Jacob Ross Green

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Jacob Ross Green

Birthplace: South Carolina, United States
Death: January 25, 1875 (60-68)
Calhoun County, Alabama, United States
Place of Burial: Alexandria (Mt. Zion Cemetery), Calhoun, Alabama, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Jacob Green and Frances Greene
Husband of Elizabeth Journey Green
Father of Samuel LaFayette Green, Sr.
Brother of William Green; Jane H. Green; Joseph Nathaniel Green; Mary Cannon; Mary Ann Bryant and 25 others

Occupation: Cotton Plantation Owner
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Jacob Ross Green

Alexandria Valley Has Long History in Growth Of Its People and Farms

By Gertrude Tyson

When the early settlers of Alexandria Valley came to this section at the beginning of the 1800's, bringing with them their Negroes, livestock, and such farm equipment as they had, it was the start of a gigantic agricultural enterprise which came to be known as "the cotton kingdom."

Building their homes of crude materials, the pioneers set out to clear as much land as possible, and as quickly as possible, with the idea of making money through the sale of the only crop at that time considered to be a "ash crop" --- old King Cotton.

The fertile land that was left in the path of the newly cleared forests proved to be a boon to the production of this all-important crop, and soon the exporting was begun. Barges were built on the Tallasahathee Creek and when the water was sufficiently high, the cotton was loaded and floated down the Coosa River, by way of Hart's Ferry at Ohathee.

Wetumpka Was Supply Point

Wetuppka was the nearest supply point at the time, and when equipment of any kind, or food and medicine, was needed, it was necessary to make the long trek by wagon. The average rate by such mode was 16-17 miles a day, and at least two weeks had to be allowed for the round trip. With the men and stock thus employed, the farm progress was naturally retarded until their return.

But the demand for cotton was constantly increasing, and the rich valley soil produced more than had been anticipated. The growing of cotton was ideally suited to slaver, forming a perfect balance between labor and production.

Enough corn, wheat, and other grains were grown to supply the needs., and even the amount required considerable acreage for 20 to 30 head of cattle were needed to supply the large families of the plantation owners and those of the farm hands. But growing such crops for market was unheard of in that day, for this section.

As the return from the vast cotton shipments began to come in, landlords built new and larger homes for their families, adding to the grandeur of their newly acquired status in life. Outstanding among those early settlers were James Crook and Ross Green, who built the first "mansions" in the Valley.

They were progressive businessmen and public leaders who became prominent citizens of an area that was to become famous throughout the state for its contribution to agriculture, and the society in general.

"Unit" of Relatives

Families began to come into the Valley so rapidly, once the "trail had been blazed," that by the early 1830s, the area was pretty well established. Among others connected with the beginning of Alexandria Valley were the Woodruffs, Drapers, Kirbys, McGehees, Gladdens, MacCauleys and Hamptons, with descendants of many of them intermarrying until at one time the entire north end of the county seemed to be a "unit" of relatives.

Every family had its own gin, blacksmith shop, spinning wheel, and weaving loom, and many of them had a tannery on the place. All common cloth was woven at home, and the landlord's wife had everything but a life of leisure. It was her responsibility to maintain wearing apparel for her own family, plus that of all the helpers on the place.

Meal planning, mending, sewing and supervising some manner of "education" were all in a day's routine. The first public school in Alexandria was not built until 1880. The "woman of the house" also administered to the medical needs of all the inhabitants of the plantation.

Acquiring additional land in those early days meant little more than clearing new ground and the usual practice was to add approximately 10 to 20 per cent of new ground each year. But that amount of land was being worn out at the same time, by "cottoning it to death," so the farmer gained nothing in the long run.

Blizzard Killed Crop

Many of the mules needed to carry on the cultivation of the huge tracts of land were grown on the farms, but it was not an uncommon thing to see droves of 50 to 100 mules being driven into the Valley from Kentucky and Tennessee. Seed also had to be brought in from other sections. An account is given of a terrific blizzard one year when a heavy snow in May killed all the wheat "in the boots," and a special trip to Tennessee had to be made, which mean the loss of two years' crop, beause of the time involved in making such a trip.

As the valley grew, some wheat was sold to other sections. The two largest grist mills. Phillips and the one at Morrisville, were kept so busy that often the men would have to encamp near them for two and three days, awaiting their turn at the mill.

The outstanding agricultural project that inerests present day farmers is the attempt of James Crook to get the dairy business established in the valley. In 1870, Captain Crook imported a herd of purebred Jersey cattle into the county, and also trained an Irish dairyman, Mike Donnelly, to supervise the are of the herd.

He maintained the pure strain of the herd for years and sold the bull calves for $100 each. If he could not get his price, he gave the calves to friends, for "political purposes," it is said, with the understanding that they would carry on the same stock in their own herds.

But cotton still was the only thing that brought cash returns; butter and milk could not be shipped because of spoilage, and everyone had his own milk cows, so that the attempt to establish dairying soon failed.

Another attempt at livestock production was made when Dudley Bush, son of a pioneer, tried to raise sheep on a large scale. He built dipping vats and provided other necessary arrangements, including the planting of about 60 acres of red clover. But the lack of transportation facilities again crippled this effort and others frowned on the idea of livestock as a means of procuring a livelihood.

A few of the landowners conceived the idea of obtaining fertilizer burning lime rock and applying it to the fields. There was a huge limestone ledge near Cane Creek which provided an ample supply for these experiments.

Then, conversely, the massive piles of cottonseed, that were the inevitable results of the thousands of acres of cotton, were destroyed or left in "mountains" at some-out-of-the-way place. The numerous water mills not only provided power, but the downstream also was a means of disposing of the excess cotton seed. As late as 1900, cotton seed were sold for 10 cents a bushel, while less valuable fertilizer was being bough by cotton-producing farmers.

After the Was Between the States, when the white tenant farmers began to replace the Negroes, the farms already "bled" by over-production of cotton, were further ruined by lack of experience and poor judgment in planting. As a result gullies and scrubby growth began to appear. A resident of Calhoun County today recalls having seen the same piece of land cleared and replanted three times during the past 75 years.

Valley is Improving

During the last quarter-century, Alexandria Valley has begun to show considerable improvement of the soil. Worn out land is being planted to valuable cover crops, such as crimson and burr clover, sericea lespedeza, kudzu, alfalfa, and many others. New dairy barns have gone up and more acreage is being planted to truck crops. Descendants of the first families and others who have moved into the area are developing the dairy industry in a way that the old-timers would have believed impossible.

With the modern methods of transportation, and the strategic location of Calhoun County to the large markets, to say nothing of the tremendous local demands, the future is brighter than ever before for agriculture in this section of Alabama. No other county in the nation can boast of as many advantage in climate, transporation, and other factors, as Calhoun County.

The trends in farming now and those of the early days might be compared to a huge wheel that moves slowly, but surely, along the country road. Eventually, it comes to a hub and mire, and down it goes, over and over, until eventually it strikes he deep, clear pool and comes out fresh and clean, and bright than before, and on the firm road it moves steadily a-l-o-n-g.

Proprietors of Greenwood

A unique feature of Greenwood is its continuous succession of ownership by the heirs of the original builder. In her stately walls are stored the anguish of death wakes and the joy of newborn cries as one generation follows another within the familiar surroundings. The faltering steps of the old on the well-tread floor give way to the lively skips of the young when the clan gathers for reunions, homecomings and weddings that continue the unbroken chain of proprietorship of the homeplace. Jacob Ross Green undoubtedly envisioned this when he built his home for posterity over 140 years ago.

Jacob Ross Green was born about 1810 in South Carolina, a son of Jacob and Fannie Acre Green, and moved with his family to St. Clair County, Alabama about 1820. The elder Jacob Green patented vast acres of land in the area and later operated a steamship on the Coosa River that transported cotton to Wetumpka. Green’s Ferry was chartered by an act of legislature to transmit mail across the Coosa River with Jacob Green as the bonded ferryman. The place became known as Greensport.

On 3 February 1891, Jacob Ross Green married Elizabeth Boyd, daughter of Judge Samuel Boyd, and soon began acquiring land in the newly established county of Benton which bordered St. Clair County on the east and comprised the ancient lands of the Creek Indians.

Under the Treaty of Cusetta in 1832, the United States government acquired the entire Creek holdings which included lands in north east Alabama, and the ancient inhabitants were removed to their designated home in the west. Under petition, land patents were issued to the white settlers who poured into the area.

The early deeds of Benton County, later renamed Calhoun County, were destroyed during the War Between the States and only those recorded after that time are now found in the county courthouse. However, in the historical manuscripts collection of the Alabama Room, Anniston-Calhoun County Library, a hand-written copy of a deed abstract is found in the Bessie Coleman Robinson Collection which reveals that on 25 April 1842, O.E. Burt sold to Jacob Ross Green 150 acres in the northwest quarter of Section 35, Township 14, Range 7 of Benton County, Alabama and recorded on page 300 of Book G 10 May 1842. That deed book no longer exists but the country tract books shows that Burt acquired the land in November 1840.

Jacob Ross Green bought and patented many acres of land in what is now called the Alexandria Valley in Calhoun County, Alabama, but it was on the trace he bought from E.O. Burt that he built his home known as Greenwood.

Jacob Ross Green was a successful farmer of some wealth. The 1844 tax assessment record of Benton County, Alabama shows he owned eleven slaves and land valued at $5200. In the 1850 census, his property is valued at $10,000, which indicated that at least the original portion of Greenwood was completed by 1850. The census also names five of his children, one of whom was Samuel L. Green, the next owner of Greenwood.

A deed of gift dated November 1865 from Jacob Ross Green to his son and heir Samuel L. Green is recorded in Deed Book A pages 83 and 84 of Calhoun County, Alabama. Four tracts of land laying in the Alexandria valley is conveyed including 38 acres lying in the northwest quarter of Section 35 Township 14 Range 7 whereon Greenwood is situated.

Samuel LaFayette Green was born 15 November 1840 and lived in Greenwood until hs death in March 1913. He served in Company D 10th Alabama Infantry during the War Between the States, and married Nancy Elizabeth Draper on 18 February 1862. They raised 8 children in Greenwood.

On 15 January 1913, Samuel L. Green (Sr.) wrote his will bequeathing his property to all his children equally, with one share to be divided between the two children of his deceased daughter Carrie. He further directed that all his just debts and funeral expenses be paid out of the estate by his executor, son S. L. Green, Jr.

It seems there were some liens on the property and in order to settle the debts and ensure that the homeplace remain in the family, 40 acres “known as the S.L. Green homestead and occupied by the said S. L. Green, Sr. at the time of his death” was deeded by the executor, and signed by all the heirs, to R.L. Meharg in May of 1914. Meharg was the husband of Nannie Lou Green Meharg, daughter of S.L. Green, Sr. That same month, Meharg and his wife deeded 38 of the 40 acres back to S.L. Green, Jr. for one dollar “and other considerations.”

On March 16, S.L. Green, Jr. sold to Norris Woodruff: “That certain tract of land located in the Town of Alexandria Calhoun County, Alabama known as the S.L. Green homestead, consisting of 38 acres more or less, located in the Northwest Quarter of Section 35 Township 14 Range 7 East, it being the land and premises occupied by the said S.L. Green (Sr.) at the time of his death…”

Norris Woodruff married Caroline Elizabeth “Carrie” Green on 21 November 1892. She was born 31 May 1870, died 24 February 1898, and was the “deceased daughter Carrie” mentioned in the will of S.L. Green, Sr. They had two children, Marie born in November 1893, and Wallace Green Woodruff born in September of 1895. It was approximately 18 years after the death of his wife and three years after the death of her father, that Norris Woodruff bought Greenwood from S.L. Green, Jr., brother of Carrie and executor of their father’s estate.

Norris Woodruff was born in October of 1868 and was a son of Seaborn and Sally P. Woodruff. He was from a prominent Spartanburg County, South Carolina family for which the town of Woodruff is named. He was a merchant, cotton ginner and farmer who bought and sold vast acres of land in Alexandria Valley. Norris Woodruff married his second wife, Pattie Vaughn of Columbia, Tennessee and had two more sons, Vaughn and Mercer. He died a widower in 1939.

On 11 August 1922, Wallace Green Woodruff, son of Norris Woodruff, married Ruth Miers of Birmingham, daughter of John Henry Miers. Soon after the death of his father, Wallace Green Woodruff bought Greenwood from his brothers and sister. N. Vaughan Woodruff and his wife Velma, J. Mercer Woodruff and his wife Josephine, and Marie Woodruff Hixon and husband J.F. sold to Wallace Green Woodruff on 6 November 1939:

“That certain tract of land…known as the S.L. Green homestead consisting of 38 acres…northwest one-fourth of Section 35 Township 14 Range 7 East it being the land and premises occupied by the said S.L. Green (SR.) at the time of his death…”

Wallace Green and Ruth Woodruff had five children and for nearly 23 years lived at Greenwood. At his death in 1963, Wallace Green Woodruff’s will left all his property to his wife. On 13 March 1984, Ruth Woodruff, widow, deeded to her son, Wallace Green Woodruff, Jr. and his wife Virginia the “38 acres…known as the S.L. Green homestead…” In item 3 of her will dated 20 December 1863, recorded 2 May 1966, Ruth Meirs Woodruff again designated that her son Wallace G. Green, Jr. was to receive the homeplace as part of his inheritance.

Wallace G. Woodruff, Jr. married Virginia Parks of Sylacauga, Alabama, daughter of Bowden and Irene Parks in December of 1948. They have five children who represent the sixth generation of lineal descent of the builder of Greenwood. They are Nan Elizabeth, Wallace Green Woodruff III, Angela Marie, George Parks and Samuel Bowden Woodruff. Though they are now grown and live away from the, the old house reverberates with happiness when they all return.

Not stately home is complete without her ghost and the reputed specter of Greenwood is a long dead nanny named Miss Pokey. Though she was never a proprietor of the place, she has been a formidable resident of the household for many years. But whether the unexplained noises can be attributed to Miss Pokey or merely the sighing of the structure under its years, Greenwood continues to shelter and embrace the proud family who are inherently aware of her splendid past.

Dorothy Bishop (signature)


Benton County, Alabama Tract Book Page 104

Calhoun County Courthouse

Bessie Coleman Robinson Collection

Alabama Room, Anniston-Calhoun County Public Library

History of St. Clair County, Alabama

Mattie Lou Teague Crow: 1973

Marriage of Jacob Ross Green and Elizabeth Boyd

St. Clair County, Alabama Book 1 Page 62

1844 Tax Assessment Record – Benton County, Alabama

Marriage of S. L. Green and Nancy Draper

Calhoun County, Alabama Book II Page 153

Federal Census Records of Benton and Calhoun County, Alabama


Deed Book A Pages 83 and 84 Jacob Ross Green to Samuel L. Green

16 November 1865 Calhoun County, Alabama

Will of S.L. Green Book A Pages 558-560 dated 15 January 1913

Recorded 16 April 1913 Calhoun County, Alabama

Deed Book 175 Page 88 S.L. Green Jr. to R.L. Meharg 13 July 1914

Calhoun County, Alabama

Deed Book 175 Pages 91 and 92 R. L. Meharg and his wife Nannie Lou to

S. L. Green Jr. dated 2 March 1916 recorded 25 July 1929 Calhoun County Alabama

Marriage of Norris Woodruff and Caroline Elizebeth Green Book D, Page 341 Calhoun County, Alabama

Deed Book 413 Page 251 Woodruff etal to Wallace Green Woodruff

Dated 6 November 1939 recorded 8 December 1939 Calhoun County, Alabama

Deed Book 1161 Page 141 Ruth Woodruff, widow, to Wallace Green

Woodruff, Jr. and wife Virginia dated 13 March 1964 recorded same

Calhoun County, Alabama

Will of Ruth Woodruff Book N Page 804 dated 20 December 1963

Recorded 2 May 1966 Calhoun County, Alabama

Woodruff Family Bible


@R753444954@ U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,60525::0




@R753444954@ U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,60525::0




@R753444954@ U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,60525::0




@R753444954@ U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current Ancestry.com Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 1,60525::0




@R753444954@ Ancestry Family Trees Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.


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Jacob Ross Green's Timeline

April 17, 1810
South Carolina, United States
November 15, 1840
January 25, 1875
Age 64
Calhoun County, Alabama, United States
Alexandria (Mt. Zion Cemetery), Calhoun, Alabama, United States