Biography of Walter J. Green
Oneida County, NY Biographies





Walter Jerome Green, who passed away in Utica on the 27th of January, 1885, was one of the city's most prominent business men and respected residents. He was a leading factor in financial circles as a member of the banking house of Charles Green & Son, of Utica, and was also the president and owner of the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railroad of Florida. He is survived by his widow and one son. His birth occurred in Hubbardsville, Madison county, New York, on the 10th of October, 1842, his father being Charles Green, who was born at Sangerfield, Oneida county, on the 28th of May, 1811. The latter was prominently identified with financial interests in Utica for a number of years, being one of the oldest and best known bankers and business men of this part of the state. David Green, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was born at South East, Putnam county, New York, his ancestors, John Alden and Priscilla Nolines, coming to America in the Mayflower. He was related to General Nathaniel Green of Revolutionary fame. His mother, who in her maidenhood bore the name of Deliverance Hatch, was a native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her mother was a Sears, to which family David Green was likewise related.

The mother of Walter Jerome Green bore the maiden name of Mary Jane Hubbard and was a resident of Hubbardsville. Madison county, New York. She was a descendant of Lieutenant Joseph Kellogg, of Hadley, Massachusetts. Her parents, Oliver Kellogg and Mary (Meachem) Hubbard, were both natives of Connecticut, the former of Windsor and the latter of Simsbury, that state.

Walter Jerome Green received a liberal education in his youth, attending Cazenovia Seminary and Madison University. Desiring to become a member of the legal fraternity, he qualified for practice by an extensive course of study and was graduated from Albany University in 1864. At the end of two years, however, he abandoned a promising career as an attorney because the increasing importance of his father's business made it desirable for him to come to his assistance. Soon afterward he was admitted to a partnership in the bank and the name of the firm became Charles Green & Son. Young though he was, his enterprising spirit soon made itself felt in the affairs of his father's business, which gradually broadened its field, of operations and took a leading place among similar enterprises in the central part of the state. An important department in the business of the house was the trade in hops, which became so extensive as to place the firm among the largest dealers in this country. To meet the demand for reliable intelligence bearing on the hop trade, the firm published a journal known as Charles Green & Son's Hop Paper, a large, handsomely printed, four page folio of twenty eight columns, of which an edition of about five thousand was issued, gratuitously, each quarter.

Mr. Green became interested in a railroad project in Florida which promised the happiest results. Seeking a new field for investment of his eapital, his attention was drawn to the lack of modern transportation facilities in the fruitgrowing section of that state; and, guided by the promptings of his judgment. which on many previous occasions had been exercised with the most fortunate results, he threw both energy and money into the scheme. The outcome of this effort was the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railroad, of which Mr. Green was president and the entire owner. This road began at Jacksonville on the St. John's river, in the northeastern corner of the state, extended southwardly and eastwardly to St. Augustine on the Atlantic coast and was thirty seven miles in length. The road connected with the Atlantic Coast Steamship Company, running outside to New Smyrna on the Halifax coast. Mr. Green's intentions were to extend the road a distance of one hundred and six miles to New Smyrna. This would have afforded quick and cheap transportation between Jacksonville and the Halifax and Indian river country. Although recently constructed, the road received an extensive patronage and its energetic president and his assistants gave ample proof of their ability to meet every demand that should be made upon them. It rail through a fertile and rapidly developing region and shortened the time of transport between the orange country of the east coast of Florida and New York by some eight daysa most important consideration under any circumstances, but more especially so in view of the perishable nature of the delicate fruit transported. While the possibilities of this section of Florida as a fruit growing country and health resort had long been known and to some extent developed, progress had been slow and uncertain owing to the lack of railroad facilities. Mr. Green's enterprise bid fair to remedy this drawback completely, and the beneficent effects were perceptible in a great variety of ways in the fertile, beautiful and salubrious peninsula traversed by his road. Among the most notable results was the laying out of new towns between St. Augustine and Jacksonville. Here the balmy breezes from the Atlantic, softened and toned by their passage through miles of health giving pine forests, impart a recuperative property to the air which cannot fail to make the locality, a favorite resort for invalids, while its easy accessibility must also contribute greatly to its popularity. The impetus given to the whole peninsula by the building of the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railroad rapidly attracted northern capital, and it is probably no more than just to say that this project, so successfully inaugurated and carried through by Mr. Green, has had more to do with the upbuilding of this part of the state of Florida than any other influence. The. railroad rapidly enlarged its terminal facilities and was supplied by its active president with additional freight and passenger cars, including two new parlor cars and a magnificent new ferry boat, The Mechanic, one hundred and forty feet in length and said to be the finest looking craft of its kind in any waters south of New York city, capable of carrying eighteen hundred people and ff. teen large teams. The arrival of The Mechanic recorded another step taken by Mr. Green to secure for Jacksonville the immense trade that was developing along the South Atlantic coast and the railroad, being now equipped with two steamers, was better than ever prepared to command it. Speaking of the death of Mr. Green, the Florida Times Union said: "A host of friends in Jacksonville were shocked this morning by the announcement of the death of W. Jerome Green of Utica, New York. At once the flags on the steam ferry line were displayed at half mast and the office in this city draped in mourning. In the death of Mr. Green Jacksonville loses one of her best friends, for he realized that the interests of his road and those of the city were identical and shaped the management and policy of the road accordingly. Our business men feel deeply his death, for it was well known that it was his policy to push the road to Daytona and points farther south with all possible speed. While it is true that Jacksonville, in the death of Mr. Green, has lost a friend, it is still more true, if possible, that the whole Halifax coast has suffered a much more serious loss. Mr. Green's wife and son and friends have the deepest sympathies of our entire community in their sad bereavement." On the death of M. Green the property was left to trustees for his son. In 1886 it was sold to H. M. Flagler of New York, who has carried out the plans and ideas of its previous owner.

In the varied enterprises in which he had been engaged Mr. Green showed himself possessed of superior intelligence and judgment and a rare degree of push and energy. He seldom entered upon a project as a mere speculation and what, to less far sighted and sagacious persons, might seem fraught with disaster, proved in his competent hands prolific of success. Not alone in Utica but throughout the central part of the state, where his business relations were numerous, important and in active operation for a score of years, he was highly respected as an honorable and successful banker and merchant and an upright man. In the south, where his capital, intelligence and energy provided congenial and profitable employment, the results of his labors were recognized as alike beneficent and progressive. Returning from active labors in Florida in the winter of 1884-5, he was passing some time at his home in Utica, when he was stricken with apoplexy and died. Bright, genial, hospitable, well informed and entertaining, he had a large number of friends to whom his sudden and unexpected death was the occasion of profound sorrow.

On the 26th of June, 1867, Mr. Green was united in marriage to Miss Sarah L. Swartwout, a daughter of Henry Swartwout, of Troy, New York. The mother of Mrs. Green was Maria Lester Ketelhuyn, who was a descendant of Joachirn Ketelhuyn, who in 1650 was one of the founders of Beverwyck, later called Albany, New York. The ancestral estates of the Ketelhuyn family were known as early as 1451 as Keteishagen on the Island of Rugen, the family being long famous in the history of its nobility. Mrs. Green is a descendant of William Ket.elhuyn, of Saratoga, New York, who in 1734 was the owner of land ten miles square in what is now the village of Saratoga. Her father was a descendant of Tomys Swartwout and Heynaricke Barents, who were married in Amsterdam, Holland, May 10, 1631, and came to New Netherlands, in March, 1652.

It is re]ated of Captain Abraham Swartwout that probably the first display of the American flag at a military post was at Fort Schuyler, on the site of Rome, New York. The fort was besieged early in the month of August, 1777, and the garrison were without a flag, so they made one according to the prescription of congress by cutting up sheets to form white stripes, bits of scarlet cloth for the red stripes, and the blue ground for the stars was composed of portions of a cloth cloak belonging to Captain Abraham Swartwout, of Dutchess county, New York, and the flag was unfurled August 3, 1777.

Exceptionally far seeing and possessing rare judgment in business matters, Mr. Green accumulated a handsome property. He spared no pains to render his home beautiful and attractive within and without, and the residence on Rutger place, where his widow still lives, is one of the handsomest in Utica.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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