Click on the photo to see it in full size

Click on the photo to see it in full size
CLICKHERE to see more about Katie Ryan's family, her father's military history,her mother's deathbed conversion to Catholicism and much more.
CLICK HEREto see more information about Joseph Greenen's family, their origins inIreland, immigration, illustrious railroad careers and much more.

There are still manyunanswered questions regarding the details of this family's employmentwith the Railroad.  It is known that Peter Greenen (Joseph's father)has been defined in various U.S. census reports as "farmer" and "laborer"...and it is believed that he did devoted substantial time to both "careers." It is also known that all of his sons followed in his footsteps in pursuingcareers in Railroading.Difficult and painstaking research by AndySauer and Dan Drew finally paid off in November of 2000 and a great dealof the Greenen Railroad history can now be tracked with certainty.
This history goes back to the formationof the Columbus, Piqua, and Indiana Railroad which was incorporated in1849, less than a year following Peter's arrival in the Urbana Ohio area. Since the Greenen family geographic movements can be seen to correspondexactly to the expansion of this railroad (via "buy outs" by parent railroadsover time) there can be no doubt that the study of this expansion and generalwestward progression is also a study of this family's work history as onecan see after studying the matter.
Pictured here is a typical train engine fromabout 1865... early in the railroad career of J.W. Greenen.
Click on the photo to see it full size

To follow this progression of railroad "buy outs" and expansions, thereader must revisit the history of Joseph's father, Peter Greenen wherethe progression is given in complete detail.  CLICKHERE to visit that page.


It is confirmed inthe book History of Catholicity in Indiana (published about 1898)That Joseph's brother Michael sought employment in Indianapolis duringthe civil war years.  It is probable that Joseph did also... and thatboth young men probably returned home to Urbana, Ohio in the winter tofinish their schooling, as Michael is documented to have done.  Bythe end of the Civil War, (1865) it appears that both had become permanentresidents of Indianapolis.  Joseph would have been 23 at the time;and Michael 21.  CLICK HEREto see the Greenen article in the History of Catholicity in Indiana.

Meanwhile, the wonderfulcollection of receipts found in the Wayne County Courthouse by researcherArnold Dean, clearly indicate that Sarah ("Katie") Ryan and her sister,Julia, were enrolled in the boarding School at St. John's in Indianapolisduring 1864, at which time Katie would have been 16 years old. The receiptsindicate payment of both tuition as well as rail transportation to andfrom Richmond to attend school.  Note that the receipts indicate thatthe school was run by the "Sisters of Charity" ...but careful researchby Andy Sauer have proven that the sisters running the school were theSisters of Providence, headquartered in Terre Haute... and that this orderof nuns (as well as several others) were referred to "generically" as the"Sisters of Charity" because of their work with the sick and wounded duringthe civil war; and are not to be confused with the "Sisters of Charityof St. Vincent DePaul."  CLICKHERE  to see a sample of a receiptfor "Katie's" schooling in Indianapolis

Saint John's was theearliest Catholic church in Indianapolis; and quite probably the Churchthat Joseph and Michael attended upon moving from Urbana to Indianapolis. By the time Katie was 18, Joseph (5 years elder than "Katie") would havebeen a handsome, ambitious, and hard working bachelor and would probablyhave met Katie at St. Johns.  She was a bright and pretty young ladywho had come up in a "troubled family."  Her home in Richmond wasnow fatherless and supported by a widow's pension since the death of herfather, John Ryan, during his service with the Union Forces during theCivil War.

We also know thatJ.W. was assigned to duty in Richmond with the Railroad about this time,and that the couple's first two sons were born in Richmond.  It istherefore quite possible that J.W. and Katie might actually have met inRichmond or "on the train" as Katie made trips from home to school andback and J.W. might have had duties which required commuting... or evenduties aboard the train.  It is also possible that J.W. requestedassignment to Richmond to facilitate his courtship of "Katie" after shegraduated from St. Johns.
In 1868, two consolidation/mergersoccurred to form the Columbus, Chicago and Indiana Central Railway Company.Thismerger would have greatly expanded the Railroad and resulted in divisionsoperating to Chicago and to Logansport, Indiana, a major canal terminaland rail center.  The nation was recovering from the Civil war whichhad now been over for three years.  It was, perhaps, in connectionwith this railroad consolidation that J.W. found himself assigned to Richmond,Indiana about this time.

Joseph WilliamGreenen married Sarah Catherine Ryan April 21, 1870
         The wedding was at St. Mary's Church in Richmond, Indiana.
        CLICKHERE to see Marriage Document. (notyet on line)

Joseph William Greenenís son CharlesPeter born Feb. 11,1871 in Richmond, Indiana.
           Andy thinks he was baptized there but no document on it at this time.
Joseph William Greenenís son John Joseph bornApril 18,1873 in Richmond, Indiana.
         Baptized July 17, 1873 Saint Johns in Indianapolis.  (Andy has certificate.)

Just 3 months following the birth of his son,John Joseph ("Josie")  in 1873... and just six days after his baptism,Joseph suffered the loss of his 21 year old "baby brother," Thomas, ina railroad accident.   Undoubtedly, if not already assigned there,Joseph and Katie would have travelled to Indianapolis to be with his parentsand bury his brother.

Sometime before 1875,J.W. was re-assigned to duty in Indianapolis.

Joseph William Greenenís son AlfredClement born Jan. 29, 1875 in Indianapolis
            Baptized March 14, 1875 at Saint John's.  Andy has baptismal certificate.

Sometime before October1877, J.W. Greenen was re-assigned to duty in Piqua Ohio, also amajor four directional crossing with a round house, maintenance facilitiesand switchyards.
Joseph William Greenenís son ThomasWilliam born Oct. 13, 1877 Piqua, Ohio
        Frank, a twin to Thomas William Greenen, survived only to age 15 months.
While in Piqua, Josephwould have received the news of the death of his father, Peter Greenen,in a horrible railroad accident in Indianapolis July 9, 1878.

In February of 1879,the family suffered the loss of their 15 month old son, "Frank," who wastwin to Thomas W. Greenen and who might have had health problems and "specialneeds" throughout his short life.

Joseph William Greenenís daughter BlancheCecelia born Feb. 15, 1880 in Piqua, Ohio.
          She was baptized at St. Mary Church in Piqua.   CLICKHERE to see Baptism Certificate. (Notyet on line)
The 1880 Census showsthe J.W. Greenen family living in Miami County (Piqua) Ohio, with childrenlisted as in our records, and also shows an Irish "Nanny" and a black housekeeperas  members of the household.
NameAgeRelationshipOccupationBirthplaceFather's BirthplaceMother's Birthplace
Greenan, Joseph38HusbandMaster of TransportationIrelandIrelandIreland
Katie34WifeKeeping HouseOhioIrelandNorth Carolina
Charles9sonAt schoolIndianaIrelandOhio
Joseph7sonAt schoolIndianaIrelandOhio
Epperson, Phebe13ServantNursemaidOhioIrelandNorth Carolina
Morton, Lena17ServantServantOhioVirginiaVirginia

Charles Peter Greenen:
John Joseph Greenen: (aka Joseph J. Greenen):
Alfred Clement Greenen:
Thomas William Greenen:
Francis * ("Frank")Greenen:  This child was the twin of Thomas William Greenen. (See "story" below.)
Blanche Cecelia Greenen:

*  It appearsthat there was little talk or memorializing of little "Frank" Greenen withinthe family or among descendants.  As of 1999, the only record of hisexistence had been an entry in one of Charles D. Greenen's worksheets whichindicated that this family had a child named Frank... and the assumptionwas that he had died in childhood.   When searching the recordsat St. Mary Church in Piqua, Ohio, however an unmistakable entry was foundin the burial records.  The record is clear and unmistakable and istranslated (from Latin:) February 13, 1979: I have buried the body of FrancisGreenen, age 15 months.  This information indicates clearly that thischild would have been a twin toThomas William Greenen;however he does notshow up in the baptismal records of the parish.  This fact leads usto believe that the child may have had problems which were noticed evenat birth... or before the date scheduled for baptism... and that he wasbaptized as an "emergency" prior to the baptism of his twin, Thomas.


In 1883 and 84 twoconsolidations occurred resulting in the formation of The Chicago St.Louis and Pittsburgh Railway Company.Again, these mergers increasedthe railroad's operations and assets, and, perhaps, required reconfiguringof management personnel.  By this time, Joseph W. Greenen hadworked his way well up the ranks of the railroad management heirarchy;and it is probably during this time that he became terminal manager atIndianapolis.  He would have just finished a 6 year tour of duty inPiqua.

Click on photo to see it full size
Evidence for his having achievedhigh rank by this time is the large exquisite home he purchased and raisedhis family in following their return from Piqua.  The home was at120 N. Arsenal Ave. in Indianapolis.

By this time the familywas complete, with Blanche, the baby and only girl now 3 or 4 years old. In spite of the tremendous sufferings and heart aches of the 10 previousyears, including the deaths of a brother, son, and father, Joseph W. Greenen,through hard work,  had made himself a successful man; and his familywas well provided for.   Fortunately for us, we do not need toimagine how the family looked during the first holiday season after theirreturn to Indianapolis, for a stunning photograph has been handed down:

Click on the photo to see it in full size
This photo, taken December 7, 1884,shows the J.W. Greenen family in their home at 120 N. Arsenal Ave. in Indianapolis. Pictured (left to right) are Alfred Clement, 9; Thomas William, 8; JosephWilliam Greenen, 42; Charles Peter, 14; Blanche Cecelia, 4; Sara Catherine"Katie" Ryan Greenen 36; John Joseph (aka "Joe") 11.   Amongother things, this photo is remembered for showing what appears to be rathersevere rheumatoid arthritis in J.W.'s hands.  This (or a similar disability)ultimately rendered him wheel-chair bound by 1900.
Charlie13 years & 12 months
Josie11 years & 4 months
Alfred9 years & 4 months
Tommie8 years & 2 months
Blanche4 years & 10 months
Pa42 years & 1 month
Ma36 years & 10 month

In addition to his position of terminalmanager, J.W. also began a coal business upon his return to Indianapolisfrom Piqua.  The coal yard was located on South State street. We have numerous entries from the Indianapolis City Directory between 1890and 1910, thanks to research by cousin Gloria Greenen Bixler.  Thesewill be scanned and posted as time allows.  In summary, the directoryentries indicate that his eldest son, Charles, was initially in the coalbusiness with him under the name of J.W. Greenen and Son.  Soon Charlesfell in love with Amelia Dewenter, whose father owned the very successfulKruse & Dewenter furnace manufacturing business.  Charles marriedAmelia ("Aunt Millie") and became involved in the Kruse & Dewenterenterprise, ultimately assuming control of it.  Meanwhile, J.W.'ssecond son, "Joe" (John Joseph) joined his father in the coal business;and continued to manage it, ultimately owning it after his father's death.

1890 Short haul locomotive

During 1890 two consolidationsoccurred and the Chicago St. Louis and Pittsburgh Railroad became the PittsburghCincinnati Chicago & St. Louis Railroad Company.Althoughnot documented, family tradition is that Joseph William Greenen workedfor the railroad (through its many mergers and name changes) for 50 years;so the assumption is that he would not have retired till well after the1890 merger/re-organization.   If he began work at 18, he wouldhave finished 50 years of service in the year 1910 at age 68.  Regardlessof exactly when he retired, it is known that he was presented with a verynice watch which (as of the year 2000) is in the posession of Cousin AndySauer.  It is a well known fact (also documented in pictures) thathe was wheel-chair bound for the last several years of his life. His wife Katie died in September of 1913... but not before the two of themenjoyed a few years of railroad travel.  His granddaughters have reportedtheir recollections of those days when JW had free passes for railroadtravel anywhere he wanted to go... with all the priviledges of high rank...and special attention to his wheel chair.

Click on the photo to see it in full size
 And, most importantly for this sectionof the Greenen history, his decendents have kept many letters he wroteon railroad stationery with the letterhead of the PittsburghCincinnati Chicago & St. Louis Railroad Company.

Thus far, there has not been time to do muchresearch regarding these years during which the children grew up. By this time, St. John's had both grade and high school; and it is clearfrom Andy Sauer's research that the children probably all attended St.Johns.  Many records might be available; and, as time allows, thesewill be sought and whatever is found will be posted with a link here.

Meanwhile, we now have some AWESOME photosand documentation regarding the graduation of Blanche Greenen Drew andher first cousin, (Michael Geenen's daughter) Regina, from Saint John'sin 1899 and 1897 respectively.
Thanks to researchby Andy Sauer, referred to earlier, we can enjoy the available documentationregarding the attendance at St. John's Academy... including graduation...of both Blanche Cecelia Greenen (daughter of J.W. and "Katie") ...and herfirst cousin, Regina Greenen, daughter of J.W.'s brother, Michael.

The letter at right should speak for itself!

What is NOT documented here (because recordsare not available) is that Blanche's mother, Sarah ("Katie") Ryan alsoattended St. John's as a boarding student during the 1860's as has beenpointed out above. 

As for Regina's mother, Ellen Coffield Greenen,it is not known whether she also attended St. John's; but it is believedthat she did NOT; as she was from Urbana and was married there, and probablyattended school in Urbana.

Click  on the photo to see it in full size
Click  on the photo to see it in fullsize
The photo at leftis the "official" graduation photo of the class of 1899 of St. John's Academy.

The photo clearly shows Blanche CeceliaGreenen (marked with an X) in a pose with I (personally) feel manifeststhe peaceful loving demeanor which tradition asserts was her "way" of being.

Note that the family names of this groupof graduates clearly indicates that St. Johns's was still predominentlyan Irish Catholic institution in 1899.

Click  on the photo to see it in fullsize
This photo of thegraduation  class of 1897 shows Blanche's elder cousin, Regina, markedwith an X.

Regina, daughter of J.W. Greenen's brotherMichael, was obviously a beautiful girl.  Tradition confirms this! Both tradition and the entry in "The History of Catholicity in Indiana"asserts that her family was one of the most prominent and respected Catholicfamilies in Indianapolis.

She had a number of brothers and sisters;and much information on this family has been gathered by Andy Sauer andour "Uncle Charlie" (Charles D. Geenen) and is in my files.  It willbe posted with a link to this site as time permits.


Joseph William Greenen retired sometimebefore 1911... and probably before 1909.  In 1907 he would have reachedthe age of 65.  Because of his known infirmity, he may well have retiredeven much earlier than that; but no tradition or available documents showa date for his retirement.  It is known that he was presented a "retirement"pocket watch which is still in the possession of his great grandson, AndySauer.

In 1905, J.W. was the central figure ina huge, complicated, and emotional series of proceedings in connectionwith the settlement of the estate of his mother-in-law, Sarah Moore Ryan,who died that year.  Professional researcher Arnold Dean [electedPresident of the Wayne County Genealogy Society in 2001] was able to locateall the pertinent documents in connection with this estate settlement andhard copies are being kept in my (DCD) files.  Among the interestingfacts revealed in these proceedings was that J.W. Greenen had taken onthe payment of the taxes on the Ryan home in Richmond for many years; andprobably had looked after his widowed (and probably handicapped) mother-in-lawfinancially from the day he married her namesake daughter.  The documentsalso give specific information regarding the whereabouts and lives of allof "Katie" Ryan Greenen's siblings, nieces and nephews.

1909 was a very big year for the J.W. Greenenfamily in other ways as well.  "Joe" (John Joseph Greenen) their secondson Married Esther Gagan Greenen (of Lafayette, Indiana) in the springof that year.  Esther ("Aunt Essie") was from a very prominent family;and the wedding was a spectacular one.  A newspaper clipping is onfile, thanks to their Grandson, Andy Sauer.  The clipping atteststo the pomp and ceremony that surrounded the event and will be posted astime allows.  Tradition is that this couple visited Washington D.C.during their honeymoon and were received at a dinner by President Taft,thanks to the "influence" of Essie's father.

Three months later, in June of 1909, J.W.and "Katie's" youngest child and only daughter married James "Harry" Drew. Two newspaper clippings of this wedding are also on file and attest thatthe wedding was very formal and a very significant social event in Indianapolis. The wedding occurred at Holy Cross church in Indianapolis.  The clippingswill be posted as time allows; but are an amazing study in "names and connections." Review of the clippings reveals that there were very close connectionsbetween the Greenen family and the Keefe and Gagan families (of Lafayetteand Anderson, respectively.)  Research by cousin Andy Sauer has revealedthat both families were highly successful.  The Gagans being involvedin the Hotel and real estate business in Layfayette; and the Keefe familyin the furnace business in Anderson.

Meanwhile, as was the mode of those times,the grandchildren began to arrive; and J.W. and Katie must have thoroughlyenjoyed the arrival, and many visits with each of them.

Following the marriage of their daughter,Blanche, J.W. and Katie's home would have become a proverbial "empty nest." Tradition passed down by their grandchildren holds that the two of them"spent every winter" at a rest home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Availabledocuments, however, confirm that they did this for only two or three winters...probably 1910 through 1912.  We can assume that their primary reasonfor doing this was the conviction that the warmer climate was beneficialto J.W.'s health problem.  Seveveral letters from Katie (and two fromJ.W.) to their daughter Blanche have been passed down, written on the stationeryof the rest home, which was a Catholic institution.  The predominenttheme of the letters is the state of their health and how much they missedBlanche's children, James and "Danny."  The letters are absolutelycharming and will be posted to this collection as time permits.  Theletters mention J.W.'s health quite often, but give no real hint that Katieis suffering from anything which would have predicted her death in 1913.

The photoat left shows "Katie" Ryan Greenen... obviously with one of hergrandchildren.  The photo caption does not indicate which child sheis holding; but it could be any of the following grandchildren which shewould have known before her death in 1913:

From Charles P. Greenen & Amelia Dewenter:Charles Dewenter Greenen and Robert Greenen.

From "Joe" (John Joseph Greenen & EstherGagen: Mary Esther Greenen, and (? 2) others.  [need help withthis recitation.]

From Blanche Greenen & James "Harry" Drew:James Joseph Drew and Daniel Greenen Drew.

Click on the photo to see it full size

Katie's letters to her daughter, Blanche, during1911 and 1912 give no indication of any serious illness.  She probablydied suddenly, or after a short illness in September of 1913.  J.W.was left a widower in his wheel-chair bound condition; but tradition holdsthat he maintained a positive attitude for the rest of his life; but wouldhave required considerable care.  It is known from tradition thathe spent time alternating with his children Joseph, Tom, and Blanche intheir homes.  It is also possible that he might have maintained thefamily home and that he might have been tended to by his sister in law,Margaret ("Aunt Maggie") whom we know never married and spent many yearsas a guest in the J.W. Greenen home over the years... (might have actuallylived with them) ...particularly after the death of her mother in 1905and the sale of that famous and venerable old "Ryan home" in Richmond.

Having a lifetime "free pass" for railroadtravel, J.W. continued to travel and visit his children and grandchildrenafter the death of his wife.  The letter above is an example of themany letters and photos which document his many visits with his childrenand grandchildren.  CLICK HEREto see the (above) letter again, which "sets up" a visit to Kansas Cityin the fall of 1917 to visit his son and daughter in law Tom and Mayme,who were expecting their first child.  The photo at right below wasclearly dated (by caption as well as its connection with Mary Helna's birth)and indicates that J.W. had either stayed the entire winter there... ormade another trip there to meet his new granddaughter.  (Mary Helnawas too young to remember; but recites a tradition that he "lived withthem" for quite a long time.)  The photos below were taken duringhis time(s) in Kansas City... less than a year before his death.
Click on the photo to see it in full size

Click on the photo to see it in full size

At the time of his death, May 16, 1918,J.W. was in the care of his son "Joe" (John Joseph Greenen) in Indianapolis.
Additional letters and photos of J.W. andhis grandchildren are in my possession and will be posted as time allows.

Traditionholds that all five of J.W. Greenen's children came to his funeral, includingTom (who had to travel from Marcelene Missouri.)  It is not knownwhere Alfred was living at the time.

In the graveside photo at left, many ofJ.W.'s grandchildren are shown. J.W.'s son Thomas (still a bachelor) isseated in front with his nephew Daniel G. Drew to his right andWilliam K. Drew to his left.  James J. Drew is seated at Thomas'sright shoulder while Cecelia and Mary Louise Drew are seen over his leftshoulder.  Standing in the dark suit is Joseph J. ("Joe") Greenenholding one of his children.   Standing in the light suit isJames H. ("Harry") Drew holding Edward V. Drew.

J.W.'s other 3 children, Charles P., AlfredC., and Blanche ("Harry's" wife) are NOT shown in the photo.  It isbelieved that Charles P. Greenen actually took this picture.  CharlesP.'s two sons, Charles D. and Robert, are not shown.

Click on the photo to see it in full size
This is a gravesite photo taken on the day ofJ.W. Greenen's burial. 

Click on the photo to see it full size

This photo from the year 2001 showsthe gravesites of J.W. Greenen and his wife Sarah ("Katie") (Ryan) Greenenat Holy Cross Cemetery in Indianapolis.  [Not shown is the identicalstone of "Katie's" sister Margaret Ryan who is buried to the immediateleft beside her sister.]  Note that the dates of death are accurate;but that both birth years are incorrect "guesses" ...probably given tothe funeral directors by a family member who did not have the correct datesat hand; but who was willing to have his best guess be memorialized. J.W. Greenen's actual date of birth was November 29, 1842; and "Katie's"was February 29, 1848.