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Greathouse descendant shares history

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By The Staff

It has been 12 years now since my first contact with John D. Greathouse of Missoula, Mont.

A nephew of Vandalias Civil War hero, Col. Lucien Greathouse, he had written looking for additional information on the family. Johns father was Isaac Ridgely Greathouse, son of John Stull Greathouse and his second wife, Catherine Waring, and Luciens younger half-brother.

It is through John that I was able to share with you photographs of John Stull Greathouse and his son, Col. Lucien Greathouse, in full military dress, in last weeks column.

John Stull Greathouse and his first wife, Lucy Mills Clarke, were parents of five children; Elizabeth White Greathouse (Mrs. William S. Smith), Samuel Tevis, Mary Ellen, (Mrs. S. A. Blanchard), John Clarke and Lucien Philip Greathouse.

I have written about John Stull Greathouse, as well as Lucien and Tevis, in the past. Today, this column will focus on other family members of this illustrious family. John Greathouse sent me copies of three family photographs: John Stull Greathouse; his son, Col. Lucien; and daughter, Elizabeth Greathouse Smith.

Elizabeth and her sister, Mary Ellen, both married Bond County men. William S. Smith was a merchant and came to Greenville from Virginia in 1832. Elizabeth was his second wife. Along with William Wait, Smith was a supporter of the East St. Louis, Vandalia and Terre Haute Railroad (now CSX) and served as one the boards nine directors.

When Abraham Lincoln visited Greenville to give a speech in Colcords Grove in September 1858, Elizabeth Greathouse Smith provided a silk coverlet for Mr. Lincolns bed. Candles were placed in all the windows of William and Elizabeths Greenville home on the evening of the visit, and their servants were kept busy replenishing them.

Along with Almira Morse, Elizabeth was a charter member of The Ladies Library Association of Greenville, chartered in February 1867. Almira College, the predecessor of Greenville College, was named for Almira Morse.

From letters that John Stull Greathouse wrote to his children, we know that daughter Mary Ellen Greathouse Blanchard also lived in Greenville. He referred to her as Ellen. The Blanchards were one of Greenvilles old families. Mentioned in one of John Stulls letters were children Del, Edgar, Lucy and Alice.

John Clarke Greathouse was born in March 1833, and lived with his father and stepmother, Catherine Waring Greathouse, in Union County, Ky. Some of the family came to Illinois and, if reports are true from Hardin County old settlers, John settled there for a while near Elizabethtown.

His brother, Lucien, is said to have boarded in Johns log cabin while he taught school in Hardin County. Lucien was 16 years old when he graduated as a teacher from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1858.

In 1860, John Clarke Greathouse moved his family to Scyene, Dallas County, Texas. He mustered into Co. C, 15th Texas Cavalry, and served three years. He went in as a private, but quickly rose to first lieutenant colonel.

Things went downhill fast for Lt. Col. Greathouse when his commander filed charges against him for disobeying orders and allowing men under his charge to "depredate upon the private property of Dr. J. H. Marshall of Upshur County, Texas."

When commanded to place the men under arrest, he allegedly told the captain if he wanted them arrested to "do it himself or make his officer of the guard perform the duty."

Returned to the status of an enlisted man, Private John Clarke Greathouse did extra work as a wagon master and was stationed at Camp Ford, Texas. His wife, Parmelia, died before 1870, and John moved to Dallas with his two children. Here he married 19-year-old Sarah. They were parents of Elizabeth, Danniel, Zeda, Charles and Fred T. Greathouse.

John received a pension for his service, and when he entered the Confederate Soldiers Home in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 30, 1914, he was completely incapacitated, had a broken leg and was missing a hand from the war.

John Clarke Greathouse died at the Confederate Mens Home in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 29, 1916, and was buried the next day in the Confederate soldiers plot in the Texas State Cemetery.

When John G. Greathouse contacted me for information on his fathers family in 1996, I knew I could help him. But I had no idea of the help he would give me and other county researchers by sharing the Greathouse family pictures and letters.