Putnam County


Joseph GREENLEE is practically a retired farmer, living in a very desirable home on a farm of fifty-five acres adjoining the village limits of Henry, Illinois. While simply one of the people, a man who has been content to go along the even tenor of his way, neither desiring or accepting official position, he is yet well-known throughout Marshall and Putnam counties, having a reputation for honesty and uprightness that is indeed commendable. He is a native of Washington county, Pennsylvania, born February 1, 1834, and there grew to manhood on a farm. His parents, Elisha and Eunice (WEST) GREENLEE, were also natives of that county, while his grandfather GREENLEE was born in Scotland and emigrated to this country about the beginning of the present century.

Our subject remained at home with his parents, assisting in the farm work, and as the opportunity was afforded him attended the public schools, receiving therein a fair English education. Being of an enterprising spirit, and believing that in Illinois he would stand a much better chance for future advancement, he determined to follow the advice of the lamented Horace Greeley and come west. Accordingly, in 1855, shortly after attaining his majority, he came to Marshall county, and purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Saratoga township, for which he paid ten dollars per acre. With commendable energy, he at once commenced the improvement of the place, and there made his home for ten years. During that time he gave special attention to grain raising, as wheat and corn were almost invariably a sure crop and brought remunerative prices.

For seven years after Mr. GREENLEE came to Illinois, he lived a lonely bachelor’s life, when realizing that it was not good for man to be alone, he took to himself a wife in the person of Miss Caroline A. LYTLE, who was also a native of Washington county, Pennsylvania, but who had come to Illinois with her parents when a mere child of eleven years. Her father, Samuel LYTLE, was a native of Pennsylvania, which her mother, Elizabeth (ASTON) LYTLE, was also born in that state. They were there married and there resided until coming to Illinois. They first located in Peoria county, where Mr. LYTLE worked at his trade of blacksmith. In 1856 they moved to Saratoga township, Marshall county, where he carried on farming in connection with his trade. He died there some years ago. His widow survived him, dying in March, 1895, at Spencer, Iowa. Of their family two children are living, Mrs. GREENLEE and Collin W. LYTLE, who resides upon the old homestead in Saratoga township. To Mr. and Mrs. GRENLEE one child was born, Charles, who married Elizabeth DUKE, a sister of the Duke bothers, of Henry. They have one child, Carrie May, and reside upon the Greenlee farm in Saratoga township.

Some three years after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. GREENLEE moved from the farm on section 21, which they sold, to one on section 14, in the same township. To his original purchase of one hundred and six acres, he later added one hundred and sixty acres adjoining on section 13, giving him a fine farm of two hundred and sixty-six acres. The farm was fairly well improved when he purchased, but he made more extensive improvements, including a large and fine barn. On this farm he continued to live, engaged in mixed farming until 1882, when he purchased the fifty-five acre tract adjoining Henry, to which the family moved, and where they have since continued to reside.

Mr. GREENLEE attained his majority about the time the republican party sprang into existence. Being by nature a liberty loving man and conscientiously opposed to the further extension of slavery, which then cursed this fair country, he naturally allied himself to that party, and has ever since voted its ticket in all general elections. His interest in political affairs was never such as to make him aspire to any office in the gift of the people, but he has shown his faith in the principles of the party by attending its conventions and voting its ticket. While not a member of any church, he endeavors to live in such a manner as to bring no reproach upon his name and to live peaceably with all men.

Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois  published in 1896, page 283.

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