LAWRENCE J. GUTTER
Collection of Chicagoana
THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
The University Library
William Penn Nixon
WILLIAM PENN NIXON
Proceedings of the
Given by the
Old Inter Ocean Boys' Club
To their Former Chief
William Penn Nixon
At the Palmer House, Chicago, on the
November 22, 1904
Printed for Private Distribution
fffif Infusttir ^3rrB
R. R. DONNBLLKV & SONS COMPANY
HOW IT CAME ABOUT
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
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
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.
BRIEF SKETCH OF WILLIAM PENN NIXON
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
1. ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT, GEORGE B. ARMSTRONG 13
2. TOASTMASTER WlLLIAM H. BuSBEY'S ADDRESS - 21
3. RESPONSE BY WILLIAM PENN NDCON - 25
4. ADDRESS BY A. C. THOMAS - 29
5. REMARKS BY B. FRANK HOWARD - 31
6. POEM BY W. H. HARPER - - 33
7. REMARKS BY ALD. W. P. DUNN - - 35
8. REMARKS BY THOMAS C. MACMILLAN - - 37
9. REMARKS BY-T. O. THOMPSON - - 39
10. LETTERS FROM THE OLD BOYS - 43
DR. O. W. NIXON - 45
MAJOR E. W. HALFORD - - 47
L. H. CRALL - 48
COLONEL THOMAS H. KEEFE - - 49
J. HARRY BALLARD - - 50
ROBERT P. PORTER - 51
ELWYN A. BARRON - 52
WILLIAM E. CURTIS - - 54
MELVILLE E. STONE - - 55
BYRON ANDREWS - 55
C. C. ADAMS - 56
WALTER SCOTT - 58
WILLIAM KENNEDY - 58
U. S. SENATOR HANSBROUGH - - 59
->w FRANK W. PALMER - - 59
^^ JAMES G. GIBBS - 60
L. WHITE BUSBEY 60
GEORGE E. PLUMBE - - 60
JOSEPH L. STICKNEY - - 61
Miss MINNA SMITH - 61
H. H. KOHLSAAT - 62
JOHN HALLORAN - - - - -62
GEORGE R. HAYMAN - - 62
THOMAS O'NEILL - - - 62
EDWARD FREIBERGER- - 63
WILLIAM EMMETT DENNIS - 63
HORATIO P. MCKEOWN 63
ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT,
GEORGE B. ARMSTRONG
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
RESOLUTIONS OF AFFECTION
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
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.
TOASTMASTER WM. H. BUSBEY'S ADDRESS
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.
RESPONSE BY MR. 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.
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-
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
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.
ADDRESS BY A. C. THOMAS
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.
B. FRANK HOWARD
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.
POEM BY WM. HUDSON HARPER
" TO WILLIAM PENN "
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!"
REMARKS BY ALD. W. P. DUNN
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.
REMARKS BY THOMAS C. MAC MILLAN
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."
ADDRESS BY T. O. THOMPSON
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.
LETTERS FROM THE OLD BOYS
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."
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-
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
^ 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.
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."
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.
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.
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-
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.
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.
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