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A shotgun and locked doors couldn’t stop a couple in love

This is a photo of the Stephen Glascock house, where Porter Bush sent his daughter, Sarah (Sallie) to stay, in an attempt to keep her from marrying the Rev. J.P. Green of Shelbina in 1895. The Glascock house, until recent years, was located on Centerville Road, west of Hannibal, in Miller Township, Marion County, Mo. Photo reprinted from “Glascocks of Marion County Missouri” by Mary Lou Montgomery and Robert Robinson Spaun.


The Rev. J.P. Green sent by wire a sad message to friends and relatives in Monroe City, Mo., on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 24, 1908: “My wife died today,” the message read.

Her death at Oklahoma City, Okla., was a shock to those who knew and loved the former Sarah (Sallie) Gentry Bush, daughter of Porter Bush, a prominent Monroe County farmer, and his wife, Analiza (Anne E.) Gentry Bush.

Mrs. Green’s death came at the early age of 35. She had married Rev. Green – 13 years her senior – on Oct. 7, 1895, much to the chagrin of her widowed father. In fact, he went to great lengths to prevent the marriage. He ultimately failed in those attempts, but not before the lovebirds had attracted the interest of local reporters, who competed to print every detail of their attempts to be together.

Porter Bush’s concern was for his daughter’s financial wellbeing, he said. She had inherited a sizable amount of money from her grandfather’s estate (Joshua Gentry) and Mr. Bush maintained that his objection to the Presbyterian preacher was in that he was poor, while she was a woman of means.

While forbidding his daughter from seeing her paramour wasn’t working, he took more stringent action. He removed his daughter to the home of her aunt’s family – Stephen and Henrietta Gentry Glascock – in Miller Township, Marion County. There, she was kept as a virtual prisoner, the newspapers reported, although she was of legal age to marry.

Rev. Green learned of his intended’s whereabouts. “He took out a license in this county and drove out from Hannibal with a magistrate. Stephen Glascock – who had five daughters of his own ranging in age from 20 to 9 - chased them away with a shotgun and never allowed the girl to be seen.”

Rev. Green went back to Shelbina, where he was associated with the Presbyterian church as a minister. On Friday, Oct. 11, 1895, Sarah Bush managed to escape from the Glascock home and traveled to Quincy, Ill., to visit her friend, Miss Selma Herr. Somehow, Rev. Green found out, and made plans to travel to Quincy, too.

The Shelby County Herald carried a description of the events which followed, and published them in the Oct. 16, 1895 edition:

“Rev. J.P. Green got out his old marriage license, put on his preacher coat and came to Quincy. He climbed into Jesse Laird’s hack, and the driving was as the driving of Jehu. He dashed up the home at Seventh and Spring. He went to the back door. Sallie Bush was there. She seemed to be waiting. In an instant she darted out the front door and in another instant was speeding away in the hack. Miss Herr was away and not a person in the household knew anything of it. The demure puss had never whispered a word of her secret to her friend.

“The hack was driven to the ferry and thence across to the Missouri shore. Up the road they merrily sped until the house of Justice J.S. Connell, of Fabius Township, was reached. There they were married and in another hour they were at the Tremont, (in Quincy) registered as “Rev. J.P. Green and wife,” and were assigned to room 73.”

During the course of their 13-year marriage, Rev. and Mrs. Green relocated numerous times. He had been ordained at Hamilton, Mo., in 1889, and at the time of their marriage was contracted for a year to preach two sermons per month at Shelbina.

They lived, for a while, in Chicago where Rev. Green ministered to a Presbyterian congregation. He also served the Light Street Presbyterian church of Baltimore, Md., and pursued a course of study in Contemporary Philosophy at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1899, he was selected as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Ohio, where he remained for two years. Following that, he and Sarah moved to Ripley, Ohio where he accepted a ministry.

By 1902, he had earned his Ph.D. Mrs. Green’s death in 1906 suggests that they were living in Oklahoma City, Okla., when she died.

Buried at Monroe City

Mrs. Green’s body was returned to Monroe City for burial at St. Jude’s Cemetery. Also buried at that cemetery are her parents: Her mother died in 1892; and Porter Bush died in 1906. Also buried at the cemetery is Ambrose G. Bush, Sarah’s younger brother, who died in 1893.

On her tombstone is carved: “He giveth his beloved sleep Sarah Gentry Green wife of James Preston Green Ph.D. Born June 27, 1873 fell asleep Aug. 29, 1908.”

Stephen Glascock stands in front of his house circa 1912. In 1895, he pulled a shotgun on the Rev. J.P. Green, who was on the Glascock property, trying to see the woman he wanted to marry, Sarah (Sallie) Bush, who was inside the house. Her father objected to Rev. Green as a suitor for his daughter. Photo reprinted from “Glascocks of Marion County Missouri” by Mary Lou Montgomery and Robert Robinson Spaun.

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