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Frank Lester Greene (February 10, 1870 – December 17, 1930) was a Vermont newspaper editor and militia officer. He is most notable for his service as a United States Representative and Senator.

Frank Lester Greene
Frank Greene
Bain News Service photo, circa 1920–1925.
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
March 4, 1923 – December 17, 1930
Preceded byCarroll S. Page
Succeeded byFrank C. Partridge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's 1st district
In office
July 30, 1912 – March 3, 1923
Preceded byDavid J. Foster
Succeeded byFrederick G. Fleetwood
Personal details
Born(1870-02-10)February 10, 1870
St. Albans, Vermont
DiedDecember 17, 1930(1930-12-17) (aged 60)
St. Albans, Vermont
Resting placeGreenwood Cemetery, St. Albans, Vermont
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Jessie Emma Richardson (m. February 20, 1895)[1]
ChildrenRichardson Lester Greene (b. March 27, 1896)
Dorothy Greene (b. November 18, 1897)
Stuart Hoadley Greene (b. December 2, 1901)[2]
OccupationNewspaper editor
Militia officer
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceFlag of Vermont.svg Vermont Militia
 United States Army
Years of service1888–1900 (Militia)
1898 (United States Army)
RankArmy-USA-OF-05.svg Colonel
UnitVermont Militia
3rd Brigade, First Division, Third Army Corps
Battles/warsSpanish–American War

A native of St. Albans, Vermont, he was educated in St. Albans and Cleveland, Ohio, and began working as a teenager to help support his family after his father became disabled. He became a clerk for the Central Vermont Railway, and later became a journalist and editor of the St. Albans Messenger newspaper. Greene also served in the militia; enlisting as a private, by the time of the Spanish–American War he was a company commander with the rank of captain. He later served on the military staff of Governor Edward Curtis Smith, with the rank of colonel; Smith had been his employer at the Central Vermont Railway and St. Albans Messenger.

Long active in politics and government as a Republican, in 1912 he won a special election to complete the term of Congressman David J. Foster, who had died. He was reelected to a full term in November 1912, and won reelection to four more terms. In 1922, Greene was election to the United States Senate. He was reelected in 1928, and served until his death. In 1924, Greene was wounded when Prohibition agents attempting to apprehend the owners of a Washington, DC moonshine still accidentally shot him in the head. Greene never fully recovered, and was left partly paralyzed. He died as the result of surgical complications while being treated for a hernia, and was buried in St. Albans.

Early lifeEdit

Frank Greene was born in St. Albans, Vermont on February 10, 1870. He attended the public schools in St. Albans and Cleveland, Ohio. The Greene family had relocated to Cleveland because Frank's father Lester had become Secretary/Treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. When Frank Greene was 13 his father became ill and could no longer work. The family returned to Vermont and Frank quit school to help support his family by taking a job as a messenger with the Central Vermont Railway. He remained with the railroad until 1891, learning shorthand and stenography and advancing to the position of chief clerk in the general freight department. Having worked part-time as a correspondent for The Boston Globe and other newspapers beginning in 1888, in 1891 Greene made journalism his full-time career, first as a reporter for and later as editor of the St. Albans Messenger.[3] He was president of the Vermont Press Association from 1904 to 1905.[4]

Military serviceEdit

Greene served in the Vermont National Guard from 1888 to 1900. Enlisting as a private, during the Spanish–American War he commanded an infantry company as a captain. Greene later served as adjutant of 3rd Brigade, First Division, Third Army Corps, with duty at Camp Thomas, Georgia and Anniston, Alabama. After the war Greene was commissioned a colonel on the staff of Edward Curtis Smith, the Governor of Vermont, and Greene's former employer on the Central Vermont Railroad and the St. Albans Messenger.[5]

Beginning of political careerEdit

A Republican, Greene was Chairman of Vermont's Young Men's Republican Club in the 1890s. He was Chairman of the St. Albans Republican Committee, and a Delegate to several county and state conventions. He was an Alternate to the 1904 Republican National Convention and a Delegate to the one in 1908.[6]

In 1906 Greene was appointed to head a commission that examined the state normal schools, and in 1908 he was a member of the commission that proposed amendments to the Vermont Constitution.[7][8]

Congressional careerEdit

Greene was elected as a Republican to the House of Representatives during the 62nd Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of David J. Foster. He was reelected every two years from 1912 to 1920, and served from July 30, 1912 to March 3, 1923.[9] In 1914 he was chairman of the Vermont State Republican Convention.[10] He was a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution from 1917 to 1923.[11]

In 1922 Greene was elected to the U.S. Senate.[12] While in the Senate, he was Chairman of the Committee on Enrolled Bills (69th through 71st Congresses).[13] Greene was reelected in 1928 [14] and served from March 4, 1923 until his death.[15]

Gunshot woundEdit

On the evening of February 15, 1924, Greene was walking with his wife near an alley on Capitol Hill when Prohibition agents were about to arrest several men unloading a still from their car.[16] The bootleggers ran, the agents fired their guns, and Greene was struck in the head by a stray bullet.[17][18] Greene was in critical condition for several weeks, and never fully recovered.[19][20] His right arm was paralyzed, and his legs were severely weakened.[21]

Death and burialEdit

Greene died in St. Albans on December 17, 1930 from complications during surgery for a hernia.[22][23] He was interred at Greenwood Cemetery in St. Albans.[24][25]

Civic and fraternal membershipsEdit


Greene received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Norwich University in 1908.[27] He received an honorary LL.D. from Norwich in 1915.[28]


In 1895 Greene married Jessie Emma Richardson (1873–1949). They were the parents of Richardson Lester Greene (March 27, 1896 – May 28, 1980); Dorothy Greene Alexander (November 18, 1897 – December 5, 1991); and Stuart Hoadley Greene (December 2, 1901 – December 15, 1973).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Walter Anson Greene, Ella Louise Geib Greene, A Greene Family History, 1981, page 118
  2. ^ William Richard Cutter, New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Volume 4, 1914, page 2193
  3. ^ Prentiss Cutler Dodge, Encyclopedia of Vermont Biography, 1912, page 78
  4. ^ E.P. & G.S.Walton, Vermont Year Book, Formerly Walton's Register, 1907, page 21
  5. ^ Walter J. Bigelow, Vermont, Its Government, 1920, page 10
  6. ^ Consolidated Publishing, Who's Who in the Nation's Capital, 1921, page 156
  7. ^ Vermont Year Book, page 201
  8. ^ Dodd, Mead and Company, New International Encyclopaedia, 1929, page 682
  9. ^ George Derby, James Terry White, The National Cyclopædia of American Biography, Volume 3, 1920, page 471
  10. ^ New York Times, U.S. Senator Greene of Vermont Dead, December 17, 1930
  11. ^ Marquis Who's Who, Who Was Who in American History: The Military, 1975, page 219
  12. ^ New York Times, Congress Will Lose Many Noted Chiefs, March 3, 1923
  13. ^ U.S. Senate Historian, Chairmen of Senate Standing Committees, 1789-Present, 2011, page 21
  14. ^ New York Times, U.S. Senators Elected, November 8, 1928
  15. ^ Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal, Franke Greene, Senator, Dies, December 18, 1930
  16. ^ Atlanta Constitution, U.S. Senator Shot In Effort To Save Wife From Injury, February 16, 1924
  17. ^ Hartford Courant, U.S. Senator Shot as "Dry" Officers Fight Bootleggers, February 16, 1924
  18. ^ New York Times, Shot by Dry Agent Hits U.S. Senator, February 15, 1924
  19. ^ Atlanta Constitution, Wounded Senator May Now Survive, February 22, 1924
  20. ^ New York Times, Senator Greene Refuses $7,500 Voted to Him by Congress for Wounding by Dry Agent, March 15, 1927
  21. ^ John J. Duffy, Samuel B. Hand, Ralph H. Orth, editors, The Vermont Encyclopedia, 2003, page 142
  22. ^ Chicago Tribune, Frank Greene, Senator From Vermont, Dead, December 18, 1930
  23. ^ Edward W. Pickard, Three Forks News, News Review of Current Events Around the World, January 8, 1931
  24. ^ New York Times, Senator Greene Buried, December 21, 1930
  25. ^ Boston Globe, Pay Last Tribute to Senator Greene, December 21, 1930
  26. ^ Who's Who in the Nation's Capital, page 156
  27. ^ William Arba Ellis, Norwich University, 1819-1911: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor, Volume 3, 1911, pages 529-530
  28. ^ Bigelow, Vermont, Its Government, page 10

External linksEdit

  • United States Congress. "Frank L. Greene (id: G000425)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2009-5-19
  • Inventory of the Frank Lester Greene Papers, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library
  • Bootleggers In Washington
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
David J. Foster
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's 1st congressional district

1912 – 1923
Succeeded by
Frederick G. Fleetwood
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Carroll S. Page
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Vermont
1923 – 1930
Served alongside: William P. Dillingham, Porter H. Dale
Succeeded by
Frank C. Partridge