Robert E. Lee Greear
ROBERT E. LEE GREEAR. The industrial and commercial interests of Grayson County have a progressive and influential representative in the person of Mr. Greear, who is a manufacturer of and wholesale dealer in lumber, with headquarters in the thriving little city of Trout Dale.
Mr. Greear was born at Grant, this county, February 3, 1869, a sort of Eli Washington Greear, who was born in that swine place in 1833, and who died at Trout Dale in 1898. Shadrick Greear, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Franklin County Virginia, and became a pioneer in the Grant District of Grayson County, where he developed a large farm estate and was the owner of numerous slaves. There he remained until his death, as did also his wife, whose maiden name was Bettie Baker and who was born in North Carolina.
Eli Washington Greear was reared on the old homestead place in Grayson County, and for a number of years he conducted a general store at Grant. He opened the first store in the newer town of Trout Dale, and here he continued as a leading merchant until his death. He. was one of the historic California argonauts of 1849, and was successful in his gold-ruining operations. he remained in California three years, having bone across the plains to that state and having returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama. In 1880 he established his store at Trout Dale, but he continued to reside at Grant until 1883, when he transferred the family home to Trout Dale. In addition to his successful mercantile business he was prominently associated with farm enterprise, as the owner of a large tract of fine mountain land in his native comity. 11e was originally a Whig and later a republican in politics, and he and his wife were earnest members of the Baptist Church. As a soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil war Mr. Greear served as a bugler in the command of Gen. J. E. B. Stuart. His wife, whose maiden dame was Loudema Young, was born near the mouth of Wilson Creek, Grayson County, in 1840, and she survived him several years, her death having occurred in 1902, at Trout Dale. Of the children the eldest, Alonzo Napoleon, died at the age of sixty years, he having been a successful merchant at Grant; Victoria’s first husband, Mitchell M. Hash, died at Grant, he having been a farmer and merchant, and site is now the wife of John A. Dixon, a representative farmer in that section of Grayson County; George died in infancy; William Clayborne is a farmer in the Grassy Creek District of North Carolina; Robert T:. L., of this sketch, was the next in order of birth; Nellie J. is the wife of Charles W. Ray, a farmer near Jefferson, North Carolina; James Monroe is a merchant and farmer residing at Trout Dale; John F., of Trout Dale, was formerly cashier of the Bank of Trout Dale and now gives his time largely to the supervision of his farm interests, he having served one term :is a member of the State Senate and two terms as supervisor of Grayson County; and Wiley was engaged in mercantile enterprise at Trout Dale at the time of his death, when twenty-four years of age.
To the public schools of Grayson County Robert E. L. Greear is indebted for his youthful education. He was reared on the home farm and early began to assist in its operations, besides gaining practical experience by working fir his father’s store, his connection with which thus continued until he attained to his legal majority. He then went to Bluefield, West Virginia, in which state he remained two years, as timekeeper and clerk for contractors there engaged in construction work on the Norfolk & Western Railroad. Mr. Greear then varied his experience by going to the famous Cripple Creek mining district in Colorado, and after having there been identified with timber operations one year he returned to his native county, where he has since been a prominent and successful developer of the timber resources of this county and also of Smyth County. With this line of industrial enterprise he has cut arid manufactured timber from fully 18,000 acres, and he is the owner of a specially valuable tract of 250 acres of timber land. He is still continuing his successful operations as a manufacturer of and wholesale dealer in lumber, his headquarters being in the office building owned by him at Trout Dale, where is established also his modern trimming mill for the handling of lumber.
Mr. Greear is found loyally arrayed in the ranks of the republican party, arid he served as a member of the Village Council of Trout Dale from the time of the town’s incorporation in 1906, until his election to the office of mayor, of which he is the vital and progressive incumbent at the time of this writing (19:33). He is affiliated with Trout Dale Lodge No. 713, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. For eight years he was treasurer and general manager of the Trout Dale Manufacturing Company, and as a contractor he constructed the line of the Virginia Southern Railroad from Sugar Grove to Trout Dale. In the World war period he was a zealous supporter of all local patriotic activities, and made his contributions to the Government war loans and other objects of thorough consistent liberality.
March 20, 1891, recorded the marriage of Mr. Greear and Miss Birdie M. Carson, who likewise was born at Grant, Grayson County. Of their children the eldest, Blaine, born in 1897, resides at Bluefield, West Virginia, where he is in the employ of the Norfolk
Western Railroad Company. Howard Blair, the second son, was born in 1899, is an electrical engineer and resides at Schenectady, New York. He was in the nation’s military service during the entire period of American participation in the World war, gained the rank of second lieutenant, and at Camp Lee, Virginia, was assigned to the training of recruits (luring the greater part of his period of service. Blanche, the widow of Grover C. Pasley, who was a merchant at Trout Dale at the time of his death, now resides in the City of Roanoke. Arthur, born in 1901, is an electrician and resides at Trout Dale; Irene remains at the parental home; Ralph, born in 1905, is in West Virginia, as an electrical engineer; and Joseph, Lottie Lee, Juanita, Robert and Beeber are the younger members of the parental home circle.