Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cogswell Kidder Green (1809-1889)

Portrait from Norwich University, 1819-1911: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor.

   Prominent in the early history of Berrien County, Michigan, Cogswell Kidder Green was a transplant to that state from New England, and following his Michigan resettlement became a leading political figure in the still young county of Berrien, serving as its first Judge of Probate. Green later represented Berrien in the Michigan House of Representatives and was also Village President of Niles, Michigan, several years prior to it becoming a city. In the late 1860s, he would relocate to Exeter, New Hampshire, where he resided until his death.
   The life of this now forgotten Michigan political figure began (depending on the source) in either Putney, Vermont or Westmoreland, New Hampshire on July 29, 1809, being the son of Capt. Thomas Kidder and Betsey (Cogswell) Green. Bestowed the unusual names Cogswell Kidder upon his birth, Green's first name has a variation in spelling, being spelled with both a double "g" and without. Green attended school at the Chesterfield Academy in New Hampshire in the early 1820s and later studied at Norwich University.
  Seeing a bright future for himself in law, Green traveled to Steubenville, Ohio in 1828 and here began reading law with John Crafts Wright (1783-1861), who'd later serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and on the Ohio Supreme Court. Green was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1830 and in that same year relocated to Berrien County, Michigan, which had been established the year prior. Settling in the village of Niles, Green began his law practice here and in 1831 was appointed as Berrien County's first judge of probate, an office he'd continue to hold until 1833. In the year following his becoming judge Green began a five-year tenure as Niles town clerk (being the first man to hold that post) and from 1835-1836 was Postmaster of Niles
   Cogswell Kidder Green married on May 28, 1835, to Nancy Aurora Howard (1818-1843). The couple would have three daughters (Katherine, Emily, and Nancy) and following Nancy's death, he remarried in New Hampshire in 1854 to Sarah Clough Lawrence (1828-1894), who survived him upon his death in 1889.
  Green continued his climb up the state political ladder in 1835 when he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives. His tenure as Berrien County's first representative to the state legislature is notable due to the fact that the 1835-36 term (begun in November 1835) marked not only the first time the legislature had convened after the adoption of the state constitution of 1835 but also was the first session to be titled "state legislature", not territorial. This session was also held at Michigan's then capital, Detroit, which would later be moved to Lansing in 1847. Green's term in the house saw him sit on the committees on the Judiciary, Education, Enrollment and Unfinished Business. 
   Following his brief time in the legislature, Green returned to practicing law in Niles and in 1844 served as it's village president. Notice is also given as to Green serving as Deputy Collector of the Port of San Francisco from 1851-53, but other than a brief mention in the history of Norwich University, 1819-1911, no other information could be located on Green's venture in California. 
   Cogswell Green left Michigan in 1854 and after his remarriage to Sarah Lawrence in New Hampshire that year resided in Washington, D.C. until 1869.  Despite residing in the nation's capital for nearly fifteen years, no other mention is given as to Green's time there. For the remainder of his life, Green resided in Exeter, New Hampshire and in 1886 was invited to attend a fiftieth reunion of the first legislature of Michigan but was unable to travel due to the distance. Green died in Exeter on December 3, 1889, at age 80. Both he and his wife Sarah were later interred at the Exeter Cemetery in that city. 

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