WILLIAM JOHN GREET

1869 – 1958

 

Description: William J Greet obituary

 

 

THE EIGHTH IN A SERIES OF WEEKLY FEATURE STORIES WRITTEN BY J. CAMERON SHUSTER FOR THE LOCAL  NEWS FORUM OVER RADIO STATION K.W.O.R. IN WORLAND, WYOMING. May 3, 1952.

 

  THE LASTING PARTNERSHIP

 

     Life was dull in Wyoming half a hundred years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Will Greet of Worland agreed on their 58th wedding anniversary, while reminiscing about their early life as "sage brushers"; but somehow, in this day, a two weeks honeymoon trip by wagon from Rock Springs to the Nowood Country, being run over by a load of hay, riding horseback across the Big Horn Mountains in snow drifts six to ten feet deep, defying the elements; and working in a gold mine where ore was valued at five thousand dollars a ton, seems tolerably exciting.

     With few exceptions, the Will Greets have been married longer than any other couple in the state, and on April 25th, they were honored with an "Open House" at the home of their brother and sister-in-law, in honor of this anniversary. On that day, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Greet were the hosts to a large group of relatives and friends who came to pay respects and offer felicitations to the pioneer residents of the colorful Nowood country.

     Most contemporary stories begin or end with the honeymoon, but the story of the Greets must necessarily begin with their birth in staid old England.

     Will Greet is 83 years old, and his wife is not quite 79. Both are of British ancestry, and migrated to Wyoming at an early age, but they never met until a year before their marriage, at the bedside of a mutual friend.

     William Greet is a son of the late George Greet, who died in 1903 at Ten Sleep, and the late Elizabeth Ann Reed, who with her husband and family homesteaded at the mouth of Spring Creek, on the Nowood River early in the 1890s.

     He was born in Cornwall, England, and came to Indiana in the United States with his family, and then with his older brother, Ernest, came west at the age of 20 years. The two brothers came to Wyoming from Knightsville, near Brazil, Indiana, traveling overland, and then went farther on west to the gold fields of Nevada and Idaho where they worked in Silver City, and gold ore from the mines assayed as high as five thousand dollars a ton. After a whirl at mining, the brothers bought themselves a pair of good riding horses and drifted through Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming and wound up their ride at Hana, Wyoming, where they worked in a mine at the foot of Elk Mountain.

     Elizabeth Greet, born in Trimdon, County of Durham, England, in November, 1873, was one of twelve children of the late Richard Lewis and Elizabeth Barrow. The Lewis family first settled in Columbus, Ohio, where Mr. Lewis was a coal miner. As a small girl, Elizabeth was brought to Wyoming by her parents, and her father continued mining at Rock Springs. One day, "Lizzie" Lewis called to see a neighbor who was sick, and at his bedside she met Will Greet, whom she soon found had much in common with her, and the two young people soon became good friends. That friendship soon changed to something more personal, and on April 25, 1894, they were married at the home of her parents.

     Will Greet likes to tell a joke, and his favorite one is the reason why his wife married him. He says it was because he had a good voice and had taken up singing in the church choir, and used the ring of his fine voice to charm the wiley Miss Lewis right into her wedding ring. The wedding was an occasion for a community celebration and after the rice and old shoes were tossed, they loaded their wagon and left for their honeymoon.

     In the meantime, the young husband's parents had settled on their Nowood homestead, and the young newlyweds went to join them. That honeymoon trip in a wagon, took two weeks, with night camps along the trail, sleeping on the ground, and cooking wild game over a camp fire.

     They say it was dull and unexciting, but somehow it sounds most romantic in view of the fact that time has altered conditions so much that it is now only a matter of hours for an automobile trip from Rock Springs to Ten Sleep.

     Thermopolis was a fair sized place then, but there was no Worland, and Ten Sleep boasted a Post Office and another building where church services were held. A Mr. Austin ran the Ten Sleep Post Office, the Greets said. After reaching the home at the mouth of Spring Creek, Will and Lizzie Greet took up their part of the Nowood community life and entered into the spirit of the day. "People were more friendly then," Mrs. Greet said, "and folks had time to bother about others."

     Days of hard work were compensated for by long horseback rides among the red hills and shadowy canyons of the area, and intervals of anxiety brought about by misfortune and illness, were overshadowed by family gatherings and community parties and dances.

     The bride soon won for herself a reputation as a horse woman, and yet, today, when meeting old friends, she is sometimes reminded of the picture she made riding a spirited horse at break neck speed, through the neighborhood.

     Supplies were hauled by wagon from Buffalo, in those days, and a six months stock of staples was brought in at a time. On other occasions, the young people rode horse back to Buffalo and one memorable trip was made on February 22, when Will and Lizzie Greet crossed the Big Horns. They had good horses, Mr. Greet says, but they were a little worried they would play out, for the snow was so deep that most of the terrain was covered by plunging from snowdrift to snowdrift.

     Another hectic period occurred when Will was run over by a load of hay, and as he says, practically every bone in his body was broken. His wife nursed him through his convalescence, but later, when the doctor insisted that Lizzie take her husband to a less rugged location, they moved to Red Lodge, Montana, where they lived for 20 years.

     While in Red Lodge, they became members of the Masonic Order, and the Order of the Eastern Star. Will now carries an honorary membership in the Star in the West Lodge of which he has been a member for more than forty years. They joined the Odd Fellows and Rebeccas in Rock Springs, and Mrs. Greet is an honorary member at large of the Ladies Lodge of the Maccabees.

     In I925 they moved to Chicago, where they resided until three years ago, when they came back to Wyoming and established their home in Worland. They have a son in Chicago, Howard Eugene Greet, of the Edison Electric Company, and a daughter, Mrs. Minnie Parent, in Vermont. They also have three grand daughters and one great grand daughter.

     During their long years together, the Greets have seen much and have done much. Mining was Will's chief interest, while Lizzie's avocation was home making. Her spare time, like that of many pioneer women, was spent at needlework, and she can point with pride to the lovely items of drawn work, eyelet and carnation embroidery and crochet that modern wives just don't have time for. Members of her family, and friends who have been fortunate enough to receive gifts of her hand work, treasure them as heirlooms of a past that has gone as surely as the buffalo and the Indian of the Wyoming plains.

     The house where the Will Greets live is a home, indeed, reflecting the hospitality and friendliness of its occupants. Although it is located in Worland the front windows offer a pictorial view of the snow capped Big Horns, where years ago, they lived the hearty life of Wyoming Pioneers.

     To Mr. and Mrs. Greet we offer greetings, but we find it easier to express our sentiment in verse:

    "Fifty-eight years is a long time married,

 But it's fifty eight years, you say?

  But to you, with their hosts of memories

 It must seem but only a day.

  A day with sunshine and shadows,

 A day with showers and rain,

  A day that has been a life time together

 Where joy overbalances pain.

  It's eight years over half a hundred

 And we wish you many years more

  Than the thousands of days spent together

 That make up your Golden score.

  You have lived your life together

 And walked closely along the way.

  May you spend the rest in happiness, and find

 Pleasure along the way.

 

Early Ten Sleep Man's Rites Held, Obituary, Northern Wyoming Daily News, Worland, Wyoming.
     WORLAND, Wo. --- Funeral services for William J. Greet, 89,  pioneer resident of the Ten Sleep area were held at the Ten Sleep Methodist Church with the Rev. R. F. Goff, pastor of the Worland Methodist Church, Paul Curtis of Worland, elder of the LDS (Seventh Day Adventist Church, Fred Drake), and the Rev. Oyer Morgan, pastor of the Ten Sleep Methodist Church officiating.
     A quartette composed of Mrs. Roy Shriver, Mrs. Dave Egbert, Mrs. Tom Bader and Mrs. S. Hauber sang "Rock of Ages," "Face to Face" and "The Old Rugged Cross."  Mrs. Frank Davis accompanied them.
     Pallbearers were four nephews, George, James, Neil and John Greet, Clyde Harvard, all of Ten Sleep and Willard Applegate of Worland.  Burial was in the Ten Sleep cemetery.
     He was born Jan. 9, 18699 at St. Germans,
Cornwall, England.  When 20 years of age, he and his brother, Ernest, came overland and worked in gold fields in Idaho and Nevada.  Later they rode horseback through Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming where they stopped at Hanna to work in a mine at the foot of Eld Mountain.  In 1890 the brothers came to the Ten Sleep country where they filed on adjoining homesteads.
     During the winters he went to
Rock Springs to work in the mines.  He married Elizabeth Lewis April 24, 1894 in Rock Springs.  They made their home in the Ten Sleep area until they went to California and later to Red Lodge, Mont., where he was a stationary steam engineer in the mines for 20 years.  When the mines closed down the Greets went to Chicago where he was employed 25 years, retiring and returning to Wyoming in 1949.  In 1956 Mr. and Mrs. Greet celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in their Worland home.  Mrs. Greet died six weeks later.
     Survivors are a daughter, Mrs. Minnnie Parent of
Manchester, N. H., and twin brothers Frank Greet of Ten Sleep and Fred Greet of Worland.  Also surviving are three granddaughters.