GREENLEAF, EDWARD SPARHAWK, grain dealer, Jacksonville, Ill., was born in Williamsburg, Piscataquis County, Maine, June 5, 1838, a son of Ebenezer Poor and Abigail (Lee) Greenleaf. The Greenleaf family in America was founded in 1635 by Edmund Greenleaf, who came from Birxham, Devonshire, England, and settled in Newbury (now Newburyport), Mass. E. S. Greenleaf's grandfather, Moses Greenleaf, settled in Maine, where his son Ebenezer Poor was born. One of his brothers, Simon Greenleaf, was for years a member of the faculty of Harvard Law School, and was the author of a number of legal text books and an authority on evidence. "Greenleaf on Evidence" is still a standard in American courts. Another brother, Jonathan, was a minister in the Presbyterian Church, and the author of widely-known works on "Evidences of Christianity." The ancestors of the family who came from England were originally French Huguenots.
At the age of nine E. S. Greenleaf lost his mother by death, and for a year following he resided with an aunt. In the summer of 1848 the Rev. William Coons Greenleaf, an uncle by marriage, who had been in the State since 1837, returned to New England on a visit; and when he again located in Illinois he brought with him Edward S. Greenleaf. The boy made his home with his uncle in Chatham and in Springfield until 1851, when the latter was stricken by cholera and died. This left him entirely dependent upon his own resources, and entering a watchmaker'' establishment in Springfield, he devoted three years to that trade. In 1855 he became a clerk in the station of the Wabash Railroad at Naples, Ill., and for fourteen years thereafter was continuously in the employ of this corporation. After spending three years at Naples he was made Ticket Agent at Springfield. From that city he returned to Naples as clerk, but a year later succeeded to the agency at that point, where he remained until March 1, 1863. During the three succeeding years he served as Freight and Passenger Agent for the same company at Jacksonville, and on January 1, 1866, became General Freight and Ticket Agent for the St. Louis, Jacksonville & Chicago Railroad Company (now a part of the Chicago & Alton system). On March 1, 1867, he became Superintendent of the Neelyville coal mines, a post he occupied until the fall of 1870, when he was made Superintendent of the Jacksonville Southeastern Railroad Company, whose line between Jacksonville and Waverly was then in course of construction. He served as Superintendent throughout the period when the road was under construction, and continued in that position until 1889.
In the meantime, he had engaged in the grain business, establishing elevators at various points along the line. In 1880 he formed a partnership with Francis M. Baker, under the style of Greenleaf & Baker, Mr. Baker assuming charge of the office of the firm in Atchison, Kans., and this partnership continued for a period of about twenty years. Since 1889 Mr. Greenleaf has devoted his time exclusively to the grain trade, and now operates six elevators located as follows: three in Morgan County, two in Greene and one in Scott County. He is also identified with various other enterprises. He is also a Director and Vice-President of the Ayers National Bank of Jacksonville; a Director in the First National Bank of White Hall, Ill.; one of the organizers of and a Director in the White Hall Sewer Pipe and Stoneware Company; Vice-President of the White Hall Railroad Company; Treasurer of the Illinois Telephone Company; Vice-President of the New York & St. Louis Mining & Manufacturing Company; and a Director in the Jacksonville Loan & Building Association.
Mr. Greenleaf is a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Elks. An active Republican, he has taken a deep interest in the welfare of his party, particularly in municipal affairs. After having served a term as a member of the Jacksonville City Council, in 1876 he was elected to the Mayoralty and reelected in 1877 and in 1882. During his first two administrations he succeeded in reducing the indebtedness of the city to the extent of more than $60,000.
May 8, 1867, Mr. Greenleaf was united in marriage with Kate Barr Greenleaf, a daughter of Eugene L. Greenleaf, of St. Louis. They are the parents of the following named children: Eugene Lee, of Kingman County, Kans.; Clara May, wife of W. L. Alexander, of Jacksonville; Martha L.; Malcolm Edward; Grace, wife of Dr. William B. Young, of Jacksonville; Moses and Katherine Hodge.