Simon Greenleaf was born in Penobscot County, Maine, on May 3, 1822, and came west in 1851. He located in Shakopee, Minnesota, and remained there until 1863. He then moved to Davenport, Iowa; went to Racine, Wis., in 1865, and remained there until 1867 when he came to Savanna.
The Savanna Times was established in 1875 by J. William Mastin and Simon Greenleaf and for the first ten weeks it was printed at the office of the Shannon Gazette in Shannon.
The first issue was printed in Savanna was on September 11, 1875, at which time the equipment of the Shannon Gazette was moved to Savanna. In 1876 Simon Greenleaf bought out the interest of Mastin and became the editor and proprietor until 1884 when he sold the paper. In 1907, Miss L.M. Fraser became the editor of the paper and Hon. W.W. Gillespie the publisher. It continued until the merger in 1917 and was republican in politics with J.E. Humbert in charge.
Simon served as Justice of the Peace and was the School Director for six years. In 1846, he married Miss Frances J. Foss, a native of New Hampshire born Aug. 13, 1824. They had five sons and one daughter: Frederick W., Henry H., Ada E., Oliver W., Frank S. and Edward P.
In 1872, Simon built a house on the hill off Fifth Street, known as the “Hillside Home”. It still stands today. The Greenleaf family owned the entire hill along with a large apron of land down on the 'flat' that surrounded it. An Episcopalean of ardent faith, Simon donated a portion of the land to St. Paul's Episcopal church, where he was a founding member. A stained glass window in the structure commemorates him. He died in 1893.
Born on Aug. 16, 1859, in Minnesota, Francis “Frank” Greenleaf came to Savana with his parents and in 1885 started the Savana Daily Journal with his father. A year later he purchased his father’s interest and edited the Savanna Daily Journal.
The announcement was made in the Savanna Daily Journal on Saturday, Sept. 29, 1917, of the merger of the Savanna Times and the Savanna Daily Journal.
The first issue of the Savanna Times Journal was Monday evening, Oct. 1, 1917, under the ownership of Frank. In that first issue an editorial stated the paper would be politically non-partisan.
On Feb. 27, 1920, after 35 years of ownership, Greenleaf sold the paper to Will H. Gharrity of Beloit, Wisconsin.
He was married to wife Margaret and then had four children: Kenneth, Harold, Dorothy and John. Started in 1899 and finished in 1901, “Hillcrest" was constructed about the Hillside home and in the Queen Anne vernacular.
"Hillcrest," built of local brick and limestone brought by rail from Indiana, boasted two water closets (bathrooms), in a time and place where indoor plumbing was a rarity. In addition, Margaret had installed a marble sink with hot and cold running water in her bedroom, where commonly a large pitcher of tepid water in a bowl were the standard fixtures. Luxury woods of Birdseye Maple and quarter-sawn oak were used throughout the first floor public rooms. Going beyond the "modern convenience of electricity throughout" the dining room boasted a Tiffany chandelier, and little lights between the oaken beams of the coffered ceiling. The house in now called Havencrest.
He organized the Savanna Savings Building and Loan Association in 1886 and for more that 50 years served as its secretary. He was also associated with seven insurance companies and for seven years had an insurance office. Francis died on Feb. 21, 1944, at the age of 84 following a stroke.
The residence of f.S Greenleaf was started in 1898 and was finished three years later. Today it is known as Havencrest and is owned by Alan St. George.