Biography of Mrs. Virginia D. Green
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

MRS. VIRGINIA DARLINGTON GREEN, member of the Cleveland Board of Education and one of Cleveland's most influential woman citizens, was born at Zanesville, Ohio, daughter of the late James and Margaret Elizabeth (Bowman) Darlington.

The Darlington family is of English stock, the name being derived from the borough of that name in the County of Durham, England, though the first recorded Darlington was John Darlington (1282), who was Archbishop of Dublin. The American immigrants of the family were John and Abraham Darlington, Sons of Job and Mary Darlington of Darn Hall, about thirty six miles from Liverpool, England. These brothers came over early in the eighteenth century, one settling in Pennsylvania and the other in Virginia. Mrs. Green is descended from the Virginia settler, John Darlington. Her great grandfather, Rees Darlington, was born in Virginia and spent his life in that state. His son, Meredith, was born in Frederick County, Virginia, where he married Mary Dostor, and their children were Joseph, Harvey, Evelina and James. Meredith Darlington died in Virginia, and several years later his widow, son James, and the widow's brother came to Ohio and settled in Zanesville.

James Darlington was given as good an education as the times afforded, and at an early age became a coal producer, operating mines of his own in different parts of Southeastern Ohio. At a later date he became owner of and operated a line of steamboats on the Muskingum River between Zanesville and Marietta, occasionally going up the Ohio River to Pittsburgh. During the Civil war the Federal Government pressed all his boats into war service, mainly on the rivers of the South, the Government permitting him to go with the boats and oversee their management arid safety. In that capacity he saw and participated in many of the movements and maneuvers of the navy during the war. At the close of the war his boats were returned to him and he again operated his line between Zanesyule and Marietta for a number of years, finally retiring from that business. He died in 1886. His widow survived until 1903. She was the daughter of John and Susanna (Border) Bowman, both of whom were of German ancestry. John Bowman was a banker and a successful dealer in real estate of Zanesville, accumulating for his day a fortune.

Mrs. Green was educated at Putnam Female Seminary at Putnam, across the river from Zanesville, but now a part of that city. She graduated with distinction, and soon afterward, accompanied by several of her classmates, their principal being in charge of the party, went abroad and spent three years in travel and study, principally in the cities of London, Berlin, Paris and Vienna. All this post graduate work rounded out in brilliant form her previous liberal education, fitting her for the career of culture and social progress that has been her destiny.

In 1876, two years after completing her education abroad, she was married to the late Arnold Green, who at that time was serving as clerk of the Ohio State Supreme Court, and had already distinguished himself in the public affairs of Ohio. Arnold Green was born on a farm near Adolphustown, Ontario, Canada, October 16, 1845. His father, John Cameron Green, had been an officer in the English army. Arnold Green's maternal grandfather was Edward Mallory, a stanch patriot of Canada and England, and a member of the United Empire Loyalists, who at the time of the American Revolution emigrated from Connecticut to Canada.

Arnold Green was given an unusually good education in Canada, and coming to Cleveland in 1867, when a young man, took up the study of law in the office of William Heisley, who served for several terms as city solicitor of Cleveland. Passing the required examination, he was admitted to the bar, and from the start showed an unusual interest in all worthy public affairs. In 1874 the democratic party brought him forward as a candidate for the office of clerk of the Supreme Court, and he was elected and served with efficiency for the term of two years. About that time he was appointed a member of the State Board of Examiners for admission to the bar. On leaving his office as clerk of the Supreme Court he resumed his private practice in Cleveland, and devoted more than thirty years to his profession. On November 7, 1906, while trying a case in court, he suffered a stroke of paralysis, and from that time was practically an invalid until his death on June 16, 1909. His ability as an attorney and his strong personality made him one of the leading lawyers of the Cleveland bar. He served many years as a vestryman of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Protestant Episcopal, and later became a member of Holy Trinity Cathedral, attending to all of its legal affairs without charge. He was a member of the Bar Association, of the Colonial Club, of the Cleveland Yacht Club and of the Cleveland Whist Club.

Since her marriage Mrs. Green has accepted numerous and important responsibilities in the social and civic affairs of her home city. As the field of service closest to the home, she has made the object of her special study and attention the schools and educational problems in general. In 1912 she was elected a member of the Cleveland Board of Education, and has served it continuously for thirteen years. Some of the distinctive points of her service and influence during that time included her championship of the proposition that the Board of Education ask the voters to authorize a bond issue of $100,000 for school playgrounds, thus committing the board to the present policy of school playgrounds. The school board issue carried, defeating one asked for at the same election by the city. Furthering the aims of the Grade Teachers' Club, the object of which was to increase grade teachers' salaries, and the outcome of which organization is the present Teachers' Federation, was her next object, and while she has been on the school board the teachers' pay in Cleveland has been increased from an average of $850 to $1,500 for the school year. She was mainly instrumental in 1916 in getting through the Legislature the Bobm bill, granting boards of education throughout the state power to levy a tax of two tenths of a mile for the use of schoolhouses as community centers. Her official influence was important in getting the city school buildings opened in 1921 to be used for polling and voting purposes, and likewise securing the community use of the public school auditoriums, so that at the present time the school buildings are opened to all public meetings except those of a religious nature. Mrs. Green has worked steadily to improve the status of the teachers' occupation, to advance it to a profession similar to that of law and medicine. Those best informed on educational matters in Cleveland say that no other woman has done more for the school or for the advancement of educational reforms than has Mrs. Green. Since 1922 she has been working on a proposition of granting a sabbatical year for teachers who have served for a certain length of time without the loss of a day from school duties. Nothing daunted by the defeat of her first bill introduced in the Legislature in 1903 by Senator George H. Bender, Mrs. Green is now working on a taxation measure for home rule in public school matters of the state.

In 1922, after the political primary election had been held and the major parties had made their nominations, Mrs. Green became an independent candidate for the United States Senate. This step was taken by Mrs. Green without expectation of election, but with the object, if possible, of getting out a large protest vote against both the republican and democratic candidates for that office. She felt that with the advent of women into political affairs it would be well for them to take a decided stand against the methods employed by both of the old parties. With no organization behind her, and with practically no campaign funds, Mrs. Green was tremendously handicapped in getting her appeal before the people of the state at large. However, she received between 25,000 and 30,000 votes.

Mrs. Green is a pioneer in Ohio of woman's suffrage. In 1912, in company with Miss Florence Allen (now of the Ohio State Supreme Court), she traveled through the statein an automobile, stopping at towns, villages, cross roads and wherever two or three people could be gathered together, teaching the doctrine of woman suffrage. She has always been interested in world peace, and has consistently opposed the introduction of military training in the public schools. She was largely instrumental in haying established the first public kindergarten in connection with the Cleveland Day Nursery at what was then known as the Perkins' Day Nursery on St. Clair Street. She is a charter member of the City Club, a member of the Board of Directors of the Children's Fresh Air Camp, and a supporter of the Consumers' League. Perhaps the dominant characteristic of Mrs. Green may be epitomized as the socialization of public education.

When Mrs. Green came to Cleveland as a bride in 1876 she brought with her a letter of transfer from her home parish of St. James, Zanesville, to Trinity Cathedral (then Trinity Parish on Superior Street), and she has been a consistent and loyal Lupporter of that church throughout all these years, continuing as a contributing member at the present time.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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