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Harry A. Green

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:18 pm    Post subject: Harry A. Green Reply with quote

HARRY A. GREENE, of Monterey, is one of the foremost citizens of the county and a capitalist. He is a native son of California, and was born in San Francisco January 12, 1852, and was a son of the late Hon. William Greene and Annie Elizabeth Cotton Fisk, of Rhode Island. William Greene was a pioneer of 1849. He brought his bride to San Francisco that year on a wedding tour. The then infant seaport gave promise of so bright a future that they remained. He was one of eight children of William and Jane (Meredith) Greene, and was a grandson of General William Greene, conspicuous in English history of his day as a brave English officer.

William Greene, the California pioneer, came to America when a mere youth. He was a shrewd, business man of affairs and upon locating in California he became closely identified with the growth of his city and went hand in hand with such men as Lick, Geary and others of his day and from year to year aided in shaping her civil and political policy, and he was made President of the first board of Alderman of the city of San Francisco, and became the owner of large blocks of real estate in the city. He subdivided various tracts of land into additions to the city. The names, Van Ness avenue, Geary and Greene streets were named after those leading officers of the first government of San Francisco. He died August 1, 1870, leaving an honorable name and a valuable estate to his wife and heirs. Mrs. Greene still survives and lives in San Francisco. She is a native of Rhode Island, and a member of a family that has been very conspicuous in the financial world. Her father, Francis Melbourne Fisk, was at one time one of the wealthiest men in New Orleans, and was an uncle of the famous Colonel "Jim" Fisk, whose name is familiar to the world as a bold and successful capitalist and railroad magnate.

Of the five children of Mr. and Mrs. Greene, Clay Meredith is the oldest, being born March 12, 1850, and was the first white male child born in San Francisco. He is now a successful dramatic author of wide repute. Francis Melbourne is the youngest child, and is also a talented and a successful literary man. Harry Ashland, the second son, is the subject of this sketch. Clement Herbert died at the age of eight years, and the only daughter. Elizabeth, died at the age of five years.

Harry Ashland Greene spent his boyhood and youth in his native city. He received the rudiments of his education from private tutors. Later he attended the public school, mission near Sixteenth street, and still later the city college on the corner of Geary and Stockton streets. Afterward he went to Santa Clara College. In 1866 he took a course of study at the military institute at Poughkeepsie, New York, and in 1870 he went to Paris to resume his studies, but the Franco-Prussian war broke out, throwing Paris in a state of siege, and he returned home. He then completed a commercial course of study at Pacific Business College and took up mining. He spent several years in the mining districts of Placer county, gaining a thorough knowledge of mining methods, and while yet a youth in years dealt in mining properties and operated in mines.

Returning to San Francisco he took a clerical position with George Babcock & Co. large dealers in produce and grain. He remained with them for a few months, and then became a stockbroker. He remained with an active and influential member of the Stock Board until 1889, serving two terms as vice-president. In 1874 he, with his brother, Clay, organized the stock-brokerage firm of Greene & Co., but in a few months Clay drew out to follow his profession and owing to a serious illness our subject closed up the affairs of Greene & Co. in 1890, with an honorable record on the "Board" as the oldest commission stock-broker that had not succumbed to financial disaster. In 1886 Mr. Greene built his present residence at Monterey as a summer home. Broken down in health he retired from active business and came hither to permanently reside. He is one of the owners of the New Monterey tract which is fast developing into one of the most attractive and healthful resident points on the central California coast.

The marriage of Mr. Greene took place July 31, 1873, to Miss Belle, daughter of the late Milton Little, of Monterey, a respected pioneer of whom extended mention is made in another part of this work. Mrs. Greene, Jr., is a native daughter of Monterey, a lady of rare social accomplishments and domestic tastes. They have one son, William, born in San Francisco, May 2, 1874, and a daughter, Belle Ursula, born June 27, 1876, likewise in San Francisco.

During their residence in San Francisco, Mr. and Mr. Greene were active in social circles. He was a leading member of the Olympic club, S. F. Bicycle club, and a veteran of the National guards. He was one of the fathers of roller skating on the Pacific coast, and the game of Polo found recognition there on account of his individual efforts; and he originated a code of rules and regulations to govern Polo playing, which has been published, widely circulated, and has become standard authority. Mr. Greene is one of the oldest and most active members of the San Francisco Bicycle Club, a conservative organization, and served for a time as its chief.

Since locating in Monterey Mr. Greene lived in comparative retirement devoting the most of his time to the management of his personal business affairs until lately, when he originated the Monterey & Fresno railroad, and by his hard work for the people's interests he has become immensely popular. He has invested liberally in the Bank of Monterey, and is a stockholder and officer in the Monterey Electric Light and Improvement Company and takes an interest in all matters tending to the prosperity of his chosen home. He is a man of broad culture and finds much pleasure in books and study. He is a student of nature and delights in the grandeur of his surroundings. His beautiful home is an evidence of his taste and judgment.

Mr. Greene is a proud son of the Golden State, enthusiastic in the preservation of her history and the early landmarks, and it is safe to say that but for his vigorous protest old Cotton Hall, the place of California's birth, would have been obliterated to give place to Monterey's public school buildings, which through Mr. Greene's efforts were built on a more desirable location, and on more spacious grounds, thus saving the grand monument to early California's industry, the place of the making of the first constitution of the Golden State.

Source: A Memorial and biographical history of the coast counties of central California : illustrated : containing a history of this important section of the Pacific coast from the earliest period of its discovery to the present time, together with glimpses of its auspicious future, illustrations and full-page portraits of some of its eminent men, and biographical mention of many of its pioneers, and prominent citizens of to-day. Chicago; Lewis Publishing Co. 1893.

Claire Martin
CAGenWeb Monterey County Coordinator
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