ROBERT GREENLEE, one of the prominent contractors and builders of Bloomington, is of stanch Pennsylvania birth
and parentage, having been born in Crawford County, on the 12th of May, 1831. His parents were Owen and Margaret
(Townley) Greenlee, natives of the Keystone State, where the father was engaged in agricultural pursuits and operated
a sawmill on his farm for a period of thirty years. This homestead he occupied until his death, which occurred
in 1875, he having survived the partner of his youth twenty-five years, the wife and mother dying in 1850.
They had a family of fourteen children, only six of whom are living, as follows: Robert, Sarah, Cyrus, Harrison, Margaret and Frances. The parents were members of the First Presbyterian Church and descended from excellent Scottish ancestry.
Robert Greenlee remained under the parental roof until he was twenty years old and then set out for the West to seek his fortune. His first location was in Clay County, this State, where he was engaged in building and trestle work on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. After three months thus employed he went to Hancock County, thence to Jacksonville, and in 1856 came to Bloomington. In the meantime he followed his original occupation, and is now possessed of a wide experience which has become a source of profit and yields him a handsome income. His business office is located at No. 409 North East street, and he has been engaged in the construction of some of the best buildings in the city, among them being the residence of the late Judge David Davis, the house and barn of James Robinson, the same for George Davis, and the residences of Messrs. William Withers, John Cheney, J.P. Smith and other handsome structures, besides the McLean County Jail, in 1882. Besides several large business houses he also superintended the erection of the boiler works for the Orphans’ Home at Normal [ed., Illinois Soldier’s & Sailor’s Home], and has had as many as thirty-five men in his employ.
The subject of our sketch, in 1858, was united in marriage with Miss Sallie Carman of Kentucky, and their union has been blest by the birth of six children, viz.: Frances A., Adelia, Theodore P., John W., Ulysses L. and Cora.
The family residence is a handsome structure located at No. 806 North Evans street, and within and without is indicative of the skill and the cultivated tastes of its proprietor. Mr. Greenlee is a Prohibitionist in politics, a straightforward business man, and a useful and valued citizen.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 448. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.