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Greenleaf, Halbert Stevens


Age: 0, credited to Vermont
Unit(s): 52nd MA INF
Service: 52nd MA INF

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Birth: 04/12/1827, Vermont
Death: 08/25/1906

Burial: Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY
Marker/Plot: C-194
Gravestone photographer: Heidi McColgan
Findagrave Memorial #: 7258132


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 6/11/1897, NY; widow Jean B., 5/1/1908, MA
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


Greenleaf, Halbert Stevens, of Rochester, was born in Guilford, April 12, 1827. The descent of the Greenleaf family of New England is "undoubtedly to be traced," says the compiler of the Greenleaf genealogy, "from the Huguenots, who, when persecuted for their religion, fled from France about the middle of the sixteenth century." The name was originally Fuillevert, anglicized Greenleaf, in which form it occurs in England toward the close of the sixteenth century. The common ancestor of the Greenleaf family of America was Edward Greenleaf, a silk dyer by trade, who was born in the parish of Brixham, in the county of Devonshire, England, about the year 1600. He married Sarah Dole, by whom he had several children in England, and with his wife and family came to this country, settling first in Newbury and afterward in Boston, Mass., where he died in 1671. A number of the family have distinguished themselves in New England by their intellectual attainments, which have been of a high order. One of these, Jeremiah Greenleaf, the father of the subject of this sketch, was the author of what was known as Greenleaf's Grammar, and devoted a large part of his life to study, authorship, and instruction in this special branch of education. He was also the author of Greenleaf's Gazeteer, and Greenleaf's Atlas, both excellent works of their kind, and highly esteemed at the time they appeared. True to his instincts and patriotism as a "Green Mountain Boy, " Jeremiah Greenleaf took an active part in the war of 1812, enlisting as a private and winning his commission as an officer. He married Miss Elvira E. Stevens, the daughter of Simon Stevens, M. D., of Guilford, "a true and noble woman, of no small degree of culture."
Thus the subject of this sketch combines in his nature, as in his name, the elements of two characteristic New England families of the old school. His career has been in many respects a most varied and remarkable one. The son of educated parents, it was quite natural that he should receive a good education, which was received in part, of course, at home, and in part at the common schools and academy of his native New England. His boyhood and youth were spent in farm life, but, from his nineteenth to his twenty-third year, he taught district and grammar schools in the winter months, and during one season-so as to add as much as possible to his funds, worked in a brickyard. At the age of twenty-three he made a six month's sea-voyage in the whaling vessel, Lewis Bruce, serving before the mast as a common sailor.
On the 24th of June, 1852, shortly after his return from sea, he married Miss Jeannie F. Brooks, the youngest daughter of John Brooks, M. D., of Bernardston, Mass., and, in the month of September following, removed to Shelburne Falls, Mass., where he obtained employment as a day laborer at the bench, in a large cutlery establishment. A few months later he found a position in the office of a neighboring manufactory, and in a short time became a member of the firm of Miller & Greenleaf. On the 11th of March, 1856, he was commissioned by the Governor of Massachusetts a justice of the peace. In 1857, a military company having been formed in Shelburne Falls, the young men composing it selected Mr. Greenleaf as their captain, and he continued in command from the 29th of August in that year, until the 3d of March, 1859, when he resigned his captain's commission. The same year he became a member of the firm of Linus Yale, Jr., & Co., in Philadelphia, and went to that city to live, remaining in business there until 1861, when he returned to Shelburne Falls, and organized the Yale & Greenleaf Lock Co., of which he became business manager.
Making the best disposition he could of his business, he enlisted as a private soldier in the Union army in August, 1862, entering the fifty-second Massachusetts regiment, to the organizing and recruiting of which he devoted both his money and energy. He was commissioned captain of Company E, Sept. 12, 1862, and on the 13th of October was unanimously elected colonel of the regiment, which was soon afterwards ordered into service under General Banks in the department of the Gulf. During Banks' first Red River expedition Colonel Greenleaf was commandant of the post at Barre's Landing, Louisiana, and for a brief period in command of the second brigade of Grover's division. At the head of his regiment he participated in the battles of Indian Ridge, and performed gallant service at Jackson Cross Roads, and in the grand assault on Port Hudson, June 14, 1863, and in the subsequent siege operations resulting in the surrender of that important confederate stronghold, he bore a conspicuous part and distinguished himself by his coolness, judgment and bravery. At the expiration of his term of military service, Colonel Greenleaf was offered and accepted the command of the government steamer, Colonel Benedict, on the lower Mississippi.
Soon after the close of the war he took charge of the extensive salt works of Petite Anse Island, St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana. In June, 1867, he removed to Rochester, N. Y., and on the 1st of July following, the firm of Sargent & Greenleaf, of which he is the junior member, was organized. The firm of Sargent & Greenleaf manufacture, under patents held by them, magnetic, automatic, chronometer and other burglar locks; combination safe locks, padlocks, drawer, trunk, house, chest, store, door and other locks, night latches, etc., and so successful has the firm been, that to-day their locks of every description have made their way to every part of the civilized world.
In the presidential campaign of 1880 Colonel Greenleaf devoted himself with energy to the support of General Hancock, the Democratic candidate, and organized and commanded the "Hancock brigade" a political-military organization opposed to the Republican organization of similar character, known as the "Boys in Blue." In the early part of February, 1882, he was elected commander of the First New York veteran brigade, with the rank of brigadier-general, and unanimously re-elected to that position in January, 1883. Although he did not seek the honor, in the fall of 1882 the Democratic congressional convention, for the Thirtieth District, at Rochester, nominated General Greenleaf for Congress as a Democrat, and he was elected, receiving 18, 042 votes, against 12, 038 for John Van Voorhis, Republican, and 1, 419 for Gordon, Prohibitionist. He was also elected to the Fifty-second Congress from the same Republican district, and is at present a member of the board of trustees of the Rochester Savings Bank; of the Rochester park commission; of the St. Lawrence University at Canton, N. Y., and of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home at Bath, N. Y.

Source: Jacob G. Ullery, compiler, Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont, (Transcript Publishing Company, Brattleboro, VT, 1894), Part III, p. 75.


A Native of Guilford, Who Was Colonel of the 52d Massachusetts Regiment and a Member of Congress Twice.

Gen. Halbert Stevens Greenleaf, distinguished alike as a soldier, politician and manufacturer, died last Saturday in Rochester, N. Y. He was born in Guilford April 12, 1827. The Greenleaf ancestry is traced back to Devonshire, England, in 1600. Halbert S. Greenleaf's father was Jeremiah Greenleaf, author of Greenleaf's grammar and of a gazeteer and atlas which were widely used in educational institutions years ago. Jeremiah Greenleaf enlisted as a private in the war of 1812 and won a commission as an officer. His wife was Elvira E. Stevens, daughter of Dr. Simon Stevens of Guilford.

The son, Halbert, spent his boyhood and youth on the home farm and from his 19th to 23d year was a school teacher during the winter months. He married June 24, 1852, Miss Jeannie F. Brooks, daughter of Dr. John Brooks of Bernardston, and they settled in Shelburne Falls, where Mr. Greenleaf was employed in a cutlery factory. He soon engaged in business for himself in Shelburne Falls and later in Philadelphia, but at the breaking out of the civil war was business manager of the Yale & Greenleaf Lock company in Shelburne Falls. He enlisted as a private soldier in the 53d regiment but was commissioned captain of Company E, Sept. 12, 1862, and only a month later was elected colonel of the regiment. At the head of his regiment he participated in the battle of Indian Ridge, performed gallant service at Jackson crossroads and in the assault on Port Hudson. At the end of his term of military service he took command of the government steamer, Col. Benedict, on the lower Mississippi.

He had charge of extensive salt works in Louisiana two years but in 1867 settled in Rochester, N. Y., where the firm of Sargent & Greenleaf was organized. This concern manufactured all kinds of locks and their trade extended throughout the world. Col. Greenleaf, after acquiring a fortune, found diversion in a large stock farm near Rochester. He was elected to Congress as a Democrat from the 13th New York district in 1882 and was also a member of the 52d Congress from the same district. He was twice elected commander of the First New York Veteran Brigade with the rank if brigadier general and was trustee of several financial and educational institutions. He had suffered a lingering illness of many months and had not been able to attend the reunions of the 52d regiment since the meeting in South Deerfield August 4, 1902.

Source: Vermont Phoenix, August 31, 1906.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.