Job and Eliza Green,
Homesteaders and Farmers
Job Green was born in Illinois in 1848. His father died when he was nine years old and
he helped his mother run the family farm until 1865, when he
joined the Illinois Infantry to fight in the Civil War. He returned
to Illinois to farm and in 1869 married Eliza Knowlton of Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. In 1871, Job traveled to Boone County, Nebraska, where
he homesteaded land two miles west of the present day town of
Albion. In 1872, Eliza joined Job in Nebraska, where they
farmed and Eliza taught school. Eliza died in 1923 and Job in
It is unclear whether the volume that became
Job Green's travel journal was
initially intended for that use, because its early pages are
filled with verse by Eliza R. Knowlton, Job's future wife, on
the purpose of an autograph album.
Dedication for an Album
"Here shall young Genius wing
his eagle flight,
Rich dewdrops shaking from his plumes of light"
Far richer jewels, and mare valued
Than ever graced imperial diadems-
The choicest treasures of the human mind,
Within this casket oft a place shall find.
Here, fairer, lovelier, and more
Than ever bloomed beneath Arcadian bowers-
The flowers of fancy, which all hearts engage,
Shall deck each spotless and unsullied page.
Full many a cherished and familiar
More dear to friendship even than to fame,
Around which memory will her garlands twine,
Shall have a place within this sacred shrine.
Here shall the purest thoughts
and feelings flow,
Here shall the heart's sincere affections glow;
Here virtues precepts shall the store increase,
Here shall true wisdom point to paths of peace;
While lovely friendship, with her influence wide,
Shall o'er them all in harmony preside.
And when long, circling years have
And friends departed who are here today-
When those whose names this treasured book contains,
Are widely scattered o'er earth's distant plains,
Then shall my mind each former scene unfold,
And with those friends a sweet communion hold.
Then still each offering shall
its power posess,
The rough and rugged path of life to bless;
Still shall each thought be gentle or sublime
And live as lasting and as long as time
Eliza R. Knowlton
Oct. 22nd 1865
In the 1860s and 1870s, travel to and through
the West could be difficult. Early
journals and diaries, such as Job's, provide an accurate picture
of those difficulties, along with the pleasures and excitement
April 12 1871
Started for Nebraska, passed through
Hails corners toward Troy. camped 15 miles from city roads bad
night rainy, supper at 7 played checkers til ten had company
Have been busy all day cleaning up.
have turned the horses out on the prairie for the first time.
9 wagons & a drove of cattle & colts passed here If I
don't like Neb. I will go to Kansas here goes 2 more wagons for
the west. Big Charley left us this morning went farther north.
May 13, 1871
For the last few days we have had
splendid roads & weather. And it is fun to travel then. For
2 days now we have been following the Boyer River, a very deep
& narrow river, & crooked, with several Mills along its
banks. The valley along the river is about one mile wide, &
it is very deep & rich soil, being 6 or 8 feet deep, &
it is settled up as well as the Miss. Valley. I find a great
many Suckers here (Illi. chaps) but after you get out of the
vally it is very high & rolling prairie, not very good. One
old woman said she pittied us poor men that was going to Neb.
that we could not raise anything there for they tried it there
all last Winter & nearly starved out, some says one thing
& some another.
Eliza's diaries record the life that she
and Job shared in Nebraska, beginning
almost fifty years after Job's account of his trip west and ending
with her death in 1923. Her entries reveal a practical side to
the woman who wrote flowery verse for her future husband's journal.
These journals are filled with daily chores, news of the neighborhood,
and special events such as attending a Chautauqua.
July 27 (1920)
Chautauqua commensed today. I went
this afternoon, rode with Mrs. Casper, her daughter driving --
Mrs. A. B. Browder & Mrs. Dill went with us. Music by 4 Philippinos
String Band & vocal music.-Went with them again this eve.
Bob Seeds was the speaker, but I was too far away to hear good.
Eliza did not totally abandon her creative
muse, for her 1922 diary includes
numerous entries about a booster song that she wrote for the
town of Albion and her efforts to have it published, sold, and
June 22 (1922)
Job picked cherries this morning &
Emma & I pitted them. Emma canned or preserved 12 qts of
cherries today & then went to prayer meeting.-Mrs Browder
came over this afternoon & played my Booster song Albion
it is quite pretty. Mr. Moor brot the mail but missed the newspapers.
Eliza's 1923 diary ends on a sad note, for it marks her death.
March 12 (1923)
Emma washing-Job went downtown. I
went to bed just after breakfast & stayed till noon. I can't
eat I don't feel a bit well.
(this is the last Eliza wrote: Emma. I will continue it until
after her death.)
Emma, Eliza and Job's daughter, completed
her mother's diary with the news
of her death on March 15 and an account of her funeral and burial.