A Final Word on Talbot H. Green (with Picture!)

I couldn’t find a picture of Talbot H. Green online or in any books, and I assumed that while in California he avoided having his likeness taken. But I thought that there just might be a picture of his grave online, under his real name of Paul Geddes. And I got lucky!


Paul Geddes, from the Rob Leicester Wagner Collection

On findagrave.com there is a picture of the Geddes family tomb at the Lewisburg, PA cemetery, plus there is a picture of the man himself. I contacted Rob Wagner, who posted the picture, and he tells me that Paul Geddes was his three-times great uncle, and that his (Rob’s) grandmother, kept a family photo album in which this picture appears. It is definitely Paul Geddes, aka Talbot H. Green. The photograph was probably taken sometime around 1860 in Pennsylvania.

Looking at this photo, you can see why “Cheyenne” Dawson described him as “gentlemanly, kindly, genial, generous,” and “a favorite with all.”

There is some confusion about the group daguerreotype of Thomas O. Larkin and his business associates. The man at the back left is sometimes identified as Talbot H. Green, and they are similar looking. But the Bancroft Library identifies him as Samuel J. Hensley, and that accords better with other pictures of Hensley. SCPfounding members

The findagrave.com site also has a photo


Henrietta Geddes, from the Rob Leicester Wagner Collection.

of Mrs. Geddes, courtesy of Rob Wagner.  Here is Geddes’ long-suffering first wife, Henrietta Fredericks Geddes.

I am very grateful to Rob Wagner for making these pictures available online. I agree with him that “genealogists, researchers and just the plain curious should have free access to photos, documents, newspaper obituaries and ephemera.”

One last photograph. Talbot H. Green was a founding member of the Society of California Pioneers and its first treasurer. The Society is still in existence in San Francisco and has a wonderful little research library.

I was there a few months ago, looking for material on John Bidwell and Dr. John Townsend. In leafing through their membership book I found the entry for Talbot H. Green. Near the bottom is the note “ex-member,” with an explanation. I find it poignant that he was struck off the books like that, for in spite of his mistakes, he was indeed a California pioneer.


About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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5 Responses to A Final Word on Talbot H. Green (with Picture!)

  1. Thank you for sharing an amazing story. When I think of California as the place to “re-invent” oneself, I think of 20th century stories. But Green/Gedde’s saga shows that our state has always had that magical affect. Looking forward to more!

  2. Marilyn Carvin says:

    Thank you for the picture. Am writing an historical novel and Sarah Montgomery Green Wallis and Talbot Green are two characters I couldn’t leave out. My hero at one point is working with Green for Larkin just prior to the Mexican/American War. My heroine joined Sarah’s quilting bee and with Eliza Gregson is teaching Sarah to read. So pleased to find a picture of “Mr. Green”!

  3. Jonathan Carr says:

    Extremely fascinating…Paul Geddes (Talbot H. Green) is a distant relative of mine and I found this when I was doing some genealogical research. Definitely interested in reading more about his adventures.

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