Most people who have lived on the SouthCoast for a time have heard about New Bedford’s Hetty Green, “The Witch of Wall Street” who during the Victorian Age became the richest woman in the world.

They have likely also heard tales of “Colonel” Edward “Ned” Howland Robinson Green, Hetty’s son, who was a bit of an eccentric and built the massive estate at Round Hill.

After his mother’s death, Green used his inheritance to create one of the country’s earliest radio stations, fund and host electromagnetic experiments through MIT that led to the Van de Graaff generators now at the Boston Museum of Science, and may have had a hand in other weird things happening at Round Hill.

READ MORE: The Weird Paranormal History of Dartmouth's Round Hill

But for all the strange stories that surrounded Ned Green, the strangest might be the curious case of him being reunited upon his death with his long-since-amputated leg.

When Ned was a teenager, he injured his leg. Some reports are that it happened in a sledding accident; another cites Green himself as saying it was a handcar incident.

No matter how he suffered the injury, what is known is that the leg became seriously infected enough that it had to be amputated.

In his book Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America’s First Female Tycoon, author Charles Slack suggests this was because Hetty refused to bring him to the doctor and tried to treat the injured leg herself, after she allegedly tried to bring him to the free clinic for medical care but was turned away when she was recognized as the wealthy “Witch of Wall Street.”

Public Domain
Public Domain

One woman, however, refuted that idea.

Roberta Sawyer grew up at Round Hill and told the Standard-Times in 2001 that Hetty’s daughter Sylvia Wilkes “told a completely different story.”

“The truth is that Hetty Green went around with her son for three days trying to find a doctor who felt he could save Ned's leg instead of amputating it,” Sawyer told the paper.

There is also a story that Hetty was too cheap to pay for her own medical issues, too.

The website New York Social Diary reports that Green “went around for 20 years beleaguered by a painful hernia before she finally had to see the doctor.”

Although outraged by his surgical fee of $150, she was “so desperate that she agreed,” the site states, “and later she tried to stiff the doctor.”

Following the amputation of his leg, the six-foot-three Ned Green spent the rest of his life with a cork prosthetic leg.

WFHN-FM/FUN 107 logo
Get our free mobile app

In his adult years, Ned Green was a notorious womanizer, and he became infatuated with one woman in particular: former prostitute Mabel Harlow.

She eventually moved in with Ned and became his “caretaker,” since Hetty forbade her son to marry for fear that a woman would bilk him out of the fortune she planned to leave for him and his sister.

Bain Collection/Library of Congress
Bain Collection/Library of Congress

Just days after Hetty’s death in July 1916, Ned proposed to Mabel and they were married a year later.

She signed a prenuptial agreement waiving any claims to his fortune in exchange for a payment of $1500 per month for the rest of her life.

Public Domain
Public Domain

The agreement later led to a legal battle following Ned’s death as she then sought to acquire his entire estate, a legal battle that also involved Ned's cork prosthetic.

Because the Greens owned home in multiple states, those states all laid claim to the inheritance taxes owed by his estate.

Eventually it was determined by the Supreme Court, which determined he was a resident of Massachusetts at the time of his death, even though Texas tried to use the fact that he'd left a cork leg in his home there as proof he planned on returning to the Lone Star State.

Public Domain
Public Domain

Mabel did fulfill Ned’s one final dying wish: she had his original, amputated leg exhumed and buried with the rest of his body in the small town of Bellows Falls, Vermont, which had been Hetty Green’s retreat up in the Green Mountains.

His grave is now right down the road from a park in Bellows Falls that was named Hetty Green Park in 1961, and in 2014 survived an attempt to change its name to honor local veterans instead of “The Witch of Wall Street.”

LOOK: These are the richest women in America

From self-made businesswomen to heirs of wealthy American dynasties, these are the 50 richest women in America, compiled from Forbes data by Stacker.  

Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer

LOOK: The largest lottery jackpots in US history

Stacker compiled a list of the 15 largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history from news reports and lottery press releases. [This list is current as of July 25, 2023.]

Gallery Credit: Chandler Friedman

More From WFHN-FM/FUN 107