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Green Farms records

Identifier: 1977_183-UA

The family and history records of Green Farms in Grayson County, Kentucky, document how a small farm developed into a major mercantile enterprise. Green Farms developed major holdings not only in agriculture, but also lumbering, milling, banking, and stockbreeding. Its records are a microcosm of marketing and distribution methods and other developments in Kentucky agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th century. The records include chiefly business correspondence, account books and other administrative records, and legal documents relating to loans, investments, and land purchases, together with personal correspondence and photographs of the Green family. There are also oral history interviews with five persons associated with Green Farms.


  • 1831-1965
  • Majority of material found within 1890-1965


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to the University of Louisville; please consult a reference archivist for more information.


61 linear feet (13 records center boxes, 57 manuscript boxes, 13 half-manuscript boxes, 2 flat boxes, 1 microfilm box, and 55 packages wrapped in brown paper)

Biographical / Historical

The Green Family Farms were a business dynasty that operated in Grayson County, Kentucky for over 140 years. The family became one of the most prominent families in Kentucky in the late nineteenth century due to their business successes. The Green Family Farms also helped establish the town of Falls of Rough in Grayson County.

In 1829, Willis Green, an attorney and War of 1812 veteran, purchased land near the Rough River. There was already a gristmill and sawmill on the property in the 1820s. Green expanded the enterprise by adding a wool carding mill and a general store. By the 1850s, Willis Green’s health forced him to hand over primary responsibility for the business to his nephew Lafayette, a lawyer and aspiring politician. Lafayette and his eldest son, Willis, expanded the community with the assistance of the Louisville, Hardinsburg, and Western Railroad in the 1890s. The railroad allowed the Green family to start a shipping enterprise that specialized in lumber, tobacco, and livestock.

Upon Lafayette Green’s death in 1907, the estate and business was passed on to his four children: Willis, Preston, Jennie, and Robert. Jennie Green gave up her share of the inheritance in 1911 for unknown reasons. The Green family’s business ventures declined during the Great Depression. They dropped even further when the Louisville & Nashville Railroad took over and dismantled the Louisville, Hardinsburg, and Western Railroad.

None of Lafayette Green’s children married or had children of their own so when Willis, Robert, and Preston died in the 1940s, the estate was passed on to Jennie Green. Jennie operated the gristmill, general store, and farm on a limited basis until her death in 1965. From there, the property was inherited by Mary McGee O’Neill, a distant cousin of the Greens.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession: 1977-183 from Mary O'Neil by gift

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession: 1979-056 from Mary O'Neil by gift


Green Farms Records
Processed by: Archives Staff; machine-readable finding aid created by: Eric Weig
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752