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GREENE, George

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George Greene
GREENE, George. (Staffordshire, England, Apr. 15, 1817--Cedar Rapids, IA, June 23, 1880). In the spring of 1838, Greene moved to the Territory of Iowa. In Davenport, Iowa he was employed by David J. Owen, who was making a geological survey of the territory. He spent six months surveying, which helped him gain a better knowledge of the lands. After this, he moved to Ivanhoe, Iowa and taught school while continuing his law studies. In 1840, he was admitted to the bar in Iowa City, Iowa. He moved to Marion, Iowa, and began practicing law. That year, he was chosen to represent Cedar, Jones, and Linn counties in the Council of the Third Legislative Assembly as a Democrat. He was re-elected the following year to the Fourth Legislative Assembly.

In 1845, he moved to Dubuque, Iowa, and purchased the interest of Andrew KEESECKER in the MINERS' EXPRESS (THE). He served as the paper's editor for about three years. (1) In Dubuque he began practicing law again, this time in partnership with J. J. Dyer. He was a member of the first Episcopal Church in Dubuque and was a member of the Vestry. (2)

Greene's law practice was so successful that he was appointed to be a Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court in 1847, to fill the vacancy left by Justice Thomas Stokeley Wilson. He served from November 1, 1847 to January 9, 1855. He was also the reporter of the Supreme Court, so he compiled the decisions of the court in the four-volume G. Greene Reports.

In 1849, Greene became one of the founders of Cedar Rapids, Iowa by surveying and laying out the site of the town. He began living in Cedar Rapids in 1851. He also contributed to the financial development of the city. During the Panic of 1857 he was connected with the management of nine banks in the city.

In 1859, Greene formed a law partnership with Cyrus Bently in Chicago, Illinois. He practiced law and lived there for five years. In the winter of 1864 he moved to McGregor, Iowa and helped his brothers build the McGregor Western Railroad. During this time, and several years later, he helped build the Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis Railroad. He returned to Cedar Rapids after this, and began practicing law with Judge Dudley and his son-in-law A. S. Belt. The firm represented the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. Greene continued to be involved with railroads, and became president of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Minnesota Railroad, which he took an active part in building. When the railroad was finished, it operated under the name Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northwestern Railroad. He constructed several smaller railroads in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Kansas.

In addition to being a successful lawyer and business man, Greene founded the Grace Episcopal Church, donated the grounds for the church and rectory, and also served as the warden of it. He served as president of the board of trustees of Coe Collegiate Institute, which was later renamed Coe College. In 1872, he changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.



1. "Telegraph-Herald Published 1851," Telegraph-Herald, August 24, 1930, p 11

2. Heutis, Bertha Lincoln, "Court House Scene of First Episcopal Church Service in Dubuque, Telegraph-Herald, May 24, 1933, p. 19