Green, Robert Berrien (1865–1907)

By: Anne Leslie Fenstermaker

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: December 4, 2019

Robert B. Green, lawyer and public servant, one of four children of Nathaniel Otho and Martha (Fulton) Green, was born in San Antonio, Texas, on May 16, 1865. His parents had moved to Texas in 1856 from Tennessee. He was educated at the German-English School in San Antonio and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University), where he graduated in 1884. He read law in his father's law office in San Antonio until he left for law school in 1889. He received his law degree from Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1890.

In 1884, while still at college, Green was elected captain of the newly formed Belknap Rifles of San Antonio. Under his leadership the Belknaps became a prize-winning drill company nationally. In 1886 Green became secretary to United States senator Richard Coke and accompanied him to Washington.

He was appointed judge of the Thirty-seventh Judicial District of Texas in 1895 and at the age of twenty-eight was said to be the youngest federal district judge in the country. He was reelected. In Bexar County he responded to critical conditions; the county, heavily in debt, was paying workers in scrip, and a political machine controlled all city and county matters. Green also believed the county had not taken proper interest in problems of youth and their treatment in the courts. He ran for county judge in 1900 as a nonpartisan and was elected. His campaign was based upon reforming finance, building roads, and enforcing the laws. Upon his election he fulfilled one promise by immediately reducing his monthly salary of $200 to $100 until the county recovered. Though his careful management brought the county out of debt, his salary was never restored. Green initiated the first bond election ever considered by Bexar County voters to provide good roads. In 1911, 187 miles was completed under his supervision. Green, known as the "incorruptible judge," was elected in 1906 to the state Senate from the Twenty-fourth Senatorial District. He ran on behalf of labor and his interest in obtaining a juvenile court system in Texas. He served in the Thirtieth Legislature and was appointed to the Senate committee investigating the conduct of United States senator Joseph W. Bailey. Green also worked for the regulation of insurance companies in Texas. After the session he and his brother, N. Otho Green, opened a law office in San Antonio.

Green was a Democrat, although he ran locally as an independent. He was a Presbyterian. In 1897 he married Mary Rowena (Rena) Maverick of St. Louis; Mary Vance Green, artist and educator, was one of their four children. Green died of a heart attack on December 1, 1907, while on a hunting trip in the Hill Country, and was buried in the Confederate Cemetery in San Antonio. Robert B. Green Hospital in San Antonio was named in his honor.

Rena Maverick Green, Robert B. Green: A Personal Reminiscence (San Antonio, 1962). San Antonio Express, December 3, 1907.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anne Leslie Fenstermaker, “Green, Robert Berrien,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 09, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 4, 2019