Colonial KEnt Co., Delaware Green, Wilson, Thomas, Skidmore, and Muncy families

Entries: 376    Updated: Wed Mar 5 23:47:23 2003    Contact: James Bish

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  • ID: I021
  • Name: Henry Clay GREEN
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 22 FEB 1842 in near Hazeletville, Kent County, Delaware
  • Death: 15 DEC 1903 in Wood River Township, Dawson Co., NE Buried: Armada Cemetery, Miller, Nebraska
  • Note:
    Henry Clay and Margaret J. (Patterson)Green
    James D. Bish

    Henry Clay Green, named after longtime U.S. Senator, Henry Clay, was born on February 22, 1842 at the farm home of his parent's, James and Mary Hester (Conley) Green in Dover County, Delaware. Henry was the fifth of what eventually numbered seven children. Their family included five boys; William, Daniel, Jesse, Henry, and John and two girls; Anne and Mary born to James and Mary Hester Green. Henry's parents were small landowners descended from colonial families that lived in Delaware. Henry's parents were also small slave owners as they owned a single family of slaves that helped with the farm and family care. One slave boy was near the same age of Henry, and they became playmates throughout much of their childhood. When Henry was seven years of age, his mother passed away and Charlotte, the mother of the Green slave children, became a second mother for Henry and he began to give much respect for her and her family.
    In 1855, Henry's father passed away and his estate was liquidated including the selling of their slave family. Unfortunately, Henry's uncle Jonathan Green, the estate administrator, sold the slaves in Maryland as by then the selling of slaves in Delaware was prohibited. Henry along with his brothers and sisters felt that the slave family should be set free. Not only were the slaves not set free, but their Uncle Jonathan pocketed the money, which was to be distributed to the minor children for their education and care. Henry never forgot how his young slave friend was taken and sold, something that was very upsetting for Henry and that event was never forgotten. The farm of Henry's father was sold and the proceeds were distributed to the guardians of the Green children. Now orphaned, the Green children were sent to live with cousins. William, Daniel, Jesse, and John went to live with the Powell Nickerson family and Henry, Anne, and Mary went to live with their first cousin, Mary (Green) Aron and her husband, Powell Aron.
    During the next six years, Henry lived and worked with Powell and Mary (Green) Aron. It was during this time that his older brother, Jesse, passed away, and his other older brothers went off on their own. Meanwhile, Henry attended the Delaware common schools of the day and received only what education they provided. This education was good enough for his brothers as William and Daniel Green were able to attend college in New York state. William later went into medicine, and studied under a Wilmington, Delaware doctor and just before the outbreak of the Civil War, he moved to the frontier state of Missouri to practice medicine.
    In April, 1861, the Civil War began resulting President Lincoln requesting troops from each state in the Union. Henry was the first to answer the call as he enlisted in the First Delaware Infantry, joining in September after the season farm work was completed for Powell Aron, not leaving him in a labor bind. Henry's was placed in Company K of the Regiment and the regiment was then sent to Fortress Monroe at Hampton Roads, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Virginia. Fortress Monroe was the only major Union installation to remain in Union control throughout the war and it was there that the First Delaware received its training for war. While stationed there, Henry witnessed the first ever battle between two ironclad battleships as in March 1862, the USS Monitor faced the Confederate Virginia. He saw these two battle it out and wrote to his brother Daniel about the excitement of the battle. Henry, and the rest of his regiment was sent into guard duty to protect against a Confederate attack from the rear in the Union's Peninsula Campaign against Richmond later that Spring. Afterwhich, the Regiment returned to guard duty and training at Fort Monroe. In September 1862, the First Delaware was called from Fort Monroe to join the Army of the Potomac in stopping the Confederate Army invasion in the North. Henry and the First Delaware saw their first action as part of the Army of the Potomac on September 17, 1862 at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The First Delaware fought at a place later known as bloody lane as they sustained the second highest number of casualties of any regiment in the Union Army that day, a day that would go down as the bloodiest day in American history.
    Henry survived the day unhurt. His regiment was later sent to follow the Confederate Army back to Virginia and they traveled all the way to the Rappahannack River, just across the river from Fredericksburg, Virginia. In December 1862, the First Delaware was sent across the river as an initial fighting force of skirmishers to open the conflict later known as the Battle of Fredericksburg. Henry again escaped that battle unharmed as the Union Army was forced back across the Rappohannack River were they remained until Spring of 1863. By May 1, 1863, the First Delaware was on the move again as they pursued Lee's Confederate forces at a place known as Chancellorsville, Virginia. It was there on May 3, 1863 just after dawn that Henry was struck down after receiving a miniball wound to his leg, just above the knee, in the Battle of Chancellorsville. Although, severely wounded, Henry was carried of the battlefield, and sent to a nearby church along the Potomac Creek that became a temporary field hospital after the battle.
    After treatment there a few days, he was sent by wagon to Washington, DC where he remained hospitalized in both Finley and Armory Square Hospitals for the next 27 months. Doctors wanted to amputate Henry's leg because they felt that it would be the best way to save his life fearing deadly infections from the wound. Henry refused. Henry's brother, Daniel had recently been injured in about the same place and his leg was amputated, but later contacted gangrene of which they amputated his stump halfway up his thigh. It again got gangrene and this time they had to amputate again, close to his hip. They could not amputate any more if gangrene again reappeared. Henry told his doctors, that if they wanted to amputate they would have to do it at his neck. As a result, Henry would have to live with the constant infection that festered his wound. If his wound was not enough of a hardship, epidemic diseases such as small pox and erysipelas ravaged the hospitals. Henry became infected with erysipelas and was forced to burn the leg completely around to stop its spread. He had a scar from the burn the width of a finger all around his hip resulting in the burns to stop the spread of erysipelas. Meanwhile, his wound never healed. It remained an open wound with puss and fluids and bone fragments constantly draining from it. The miniball really did its job a shattering the bone when it hit Henry. After having been in the hospital for many months, a surgeon came to see Henry and saw a splinter of bone sticking out of the wound. He took his forceps and took out a large piece of bone, measuring almost three inches. After that, Henry's wound began to heal better, although it never really ever healed completely. Henry kept that bone as a reminder of his service to his country in the war. After being hospitalized for twenty three months, General Lee surrendered, the war ended and President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Henry was still in Finley Hospital at Washington DC that night and remembered all of the activity around the place. Henry later witnessed the Grand Review of Union Troops in Washington DC at the end of the war.
    Henry was honorably discharged from the First Delaware Infantry during January 1865, however he was not well enough yet to leave the hospital. He remained in Washington DC until later that summer, when he was well enough to be moved back to Delaware to live with Powell and Martha Aron. They took care of him and nursed him until he could do something for himself. After his health improved, he attended school in Wilmington, Delaware for two years then entered Crittenden's Commercial College in Philadelphia where he attended for another year. His family placed a high value on education and Henry along with his brothers had the opportunity to attend college, something that was quite unusual for the time. William and Daniel attended college in New York before the war and younger brother John attended the University of Michigan during the Civil War. After attending Crittenden's College, Henry returned to Delaware in the Fall of 1868 and embarked in the mercantile business in the city of Wyoming, Delaware. He also was elected as Assistant Marshall in North Murderkill Hundred, Kent County, Delaware in 1870 and his name appears on all federal census returns for North Murderkill Hundred that year.
    In 1870, economic conditions in Delaware began to decline as a recession began in the East. As a result, Henry began to think of other options. The mercantile business was making his leg worse as he was forced to spend too much time on his feet and the economy forced him to seriously thing about moving west. In the early Spring of 1871, he read an advertisement in a local newspaper advertising for Civil War veterans to journey west for the purpose of homesteading land in Nebraska. John Thorp organized what was known as the Soldiers Homestead Colony. Henry signed up and paid his membership fees and on April 4, 1871 he joined other members of the colony headed for Nebraska on the railroad. The Colony passed through Chicago on April 6th where other members of the Colony joined the earlier group from the East. The colony arrived at a barren railroad siding about twenty miles west of Grand Island, Nebraska on April 7th. It was there were the colonists would get their first glimpse of the land that they would be homesteading (Gibbon, Nebraska's Pioneer Park has a monument to the colonists on which Henry C. Green is listed). After surviving an April blizzard just a couple of days after they arrived, Henry and sixty other colonist paid fifteen dollars in fees at the Grand Island land office to select their homestead claims on April 17th, 1871.
    Henry selected 160 acres located at NE 1/4 of Section 10, Township 9 North, Range 13 West (located about a mile west of present day Shelton, Nebraska with Homestead Application # 972 and Homestead Certificate #244). Family tradition maintains that Henry lived jointly with another family on the boundary line of both homesteads and it was while living with this family that his war injury again became infected where he became very ill and he was nursed to health by this family. Realizing that farming was to difficult because of the necessity of moving the levers of machinery bothered his injured leg, Henry turned to raising livestock. Riding horses on the range did not bother his leg as much and he took great pride in livestock. Probably because of his education, he became involved in civic affairs for the frontier settlement. He was elected Director of the first school district, (District # 1) in Buffalo County on August 19, 1871 and was re-elected to a three-year term in 1872 (The schoolhouse is presently owned by the Buffalo County Historical Society and is on display as part of their Trails and Rails museum in Kearney, Nebraska as well as the records of when he served as director). In 1873 Henry ran against long time Buffalo County Treasurer, James Van Sickle and suffered a very narrow defeat. Henry lived on his homestead for about two years when he had the opportunity to manage a ranching operation on the old Fort Kearney reservation a few miles southwest of his homestead. In 1876, he fulfilled the requirements of his homestead claim and decided to check out other opportunities. He rented out his 160 acre homestead and quit his management of the ranching operation at old Fort Kearney for a larger ranching opportunity about fifty miles northwest of where he lived. Henry began managing a cattle ranch near Burr Oak on the Loup River near Buzzard's Roost north of present day Eddyville, Nebraska.
    Henry continued to correspond with old friends back in the Gibbon area and made many trips through the Wood River Valley to take care of his business interest there. One day in the late 1870s, he was taking time off from his ranch duties and was on his way to the Gibbon area when he happened to stop at a dugout to quench the thirst of both he and his horse. Drought and grasshoppers were making it difficult for settlers that year and the settler, trying to make good on a timber claim on that hot and miserable day was despondent. While drinking some of the cool well water and resting his horse, Henry listened to the complaints of the homesteader who poured out his troubles to his visitor. He finally exclaimed: "If I just had a horse and saddle, I would leave this country. I would give this place to anybody." Henry assessed the situation for only a minute and responded: Here you are, horse, saddle, and bridle. Give me the papers for the timber claim and we have a deal!" The legal transfer was later made. Henry immediately made his home on the timber claim located on the NW 1/4 of Section 12, Township 11 North, Range 19 West in Dawson County. He was one of the few individuals that received two homestead claims from the federal government, one a regular homestead and the other a timber homestead. Henry must have decided that he had managed cattle ranches long enough and that it was time that he should settle down as he was then thirty seven years of age. He evidently liked that area along the Wood River Valley where he traded for the timber claim as he had journeyed by that site many times before. He gradually built a frame house on the property and nourished the required rows of trees planted along the north side of the homestead.
    Henry decided to try to expand his land interest in holdings that were near where he now lived on the Timber Claim. He found some property located two miles east of his timber homestead that the Union Pacific Railroad was offering for sale. He decided to sell his original homestead and purchase 200 acres in Section 9, Township 11 North, Range 18 West and 160 acres in Section 5, Township Township 11, North, Range 18 West. He sold his original 160 acre homestead on February 9, 1880 to Augustus Meyer for $1,500 or $9.38 an acre. He then purchased 360 acres in the Wood River Valley on November 16, 1883 from the Union Pacific Railroad for $1,240 or $3.44 an acre. Using the assets of only his homesteads, he expanded his total holdings to 520 acres and still had over $260 left over for farming expenses. He was not yet finished in expanding his land holdings. At this same time he obtained 120 acres from the State of Nebraska that adjoined the railroad land to the south in Section 16, Township 11 N, Range 18 West. He later sold 160 acres purchased from the railroad in Section 5, probably using much of that money for the purchase of farming equipment and livestock. He also probably used money from that land sale to make payments on the school land purchases. By 1885, Henry owned 480 total acres of land and all but 80 acres of it was debt free. It was also at this time that he would meet his future wife, then only a teen age girl named Margaret Patterson.
    Margaret Jane Patterson was born in Bonaparte, Iowa on August 12, 1866 to Charles Francis Patterson and Lydia Caroline (Miller) Patterson. Her father was a foreman for Isaiah Meek, who maintained a large stock operation in Bonaparte at the time of Margaret's birth. During his employment at the Meek Ranch he met Lydia Miller, who also worked for the Meek family as a cook. Charles and Lydia were married resulting in the birth of five children, John W., Mary A., Margaret J., William R., and Charles M. Patterson. In the late 1870's the Pattersons were persuaded to go further west by the news of opportunity in the vicinity of Armada, Nebraska spread by Harve Brown, a friend who had settled there earlier. Charles Patterson and Robert Meek decided to drive 400 cows from Bonaparte to Armada and see for themselves this land of opportunity. They left during the summer of 1879. Soon after his arrival, Patterson made a homestead claim on the Buffalo and Dawson County line. Part of his homestead was in the same section 12 that Henry Green's timber claim was located. It was there that Charles Patterson began a sod house for the family. On January 23, 1880 the Patterson family arrived at Kearney on the Union Pacific railroad. They stayed all night at a hotel south of the tracks. Charles Patterson and Jack Mercer met them and arranged to load the belongings and furniture on wagons for the journey to their new home. One of the Meek girls had sent a frosted cake to Mr. Patterson and the family enjoyed the treat while lunching at old Stanley (near Amherst) on the trip to their new home. The anxious children, including thirteen-year-old Margaret (usually called Maggie by friends and family), commented many times on the sodhouses they spotted on the trip and stated confidently that they would never live in such an abode. Their parents exchanged looks, but remained quiet.
    Upon their arrival, they found a sodhouse, but noted with some satisfaction that it was built into the side of a hill and therefore was a two-story structure further distinguished by a shingled roof. One had to walk up the hill to enter the second story from the outside; inside the house there was a ladder leading to the second floor. Because Charles Patterson hurried to complete the house, he had neglected to seal the area where the sod reached the roof. The family long remembered an incident when they noticed that the valance around the bottom of the four poster bed was moving . Thinking a cat was slapping at it, Lydia lifted up the valance only to be greeted by the sight of a rattlesnake. Patterson hastened to close up the openings along the roof. The four oldest Patterson children attended country school and it was a considerable walk for them. Because of health problems, Maggie's father bought her a pony to ride. It was one of the Olive ponies used during the infamous hangings by the Olives of Mitchell and Ketchem. The animal was was difficult to handle and carried on all down the farm yard lane, moving sideways and cutting up generally, until Maggie got him to the road headed for school when he would behave. As a young teenager, Maggie met Henry Green, her neighbor, one day at their well. He wanted to visit with her father who had gone to town for the day. That encounter was important to Henry Green for he decided that fateful day that this young woman would one day be his wife. The incident impressed her not at all for Mr.. Green was twice her age and she had other things on her mind.
    After completing the 8th grade, Maggie and a girl friend went to high school in Overton a couple of years where her brother John was teaching. He had academy training in Bonaparte, Iowa before coming to the Wood River Valley. He later became Dawson County Superintendent of Schools during the late 1880s and eventually moved to Kearney, Nebraska where he served as mayor of Kearney between 1909 and 1914. Maggie passed the teacher's examination after completing the 10th grade at Overton. She taught both summer school ands winter school. The older children, young men especially, who were busy on the farms all summer and spring, attended only during the winter. At one time she had 67 pupils at Overton for winter school and the school district hired an assistant. Then in the spring when the older boys left the classroom for work again, the assistant was let go and Maggie received a five dollar raise. The assistant asked Maggie if she thought she was worth only $5.00 and she replied, "Evidently the school board thought so."
    When Maggie turned twenty-one, in 1887 she filed for a homestead claim for 40 acres that adjoined her parents land in the SE 1/4 of the SE1/4 of Section 12, Township 11 North, Range 19 West. She had a small shack built on the site and stayed there enough of the time to prove upon the claim when she was not away teaching school. Maggie was granted a homestead patent for her claim on December 12, 1890. Meanwhile her folks had built a large brick home, considered a mansion then on those barren Nebraska plains, especially compared to the typical abode. Maggie's father was a livestock agent and in 1885 he began selling cattle for O.W. Mead of Boston, who was a large owner of ranches throughout the West. The large brick home probably served as accommodations for his business clients many times throughout the years. Cattle was shipped to Mr. Patterson who disposed of them to feeders throughout Nebraska. He acted as Mead's agent until 1887 during which time her sold thousands of dollars worth of cattle. He also sold cattle for Tabor and Skinner, the former being ex-Governor Tabor of Colorado. Charles traveled all over the West, visiting ranches and gathering up cattle, which he sold to Nebraska feeders.
    In 1888, Maggie's father had a heart attack and she resigned her teaching position and returned home to assist her mother. She had dated many young men at different periods. One young and man named Dunaway had moved to Kansas and wanted her to marry him and live there but she refused for she was committed to fulfill her contract. While living in Overton, she had spent some time with a young man employed at the Overton bank who needed her to help him keep the accounts accurate. She was very mathematical. Another time, a young man traveling the area with a magic act had tried to sweep her off her feet, wanting her to play organ for his act and travel with him. Her father was seriously ill for three weeks and she was at his side constantly. To relieve the burden, Henry Green stopped by one day and suggested that they take a buggy ride. When he first asked her to marry him, she replied, "You're crazy!" Maggie's father died not long after that on November 12, 1888 and Henry did not give up on Maggie and helped her and her family during that difficult time. After a courtship that lasted four years, Henry and Maggie were married at the Patterson Mansion on April 12, 1892. Henry was fifty years old and Maggie was twenty-five. When asked about the age difference by acquaintances she always replied, " I would rather be an elderly man's sweetheart than a young man's slave." To this marriage two daughters, Hazel and Hester, were born. The family lived on Henry's timber claim during all of their married life. Henry died on December 15, 1903 and Maggie lived until August 23, 1938.



    1873 - 1937


    Green, Henry C. Patterson, Maggie J. 2 475

    Father: James Powell GREEN b: 1804 in Near Hazeletville, Kent County, Delaware
    Mother: Hester Ann CONLEY b: 1811 in poss. near Hazeletville, Kent County, Delaware

    Marriage 1 Margaret "Maggie" Jane PATTERSON b: 12 AUG 1866 in Bonaparte, Van Buren County, Iowa
    • Married: 12 APR 1892 in Wood River Township, Dawson Co., Nebraska
    1. Has Children Hazel Maggie GREEN b: 19 JUL 1894 in Wood River Township, Dawson Co., Nebraska
    2. Has No Children Mary Hester GREEN b: 25 NOV 1901 in Wood River Township, Dawson Co., NE
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