Documenting the American South Logo
Collections >> First-Person Narratives, The North Carolina Experience >> Document Menu >> Summary

Wharton J. Green (Wharton Jackson), 1831-1910
Recollections and Reflections: An Auto of Half a Century and More
[Raleigh, N.C.]: Edwards and Broughton Printing Company, 1906.


Wharton Jackson Green (1831-1910) was born on his grandfather's plantation in St. Mark's, Florida. When he was four years old, his mother died, and he was sent to live with his maternal uncle in middle Tennessee. A decade later, his father, General Thomas Jefferson Green, took him to Washington, where young Green met notable politicians such as Dr. Branch T. Archer, Jefferson Davis, and John C. Calhoun. In 1850, he became a cadet at West Point. He went on to study law at the University of Virginia and Cumberland University, and, after completing his studies and being admitted to practice before the Supreme Court, joined a Washington law firm. Shortly after, he left for Texas and traveled throughout that state before returning east to marry Esther Ellery in 1858. The couple traveled widely in Europe and Egypt before settling in Warren County, North Carolina. At the start of the Civil War, he enrolled as a private but was later promoted to colonel and lieutenant colonel. In 1883, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served two terms. He retired to his home in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

Green's memoir, Recollections and Reflections: An Auto of Half a Century and More (1906), describes his ancestry, education, Civil War military experiences, and later political achievements. During the Civil War, Green fought on the eastern coast of North Carolina and was taken prisoner by the North at Roanoke Island, after a short while he was released on parole until an exchange of prisoners was arranged. After rejoining the war he fought at the battle of Gettysburg, where he was taken prisoner after being wounded. Throughout the narrative, Green recounts his friendships with esteemed political and military men of the South—offering a personal perspective on the great figures of his time. He includes accounts of his travels in Texas, California, and throughout the United States as well as in Europe. The appendix, which comprises a third of the book, republishes Green's earlier articles and speeches on varied topics from Jefferson Davis to Rome, Italy to the adulteration of food and drugs.

Work Consulted: Powell, William S., ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 2, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1979-1996.

Harris Henderson

Document menu