send her brother to meet me. Her brother Frederick, Jr. met me. He looked so much like his mother that I knew him at first glance it was he. He said that I looked so much like his father’s sister, that he was sure that I was the passenger for whom he was looking. We walked right to each other and after a greeting, we walked out on the street where his wife and Ruth awaited in his car. We went to Dorothy’s home where I was greeted by Frederick and Sarah, and met Dorothy and her husband for the first time. I had intended to spend the night but we had such a delightful time that I remained a day longer than I had planned. Dorothy and James are so compatible. It was a pleasure to be around them. Jimmie, we affectionately called him, and Dorothy spent their vacation in Mexico City, Mexico in 1952. He was so impressed with the climate and the topography. He said when he retired he wanted to live there. When he returned home, he enrolled in a Spanish class and continued his study of the language until he now speaks it fluently. With his looks, Jimmie fools many people who take him for Spanish. Dorothy and Jimmie are interested in visiting historical places. They have visited many such places in the United States. They have visited some of the Islands in the Caribbean sea and spend an extended visit in Hawaii. They own their beautiful home where they live. They also have rental properties. They are comfortably situated. Frederick, Sr. and Sarah are very happy with their family, and his son and daughters are very devoted to their parents. At their age, they seem to have very few health problems. Because of their state of health, all their family gatherings are joyous occasions. Frederick, Sr. is ninety-six and Sarah is ninety-two. This year he was honored for having been a member of the Masonic Lodge for seventy-five years. He and his wife attended the ceremony.”
“He reads a great deal, but Sarah’s eyes are rather dim? She cannot read. They like television and radio. They have their favorite programs. They like sports, but baseball is their favorite sport. Cleveland Indians is their favorite team and they prefer the American league over the National league. They like music. Frederick, Sr., as a young man, was a pretty good guitarist. Dorothy, his daughter, said that she could remember her father playing and singing to them when they were little children. His son Frederick inherited his musical talent. As a lad he occupied the first chair in his Senior High School orchestra. He played the violin. He had a competitive spirit and he worked very hard to attain this place. On one occasion, when his high school was invited to do a concert at a high school in Madison, Wisconsin, Frederick, Jr., was enthused over the trip. He had high anticipation about going and the role he was to play. The young people making the journey were enjoying the event and like most high school students, were very happy and having a jolly time traveling together to Madison. They were in high glee when they arrived in the city. The night for the concert came. The young people were assembling on the state in their respective places when Frederick, Jr. was told by the director that he could not occupy the first chair because the girl sitting behind him could not be seen. His enthusiasm for playing in the concert was dampened by this humiliation. It was never the same for him.”
“Frederick Donald Green, Jr. is the only son of Frederick, Sr. and Sarah Green. He was born September 17, 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from high school in June 1937. He was inducted in the United States Army in 1941 and served his country until 1945. He met and married the charming Anna Cross, after some months of courtship, June 28, 1943. He was still in the military service. After his discharge from the army, he returned to Cleveland in 1945. He became an employee of the U.S. Post Office in Cleveland, Ohio and retired from the system in 1971. He became interested in Real Estate in 1959 and sold some on his free time. Since he has retired from the Post Office, he now has the time to devote to it, and he has become a full-time Real Estate agent. He serves on boards and committees of the various community agencies. He is tremendously interested in his church’s credit union. He and his wife Anna have two sons and a daughter. All are grown and have children of their own.”
“Frederick Brian Green, the elder son of Frederick, Jr. and Anna Green, was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 1944. He graduated from high school in 1962. He was married to the lovely Ethel Hardy in July 1972. He is employed as a sheet metal apprentice in Cleveland. He and his wife have two sons, Frederick Marcus and Phillip.”
“Gerald Dennis Green, the younger son was born December 9, 1946. He graduated from high school in 1965. He is employed as a lineman police and the Fire Department of Cleveland. He is married to the vivacious Alicia Davidson. They were married in August 1971. They have one child, Danielle Cheri Green.”
“Andrea Green, the only daughter of Frederick and Anna Green was born June 12, 1949. She graduated from high school in June 1967. She married Donald Pounds in January 1970. They have a son, Gerald Anthony Pounds.”
“Ruth and Warren Brown have three brilliant daughters. Ruth is a serious person and very meticulous. She is very studious and thorough. Her daughters reflect the qualities of their parents. It has not been my privilege to meet Ruth’s husband, but I am sure his influence is redounded in his lovely family. They both, Ruth and Warren, conducted a home conducive to interest in education which the daughters so beautifully exhibited. Ruth is a graduate from Schauffer College of Religious Education and received her BS degree from the college in 1937. She spent two years in graduate study at Atlanta University Graduate School of Social Work, earning a MA in the field. As a young woman, Ruth was a professional group worker. She started working in Neighborhood Community Centers. She worked on the NYA programs and for a while at case work. She became interested in Geriatrics and went into the field of working with the aged as an occupational therapist. Ruth was married in 1940. Eleven months later, her first child was born. Her children and her home so occupied her, that she gave up working outside. Warren Brown attended the public school of Cleveland. After finishing high school, he attended Fenn College and John Carrol University. He was appointed to the Cleveland Police Department March 1, 1944 and retired from the Police Department March 1, 1975. He spent twenty-nine years and six months with the Juvenile Unit working with boys between eight and eighteen years of age. June 1975 he came out of retirement. He is now working with the Cleveland Police Department, as a civilian, in the Communication Division.”
“Iris Patricia Brown Fields, Ruth and Warren’s eldest daughter, is a graduate of Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, with a BS degree from the College of Education, in August 1963. She taught for sometime and then took more college work. In 1973 she graduated from Ohio State University from the College of Education receiving a MA degree. She has taught in the secondary schools in Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, from the fall of 1963 to 1971. In 1973 she was appointed Assistant Principal of the Junior High status in Columbus. The fall of the 1974 she received a permanent appointment as principal. She is married to Ernest Fields, a graduate of Kent State University in Political Science. He has worked with Housing Development as a coordinator at Canton, Ohio, and with Urban Housing Development as Assistant Director in Columbus. He has completed work at Ohio State University that has lead to a MA degree and Ph.D. He is now on the faculty at Ohio State. Ernest and Iris have two children, Chad Plu and Marka Naombi. The Fields live in Columbus, Ohio.
Olivia, their second daughter, is married to William Robinson. She is a graduate of Kent State University from the College of Education. She received her BS in 1964. She has taught in the elementary schools of Cleveland, Ohio, Wheeling West Virginia, and is now teaching in the public elementary school of Fairfield, California. Her husband is a graduate of Findley College, Findley, Ohio. He is interested in Urban Development and Housing. He worked in Wheeling West Virginia as an Assistant Director of Housing and Urban Development. He served as Director of Urban Development and Housing in Fairfield, California. He is now back in college working on a master’s degree. The Robinson’s have three children, Todd Anthony, William Edward and Julia Alexander. They live in California.
Jennifer Carla, the youngest daughter, is a graduate of Ohio University, College of Education. She received her BS degree in January 1967 and completed her graduate studies at Women’s College, Denton, Texas. She majored in Psychological Counselling. She received her MA from the Texas College in December 1974. She has taught in Cleveland, Ohio, Kokomo, Indiana and Dallas, Texas. She is married to Dr. Ben Clark, Jr. Ben is a graduate of Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the Cleveland College of Pediatric Medicine. He served an internship [in] Clarke Clinic, Kokomo, Indiana. He worked at the Veteran’s Hospital, Wadsworth, Kansas. He set-up private practice in Dallas, Texas. He is on the staff of some hospitals in Dallas. He and Jennifer are the parents of two children, Ben III and Alexis, an infant daughter.”
This is all of the information that Pearl included and I am truly grateful to her for writing this very detailed article.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 3.
The Green Family History Part 3 – John Green of Amherstburg
As mentioned at the beginning of the Green family history, I came across information for multiple John Greens who are connected to Amherstburg. I will discuss them next beginning with John Green, the husband of Margaret Brooks. According to their marriage record, John W. Green and Caroline Margaret Brooks were married on June 27, 1875, in Anderdon. John was the son of Silas and Esther Green, while Margaret was the daughter of Isaac and Mary Ann Brooks. The Amherstburg Echo printed an obituary for Mary Ann Brooks on September 13, 1918 which stated “Mrs. Mary Ann Brooks, relief of the late Isaac Brooks, passed away at an early hour yesterday (Thursday) morning at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John Green in the 70th year of her age. She had been in failing health for over a year. Mrs. Brooks’ maiden name was Loew, and she was born in England. Her husband died some 22 years ago. Surviving her are two daughters – Mrs. Green, mentioned above, and Mrs. Ellen Bradford, of Minneapolis. Arrangements for the funeral have not yet been made.”
John and Margaret’s marriage record also shares that John was born circa 1850 in Kentucky and worked as a Sailor while Margaret was born circa 1859. The 1881 Census for Amherstburg lists John (a cook) and his wife Margaret with three children, Myrtle E., Bertha E., and John. According to his birth record, John Edmond Green, the son of John Green and Margaret Brooks was born on June 10, 1880, in Amherstburg. His death record shares that he passed away the following year on August 13, 1881, at 14 months.
John and Margaret Green had more children in addition to Myrtle, Bertha and John including Esther, Edmund, Ruth, Grace, and Denzil. Throughout her life Myrtle was active in her community and was involved with groups such as the Buisy Gleanors which was a youth group that featured activities such as singing, reading essays and hosting events; the Oxford Club which was part of the Nazrey AME Church; and the Order of the Eastern Star, which was the female auxiliary of the Prince Hall Masons. The Amherstburg Echo also printed an article on December 3, 1926 which details a gathering of the Ladies’ Sewing Circle whose membership included Myrtle and her sister Bertha. The article reads “The chicken supper and concert on Thursday night of last week under the auspices of the Ladies’ Sewing Circle of the First Baptist church drew a fine attendance notwithstanding the inclement and unseasonable weather. The sumptuous supper served left nothing to be desired, and the program was of an excellent order. Miss … Wava Davis gave piano selections; Mrs. H.D. Banks, Mrs. Wm. Wilson and Mrs. Frye rendered solos in their usual pleasing manner. Instrumental duets by Mrs. J.A. Foster and Miss Florence Kirtley were well received. Professor McCallum added much to the pleasure of the evening by his piano selections and readings. Readings were also very acceptably given by Mrs. M. Green and Mrs. D. Holbert. Rev. Frye gave a brief address and J.H. Alexander occupied the chair. The proceeds amounted to $58.50. The ladies of the Circle very sincerely thank all those who so kindly contributed to make the entertainment an outstanding success.”
According to her marriage record Myrtle married Grant Smith, the son of Charity Smith, on September 15, 1902, in Amherstburg. At the time Grant worked as a Waiter, while Myrtle was a Seamstress. The 1910 Census for Detroit lists Grant and Myrtle with their children Harry, Whitney, and Thomas. Whitney Grant Smith was born on February 25, 1905, while Thomas Lowe Smtih was born on April 23, 1906, both in Amherstburg.
On February 29, 1924, the Amherstburg Echo printed an obituary for Grant Smith which said “Grant Smith, who suffered a stroke two weeks previously, died at the Dunbar hospital, Detroit, February 12th, aged 53 years. Mr. Smith was at one time head waiter at Bois Blanc café, coming here from Atlanta, Ga. He was married here to Miss Myrtle Green 22 years ago, and she with three sons, Harold, Whitney and Thomas survive him.”
Myrtle’s sister Bertha is the next child of John and Maggie Brooks to be discussed. According to her marriage record she married David J. Holbert who was the son of Jos. D. Holbert and Carolina Hedgman. The couple married on March 8, 1897, in Detroit. As a young woman, Bertha was involved with the Amherstburg-based Young People’s Social Club which was part of the Nazrey AME Church. In 1892, she was elected as Vice President of this organization. Years later, in 1924, the Amherstburg Echo records that Bertha, along with Mrs. H.D. Banks, were delegates from the First Baptist Church for the Baptist Association in London. The Echo also mentions Bertha’s participation in the Order of the Eastern Star and not only did she attend the Grand Chapter O.E.S. in Chatham but was also re-elected the Grand Royal Matron.
In January 1926, the Echo reported that “The Women’s Guild of the First Baptist church met in the home of Mrs. B. Holbert on January 12th for the purpose of closing all business for the year 1925 and election of officers for present year. For the year 1925 the Guild raised $331.70. During the fifteen years the Guild has been in progress its achievements have been many in doing for the church, the sick and the needy. The last year’s greatest accomplishment was the gift of a beautiful Heitzman piano to the church. Officers elected for the years: Hon. Pres., Mrs. B. Holbert: President, Mrs. E. Stokes; Hon. Vice-Pres., Mrs. J. Saunders; Vice-Pres., Mrs. E. Thomas; Chaplain, Mrs. B. Holbert; Treasurer, Mrs. E. Kirtley; Secretary, Mrs. B. Hall; Asst. Sec., Mrs. M. Bank; Finance Committee, Mrs. B. Holbert, Mrs. F. Johnson, Mrs. B. Wilson. The Guild extends a vote of thanks to all who helped her in her undertakings and especially the merchants of Amherstburg, who are always so liberal.” The Women’s Guild began as the Church Aid Society in Amherstburg which was a mixed-gender society that began in 1850 out of the First Baptist Church. From the Church Aid Society came the Amherstburg Guild in 1899, and then the Women’s Guild in 1909.
Sadly, Bertha Green Holbert passed away on September 25, 1928. Her death record also mentions that her date of birth was July 1, 1880. A few days later, on September 28, the Amherstburg Echo printed Bertha’s obituary which said “Mrs. Bertha Hulbert aged 48 years, prominent in colored church and fraternal organizations of Amherstburg and wife of Mr. David Hulbert died at her home, Kemp avenue, late Tuesday night. Since last October she had been suffering from heart trouble, but on Tuesday seemed somewhat improved; however in the evening she suffered a severe attack and died about midnight. She was born in Amherstburg, the daughter of the late John Green and his wife, Margaret Brooks. Thirty years ago she was married to David Hulbert. At an early age she became a member of the First Baptist Church and has been very active in church work ever since, occupying many positions of responsibility in the church and church societies. At the time of her death she was clerk, honorary president of the Guild, and honorary president of the Women’s Missionary Society. She was also a member of Ruth Chapter, O.E.S., for four years and was Grand Worthy Matron of this Order for Ontario, resigning this position because of ill health. She is survived by her husband, who is in the employ of Falls & Son; one son, Joseph, chef of the steamer Queen City; her mother, Mrs. John Green; three sisters, Mrs. Myrtle Green, of Amherstburg; Ruth, Mrs. John Cole, of Cleveland; and Esther, Mrs. Henry Balfour, of Maidstone; also two brothers, Edmund and Denzil, both of Cleveland. The funeral services will be held this afternoon (Friday) at 2 p.m. in the First Baptist Church. Rev. Talbert will be in charge, assisted by Rev. Edwards, pastor of the church. Interment will take place in Rose Hill cemetery.”
Decades later, on December 8, 1955, the Amherstburg Echo printed an obituary for Bertha’s husband David Holbert which says “Funeral services were held Saturday afternoon for David Joseph Holbert, who died at his residence on Perry St., Amherstburg, in the First Baptist Church. Mr. Holbert was born in Amherstburg and was a resident of this district all his life. He was employed as a maintenance man at Bob Lo Island. Mr. Holbert was a member of the First Baptist Church. He was also a member of Lincoln Lodge No. 8 A.F. and A.M. His wife, Bertha, died in 1928. A son, Joseph, died in 1946. Surviving is one brother, John, in Detroit.”
As mentioned in their obituaries, Bertha and David had a son named Joseph D. Holbert. He married Mable Bow, daughter of William and Mamie Hughes, on June 2, 1924, in Detroit. Sadly, Mable passed away a few months later. The Amherstburg Echo shares her obituary from September 19, 1924 which says “Funeral services for Mrs. Joseph Holbert, who died at the home of her mother, Mrs. Mammie Bow, Seymore street, took place Sunday to the A.M.E. church, Rev. Alexander officiating. Burial was in Rose Hill cemetery, the pallbearers being Lionel Conway, Reginald Adams, Alonzo Harris, Roy Banks, Norvel Wilson and John Boyd. The deceased’s maiden name was Mabel Bow and she was born in Detroit May 1st, 1905. She was married to Joseph Holbert June 2nd, being a bride of three months, which makes it doubly sad. Besides her husband and mother, she leaves two sisters: Lillie (Mrs. Arkard Wilson), Nettie (Mrs. Neal Wilson), and four brothers: Richard, Ellwood, Elmer and Carl. Those who attended the funeral from out of town were Mr. and Mrs. Purdie Dennis, Mr. and Mrs. Bud Powers, Mrs. Whittaker, Miss Morris, Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Robert Miller, Mrs. Maud Valentine, of Detroit; Denzie Green, of Cleveland, and Harry Smith, Windsor.”
I was also able to find an obituary for Joseph David Holbert in the Amherstburg Echo from February 1, 1945 which says “Following a short illness Joseph David Hulbert, aged 46 years, died in Hotel Dieu, Windsor, early Tuesday morning. He was taken to the hospital Friday suffering from a kidney condition. He was born in Amherstburg the son of David Hulbert and his late wife Bertha Green. The young man attended the schools in Amherstburg and went sailing on the lakes as a cook. Coming ashore he worked at the Brunner Mond Canada Limited plant and recently at Ford Motor in Windsor. He was twice married, his first wife the former Mabel Bow of Detroit, died shortly after marriage. His second wife was the former Maxine Roper of Dresden. Besides his wife he is survived by his father and two children Jackie and Bobbie. His grandfather, for whom he was named was the well known pastor of the First Baptist Church in Amherstburg at the turn of the century. The young man was master of Lincoln Lodge No. 8 A.F. & A.M. Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon in the First Baptist Church, Amherstburg and burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery.”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 4.
The Green Family History Part 4 – Military Service
Very little information was found for Bertha’s sister Esther. All that could be found was that she married a man named Henry Balfour. Esther’s brother Edmund Alonzo Green was born on May 27, 1882, in Amherstburg. He married several times. His first marriage was to Ella Enos, the daughter of Newton Enos and Mary L. Grinage. The couple married on May 25, 1903, in Flint, Michigan. At the time, Edmond worked as a cook. Edmond’s second marriage was to Emma Thurman, whose maiden name was Henderson. They married on July 18, 1908, in Windsor. On their marriage record, Edmond is listed as a widower and a sailor. Just two years later, Emma passed away on July 19, 1910, in Amherstburg. According to her obituary from July 22, 1910 “Mrs. Edward Green passed away at the home of her sister-in-law, Mrs. David Hulbert, Sunday last, at the age of 23 years, following a year’s illness with consumption. Deceased was formerly Miss Emma Henderson, of Detroit. Her parents are dead, but she leaves one half-sister, Mrs. Kennedy, of Detroit. She was married two years ago, but their union was childless. Mr. and Mrs. Green came to Amherstburg to reside last April. The funeral took place Tuesday, services being held in the First Baptist church, after which the remains were taken to Windsor for interment.”
A Petition for Naturalization for Edmond Alonzo Green records his third marriage to a woman named Katie. Further research revealed that Edmond married Katie B. Collier, the daughter of E.C. Collier and Ella C. Bartwell, on March 14, 1914, in Cuyahoga, Ohio. The Petition for Naturalization states that Katie was born on August 26, 1892 in Starkville, Mississippi and the couple had a son named Edmond B. who was born on October 7, 1917 in Cleveland. Edmond and Katie had two more children named Margarette (born on March 27, 1918) and Paula Ella (born May 2, 1919), but they sadly passed away in infancy.
Edmond had more children because an Amherstburg Echo article from July 29, 1927 says “Ed A. Green and three children of Cleveland, who visited with his mother, Mrs. Margaret Green, and sisters, Mrs. Myrtle Smith, Mrs. David Holbert, also his daughter, Mrs. Chas. Moxley, in Detroit. Mr. Green’s little girl Betty Jane, three years old, was struck by a motor truck and instantly killed at Cleveland just before he came here. Returning home on Friday he received word Monday morning of the death of his eldest daughter, Mrs. Charles Moxley in Detroit, of ptomaine poisoning.”
A final record for Edmond shares that he married a fourth time to Birdie M. Drake, the daughter of E.B. Drake and Sarah Washington, on April 2, 1930 in Cuyahoga, Ohio. At the time, Edmond was a cook and both were previously married. Before marrying Edmond, Birdie was married to a man with the last name Frye and they divorced on January 1, 1930.
Edmond’s sister Ruth is the next child of John and Margaret Green to be discussed. She was born on September 3, 1888 in Amherstburg. She married John Cole who was born in 1879 in Hot Springs, Arkansas and was the son of John Cole and Fanny Lee. They were married on March 9, 1912 in Cuyahoga, Ohio. At the time, John worked as a Porter. The Amherstburg Echo shared a brief message on March 29, 1912 which said “Mrs. Cole (nee Ruth Green), who was recently married in Cleveland, O., is home on a visit to her mother Mrs. Margaret Green, Park street.” It doesn’t appear that Ruth and John had any children because the 1920 Census lists John and Ruth, along with Ruth’s brother Denzil, a ‘roomer’ named Clarence Allen and Ruth’s nephew Joe Holvert, which is likely Ruth’s sister Bertha’s son Joseph Holbert. The 1930 Census lists John and Ruth with Edward Green (likely Edmond), along with a ‘roomer’ named Charlie Boyd, Ruth’s niece Grace Jackson, and nephews Edmond Green and Excel Green. The 1940 Census also does not mention any children of John and Ruth but does mention that their niece Grace Jackson was still living with them.
Ruth’s niece Grace Jackson was the daughter of Ruth’s sister Grace Green. Grace Green was born on February 9, 1891 in Amherstburg, although her death record says February 16, 1892. She married Elmer Jackson who was born circa 1882 in Pontiac, Michigan and was the son of Guy Jackson and Perly Butler. The couple married on February 25, 1918 in Cuyahoga, Ohio. At the time, Grace worked as a dressmaker and Elmer was a labourer.
Grace Ellen Jackson passed away on September 14, 1923 in Cleveland. An obituary appeared in the Amherstburg Echo on September 21, 1923 and said “The remains of Mrs. Elmer Jackson, who died in the East Cleveland hospital, arrived in Amherstburg on Sunday and were taken to the home of her sister, Mrs. Grant Smith, George street, from where the funeral was held Monday afternoon. Services were conducted in the First Baptist church by Rev. Mr. Talbot and burial was in Rose Hill cemetery, the pallbearers being William Banks, G. McCurdy, Wm. Maier, John Foster, H.D. Brown and S. Wilson. Mrs. Jackson was before her marriage Grace Green, daughter of Mrs. John Green. She was born here 31 years ago, and was a beautiful girl. She married Mr. Jackson in Cleveland seven years ago, and bore him four children – three sons and a daughter: Denzil, Whitney, Grace and Guy. The latter is only a month old, and Mrs. Jackson’s last illness developed from his birth. Besides these she leaves her aged mother who has been living in Cleveland but who now will remain in Amherstburg to look after the little family; two brothers, Edmund and Denzil, both of Cleveland, and four sisters – Myrtle (Mrs. Grant Smith), Bertha (Mrs. David Holbert), Esther (Mrs. Henry Balfour), all of Amherstburg, and Ruth (Mrs. John Cole), of Cleveland, to all of whom sincere sympathy is extended.” This explains why Grace’s daughter Grace would be listed on the Census with her aunt Ruth, but I could not find where Denzil and Whitney were living after the death of their mother. Sadly, Grace’s fourth child, Guy, passed away the follow year on January 13, 1924, in Amherstburg.
Grace Green Jackson’s brother Denzil is the last children of John and Margaret (Brooks) Green. According to a Naturalization Record for Denzil Green, he was born in Amherstburg on November 15, 1895 and was living in New York. He worked as a Janitor and was married to a woman named Lillian whom he married on January 31, 1927 in Cleveland. Lillian was born in West Point, Mississippi on February 28, 1896. No children are recorded, but this record does share details of Denzil’s military service. It says “I entered the US Army April 17, 1918, Honorably discharged March 19, 1919, serial number 2436841, Pvt. Inf. Unassigned, Last assigned Co. D. 317th Supply train.” Denzil’s Draft Registration adds that he worked as a labourer at Standard Brewing Co.
Further research reveals the last name of Denzil’s wife Lillian. On April 15, 1927, the Amherstburg Echo shared details of their wedding. The article says “A Cleveland paper says ‘One of the prettiest weddings of recent date was that of Miss Lillian Gavin and Denzil Green at the Phillis Wheatly Association. Dr. Henry P. Jones of St. John’s A.M.E. church officiating. Many of the couple’s friends attended the reception following the ceremony at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Cole … brother-in-law and sister of the groom. Mrs. Green is a popular church worker being a member of St. John’s Gospel choir and the Sunday school league, and an active member of the P.W.A. Art club. Mr. Green is a son of Mrs. Margaret Green, of this town.” A few months later, on July 15, the Echo reported their visit from Cleveland, to visit his mother, Margaret.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 5.
The Green Family History Part 5 – The Last John Green
Now that we have discussed John and Margaret Green’s family, we will move on to the last John Green to be discussed in this family history. John Green married Lucinda Baylis, the daughter of Robert Baylis and Elizabeth Ryer. Interestingly, there are two marriage records for John and Lucinda. The first is from August 2, 1873 and the second is from August 6, 1895. In both records their ages match up for Lucinda who was born circa 1856. The Marriage Record from 1895 states that John was the son of Ellik Green, but I believe this is the incorrect spelling of Alex Green. In a 1910 article from the Amherstburg Echo titled “A Double Funeral” it states that John was born in Malden Township in 1850 and was the son of the late Alexander Green. This article does not mention John’s mother’s name, but in the 1871 Census for Malden there is a John Green listed with parents Alexander and Aliza Green. I compared John’s age on his marriage record and the 1871 Census, and they match up so this is likely the correct John Green and that his mother’s name was Aliza. The article “A Double Funeral” also sadly shares that John was hit by a streetcar in Detroit while driving a wagon and passed away in the Red Cross hospital from a fractured skull. It adds that John and his son Frank both worked as teamsters in Detroit and was born in Malden Township in 1879. At the time of John’s passing, Lucinda had already passed away on November 3, 1891.
Lucinda and John had at least ten children. The 1891 Census lists John and Lucinda with their ten children: Elizabeth (14), Gordon (13), Frankie (11), Gusla (9), Clara (7), Angeline (5), Emeline (5), Burk (3), Arabelle (2), and Augusta (2/12). Elizabeth married Henry Chambers on August 8, 1892 in Amherstburg. Henry was the son of Lewis and Manda Chambers. Elizabeth and Henry’s children include Rebecca who was born on January 24, 1894 in Amherstburg, John Mahlon who was born on November 15, 1900, Elizabeth Ellen who was born on April 21, 1905 in Amherstburg and William Henry who was born on March 26, 1909, also in Amherstburg.
According to the obituary for Elizabeth Green Chambers, printed in the Amherstburg Echo on December 5, 1946, “Mrs. J. Henry Chambers died in Hotel Dieu, Wednesday, following an illness of three years. She was the former Elizabeth Green and was born in Malden 73 years ago. She leaves six children, Mrs. Ethel Goodwin, Franklin, Mrs. Elizabeth Scott, Henry, Reford of Detroit; (Virginia) Mrs. Morley R. Stewart of Amherstburg. Rev. I.H. Edwards will officiate at the funeral in the First Baptist Church Saturday at two p.m. and burial is to be in Rosehill Cemetery.”
Elizabeth’s brother Gordon is next. According to several records, he was born circa 1878 and passed on March 26, 1899 in Malden at the age of 21. His death record also reveals that, at the time of his death, Gordon was single and worked as a labourer. The Amherstburg Echo mentions “Gordon Green, son of John Green died on Monday morning after being ill for about a year with consumption. The funeral was held on Wednesday.”
Gordon’s brother Frank married Louisa or “Lula” Marshall, the daughter of David Marshall, although some documents list Hezekiah Marshall instead of David. The 1881 Census lists John and Lucinda’s children as Eliza, Gordon and John F., so it is certainly possible that Frank’s first name could also be John considering his other siblings were either female, born much later or do not have the initial “F” in their name.
The next child of Lucinda Baylis and John Green is Gusla or “Gussie” who was born on December 22, 1881 in Malden, followed by twins, Emeline and Angeline who were born on December 25, 1886, also in Malden.
Next is Burk who was born November 9, 1887 and Augusta who was born February 11, 1891, both in Malden. I was able to locate Augusta’s obituary which reveals the last name (but not first) of her husband. It says “Obituary for Mrs. Augusta Watkins – Echo – May 19, 1911 – “Mrs. Augusta Watkin died in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, May 18th, of pneumonia, aged 29 years. She was a daughter of the late John Green, of Malden, who was killed in Detroit by accident, and a sister of Frank, who was also killed there a short time ago, and a sister of Mrs. Elizabeth Chambers, of Amherstburg. The remains were brought to Amherstburg on Sunday and after services in the First Baptist church, conducted by Rev. J.D. Holbert, were taken to Mount Pleasant cemetery for burial. Four members of the family have died in eight months.”
Sadly, two of Lucinda and John’s children, Julia Ann and John Henry, both passed at early ages. Julia Ann was born on May 14, 1876, but passed away a few years later on February 19, 1880, while John Henry was born on January 16, 1881 and passed away the next month on February 12, 1881.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week where we will celebrate another amazing family.