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A (Green County) House Divided
Green County House

“Jack Osburn,” proprietor of the Green County House, was arrested and taken to jail on Sunday, October 8, 1876. “He had been on a continuous spree for several days, or weeks, and everything had gone wrong about the house. Of course he laid the blame all upon his overworked and ill-treated wife, who, with insufficient help and two young children, was expected to keep things up in good shape, while her gallant ‘Lord and master,’ had a good time. The plan wouldn’t work! It was an impossibility. But Jack Osburn couldn’t see it, and he proposed to chastize [sic] his wife and make her do better. He whipped her - he was stronger than she was, you see, and of course he reasoned in this way, ‘might is right.’ He gave her ‘a good licking.’ Mrs. Osburn took her older two children, by her first husband, and went home, procuring a livery team for that purpose. In the evening she returned for her two younger children, one a babe about six months old, which Osburn refused to give up to her when she first went away. She found her children had been taken to Mr. Wm. Osburn’s, whose family kindly cared for them, and their mother that night. On the next morning, Sunday, Mrs. Osburn went to the hotel to get clothing for herself and babes, and Osburn refused to let her have anything. Sheriff Ball was then called upon, and Osburn was arrested to preserve peace. Mrs. Osburn got her clothing and returned to her people. Whisky! Whisky! Thy name is Devil” 

Cal Ludlow, Arabut’s half brother, was named the proprietor of the Tremont House later that year. An undated article said that the House had “been for some time poorly managed by Jack Osborne.” Mr. Ludlow will undertake to redeem the reputation of the House, and we have no doubt he will. He proposes to keep first rate accommodations for travelers, farmers, and teamsters.” 

Two articles in the Sentinel on June 6, 1877 described a fracas that had happened at the Tremont House on Sunday morning (the 3rd). One said that a man named Atkins, a brick layer, came into one of the sleeping rooms that was occupied by two people at 3:00 a.m. He was intoxicated and disturbed another boarder who did not appreciate being disturbed at that hour. Trying to quiet the drunk man did not work; “the rumpus ended in blows with boots and other articles.” Atkins promised to pay the other’s board and doctor bill if he would not squeal. “But whether Mr. Cal. Ludlow is satisfied to have his hotel compromised by allowing such disturbers of the peace and the respectability of the Tremont, to go unpunished, remains to be seen. Mr Ludlow should teach such fellows that they cannot get up a brutal row in his house with impunity.”

The second article said that the man who was so “severely pounded” was a man named Smith. Atkins pounded him “because he snored so loud that he couldn’t stand it; and after telling him three times to dry up that snoring; and Smith being asleep paid no attention to the demand; Atkins thought himself justified in mauling said Smith.” 

It was shared in July that Ludlow had not sold any liquor at the Tremont House since his license ran out and he was not going to fight the law. It is unknown why his license expired. The editor added, “It is a manifest injustice to Mr. Ludlow to permit any other hotel to sell liquors under the circumstances. Mr. Ludlow has set a commendible [sic] example for other hotels to follow.”

There was another rumpus at the Tremont House on Saturday afternoon, May 18, 1878. A young man had come in from the rural area who was not aware of how much “devil” was contained in what he was drinking. He was noisy and disorderly, so Constable Payne was summoned. Payne attempted to arrest the lad when a fracas ensued. The young man showed fight from the beginning, but was finally arrested. The prisoner bit the constable’s hand severely; several others also felt the effects of his fury. The man was kept in “Studley’s hotel” until appearing before Justice Abbott on Monday afternoon where he pleaded guilty. His relatives paid the $50 fine and that was the end. The paper did not share his name because “he is naturally a steady young man.”

Arabut and Caroline Ludlow sold the property to Fred Thomm on February 20, 1882. It was announced in the Sentinel on March 8 that he had changed the name back to the Green County House and would “do his best to make it a home for Green County farmers and travelers generally who put up with him. He has stable room and conveniences, and will do his utmost to merit patronage.” City busses ran to and from this house to all trains. This was the eighth time the property had been sold in ten years. 

An alarm sounded after dinner on June 1 because of a burning chimney at the hotel. “There was a great deal of excitement, and many things belonging to the house were carried out before the scare subsided.” Thomm was several miles from town at the time of the alarm and received word through a doctor who had heard it. He raced his horses back to Monroe and found that everything was all right.

Alexander and Mary J. Duncan sold Lot 6 Block 32 in Rattan’s Addition to New Mexico (the lot immediately to the west of the hotel) to Fred Thomm for $1,000 on May 28, 1883. For the rest of these columns, when the property is sold, it refers to both lots.

More of the interesting history of the Green County House will be shared in the next two columns.

— Matt Figi is a Monroe resident and a local historian. His column will appear periodically on Saturdays in the Times. He can be reached at or at 608-325-6503.