Thursday, June 14, 2012

Moroni M Green History

Moroni M. Green Life History
Taken from “Historical And Biographical Record Of Los Angeles & Vicinity”

            Moroni M. Green.  The history of M.M. Green, a veritable “forty-niner” and for more than three decades an honored citizen of Los Angeles, possesses much interest to the general public and to those acquainted with this sterling pioneer, for it breathes froth the dauntless spirit and hardihood of character, under the most trying circumstances, of frontier life, which has been the secret success as a nation.  To him and to all possessing his strong traits and unswerving integrity of should every right-minded person should do homage; especially should this be true of the younger generation, now entering into the fruits of the labors of there heroic spirits who paved the way to the prosperity and peace which we now enjoy as a people.
            A son of Charles C. Green (typo?), a native of New York, our subject was born in the town of Pike, New York, November 8, 1835.  He removed with his father’s family to Nauvoo, Illinois, when he was six years of age, and in 1843, they located at Montrose, a town on the west bank of the Missisippi river, nearly across from Nauvoo.  Three years later the family located in Ferryville, now know as Omaha, Nebraska, and in 1848 Asa M., the twenty-three year old brother of our subject, died and was buried on the hill west of town. 
On the first day of May 1849, the family, which now consisted of eight members, started on the long and perilous overland journey across the plains.  Small pox was devastating the land and at the place where the Greens crossed the Big Elkhorn River they learned that three or four hundred of the Omaha Indians who had died with the dread plague the previous year were buried, and the Green children picked up innumerable trophies at the Indian burial ground, bears’ teeth, birds’ claws, beads, etc.  As the immigrants continued their journey they at last came to the Platte River, and were two days in crossing that stream, on account of quicksands and deep holes in the bed of the river. 
Among the Blacks Hills, whither their road next led, a part of Sioux Indians overtook them, and one of the braves tried to buy little Catherine Green, offering a pony in exchange.  So determined was he to possess the little maiden for his squaw that he followed the cavalcade for several miles before he abandoned the quest. 
At Fort Laramie, the Greens stayed two or more days, that their faithful oxen might rest, and thence the part proceeded toward Pike’s Peak.  Camping at Devil’s Gate, M.M. Green and some of his boy companions explored the grim, gloomy canyon, and decided that it was rightly named. 
The next incident remember by him occurred on the Sweetwater, when he and one James Smith strayed from the train with the idea of catching some fish. They leisurely tried one pool after another, will little thought of how the afternoon sun was gradually sinking in the west, and suddenly they awoke to the sense of possible danger.  Dusk was closing in upon the lads, and the grewsome howling of wolves  and coyotes became more and more frequent.  Somewhat alarmed, they hurried along the trail, but could see othing of the wagons, and two of the great gray wolves of the plains now confronted them.  The boys had not weapon save a small smooth-bore gun, suitable only for squirrels or rabbits.  Our subject had not lived in the west without learning much of the wisdom of the frontiersman, and when his comrade urged him to shoot one of the beasts he demurred, saying that if the other wolf should thus get a smell of blood their own lives would certainly pay the penalty.  Needless to say, the lads gave the road to the gaunt animals and made a wide detour.  Wolves are cowardly, save when in large numbers, and though they watch the boys closed for a  sign of weakness or wavering upon their part, they did not attack them.  Luckily for the children, they soon found a fresh wagon track, and following it away from the main road they reached a camp, where they were welcomed and cared for through that night.  In the early morning they were found by their fathers, who had been searching for them, and thenceforward they had strict injunctions not to leave the wagons.  One of the causes of their anxiety had been the huge fires burned upon several mountain peaks, and it was feared that the Indians of that region were thus signalling to one another, and that they were on the war path.
That last time that the Greens had to cross the Sweetwater they had another experience never forgotten by them.  It had now reached the first of December, and one evening one of the dreadful sudden blizzards and heavy snow storms of the great northwest swept down upon them.  Within an hour six inches or more of snow had falled, and if it had not been that a thicket of willows near the camp afforded slight protection to their cattle, they must have perished.  The one wagon could not contain the eight members of the Green family, so after stowing away the mother, girls and youngest son, the father said to his elder boys, “We must make afire in the willows and do the best we can through the night.”  The cattle also hovered as close to the bonfires as possible and if it had not been for this fore-thought on the part of the father, who kept up a good fire in spite of the storm, it is doubtful if daylight would have found men or beasts alive.  A coop of chickens attached to the wagon was so filled with snow that several of the occupants were frozen.  The snow was do deep at points on the summit of the Rockies that other wagons and teams had to come to their assistance, but at the length Salt Lake City was reached, late in December.
The father determined to remain there until spring and located about ten miles south of the city named, and eventually he stayed there, buying a small farm on the Cottonwood river and building a house and making other improvements.  He died in Salt Lake City in 1885, at the ripe age of seventy-five years.  His wife, whose maiden name was Emmaliza Ellis, and who likewise was a native of New York State lived to attain her sixty-sixth year.  They were the parents of sixteen children, only four of whom are now living.  A brother of our subject, A.M. Green, continued on his way to California the winter of 1849-50 and when he had made arrangements for his family, who had been left with his father, he returned for them, and was accompanied west by his brother Nathaniel. 
Our subject was very anxious to go, too, but his father objected strongly, and when the youth persisted in talking of California the elder man promised him a regular “horse-whipping” if another ward was said by him on the subject.  The stern and unflinching severity of his generation prevailed, and when one day long afterward, in January 1853, he unfortunately overheard his son talking to the mother about California he carried out his threat, and of course, thereby endeared himself to his son that the latter resolutely determined to lave home at the first opportunity and told his father that he should do so.  In February 1853, Ben Holliday and a Mr. Warner, who were in partnership, were to start from Salt Lake City for California, and hearing that he might go with them as a teamster, Mr. Green made arrangements with them.  He told his mother of his plan and quietly slipped away from the little church just before time of dismissal on a certain Sunday.  The party which he was to join was to camp that night at a point twenty-five miles north of Salt Lake City, and thus he had thirty-five miles to cover that peaceful Sunday afternoon, but he reached the camp about six or seven o’clock.
 The next day the party proceeded towards the Weber river and then, finding that the water was very high, they were compelled to go to the “upper” ford.  Here, too , they foresaw unusual danger and spent two days in raising the wagon boxes and making things secure, ere they tried the ford.  A man named Williams, whose wife and five children were traveling in a small family wagon with a low box, refused to take advantage of Mr. Holliday’s kind offer to let the woman and little ones cross the river in one of his high, strong freight wagons, and when half way across the swift current capsized the Williams wagon and the word went from one to another that six persons were drowning.  Young Green was about one hundred yards from the river, attending to his team.  Without taking time for a second thought he yelled to his information to take charge of the horses, and away he ran, throwing aside his clothing as he ran, and only stopping to pull off his shoes.  In the meantime one Rodney Badger, reputed to be one of the best swimmers in Utah, had leaped into the stream and after swimming about half a mile, had apparently become so thoroughly chilled and confused that reason must have left him, for the spectators saw him suddenly turn and desperately begin fighting with the swift current, as he strove to swim upstream.  In a few seconds he sank and was seen no more until his body was recovered the following spring.  Our subject, who was a fine athlete, ran along the bank for about a mile and a half, through willows and brush, clothed only in his undergarments, a bitter cold sleety rain beating upon him.  At last he caught a glimpse of the perishing ones and heard a heartrending cry—some figures were still clinging to the old wagon box which had lodged against some obstruction near a time island about fifty yards form the shore.  Perhaps a dozen men stood upon the high bank looking on, and they regarded the breathless young man with cold curiosity as, without  a word or question, and with deep contempt in his heart for the cowards, as the thought them, he plunged into the icy current and swam boldly to the rescue of the helpless ones.  Not all heroes are crowned with laurel and awarded medal s of honor, but the heroic struggle which the brave youth made that day to save human lives is worthy of being inscribed in the annuals of his state and country.  He reached the unfortunates, and, after considerable effort, managed to convey them, one by one, to the island.  Every one of them was nearly insensible with fright and cold, and the first thought of Mr. Green was that a fire must be kindled as soon as possible, but, of course, he had no matches, and was himself so stiff and exhausted with the cold and ordeal through which he had passed that he dared not attempt to swim to shore and back again in that condition.  He shouted again and again to the “cowards” on shore, hoping that one of them would muster up the courage to make the trip, while holding a package of matches by his teeth or tied on his head to keep it dry.  No one responded to his entreaties, and then he implored them to wrap a stone and some matches in a cloth and throw it as far as possible.  This was tried, but in vain, as each time the bundle dropped into the flood.  Another hero now appeared on the scene—a humble “red-haired Jim—who came running and at once acted upon our subject’s suggestion , and with the invaluable matches, swam to the island and assisted in making a fire.  The poor children were so nearly frozen by this time that they singed their hair trying to get warm over the blaze.  Only three of them had been saved, for two little had been swept by the current past the men standing on the bank and none of them had dared to risk his life in an attempt to save them. When Mr. Green reached the shore he found that some one had stolen his clothes, but his loss was more than made good to him by “Captain” Hopper, the head of the train.
Floods and various obstacles had so delayed the train that provisions were becoming extremely scarce and peril on that score threatened.  At the head of the Humboldt river mutiny gained strength in the camp and revolvers were used to intimate, and one day seventy five of the men deserted, starting on foot for California, another squad of twenty-five or thirty following their example the next day.  Thus the train was so crippled for men that it was necessary to send to Carson City for others.  Mr. Green accompanied a little party and was supplied with three days’ provisions only.  He had hoped (as did his comrades) to overtake a train, but failing to do so, was entirely without food for three days and nights, though traveling all the time.  When he reached Godby’s train he was so weak and starved that they gave him only a cracker and a little  milk at first.  After remaining with these kind friends in need for a couple of days he toiled on with his comrades, and just before crossing the fifty-five mile stretch of desert before them they filled their four quart canteen with water, and this had to last them until they arrived at Ragtown, on the Carson river, on the further side of the desert.  Starting at about 3 o’clock one afternoon they traveled steadily until four o’clock the next morning, when they were so exhausted that they lay down to rest on the sand.  When they awakened their eyes were rejoiced, for, in the distance they beheld the beautiful river, which meant a renewal of life to them.
The privations and hardships through which young Green had passed had made inroads upon his strength, and the cholera now tried to finish his career.  A kind-hearted woman, whose husband was engaged in freighting provisions over the mountains, nursed the young man and thereby saved his life.  When he had recovered in part her husband offered to furnish a horse or mule and provide all necessarities if Mr. Green would accompany him and aid in driving the pack mules on the trip towards the west.  The proposition was agreed to, and thus the invalid was spared many of the hardships incident to crossing the Sierras on foot.  A portion of his journey to Sacramento was made on foot, as his employer did not go the entire distance, and on the Fourth of July, 1853, he entered the city, where he remained about three weeks.  He them worked on a levee for $75 a month for some four months, after which he was employed at Mocalama Hill, where a reservoir was being constructed.
It was not until August, 1855, that Mr. Green started for San Francisco, where he soon embarked on a schooner bound for San Pedro, paying $25 for his passage.  He was then conveyed by stage to Los Angeles, the fare being $25.  Doubtless he was not highly impressed by the adobe village, for he took only one meal here ere he began making arrangement to leave.  Finding that the Stage fare to San Bernardino was $20, he, with his four companions, decided to walk, and soon after reaching that point he bought fifteen head of horses and pack mules, paying there for $150.  With his friends and Ed Hope, who carried mail from San Bernardino to Salt Lake City, Mr. Green set out for his parent’s home on the old Cottonwood, by way of Bitter Springs, Kingston Springs, Las Vegas, Little Muddy, Mountain Meadows (where the massacre subsequently took place), thence through Iron county, Fillmore, Peyson City, Springville, Provo and Lehigh.  The parents of Mr. Green were delighted to see him again after his long absence, and many other friends welcomed him back again.
August 31, 1856, our subject married Miss Sarah Jane Morris. Their son, A.M. Green of this city, was born in Utah, April 25, 1858.   A son, Charles, died in Carson City, Nevada.  Mary Ellen was born in Brighton, California August 4, 1860.  Alice C., born November 20, 1866, died January 13, 1867, and was buried in Fillmore City.  Emma Jane and Emma L., twins, were born August 25, 1868.  The latter died the same day, but Emma Jane lived until November r, 1878. 
A.M. Green enlisted as a member of the California National Guard, in Eagle Crops, June 9, 1880, was promoted to the office of first sergeant June 4, 1884, and was honored with the commission of captian and adjutant on the staff of the commander of the Seventh Regiment, N.G.C. January 3, 1886.
In 1857, the year after Mr. Green’s marriage, the Mormon troubles and outrages were at their height. The Mountain Meadows Massacre, the martial law proclaimed by Brigham Young, the so-called governor of Utah, and the resistance offered United States troops by the followers of the head of the Mormon Church made life in that section anything but peaceful or enjoyable.  Mr. Green proved himself as brave and loyal a citizen to his country as he had ever been, and indeed risked his life and property by offering his services to the government in the building of Fort and Camp Floyd. 
In April, 1859, he started with his family for California, and reached Brighton, Sacramento County,  in June. For the next four years he engaged in farming and teaming, and carried supplies to Gold Hill, Carson City, Silver City, White Pine and many other mining towns and camps.  August 30, 1863, he took his dear ones and went to Idaho, spending that winter in Salt Creek.  He then bought a load of butter, eggs, bacon and flour and sold his stock in Montana at high prices, bacon and ham bringing $1 pound, eggs 75 cents a dozen, and flour $20 per hundred-weight, but just before it sold for $1 per pound.  Gone from home for six weeks, he made about $1,200 by his trip. 
In July of the same year he bought a lot in Paris City, Idaho, and built a house upon the property, and in 1865 he purchased a toll bridge across Thomas’ fork.  He also owned about three hundred and twenty acres of land situated some seven miles above Montpelier.  Buying and selling beef, butter, and other necessaries to those crossing the plains, he prospered, but his wife was not content to dwell there, he sold out everything in 1866.  Common earthen ware plates and knives and forks brought fifty cents apiece, and $150 was paid for a small cook stove.  On their way westward, the family spent a portion of the winter in Deseret, Utah, and early in the spring resumed their journey to Sacramento.  There Mr. Green rented a farm, and as freighting rates had become so low he decided to buy a threshing machine, and this plan he carried out successfully.
In 1869 the Green family came to Los Angeles, and had but $20 after the expenses of their trip had been met.  They camped near the corner of Sixth and Pearl Streets, and in 1870 Mr. Green took up a tract of government land, some eighty acres, on section 12, township 2 South, Range 14 West. 
In 1876, after six years of residence there, he was put off the property by “Billy” Roland, the Sheriff, but after twenty years of law suits he compromised for twenty acres adjoining town.  He then rented the Cottles ranch, two miles south of the city, on Vermont avenue, and in 1881 bought the place at the administrator’s sale.  He had made of it a beautiful homestead. 
In 1895, he erected a cottage, in which he expects to spend his declining years in the peace which he richly deserves. 
Politically he is a Democrat, and for four years, beginning with 1880, he was sent as a delegate from Santinella precinct to the county convention.            

{by J.M. Guinn, A.M. Sec. Of The Historical Society of Southern California.  Cahpman Publishing Company, Chicago, 1901.  Pg 848-852.  Los Angeles Temple Genealogical Library, 979.473 H2g Accession Number 1142.}

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