Tuesday, March 31, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 65: Mary Wright Stebbins

“Mary Wright Stebbins Greenlee was born 13 Sept 1808 near Wilbraham, Massachusetts about 8 miles from Springfield. Here she lived with her parents until 1811 when they moved to Sangerfield, New York where her father died in 1813. After his death they moved to Lebanon, New York and later to Crawford County, Pennsylvania.

Her half-brother, Daniel Stebbins came to Crawford County first, then her brother Lemuel Stebbins followed with their mother and the rest of the family. The household goods were brought in an ox-cart, the family traveling most of the way on foot.” (1)

Mary (24) married Edmund Greenlee (21) on 10 April 1832.  They had 8 children, two of whom died as infants.  Their twin boys wrote the Greenlee Genealogy and in it, their tribute to their mother continues:  (this is the same "log rolling, buckhorn wrestling wife" mentioned in last week's post)

“She made the most of her opportunities for obtaining an education and fitted herself to become a teacher. She taught several terms before she met and married Edmund Greeley receiving wheat, corn and rye in payment for her services.

At that early day farmer’s wives were obliged to make the clothing of both men and women. Mrs. Greenlee was an expert at spinning and weaving. She carded and spun wool and flax and wove the same into cloth for family use. It is said that she learned to spin when so small that it was necessary for her to walk up and down an inclined board in order to reach the spindle wheel; yet in that way she was able to spin what was considered a full day’s work and finish at 3 o'clock.

She was a model housekeeper, a woman of untiring energy, but did her work intelligently and made every step count. Whenever she had occasion to go into the pantry for anything she always remembered to take in something to put away, thus saving time and labor. It was her practice in early life on wash days to scrub the floor first, so that when the washing was done the house would be clean.

Mary and Edmond's home in PA.

Mrs. Greenlee had a keen sense of right and wrong and was very zealous in the care and training of her children. She possessed a decided taste for reading and had a remarkable memory. She knew the Bible almost by heart, and could instantly tell where to find any passage in it that was quoted and rarely made a mistake.

Mary with her husband and six children

She was a woman of strong character, a true helpmate to her husband and an exemplary mother. She died 9 July 1877 while on a visit to her sons in Chicago and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery. (1)

(1) Greenlee Genealogy, by Ralph Stebbins Greenlee and Robert Lemuel Greenlee (Edmund’s and Mary’s  twin sons), self published in 1908 in Chicago.

US Federal Census: 1860, 1870, 1880

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 64: Edmund Greenlee

Edmund Greenlee was born 31 Mar 1811 in Crawford County, PA, about 90 miles north of Pittsburgh.  He was the youngest of 11.

Edmund (21) married Mary Wright Stebbins (23) on 10 Apr 1832.

Edmund and Mary had 8 children, including two infants who died.  Our ancestor, Mary, was their youngest.  They also had twin boys who wrote the Genealogy of the Greenlee Families. They dedicated it to their father, Edmund.

Edmund Greenlee

A short biography, written by his twin boys:  "Edmund Greenlee was the son of one of the earliest settlers of Crawford County. After his marriage he went directly to the log cabin which he had built in the woods on his newly purchased farm in the northeast corner of Summerhill Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, his land extending over into Spring Township. On this land, he resided for about 70 years.  The fireplace was then the only means of cooking, and the baking was done in a tin oven in front of the log fire.

Homestead of Edmund Greenlee and family

Mr. Greenlee chopped and felled the trees, his wife helping to roll them into piles to be burned at night. When they were well-settled an orchard was planted. One day while in the orchard Mrs. Greenlee looking through the fence spied a large buck deer on the other side of the fence chewing his cud. She stepped up quietly and reaching her arm between the rails, grabbed the buck by the horns and held him until Mr. Greenlee came with an ax and killed him. It was a source of much comment and a great feast for sometime.
Homestead of Edmund Greenlee and family in Summerhill, PA

When the farm was cleared and sowed to grass he purchased cows and started a dairy. The business increased and they soon had a dairy of from 40 to 50 cows, then considered a large number. Mrs. Greenlee helped in the work connected with the dairy and one season milked 17 cows night and morning in addition to her household duties and caring for the children. Mr. Greenlee besides milking, attended to the butter and cheese which he sold at the market places.

He was a man of considerable inventive genius and devised and manufactured machinery for making all of his own cheese boxes and butter kegs at the time he was conducting an extensive dairy business. He invented the first machine for milking cows, which consisted of a receiver with two air pumps and four stop-cocks, from which tubes ran to the cows teats, the milking being accomplished by the suction from the air pumps. It worked well until the milk was partly exhausted from the cows udder, when it would collapse and the milk stop. He was unable to remedy this and the machine consequently did not prove a success, although before he learned this difficulty, he was offered quite a large sum of money for the invention." (1)

“Among the labor-saving devices Edmund created was a line of wooden barrel making machines he patented when (his children) were young.” (2)

"In 1860, at the time that Drake first struck oil at Titusville, Mr. Greenlee adapted his machinery to the manufacture of oil barrels. We give one of his business cards (below):

Edmund's business card

In the later years of his life Mr. Greenlee endeavored to construct a machine which he called the Great American Combine for planting and harvesting most kinds of grain, including corn, digging potatoes, and doing different kinds of work. He built a model, but never completed it.

He was a man of very even temper, never allowing himself to become angry. It was one of his characteristics always to return good for evil. As an illustration of this trait the following incident is related:

A neighbor who lived on a farm adjoining that of Mr Greenlee, cut the brush and elders from his side of the road, carried them across the road and threw them into Mr. Greenlee's grass for a distance of 60 or 80 rods. This was just before haying time. When it was discovered Mrs. Greenlee's idea was to make him pay damages; but Mr. Greenlee said, "I will heap coals of fire on his head."  Two or three days afterward Mr. Greenlee had occasion to drive to the town of Conneautville, 7 miles distant. When passing the neighbor's house, he saw him standing in the yard and called out,
      "Good Morning John! I am going to town. Is there anything I can do for you?"  The neighbor asked him to get a point for his plow, and Mr. Greenlee agreed to do so. After reaching town it escaped his mind and he did not again think of the plow point until he was about halfway home. He turned around and went back after it, feeling that he could not afford to miss the opportunity of doing this man a kindness. As he came back he saw the neighbor, handed him the plow point and remarked, I came very near forgetting it and turned back when I was halfway home.
      "Edmund," said the man,  "I am very sorry you went back for that point. I don't know why you did it."
      "I probably would not of found much to do at home as it is Saturday afternoon," said Mr. Greenlee,  "and I told you I would get it for you."
 The man's conscious troubled him and he finally said,
      "Edmund, I served you a very mean trick a few days ago.  I cut the brush and elders from my side of the road and threw them over into your meadow. I will pick them all out."
And he did so taking much more time then was spent and putting them there. The two men were ever afterward firm friends; whereas, had Mr Greenlee acted differently they might have been enemies.

Edmund and his wife Mary surrounded by their six children

While his children were small Mr. Greenlee was very strict with them, although very kind.  Naturally the twin brothers Ralph and Robert were always into some mischief and their father frequently had to promise them punishment. However, he would never administer the punishment at the time of the offense – probably to avoid any display of temper – but would wait until he had leisure, or until a rainy day, when he would say, "Well boys I guess we might as well settle up now," the meaning of which they well knew. After spending some time in talking to them and giving them advice he would proceed to balance accounts, giving them punishment for each promise he had made them.

Edmund with 3 of his siblings.

Edmund Greenlee was a strong man physically and mentally. He was public-spirited and progressive, ever ready to assist and advance the cause of humanity, and was identified with many improvements. His industry knew no bounds. In politics, he was a Republican. He was one of the organizers of the Methodist Church in Summerhill Township, now known as the Smith Church, for which he gave the land and furnished a large part of the lumber and other materials for the building.

He died at the old homestead, now owned by his sons Ralph and Robert, and his body was taken to Chicago for interment by the side of his wife in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Edmund Greenlee was a kind husband and father and a good neighbor. He was emphatically a man of peace." (1)

Mary (68) died 9 Jul 1877 in Chicago when she was visiting her twin boys, and Edmund (87) died 4 Sept 1898 in Summerhill, PA.


  • (1) Greenlee Genealogy, by Ralph Stebbins Greenlee and Robert Lemuel Greenlee (Edmund’s and Mary’s  twin sons), self published in 1908 in Chicago.
  • (2) http://www.greenlee.com/about-us/historypage.html
  • US Federal Census: 1860, 1870, 1880

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 63: Mary Lucinda Greenlee Greenlee Bishop

Mary Lucinda Greenlee was born 28 Oct 1846 in Crawford County, PA (about 90 miles north of Pittsburgh). The youngest of 8 children, which included twin boys.

"Mary Lucinda was an unusually bright child, and learned her A-B-C's when but four years old. A little incident which illustrates her kind and ambitious character when but a child, occurred one day when her parents had left her home alone while they drove to town.  A Mr. Cole had been with them that day working about the house and Mary Lucinda, then but four years old, thought that he ought to have his supper.  She went out and asked him to get some potatoes for her, as she could not reach them, and told him she would cook them for him if he would.  He got them and she cooked them and also fried some meat; set the table as well as she could but being very little she could not set the dishes on and had to push them on from the edge.  Mr Cole enjoyed his meal and was very much pleased and amused with this little hostess.  It was very hard work for her, and after Mr Cole had finished she asked him if he would rock her to sleep, which he did." (1)

Mary Lucinda is on the far right.  She is pictured here with her 5 living siblings
(including her twin brothers) and her parents.

Mary married William Dallas Greenlee in Meadville, PA on 20 Oct 1866. They were second cousins. (Their fathers were cousins and there grandfathers were half brothers)

William was born in Le Boeuf, Erie County, PA on 1 Jan 1845.  The fourth child of nine.  He had four brothers and four sisters. 

Their son David was born Aug 1868 and their daughter Elizabeth was born 5 Jul 1869.

Sometime in early 1870, they moved to Chicago.

On 11 Jun 1870, Mary (23), William (24) and their two kids, David (2) and Lizzie (infant) were living in Chicago.  William was a milkman.

At some point they moved back to PA, and on 1 Jun 1880, they were living in Middleboro, PA.  Both William and Mary were listed as “traveling hair dressers.”  William's mother Harriet was living with them.

They must have moved back to Chicago at some point.

William (49) died on 8 Jul 1894 in Chicago, and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.   They were living at 437 Irving Ave.   They were neighbors with the Woodleys (448 Irving Ave).  So that must be how their daughter Lizzie met her husband Charles: they were married in 5 Jun 1895.

Mary in about 1900 in Denver

On 6 Jun 1900, Mary was listed as widowed and she was living with her son David and his family. She was still doing “hairwork” and her daughter-in-law Adeline also did "hairwork".  David was a machinist (turning lathe).

Just an aside, David and his family moved to LA and he was listed as a police detective in 1920 and 1930.

On 28 Oct 1900, Mary married Isaac Bishop in Kansas City, MO.

In 1910, she was a hair manufacturer, and Isaac was a jeweler.   They were living at 89 Pennsylvania. (First and Pennsylvania) in Denver.


1918 Denver City Directory: Mary was listed as a hairdresser.

In 1920, Isaac (74) and Mary (73) were still living at 89 Penn. and they were listed as a self-employed jeweler and as a self-employed hair manufacturer.

Mary with her son, David, and grandson Bill 

I believe Mary died between 1920 and 1924.   Isaac died in 1924.

  • Census: 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920
  • Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002
  • Denver City Directory, 1918
  • Horan Burial Index
  • https://history.denverlibrary.org/sites/history/files/DPL_1924_1929_Death_Index_0_0.pdf
  • Family Photos
  • (1) Greenlee Genealogy, by Ralph Stebbins Greenlee and Robert Lemuel Greenlee (Mary's twin brothers), self published in 1908 in Chicago.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 62:Charles W Woodley and Lizzie Greenlee

Charles Wiseman Woodley was born Dec 1871 in Kansas City, MO.  When he was 4 years old, he and his parents moved to Chicago.

Charles Woodley

Charles (23) married Elizabeth May (Lizzie) Greenlee (25) on 5 Jun 1895 across the state line in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In Dec 1896 their daughter Esther Mary (Ed’s Grandma) was born in Chicago.

The next year, in 1897 they moved to Denver and lived at 1441 S Pearl for two years.

Charles Woodley

Baby Harry Robert (named for his grandfather) was born on 3 Oct 1897, but sadly he died in 1898 and is buried at Fairmont Cemetery in Denver. 

On 12 Jan 1899 their son Howard G was born.

Lizzie Woodley

On 6 Jun 1900: Charles and Lizzie were renting their home at 2042 S Grant, near Lizzie’s Brother (William Greenlee) and his family.  Charles was a stock salesman, and Lizzie did hair work.

Charles Woodley with Starlight and Twilight

Charles Woodley broke two horses for Denver Businessman Peter McCourt, brother of famed Baby Doe Tabor whose full name was Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt.  Her first marriage was to Harvey Doe and later to Horace Tabor.

The two horses were named Starlight and Twilight.  Photo of Woodley probably taken near 8th and Lowell in the Barnum neighborhood of Denver.  McCourt decided he didn’t want the horses after all as he decided to buy a horseless carriage or motor car instead

"The McCourt Mansion, home of Zupkus & Angell, P.C., is one of Denver's most colorful historic buildings. Situated close to the Governor's Mansion in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, the McCourt Mansion has seen its share of Denver's elite pass through her doors. 

The house was owned by Peter McCourt, a brother of Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt Doe Tabor, better known as "Baby Doe" Tabor. It features 350-year-old quarter-sawn oak paneling from an old English manor and numerous gas fireplaces. 

McCourt came to Colorado in 1883 lured by the territory's mining boom. He settled in Leadville where he befriended H.A.W. "Horace" Tabor. The close association brought McCourt to Denver a decade later when he became manager of the Tabor Grand Opera House." (1) 

Lizzie Woodley

In 1903 Charles and Lizzie were living at 1840 S Pearl, and Charles was a salesman at WC Allison (1903-1905)

Esther and Howard Woodley
From 1904 – 1907 the Woodleys were living at 102 S Newton. 

From  1906-1916, Charles was working as a real estate salesman for Samuel C Adams at 605 Ideal Bldg.

“The Ideal Building, located at 821 Seventeenth Street, was designed by architects Montana Fallis and John Stein and was built in 1907. Charles Boettcher had already amassed a fortune in hardware, mining, cattle, and sugar when, around the beginning of the 20th century, he realized a need for local production of quality cement. 

Denver was booming, and there was a high demand for building materials. Boettcher, John Campion, and others founded the Portland Cement Company, which was later renamed the Ideal Cement Company.” (2)  (This is where the Broker Restaurant is now located)

Lizzie Woodley on a camping trip

From 1909-1912 the Woodleys were renting at 705 Lowell Blvd.

They had and lost a fourth child sometime between 1900 and 1910.

On 30 Apr 1910: Charles was a Real Estate Dealer, and Lizzie had a Home Hair Business.

8th and Lowell (today)
Stone Pillars built by Charles Woodley

In 1912 Charles and Lizzie purchase their home at 753 Lowell Blvd (8th and Lowell) where they lived for 22 years.

Charles Woodley

1917-1924 Charles was an inspector for the City Water Company.

On 2 Jan 1920 their son Howard G (20) his wife and baby were living with them.

Lizzie with granddaughter Sylvia (about 1923)

From 1925-1934, Charles was the Chief Inspector for the Denver Water Company.

Curtis St in Denver, 1927.  This is was Denver looked like back then.

On 11 Apr 1930, the census tells us that the Woodleys were living at 753 Lowell, their home value was $5000 and they had a radio. Charles worked at the Denver Water Company, and Lizzie was a manufacturer of hair goods.

Charles and Lizzie 

Lizzie died on 4 May 1933 (63) and Charles (62) died 3 Oct 1934  


  • (1)  http://zalaw.com/mccourtmansion.html
  • (2)http://www.whatwasthere.com/browse.aspx#!/ll/39.7474365234375,-104.992691040039/id/11398/info/details/zoom/14/
  • Wisconsin Marriages, 1820-1907
  • US Federal Census: 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
  • US City Directories, 1821-1989
  • Denver Obituary Index: https://history.denverlibrary.org/sites/history/files/DPL_1930_1934_Death_Index_0_0.pdf
  • Family Photos and Stories

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 61: Anna Julia Phillips and Harry R Woodley

Anna Julia (Annie) Phillips was born Jul 1852 in Belmont County Ohio (near Wheeling West Virginia), the youngest and 9th child of John Phillips and Julianne Pennington Phillips.

After 1860, the Phillips family moved to Kansas City, Missouri.

At age 16 (almost 17), Annie married Harry R (HR) Woodley (22) on 5 May 1869 in Kansas City, MO. Harry was born Mar 1847 in Canada. He was the son of John and Louisa Woodley.

On 15 Jun 1870, Annie and HR were living with her parents: John and Julianne Phillips.  HR is a lightning rod agent.

Only two months later, on 23 Aug 1870, Annie and HR were living with HIS parents: John and Louisa Woodley.

Annie (on the right) with an unknown friend.

In 1871, their son Charles Wiseman Woodley was born. 

In 1875 they moved to Chicago.

Annie Woodley

In 1877, HR was a printer and they were living at 112 Chicago Ave.

On 9 Jun 1880, they were living at 834 Congress St and HR was a printer

In September 1881, their daughter Maud was born.

Annie Woodley

In 1888, HR was a printer at 155 W Washington and they were living at 448 Irving Ave.

In 1889 HR was a clerk at 182 Monroe, and they were still living at 448 Irving Ave.

Annie Woodley

The 11 Jun 1900 census says that Annie had 2 children and they are both living. HR is a printer, and they were all still living at 448 Irving Ave.

HR must have died between 1900 and 1910

15 Apr 1910, Annie was living with her daughter, son-in-law and infant grandson in Chicago at 854 Wilson Ave.

In 12 Jan 1920, Annie is still living with Maud and son Frank (but Maud is a widow as well) at  4859 Kenmore Ave in Chicago.

Grandma Woodley (Annie) looking very stylish!

Annie died sometime after 1920.

Click to Enlarge:  The Woodleys were living and working right downtown!


  • 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 US Federal Census
  • Missouri Marriages, 1851-1900
  • Chicago, Illinois, Voter Registration, 1888
  • U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 
  • Family Photos