Jesse Green – Biography

Jesse Green has been a resident of La Salle County, Ill., since twelve years of age. In September, 1829, his father, John Green, came from Newark, Licking County, Ohio, and entered eighty acres of land, including the mill site at Dayton, and bought 160 acres in Rutland Township, then returned to Ohio and in November moved his family to their new home. He built a saw-mill and in one end put in a run of stones, made of flinty boulders, from the east side of the river. These boulders were in use ten or twelve years. He ground the first flour in the forenoon of July 4, 1830, and his wife made it into bread for their dinner. When John Green settled in Dayton Township there was but one family on the west side of the river. In the fall of 1831 he furnished the lumber to build the first frame house in Ottawa. In 1832 he built a grist-mill of one run of burrs, and in 1834 he built one of four run of burrs. From 1834 to 1836 he had a large custom trade, the farmers coming from a distance of 100 miles. This was the first water-power mill in Northern Illinois. Since 1850 the business has decreased slightly. In 1857 he rebuilt and the latter is still standing. In 1840 John Green in company with his sons built the first woolen-mill to run power looms in the State, and had a large trade until the close of the war. In 1864 they built the present mill at a cost of $65,000. In the same year they bought 60,000 pounds of wool at $1 a pound, and in a year were unable to realize more than 50 cents a pound for the same wool. In 1871 they had goods stored in Chicago, which were burned, and they sustained a loss of $15,000, and in 1873 they were obliged to make an assignment on account of losses and shrinkage in values. The property was in the hands of the assignee five years. In the meantime Jesse Green bought up old claims against the old mill company and asked the assignee to sell the mill that he might bring in the claims against the property. This the assignee refused to do unless he would guarantee a bid of $5,000. On the day of the sale there was but one bid and it was sold to Mr. Green for $5,000. He then ran it from 1878 till 1882, when he sold it to Williams & Hess, who organized a stock company for the manufacture of pressed brick. Jesse Green was born in Newark, Ohio, Dec. 21, 1817. His father, John Green, was born in Cumberland County, Md., in 1789, and his mother, Barbara (Grove) Green, in Shenandoah County, Va., Nov. 13, 1792. John Green died in Dayton, Ill., in May 1874, having lived to see the county he was so prominently identified with develop into one of the most populous and wealthy in the State. His widow is still living with her youngest son, Isaac Green. In 1849 Jesse Green in company with forty-eight others went to California and were from April 2 till Sept. 2 in making the trip, having many hardships and privations to endure on the way. He remained in the West two years and then returned to La Salle County and has since made this his home. He was married June 22, 1843, to Isabella Trumbo, daughter of Mathias and Rebecca (Grove) Trumbo. She died Dec. 1, 1854, leaving five children – John B., Rollin T., Newton M., Clara J. and an infant who died soon after the mother. Mr. Green subsequently married Hannah Rhoads, a native of Brownsville, Pa., born Nov. 26, 1831, daughter of Thomas R. and Sarah Rhoads, her father a native of Philadelphia and her mother of Loudoun County, Va., born in 1801. Her father died in 1835 and her mother in 1876. To Mr. and Mrs. Green have been born nine children – Thomas H., Joseph, James A., Cora R., Sarah (deceased), Frank, Jesse A. (deceased), John K. and Mabel (deceased). In politics Mr. Green, as was his father, is a Democrat. In religious faith he is a Universalist. He has served three years as Supervisor, two terms as Justice of the Peace, and about six years as Postmaster at Dayton.1

See also his entry in the CEMETERY section.

  1. History of La Salle County, Illinois, 2 vols. (Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co.,1886), 2: 94-95.