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Elijah Greene

Elijah Priest Greene was born into a wealthy manufacturing family in Amsterdam, New York. His father, William Kimball Greene, owned and ran Greene Knitting Works and W.K. Greene's Sons & Co., one of the countries largest manufacturers of both carpets and knit undergarments. When Elijah was twenty-two he married Ella Remington, the twenty year old daughter of Philo Remington. Philo's father—Ella's grandfather—was Eliphalet Remington. Eliphalet, Philo, and Philo's brothers ran E. Remington & Sons, the still extant firearms manufacturer.

(Left to right) Elijah P. Green, Texas Jack Omohundro (seated), James Scott, Buffalo Bill Cody (seated), and Eugene Overton

Elijah probably met Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill for the first time around February 3rd or 4th, 1873, when the Scouts of the Prairie played in Utica, New York, twenty miles from Remington's factory in Ilion. Seeing an opportunity to gets their guns into the hands of two of the most famous and well-regarded hunters of the American West, and in front of the eyes of the thousands of theater-goers patronizing their theatrical tour, Remington presented Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack with a pair of their finest weapons.

Left to right: Elisha P. Greene, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, Texas Jack Omohundro, Eugene Overton

"Lazy Kate was the name I gave to one of my favorite old rifles," wrote Texas Jack of the weapon he received. "She was of Remington patent, Egyptian model, caliber, .49, and was presented to me by the Remington Gun Works, February, 1873. She was beautifully gold mounted, and at first I thought her too pretty to be of much real service, but I found my mistake in after years."

Lazy Kate was to have her stage debut a month later at Niblo's Garden in New York, where the Scouts mentioned Remington and their fine weapons from the stage in an early bit of product placement. They invited Greene to join them on a buffalo hunt in Nebraska when the tour was done. In early July, he met Omohundro, Cody, and Eugene Overton to catch a west-bound train. They met Wild Bill Hickok and James Scott, a Chicago hat merchant, in Omaha and ranged around the plains of Nebraska, hunting buffalo, elk, and deer for several weeks before Buffalo Bill headed for New York City, Wild Bill prepared to try his hand at acting with his friends, and Texas Jack made for Rochester, New York, where he married his costar Giuseppina Morlacchi.

(Left to right) Elijah P. Green, Texas Jack Omohundro (seated), James Scott, Buffalo Bill Cody (seated), and Eugene Overton

Elijah and his wife had two children. Frederick Remington Greene and William Kimball Greene both followed their father into the family business, but later retired and made their personal fortunes investing in timber and real estate in Seattle, Washington.

Elijah died on December 9, 1876. He was only thirty-three years old. I can't find any newspaper reports or documentation regarding his cause of death. Though his hunt and his friendship with Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack was short lived, the memories of those legendary plainsmen were associated with Greene long after his death, as attested by an article in the Amsterdam, New York, Recorder newspaper from November 27, 1923, nearly fifty years after Elijah's death. "How good is your memory? Say old timer! Do you remember...when Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack visited Elijah P. Greene in Amsterdam?" It is a testament to the fame of those men that almost one hundred and fifty years after that visit, we still remember.

Amsterdam (New York) Recorder November 27, 1923

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