Fred W. Green

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Fred W. Green
Fred Warren Green circa 1927.jpg
Green circa 1927
31st Governor of Michigan
In office
January 1, 1927 – January 1, 1931
LieutenantLuren D. Dickinson
Preceded byAlex J. Groesbeck
Succeeded byWilber M. Brucker
Personal details
Born(1871-10-19)October 19, 1871
Manistee, Michigan, United States
DiedNovember 30, 1936(1936-11-30) (aged 65)
Munising, Michigan, United States
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Helen Adeline Kelly; one child
SignatureFred W. Green cursive signature circa 1900

Fred Warren Green (October 19, 1871 – November 30, 1936) was the 31st Governor of Michigan from 1927 to 1931, and he was the mayor of Ionia, Michigan, from 1913 to 1916. Active in athletics during his time as a student at Michigan State Normal School (now Eastern Michigan University), and at the University of Michigan, Green earned a varsity letter playing for the Michigan State Normal football team in 1895 and is credited as the team's head coach during the 1896 season in which they were declared champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Green served as a delegate to the 1932 and 1936 Republican National Conventions.

Early life[edit]

Education and athletics[edit]

Green was born in Manistee, Michigan, and grew up in Cadillac, son of Holden Nathaniel Green and his wife Adaline Green (née Clark).[1] His education was attained in Ypsilanti at Michigan State Normal School (now Eastern Michigan University), where he graduated in 1893, and at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he earned a law degree in 1898.[2] When Michigan State Normal joined the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1892, Green was selected as the school's first representative to the athletic conference.[3] From 1893 to 1895, Green worked as a reporter in Ypsilanti.[4] During this time, he continued his involvement in Michigan State Normal athletics, serving as "Manager of Foot Ball" for the Normal Athletic Association during the first term of 1893–94 academic year and as "Director of Sports" during the second term.[5] In 1895, Green earned a varsity letter as a member of the Michigan State Normal football team. The following year, in 1896, he coached the football team to a 4–1 record. Michigan Normal was named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champions that season with a record of 2–0 in the conference.[6] The team's sole loss came against the University of Michigan football team, the only team that scored against the Normalites that season.[7] While a student at Michigan, Green was the "Class Athletic Manager" during the 1897–98 academic year.[8]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Michigan State Normal Normalites (Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1896)
1896 Michigan State Normal 4–1 2–0 1st
Michigan State Normal: 4–1 2–0
Total: 4–1
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

Military service and legal work[edit]

Green served in the U.S. Army during the Spanish–American War. He was a first lieutenant in the 31st Michigan Volunteer Infantry and later was promoted to battalion adjutant. After the war, he returned to Ypsilanti as the city attorney, as well as attorney for the Ypsilanti Reed Furniture Company, a business he later owned in a partnership.[2] His furniture company in Ionia was "one of the largest industries of its kind in the country".[9]


In 1904, he moved the business to Ionia, Michigan. He was a delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan in 1912, where U.S. President William Howard Taft was renominated. Green served as Mayor of Ionia from 1913 to 1916 and was instrumental in the establishing the Ionia Free Fair in 1915, which, at one time, was the world's largest free admission event of its kind. From 1915 to 1919, he was treasurer of the Michigan Republican Party. In 1920, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention that nominated Warren G. Harding for U.S. President.

Governor Fred Green (far left, holding hat) with Eagle Scouts— including future Pres. Gerald Ford (to highlight, click here)— on Mackinac Island, Michigan (1929)

On November 2, 1926, Green was elected Governor of Michigan. He was re-elected to a second two-year term in 1928. On May 18, 1927, the afternoon of the Bath School disaster, Green assisted in the relief work, carting bricks away from the scene. In 1928, he served as a delegate to the RNC which nominated Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover for president. Howard C. Lawrence was Green's secretary and business partner.[10] During his administration, Green expanded a fish planting program and took part in the acquisition of seven state parks. He initiated a comprehensive budget system, authorized a new code of criminal practices, secured appropriations for a state hospital building program, and improved workmen's compensation.

The Green administration was notably important in modernizing Michigan's highways. He is touted as the "inventor of the no passing lane", which was adopted as an important safety improvement throughout the country. He was also an early proponent of the Mackinac Bridge.[11]

On October 22, 1927, Governor Green participated in the dedication of the new University of Michigan Football Stadium: "Michigan Governor Fred W. Green and his Ohio counterpart Vince Donahey, and Presidents C. C. Little of Michigan and George W. Rightmire of Ohio, led the massed bands of the two universities onto the field from the east tunnel. The bands paraded to the flag pole where the national ensign was raised and the vast throng stood bareheaded during the playing of the 'Star Spangled Banner' and 'The Yellow and Blue.'"[12]

In 1927, he appointed Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg, who was editor of the Grand Rapids Herald, to the U.S. Senate to replace as the late Senator Woodbridge N. Ferris.[13] He chose Vandenberg only when pressured to do so by the state Republican organization.[14]

In 1928, Green's campaign created the slogan "Keep Michigan Green" as a part of a fire prevention program.[15]

Retirement and death[edit]

After leaving office, Green returned to his favorite pastime of hunting and fishing. In 1932, Green served as a delegate to the RNC which nominated Herbert Hoover for re-election, who was defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1936, he again served as a delegate to the RNC which nominated Alf Landon for U.S. President, who was also unsuccessful at unseating Roosevelt. He was a Presbyterian and a member of the Freemasons, Elks and Rotary.

Fred Green died in Munising Hospital in Munising, Michigan, on November 30, 1936, ten days after suffering a heart attack while on a deer hunting trip.[9][16] He is entombed in a mausoleum at the Highland Park Cemetery in Ionia, Michigan.

His accumulated papers, two linear feet and five volumes, are at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.[17]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Michigan Governor Fred Warren Green". National Governor's Association. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  3. ^ The Aurora, 1894. p. 115. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  4. ^ The Aurora, 1895. p. 102. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  5. ^ The Aurora, 1894. p. 112. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  6. ^ "Football Media Guide" (PDF). Eastern Michigan University. 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
  7. ^ DeLassus, David. "1896 Coaching Records By Game: Fred Green". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  8. ^ 1898 Michiganensian. p. 80. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Former Governor Green Is Stricken. Taken Ill on Hunting Trip. Overtaxed Heart and Gall Bladder Trouble Fatal to Former Executive. Ionia Mayor 13 Times". Ironwood Daily Globe. Associated Press. November 30, 1936.
  10. ^ "Index to Politicians: Green, E to F". Political Graveyard. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  11. ^ "Fred W. Green". Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  12. ^ "This I Remember: The 1927 Michigan Stadium Dedication". Michigan Wolverines. September 22, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  13. ^ "National Affairs: Michigan's Vandenberg". Time Magazine. April 29, 1927. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  14. ^ LIFE: page 60, February 6, 1939, accessed January 10, 2011
  15. ^ "Wildfire Prevention Week is April 20–26". Michigan Department of Natural Resources. April 17, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  16. ^ "Fred W. Green, 64, of Michigan, Dead. Governor, 1927-31, Is Stricken While on Hunting Trip in Northern Part of State. Successor To Groesbeck, Treasurer of Republican State Central Committee 10 Years. Furniture Company Head". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  17. ^ Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan Archived 2010-08-20 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

  • Sobel, Robert; Raimo, John eds. (1978). Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978. vol. 2 (of 4). Westport, Connecticut: Meckler Books. p. 1123. ISBN 0-930466-01-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link).

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Alex J. Groesbeck
Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
Wilber M. Brucker