Skip to main content

Full text of "Proceedings of the testimonial banquet given by the Old Inter Ocean Boys' Club to their former chief William Penn Nixon, at the Palmer House, Chicago, on the evening of November 22, 1904"

See other formats


Collection of Chicagoana 


The University Library 


*~: ! 


William Penn Nixon 


Proceedings of the 

Testimonial Banquet 

Given by the 

Old Inter Ocean Boys' Club 

To their Former Chief 

William Penn Nixon 

At the Palmer House, Chicago, on the 
Evening of 

November 22, 1904 


Printed for Private Distribution 

fffif Infusttir ^3rrB 



At a casual meeting of three or four of the old Inter Ocean 
boys during the early fall of 1904, the conclusion was reached 
that it would be a good idea to organize a club, to be composed 
of the members of the Inter Ocean staff serving prior to 1880. 
Suiting the action to the word, the Club was formed, and bap- 
tized the Old Inter Ocean Boys' Club, and officers elected as 
follows : 

George B. Armstrong, President. 

W. J. Irvin, Treasurer. 

Thomas O. Thompson, Secretary. 

Thomas C. MacMillan, Chairman Entertainment Com- 

It was at once decided that the first official act of the Club 
should take the shape of a banquet to our former chief, William 
Penn Nixon, a man whom we all revere with a tenderness that 
is shown toward an honored parent, for Mr. Nixon was, in- 
deed, the father and guiding spirit of the old Inter Ocean 
family. The banquet was given at the Palmer House on the 
evening of Tuesday, November 22, 1904, and was, in every 
detail, a highly enjoyable affair. 

The most entertaining feature of the evening was the reading 
of letters from the old Inter Ocean boys who were unable to 
be present, but who were with us in spirit, and who testified to 
their touching regard for Mr. Nixon in the messages that 
were sent. 

The proceedings of this banquet are published not only as 
a palpable evidence of the fondness of the old Inter Ocean 
boys for their chief, but because they will be an eloquent re- 
minder of one of the happiest epochs of their lives, when the 
enthusiasm and energy of youth tinged every phase of life with 
a rosy hue. 



William Penn Nixon was born at Newport, Wayne County, 
Indiana, the son of Samuel and Rhoda Nixon. The parents 
were Quakers, and the father was a prominent figure in the 
Abolition movement in the West. From both his parents 
Mr. Nixon inherited those sturdy traits of character which 
have given him so strong a personality in his later years. 

At the age of fourteen he was placed in an academy in 
Ohio, where he remained two years; after this he attended 
the Quaker school at Richmond, Indiana, and in 1854 he 
graduated from the Farmers' College in Cincinnati. A four 
years' course in the Law Department of the University of 
Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in 1859, finished 
his education. He returned to Cincinnati and entered upon 
the active practice of his profession. 

In 1864 he was elected to the Ohio Legislature in which 
body he served two terms. With his brother, Dr. Oliver W. 
Nixon, and other friends, William Penn Nixon started the 
Cincinnati Chronicle. He sold out his interest in that journal 
in 1870 and came to Chicago in 1872, and located here as 
business manager of The Inter Ocean. He was the con- 
trolling spirit of The Inter Ocean from that date until 1898, 
a period of twenty-six years of journalistic activity. 

Mr. Nixon was president of the Western Associated Press 
for several years, and afterwards was president of the Asso- 
ciated Press. He was president of the Lincoln Park Board 
of Commissioners, and the Republicans of Illinois honored 
him in 1896 by naming him as delegate at large to the conven- 
tion at St. Louis that nominated William McKinley for Presi- 
dent, a fitting climax to a long and honorable career. 


He was appointed Collector of Customs at the port of 
Chicago by President McKinley in December, 1897, an d was 
reappointed to the same position by President Roosevelt in 
December, 1902. 







6. POEM BY W. H. HARPER - - 33 

7. REMARKS BY ALD. W. P. DUNN - - 35 



DR. O. W. NIXON - 45 


L. H. CRALL - 48 








C. C. ADAMS - 56 




->w FRANK W. PALMER - - 59 

^^ JAMES G. GIBBS - 60 




Miss MINNA SMITH - 61 

H. H. KOHLSAAT - 62 

JOHN HALLORAN - - - - -62 


THOMAS O'NEILL - - - 62 






My Old Friends and Associates: 

It was a happy thought that suggested to a few of the old 
Inter Ocean boys, who had met casually and were talking 
over youthful days, the organization of a club to renew the 
memories of the good old times that are gone, and to freshen 
in our mature years the recollections of a delightful epoch 
in our lives. 

It was an equally happy inspiration that moved the club 
to give to our honored chief, William Penn Nixon, this testi- 
monial banquet, not only as the outward and visible sign 
that we reverence him as the years muster about his head, 
but that not one has forgotten the courtesy, the consideration, 
and the anxiety that guided him in all of his relations with us. 

William Penn Nixon has kept this delightful feeling alive 
in us all. He has done this because his personality is one to 
preserve the revivifying sensation, and his simple and sturdy 
character gives it strength to flourish in spite of the hard 
environments of our modern life. As I look back to the old 
days, as I take a mental retrospect of the time when we were 
all so earnestly aiding to build up a great newspaper, that 
one figure, the figure of William Penn Nixon, looms before 
me, radiant, I may say, with all the traits that mark noble 
manhood. There is no exaggeration in these terms, my 
friends, nothing that is not a healthy and a robust sentiment. 
For we all know what a pure man William Penn Nixon always 
has been. None of us can remember hearing from him an 
expression that a refined Christian gentleman would not use. 


No unclean word, no profanity, ever sullied his speech. His 
self control was perfect. It was marvelous: the more so 
when we stop to think of the heavy burdens that for so long a 
time he had to carry. In the incomings and the outgoings of 
his daily contact with us he was a model for each one of his 
subordinates; and in the many years since the good old days 
when he was literally the axis upon which we all revolved, he 
has by his irreproachable career continued to be a model 
worthy of emulation. 

His loyalty to his employes was another grand feature of 
his character. We felt safe in the discharge of our duties. 
We knew that so long as we fulfilled the trusts imposed upon 
us to the best of our ability we would be protected in a 
way to develop further devotion on our part. This loyalty 
buoyed us and stimulated us in our desire to make an influen- 
tial newspaper, and opened our eyes to ideals that have aided 
us in our maturer efforts. It was such traits that warmed into 
life the germs of manliness, because the healthy youthful mind 
is ever impressed with the nobler characteristics shown by 
those who lead and direct us. Unconsciously, therefore, Mr. 
Nixon was our teacher. How many of us who were associated 
with him have not been impelled, if not shaped, in some of the 
phases of life by those mental and moral forces that made him 
the man to be honored, and trusted, and admired by the citizens 
of this great city. 

The language of sincere admiration, my dear Mr. Nixon, 
based on the personal knowledge and faith following years of 
close association in the springtime of life, when the faculties 
are alert and eager; and the ever-increasing respect of a fuller 
belief when the autumn of life comes, never is adulation. It 
is the phraseology of an honest and enduring and sympathetic 
friendship, firmly based on the tender and mellowing recollec- 
tions of the past, the more charming because the fruitage is so 
natural. Purity, modesty, earnestness, high ideals, sincerity, 


loyalty, consistency, honesty of purpose, an unimpeachable 
and inflexible integrity these verbal strokes, drawn with a free 
hand, present the man in outline. The filling, in detail, makes 
the individuality the more attractive and symmetrical. 

To us all Mr. Nixon was as a father. That is the one word 
that best defines the relations then existing between him and 
his "boys." And I am sure that the memory of that parental 
solicitude abides with us all even to-day. We were his "boys " 
in fact as well as in name. We were attached to him, not 
as an employer who desired to squeeze out of us every drop of 
our energy and every bit of our physical vitality, but a kindly, 
forebearing, generous soul, who encouraged us and led us by 
a firm yet gentle hand, and with a cherishing spirit, to under- 
stand what was due to him as an employer, and to the news- 
paper that he raised to so high and so large a place in American 
journalism. Can any one say that William Penn Nixon ever 
asked any more than he was willing to give ? Let each one of 
you put to himself the question. There is not the shadow of a 
doubt in my mind what the answer will be. In the health 
and in the sickness of his employees he was more than the 
watchful employer; he was the affectionate friend, the gentle 

To Mr. Nixon the journalism of this great nation owes 
much. It owes a greater obligation than ever has been ex- 
pressed. The obligation may be conceded, but those who, after 
many years of exhausting and never-ceasing toil, have reached 
the heights of human effort, are hungry for recognition. Some- 
times that recognition comes in a gratifying form and degree. 
Sometimes it is withheld from the successful toiler whose 
achievements help to make and shape history. Fortunately, 
Mr. Nixon has been recognized as the last survivor of the great 
sextette of editors that made Chicago newspapers famous the 
world over. He has been praised as the last of the great editors 
of this part of the country whose perspicacity, ability, trenchant 

pens, energy, and integrity, in professional as well as private 
life, commanded public confidence as well as public respect. 
He is the last one living of the great Chicago editors, Joseph 
Medill, Wilbur F. Storey, Hermann Raster, Andrew Shuman, 
James W. Sheehan, men who were potent factors in shaping 
the destiny of Western civilization. When the history of the 
journalism of the United States shall be written, no editor will 
be accorded a more spacious place than William Penn Nixon, 
and in the history of Western journalism his will be one of the 
supreme positions. And why? Because the great daily that 
he built up was merely the reflex of the man whose fundamentals 
were truth, sincerity, gentleness, and honesty combined with 
an indomitable ambition. His conscience was as responsive 
to the immutable principles of right and wrong, to the meum 
and the tuum of commonplace existence as the sensitive plant is 
responsive to the blast of the rude and chilling wind. He con- 
ducted his newspaper on the lines of absolute fairness. No 
man was ever deliberately wronged by Mr. Nixon. No man 
with a grievance was ever turned away from him without 
satisfaction. No man with a just claim to redress was ever 
disappointed when such redress was asked. William Penn 
Nixon's traits were mirrored in his paper. That one fact made 
The Inter Ocean a power in the land. 

This is the man only the briefest outline of his upright 
and amiable personality whom we honor here this evening. 
In honoring him we honor ourselves, for the appreciation of high 
phases of manhood bespeaks the generous and discerning 
nature. It is pleasant to immerse ourselves in the memories 
of the past, and to be stimulated with those exhilarating remem- 
brances of our boyhood days, when every object is tinged with 
a golden hue. The golden hue is too often transmuted into 
lead as we progress along life's pathway. The body becomes 
jaded, the energies are consumed, the ambition recedes, the 
mind loses its sprightliness and its cheerfulness. The best 


that we have left us is the joyous recollections of youth, when 
work was a pleasure and hope suffused every task with a ruddy 
tint. We turn to these memories as the weary man longs for 
rest. Happy then is he who has such blithesome memories 
as we have to regale him; so many grateful and animating 
associations to dwell upon. Thrice happy is he who can call 
to mind an employer so helpful, so generous, so elevated in 
mental and moral excellences as our tenderly regarded chief, 
William Penn Nixon. We to-night are like a family of grown 
sons sitting with their revered father, who in the gathering 
years of his life, has lost none of the compassion, none of the 
interest that he displayed for each one of us when we were 
enthusiastic workers under his care, and full of the refulgence 
of impetuous youth. 

My sincerest wish and I am sure that it is the wish of you 
all is that this reciprocal and cordial affection may endure in 
its present warmth, binding us together like a family so long 
as there is life in the old Inter Ocean boys, and crystallizing in 
the richly merited sentiment: May God bless and protect our 
honored chief. 


At the close of Mr. Armstrong's address he read the following 
resolutions, which were unanimously adopted. 

In the recollections of the members of the Old Inter Ocean 
Boys' Club, our honored chief, William Penn Nixon, is held 
in the tenderest regard. We remember him as a generous, a 
sympathetic, a helpful, and a considerate employer; one ever 
ready to lead us with firm and gentle hand into the higher 
paths of life, and to aid us in establishing those ideal standards 
of work and living of which he was in so large and so full a 
sense the worthy exemplar. His name will ever be fresh in our 
minds as that of a model Christian gentleman, who in every 
word and deed reflected the pure, the compassionate, and the 
elevating spirit, whose irreproachable life was molded on broad, 
liberal, and charitable lines, and whose every effort was in 
the direction of the betterment of the life around him. 

We remember William Penn Nixon more as a kindly and 
considerate father than as an employer. His deep interest 
in the old Inter Ocean boys, who aided him in the building of a 
great newspaper, can never be forgotten in our maturer years. 
To us all it has been and now is the source of sincere gratitude. 
Therefore be it 

Resolved, That the members of the Old Inter Ocean Boys' 
Club express to our revered chief, William Penn Nixon, an 
earnest solicitude for his health of body, and repose of mind, 
wishing him all the prosperity and genial surroundings that 
bring comfort; 

Resolved, That these resolutions be adopted as a token of 
the affectionate esteem that animates us as individuals as well 
as a Club, and that leads us all to hope that life's choicest 
blessings may be showered upon him. 



Mr. President and Comrades: I have been sitting at the 
council table of the Inter Ocean for a good many years. There- 
fore I feel very much at home here in this circle of old Inter 
Ocean boys. I came to The Inter Ocean from the Tribune in 
April, 1876. On the Tribune I had been engaged in work 
which Mr. Medill regarded of importance, and in which he 
took the keenest personal interest. When I learned through 
William Henry Smith that a position of considerable promise 
on The Inter Ocean was soon to be vacant, I called on Mr. 
Nixon. I have good reason to remember the cordiality of my 
reception. Mr. Nixon said frankly that the position was open, 
but in outlining the work made it clear that I would be expected 
to do the same work on The Inter Ocean that I had been doing 
on the Tribune. 

This seemed to me like changing flags too suddenly, and I 
was troubled by the thought that Mr. Medill might regard 
the transfer as a sign of eagerness on my part to assist a rival. 
Mr. Nixon divining what was in my mind, I explained fully. 
He said that he appreciated my feeling in the matter, and 
advised me to state the case unreservedly to Mr. Medill. I 
did so, quoting what Mr. Nixon had said. To this Mr. Medill 
replied: "I like that. Nixon is a good fellow and a good news- 
paper man. I offered him a good deal more money than he is 
making now to come over here, but he preferred hard work on 
a new paper to comfort on a well-established one. You tell 
Nixon it is all right; but that I will expect you to help me out 
occasionally." All of which I did, by consent of Mr. Nixon, 
my double duties contributing to a better understanding be- 

tween the two editors, and, I believe, winning for myself one 
of the finest friendships of my life. 

I soon became much attached to The Inter Ocean. Wher- 
ever I went I found it had won the loyalty and excited the 
enthusiasm of Republicans, and had won the respect of Demo- 
crats. This was true in Iowa as well as in Illinois, and I 
found as the years went by that even in the South I met a 
hearty welcome, because the Southerners regarded Mr. Nixon 
as a hard hitter and a fair fighter. Everywhere I went I found 
that the character of The Inter Ocean and the personality of 
Mr. Nixon assured me of the friendship of all Republicans 
and considerate treatment from all Democrats. That others 
employed on the paper had a similar experience is shown in 
the letters received from old Inter Ocean boys scattered over 
the world. These reminiscences and testimonials of regard are 
all tributes to the worth and wisdom of the man who made The 
Inter Ocean the great Republican newspaper of the North-west. 

I cannot add to the eloquent tribute paid Mr. Nixon by our 
president, but as he spoke there came to me scores and hun- 
dreds of incidents, plain matters of fact, tangible things which 
illustrate traits of Mr. Nixon's character and qualities of his 
heart and mind, and which speak louder even than the most 
eloquent words. When I think of his tenacity of purpose and 
his devotion to principle I remember that Grant said to me at 
the great Warren meeting in 1880, when I was presented to 
him as the representative of The Inter Ocean: "Mr. Nixon is 
as loyal a friend as a public man ever had, and his paper is a 
bulwark of Republicanism." 

I remember that John A. Logan said after the campaign of 
1884: "If I were to be a candidate for President I would 
rather have the support of The Inter Ocean than any other . 
three papers in the United States." I recall the midnight visit 
of A. M. Jones to The Inter Ocean office, the night before the 
election in 1884, when he said to Mr. Nixon: "You were 


against Senator Logan in the convention, but he wants me to 
say that you have done more for the ticket than any other 
newspaper in the West, and, no matter what the outcome, 
he wants me to express his appreciation of your great campaign 
for the party." 

I can never forget that Conkling joined Garfield at Mentor 
in praise of Mr. Nixon's courage, fairness, and tact, and that 
Elaine complimented him for the fight he made for Garfield 
ic 1880 and for Elaine himself in 1884. 

I remember that when the Chicago newspaper men were 
presented to General Beauregard at New Orleans, his eye 
lighted at the name Inter Ocean, and he said: "If our people 
fought for our policy as your editor fights for his, we would 
win. We like a fighter." 

And there were hundreds of Democrats in Chicago to 
speak in the same spirit. 

If I think of Mr. Nixon's relations to those who served 
under him, there comes before me a long line of printers, 
ordered out on a strike, each one stopping to shake hands 
with him; I see the editorial corps and city staff waiting at 
the crisis, like children hovering about a sick-room, to learn if 
"the old man" is coming down on his feet and swinging their 
hats over a favorable turn in affairs; I see Mr. Nixon as the 
adviser of those in trouble, the comforter of the sick, as well as 
the organizer of a great newspaper; I remember that he 
printed the first special cable dispatch ever published in a 
Chicago newspaper, that he was the first publisher in the West 
to use illustrations in a daily newspaper, that he established a 
high literary standard for daily newspapers, and that his 
policy was always American and always Republican. 

Remembering his long service, his years of hard work, his 
devotion to principle, his kindly interest in those who worked 
with him, his affection for myself, I count it a privilege and 
an honor to introduce William Penn Nixon. 



Mr. Toastmaster and Members of the Old Inter Ocean Boys' 

I need hardly say that I am delighted to meet you at your 
first official function. I anticipated a warm greeting, but you 
have gone so far beyond my expectations, that my heart is in 
my mouth and words fail me. Whatever I may have thought 
of saying to you is gone, lost in the tempest of memories and 
emotions which your exuberant words of affection and com- 
pliment have awakened. You can hardly know how highly I 
appreciate your kind and flattering words. They mean more 
to me, coining from you, than from any other body of men in 
the world. You have no cause for dissembling nor for con- 
ciliation on account of things to come. It is of the past which 
we all know that we think and talk of to-night, and we cannot 
afford to be anything but honest with ourselves. 

The association of the Inter Ocean staff was a close one, and 
we each had opportunity of knowing each other, that is rare 
outside of the family circle. I understand that this Club is 
organized to keep alive the memories and friendships of those 
earlier days, and I am glad that it is here, and trust that it will 
long remain to brighten our lives. 

The Inter Ocean staff was peculiar in its intense loyalty, 
both to its chief, and to the paper itself. Every man desired to 
aid in building up the paper. It was not each one striving for 
himself, but each one rivaling his fellows in effort to bring the 
paper to the front. It was this spirit, inspiring the whole staff, 
that pushed The Inter Ocean to the front rank of journalism, 
in spite of sharp competition and many serious difficulties. 

2 5 

Some of you will remember when in 1875 the paper was sold 
under a mortgage given in the midst of troubles in 1873. My- 
self and friends bought it in, and not a member of the staff 
deserted me. They all believed in its ultimate success, and 
were ready to aid in securing it. At another time it was neces- 
sary, because of financial troubles, to make considerable re- 
duction in salaries, but not a man threw up his commission. I 
am pleased to remember that that reduction did not last long. 
The periodical "shake-ups" that were reported to occur in 
some of our contemporaries never occurred in The Inter Ocean. 
The Inter Ocean came into existence at an important era in 
the history of Chicago, March, 1872. The ashes of the dis- 
astrous fire of the previous October were yet hot when the 
first number of the Inter Ocean was issued from a building 
that stood on the lot now occupied by the great Auditorium. 
Mr. J. Y. Scammon, the founder of the paper, was an intense 
Chicagoan. He had abundant faith that the city would rise 
from its ashes, greater and stronger than ever. He spent 
$1,000,000 in rebuilding property destroyed by the fire. In 
his enthusiasm for the city, he was advance agent of the Two 
Million Club. Looking over a large tract of land that he had 
in the southern part of the city, then unimproved, I asked him 
what he was going to do with it, as it seemed to me a very un- 
promising investment. Waving his hand over it towards the 
city, he replied, ' ' Two millions of inhabitants. ' ' The expres- 
sion and the feeling he threw into it impressed me. Years 
afterwards, when I attended his funeral at the same place, I 
found the land I then thought of such little value covered with 
beautiful residences, and I remembered his prophecy. At its 
inception, Mr. Scammon inspired the paper with this Chicago 
spirit, and it never lost it. The influence of The Inter Ocean 
in building up the city, developing its parks, boulevards, and 
schools, and aiding in everything for its betterment, is gener- 
ally acknowledged. 


The influence of The Inter Ocean, too, in national affairs 
was something to be remembered with pride. This was the 
reconstruction period, and the South was in a great turmoil. 
Klu-Klux clans and carpetbagism seemed destined to overturn 
all the good that had been done, not only by the war, but by the 
peace work afterwards. No paper took a braver stand or did 
more heroic work in putting down the Klu-Klux clans and in 
defending the emancipated negroes. Its work in this regard 
gave it a national reputation. No paper in the North was 
better known in the South than The Inter Ocean, but in our 
severity of condemnation we always tried to treat the people of 
the South with fairness, and when their passions had passed 
away, they acknowledged that no paper was fairer to the people 
of the South than The Inter Ocean, and I have found in late 
years, in traveling in that part of the country, that my connec- 
tion with the paper was a good introduction among the best 
people there. 

Protection now has become not only one of the leading 
tenets of the Republican party, but an established policy of the 
nation, but in the early days of the Inter Ocean it was in great 
jeopardy, especially in the Mississippi Valley and the North- 
west. The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Times, the two 
most ably edited papers in the Northwest, were both against 
protection. A tariff for revenue only and tariff reform was 
their cry, and the whole tendency and spirit of the papers were 
against protection of American industries. Their circulation 
was very large, and they impressed their ideas on the papers 
throughout the Northwest. Many of the Republican press 
were being led astray by them. The Pioneer-Press of St. Paul* 
an able paper, was, in the matter of protection, but an echo 
of the Chicago Tribune, and the Globe- Democrat of St. 
Louis was very little better. Thoughtful Republicans were 
alarmed at the situation. The Inter Ocean came to the rescue, 
and took up the fight in a systematic, earnest effort. Arrange- 


ments were made by which the daily Inter Ocean was sent to 
almost every county Republican newspaper in the Northwest. 
Great effort was made to get the weekly Inter Ocean into 
the hands of all the farming community, and that edition of 
the paper soon reached 100,000 copies, every one of which 
went into the homes of the people. We spent money and 
gave a great deal of attention to the question of protection, 
and it was not many years before the tide began to turn, and 
long before the election of 1884 there was a complete revolu- 
tion of sentiment, and the Republican press of the Northwest 
was almost a unit for protection, and in this way the whole 
Mississippi Valley was prepared for the coming of McKinley- 
ism and all its benefits. You all ought to remember this 
great work of the paper. It was one of the most important 
works ever done by any newspaper. 

But you know all these things, and more, for time would fail 
me to tell of all the good things the old Inter Ocean and its boys 
are responsible for. We know it aided in putting many good 
men in office and in keeping some bad men out. While it 
strongly opposed Democratic politicians and Democratic 
policies, it never denounced any man because of his politics- 
It was always radically Republican, but its fairness to political 
opponents secured for it the confidence of many Democrats 
who were regular readers of the paper. You will recollect 
they used to say, ' ' We like you because we always know where 
to find you." 

I am glad to say that the grand old paper around which these 
historic memories cluster still lives and prospers. It has 
withstood the stormy years and still presents the appearance 
of an athlete eager for the fray. Long may it live ! 

In conclusion, I wish long life and happiness to this Club and 
its members. May there be many such reunions as this, keep- 
ing fresh the memories of days well spent that will never return. 



It is certainly a great pleasure to me to be one of the many 
who do honor to William Perm Nixon to-night. Like a good 
many other people, I do not care to give a clew to my age, but 
I claim to be one of the oldest friends of Mr. Nixon at this board. 
I have known him longer, perhaps, than any one else present. 
I knew him when he was a boy in Newport, Wayne County, 
Indiana. He is of old Abolition stock an ancestry whose acts 
were guided by honor and principle. His father, a member 
of the "Old Guard" of many years ago, and still remembered 
as director of the "underground railroad, " was associated with 
my grandfather in the work of looking after fugitive slaves. 
And that is how I happen to know William Penn Nixon so 
long. He was reared in the same town where my parents 
lived, and was known as "Willie" Nixon. "Willie" and 
"Ollie" (I presume you will recognize the doctor, now called 
Oliver W.) were sports in their younger days great marble 
players, and wasted a great deal of time in trying to get the 
alleys and taws of the other boys. They spent so much time, 
indeed, playing marbles that some of the old Abolition neigh- 
bors had an interview with their father, and the upshot was 
that Willie and Ollie were sent to a college where they were 
schoolmates of Ex-President Benjamin Harrison. 

As I have known him, William Penn Nixon, in his public 
as well as his private life, has always lived up to the principles 
of his forefathers to be just to all men, to work at all times for 
principle rather than fortune. He has always been a true friend 
to those who know him, and could be depended upon absolutely 
under all circumstances. He has ever had at heart the good 
of his city, of his country, and of the newspaper profession. 


While I am not acquainted with The Inter Ocean's cashier, 
I have been a member of its staff through my connection with 
the Associated Press. Since the spring of 1874 I have done 
my part in gathering in the news of the United States and the 
world for The Inter Ocean; so I claim to belong to the "special" 
staff. And I am proud of this, since it gives me the opportunity 
to join with the members of the regular staff to show apprecia- 
tion of the character of William Penn Nixon. 


Mr. B. Frank Howard, long time commercial and financial 
editor of The Inter Ocean, was the next speaker, and recounted 
in an interesting array of statistics and facts the growth of 
Chicago at the time the paper passed into the control of Mr. 
William Penn Nixon up to a recent period. He traced the 
marked influence The Inter Ocean had had in inspiring confi- 
dence in the markets of Chicago among outside shippers who 
were uncertain as to the ultimate effect of the great fire on 
the commercial position of the city, and pointed to Mr. Nixon 
as the one inspiring figure in the upbuilding and perpetuating 
of confidence in the city's future. 



The hour is late, the closing rush- word set, 

The wide world's message girds the flying wheel: 
The living pass. My word must now be said 
Ho! stop the press! I'll print the love I feel. 

I stood with others by thy side of yore 

The right place held by him who whitens now 

I saw no triumph fire thee with base glee, 
I saw defeat ne'er pale thy placid brow. 

Steadfast and calm, thy course held by the stars, 
The nation's welfare was thy constant goal; 

Whene'er thy bugle clarioned to the West 
All men confessed there spoke an honest soul. 

And followed, too, to bulwark up the land, 
With shop and mill and myriad-teeming farm; 

Foremost thy presence in the council tent, 
Faithful thy vigil lest the Republic harm. 

As votes the West thy teachings yet again, 
With freighted galleons bearing wealth afar, 

All men applaud the vision of the seer 

Who hitched his wagon unto empire's star. 

Around thee once again on victory's height 
The Old Boys rally to uplift thy hands, 

To pass to eager youth that storm the steep 

Thy newest watchword and thy fresh commands. 

But we that know thee know thy newest word, 
It is thy life in patience writ for men: 

No change it suffers, states by it survive 
Thy word is "honor," sterling William Penn. 

The hour is late, let speed the flying roll 
We've held the press it may not be again. 

But speed it now and bear our cheer afar: 

"All hail to simple, manly, honest William Penn!" 



Alderman Dunn briefly referred to his service on The Inter 
Ocean business staff during the old days, and paid a handsome 
tribute to William Penn Nixon's ability as a journalist, his 
work in the rebuilding of the city after the great fire of 1871, 
and his uniform courtesy and generous and sympathetic treat- 
ment of those under him. Mr. Dunn declared that the Repub- 
lican party owed Mr. Nixon a debt that was too large ever to 
be repaid. For many years he was a great and a virile force 
in the politics of this part of the country. 



Men are brought together by chance, but keep together by 
choice. In the army, soldiers touch elbows with soldiers, and 
comradeship becomes very close, very strong, very lasting. In 
the more peaceful pursuits, these elements are, alas! too often 
wanting. When they do exist, however, they have the strength 
of strong natures, the endurance of strong characters. 

In our relation to Mr. Nixon we came together largely by 
chance, but remained together by selection. In the circle of 
which he was the center the companionship was as that of a 
Table Round, where help found large place and hope discov- 
ered ample shelter; and these two went hand in hand like 
tried travelers along the way. 

The goodly company is scattered. Seas and years separate 
its original members. God's finger has touched some, and 
they sleep. But the dear presence we so much miss, we shall 
meet again. Meanwhile, we honor the Chief who has led 
yea, who still leads the band of "boys," who will always be 
"boys" till "the last dear companion drops smiling away." 

And to our Chief may I say: 

"The way is short, O friend, 

That stretches out before us; 
God's tender heavens above us bend, 

His sun is smiling o'er us; 
A little while is ours 

For sorrow or for laughter; 
I'll lay the hand you love in yours 

On the shores of the hereafter." 



It is a pleasure and an honor to be among such a splendid 
representation of the old members who served in earlier years 
on the old Inter Ocean staff, here assembled to-night to do 
honor to William Penn Nixon, the guiding hand, the unflinch- 
ing supporter of the paper in a period fraught with great events 
and burdened with most serious problems as to the future of 
Chicago, just emerging from one of the most dire calamities 
known in history the period following the great conflagration 
of October 9, 1871. The men attached to The Inter Ocean 
staff were few at the start, but they made up for paucity in 
numbers by being a highly energetic, and ambitious set, 
ready at all points to carry out the directing wishes of the head. 
It was to the brilliant genius that thus directed their energies 
that I ascribe much of the future greatness of the city. It is 
within my recollection at this time that on the memorable night 
of that mighty holocaust I stood upon the north approach to 
the Clark street bridge upon a large lumber pile, which was to 
repair the bridge, then closed, and as fellow-spectators of the 
flames then devouring the Sherman house having already 
devastated millions of dollars worth of property and laid to 
dust miles upon miles of buildings on the South Side there 
were George L. Dunlap, Perry H. Smith, A. H. Burley, and 
others, viewing the fire and each casting up rather gloomy 
forebodings for the future of Chicago. One declared that he 
believed that the city would never recover its former prestige 
and position; another remarked that it would take twenty-five 
years before the city would even be able to make as good a 
showing commercially as at the time of that fire; and a third 


said that that awful calamity virtually ended Chicago as a 
great cosmopolitan city. 

But men's judgments are not infallible, especially when 
their losses have been great, and soon the master work done 
by the guiding hand of The Inter Ocean, along with one or two 
other papers at that period, began to be felt both at home and 
abroad. Eastern capitalists for the fire practically wiped out 
Chicago capitalists, in the strict sense of the term began to 
manifest faith in the recuperative energies of Chicago's brain 
and brawn, and looked with admiration and high commenda- 
tion upon the splendid courage shown by all of its citizens, as 
reflected in the able and forceful work done by The Inter Ocean, 
along with other forces of the city, which appreciated the 
gravity of the situation and the need for wise and judicious 
treatment of all topics bearing on Chicago's wants under the 
peculiar emergencies of the time and looked with unswerving 
faith to its future capabilities. Capital gradually turned 
hitherward, and Chicago soon loomed up as a magnificent 
spectacle of pluck and dash, amidst most depressing condi- 
tions, and buildings after buildings of fine, stately, and hand- 
some proportions appeared, far outrivaling former ante-fire 

In the midst of the universal song of the hammer and saw, 
wherever the vivid flames had made themselves manifest, the 
members of the old Inter Ocean staff proved a most strenuous 
set of young men every one illumed with enthusiasm for his 
work and anxious to do his duty to the utmost extent. I may 
truthfully say that the pages of the old Inter Ocean of those 
days will bear ample testimony to the wisdom displayed by 
Mr. Nixon, the guiding hand in directing the destinies of the 
paper and in helping on the speedy restoration of the city. 
Those were certainly trying times, and had it not been for the 
able treatment of all questions touching municipal matters 
the great wealth which poured into the city would never have 


been forthcoming, and the city's rebuilding might have been 
delayed far beyond the period predicted on the North Clark 
street bridge approach, but as it turned out, through the 
splendid brain and executive capacity of Mr. Nixon, confi- 
dence was a most distinguishing feature of the old Inter Ocean 
in all its utterances of that day, all of which served to strengthen 
the investment of Eastern capital. The course thus pursued 
by the paper naturally served to assure its own permanency 
and popularity, and gave the falsehood to predictions that the 
venture of the paper into the newspaperdom of the city would 
prove as sinking an investment as the old Republican had 
been. But brains overcome all obstacles, and The Inter Ocean 
went on in its uninterrupted course of prosperity and success. 
Chicago thus prospered and The Inter Ocean prospered with 
it as a natural consequence of its loyal support of the city's 
rebuilding and faith in the energy and honesty of its people. I 
remember the many flattering comments made upon the 
ability, energy, and enterprise the paper displayed, and every- 
body commended the wisdom of the Hon. J. Y. Scammon, the 
owner of the journal, for his selection of so able and energetic 
a man as Mr. Nixon as the first manager of the paper. 


Dr. Oliver W. Nixon 

It is with deep regret that I am unable to be present with 
you in person, but I will be with you in spirit and renew the 
memories of a quarter of a century of days, when we were all 
younger than we are now. 

In thinking over that eventful period of our lives, I have 
often doubted whether there was ever a more loyal, hard-work- 
ing body of men held together so long, without a jar, or discord, 
one that had more reason to take honest pride in their service. 
To-day, I never meet one of " the old boys " (I like the "old 
boys" term) from the composition room down to the basement; 
that I do not want to take him by the hand. They were never 
slow, only needed being instructed in their lines of duty, they 
ever stood pat, and were always for the honor and success of 
The Inter Ocean. 

For the great work achieved and for the final triumph of 
principle, for the earnestness and fidelity to the public and in 
ever looking after the best interest of his co-workers, none can 
so fully appreciate the work of the editor-in-chief in whose 
honor you have met as can the young "Old Inter Ocean Boys' 
Club." It was fortunate that he had such a staff of co-workers 
about him, loyal and true, as will be represented at your 

As an old associate, at one desk for twenty-four years, I 
trust I may be allowed a few personal references. Year after 
year, in the same room, there was associated with me William 
H. Busbey and Frank Gilbert. Busbey is alive, and it 
rejoices me to see him still at a laboring oar in the old Inter 
Ocean. There is no truer man living. It rejoices me, too, to 
see the paper standing ably and manfully battling for the 


principles that have made it a power for good in the land. Let 
the old boys always stand loyal to the paper. Frank Gilbert 
was among the manliest of manly men; strong in his friendship, 
true to principle. To have known such a man well is a 
treasure in memory for all the days of one's life. There 
were four others with whom I was in daily contact, whose 
kindness and thoughtfulness especially endeared them to me. 
They were, W. J. Irvin, T. C. MacMillan, George B. Arm- 
strong, and J. Harry Ballard. 

There were three other men, not enrolled upon The Inter 
Ocean staff, but in every way worthy of such honor: L. H. 
Crall of New York, Warner M. Bateman of Cincinnati, and 
W. H. Bradley, of Chicago. Crall is still living. He never 
failed, year after year, in traveling the long distance from New 
York, to be present at the directors' meeting; and by his 
counsel and other invaluable services, was a tower of strength 
to the paper. Bateman and Bradley were two noble men, 
long since gone to their great reward. They were never too 
busy in their active business lives to help hold up and encourage 
the workers upon The Inter Ocean. 

We are all growing old together. I am past seventy-nine, 
but don't let us ever age in spirit. Keep an interest in all that 
concerns your fellows, until "taps" are sounded. Now let 
us drink old Joe Jefferson's toast: "May we all live long and 
prosper"; and when the good Father above says "Time is up," 
may we so have lived and loved and labored that we may join 
Bryant in his impressive words: 

"Go not, like the quarry slave at night, 
Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed 
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave 
Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams." 

Btioxi, Miss. 

4 6 

Elijah W. Halford 

It was my fortune to be the first managing editor of The 
Inter Ocean, getting out the initial number of the paper, thus 
having to do with the very beginning of things. Conditions were 
such in the early spring of 1872 that The Inter Ocean imme- 
diately sprang into a circulation and influence that demanded a 
division of work and responsibility. It was my privilege to 
recommend to Mr. Scammon the name of Mr. Nixon for busi- 
ness manager, and I visited Cincinnati, and had a personal 
conference with him, which resulted in his coming to Chicago 
in that capacity, he finally becoming the general manager. Mr. 
Nixon had the tenacity of purpose, the quality of " stick-to- 
ati veness, " and the faculty of bringing things to pass, which 
made the permanence of The Inter Ocean, and especially its 
constantly appreciating and commanding influence throughout 
the Northwest, possible and certain. 

I remained with the paper but about two years, personal 
and family reasons causing my return to the Indianapolis 
Journal, upon which paper I began and closed a newspaper 
service of about twenty-seven years. In that somewhat long 
service, no years were more pleasant or more stimulating than 
those spent with Mr. Nixon and our associates in 1872-74. I 
have always counted it a special honor to have presided at the 
birth of The Inter Ocean into the newspaper world, and to have 
had the privilege of relation with gentlemen, many of whom 
remain my personal friends, and are honored citizens of the 
city and the state and the nation, whose best interests The Inter 
Ocean was committed to in its beginning, and to which it has 
given and continues to give loyal and effective support. Chief 
among these is Mr. Nixon, whose intelligent and devoted service 
and sacrifice to and for The Inter Ocean you so worthily com- 

I send to him and to you all the expression of my sincere 


regard and friendship, with best wishes for a future that must 
be full of comfort and assurance, growing out of a past of 
unselfish promotion and practice of the highest type of honor- 
able citizenship. 

Atlanta, Ga. 

Leander H. Crall 

You do well to honor Mr. Nixon. It was my privilege to 
be associated with him in the newspaper field in Cincinnati 
prior to his advent into Chicago journalism. At that time a 
friendship was started which has grown and deepened with the 
passing years, and which, please God, will reach beyond the 

Most of you have been in constant touch with Mr. Nixon, 
and have seen him daily during his long period of his activity in 
Chicago journalism, so I will leave it to others to speak of his 
distinguished career as a journalist; but none of you, I think, 
have had more or better opportunities to know the man himself 
during his career of public usefulness, his many years of service 
on The Inter Ocean, and within the sacred confines of his family 
life than have been vouchsafed to me so my word will be only 
of his personal qualities. 

For more than thirty years our relation has been a most 
close and confidential one. During that time he has passed 
through many trying periods, many severe ordeals; yet he was 
always patient, hopeful, and self-sacrificing. He never attrib- 
uted to his fellowmen a thought of evil intent or act, but always 
trusted them as he would be trusted himself. He is absolutely 
without guile and incapable of doing a wrong act. His whole 
life has been an exemplification of the golden rule. While he 
always maintained such a high standard of ethics in his business 
and public life he was really seen at his best in his own home, 
the atmosphere of which was pregnant with purity, charity, 


and love. No one could step within its threshold without 
feeling its ennobling influences. 

To be happily married is the greatest boon which can come 
to man, and I would be remiss did I not speak of her who has 
for over thirty-five years shared all the joys and sorrows, the 
ambitions, disappointments, and successes of Mr. Nixon's life. 
She has proved herself a worthy helpmate. Ever an inspiration 
and an encouragement, ever resourceful and ready and with an 
abiding devotion, she has stood by his side, soothing, com- 
forting, cherishing. No one will ever know what Mrs. Nixon 
has been to the one you will honor. God bless them both! 

New York. 

Thomas H. Keefe 

I think I catch the spirit of the "Old Inter Ocean Boys' 
Club" in rallying around the "grand old man" of The Inter 
Ocean. I am with you in heart and soul. I am with you be- 
cause, in these days, when an insane desire for material gain is 
leading some men into a wild dervish dance that is trampling 
higher ideals beneath the sordid heel of greed, it becomes a 
treat to meet with the men who rallied around William Penn 
, Nixon in planting The Inter Ocean high up on the mountain top 
of truth, manhood, character, individuality, principle, and 
patriotism. The gigantic character of that work can be better 
appreciated when the humble condition of the paper is consid- 
ered at the time Mr. Nixon took charge of it; hence Mr. Nixon's 
work in The Inter Ocean was like unto that of the brave captain 
of a ship who turns its prow towards the breakers and storm 
clouds which, regardless of personal danger, must be sur- 
mounted in order to reach higher results. For those reasons I 
believe Mr. Nixon's life's work on The Inter Ocean will become 
a model for future journalism when the press will realize its 
full mission; namely, that of a second sermon on the mount; 


then the press will be the pulpit, the rostrum, the guide of the 
future. To reach this high altitude of journalism the men 
in control must grasp the spirit of the mission of the Republic, 
and conduct the press that most wonderful lever for molding 
better conditions with the same self-sacrificing spirit that the 
soldier in the battle-field fights for the flag. When that day 
comes, as come it will, the labors of Mr. Nixon, as the chief 
who inspired the men of The Inter Ocean, will be a model for 
the highest type of journalism. Fellow craftsmen, you do well 
to honor the man who has achieved those great results. In 
honoring Mr. Nixon you erect a lasting terrace on the pathway 
of life, which proclaims to future generations the beautiful 

That the noblest path of life 

Is to labor for our fellow man. 


J. Harry Bollard 

So at last I have arrived at the dignity of an "Old Guard." 
Well, I'm proud of it. The original Old Guard, if memory 
serves, died, but never surrendered. There is one thing the 
Old Guard that is to banquet November 22 will never sur- 
render, and that is, not alone esteem, but affection for the grand 
old chief under whom they served, William Penn Nixon. 

This Old Guard, too, seemingly doesn't die, or at least it 
has been smitten lightly. Men of the Middle West thrive as 
well on the wave-swept shores of Coney Island as on the prairies 
of Illinois and manage to subsist about the same on the hog 
and hominy of the farm as on the fodder handed out in the 
table d'hote belt of the effete East. 

I had supposed that I could write columns on the matter of 
the Nixon dinner. There's the trouble; I could. Recollec- 
tions covering a period of twenty- two years, from January, 1876, 


to December, 1897, crowd too quickly. But the reminiscent 
addresses of those present will be the thing, and I trust, and 
feel, that they will be as pleasant as are my own memories of 
service under Mr. Nixon. 

And there is another I shall ever cherish, and that is Dr. 
O. W. Nixon, whose great heart and simple faith I learned to 
know on the occasion of many fishing trips. 

By the way, I hope that " Old Bill " Kennedy and " Johnny" 
Halloran are with you. If there is such a thing as ultimate 
reward for day in and day out loyalty and who shall doubt 
it? those two good fellows will get halos. 

Now, hail and farewell. Late on Tuesday night, with appro- 
priate surroundings, albeit alone, I will clasp hands, softly 
hum for "Auld Lang Syne, " and be with you in spirit. May 
the gods be good to you all is my wish. 

New York. 

Robert P. Porter 

Will you apologize to Mr. Nixon for my bad taste in being 
four thousand miles away on this important occasion, and ex- 
press my sincere regret that my ability to be present is so doubt- 
ful ? No man was more sympathetic and helpful in the early 
part of my journalistic career than Mr. Nixon, and I am greatly 
indebted to him for all he did for me. He was always full of 
encouragement for those willing and anxious to get along in 
the world. I have letters from Mr. Nixon dated over thirty 
years ago, and my first work was done for The Inter Ocean in 


I became a regular member of the staff in 1877, after my 
return from a special trip taken for the paper to write up the 
Pennsylvania railway strikes of that year. So you will see that 
I am one of the oldest of the Inter Ocean "Old Boys." I 
never really resigned, nor was I discharged, but was granted a 

six months' leave of absence in 1880 to take up some statistical 
work for the Tenth Census, and although I have frequently 
contributed to the paper since then, that leave of absence has 
been extended so long that I suppose many of the familiar 
faces have disappeared. However, those of us who are left 
can meet once in a while both in reality, as you are meeting in 
Chicago, and in spirit, as I join you, though, in the words of the 
modern critics, I am "breathing the last enchantments of the 
Middle Ages " in the shades of these old colleges in Oxford. 

Will you wish Mr. Nixon, for me, continued good health, 
prosperity, long life, and all the happiness which he so richly 
deserves. In this wish Mrs. Porter wishes to be permitted to 
join. In remembering our former chief, those who, like 
myself, have been parted so many years from the old-time 
colleagues who will assemble at the banquet, may be forgiven 
for sending an additional greeting which shall include you all. 

London, Eng. 

Elwyn A. Barron 

As there will be no one in the gathering who can have so 
much personal reason as I to cherish a grateful affection for 
the rightly named "grand old man" of western journalism, 
you may imagine the grief and disappointment it occasions me 
to know that it is too late for me to be represented at the 
banquet even by an inadequate expression of my feelings. It 
would have been a keen pleasure to me to participate. I 
would rather sit at a banquet in honor of William Penn Nixon 
than of any other man on earth, for reasons that I believe he 
well understands and appreciates. 

There is nothing in my experience more gratifying to my 
memory than the fact that for eighteen years I was one of The 
Inter Ocean "boys." The staff in the days of my connection 
with it was something unique in journalism. Not only were 


the members united by ties of the closest friendship, but each 
one of them felt that he had a direct and responsible interest in 
the welfare and reputation of the paper. At the base of that 
feeling of firm friendship and mutual interest was the love and 
devotion the "boys" felt for their chief. The courtesy, the 
kindness, the generous sympathy, and the fine sense of fairness 
that Mr. Nixon manifested toward the boys not occasionally, 
but invariably won from them a respect that time developed 
into a positive affection. The fidelity of The Inter Ocean's 
staff to the interests of the paper because of its editor in chief 
was as a proverb in local journalistic circles. "The Inter 
Ocean family" was a familiar phrase. It was at first, perhaps, 
a phrase of half -mocking admiration; but years gave it a proud 
and valuable significance which your banquet will beautifully 
and memorably define. There is no successful newspaper 
man whatever the position he may have attained who would 
not be happy to be like William Penn Nixon, the complimentary 
guest of a club of his "old boys" that was organized solely 
through love of him. I know of no otter editor who can boast 
of such a felicitous distinction. I know of none so situated 
that it is probable he may enjoy a similar graceful honor. 

Men may not reveal their tenderest sentiment one for 
another, nor confess their deepest emotions. A grip of the hand 
and a laconic speech are usually all that may supplement the 
testimony of their eyes; but I should like to compress twenty-six 
years of a peculiarly grateful esteem of William Penn Nixon 
into a lingering handclasp with him on Tuesday night. Being 
denied that gratification, I can but envy more fortunate ones, 
and send him an unwritten thought that I would have him take 
as a filial greeting. If I won any degree of success in the 
newspaper field I owed it to the indulgence, I may say the 
sanction, of William Penn Nixon; but that is the least of my 
indebtedness to him. I owe him the memory of his friendship 
at times when a man less generous in character, less splendid in 


simple manhood, would have remembered only that he was an 
employer. Long life and increasing happiness to a good man. 

New York. 

William E. Curtis 

I have delayed my response to the invitation, hoping that I 
might be able to accept it, but I cannot go, much to my regret 
and disappointment. Please ask the boys to remember me, 
as I shall think of you that evening, and assure Mr. Nixon 
of my esteem and affection. 

When I first saw Mr. Nixon, he was watching Irvin count 
money in Jonathan Young Scammon's stable, which stood 
about where the Congress Street entrance to the Auditorium 
Hotel is now located. It was one Monday morning in May, 
1872. Mr. Scammon, being desirous of assembling the greatest 
minds of the universe to work on his new paper, had asked 
"Papa" Gosche, the preceptor and at that time the business 
manager of Theodore Thomas, to recommend a musical critic, 
and he recommended me. By mail I accepted an honorarium 
of $50 a week and went to Chicago. Much to my astonish- 
ment and indignation, when Halford introduced me to Mr. 
Scammon, I was informed that I might go back to Toledo, 
because he wanted a man instead of a boy to do that work. 
After a somewhat stormy interview on Mr. Scammon's part, and 
painful humiliation on mine, a compromise was effected, under 
which I was allowed to remain as a reporter on a salary of $25 
a week, and was given a chance to try my hand at musical 
criticism on a Lucca-Kellogg opera season at Aiken's Theatre 
the next week. 

Occupying the table next to mine was Melyille E. Stone, a 
lad of good abilities and energy and an excellent reporter. I 
have often wondered what became of him. Another young 
man who impressed me by his aspirations and profound learn- 


ing was Thomas C. MacMillan, the best police reporter we 
ever had, and at the same time the ablest theologian. He was a 
composite of Thomas Chalmers and Sherlock Holmes. 

It is a long time since then, but I feel as young as I did then 
and can do just as much work. I am sorry I cannot stand up 
with you when the roll is called to-night, but it seems impossible 
for me to make the journey. I will be there in spirit, however, 
and if the Old Inter Ocean Boys' Club meets regularly here- 
after, I shall be on hand next time. Meanwhile, let me propose 
this toast: 

That Tune, who keeps God's promises, 

Will bring together once again 

Thee and me and all of us, 

For old friends are the best. 

Washington, D. C. 

Melville E. Stone 

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to participate 
in the banquet and to testify to the high regard I have always 
borne William Penn Nixon, but unfortunately engagements in 
New York city will render it impossible. 

No experience in my life has given me greater pleasure and 
certainly none has been of greater profit than the time I spent 
on the staff of The Inter Ocean immediately after the Chicago 
fire, when Mr. Nixon was the publisher and Major Halford 
was managing editor. It is a memory that will ever remain 
green and gratifying. 

New York. 

Byron Andrews 

My eight years' service with The Inter Ocean staff as reporter, 
foreign correspondent, Washington correspondent, and "de- 


partment " editor is the greenest spot in my memory of my pro- 

Looking backward I see how great a paper we made, and 
how many remarkable characteristics it developed in those 
early days. Faults and shortcomings it had, because it but 
reflected the humanity that made it. 

It was mighty because it stood fast upon moral and living 
principles, so it recruited a patronage that clove to it no matter 
what befell. 

It saw Chicago grow up from its own dust. It lived through 
monetary heresies, financial panics, and social upheavals. It 
has stood at the grave of a score of contemporaries where 
blasted effort lies buried in the cemetery of Chicago news- 

Surely it is no small matter in one's career to have filled 
even a minor place in the building of such a monument to the 
genius, earnest purpose, and eager effort of American journal- 

Please present my hearty congratulations to Mr. Nixon 
and all who may be with you at the banquet. Nothing could 
be more pleasant to me than to be there and look about on 
those of whom I could say, "These are the men I've loved and 
lost awhile and found again." 

Washington, D. C. 

Cyrus C. Adams 

You have my heartiest wishes that the reunion may be most 
enjoyable, and that Mr. Nixon may still have before him many 
long and pleasant years. 

The second night of my newspaper life I was picking up 
personals for The Inter Ocean at the Gardiner House when I 
was asked to make way for George William Curtis at the 
register. It was my first interview, and Mr. Curtis' bland 


response to the announcement of myself as an Inter Ocean 
reporter nearly took me off my feet. 

"Ah!" he said, "I see you and I belong to the same pro- 

He was at one end of it and I was at the other, which observa- 
tion fairly describes the newspaper relations of Mr. Nixon and 
myself when I was a member of his staff; but I never saw the 
day when he was too absorbed to speak a friendly word to the 
humblest reporter, or evince a kindly feeling towards any 
toiler under The Inter Ocean roof. This has always been one 
of the pleasant memories of my early newspaper days. 

Mr. Nixon has doubtless forgotten the fact, but it was he 
who ushered me into journalism. Not a city editor in Chicago 
would look at me, and I found bread and butter at last collect- 
ing subscriptions under the City Circulator of The Inter Ocean. 
When Mr. Nixon changed his method of circulating the paper 
my silver apple turned to ashes and I went to him with my 
story of baffled aspiration. 

"Well, Adams, " he said, "I have seen your work, and in 
my opinion you have a pair of very excellent legs. We'll have 
to give you a chance as a reporter." 

It is thirty-one years since Mr. Nixon gave me the chance 
that most young men have to strive for as I did. I have long 
been out of the routine, but if I'm anything I am a newspaper 
man yet in feeling and in work. 

Just a word to all my old friends around your table, and it 
comes from the bottom of my heart. In all my varied experi- 
ences I have never met a more companionable, finer lot of fel- 
lows than those I knew when we were boys together on The 
Inter Ocean; and I can only express my deep regret that I 
cannot be with you to talk over the good old times and to pay 
in person, as I do in thought, my tribute of esteem and respect 
to our old chief. 
New York. 


Walter Scott 

I received your invitation to the banquet in honor of William 
Penn Nixon with mingled feelings of deepest pleasure and sin- 
cere regret; pleasure, because of the fond recollections his 
name and those of my dear former associates on The Inter Ocean 
bring up before me; regret, because I find that I shall be 
unable to be among you on that auspicious occasion. I will, 
indeed, be with you in spirit, and would much prefer to be 
with you in person were the circumstances such that I could 
avail myself of the opportunity. To Mr. Nixon, let my name be 
linked with those who hold him in the highest esteem, both as 
employer and man. 

Plainfield, N. J. 

William Kennedy 

Your invitation at the hands of the "Old Inter Ocean Boys' 
Club" prompts a flow from memory's wellspring in such a 
flood that I fear to trust my command of language to properly 
set forth my feelings for the one in whose honor you meet to- 
night. Our vocabulary is none too generous in which to accord . 
William Penn Nixon homage, as all of us have been beneficiaries 
of his kindness and forebearance while being strengthened and 
sustained by the patience and fortitude with which he endured 
our many shortcomings while undergoing the greatest ordeal 
in human experience, the building up of a great newspaper. 

This, I must believe, is Mr. Nixon's imperishable achieve- 
ment, and in my judgment it will become still more prominent 
as time goes on and a survey of the heroic sacrifices which his 
indomitable pluck and perseverance accomplished under the 
most difficult of circumstances. 

My associations with Mr. Nixon began when The Inter 
Ocean was but a few days old, in the stable where it was born 


and baptized on Congress street, early in 1872, almost a gen- 
eration ago. In connection with the paper's history I have 
seen a grand galaxy of newspaper men pass before my vision, 
many of them becoming world-celebrated in their chosen 
vocation, while the institution itself, to which Mr. Nixon con- 
tributed so much, a power for good extending beyond the con- 
fines of the nation itself, and limited only by the bounds of 
civilization for promoting human welfare. This is indeed 
something of which to be proud, and it is a history that we all 
can cherish as fellow- workers in its creation. 

In testifying to our deep sense of the esteem we have for 
Mr. Nixon, we but reflect honor upon ourselves, and those of 
us yet lingering in the field of activity can at least justify our 
affection for the man whose work has done so much to ennoble 
the newspaper profession, and one who has performed so many 
conspicuous acts as has the subject of our assemblage this 


United States Senator Hansbrough 

I regret that I cannot be present at the dinner which is to 
be given in honor of William Penn Nixon. My connection 
with The Inter Ocean was of very brief duration, during the year 
of 1879, but I have always felt an interest in the welfare of the 
paper and of those connected with it, especially Mr. Nixon. 

Washington, D. C. 

Frank W. Palmer 

I regret that I cannot be present on the occasion of the 
William Penn Nixon banquet to show by my presence my sin- 
cere respect for our old co-worker and friend. He did his full 
share in making The Inter Ocean a power in American journal- 


ism, and I take great pleasure in uniting with his other asso- 
ciates in paying homage to his merits. 

Washington, D. C. 

G. Gibbs 

^ I am prevented by imperative business from meeting with the 
/ "old boys" to-night. I never regretted anything more than this 
enforced absence. Please convey my affectionate greetings 
to our honored chief William Penn Nixon, the grand old man 
of Western journalism, and to the dear friends of my youth, the 
"old boys" of The Inter Ocean. 

Nonvalk, O. 

L. White Busbey 

Please express to Mr. Nixon and the "Old Inter Ocean 
Boys" my sincere regrets over not being able to be with you 
next Tuesday night. I can think of nothing that would come 
nearer a restorative of youth than such a gathering, for we were 
all boys together in the old days and had the enthusiasm and 
loyalty of boys with the true comradeship of youth. 

The "old boys" are now scattered, but they are, I am sure, 
true to the old Inter Ocean, and all desire to see it continue 
its distinguished and courageous career, standing for principles 
rather than men. 

I regret that I cannot be with you to renew the old associa- 
tions, and in doing so renew my own youth. 

Washington, D. C. 

George E. Plumbe 

I will ask you to extend for me my warmest congratulations 
to the grayhaired "boys" who will have the pleasure of extend- 


ing to William Penn Nixon this too long delayed recognition of 
his uniform kindness to and appreciation of the many who were 
so fortunate as to be, for a longer or a shorter time, under his 
direction. Few men who filled the trying position occupied 
by Mr. Nixon during my connection with the paper, down to 
the summer of 1876, could have endeared themselves to their 
employees so positively as did Mr. Nixon. Long life to him 
and all the "boys." 

Burlington, la. 

Joseph L. Stickney 

The first work I ever did in journalism was done for The 
Inter Ocean in the spring of 1873, and I shall always remember 
my experience on its staff with pleasure. 

I have never seen since, and I never expect to see again, in 
a city of equal size, such a spirit of fraternal goodfellowship as 
existed in Chicago while the ashes of the great fire still warm 
in some places were a continual reminder of the stress through 
which all the residents had passed. 

I have the most kindly memories of our old chief, William 
Penn Nixon, to whom please present my wishes for good health 
and long life. 

New York. 

Miss Minna Smith 

It is with sincere regret that I must write that I cannot be 
present on November 22, at the dinner to Mr. Nixon. I send 
my warm regards to him and to all the confreres of the old days. 

New York. 


H. H. Kohlsaat 

I regret exceedingly a prior engagement, as I should like 
to join in any occasion in Mr. Nixon's honor and to meet the 
"Old Inter Ocean Boys." May you all "live long and pros- 


John Halloran 

It can truly be said that in his dealings with his subordinates, 
old and young, William Penn Nixon was always kind, consid- 
erate, and patient. To all Chicagoans, rich or poor, he was 
always accessible. And last, but not least, the editor and 
controlling spirit of the old Inter Ocean stands to-day as he 
did years ago, the ideal American citizen and gentleman. 


George R. Hayman 

I greatly regret the fact that unavoidable circumstances 
prevent my participating. Although personally absent my 
feelings will be with you in doing honor to the "grand old 
man," whose ministrations were ever courteous, and with whom 
association was always a pleasure. 


Thomas O'Neill 

I will not be in the city on the 22d, when the banquet by 
The Inter Ocean boys is to be tendered to Mr. William Penn 
Nixon. But before I go, here is a health to Mr. Nixon, the 
honest man, the great journalist, the polished gentleman, the 


unprejudiced American, who never regarded himself better 
than his hired man. 


Edward Freiberger 

I certainly regret that it will be absolutely impossible for 
me to sit at the festive board with you to-morrow and drink 
to the health of one who was long our chief, sometimes our 
adviser, and always our friend. Had I the time I would send 
you a book of reminiscences and tales of affection for one who 
knew how, in spite of many clouds, to make the staff of a great 
daily paper a large family clothed in sunshine, for there was 
never before or since a newspaper office where the staff was so 
much like a large family in love with its chief editor. Long 
life to William Penn Nixon. 


William Emmett Dennis 

It would give me great pleasure to be with you and do 
anything in my power for Mr. Nixon, as some of the most 
pleasant years of my life were spent on The Inter Ocean when 
Mr. Nixon was its manager. I often think of them and think 
how things have changed in the newspaper business since 
those very pleasant days. 


Horatio P. McKeown 

One day a big little man came to Chicago from Cincinnati 
and took charge of The Inter Ocean as general manager and 
director, with full control. Changes in and additions were 
made to the staff and equipment, and from that time the paper 


began to win its way. That big little man was William Penn 
Nixon, whom you honor with this banquet. There was a 
struggle for years with active enemies and strong competitors. 
It was not always all sunshine in the counting room, and in 
the sanctum. But the same big little man managed and con- 
trolled and guided in both those important posts, and he finally 
won the great battle, and made The Inter Ocean a power in the