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Biography - Eugene Greenleaf

EUGENE L. GREENLEAF. The gentleman whose name we place at the commencement of this sketch is the eldest of seven children born to Edward S. and Catherine P. Greenleaf. His mother bears the distinction of never having changed her name, she being a member of a family bearing the same name as her husband, although in no way connected. Edward S. Greenleaf was a native of the State of Maine, his birth occurring in October, 1837. When eight years old, his mother died, and his father sought to forget this bereavement in the Western country, which at that time was so fraught with adventures and achievements. The grandparents of Edward S. Greenleaf represented old Southern families, both on the father's and mother's side, and the lineage of the family can be traced back nearly a century, at which time the ancestors were prominent people in St. Louis, Mo., and New Orleans, La.

Edward S. Greenleaf became interested in the railroad business very early in life, and worked his way from the bottom round of the ladder until lie became Superintendent of the Jacksonville & Southeastern Railroad, making his headquarters at Jacksonville. He filled this position with more than ordinary ability for a term of fifteen years, and enjoyed the reputation of being one of the best-posted men the company had at their command. In 1889, Mr. Greenleaf resigned his position with the railroad company, and started in the grain business at Jacksonville. It is given to but few men to serve a master for a short lifetime, and then embark on an entirely new enterprise, feeling responsible to no one but themselves, and make a success in the new field. He of whom we are writing was blessed with more than ordinary ability for railroad work, and carried the same amount of ability into the field of merchandise, thus making a success of his undertaking. In a very short time after commencing as a merchant, Mr. Greenleaf, Sr., was recognized as one of the most prosperous business men in the place where he had been so popular and had become so well known as Superintendent of a railroad.

So much of the character of an individual is foreshadowed in his ancestors, that the old trite saying, "Like father like son," is often very applicable. Eugene Greenleaf, with whose name we commenced this biography, inherited from his father many of the traits that made his life a success. He received his education at Jacksonville, this State, and after concluding that he had all the knowledge necessary to help him toward success in the business world, he turned his attention to railroading. When only nineteen years old our subject received the appointment of Station Agent at Reno. The labors incumbent upon this position were not sufficient to keep him occupied, and he soon became interested in the grain business, which he managed in connection with his railroad duties, and succeeded in establishing himself as a business man. Industry and energy ever seek larger fields of employment, and our subject soon learned that one possessed of his executive ability could add other enterprises to those already undertaken. With this end in view, he started as a dealer in railroad ties, and became known throughout this portion of the State as an extensive dealer. He is considered one of the best business men in this community. His knowledge of affairs is extensive, and his opinions would do credit to one who had multiplied his years.

Mr. Greenleaf is a stanch supporter of the Republican party, but has always been too busy with his business matters to give much attention to politics. Too much praise cannot be accorded him for the way in which he has built up his own business, and he has the good wishes of all who know him that he may reach the goal of his desires and enjoy the position which his talents and endowments have so eminently fitted him to fill.

The surviving members of the family of our subject's father are his sisters, Mrs. Alexander, wife of William Alexander, a grain merchant of Jacksonville; and Martha E., Grace, Catherine, Edward M. and Moses, who are all receiving their education at Jacksonville.

Extracted 04 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 180-181.

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