GREEN, Robert Kenyon: Biography (1806-1884)

By Shane A. Green

Early Days in New York

Robert Green was born on 5 Aug 1806 in Tiscon, Onondaga Co., NY. His parents were Kinyon Green (1776) and Lucy Austin (1780). He was the third of twelve children. He married Fanny Greeley on 3 Oct 1826. The Green family must have been close friends with the Greeleys because a few years later two of Robert’s brothers married two more of the Greeley sisters.

Robert and Fanny’s first child was Alvin Green. He was born in Carlton, Cattaraugus, New York on 27 May 1829. In 1830 Robert and Fanny were living in Gorham, Oneida County, New York. Their second child, Austin Greeley Green, was born on March 26 1834 in Carlton, Cattaraugus, NY.

Pioneering in Michigan

One year after Austin was born, on March 7 1835 Robert bought 60 acres from his father, Kinyon Green, in Waterford, Oakland Co., Michigan for $200. Their third child, Harriett Ann Green, was born here in 1838. In 1840, the young family was still here, with Robert and Alvin working on the farm. Here in Michigan, Robert was surrounded by family, with brothers and parents all in close proximity and also engaged in farming.

Converted to the LDS Church

In 1838 a Mormon named Mephibosheth Sirrine started up a branch of the Mormon church in Lenawee Co., Michigan. He moved to Oakland County, where Robert and Fanny lived, and preached in Michigan until about 1844. He would later serve a mission to the eastern states, and another to England. These were very interesting times for the Church in Michigan, and quite a stir was created by Elder Sirrine and others among the population

Robert probably joined the church sometime in 1844 or early 1845. His name appears in Conference Minutes from the Times and Seasons. During the January 1845 Conference held in Oakland, Oakland Co, Michigan, the Waterford Branch was represented by Brother Green. Robert Green was recommended for a Priest, and Walter Ostrander was recommended for an Elder. Three months later at the conference in Franklin, Oakland Co., Michigan, the Waterford Branch was represented by “Priest Green”.

The Greens were acquainted with another Mormon family at this time, the Ostranders. Walter Ostrander was married to Esther Eliza Morrison Shippen. Eliza’s first husband, Henry Shippen, died when a well caved in on him. She had one son from this first marriage, Charles Wesley Shippen. Two years later Eliza married Walter Ostrander, the lawyer who helped settle Henry’s estate. They had two girls, Caroline and Elizabeth. Following Joseph Smith’s martyrdom in 1844, Walter chose to follow James J. Strang’s claim to succeed Joseph Smith. Eliza chose to follow Brigham Young.

Both Robert and Fanny list their baptism date as 6 Apr (or 7 ), 1845, which is the 15th anniversary of the organization of the church. This must have been a re-baptism for Robert or both of them (this was a common practice in the early church ) since Robert already held the office of Priest. The 3 children were not baptized at this time. On this date in church history, 6 Apr 1845, three conferences were held. One was in Kirtland, Ohio, the second in Greenwood, New York, and the third in Nauvoo, Illinois. It is likely that they were baptized at one of these meetings. Robert recorded that he was baptized by ‘Matthew B. Sarine‘ on April 7, 1845. If my name was Mephibosheth, I would probably let folks call me Matthew B. too.

Pioneers to the Rocky Mountains – beginning the journey

On Oct. 29, 1845, the Nauvoo Neighbor published the following:

Pioneer Supplies

BILL OF PARTICULARS INCLUDED

For emigrants leaving this government next spring.

Each family consisting of five persons to be provided with –

  • 1 good strong wagon well covered with a light box.
  • 2 or 3 good yoke of oxen between the ages of 4 and 10 years.
  • 2 or more milch cows.
  • 1 or more good beefs.
  • 3 sheep if they can be obtained.
  • 1000 pounds of flour or other bread or breadstuffs in good sacks.
  • 1 good musket or rifle to each male over the age of 12 years.
  • 1 lb. powder
  • 4 lbs. lead.
  • 100 do. [ditto] sugar.
  • 1 do. cayenne pepper.
  • 1 do. black pepper.
  • ½ lb. mustard.
  • 10 do. rice for each family.
  • 1 do. cinnamon.
  • ½ do. cloves.
  • 1 doz. nutmegs.
  • 25 lbs. salt.
  • 5 lbs. saleratus (bicarbonate for raising bread).
  • 10 do. dried apples.
  • 1 bush. beans.
  • A few lbs. dried beef or bacon.
  • 5 lbs. dried peaches.
  • 20 do. pumpkin.
  • 25 do. seed grain.
  • 20 lbs. soap for each family.
  • 15 lbs. of iron and steel
  • A few lbs. of wrought nails.
  • One or more sets of saw or grist mill irons to company of 100 families.
  • 1 good seine and hook for each company.
  • 2 sets of pulley blocks and ropes to each company for crossing rivers.
  • From 25 to 100 lbs. of farming and mechanical tools.
  • Cooking utensils to consist of bake kettle, frying pan.
  • Tin cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons and pans as few as will do.
  • A good tent and to each 2 families.
  • and bedding to each family, not to exceed 500 pounds.
  • Ten extra teams for each company of 100 families.

In addition to the above list, horse and mule teams can be used as well as oxen.

Many items of comfort and convenience will suggest themselves to wise and provident people and can be laid in the season, but none should start without filling the original bill.

This was the task laid out for Robert to prepare his family of five for emigration in 1847. He probably provided for Eliza Ostrander and her 3 children as well, since she was alone. She decided to leave her husband Walter and follow Brigham Young out west. Later, she was to join the family as Robert’s second wife.

Robert and Fanny sold their Michigan farms for $700 on Dec. 18, 1845. This is just as the saints were preparing to leave Nauvoo, expecting to go on to the Rocky Mountains in 1846. Robert and his family started for Nauvoo, leaving behind his father, mother, brothers, and sisters, none of whom joined the church. He probably arrived in Nauvoo on Feb. 13, 1846, with a group of 70 families of saints from Michigan led by M. Sarinne. Likely, Eliza Ostrander and her 3 children were with them too. They pressed on to Winter Quarters, expecting to go to the Rocky Mountains that year.

Winter in Ponca Camp

On July 1st, 1846 a ferry was completed to cross the Missouri River. On the western side, a place called ‘Cold Spring Camp’ was established on the recommendation of Bishop George Miller. It was late in the year, and the Green family pioneers had been delayed by heavy rains. They waited for instructions to either press on to the Rocky Mountains or find a place to spend the winter. Companies organized by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball at the Cold Springs Camp combined with Bishop Miller’s Company and became the advance party for the church.

They finally received word from Brigham Young to stop and winter in Grand Island. However, fears and rumors about hostile Indian attacks in the Grand Island area gave them a reason to hesitate. About that same time, four elders from the ‘Ponca’ clan of the Sioux tribe invited them to spend the winter in their camp. After considering their options, a High Council headed by Bishop Miller voted to go north to winter with the Ponca Tribe on the Niobrara (Running Water, Swift Water) River. There were a few surprises. Upon starting their journey, one of the men asked the Ponca Elders how far it was going to be. “Three sleeps” was his answer. Unfortunately, pioneers travel slower than Indians. It was 150 miles and took 11 days. The camp was on the border between South Dakota and Nebraska almost opposite where the city of Niobrara, Nebraska now stands. They arrived at this camp in August of 1846.

Life among the Indians for the winter was interesting. I recommend reading the diary of William C. Staines to get a better idea of what it was like. There was some internal strife among the pioneers during the winter. Lorenzo Hatch Hill records an incident in his journal about a dispute over some cattle herding arrangements that involve a confrontation with Alvin Green Sr. (I assume he meant Robert since he was the senior member of the family and Alvin’s father). Lorenzo wanted to add cattle to the herd already being tended by Robert. Robert refused, saying he had enough money to hire his own herder. Robert must have been real ornery, which actually makes a lot of sense, considering the disposition of his descendants I am acquainted with.

The group on the Niobrara had been hand-picked; it included the Robert Green family and Eliza Ostrander with her children. This Mormon company consisted of 65 families. (Numbers vary from source to source).

With the Ponca company was Newell Knight, who was one of the first members of the Mormon church. Newell Knight and about 16 others died of pneumonia while camping on the Niobrara and are buried there. A large is erected near the site in their memory. Apparently, Robert and Fanny had a baby die here sometime during the winter of 1846-47. They were the only Green family in the camp, and on the monument erected to memorialize those who died ‘Baby Green’ is listed.

They stayed in Ponca camp until April 1847, when they were reorganized and regrouped at the Camp of Israel on the Elkhorn River to make the to the Rocky Mountains.

1847 Pioneers

Robert and his family were among the first pioneers in 1847. Robert and Fanny, (both 41), and children Alvin, (18), Austin (13), and Harriett Ann (9) were in the Ira Eldredge Pioneer Company, aka the Parley P. Pratt Pioneer Company. This company was organized on 15 Jun. and departed on 18 Jun. 1847. Robert’s family was in the Fourth Ten (Erastus Bingham, Capt.) of the Second Fifty (Ira Eldredge, Capt.) of the First Hundred (Daniel Spenser, Capt.). This was the pioneer company that followed Brigham Young’s initial company.

Robert’s Patriarchal Blessing was given on June 16, 1847, by John Smith, Patriarch, the day before their company departed. I have obtained a copy of that handwritten blessing. The top line reads: “Camp of Israel West Bank of the Elkhorn.”

Also traveling in the Fourth Ten of the same company was Eliza Esther Morrison Ostrander (27), traveling with her son Charles Wesley Shippen (9) and two daughters Elizabeth Elvera Ostrander (5) and Caroline Josephine Ostrander (4). I expect that Robert was given the charge to look after this woman as well as his own family. Soon after arriving in Salt Lake, he would marry Eliza as his second wife.

The complete roster of those traveling with the Fourth Ten of the Second Fifty of the First Hundred is:

• Led by Erastus Bingham (49), Lucinda Gates Bingham (49), Thomas Bingham (22), Maria Louisa Bingham (19), Willard Bingham (17), Edwin Bingham (15), Brigham Heber Bingham (5)

• Olive Hovey Bingham (27), Olive L. Bingham (2), Erastus Perry Bingham (1), (family of Erastus Bingham Jr., who went with the Mormon Battalion)

• Sanford Bingham (26) (Erastus Bingham’s son), Martha Ann Lewis (14) (Beason Lewis’s niece)

• Moses Deming (43), Maria Deming (28), Wayne Deming (8), Henrietta Deming (6)

• Mary Bingham Freeman (27), Elijah Norman Freeman (2)

• Thomas Gates (71) (Erastus Bingham’s Father in Law)

• Robert Kenyon Green (40), Fanny Greeley Green (40), Alvin Greely Green (18), Austin Greeley Green (13), Harriet Ann Green (9)

• Beason Lewis (37), Elizabeth Lewis (37), John Moss Lewis (18), William Crawford Lewis (16)

• Eliza Morrison Ostrander (27), Elizabeth Ostrander (5,) Caroline J Ostrander (4)

• William C. Staines (28)

Six of the households in this company of 10 were from the Bingham family.

Finally, they were on their way to the Rocky Mountains. After about a month of travel, Sunday, 18 Jul. 1847 was a special day in the Fourth Ten. Austin Green records in his journal that he was baptized in the Platte River on this day by John Taylor. His brother Alvin and sister Harriett record the same date for their baptism. Marriage was performed as well. Sanford Bingham (Erastus Bingham’s Son) and Martha Ann Lewis (Beason Lewis’s niece) were married by Parley P. Pratt on 18 Jul. 1847, on the Bank of the Platte River, Grand Island, Hall, Nebraska.

Sanford Bingham says of that day:

When we had traveled two or three days above the head of Grandels land in the Platt River, I took Martha Ann Lewis to be my wife, who was married to me by Apostle Parley P. Pratt on Sunday the 18th day of July 1847. Our wedding dinner was cooked over the heat of burning Buffalo chips as there was no wood in that part of the country.

Another account of the events of this special day says:

On the North Platte River, Nebraska July 18, 1847:

Patty Session baked some mince pies, bread, and meat over buffalo dung. At 11 a.m., a public Sabbath meeting was held. Jedediah Grant’s company, twenty miles behind had lost 75 head of cattle two night[s] earlier and some men were sent out to help find them. The men were told to quit killing buffalo needlessly. They were told that such actions “was a disgrace to the people and displeasing to the Lord.”

At 4 p.m., another meeting was held at which letters from the men at the Mormon Ferry were read. The ferrymen reported that they had ferried over four hundred Oregon emigrant wagons. After the meeting, a baptismal service was held for many of the youth. Confirmations were given and many children were blessed.

The pioneers were clever in how they got the things they needed and wanted along the way. Thanks to Sanford Bingham and his new wife, and their milk cow(s), this little company had butter each night because they put surplus cream in a covered pail and hung it off the end of the wagon every morning. By evening, it was churned to butter.

The following excerpts were taken from the Deseret News Church Almanac 1997-98:

The DANIEL SPENCER COMPANY

The second company to leave on the westward trek was the 1st Hundred families, The hundred was made up of 151 wagons with about 360 men, women and children. Among the group were 63 men and boys with arms and ammunition.

Apparently, not everyone was successful in obtaining ‘1 good musket or rifle to each male over the age of 12 years.’ I wonder how well or ill-equipped Robert’s family was. Continued:

Of this 100 families, Peregrine Sessions was captain of the first Fifty Ira Eldredge and Parley P Pratt were captains of the second Fifty. The first and second fifties left the Elkhorn River June 17 and 18, 1847, respectively. Wagons were ferried across the Elkhorn River.

They learned that three men coming east had recently been attacked by Indians and one killed. Finding the remains of an Indian agent the same day led the pioneers to keep close watch on their stock. Wagons moved five abreast at first. But after a short time, the wagons resumed traveling in double file. A few Indians were seen from time to time, and a calf that lagged behind returned to the train with an arrow through its back………

Upon reaching Buffalo Country in Nebraska on July 10, hunters killed several buffalo to provide meat for the wagon train. Buffalo created problems for the pioneers as the animals frightened the cattle into running away and mingling with the buffalo. On July 22 and 23, about 100 Sioux Indians visited the wagon train and traded bread, meal, and corn for buffalo robes and moccasins. The pioneers fired a cannon at their request.

About that cannon. Austin Green was given charge to drive the cannon, known as “Old Sow”, across the plains. It was given this name because when the Indians threatened to get it, the pioneers covered it in mud near a river bank. This cannon is still with the pioneer relics at the museum at Temple Square.

Later oxen were purchased from the Indians. The company traveled without incident to Chimney Rock, Neb., which they reached on July 29. On Aug. 4, they passed members of the Mormon Battalion returning toward Winter Quarters from the Salt Lake Valley and arrived at Fort Laramie, Wyo. The day after, the train stopped to repair wagons while the women picked currants, made pies, and hulled corn. Bears were seen but avoided.

On Aug. 16, Elder Ezra T. Benson, Orrin Porter Rockwell, and John W. Binely had breakfast with the company as they returned east. They gave a good report of the valley. The company moved on past the Black Hills, now known as the Laramie Mountains, to the alkali area where some of the animals died, probably from drinking bad water or ingesting toxic earth while eating short grass. The company continued to find and obtain buffalo meat.

The temperatures grew colder as the company passed Independence Rock in Wyoming as it moved along Sweetwater River toward South Pass on the Continental Divide. On Aug. 27 The Spencer company heard from the Grant Company to the rear that their cattle were sick and dying. The Spencer company felt unable to give help. They labored forward, covering from 10 to 15 miles a day, crossing South Pass, and on Sept. 3 leaving the Oregon Trail and heading toward the Salt Lake Valley. Indians stole two but their owners followed after them and recovered both. They also met Brigham Young traveling from Salt Lake Valley with a group returning to Winter Quarters, and the Twelve held a council and rested………..

The weather turned cold with rain, hailstorms and blustery winds. The company then proceeded to Green River Wyo. When they reached Ham’s Fork, the first and fifth Tens of Captain Eldredge’s Fifty formed an advance party that led out, reaching the Great Salt Lake Valley Sept. 19……….

After laboring down Echo and Emigration Canyons, the rest of the company arrived in the valley on Sept. 22, 1847. They immediately sent back teams of oxen to assist the company behind them.

Arrived in Utah

A Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) pamphlet proclaims: “What Plymouth is to New England, the Old Fort is to the Great West.” The building of Old Fort commenced a week after the arrival of the first immigrants in July 1847. Following the Mormon pattern for colonization that consisted of central planning and collective labor, the settlers formed groups to work for the common good. For example, one group began farming 35 acres. Each block was divided into eight lots (1.25 acres each). One block was selected for a fort or stockade of log cabins. The pioneers would live inside the fort until they could build permanent structures on their city lots. A large group began to build log cabins and an adobe wall around the fort. Within a month there were 29 log houses 8 to 9 feet high, 16 feet long, and 14 feet wide. The Green family certainly helped with the construction and were among the first occupants of Old Fort.

There are competing claims about who the first school teacher at Old Fort was. Accepted history is that seventeen-year-old Mary Jane Dilworth held the first school classes in October 1847 in a small tent outside the fort. Alternatively, Charles Wesley Shippen recorded that his mother, Eliza Ostrander, “taught the first school that was ever taught in Utah”.

When the saints arrived in Salt Lake they drew up 4 laws to live by, which are:

ORIGIN OF LAW AND ORDER IN THE GREAT BASIN, 25 July 1847

1. The Code of Ethics The Ten Commandments and Christian Ethics were proclaimed to be in force in the New Home in the West.

2. The Land Law No man shall buy or sell land, every man should have his land measured off to him for the city and for farming purposes by what he could till. He might till it as he pleases, but he should be industrious and take care of it.

3. The Water Law There should be no private ownership of the water streams.

4. The Timber Law Wood and timber would be regarded, as community property-dead timber should be used as fuel.

Early Settlement in South Cottonwood

By 1848, the Greens would move to the Holladay’s Burgh, a small village settlement a short distance from Salt Lake City. This settlement may have also been known as Brinton.

Many of the early homes were built from logs found in the nearby canyons, with boughs, rushes, and/or dirt for the roof. The next homes were made from adobe, with the clay and straw tramped out by foot and placed in molds to dry in the sun. Families made their own cloth from spinning wool. Candles were made from tallow. Soap was made from ashes and animal fat, and clothes were washed by hand in large tubs. In the summer, the roads were very dusty and were sprinkled with a large water tank on a horse-drawn wagon. During this early settlement time, Robert may have tried to establish two homes (for two wives), one in Holladay and one in nearby South Cottonwood, because he is listed among the earliest settlers of both communities.

In the spring, the roads would be so muddy that the wagons would sink down to their hubs. Everyone in the community worked on the roads. Wood was hauled from the canyons each fall for firewood all winter. The homes were widely scattered, but the people visited each other often and enjoyed many social occasions.

Robert finally built his adobe home(s) on a knoll at approximately 1750 East Spring Lane in Murray, Utah (current address). This was undoubtedly an ideal home site in the Cottonwood settlement, being on a high point but only about 1/3 of a mile from Big Cottonwood Creek. Here were two homes by 1850, one for Fanny and one for Eliza.

Robert’s son Alvin Greeley Green was sealed to Francis Abigail Gibson on 27 Dec 1850, and he made his home in South Cottonwood as well, building his home on what is now Walker Lane.

Robert Green had carried seeds of a Balm of Gilead (Populus candicans) tree (probably from Michigan) and red roses with him across the plains. He planted them here at the home in South Cottonwood. The tree grew to a very large size, this species is known to get up to 100 feet tall. Measurements of this tree that were taken in 1946 showed it to be 26 feet 6 inches in circumference. In about the irrigation ditch that flowed nearby was removed, and the tree died. It toppled over in a wind storm in March of 1972.

A brand was recorded for Robert Green on 27 Apr. 1850. All of Robert’s livestock was to be branded with a simple “RG” on the left shoulder.

Robert is credited by one source with establishing the first irrigation diversion in Big Cottonwood Creek, filling a ditch that is known to this day as the ‘Green Ditch Water Company’ . Other sources credit his son Alvin for this feat, and for serving as water master over it for 20 years. Perhaps it was a family effort.

Robert married Eliza Ostrander as his second wife. Precisely when this event occurred is unknown. Robert was sealed to both Fanny and Eliza by Brigham Young in Brigham’s home on Nov. 10, 1850, at 3:30 pm. Witnesses to the sealing were H.C. Kimball, Thomas Bullock, and Willard Richards. However, Robert and Eliza’s first child was born prior to the sealing ceremony on Apr. 24, 1850 (Lydia). A common practice was to take a plural wife in a ‘solemn covenant’ ceremony and go through the sealing ceremony at a later time. This could be performed by a father giving away a bride or by some church official. Sealings would take place at a later date, as in the case of Robert Green and his wives. At this time in 1850, they lived in two adjacent homes in South Cottonwood.

Called to the Iron Mission

Robert still did not settle down. He was called to assist with the Iron Mission during the winter of 1850 to settle southern Utah. Confirming reports of the existence of extensive and easily worked iron ore deposits in the southern part of the Utah Territory, Brigham Young issued “Mission Calls” to a predetermined cadre of approximately 120 frontiersmen and iron manufacturing tradesmen, mostly from the British Isles, to establish an iron manufacturing plant there. Although it was unapproved, several took wives and families along. Robert took Eliza with her children Elizabeth and Caroline, and baby Lydia.

This colony, under the direction of George A. Smith, departed Provo on 15 December 1850 and after a perilous winter journey arrived at the present site of Parowan, 250 miles distant, on 13 January 1851. Here they built a small fort and began farming operations needed to support themselves during the iron-manufacturing attempt.

Charcoal made from the extensive forests of cedar at the ore site at Iron Springs, twenty miles southwest of Parowan, was planned to fuel the blast furnace that was to be erected there. The workforce was to commute from Parowan in organized shifts. Upon the discovery of coal in the Little Muddy Creek (now Coal Creek) nineteen miles south of Parowan, the blast furnace location site was changed to the mouth of Coal Creek, present-day Cedar City. Coal was mined six miles up the canyon and transported by wagon to the furnace located on the banks of the stream at the canyon mouth where the water for power was accessible. It was to be coked at the mine site later. The iron ore was to be transported from Iron Springs to the blast furnace by ox-drawn wagons. Limestone for the process was also abundantly available.

Robert participated in some of the early explorations of the area. In May of 1851, President Smith reported:

“Elisha H. Groves, Elijah Newman, Aaron Farr, Samuel Bringhurst, Burr Frost, Robert Green and Peter Shirts went on an exploring trip for three days. They found coal in Summit canyon. The next day George A. Smith sent Peter Shirts and Elijah Newman in search of salt. The others went to Iron Spring for iron ore. Brother Shirts and Brother Newman brought in several bushels of beautiful salt.”

A small workforce, recruited from Parowan, occupied the site on 11 November 1851. It was called Fort Cedar, Cedar Fort, and finally Cedar City. Once again, farming and survival took precedence over iron manufacturing. Newly arrived European immigrants were carefully screened in Salt Lake City and those with iron-making skills were strongly encouraged to move on to Cedar City to strengthen the settlement.

On 20 Apr 1851, there was an incident with a runaway carriage that was carrying some of the ladies of the settlement. Several were injured, but not severely. President Smith recorded:

……..Brother Green was close by so he took the ladies. We sent back to town for a wagon and we all proceeded to Summit Creek, where we met with Parley P. Pratt, Charl3es C. Rich, and Amasa Lyman and the Saints bound for San Bernardino, California. We held meeting and had an enjoyable time….

After only one or two years, Robert took his family back to South Cottonwood. Here, the settlers were working on a fort to protect against Indian attacks during the Walker War of 1853-54. The fort built at South Cottonwood was on a grand scale, with walls 12 feet high and 6 feet thick at the base enclosing ten acres.

Unfortunate breaking up of the family

Fanny and Robert were divorced on 30 Sept. 1852. A little over 4 months later, Fanny remarried into another polygamous marriage as a second wife of Robert Pierce, a neighbor in South Cottonwood who had helped to settle the area. Mr. Pierce and his first wife Hanna Harvey had 9 children already. Fanny was sealed to Mr. Pierce on Jan. 29, 1853, by Brigham Young in his office. Fanny, being 47 years old, never had any children in this marriage. Incidentally, Harriet Ann Green (daughter of Robert Green and Fanny) was sealed to Thomas Pierce (son of Robert Pierce) 5 years later.

Mission to the Eastern States

On 27 Jun.1854, Robert was called on a mission to the eastern states. After a couple of months to prepare and set affairs in order, a dance party for the missionaries was held in the Social Hall in Salt Lake a few days before they departed. The missionaries departed from Emigration Canyon, organizing there on 4 Sept. 1854. There were 30-40 missionaries and a few ladies in attendance for the journey. John Taylor was mission president and Preston Taylor was captain of the wagon train. Robert took his wife Eliza and the children along as well. Apparently, there was some unfinished business Eliza had to attend to concerning the estate of her late husband Henry Shippen. Lucy Augusta Adams (Cobb), one of Brigham Young’s plural wives, rode with Robert’s family. She was a character, and probably provided some interesting conversation during the journey.

There was some unfinished business Robert had to attend to as well. At the last minute before departing on the mission, Robert finalized the civil divorce between him and Fanny. This was done in order to render unto Caeser what is Caeser’s. In other words, Robert and Fanny’s former union was not only a contract between them and God (solemnized by the Sealing ordinance), but it was as well a contract between them and the state (civil marriage). Finalizing a civil divorce undid their civil union established in New York State in 1826.

While on the way across the plains, Robert took Charley Shippen on a buffalo hunt with J. Taylor and Enoch Tripp. This interesting anecdote was recorded by Enoch Tripp:

“ …… We continued in this way until we reached the Platte river bottoms and the buffalo country, where we had to be more careful of our animals on account of stampedes. Here we would camp at times a little earlier in the day, in order to give some of our boys, who were hunters, a chance to kill buffaloes and antelopes, which roam over these plains by thousands. After living upon fat bacon, buffalo and antelope stake tasted very good. One afternoon as we lay in camp to give the brethren a chance to have some sport in hunting buffaloes, I concluded to try my luck, together with several others, on foot, I took my gun and the day being very hot I had but little clothing on. Under the excitement, owing to the numerous buffaloes, we kept going from point to point until we were farther away from camp than we had intended to go. Bro. J. Taylor, a son of Pres. John Taylor, and Bro. Green and son were in my company. When we started we expected that the teams would remain in camp for the night and after we had wandered out some ten miles, as near as we turn back, as we could get no water until we returned from the sand hills to the river. The sun was very hot and we could make no headway on foot for buffaloes. When part of the way back to the camp, in a half famished condition for the want of water, we beheld to our great surprise our camp moving and going down the river about sundown. I felt then that I should give out and never reach camp. I laid down several times upon the hot sand with my face down, and with my hands pushed away the sand till I could get down to where it was cooler, when I placed my parched lips to the sand and after thus resting and taking fresh courage, I started on my journey again. The captain, however, took precaution, knowing that foot men were out, to send a wagon and horseman out from the camp to bring us in without supposed game, and after we had traveled in the evening for some time and were nearly famished the wagon with the game overtook us. I mounted the wagon with much joy and gladness and then concluded that this would be my last buffalo hunt on foot. We reached the camp by the signal lights about midnight. On our return the brethren in the camp gave a loud shout, saying that all the hunters had returned with their game…..”

Robert went to Michigan to preach with Lemon Brunson. While on this mission, Eliza had another baby. Emmaretta (or Loretta) Green was born in Chester, Indiana 23 Apr. 1855. She died before they returned to Salt Lake in 1857.

The Horse Incident

In 1858 there was an incident involving a horse. Apparently, Robert’s neighbor William Gibson (one of George Washington Gibson’s sons) had been accused of trespassing and stealing timber from land in Big Cottonwood Canyon owned by Williams Camp. Complaints were filed by Camp, William Gibson was summoned, and witnesses Simon Smyth and John Tilby were subpoenaed. The case was heard on 11 Dec 1857, William Gibson never showed up, nor anyone to defend his side. Judge Elias Smith executed the judgment against Gibson and instructed Marshall A. McRae to levy and sell enough property from Gibson to cover the legal costs, which were higher than the amount that Camp was supposed to collect for the damages! Marshall McRae took a roan horse based on the Judge’s execution order of 29 April 1858.

The trouble was the horse did not belong to William Gibson. It belonged to Robert Green. Robert filed a complaint about it on 3 May 1858. William Gibson even showed up for this without a subpoena, probably because he felt bad about having his neighbor dragged into this. William Gibson and Leo B. Jones testified on behalf of Robert Green, and Alonzo Merrell for Williams Camp. Judge Smith decided that “the horse in question was the property of Wm Gibson subsequent to the judgment being rendered against him, and consequently subject to the execution under which it was held.” Robert was ordered to pay $3 legal costs, and this is what he got for his effort to recover his horse. Graciously, Judge Smith charged no fees for himself. The horse was sold for $29.

Church Callings and Service

Robert was ordained a High Priest by Reuben Miller on Jan. 5, 1862. Reuben was an interesting character in the church, having been sent by Brigham Young to debate James J. Strang at a meeting, losing the debate and becoming a Strang convert! Later, Reuben returned to the LDS Church and helped his friend Oliver Cowdery return to the LDS Church as well. He came to Utah in 1849.

There is a record of a meeting that was held in Mendon on Saturday, 6 Jul. 1872. At this meeting, Elder Robert Green “spoke upon the principle of self-government, and the gathering of Israel and bore a faithful testimony to the truth of the work of God.” Speaking outside of his home ward in South Cottonwood, and in the company of another ‘Elder’, it is likely that Robert was fulfilling a calling as a ‘Home Missionary’, a kind of cross-pollinating program instituted at this time to add variety to the preaching and speakers in the local wards. This means that Robert was an active member of the church, trusted by the church leadership, and had adequate means to afford the time to serve in this calling, which usually lasted two or three years, traveling to various nearby Stakes to speak. I have not taken the time to read through the Deseret News to find the announcement of Robert being called as a home missionary.

Robert appears on the earliest membership rolls of the South Cottonwood Ward. On this ledger, it is stated that he was re-baptized on Aug 5, 1877, by J.T. Rawlins. This was probably not the only time that Robert had been re-baptized. Brigham Young set the example and was re-baptized soon after reaching the Salt Lake Valley, as were all in his company. The next group of settlers to arrive was the Ira Eldredge Company which included the Greens. Parley P. Pratt says of this company:

“Having repented of our sins and renewed our covenants, President John Taylor and myself administered the ordinances of baptism, etc., to each other and to our families, according to the example set by the President and pioneers who had done the same on entering the valley.

These solemnities took place with us and most of our families, November 28, 1847″.

The New Testament and the Book of Mormon have numerous examples of re-baptism for various purposes.

Robert spent many years following the Mission to the Eastern States raising his family in South Cottonwood. He and Eliza had a total of 6 children, most of whom went on to raise families of their own. Several of them eventually made their homes in the Uinta Basin area.

Final Resting Place

Robert died on 5 July 1884 and is buried in South Cottonwood, Murray Cemetery, Murray, UT. The record book at the cemetery says that he died of “old age”. A gravestone for ‘Esther Eliza Morrison Shippen Ostrander Green’ is in a nearby plot. Others of Robert’s family are also in this cemetery, such as his son Alvin Greeley Green. and several grandchildren, and ex-wife Fanny Pierce

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