Mifflin County Family Files
Greene Family of Mifflin County
The history of this branch of the Greene family begins
in Pennsylvania with Kenzie L. Greene, born in Hampstead, now Coxiestown, Maryland, in 1803, died in Orbisonia, Pennsylvania, in August, 1896. He lost his parents when little
more than an infant, and was left to the guardianship of William Lovell,
who, when the lad was about six years of age, located in Huntingdon
county, Pennsylvania. Mr. Lovell and his wife Margaret were kind and
just to their ward, giving him the advantages of such schools as the
neighborhood afforded at that early day. He grew to manhood on the
farm, but later learned surveying, becoming a well known expert in his
profession, prospered and became the owner of considerable property
in Huntingdon county, including a farm of two hundred acres in Clay
When he first came to that township he settled in Trough
Creek Valley, later moved to Three Springs, where he remained until
ten years prior to his death, when he moved to Orbisonia, making his
home with his daughter, Melissa, widow of Thomas C. Ashman. He
was a man of more than ordinary mental ability, an extensive reader,
and possessed of unusual practical common sense and judgment. He
was left a widower the last fifteen years of his life, and lived practically
retired during that period. He was a Republican in politics, well known
in the county, and held many public offices of trust, including that of
commissioner of Huntingdon county. He married Diana Hudson, of
English descent, daughter of William H. and Linda (Doyle) Hudson.
William H. Hudson was a large landowner, part of which he cleared
and improved, and on which he erected a flouring and grist mill. He
died aged seventy years, leaving three children: Nancy, married Moses
Greenland, a wealthy resident of Huntingdon county; George, died at
Three Springs, Pennsylvania, a farmer and hotelkeeper; Diana, of
previous mention, wife of Kenzie L. Greene. Mrs. Greene died February 28, 1881, the mother of nine children:
1. Melissa, married Thomas
C. Ashman, whom she survived, a resident of Orbisonia until her death
2. Amon, died in childhood.
3. Carroll, died in childhood.
William H., died in childhood.
5. Margaret, married Elijah C. Houck
and died in Cairo, Illinois, in 1869.
6. Priscilla, married Rev. David
W. Hunter, a Baptist minister, whom she survives, a resident of Lewistown, with her daughter Anna, wife of Albert B. Spanogle. She also
had two sons, Edwin and Dr. John P. Hunter, the latter now deceased.
7. Calvin, of whom further.
8. Ruth Ann, married Rev. James T.
Bradford, and resides at Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.
9. Dr. B. Franklin, a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, an eminent
physician, who died at Three Springs, Pennsylvania, June 16, 1874, leaving a son, Franklin H. Greene.
(10) Calvin, son of Kenzie L. and Diana (Hudson) Greene, was
born at Three Springs, Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, February 19,
1845, and now, after an active, useful life of successful effort, is living
practically retired at Lewistown, Pennsvlvania. He obtained a good
elementary education in the public schools at Three Springs, supplemented
by a three years' course in the higher branches at Shirleysburg Academy,
under Professor J. B. Kidder, and a business course at Iron City Commercial College at Pittsburgh, whence he was graduated in 1865. He
then taught two terms in Shirleysburg public school and then embarked
on a business career, with little capital except a good education, health,
high ideals, an excellent reputation for manly uprightness, and a stout
He married at the age of twenty-four, and about a year later entered
the employ of Leas & McVitty, as bookkeeper at the Saltillo Tannery,
Saltillo, Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, (the junior partner, Mr.
McVitty, was his father-in-law). Here he acquired his first knowledge
of the tanning business, in which he later became so conspicuous a
figure. He grasped every detail of the manufacture of leather, from
the green hide to the finished product, and in 1873 was made manager
of the Saltillo Tannery, and a partner in the firm, which continued business for the next twenty years as Leas, McVitty & Sons. The personnel
of the new firm included the original partners of the old firm, William
B. Leas and Samuel McVitty, with their sons, David P. Leas and
Thomas Edward McVitty, and Calvin Greene. The only change was
caused by the death of William B. Leas, whose interest ceased in 1884.
Mr. Greene was a potent factor in the success of the firm and besides
his interest in the prosperous Saltillo Tannery, he acquired in 1887 an
interest in the North American Tannery at Lewistown, owned by the
firm, Leas, McVitty & Greene. Of this plant Mr. Greene had general
supervision, visiting it every two weeks until the dissolution of the firm
by mutual consent in 1893. The same firm obtained a charter from the
state of Virginia for the Salem Tanning Company, capital stock two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and from 1890 to 1893 operated a
tannery, which they built at Salem, Roanoke county, Virginia. Of this
company Mr. Greene was a director until 1893, when he sold his interest.
He now had his capital unemployed, and desiring to concentrate it, purchased in 1893 the entire stock of the Saltillo Tannery, with its real
estate, plant, and all pertaining thereto, and at once reorganized it as
Calvin Greene & Son, taking in his son, Edward M. Greene, as partner.
In 1895 he purchased the plant of the North American Tannery Company at Lewistown and, leaving his son as manager of Saltillo plant,
he moved his residence to Lewistown, and gave his attention to the tannery there. This plant, which he had formerly owned as a partner of
Leas, McVitty & Greene, was substantially erected, the building of
brick, with a good equipment for the manufacture of heavy sole leather,
and during his management produced annually 1,225,000 pounds of
chestnut and oak bark tanned sole leather. The capacity of Saltillo
plant being seven hundred and eighty-two thousand pounds of the same
quality and style of leather. In 1902 Mr. Greene disposed of the North
American Tannery by sale to George H. Maxwell, of Titusville, Pennsylvania. The Saltillo Tannery was continued in operation until 1911,
when the raw stock on hand was tanned and the plant closed, although
still owned by Calvin Greene. Although practically retired from the
tanning business, and entirely so from active management, he yet retains an interest in the Mount Union Tanning & Extract Company, at
Mount Union, Pennsylvania. The company employs about one hundred
men and operates two distinct plants, one tanning hides imported from
South America, Mexico, Africa and China, producing 3,500,000 pounds
of leather annually from seventy-five thousand hides; the other plant
manufacturing a tanning extract from chestnut wood and bark, also
from the marabolams nut, valonia and mangrove bark. This plant produces annually fifteen thousand barrels of tanning extracts, which are
shipped to all leather tanning centers of the United States and Canada.
He is also a director in the Mann Edge Tool Company, an incorporated company with a capital of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, operating a plant at Lewistown and another at Mill Hall, Pennsylvania. In 1893 Mr. Greene assisted in organizing the Union National
Bank at Huntingdon and served as a director until prior to his removal
to Lewistown. when he resigned, but still retains his interest as a stockholder.
In 1906 Mr. Greene and his son Edward, with others, organized
the Lewistown Trust Company, of which he was elected the first president. He continued in this responsible position until 1911, when he
resigned, but retains a large stockholder's interest. He has a lively
interest in the prosperity of his adopted town, of which he has been a
valued citizen for over seventeen years (1913), and an active member of its board of trade, serving on the executive committee. Always
devoted to the cause of education, he served for many years as trustee
of Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, but in 1909 resigned,
not through lack of interest, but feeling that younger shoulders should
bear the burden. Mr. Greene's only business interests, outside his own
state, have been in Texas, a state in which he has great faith. In 1904
he was one of the organizers, subsequently director and treasurer, of the
Belton & Temple Traction Company, operating in Bell county, Texas,
between the towns of Belton and Temple. This company, a successful
one, and bonded for $2,000,000, was operated by the original company
until 1911, when they sold to another company. Another Texas enterprise in which both Mr. and Mrs. Greene are deeply interested, and of
which he is president and treasurer, is the Pennsylvania Land and Irrigation Company, with offices in Lewistown. This company owns 1,736
acres in Hidalgo county, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, which is to
be divided into small tracts and sold as fruit and produce farms.
In political faith Mr. Greene is a Republican, holding many offices
when residing in Saltillo, and serving three years as councilman in
Lewistown. In religious belief he is a Baptist, is trustee and a deacon
of the Lewistown congregation, also is one of the board of directors of
the Pennsylvania State Baptist Missionary Society. Both his wife and
family are communicants of the Baptist church.
Calvin Greene married, December 24, 1869, Amanda J., daughter of
Samuel and Esther (McKinstry) McVitty, and maternal granddaughter
of Rodney and Margaret (McCammon) McKinstry, he was born in
county Antrim, Ireland. Children of Rodney McKinstry: John, Samuel,
Alexander, Elliott, James and Esther. Samuel McVitty, a wealthy tanner of Saltillo (as described), died March 14, 1891, aged seventy-six
years. His wife, Esther, survived him until December 29, 1893. Children: Emeline, deceased, married Richard W. Hudson; Thomas Edward, married Phoebe Quimby; Mary Ellen, drowned at the age of
eighteen months; John, died in childhood; Amanda J., of previous mention ; Alice Belle, deceased, married Dr. W. S. Madden.
Children of Calvin and Amanda J. Greene:
1. Edward McVitty,
educated at Bucknell University, junior member of Calvin Greene
& Son, now president and manager of the Mount Union Tanning &
Extract Company, previously described, of Mount Union. Pennsylvania.
He married Carrie Wittemeyer, of Middleburg, Pennsylvania, and has
sons, Edward and Waldo.
2. Nora May, graduate of Bucknell Institute, second vice-president of the Lewistown Hospital Association and
an active worker for church and charity. She resides with her parents.
Ida Gertrude, graduate of Bucknell Institute, married G. K. Watson,
and resides in Mercedes, Hidalgo county, Texas, in the Valley of the
4. Esther McKinstry, educated at Bucknell Institute, married Hugh Hamilton and resides in Hope, Arkansas; children: Hugh,
John and Raymond.
5. Raymond, graduate of Bucknell University,
class of 1902; member of Phi Kappa Psi, and of lodge, chapter and commandery of the Masonic order. He is now secretary and treasurer of
the Mount Union Tanning & Extract Company.
6. Mary, born July 17,
1883, died August 1, 1883.
The family residence of the Greenes is on Third street, Lewistown,
near the Presbyterian church, and is a beautiful brick mansion erected
by Calvin Greene in 1900. This record of a busy life would be incomplete, did it fail to note the high esteem in which Mr. Greene is held in
his community. His long life has been spent in the full blaze of publicity, in two communities, and from the almost penniless young man of
1870, he has risen through honorable effort to affluence and a high position in the business world. His name is a synonym for uprightness and
his character has proved, in its maturity, the promise of his youth. His
friends are legion, and in this, the autumn of his life, should he care to
cast a retrospective glance over the past half century of his career, the
review can give him naught but satisfaction. His life has been a well-spent one and the success he has attained is fully deserved.
Portions of the above were taken from "The History of the Juniata Valley and Its People," J. Jordan, 1913
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