Who Was Eliza Green?
Note: The Chicago White Stockings in this biography eventually became what is known today as the Chicago Cubs.
Eliza Green was born in 1852 in Rochester, New York to parents that migrated to the United States from Nottinghamshire, England which is the home of Robin Hood. On her street in Rochester was the Anthony family where she was taught by the youngest sister of the group Mary (she went on to be a headmistress at several schools). Eliza became close friends with Mary’s sister Susan B. Anthony. Later in life, Susan B. Anthony would become a leader of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. It is documented through newspaper articles that Eliza was a frequent visitor at the Anthony home and quite possibly had some pointers on women’s rights.
In 1869, Eliza married Silas Grover Williams who was a decorated Civil War veteran as he served with General William Sherman and was part of the “March to the Sea” led by the general. After the war, they moved to Chicago, Illinois and purchased a house that was directly across from the baseball field where the Chicago White Stockings played baseball. They had two children, Charles Green Williams in 1871 and Sarah Estella in 1876. “Stella”, as she was called, died in her youth. Charles would become treasurer of the ball club in his later years.
Eliza loved baseball and would attend as many games as she could. She would always strike up conversations with people and they would debate whether plays were to be deemed a hit or an error. These people were known as “kickers.” She was so knowledgeable about the game that Eliza was on a first name basis with owner Albert Spalding. He noticed that even the players that were complaining would seek out Eliza and ask her thoughts on the scoring of certain plays. Spalding had the idea that maybe he should name her the official scorekeeper of the team. There had never been a female in the role in the major leagues. The issue for Spalding was that Eliza was a female and fans, news reporters and the entire world would ridicule him if he hired her to be their scorekeeper. So they concocted a plan that would allow her to do the job without anyone else knowing it. Eliza became the official scorekeeper for the Chicago Cubs and she filed her scorebook as E.G. Green (no one seemed to know that Green was her maiden name).
Cap Anson, the manager of the team, was not given the details of who the scorekeeper was and Eliza would sit at most games with Cap’s wife, Virginia, and discuss the game without any notice of her doing the job. She always kept the score even before being hired. After the games and when she went home, she would have her son take an envelope to be mailed and it went back to the stadium as the official scorekeeper’s decision. He didn’t know until years later that his mom was doing the job. She did the job from 1882 through 1891. During that time, many players would still seek her out to see if she agreed with the scorekeeping decisions being made. She would give her rationale and the players went away satisfied. They had no clue that they were talking to the actual scorekeeper of the team.
Eliza’s husband died in 1895 and she married John Albert Cole Brown in 1896. He was Secretary-Treasure of the team at the time of her marriage. He died two years later and her son, Charlie, had the fortune of being Secretary-Treasure for the Chicago Cubs when they won the World Series in 1908.
She married Homer M. Daggett in 1903 who came from a prominent political family in Massachusetts. Eliza had always had a keen interest in politics and was National Secretary of the Women’s Relief Corps for seven terms and was its president in 1918-1919. She became an alternate delegate to the 1920 Republican Convention which was being held in Chicago and was selected to be part of the committee to inform Warren G. Harding he had the nomination for President of the United States. Women received the right to vote on August 26, 1920.
Following the teachings of her best friend Susan Anthony, she became the first woman to run for mayor in Massachusetts but lost. She has been photographed in front of the White House with President Coolidge. Her husband died in 1925 and she continued her cause for women until she died in 1926 of breast cancer. She is buried in Chicago, Illinois.
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