Biography of Capt. Samuel W. Greer

CAPT. SAMUEL W. GREER. Industry, frugality and honesty were the main principles instilled into the lives of their children by the parents of Capt. Samuel W. Greer. Who can doubt but these principles, which have been adopted by Mr. Greer throughout his career, have had much to do with his success? He was born in Rockingham County, N. C., July 28, 1828.

The son of John and Mary Jane (Brown) Greer, natives also of the Old North State. The mother died in that State when our subject was but a boy and the father afterward married Miss Parthenia Tuer. In 1849 they moved to Smith County, Tennessee, and from there to Missouri in 1859, locating in Oregon County. There the father died in 1867 when about fifty-nine years of age. He was a very successful farmer and bought the land which Capt. Greer now owns, near Alton. Mr. Greer was a member of the Methodist Church and was a class leader as far back as our subject can remember. He was a Mason, a member of blue lodge, and in politics a Whig at first, and later a Democrat. His father, Truman Greer, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and was a soldier in the War of 1812. He died in North Carolina. By his first marriage John Greer became the father of eight children, two sons and six daughters, five of whom are now living. There were no children born to the second union that grew to mature years.

Capt. Samuel W. Greer was the eldest of the children born to the first union. He spent his school days in North Carolina and in Smith County, Tennessee, and was twenty-three years of age when he left the schoolroom. He learned the carpenter’s and millwright’s trades when in Tennessee, and in 1859 came with his father to Missouri and commenced farming and milling in Oregon County, continuing the same until early in 1861. He then volunteered in Gen. McBride’s division of State Militia and he was the second man to enlist. He was in the militia six months and was first lieutenant of Company D, Second Regiment, before leaving the State service. After the Wilson’s Creek battle he was promoted to the rank of captain on joining the Confederate Army, Second Missouri Cavalry, Company C. He remained in the service two years and a half and was then transferred to Gen. Marmaduke’s regiment, with which he remained until cessation of hostilities. Capt. Greer surrendered at Jacksonport May 5, 1865. He was in many of the prominent engagements, Wilson’s Creek, Cape Girardeau, Pilot Knob and Price’s raid. The Captain received a number of slight wounds, one on the head and another across the shoulder, but was never disabled.

He was taken prisoner while at home on leave of absence, and after remaining at Alton a short time was exchanged. At the close of the war he had no means, but at once went to the spring that bears his name and commenced operating a mill. Afterward he built a mill there and operated a grist mill, saw mill, cotton gin and wool cards until 1891, since which time he has been engaged in farming. He owns a farm of 344 acres (100 acres under cultivation), but has 1,001 acres altogether. He represented the county of Oregon from 1879 to 1887 in the Legislature and was again elected to that position in 1892. On the 25th of June, 1857, Capt. Greer was married to Miss Martha A. Foley, a native of Smith County, Tennessee Two living children have been given them: Rachel F., wife of J. J. H. Jones, the present sheriff of Oregon County, and John W., at home. The children deceased were: Lewis W., who died when twenty-three years of age, was a farmer of this county and a prominent educator. The other two children died in infancy. Capt. Greer holds membership in the Baptist Church. He is a member of the Masonic lodge at Alton, has represented the lodge in the Grand Lodge and he is an Odd Fellow, a member of Eleven Points Lodge. Politically he is a Democrat. Greer Spring is one of the finest water powers known. It discharges fully as much water as the Mammoth Spring and is well located. When operating his mill Capt. Greer ground for a Territory in which there are twenty-six mills at the present time.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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