William Cornell Greene
1988 Inductee from Mining's Past
At 19, Bill Greene quit his job as a clerk and headed west in search of a new career. Eventually he reached central Arizona and prospected the Bradshaw Mountains. In 1880, he began exploring farther south, between Nogales and Tombstone and into Sonora, Mexico.
Bill Greene developed strong entrepreneurial skills in copper mining and cattle raising. Ultimately, his company, the Greene Consolidated Copper Company, built the town of Cananea and organized its world-renowned copper mining and smelting complex.
His ranches, the Greene Cattle Company and the Cananea Cattle Company, controlled about 800,000 acres of land on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Other firms organized by Greene included the Greene Gold-Silver Company, the Sierra Madre Land and Lumber Company, and two railroad companies.
“Colonel” William Greene was a frontiersman eager to gamble his intellect and ability against any suitable challenge. He was held by his peers as a man of great courage and imagination, great energy and determination, and great personal charm and human warmth. He was a builder on a grand scale and is to be remembered for his enormous vision and belief in the human spirit.