Biography of Governor William L. Greenly

William L. Greenly
William L. Greenly

William L. Greenly, Governor of Michigan for the year 1847, was born at Hamilton, Madison Co, N.Y., Sept. 18, 1813. He graduated at Union College, Schenectady, in 1831, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1834. In 1836, having removed to Michigan, he settled in Adrian, where he as since resided. The year following his arrival in Michigan he was elected State Senator and served in that capacity until 1839. In 1845 he was elected Lieut. Governor and became acting Governor by the resignation of Governor Felch, who was elected to the United States Senate.

The war with Mexico was brought to a successful termination during Gov. Greenly’s administration. We regret to say there are only few records extant of the action of Michigan troops in the Mexican War. That many went their and fought well are points conceded; but their names and nativity are hidden away in United States archives and where it is almost impossible to find them.

The soldiers of this State deserve much of the credit of the memorable achievements of Co. K 3d Dragoons, and Cos. A, E, and G of the U.S. Inf. The two former of these companies, recruited in this State, were reduced to one-third their original number.

In May, 1846, the Governor of Michigan was notified by the War Department of the United States to enroll a regiment of volunteers, to be held in readiness for service whenever demanded. At his summons 13 independent volunteer companies, 11 of infantry and 2 of cavalry, at once fell into line. Of the infantry four companies were from Detroit, bearing the honored names of Montgomery, Lafayette, Scott and Brady upon their banners. Of the remainder Monroe tendered two, Lenawee County three, St. Clair, Berrien, and Hillsdale each one, and Wayne Country an additional company. Of these alone the veteran Bradys were accepted and ordered into service. In addition to them ten companies, making the First Regiment of Michigan Volunteers, springing from various parts of the State, but embodying to a great degree the material of which the first volunteers was formed, were not called for until October following. This regiment was soon in readiness and proceeded by orders from Government to the seat of war.

Source: Chapman Brothers. Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan. Chicago: Chapman brothers, 1892.

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