JOHN E. GREER
The Evening Star and Kansan, January 24, 1896:
Another veteran of the civil war has answered the long roll call. Capt. John E. Greer, of Independence township is dead, at the age of 68 years. In the earlier part of the civil war he enlisted at Waverly, Ind., and went to the front as Lieutenant in Company F, of the Fifth Indiana Cavalry, and was with his regiment afterwards merged in the Nineteenth regiment, in three years of war, except while a prisoner in the hands of the Confederates, was promoted to a Captaincy for bravery. His regiment was the first to enter Knoxville, Tennessee, and were engaged in twenty-two battles, and in June 1864, there was a skirmish every day. The regiment marched 2,400 miles, traveled 1,000 miles by water, and took 640 prisoners. During the service Captain Greer, with half his regiment were captured, and he was taken to Richmond, Va., where he was a prisoner for months in that foul Libby prison. He was an active participant in digging that famous tunnel, but before he could get away was transferred to Belle Isle, and from there was exchanged. After his return home, Capt. Greer was elected to represent his county in the Indiana legislature. About 1877 he removed to this county and purchased a farm in Rutland, and gathered his children about him, adding largely to his acreage. He prospered, and also became prominent in public affairs. A few years ago he purchased what was known as the James Lord part of the Robt Barr farm, northwest of the city, and has lived there for three years, and engaged largely in feeding and shipping cattle. About the first of the year he purchased the late J. P. Roberts’ stock of drugs and sundries, and for two weeks had confined himself closely to the store, assisting in getting the stock ready for business. On Thursday last he was taken ill, and went upstairs to lie down, but got worse and an old stomach trouble developed, which resulted in his death, at 5:30, Friday afternoon. His remains were taken to his residence, and on Sunday at 9:30 the McPherson Post Grand Army of the Republic, assembled there under Commander Way, to pay the last tribute of soldiers to a departed comrade. The beautiful ritual service of the order was gon through with, and Comrade J. D. McCue made a brief address, appropriate for the occasion and then the funeral procession wended its way to the Quaker Cemetery, eight miles west, where his remains were interred by the side of loved ones. The guard of honor being Comrades J. W. Scott, Lee Fairleigh, David Turner, T. S. Bonwell, J. G. Hambleton and J. S. Harding.
Independence Daily Reporter, Jan. 19, 1896:
James (John) E. Greer
Came to Montgomery county September 24, 1878. At that time they purchased the farm about two miles west of town which is now known as the Holbert farm.
Capt. J. E. Greer died at 5:30 p.m. yesterday in the room over the J. P. Robert’s drug store, which he recently purchased. The Captain came in from his farm Thursday morning, and although not feeling well, stayed at the store during the forenoon, as his partner M. Neal had some outside matters to look after. In the afternoon he was taken too ill to go home and to bed upstairs. His complaint was a stomach trouble from which he has suffered several times before, and although medical aid was summoned he steadily grew worse. He was unconscious most of yesterday and died at 5:30 p.m. Four or five of his sons and daughters were present, but his wife is ill at the farm and could not get in. Captain was about 71 years of age, a veteran of the late war, having served in an Indiana regiment. He was one of the early settlers of Montgomery county, and leaves a host of warm friends in this city and vicinity. The funeral will take place at 9:30 a.m. Sunday from Capt. Greer’s late residence two miles west of town and will be under the direction of the G. A. R. The burial will be at the Friends cemetery west of this city.
Independence Daily Reporter, Saturday, January 18, 1896:
Captain J. E. Greer, Dead
Captain John Greer, of Independence, Kansas, died unexpectedly on Friday, January 17, aged 68 years. He had purchased a drug store in Independence and was assisting in the invoice of stock at the time his fatal sickness stomach trouble, came upon him. The exact length of time he was sick is not known to the relatives here, the letter conveying the information of his death being brief and failing to state the particulars.
Captain Greer was here visiting a few months ago and appeared to be in excellent health. He visited here several days, during the time of the National G. A. R. encampment of Louisville and met almost all of his friends, of whom he had many who esteemed him very highly. He formerly lived in Green township this county and was a member of the Fifth Indiana Cavalry during the rebellion.
Independence Daily Reporter, Tuesday, January 21, 1896:
He Escaped from Libby Prison
Captain J. E. Greer, an old settler and a prominent businessman of this place, died suddenly last night of congestion of the stomach. He served with distinction in the Civil war as a captain in an Indiana regiment, and was one of those who made their escape through the underground tunnel at Libby prison.
From History of Montgomery County, Kansas, L. Wallace Duncan, 1903, pg 282-283, David P. Greer:
Captain John E. Greer, well known throughout the county as one of the pioneers, who made a large property during his lifetime. The captain was a native of Kentucky and was one of seven children: James M., of Montgomery county; John E., deceased; Mrs. Mary Carrell, deceased; Lyman M., of Indiana; Mrs. Ruth Williams; Alexander C., of Montgomery county, and Mrs. Amanda Poor, deceased.
The birth of Captain Greer occurred January 1st, 1829, and at two years his parents moved up into Indiana, where he continued to reside until the breaking out of the Civil war. He entered the Union army and participated in much of the severe service during the four years war. The following from the Independence Tribune is to the point: “Captain John E. Greer, of Independence township is dead, at the age of sixty-eight years. In the early part of the Civil war he enlisted at Waverly, Indiana, and went to the front as Lieutenant in Co. “F:, 5th Ind. Cav., and was with his regiment, afterward merging into the 90th, in three years of war-except while a prisoner in the hands of the Confederates-and was promoted to a captaincy for bravery. His regiment was the first to enter Knoxville, Tenn., and was engaged in twenty-two battles”
During the service Captain Greer was captured and was, for months, a prisoner in Libby prison. He was active in digging the famous Straight tunnel, but before he could get away was transferred to Belle Isle and from there was exchanged after being in captivity one year.
After his return home, Captain Greer was elected to the Indiana Legislature. About 1877 he removed to this county and purchased a farm in Rutland township and gathered his children about him, adding largely to his acreage. He prospered and also became prominent in public affairs.
The wife of John E. Greer was Margaret Petree, of Decatur county, Indiana. She bore his ten children, as follows: Nancy E. Pettet, of Montgomery county; William M. and Joseph G., deceased; David P., Lucy C. Wagaman and Abram L., of Montgomery county; Margaret V., deceased; James E., of the Indian Territory; Annie L. Holden and Oliver L, both of Montgomery county.
Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a
Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence
Public Library, Independence, Kansas.