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Biography of Herman Wells Greene

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Herman Wells Greene, formerly a lawyer of considerable note in Hopkinton, was born here, April 11, 1836, son of Herman H. and Ellen Chase (Little) Greene. His only brother died at the age of fourteen years; and his only sister is now the wife of a Mr. Roberts, of Philadelphia, Pa. After receiving his early education in the public schools of Hopkinton and at Pembroke and Gilmanton Academies, he became interested in the legal profession, and read law with George & Foster, of Concord, and later with Beard & Nickerson, of Boston, Mass. On his twenty-first birthday he was admitted to the Suffolk County bar. At first Charles E. Pike, afterward with Ithmar W. Beard and James P. Sullivan. Subsequently, on account of failing health, he returned to his native place, and did not practise for about seven years. On resuming his profession he was for a time associated with Carlos G. Hawthorne. In politics he was an enthusiast, and he held various offices of trust. He was Moderator of the town meeting for over twenty years all together, was Superintendent of Schools for five years, and State Representative in 1881, 1889, and 1891. In 1891 he took an active part in the debates of the legislature, and served on the Judicial and Railroad Committees. He was County Solicitor of Merrimack County five years, during which period he was obliged to be in Concord much of the time. In early life a Democrat, he afterward became a Republican, and served on the Republican State Committees, and generally attended the conventions. He was for a number of years Curator of the Hopkinton Antiquarian Society, and was Chairman of the Library Trustees.

Before he was of age Mr. Greene married Miss Frances Adeline Willard, of Hopkinton, who was brought up by her grandmother, Mrs. Sophia Tebbets. Mrs. Greene died March 2, 1873, leaving one son, Willard T., now a resident of Hopkinton. On September 18, 1877, Mr. Greene married for his second wife Miss Anstice Irene Clarke, daughter of Daniel W. and Ruhamah (Cochran) Clarke, of Canaan, N.H. Mrs. Clarke, who was left a widow by the death of her first husband, married Judge Horace Chase when Anstice was but nine years old; and they went to Hopkinton to live. Mrs. Greene has no children. She still lives in the old Greene homestead, the place which belonged to the beloved mother of her distinguished husband. Mr. Greene was an accomplished public speaker, ready with telling argument and bright repartee. He was versatile and quick to discern the drift of legislation. The important positions intrusted to him showed that he had the esteem and confidence of all. For years he was President of the State Republican League, and with that body attended the Baltimore Convention. Throughout his own State he was a noted speaker. In making public addresses he used no notes except for headings, and never wrote but one address. In his legislative career he was associated both in an official and warmly personal way with Dr. Gallinger, of Concord, the well-known United States Senator.

Mr. Greene died of apoplexy, March 1, 1896, at the age of sixty years. He had felt that death was impending, and had shortly before made the most orderly settlement of all his affairs. He was a tall, well-proportioned man, in manners affable and courteous, and in disposition calm and cheerful. Always a man of correct habits, his life was well-nigh blameless. A warm affection existed between him and his mother, partly because he was the only son left her. He remained with her for this reason, and these family ties kept him from going elsewhere and opening a law office. While he was not a member of any secret society, he belonged to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, of which he was Warden. The latter church contains a beautiful family memorial window designed by his niece, who is a noted artist, Miss Elsie Roberts, of Philadelphia. He was an unusually well-read man; and he had strong tendencies to art, especially to music.

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