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Collection of Chicogoana 


The University Library 

Bronze Monument erected in Lincoln Park by the Hon. Lambert Tree. 












The best a historian can do is to approach accuracy before 
venturing upon publication; and, after publication, to approach it more 
and more nearly; for to reach it is beyond his utmost scope. 

The degree in which he can do this latter is dependent on the 
trouble his readers may take in pointing out to him his errors of 
omission and commission. "A word to the wise is sufficient;" and 
these words are addressed to all who are interested enough to read, 
wise enough to criticise and friendly enough to correct, for the benefit 

of posterity, this " Story of Chicago." 





Lake Michigan flowed toward the Gulf of Mexico; i How the 
waters came to change direction; 2 Threatened destruction of Lake 
Erie; 3 When Chicago was submerged; 4 Aspect of the ancient 
shore line; 5 The divide emerges from the waves; 6 Vanished 
races; 7. 


Meaning of the name Chicago; 8 The Portage; 8 Indian Traits; 
10 John Dean Caton; n Scalp Hunting; 12 Massacre at Starved 
Rock; 13 Lost Records; 14. 


Coming of the French; 15 Race of the Races; 17 Joliet 
discovers the Portage; 18 Marquette's winter at Hardscrabble; 18 
La Salle arrives; 19 Travelers' tales; 20 Knightly honor assailed; 21 
First lake vessel; 21 La Salle's ceaseless struggles; 22 Final catas- 
trophe; 23. 


Last days of first explorers; 26 Kaskaskia in the North; 27 
Kaskaskia in the South; 28 John Law's Mississippi scheme; 29 New 
road to the sea; 30 Indian atrocities; 32 Chicagua for a Rendezvous; 
32 English succeed French; 33. 


Red Coat 1812; 34 England's savage allies; 34 Kinzie and Cly- 
bourne ancestors; 35 Kentuckians in Illinois; 36 Clark takes Kas- 
kaskia; 37 Chicago from 1778 to 1794; 39 Hamilton takes Vin- 
cennes; 40 Clark's Winter march; 41 Clark defeats and takes Ham- 
ilton; 42 Anecdote about Clark; 43 Todd our first Governor; 44. 



The Washingtons buy land; 46 William Murray tries to buy Chi- 
cago; 47 Chicago's first squatter; 47 Pointe de Saible and Guarie; 
48 Antoine Ouillemette (Wilmette); 48 Ordinance of 1787; 49 
Captain John Whistler; 50 Major Whistler; 50 Julia Person Whistler; 
51 Old Rush Street Rope Ferry; 52 Quiet years from 1804 to 1812; 
53 Double murder at Hardscrabble; 54. 


Trouble far away; 56 Trouble close at hand; 56 Capt. Heald's 
dilemma; 57 Bad blood in the Garrison; 58 Indian Council; 59 
Heald's decision and action; 60 Brave William Wells arrives; 61 
View from the roof of the Block-House; 62 The same spot 80 years 
later; 63. 


Flag of distress; 64 John Kinzie's course; 64 Line of March; 65 
Chart of Chicago in 1812; 65 The Boat Party; 65 Indians attack 
the train; 66 How all might have been saved; 66 Mrs. Helm's story 
and its difficulties; 67 Private Jordan's story; 67 Capt. Heald's letter, 
68 Killing of Wm. Wells; 68 What Nile's Weekly Register reported; 
69 Tortures of dying prisoners; 69 -Fate of survivors; 70 The Mas- 
sacre Tree; 71 Last leaves on the old tree; 71. 


John Wentworth's discoveries; 72 Capt. Heald's Son; 73 The 
Heald side of the story; 73 Hon. Darius Heald in 1881; 74 Fables 
attributed to Mrs. Helm; 74 Tradition handed down by A. H. Edwards; 
76 Sauganash to the rescue; 76 The Kinzies after the battle; 77 
From 1812 to 1816. Desolation; 78. 



Years following the Massacre; 79 Early suggestion of Ship Canal; 
80 Rum and the Fur Trade; 81 Slow growth for many years; 83 
Gurdon Hubbard's early experiences; 84 General Cass' Treaty for 


Michigan lands; 86 Aspect of North Side from 1816 to 1830; 87 
Kinzies arid their home; 88 Winnebago Scare and Danville Volun- 
teers; 89 The last of John Kinzie and the Old Homestead; 90. 


The unpromising state of things sixty years ago; 92 Wild game 
within city limits; 94 The Kinzie race; 95 Less known early names; 
95 Descendantsof the captive girls; 97 TheClarksandClybourns; 98 
The Beaubiens; 99 Original capitalists; 100. 


Treaties with the Sauks and Foxes; 102 The Black Hawk War; 
104 The last Chicago Indian Treaty; 105 How Chicago looked to 
a stranger; 106 White men's interest in the Treaty; 107 The last of 
old Shaubena ; 108 The Farewell War dance in 1835; no Present 
state of the same tribes ; 1 1 1. 


Beginning of the Illinois and Michigan Canal ; i i 2 Persistence 
under difficulties; 113 Original Town surveyed; 114 Sale of the 
School Section; 1 1 6- Ferriage ; 118 Clark Street Bridge built; 120. 


Schools and Teachers; 122 Protestant Churches; 124 Volun- 
teer Fire Company; 125 Catholic Worship ; 127 St. James Church; 
128 Postal Service; 129 The first Newspaper; 130 Medical Prac- 
titioners; 131 Cholera of 1832; 131 Refugees from the Fort ; 132 
The first lawyer ; 133. 



Pianos arrive; 135 Music; 136 Social Gaiety, 137 Kinzie- 
Whistler wedding; 137 Scanty of food in 1834; 138 Dances and 
prayer meetings; 139 Unfathomable mud; 140 Experiments in street 
pavement; 140 Changes in established grade; 141 Earliest Public 
Exhibition; 141 Field -sports; 142 Primitive Postal service; 143 
William B. Ogden; 144 Personal memories of the Ogden home; 145 
Arnold's ride to Danville; 146. 




Estray Pen and Jail on Public Square; 149 John Dean Caton's 
admission to the Bar; 150 The first Town Census of Chicago; 152 
Launch of the Clarissa; 153 Garrison finally withdrawn; 154 Bogus 
Towns and Cities; 156 Traditional city lot sales; 157 Progress of the 
excitement; 158 Balestier's lecture on these times; 160 Foolish State 
legislation; 161. 

THE HARD TIMES Or 1837-40: 

Legislative scheme of Public Improvements; 163 Wisdom of Gov. 
Duncan; 165 Specie payments suspended; 165 Public works stopped; 
165 Banks fail; 166 State Treasurer too poor to pay postage; 166 
State debt and assets; 166 Canal cholera; 167 Personal reminiscences; 
167 " Red dog," Wild-cat" and "Shin-plasters"; 168 Scrip of various 
kinds; 168 Struggling to keep faith; 170 Utter failure of Internal 
Improvement scheme; 171 Ogden's firmness; 172 Position of Chicago 
Branch State Bank; 172 Stubborn business courage; 173 Where 
men used to congregate, 173 Real Estate values; 174 Cost of living; 
1 74 Collection of small debts; 1 75 Not all bankrupt, 1 76 " Wigwam 
lost, Mokopo here!"; 176. 


Delegation to Whig convention at Springfield; 178 Reviving con- 
fidence; 179 Alleged row between Long John and Captain Hunter; 
180 Stage-coach days; 181 First regular Theatre; 181 Cemetery at 
Clark Street and North Avenue; 182 States emerging from their 
troubles; 182 Boston Capital; 183 Canal commissioners appointed; 
184 Shallow cut adopted; 184 Wisconsin tries to gain Chicago; 184 
The Canal's many benefactions; 185 The story of a typical family 
migration, 187 Achievements of "the forties"; 189 The Lake 
Street hydraulic works; 189 Primitive water-piping; 190. 


The Mexican War; 191 Previous River and Harbor bills; 192 
Polk's veto; 192 Chicago furious; 193 Calling of the Convention 
194 Strangers in attendance; 195 Lincoln a Delegate; 196 Horace 


Greeley; 196 Thurlow Weed's account; 197 The Resolutions; 198 
Weed's mistake; 199 General Webster; 199. 



Opening business on the Canal; 201 The first engine that ever 
turned a wheel in Chicago; 202 The "Pioneer;" 203 Running a rail- 
road line through the water; 203 Galena railroad begins to run; 204 
$20,000 from George Smith; 205 High water all over the West; 205 
The old Portage overflowed; 206 The great flood of 1849 > n Chi- 
cago; 206 Accidents and incidents of the flood; 207 Losses; 207 
A costly bridge; 209 Rush Street Ferry; 209 The great drawbridge 
question re-opened; 210 First City Hall built in State Street; 211 
First Regular Theatre; 212 Mr. McVicker in song and dance act; 213 
Beginning of the City's Musical Life; 214 Ogden's lesson to Prin- 
diville; 214 Gov. Bross' description of those days; 215. 



Chicago's struggles in starting the first railroad; 216 Bad faith in 
dealing with Galena; 21 7 Michigan Southern and Central come in; 217 
-Terrible accident at Grand Crossing; 218 The Illinois Central; 218 
State percentage of Illinois Central earnings; 219 Mr. Lincoln's little 
story; 219 Threatened destruction of Michigan Avenue; 220 The 
line of Crib protection; 221 Foreign capital to the rescue; 221 The 
makers of the Illinois Central; 222 Streets generally begin to be num- 
bered and paved; 222 Burning of Rice's Theatre; 223 First General 
Charity Hospital; 223 Douglas silenced by Anti-Fugitive Slave-Law 
mob; 224 Sale of a black man at auction; 225 Rescue of fugitive 
slaves; 225 Distinguished Abolitionists; 226. 


Nature's bounty to Chicago; 227 Her commercial position; 227 
Built of material taken from her own sub-soil; 228 Lake breezes temper 
both cold and heat; 228 Drawbacks of a level site; 229 Drainage, 
water, river, fire and streets; 229 Chowder in the bath-tub; 230 Line 
of drainage established; 230 First effects of Drainage; 231 The city 
lifted above the sewers; 231 Law of street grades fixed; 232 Raising 
of old brick buildings; 232 First work of George Pullman; 233 Begin- 
ning of Palace Cars; 233 The Sleeping Car System; 234 The Cholera; 


1852 to 1855; 234 Incidents of the epidemic; 235 Dr. Dyer's good 
story; 235 The Lake Street Fire of 1857; 236 The first Steam Fire 
Engine; 236 Riotous Firemen; 237 Fate of the river banks; 237 
River and Harbor History; 238. 


Banking and Currency system a failure; 242 Chaos of Bank notes; 
243 One day's collections on the C., B. & Q; 243 The hard-money 
"Democrat;" 244 Periodical Convulsions; 244 Ohio Life & Trust 
fails for $7,000,000; 245 Tribulation of the Illinois Central; 245 
Hard times come again; 246 Gresham's Law; 246 Illinois Banking 
and Currency act; 247 Geo. Smith and the Georgia Banks; 247 Chi- 
cago on the Slavery Question; 248 Free Kansas meeting in 1856; 249 

Injustice to Justice Taney; 249 Lincoln-Douglas Debates; 249 
Douglas' strong Unionism; 250 Chicago under cloud and storm; 250 

Beginning of Street Railroads; 251 Disappearance of Fort Dear- 
born; 251 First iron drawbridge; 252 Railroad miles and earnings in 
1857; 253 Union Stock Yards started; 254 Progress in the fifties; 
255 Birth of the Republican party; 255 Wreck of the "Charles 
Howard;" 256. 


Republican Convention of 1861; 257 Sewardandthe New Yorkers; 
257 Lincoln on his own candidacy; 258 Seward's chances and mis- 
chances; 258 Scenes in the Wigwam; 259 The balloting; 260 Union 
mass-meeting at Bryan Hall; 260 Only 150 militia men in 1860; 261 
First call for volunteers; 261 i2th and igth Regiments; 262 23d, Irish- 
American; 262 Hecker-Jaeger Regiment; 262 24th, German-American; 
264 37th, Fremont Rifles; 264 39th,Yates Phalanx; 264 42d, Infantry; 
264 5ist, Chicago Legion; 264 57th, National Guards; 264 58th 
McClellan Brigade; 265 65th, Scotch Regiment; 265 72d, Board of 
Trade; 265 82d, German-American; 265 88th, Second Board of Trade; 
266 Sgth, Railroad Regiment; 266; goth, Irish Legion; 266 ii3th, 
Third Board of Trade; 266 I27th, 3,000 miles, 100 engagements; 266 
Cavalry; 266 i6th and i7th Cavalry; 267 Artillery; 267 Stokes 
Board of Trade Battery; 267 Death-Roll of Honor; 268 Typical 
Memoir of one Chicago officer: 268 Camp Douglas; 269 Prisoners' 
Aid and Relief; 270 Camp Douglas Conspiracy; 270 Sanitary Com- 
mission; 271 Love and Gratitude of those old days; 271. 




Loss of the Lady Elgin ; 272 The bones of the ship now visible 
273 Other wrecks ; 273 Population not checked by war ; 274 Lake 
Tunnel crib; 274 Lake difficulties overcome, 275 Beginning of 
Lincoln Park; 276 Sectional jealousies; 276 Removal of the cem- 
etery; 277 Enlargement of the River Forks; 277 Inception of the 
Union Stockyards; 279 Of the Clearing House, 279 The river again 
foul; 280 The remedy; 280 The two tunnels; 281 Federal affairs ; 
281 Greenbacks; 281 Money that rustled but did not rattle; 283 
The old banks died hard; 283 Unfailing value of city securities; 284 
Farewell to George Smith , 284 Where did the old rags go ? 285 
Greenback inflation; 285 Laborers on top ; 285 End of the stormy 
sixties; 287 Delusive confidence; 287. 


The great drought before the great fire ; 288 Condition of the 
city in 1871; 288 The feast spread; 289 Condition of the fire depart- 
ment; 289 The O'Leary house and stable ; 290 Testimony of the 
O'Learys; 291 Delay in giving the alarm; 291 The attack outflanks 
the defence; 291 First loss of a steam fire engine; 292 Flames jump 
over the south branch ; 292 Battle on the court-house roof; 293 Use 
of gunpowder; 293 Cook county record office; 293 Fierce speed of 
the flames; 293 Fire crosses the main river; 294 Failure to defend the 
waterworks; 294 Whose fault? 295 One woman's story; 296 Men- 
tal phenomena; 297 Pitiful struggles; 298 Outpouring of the world's 
pity; 298 First relief committees; 299 The Chicago Relief and Aid 
Society; 299 -Special police sworn in; 300 Militia and regular troops 
come; 301 Sensitiveness regarding U. S s soldiers; 301 First new 
supply of water; 301 Summary of losses and compensations; 302 
Rebound of hope; 302 Even Gov. Bross underestimates the recov- 
ery; 302 One man's recollections; 303 How the streets looked to a 
newly arrived Chicagoan; 304 Particular ruins; 304 North Side des- 
olation; 305. 


Books about the fire; 306 Fate of the county records; 307 
American Record System; 307 Maps and plats of city property; 308 


-The abstract makers and their work; 308 The real estate dilemma; 
309 A clue to the labyrinth; 310 John G. Shortall's story of a 
night; 310 Fate of an old landmark; 311 First apprehension of 
the coming catastrophe; 311 The fugitive crowd; 312 Lucky failure 
of a well-meant effort; 312 Stocktons to the rescue; 313 Books on 
the truck and rain of fire on the books; 3 1 3 The great bell falls unheard; 
314 Help of the jail-birds; 314 Back again to the fire; 314 Exas- 
perating fatality; 315 Exhausted nature breaks down; 315 The loss 
averted; 316 The combined savings; 316 Chance for extortion; 316 
Honorable conduct; 317 Chicago worthies; 318 Accumulations since 
the fire; 320 Government weather-signal officers; 320 Interview with 
ex-Mayor Cregier; 321 Interview with Chief Fire Marshall Williams; 



Splendid conduct of Insurance Companies; 322 Trepidation of 
the timid; 322 The Burnt Record Act; 323 Words hearty and timely; 
323 Buildings put up by the R. & A; 323 Doubts all proved to be 
vain; 324 Mayor Medill and the city problem; 324 Fire limits 
extended; 325 How serious is the loss of old buildings? 326 Early 
reconstruction; 326 Civic finances and their prospects; 327- -Schneider's 
saying about metropolitan securities; 327 Timely liberality of the 
State Government; 328 The Rookeries, old and new; 328 Unparal- 
leled achievement of the city; 329 Kerfoot's Block; 329; Gradual 
clearance of the obstructed streets; 330 Rehabilitation of the news- 
papers; 330 Failure of Congressional efforts at relief; 331 All poor, 
busy, hopeful and economical; 331 Relics of the Court House fire; 
332 East-bound trains; 332 The blessed mother-in-law; 333. 


Thirty-nine churches burned; 335 Scattering of Congregations 
by the Fire; 335 North, South and West Side circles; 335 Hospital- 
ity and Benovolence; 336 None rich by inheritance; 336 Absenteeism 
not favored; 337 One circle in the far future; 337 No true Aristoc- 
racy in Chicago as yet; 338 Development of Clubs; 338 The 
Chicago, the Standard and the Fortnightly; 339 The Literary; 340 
The Union; 340 The Illinois; 340 The Union League; 340 The 
Iroquois; 341 Relief and Aid Society; 341 Its most devoted servants; 
342 Home for the Friendless; 342 Nursery and Half-Orphan Asy- 
lum; 342 Old Ladies' Home; 343 Historical Society; 343 The 


Athenaeum; 344 Young Men's Christian Association; 345 Humane 
Society; 345 Secret Societies; 346 Union war Veterans; 346 The 
Art Institute; 346 Chicago as an art centre and art market; 347 A 
glance back at a primitive time and place; 348 The Declaration of 
Independence read from a pocket-handkerchief; 349. 


One bank safe failed in its duty; 350 Consternation first and delib- 
eration next; 350 Banks begin again to pay out money; 351 Strin- 
gency two years later; 351 Clearing-house certificates not used; 352 
Collapse averted; 352 Failures; 352 Food products a better financial 
basis than stocks and bonds; 353 The great savings-bank disaster; 353 
State, Bee-hive, Fidelity and German Savings- Banks; 354 Building 
Societies and their mission; 354 Relics of the past made foundations of 
the future; 355 A new blow on the old sore spot; 355 Last straw on 
the backs of the Insurance Companies; 356 Citizens' Association to 
the rescue; 356 The companies forgive but do not forget; 356 The 
new army of fire-fighters; 357 Bursting of the Whisky Ring; 357 
Let no guilty man escape; 357 Enormous seizures of property; 358 
Sensational trial, verdict and sentences; 358 Strongmen broken down; 
359 Indemnity to "Squealers"; 359 -Seeming financial disaster, but 
real return of health; 359 Uniform integrity of the Mayors of Chicago; 


The luxury of the poor and the rich; 362 South Park Commission; 
363 Its Fire losses; 363 Early purchases and improvements; Drexel 
Statue; 364 Hardship of boulevarding some streets at the cost of 
others; 366 Pay-as-you-go policy; 366 Equipment needed by a park; 
367 Table of areas and distances; 367 Beginning of West Side Park 
System; 367 Douglas, Garfield and Humboldt; 368 Great boulevards 
on the West Side; 368 Future beauties; 369 Acres and miles of West 
Side system; 369 Lake Shore Drive, the glory of the North Side; 370 
Primeval sand-hills; 371 Exclusion of shore railways; 371 Blossom- 
ing as the rose; 372 Miles and acres of the Lincoln Park Syetem; 373 
Original cost and present debt; 373 Successive Commissioners; 374 
Park system still beyond present needs; 374 Increasing means and 
decreasing demands; 375 Bought and paid for; a free gift to the 
future; 375. 




A city of homes safe from certain dangers ; 376 Trade Unions 
necessary and proper; 376 The Pittsburgh Riots ; 376 First troubles 
in Chicago ; 377 Assembling of forces for defence; 377 Outbreak and 
bloodshed ; 378 Points to be defended ; 378 Gen. Torrence's disposi- 
tion of forces ; 379 Military supports police ; 379 United States Reg- 
ulars ; 380 Unanimity in the defenders , 380 The threatened avalanche 
scattered at the start , 381 Fear of the mob succeeded by jibes at the 
military; 381 Thankless task of the militia; 382 The Anarchists' 
movement ; 382 The prime movers ; 383 Their folly ; 383 Differ- 
ence between labor-unionists and anarchists ; 384 Trouble at McCor- 
mick's Reaper works ; 384 The "Revenge" circular; 385 Parson's 
speech at the Haymarket ; 385 Explosion, wounds and death; 386 
Arrests; 386 Trial, conviction and punishment; 386 Judge Gary and 
Prosecutor Grinnell ; 386. 


The grand plan and its originator ; 388 An unpromising spot ; 
389 Magical transformation ; 389 The workers and the work 390 ; 
Corliss Engine ; 390 Architecture ; 300 Sewerage and disposition of 
sewage ; 390 Water supply ; 391 Pullman sewage farm ; 391 Lesson 
regarding Chicago sewage ; 393 Growth of a car ; 392 A train a day 
produced; 392 Health of the town 1393 Temperance ; 393 Personal 
liberty; 393 Free public opinion ; 394 Religion; 394 Aspect of the 
town ; 394 Flats and other homes ; 395 Statistics of population ; 395 
Savings in bank ; 396 Spontaneous good order ; 396 The labor 
troubles of 1886 Arrival of the walking delegate ; 397 Mr. Pullman's 
reception of the committee ; 397 His answer; 397 Finality of the inter- 
view ; 398 The strike is on ; 398 Attempted socialist intervention ; 
399 Foundrymen come forward ; 399 End of strike ; 399 Piece-work 
at Pullman; 400 Perhaps a key-bearer; 400 The cap-stone is peace ; 400. 


Vastness of the million; 401 Then and now; 401 Chicago in 
1891; 401 Her relative position; 402 Other World's Fairs; 403 
Growth of Chicago since the fire; 403 Present growth and what it 
means; 404 Demand again overtakes supply; 404 Good-bye to Gur- 
don Hubbard; 404 The Newberry fortune; 405 Walter L. New- 


berry's Chicago history; 405 His public acts; 406 Personal character- 
istics; 407 Mr. Newberry's will; 408 Judge Skinner; 408 Litigation; 
409 Location of permanent library; 410 Dr. Poole's remarks; 411 
The building itself; 411 John Crerar; 412 A few of his business 
connections; 412 Mr. Crerar's will; 413 The Crerar Library; 413 
A message from beyond the grave; 414 The Armour Mission and its 
founders; 414 Its ways and means; 415 Manual Training School; 
415 William B. Ogden's will; 416 Fate of his well-meant charitable 
effort; 416 Difference between New York and Chicago charitable 
bequests; 417. 



Undertaking of the World's Columbian; 418 Act of Congress; 
418 Conditional on certain funds; 419 Funds provided; 419 Inn. 
keepers, etc., pledged against extortion; 420 Naval reviews; 420 The 
true anniversary; 420 President's proclamation; 421 Four organiza- 
tions; 421 Fifteen great departments; 421 General officers; 422 
Board members; 422 Statistics of previous fairs; 423 How Chicago 
compares; 423 Action of States and Territories; 423 Action of the 
general government; 424 Government exhibits; 424 Outlays hitherto 
and in the future; 425 Action of foreign nations; 425 A mile 
square of land and more if needed; 425 The lake and the water 
courses; 425 Statue of Liberty; 426 General architectural scheme; 
426 Machinery Hall; 426 Fisheries island; 427 General Miles in 
charge of military features; 427 Troops and Indians; 427 Possi- 
ble sham battle; 427 Pride in showing how few soldiers we need; 
428 Lady managers; 428 Lady delegates; 428 Their powers and 
duties; 429 First meeting; 429 Speeches by Mrs. Felton and Mrs. 
Palmer; 429 Mrs. Palmer's report of her foreign trip; 430 How roy- 
alty and aristocracy look at the movement; 430 Princess Christian; 
431 Mrs. Palmer's address to the Commissioners; 431 The Auxiliary; 
432 A Congress of Congresses; 433 Building plans and costs; 434 
Other necessary outlays; 434 $17,000,000 to be laid out; 434 Fire 
department; 434 Building materials; 435 Sewerage; 435 Aspect of 
the ground in December 189-1; 435. 



Chicago bent on business; 437 The idle man a lonely man; 438 
Doing only one's duty is not enough; 438 The beauty of it; 439 
Debt-paying, peace and plenty; 439 Suppose labor were exceptional; 440 
Effect of success not all good; 440 Woman in her new place; 441 


Men judged by acts, not by thoughts; 441 Ecclesiastical trials; 441 
Two creedless churches; 442 Central church; 443 People's church; 
443 Non-partisan movement whereby ballot-box frauds were stopped; 
443 No Chicago fortunes based on public plunder; 445 New York 
Chicago's elder sister and senior business partner; 445 Chicago not 
yet the ideal city; 445 Smoke, dust and mud; 445 Remedies possi- 
ble; 446 Money growing plenty; 446 Village-like characteristics; 446 
Patience under wrong; 447 Seats in street cars given up to women; 
447 What's all this? 448 Overcrowding of streets arising from over- 
building of houses; 448 John W. Root and the Chicago construc- 
tion; 450 Colbert's record of 40 years' growth; 451 Each historian 
laughs at his predecessor; 451 On the shining height; 451. 

INDEX, 453. 



First Baptist Church, 122. 
First M. E. Church, 248. 
First Universalist Church, 246. 
St. James Church, First, 136. 
" New, and 
Parsonage, 254. 
Second Presbyt. Church, 252. 
See also Fire Scenes. 

Burch, I.H., residence of, 241. 
Kinzie House, old, 75. 

" mansion (Wau-Bun), 88. 
Ogden residence, 304. 
Palmer, Potter, residence, 439. 
Pullman's house and massacre 

tree. 70. 
Torrence, General, residence 

of, 349. 
See also Fire Scenes and 

Pullman, Scenes in, 
Art Institute, 338. 
Block House. Itslastdays,81. 
Calumet Club, 341. 
Cook County Hospital, Har- 
rison St., 450. 
Court House, F ; rst. 153. 

Second, 245. 
Ft. Dearborn 1803-4, 53. 

(Wau-Bun), 80. 
(Interior), 162. 
Green Tree Hotel, 96. 
Illinois Central Passenger sta- 
tion (1855), 226. 
Lake House, 162. 
Log cabin. 17. 
Masonic Temple, 444. 
Peck's store, 126. 
Relic House, 334. 
Rush Medical Coll. , first, 232. 
" Saloon " building. 143.210. 
Sauganash Hotel, 109. 
Temple building, 126. 
Union Club house. 340. 
Union League Club house, 339. 
United States Hotel and South 

Branch bridge, 118. 
Waterworks, city (i 8*4), 229. 
" (1891), 254. 

Woman's Christian Temper- 
ance Union, 442. 
"Wigwam." The, 258. 
See also Fire Scenes; Pullman, 
Scenes in: and World's Co- 
lumbian Exposition. 
Armour's Block before and 

after the fire, 313. 
Bookseller's Row before and 

after the fire, 317. 
Chamber of Commerce before 
and after the fire, 307. 

FIRE SCENES. Continued. 

Court House before and after 

the fire, 314. 
Crosby's Opera House before 

and after the fire, 327. 
Clark and Lake Sts.. S. E. cor., 
before and after the fire, 298. 
Dearborn St., North from 

Adams, Oct. 17, '71, 294. 
Field & Leiter's store before 

and after the fire, 310. 
First building erected after the 

fire, 329. 
First M. E. Church after the 

fire, 297. 

First Merchants in burnt dis- 
trict, 333. 
First National Bank before 

and after the fire, 319. 
General Ruin, Oct. 17, '71, 300. 
Historical Society's Building 

before and after the fire, 318. 
"Kerfoot's Block," 329. 
Lake and Clark Sts., S. E. cor., 

after the fire 298. 
Lake St. from Michigan Ave., 

before and after the fire, 311. 
Marine Bank after the fire, 298. 
Michigan Ave., North frcm 

Madison St. before and after 

the fire, 332. 
Michigan Southern Depot be 

fore and after the fire, 301. 
Ogden Residence, 304. 
Portland Block before and af- 
ter the fire, 312. 
Postoffice before and after the 

fire, 328. 

Rumsey, Geo., residence of, be- 
fore and after the fire, 331. 
Rush Medical College befoie 

and after the fire, 308. 
St. lames' Church before and 

after the fire, 316. 
St. James' Church from Huron 

St. after the fire. 305. 
St. James' Church from Rush 

St. after the fire, 297. 
St. Paul's Universalist Church 

before and after the fire, 304. 
Second Presbyterian Church 

before and after the fire, 306. 
Shepard's Building before and 

after the fire, 302. 
Sherman House before and 

after the fire, 303. 
Tribune building before and 

after the fire, 299. 
Union Building before and after 

the fire. 326. 
Unity Church before and after 

the fire, 330. 
Washington Street and Court 

House, Oct. 17, 1871, 292. 

FIRE SCENES. Continued. 

Washington St., West from Wa- 
bash Ave., Oct. 17, '71, 295. 

Waterworks, City, before and 
after the fire, 296. 

Where the fire started, 290. 

Burnt District, 289. 


Douglas Park, Scenes in, 371, 

372 and 373. 

Garfield Park, Scene in, 374. 
Lincoln Park, Bear-pit in, 370. 

Floral Design in, 366. 

In the Palm House, 365. 

Scene in, 368. 

Sea Lion Pond, 362. 
Washington Park, the Floral 

Globe, 364. 

Fountain, 369. 

Gates Ajar, 363. 
(See also "Statues.") 


Ackerman, W. K., 221. 
Adams, C. W., Master U. S. 
N., 286. 

Geo. W., 383. 

J. McGregor, 323. 
Aldrich, W., 113. 
Anderson, G., 128. 

P. B., 128. 
Andrews, E., Surgeon U. S. 

V.. 282. 
Armour, Geo.. 129. 

Joseph F., 415. 

Philip D., 415. 
Armstrong, T. R., 112. 
Arnold, Isaac N., 146. 
Atkinson, S. F., 137. 
Baker, W. T., 422. 
Baldwin, W. A., 112. 
Ball, S. R. and wife, 128. 
Balsby, J., 121. 
Bangs, Mark. 358. 
Barnes, S B. and wife, 136. 
Barney, Mrs N. A., 136. 
Barrett, S. E., Major U. S. 

V., 286. 

Barry, Wm., 348. 
Bascom. Rev. Flavel, 225. 

S., 113. 
Bassett. G., 120. 

J., 121. 
Bates, John and wife, 128. 

John, Jr., 129. 
Beaiibien, John B., 86,142. 

Mark, 121. 

W. S. and wife, 120. 
Beecher. J., and wife, 129. 
Beers. C.. 120. 
Beggs, Rev. S. R., 177. 



PORTRAITS. Continued. 
Bennet, B., 105. 
Berg, A., 120-136. 

Mrs. A., 118. 
Beveredge, John L., 342. 
Bigelow, Mrs. J., 105. 
Bishop, Mrs. L. J., 129. 
Black, Gen. John Charles, 266. 

William P., 382. 
Black Hawk, 103. 
Blackman, E., 105. 
Blatchford, E W., 408. 
Blodgett. Judge H. W., 167. 

W. H. and wife, 129. 

E. A., Capt. U.S. V., 282. 
Bonfield, Capt. John, 379. 
Bonney, Charles C., 435. 
Boone, Daniel, 36. 

Levi D., 112,360. 

Mrs. T. L., 120. 
Botsford, Jabez K., 211. 

J. J. and wife, 129. 
Bowen, C., 113. 

Jas., 263. 

L , 113. 

Boyer, N. A. and wife, 136. 
Bradley, Cyrus P., 198. 

W. H., 409. 
Brainard, Dr. D., 132. 
Braith, A. F., 121. 
Brajo, Mr. and Mrs., 128. 
Brayman, Mrs. E. W.. 120. 
Brayton, Jas. H., 383. 
Breese, R. B., 105. 

Judge Sydney, 218. 
Bridges, Gen. Lyman, 267 

T. B., 129. 

Bross, Gov. Wm., 105. 
Brown, L., 128. 

N. H., and wife, 120. 

S. D., 136. 

T , 128. 

W. H., 172. 
Bryan, A. B., 113. 

Thos. B.,263, 270. 
Burley, A. G., 174. 128. 

Mrs. A. G.,128. 

A. H., 174, 263. 
Butterfield, Justin, 175. 
Calhoun, John, 130. 

Mrs. John, 113. 

John B., 219. 
Campbell, G., 112. 
Carbriden, J., 137. 
Carrington, N. S., 128. 
Carpenter, A. E., 112. 

Mrs. A. E.,137 

Philo, 113, 117. 
Carter, Thos. B., 129, 239. 
Carver, B., 112. 
Castle. E., 105. 
Caswell. S. and wife. 136. 
Caton. Judge John Dean, 138. 

Mrs. John Dean, 139. 

Mr. and Mrs. W. P., 128. 
Cavelier, R. de La Salle, 21. 
Chacksfield.C., 128. 
Chalmers, T., 120. 
Chapin, John P., 360. 
Chappell, Elisa, 123. 
Chesbrough, E. S.. 275. 
Chetlain.Gen. A. L.,265. 
Church. Thos., 196. 

W. L.. 120 

PORTRAITS. Continued, 
Churchill, J. and wife, 128. 
Clark. Geo. Rogers, 41 . 

G. R., 105. 

H. W. and wife, 128. 

John K., 97. 

N., 136. 

W. H., 120. 
Clarke, W. H., 275. 
Clancey, W. B. and wife, 136. 
Cleaver, Chas., 128, 137. 
Cleavland, W. R., 112. 
dowry, R. W., Lt.-Col. U. S. 

V., 282. 
Clybourne, Archibald, 99. 

Mrs. Archibald, 99, 137. 
Cobb, S. G. and wife, 104. 

Silas B., 104, 211. 

Mrs. Silas B., 104. 
Coffing, Mrs. C., 129. 
Colbert, Monsieur, 33. 
Collyer, Rev Robert, 259. 
Colvin, H. D.. 263, 360. 
Conner, Miss C., 128. 
Cook, Hon. D. P., 113. 

G. C. and wife, 121. 

T. and wife, 129. 
Couch, James, 137, 182. 

Mrs. James, 137. 
Crary, C. A., 112. 
Cregier, Hon. DeWittC., 361. 
Crerar, John, 412. 
Crook, George, Maj.-Gen. U. 

S. A.. 282. 
Curtis, James, 204, 360. 

Mrs. James, 112. 

Miss P., 105. 
Cushing, N., 136 
Daggy. Peter, 224. 
Dauchy, G. K., Capt. U. S. V., 

Davis, C.W., Col. U.S.V., 286. 

Mrs. E., 112. 

Geo. R., 357. 

Dr. N. S., 422. 
Dee, Mrs. D., 129. 
Demock, Mrs. M. A., 112. 
Denker, Theo. E., 383. 
Derrickson, R. P., 137. 
DeWolf. C.,105. 

Henry, 271. 

William, 264. 

W. F., 355. 
Dexter, A. and wife, 129. 

Wirt. 336. 

Dickey, T. Lyle. 213. 
Dickman, A.i 112. 
Dobbins, T.,113. 
Dodson, C. B. and wife, 120. 
Dole, G. W., 204. 
Dore. John C., 263. 
Douglas, Stephen A., 165. 
Downs, A. G. and wife, 121. 

A. S. and wife, 121. 

N. D. and wife, 136. 

W. R., 104. 

Mrs. W. R., 136. 
Drake, G., 104. 
Drummond, Judge Thos., 209, 


Ducat. Gen. Arthur C. 265. 
Dugan, T., 137. 
Dyas. Dr. G.. 137. 
Dyer, Chas. V., 235. 

PORTRAITS. Continued. 
Dyer, Clarence H., Maj. U.S. 

V., 286. 

Thomas, 360. 

Eagan, E. B. and wife, 129. 
Earle, Mrs. M., 120. 
Eastman, Zebina, 112, 226. 
Ebert, John, 203. 
Egan. Mrs. E.. 120. 

Dr. Wm. B., 114. 
Engel. Geo., 385. 
Erskine, Col. Albert, 268. 
Fairbank, N. K., 256. 
Farnham, G. M., Captain U. 

S. V., 286. 
Farwell, John V., 324. 
Fearn, Walter, 435. 
Fergus, Robt., 143. 
Fielden, Paul, 385. 
Fischer, Adolph, 384. 
Fittz, Mr., 104. 
Follansbee, C., 120. 

Mrs. C., 112. 
Foote, J., 136. 

Mrs. J., 121. 

J. H.. 121. 
Forbes, Eliza, 123. 

Stephen, 122. 
Foster, Geo. F., 160. 

Mrs. G. F., 137. 
Fowler, Mrs. F. H., 112. 
Fuller, H. and wife, 104. 
Furness, W. E., Maj. U. S. V., 

Gage, Mrs. E., 104. 

Lyman J., 352. 
Gale, A., 137. 
Gary, Judge Joseph E., 38(. 
Garrett, Aug., 360. 
Gates. P. W., 120. 

Mrs. P. W., 112. 
George III., 45. 
Gibbs, A., 120. 
Gleason, McB., 137. 
Goodhue, JosiahC., 149. 
Goodkins, S. R., 137. 
Goodman, Thomas, 113. 
Goodrich, Judge Grant, 263 
Gould, Mr. E., 113. 

J. N., 137. 

Graff, P. and wife. Ii3. 
Graham, E. A., 113. 
Grannis. A., 105. 
Grant, Mrs., 112. 
Gray, C. M., 360 

Mrs. C. M., 113. 

G. W., 137. 

J., 137. 

Mrs. J.. 112. 

J. H.. 120. 

Mrs. J. H., 113. 

M., 137. 

Miss. 129. 

W., 129. 

Greeley. Horace, 197. 
Green, R. and wife, 113. 
Greenebaum, Mr., 105 
Greiner. John B., 383. 
Grinnell, Julius S., 382. 
Groesbeck, A., 137. 
Gunn, Dr. Moses. 259. 
Gurley, Jason, 157. 
Gurnee, Walter S.. 360. 
Haines, John C., 129. 360. 



PORTRAITS Continued 

Hallam, Rev. Isaac W., 128. 
Hamilton, Andrew, 388. 

P. S., 104. 

Richard J., 116. 
Hammond, Chas. G., 324. 
Hancock, J. S., 105 
Harding, A. J., Capt. U, S. 

V., 286. 
Harmon. E , 120. 

Isaac D., 137, 240. 

Isaac N., 105.240. 
Harper, Mrs. J. M., 113. 

W., 136. 
Harris, Jacob, 113. 

Mrs. J. E., 105. 
Harrison, Hon. Carter H.,360. 
Hart, R., 113. 
Hayes, S. I., 309 
Heacock, W. C., 104. 
Heald. H. N. and wife, 128. 

Rebekah, 58. 
Healey, G. P. A., 346. 
Heartt, George, 104. 

Mrs. Jane, 105. 
Heath, Monroe, 360, 378. 
Henderson, Mrs. H. E., 129. 
Higgins, Judge Van H., 263. 
Hilliard, L. P.. 136. 
Hing, J. and wife, 104. 
Hjortsberg, Max. 399. 
Hoard, S. and wife, 136. 
Hogan, J. C., 177. 
Holden, Mrs. Betsey, 348 

C., 105 

C. C. P., 192. 

Mrs. C. C. P., 105. 

C. N.,121, 161. 

Mrs. C. N., 121. 

J. and wife, 121. 

P. H., 348. 

Hooker, Mrs. L. W., 120. 
Hough, R. M., 263. 
Hoyne, Thomas. 194. 263. 
Hubbard.Gurdon S.. 83,120,404 
Huggins, E., Capt. U. S. A., I 


Hughitt, Marvin, 347. 
Hugunin, L. G., 113. 
Huntington, Alonzo. 196. 
Kurd, Mrs. H. B., 136. 
Hurlbut, Henry H., 89. 
Hyde, J. N., Surgeon U. S. '' 

N.. 286. 
Ingalls, R.. Bvt. Maj. Gen. U. 

S A., 282. 
Ingals, Dr., 112. 
Ingham, George C., 382. 
Isherwood, Harry, 185. 
Jackson, H. W.. Major U. S. 
V., 286, 413. 

J. and wife, 128. 
Jenks, Mrs. J., 105. 
Jenney, W. L. B., Major U. 

5. V.,282. 
Jennings, J., 113. 

S. H., 113. 
Johnson. Dr. Hosmer A., 338. 

Jones, Fernando, 120, 309. 

Mrs. Fernando, 120. 
Jones, J., 105. 

N. A. and wife, 128. 
Jouett, Charles, 44. 

PORTRAITS. Coniinmd. 

Judd, Norman B., 154. 
Judson, Mrs E., 113. 
Keeler.VV. B.,Col. U. S.V.,286. 
Kehoe, M.. 128. 
Kidder, H. M., Col. U. S. V., 

Kimball, A. F., 128. 

Mark. 128. 
King, Henry W., 336. 

Tuthill and wife, 113. 
Kin/if, Gwenthlean H., 96. 

John Harris, 94. 

Mrs. Juliette A., 57. 

R. A., 95. 

Kirkland. Joseph, 305. 
Kobles, Miss S. C., 104. 
Labaska, K.. 129. 
Lander. J. and wife, 129. 
Lane, E. B. and wife, 129. 
Lange, O. G.. 105. 

Mrs. O. G., 137. 
Larned, Edwin C., 263, 337. 
LaSalle: SeeCavelier. 
Leake.Gen.Joseph B., 260, 282 
Lee, T., 137. 
Leiter, Levi Z , 354. 
Lincoln, Abraham, 164, 200. 
Lind, Sylvester, 137, 231. 
Lingg, Louis, 384. 
Lipp, R., 129. 
Little Turtle, 60. 
Lloyd, Alexander, 360. 
Locke, Rev. Clinton, 344. 
Louis XIV., 214. 
Loomis, John Mason, Col. U. 

S. V., 286. 

Ludwig. Chas. H., 383. 
Luff.W. M.,Maj U. S.V.,286. 
Macham, W., 136. 
MacVeagh. Franklin, 447. 
Manierre, Edwin, 128. 

George, 263. 

Marshall, J. N. and wife, 129. 
Mason, Geo., Maj. U. S. V., 286. 

Mrs. H. P., 136. 

Roswell P., 217. 360. 
McCagg, Ezra B., 325. 
McClaughry, Mai. U. S. V., 


McClintock, J., 120. 
McCluer, J. E., 137. 
McCormick, Cyrus H., 448. 
McDonnell, C., 104, 112. 

Mrs. C., 104. 

McGraw, J. and wife, 136. 
McKay, Mr., 104. 
McVicker. Dr. Brock, 113. 

Mrs. Brock, 137. 

Jas. H., 223. 
McWarren, J.. 137. 

Mrs. J.,129. 
McWilliams, J. G., Capt. U. 

S. V., 286. 
Meacham. R., 104. 
Meadowcroft, R. and wife, 121. 
Medill, Joseph, 262, 360. 

Wm. H., 268. 
Merrill, Mrs. A., 112. 
Me-tee a, 86. 
Midgley, R., 120. 
Miles, Gen. Nelson A., 427. 
Milliken. Isaac L., 360. 
Mills. J. K. and wife, 128. 

PORT K AITS. Continue J. 

Miner, Mrs. R., 104, 282. 
Mitchell, J. B. and wife. 128. 
Munger, D. S., 112. 
Morgan, Mrs. A.E., 105. 
Morris, BucknerS., 1?6, 360. 
Morrison, D. and wife, 121. 

E. and wife, 104, 105. 
Moses, Judge John, 410. 

Mrs., 137. 

Murphy, Mrs. H. A., 113. 
Myers. S., 120. 
Myrick. Mr. and Mrs., 128. 
Neebe, Oscar, 385. 
Nevin, P., 105. 
Newberry, Julia R., 407. 

Mary L., 406. 

Walter L., 405. 
Newton, J. S. and wife, 105. 
Nichols, Mrs. E., 129. 

L., 137. 

S. J., 104. 

Norton, Mrs. D., 104. 
O'Connor, J., 112. 
Ogden, Mahlon D., 112, 194. 

Wm. B., 115, 360. 
Olsen, Mrs M.A., 121. 
O'Neil, Thos. and wife, 136. 
Osborne, Frank S., 383. 

W., 112. 

Wm. H., 220. 

Otis, E.. Capt. U. S. V., 282. 
Page, Peter, 195. 
Palmer, Potter, 353. 

Mrs. Potter, 440. 
Parsons, A. R., 384. 
Peacock, E.. 137. 
Peck. Ebenezer, 131. 

W. L., 137. 
Perkins, O. P.. 105. 
Pitney, F. V.. 137. 
Polk, W., 137. 
Poole.Wm. F., 409. 
Porter, F. H., 113. 

Mrs. F. H., 105. 

Jeremiah, 124. 
Pratt, Mrs E., 137. 
Prindiville Redmond, 203. 
Prophet. The, 55. 
Proudfoot. Lawrence, 276. 
Pullman, George M., 389. 
Quirk, David, 378. 
Randall, S. G., 383. 
Raymond, B.W.,112, 156. 360. 
Reed, A. H.. 383. 

J. C., 112. 

J. H., 112. 
Reeves, E. F., 120. 
Rice, John B., 212, 360. 
Richmond, T. and wife, 138. 
Robb, Col., 112. 
Robins, R., Capt. U S A., 282 
Robinson, Alexander, 78. 
Roche, John A., 361. 
Rogers, W. B., 120. 
Root, John W., 450. 
Rumsey, Julian, 263, 360. 
Runnion, D., 112. 
Russell. M. J., Lieut. U. S. 

V., 286. 

Ryerson, Joseph T., 337. 
Saint Cyr, Father I. M. I., 127. 
Sandford, Harry T., 383. 
Satterlee, M. L. and wife. 104. 



PORTRAITS. Continued. 

Sawyer, H., 113. 
Saunders, R. P., 187. 
Scammon, J. Young, 128, 179, 


Schneider, Geo.,263, 325. 
Schofield, J. M., Maj.-Gen. 

U. S. A., 282. 
Schwab, Michael, 385. 
Scott, W. and wife, 137. 
Scoville, H. H.. 112. 
Sexton, J. A., Capt. U. S. V.. 


Shaubena, 104. 
Shelby, J., 120. 
Sheridan, P. H., Gen. U. S. 

A., 282. 

Sherman and his officers, 417. 
Sherman, A. S., 137, 360. 

F. C., 360. 

Francis T., Brig. Gen. U. 
S. A. 282. 

Frank, 195. 

H., 137. 

Shipman, Dr. G. and wife, 

D. B., 128. 

S. V., Col. U. S. V., 282. 
Shortall, John G., 315. 
Skinner, Judge Mark, 180, 263. 

Richard, 269. 
Small, J. and wife, 129. 
Smart, E., 121. 
Smith, E., 105. 
Smith, Geo.. 243. 

J. F., 105. 

Mrs. M. A., 112. 
Snowhook, W. B., 239. 
Sollitt, J., 113 

W., 129. 

Mrs. W., 121. 

Speer, Mr. and Mrs. J., 1-21. 
Spies, August, 384. 
Spry, Mrs. B.. 121. 

J. and wife, 121. 
Stewart. Gen. Hart L., 105, 

Stockton, J., Brig. -Gen. U.S. 

V., 286. 

Stone, W. H., 120. 
Stokes, Gen. James H., 26<). 
Sturtevant, A. D., 105. 

Mrs. A. D., 113. 
Sumner, O. P. and wife, 104. 
Surdam, J. R. and wife, 120. 
Sweeney, J., 112. 
Talcott, E. B , 120. 

M. and wife, 105. 
Taylor, A. H., 137. 
Taylor, G. D., 105. 
Taylor, L. D., 137. 

N. C., 104. 

R.. 137. 

Tasker, Mrs.. 120. 
Tear, J., 120. 
Tecumseh, 55. 
Temple, J S. and wife, 105. 
Thomas, H. H.. Capt. U. S. 

V., 286. 
Thompson, A. H. and wife. 


Tinkham, E. I., 345. 
Todd. Chas. B., 383. 
Torrence, Gen. Joseph T., ZT'. \ 

PORTRAITS. Continued. 
Trumbull, Lyman, 351. 
Tucker, Joseph F., 222. 
Turner,]., 121, 128. 

Mrs. J., 121. 
Tuthill, Brig-Gen. Richard S., 


Tuttle, F., 120. 
Upton, Geo. P., 213. 
Van Arman. John, 263. 
Van Osdel, J., 113, 356. 
Van Vlack, E. B., 105. 
Vedder, F. H. and wife, 112. 
Vial, R., 104. 

S., 105. 

Vincent, A., 129. 
Wadhams, S., 112. 
Wait, H. N., Paymaster U. 
S. N., 282. 

J. W., 137. 

.Iker, A 

Walker, A. F., Col. U. S. V., 

Chas., 173. 

S. B., 112. 
Wallace, J. S., 120. 
Walsh, C. and wife, 113. 
Ward, J., 113. 
Warner, S. B., 129. 

Mrs. S. B., 121. 
Washburne, ElihuB.,284. 

Hempstead, 361. 
Washington, Augustine, 46. 

George, 46. 

Lawrence, 46. 

Waterman, A. N., Col. U. S. 
A., 282. 

R., Lieut. U. S. V., 282. 
Wayman, S. and wife, 104. 

W., 121. 

Wayne, Gen. Anthony, 50. 
Webster. Gen. JosephD., 199. 
Wells, H. G , 121. 

Mrs. H. G., 136. 

Capt. William, 62. 
Wentworth, Elijah, 128. 

John, 237, 360. 
Wheeler, W., 121. 
Whistler, Wm., 51. 

Mrs. Wm., 52. 
Whitehead.H. and wife, 136. 
Wicker, Chas. G., 263. 
Wier, G. E. and wife, 136. 
Wilcox, C., 118. 
Willard, A. J. and wife, 121. 

E. W., 263. 

Miss Frances, 141. 

J. H., 113. 

Williams, Norman, 414. 
Wilson, J., 112. 

John M., 263. 
Winne, A., Lieut. U. S. V., 

Wolcott, Alexander, 121, 192. 

Mrs. Alexander, 121. 
Wood, A. C., 206. 
Woodruff, Mr. and wife, 112, 

Woodward, C., 136. 

Mrs. C., 104. 
Woodworth, Mrs. J., 136. 
Worthington, D. and wife, 121. 
Yates, H. H.. 113. 

Gov. Richard, 263. 
Yoe, P. L.,263. 

Arcade Building, 395. 
Daughters of Workers, 399. 
Fire Department, 392. 
Hotel Florence, 393. 
Lake Vista, 394. 
Main Administrative Build- 
ing, 398. 

Railway Station, 391. 
School Building, 400. 
Watchman at Gate, 397. 
Water Tower, 388. 

Douglas Monument. 
Grant Monument in Lincoln 

La Salle Statue in Lincoln 

Lincoln Statue in Lincoln 

Linnaeus Statue in Lincoln 



Administration Building, 419. 
Agriculture Building, 433. 
Art Palace, 424. 
Electrical Building, 432. 
Fisheries Building, 429, 
Government Building. 420. 
Horticultural Building, 431. 
Illinois State Building, 423. 
Machinery Hall, 430. 
Manufactures and Liberal 

Arts Building, 4^6. 
Mines and Mining. 432. 
Transportation Building, 424. 
Women's Building, 428. 


After the Storm, 11. 

Anarchist Case, Jury in, 383. 

Beaubien's Fiddle. 135. 

Beaver at Work, 79. 

Beaver Dam, 12. 

Black Partridge Medal, 61. 

Buffalo Rock. 28. 

Canal Scrip Bank Notes. 169. 

"Chicago Construction," 449. 

Chicago in 1812, 65. 

Chicago in 1840 (Schoolcraft's 
View), 85. 

Chicago in 1845, 214. 

Chicago in 1850,215. 

Chicago in 1889, 65. 

Chicago River, Plan for Im- 
proving Mouth of. 93. 

"Chicagou" (wild onion), 8. 

Chimera, stump tail, 242. 

Clark Street, Evolution of, 147. 

Clark Captures Kaskaskia, 37. 

Couch Family Tomb in Lin- 
coln Park, 183. 

Dawn, 92. 

Dearborn St. bridge, 119 

Douglas monument, 250. 

Park, scenes in : See Parks. 

Drummer Boy, The, 257. 

Explorers on the lakes, 16. 

French settlements. 29. 

Great Lakes, elevation above 
tidewater, 5. 



Fac similes of Autographs, etc. 

Caldwell, Wm., 77. 

Heacock. R. E.. 133. 

Kinzie, James, 97. 
John ,87. 

Miller. Samuel, 97 

Playbill of 1849. 212. 

Scrip, canal, 169-71. 
Fire Engines. 

Double Decked, 152. 

Long John, 236. 

Side Brake, 152. 
Flag of distress, 64. 
Flat Boat, The, 31. 
Flood of 1849. 208. 
GarBeld Park, scene in: See 


Garlick, wild, 8. 
" Go on with your dancing; but 

remember," 37. 
Grand Boulevard, 375. 
Grant monument in Lincoln 

Park. 438. 
Haymarket, 381. 
Hennepin's Niagara, 7. 
" His last cent," 163. 
Hook and Ladder Truck, 152. 
Hospital tent, scene in, 287. 
Illinois Farm. 188. 

River Valley, 6. 


Indian Girl, 106. 
Mound, 9. 
Squaw, 102. 
War dance, 110. 

Indians on the move, 111. 

" Lady Elgin," wreck of, 273. 

Lake St. fire of 1834, 134. 

Lalime, Jean, remains, 101. 

La Salic statue, in Lincoln 
Park, Frontispiece. 

La Salle St. tunnel, 280. 

Leek, wild, 8. 

Lincoln Park, scenes in: See 

Lincoln statue, 277. 

Linnreus statue, 402. 

Locomotive, First, 202. 

Mackinaw, Straits of, 228. 

" Madeira Pet," 238. 

Massacre Tree and Pull- 
man's House, 70. 

Mayors of Chicago, Suc- 
cession of, 360. 

Michigan ave. in 1849, 241. 

Moonlit Graves, 91. 

Mound Builders, Relic of, 8. 

Newberry Library Build- 
ing in Construction, 411. 

Niagara Falls. Father 
Hennepin's Sketch, 7. 


Niagara Rapids at Work, 2. 

Niagara, retirement of, 3. 

Ogden Wentworth Ditch 
(Mud Lake) in 1890, 19. 

Old Judge and the Young 
Candidate, The, 151. 

Pipe, Relic of the Mound 
Builders, 8. 

Police Patrol, 387. 

Prairie Avenue in 1891, 437. 

Prairie Wolf, 148. 

Red Coat, 1812, 34. 

Sherman and His Officers. 417. 

Scalp, The. 30. 

Sleeping Car, The first, as 
it looked in 1891, 234. 

Stacked Guns, 272. 

Stage Office, 181. 

Starved Rock; near Utica 
111., 23. 

Stock-Yards, View in, 278. 

Storm Cloud, 10. 

Stump-tail Chimera. 242. 

Tablet on Site of Fort Dear- 
born, 82. 

Union Defence Committee, 263, 

Valley Forge, 43. 

Waubansa Stone, 155. 

Wolf Point in 1830, 98. 


NMISTAKABLE testimony of Nature's land- 
marks and watermarks shows us that at some 
past day the surface of Lake Michigan was 
more than thirty feet higher than now, and the 
floods of Lakes Superior, Huron and Michi- 
gan flowed southwest by the Illinois and Mis- 
sissippi to the Gulf of Mexico, instead of northeast by Niagara, Ontario 
and the St. Lawrence to the Atlantic. Also that the course of 
the mighty stream was over the then submerged flat where now stands 
Chicago; and that a great part of it, following the general course of the 
little West Fork of our South Branch, past the Bridgeport quarter, over 
the nearly dry expanse we call Mud Lake (traversed now by the canal, 
the Alton and the Santa Fe Railways and theOgden-Wentworth ditch), 
poured in a fine flood across the "Divide" between Summit and River- 
side, a mile beyond present city limits, into the bed of the Des Plaines. 
To-day that " Divide" is but eight or ten feet above the surface of 
Lake Michigan ; therefore when that surface was thirty feet higher its 
outlet had twenty feet or more of depth ; and, as the gap of low land 
now shows, it was two miles wide. One easily pictures the grandeur 
and beauty of the southward moving mass as it starts toward Joliet 
Lake, the Illinois valley and the Gulf of Mexico. 

Where was Niagara then, and why did it not, as now, afford a "line 
of least resistance " for the drainage of the great Northwestern water- 
shed ? 

Lake Michigan 
flowed toward 
the Gulf of 


How the 
came it; 
change d 

Niagara was doubtless a brawling stream meandering along near 
-the tops of the hills whose feet it now washes. The Falls themselves, 
which have worn their way upstream perceptibly even within historic 
times, were necessarily somewhere near the declivity at Lewiston where 
the high ground ends and the Ontario flat begins. There is a far 
greater fall from Lake Erie to Ontario than from Lake Michigan to 
the Mississippi, and a shorter course in which to make the drop there- 
fore a swifter current. Other things being equal, the faster water flows 
the faster it deepens its channel. At a certain speed it makes soil by 
deposit, at another speed it gnaws, scours, carries away. So are mount- 
ains brought low and valleys filled up. 


Starting with the time when they were on equal terms; when our 
Western stream let us call it Joliet river, to coin a term and the 
Niagara were carrying each the same quantity of water; Niagara, with its 
quicker fall, over at least equally friable material, must gain upon Joliet. 
The former underbids the latter and draws more and more from its 
income. The more it gains, the more it may, for it has the stolen 
capital to gain with. 

Slowly, slowly, the Niagara cataract plows its backward furrow- 
kicks its way uphill toward Lake Erie. Each step gained steals a 
hairbreadth from the lake levels, each hairbreadth lessening the supply 
for the Joliet river. Slowly, slowly, Lake Michigan recedes, each pause 


marked by a long roll of beach-sand, miles in length, parallel to the pres- 
ent lake shore ; and lo ! those long ridges stretch through Chicago 
suburbs to this day, visible to the eyes of all and puzzling to the mind of 
the thoughtless. 

Niagara is still plowing its furrow, and the lakes are still losing 
their hairbreadths of depth. To our posterity will one day come a 


serious question how shall this exhaustion be checked? Shall it go Threatened de . 
on until Lake Erie tumbles bodily over the edge, and Buffalo, Erie, section of 

* Lake Erie. 

Cleveland, Sandusky and Toledo are left far inland and harborless ? 
Happily this is not our present problem. Sufficient unto the day is the evil 
thereof. Instead of the far future let us turn to the far past and take 
a look at our chosen spot of earth as it was in the days when Lake Michi- 
gan was brim full and flowed southward over Chicago's submerged plain. 


This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks. 
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight. 
Stand like Druids of old, with voices sad and pathetic. 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms . 
Loud from its rocky caverns the deep- voiced neighboring ocean 
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest. 
When Chicago 

g e a d s . s Here is the southwestern bend of Lake Michigan, and now is an 

era centuries ago a score, a hundred, a thousand no matter how 
many, for Nature takes no account of time. "A thousand years in thy 
sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." 

Taking Waukegan Point as a starting place and walking south- 
ward, the shore of the old unknown epoch is much like that of the 
known until we come to the southern point of the loo-foot bluff of 
Lake Forest, Highland Park, Highwood, and Lakeside. At Winnetka 
the high ground begins to trend to the westward, and in these old days 
the water does likewise, lapping the shore at the foot of the long south- 
western hill which starts in the Wilmette suburb. Here we go, in 
fancy, about southwest, at the water's edge, leaving an elevated marsh 
("The Skokie") on our right and coming to where a little stream 
(North Branch) empties between high banks (Norwood Park). 

The marsh and the stream, nay, even the lake itself, are teeming 
with wild-fowl; myriads upon myriads rise and circle about, filling the air 
with their hoarse cries and the noise of their wings. Wild geese and 
wild swan, duck, pelican, crane, throng and crowd each other, unknow- 
ing as yet the extinction that awaits them. The marsh is their breed- 
ing-place and the lake their highway between the Arctic and the Tropic.* 

Next our course is southward for some seven miles (Montclare, 
Galewood, etc.), after which it turns more toward the west (Austin, 
Ridgeland, Oak Park, etc.), and then again southwest, f 

At this part of our progress we find ourselves on a narrowing spit 
of land, between the lake on our left and a brook (Des Plaines) on our 
right. At last (Riverside) they join, and the stream is lost, yet not in 
the lake itself, but in a vast river flowing placidly from the lake toward 
the southwest. Looking across the stream we see the low-lying shore of 
the lake begin again, some two miles away to the south, whence it trends 
away southeastward, continuing low and inconspicuous for a stretch of 
six miles, when it rises gracefully in a hill that forms a picturesque blue 

* Even at this writing ( 1890) the Skokie is very fair shooting-ground during the springand autumn, and the 
writer, only a year ago, heard and saw a large flock of wild geese, bewildered by a coming storm. Hying low 
over the roofs of the Chicago houses; certainly not more than 100 feet high, for their frightened "Honk! Honk!'' 
could be plainly distinguished, and the city light was strongly reflected from their broad, flapping wings. 

tObserve the accompanying map, giving the city and suburbs, the present lake shore and the old. The lat- 
ter is meandered by levels carefully observed and recorded under the auspices of the Chicago Drainage Com- 


island (Washington Heights) to finish off our landscape with a genu- 
ine mound rising, with its trees, a hundred feet above this brimming lake. 

If, finding we can go no further dry-shod, we turn up the high bank 
of the smaller stream (Des Plaines) we shall soon come to a beaver- 
dam and hear the loud "pat, pat, pat" on the water of the huge flat As P ect of the 
tails of these industrious rodents as they swim hither and yon upon im. 
their absorbing tasks.* 

A few miles further inland we should meet droves of antelope and 
deer of all kinds, even the carriboo or reindeer; innumerable wild turkeys, 
and the vast herds of buffalo covering the ground, "so that when they 
moved it looked as if the surface of the earth were in motion." But 
we have seen what we came to see and will drop the curtain on the 
mimic landscape. 

Uncounted ages pass. Yearsin companies, regiments, brigades, and 
armies go by unmarshalled and unmarked. The lake, drawn upon at 
its northern extremity, becomes a stingy provider for our river Joliet, 
and its stream grows perceptibly lower and feebler. 

The long, broad pathway (Illinois valley) it has cut for itself, with 
flats, terraces, lakes and rapids, is out of all proportion to its needs; it 
is like the garment of "the lean and slippered Pantaloon," that is "a 
world too wide for his shrunk shanks." Verily, the Joliet is falling into 
its dotage. It is still a gay stream, and floats with dignity along the 
"twelve-mile level " to its end (Lockport) and then tumbles loudly and 
merrily down over the limestone strata, 77 feet in ten miles, to 
its first temporary resting-place (Lake Joliet), but it is no longer a 
superior, an equal, or even a respectable rival to Niagara, which has 
grown large and lusty upon its competitor's decay. 

* Remains of beavrr dams rre fi8i>o) still visible all about. 


The divide 
emerges (rom 
the waves - 

More years, years, years, in endless procession. How are the mighty 
fallen ! The Joliet has ceased to surpass even the insignificant Des 
Plaines. Humbly it mixes its waves with its old servant and later hand- 
maid. When the north wind blows and the lake is piled up at its south- 
erly end, the summit feels the passage of something like its old-time 
burden ; but when the soft south prevails, especially if the Des Plaines 
has snow about its head, then it crowds out its former master and posi- 
tively sends part of its own stream lakeward. More years and ages in 
their slow, untiring course; and the time comes when the lake is never 
high enough to send even a wave over the Divide. There is a dry bar 
there save when the Des Plaines sends down a flood that overtops it 
and surges eastward through Mud lake. The Joliet river has ceased to 



exist. The lake is falling so that almost every century shows fresh 
reaches of sandy, ridge along its edge. For the nature of earth and 
water is such that sand and gravel are formed and deposited along a 
surf-beaten shore, while clay and other lighter floating stuff, that roily 
water holds in suspension, can only find the bottom in deeper depths 
where there is a calm stratum through which the silt may sink. There- 
fore is it that we everywhere find a clayey subsoil near our sandy surface. 
While the water was deep the settlings made the clay ; when the shore 
encroached on the waves, it came in the shape of sand. 


Still there is none to note the change except the wild fowl, the 
beaver, the buffalo and their almost harmless " natural " enemies, the 
wolves, bears, foxes and coyotes. But at some time in the course of 
ages, a new visitor appears, a biped, slight, erect and tall rare and 
unterrifying in appearance, yet the forerunner of doom to the flocks and 
herds of air and earth. The first comers are of a semi-civilized race now 
lost to knowledge and even to tradition. They were hardy and indus- 
trious, for they opened the copper-mines of Lake Superior and worked 
them for untold years, and to this day their tools and their works are 
found there deep under ground, surrounded by masses of half-mined 
metal. Suddenly and simultaneously they dropped their implements 
and fled, and whence they came and whither they went is one of the 
world's insoluble riddles. Were they the peaceable Aztecs, spreading 
out so far as to be the miners and the mound builders, and driven back 
by the terrible red man, a better fighter and poorer worker than them- 
selves ? Quicnsabe? They could not write, and so they are forgotten. 
Words are the only things that live forever. 

After them are centuries of Red Indian nomads a terrible race, a 
repulsive race, a vanishing race yet perhaps worthy of a short chapter 
to itself. 

Vanished races. 


Meaning of the 




S the lake receded from its ancient shore it 
left behind it one slender two-toed foot- 
print a rivulet with two branches. The 
north branch, coming in at the Skokie, pre- 
served a southward course nearly parallel with 
the deserted shore-line, while a south branch, 
with various creeping affluents, started north- 
ward from the abandoned "Divide" and met the 
the other half way, after which the two made eastward 
to find their parent body, the lake. Puny, struggling 
creeks they were, at the best, flowing almost as often 
inward as outward, according to the vagaries of the winds 
and waves of stormy Michigan. 

The wild onion, leek or 

garlic, -chicagou." Among the weeds on the banksof these weedy creeks 

there was, and is to this day, a worthy plant ; graceful, humble and 
inconspicuous to the eye, repellant to the nose, hardy and persistent, 
and valuable in its unpretending way. It is the wild garlick, leek or 

The lowly creek has drawn to itself the name of the lowly plant as 
rendered in the Indian tongue, "Chickagou," a name with many an 

" Che-cau-gou " ( Hennepin's story 
of La Salle's expedition in 1680); 
"Chicagua" (Samson, geographer 
to Louis XIV.); "Chikagu," 
"Chikagou," "Chicagu" (St. Cosme, 
visiting the locality in 1699); " She- 
caugo," meaning "playful waters," 
and " Choc-ca-go," meaning " desti- 
tute" (Pottawatomie?); "Chickahou" 
(La Hontan); "Shegahg," meaning "skunk," or "She-gau-ga-winzhe," 
meaning " skunk weed or wild onion" (Chippewa dialect of the Algon- 
quins); "Eschikagou" (Col. De Puyster, English commandant at 

* Allium Fricoccum; lance-leaved garlick, wild leek, 9 inches and higher, 10 to 12 white flowers. Leaves lance- 
olate, oblong, flat and smooth, s to 8 inches long. Bulb oblong. 

Pipe. Relic of the Mound Builders. 


Michilimackinack, 1779); " Chicagou, or Garlick Creek" (William 
Murray, attempted land-grabber, 1773); " Gitchi-ka-go," meaning " a 
thing great orstrong" (dialect of the Illinois tribes). 

All these and doubtless others are variations of a single word. Only 
one thing is certain namely, that the word denotes something 
"strong," whether like a giant or like a leek is not important. Those 
who love Chicago will take it in one sense ; those who love her not may 
choose the other. Unbiased observers have called her strong in both 
senses of the word. Giants have their faults and onions have their vir- 
tues. Brave, generous, devoted, faithful Tonty, in his memoirs, speaks of 
the abundance of the wild leek or onion throughout the country, and says 
that he and his companions were sustained by the plants of this nature 
which they grubbed from the ground while journeying northward from 
the Illinois in 1680-81.* 

INDIAN MOUND. (Now part of St. Louis, Mo.) 

A little bulb, strong, hardy and wholesome, sustaining the famish- 
ing wanderer: A great metropolis, powerful, kindly and gay, feeding the 
hungry world let who will, rail at either. Chicago should forestall 
criticism by adopting the Chi-ca-gou, from root to flower, as her civic 
emblem. " Gare a qui touche." Touch it who dare ! 

Our earliest information regarding the two-pronged brook, Garlick 
creek, otherwise Chicago river, is to the effect that many Indian trails 
led to it from all directions. We might have guessed this ; similar 
causes produce similar results, and innumerable paths, trodden by men of 
all colors, are bent toward it to this day. It is the spot where one great cwca 
system of water travel comes into almost perfect touch with another. 
Nowhere on the continent, perhaps nowhere in the world, is there a 
point where two so vast natural highways approach each other, sepa- 
rated by so slight a barrier. The Atlantic voyager entering the St. 

* " In the woods we fcund a sort of garlick, not so strong as ours, and small onions very like ours in taste." 



Lawrence past icy Labrador, when he has sailed and portaged to the 
very head of free navigation nearly two thousand miles comes to a 
point where (at high water) he may pass, without disembarking, on a 
descent of another two thousand miles to the semi-tropical Gulf. 

So hither came the trails. Why was not this then (as it is now 
becoming) the greatest of meeting-points, the place where the common 
interests of humanity brought thousands or millions into friendly con- 
tact, each profiting by the prosperity of all, and all by that of each ? 

Simply because these trails were those of the American Indian. 

Copper, among metals, is hard to weld with any other metal ; and 
among human beings, the color seems to carry the quality. No more 
intractable material has ever come from the crucible of animate nature. 
Proud and yet vain ; haughty to the last, even when helpless ; inde- 


fatigable in destruction and ineffectual in construction ; pitiless though 
so pitiable, despising pain in himself and enjoying it in others; cruel to 
Indian Traits. a pitch of insanity ; brave when he has the advantage, but not steadfast 
in adversity and defeat ; cunning without wise foresight ; greedy rather 
than acquisitive; incredulous though superstitious ; he could seize but 
not keep ; see but not learn ; conquer and destroy but 
overrun but not cultivate; impoverish but not enrich : 
there was terror ; where he passed there was desolation, 
solitude and called it peace."* 

As either master or servant no more perfect failure ever existed. 
He acknowledged no superior, and he controlled no inferior except his 
own helpless, enslaved womankind. 

* " Solitudinem faciunt : pacem appelljnt." Tacitus. 

not subjugate ; 
Where he went 
" They made a 


He was a natural drunkard, and self-denial was beyond his utmost 
mental and moral scope. 

In short, the most indocile, intractable, unlovable, unmanageable of 
the tribes of the sons of men, was the American Indian. 

The advocates and apologists of the Indian are many and merciful ; 
but the consensus of opinion among those who know him best upholds 
the derogatory view. McKinney (" Indian Tribes ") says : "Theirgreat 
business in life is to procure food and devour it, to subdue enemies and 
scalp them." Chief Justice Caton,* himself personally intimate with the 
Pottawatomies and Ottawas who had their residence about Chicago 


when he came here (1833), and preserving friendly relations of mutual 
respect and esteem with men of both tribes (with whom he tramped, 
camped and hunted) until they were moved westward, says (Fergus' 
Historical Series, No. 3): 

It is emphatically true of all our American Indians that they can not exist, multiply and 
prosper in the light of civilization. Here their physical vigor fails, their reproductive powers dimin- 
ish, their spirit and their very vitality dwindle out, and no philanthropy, no kindness, no fostering Caton. 
care of government, of societies, or of individuals, can save them from an inevitable doom. They 
are plainly the "sick man" of America; with careful nursing and the kindest care we may prolong 
his stay among us for a few years, but he is sick of a disease which can never be cured. 

No sooner is such an estimate of the Aboriginal character ventured, 
than a cry of protest arises, and a hundred examples are adduced of 
quite opposite characteristics. Here, connected with our own annals, 
have lived individual Indians whom it would be slanderous to describe 
in such bitter words. Judge Moses, while holding views quite in con- 
sonance with those here expressed, says, in his valuable History of 
Illinois (vol. I, p. 37): 

In not a few instances, these untrained, unreasoning children cf nature, knowing no guide 
but instinct, displayed a fidelity to treaty obligations which might well put to shame the civilized, 
Christianized Caucasian. 

Later in these pages we shall have the satisfaction of dwelling upon 
the friendship of individual members of the savage race, "Faithful 

*John Dean Caton, late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, is still living in Chicago, in full vijjrr rf 
mind and mem~ry. To his personal recollection of facts and incidents, his broad judicial views of the course of events, 
and his scholarly taste and judgment, this story is greatly indebted. 


among the faithless found." Black Partridge, Winnemeg, Topenebe, 
Little Turtle, Shabbona these names (and others) bring up feelings of 
gratitude for favors rendered by the red men to the white, which make 
it a painful task to give deliberate judgment against their race. 

One circumstance, unnoted by the Indian apologists, has great 
weight; it is this: 

Among all the tribes of savages met by the various immigrations 
of Europeans, a thousand differences of arms, implements, manners, 


habits and customs were observed ; some more barbarous, others less ; 
but there was one trophy, one weapon, one trait, invariable and universal: 
scalp Hunting, the bleeding scalp, the sharp scalping-knife, the rage for scalping. This 
means much. It means that killing was not a mere means to an end, 
but the end aimed at. It means that simple, sheer, unadulterated, 
unmitigated murder was the ideal grace of manhood. The brain-pan 
of man, woman or child yielded its covering, torn away warm and 
quivering ; and the possessor was sure of the honor and favor of his 
fellows men, women and children. 

Savagery the world has always known, and isolated instances of 
wholesale destruction of non-combatants in the drunkenness of victory ; 


but there is no record of a whole race, consisting of many tribes, spread 
over many lands, enduring for many generations, where such diabolism 
was the general ethnic trait. 

Not only was this cruel, it was suicidal. Even the tribes were 
unstable and evanescent, for each took every opportunity to destroy its 
neighbor and possess his lands. Defeat meant extermination, not sub- 
jugation, which might aggrandize the victors, nor even a slaughter of 
warriors and possession of women and children. Not theirs was the 
thrifty nature which impelled the Bible patriarch to inculcate such 
profitable warfare as that prescribed in Deuteronomy xx : 14. 

Their perversity was our opportunity. If they had stood together 
and cherished each other, it is difficult to see how in many centuries we 
could have made the headway we have made in less than three. 

Justice Caton, in his sketch already quoted, "The last of the 
Illinois" (Fergus 1 Historic Series, No. 3), gives a picturesque account, 
derived from an eye witness, of the extinction of the great tribe which 
gave its name to the Illinois river (or took its name from the river, no 
one can say which), through the irruption of the terrible Iroquois from the 
far east, followed by a characteristic dash made by near neighbors from the 
north on the helpless and starving few who survived the other attack. 
This final blow was delivered by theOttawas,* and Pottawatomies, prob- 
ably as late as 1807. 

The precipitous hill near Ottawa, now called "Starved Rock," is the 
piaceof the finishing stroke where the miserable remnant was destroyed, 1 * 
sex, age or infancy bringing no exemption from the common doom. 
Was any shame felt or obloquy incurred on account of this cowardly 
outrage? None. There is where the racial infamy puts itself in evidence. 
It is not that awful wrongs are done by one Indian tribe to another, but 
that when done they bring no ill name or reprobation upon that branch 
from the rest. Men are to be judged, not only by their own acts, but 
also by the esteem in which they hold the acts of their fellows. 

Theodore Roosevelt (Winning of the West, vol. i) says: 

The inhuman love of cruelty for cruelty's sake which marks the Red Indian above all other 
savages, rendered these wars more terrible then any others. For the hideous, unnamable, unthink- 
able tortures practiced by the red men on their captured foes and on their foes' tender women and 
helpless children were such as we read of in no other struggle hardly in the revolting pages that 
tell of the deeds of the Holy Inquisition (p. 86). 

Any one who has been in an encampment of wild Indians and had the misfortune to witness 
the delight the children take in torturing little animals, will admit that the Indian's love of cruelty 

for cruelty's sake, can not possibly be exaggerated Among the most brutal white borderers a 

man would be instantly lynched if he practiced on any creature the fiendish torture which in an 
Indian camp either attracts no notice at all, or else excites merely laughter (p. 86). 

The expression "too horrible to mention" is to betaken literally, not figuratively The nature 
of the wild Indian has not changed. Not one man in a hundred and not a single woman escapes 

* In the Jadian tongue this word is pron">mccd with the accent on the second syllable, " Ot-taw-wa." 


torments which a civilized man can not look another in the fac - and so much as speak of. Imr-ale- 
ment on charred stakes, fingernails split off backwards, finger joints chewed off, eyes burned out 
these tortures can be mentioned, but there are others equally normal and customary which can not 
even be hinted at, especially when women are the victims (p. 95). 

Enough. Cruelty is part of their blood. All other wrong things 
can be forgiven, but not cruelty. A crime is necessarily an exceptional 
act: A vice may be a virtue turned away or carried to excess: Perse- 
cution may arise from a mistaken sense of duty: Folly we can con- 
done as being sharers in follies. But as for him who finds pleasure in 
giving pain, let him be anathema. 

It is vain to hope to interest the world in such a people. To- 
day is too late and too soon for it to be accomplished too late in that 
Lost Records. a U the Indian's ancient history is irretrievably lost, and we know not 
whence he came or who it was (copper-miners and mound-builders) 
whom he ousted. He attempted no written record ; he had no general 
spoken tongue and no persistent traditions. It is too soon, in that his 
later doings are not yet forgotten. Romance has not yet had time to 
disguise his lazy, dirty domestic tyranny in a garb of patriarchal dignity; 
his awful cruelty in a halo of heroism. 

The Indians were nomads, with evident common interests which 
they had not sense enough to recognize or humanity enough to act 
upon. Their "numerous trails" led them to Chicago, and away again. 
To meet was to fight, to fight was to destroy. Identity of wants, needs 
and perils was no such solvent as could compact them together. As 
well try to boil flints into a pudding. 

Nothing of their past, worth knowing, can be known. Their 
present shows no progress ; their future, as Indians, gives no hope. 



HUS far, we have given the results of the 
study of natural objects, deduction, specula- 
tion, judgment of effects from cause and 
cause from effect. Now (beginning 1670) 
we enjoy recorded history. Both sources of 
knowledge are valuable, each has its dis- 
tinct and separate advantages. The latter 
kind is the fuller in detail and more human 
in its interests; the former is, perhaps, on 
the whole more trustworthy. The testi- 
mony of the rocks and hills can not lie, 
nor can it be biased by interest, vain-glory, 
prejudice, bigotry or greed of gain. Nor can it forget. 

In 1535 and again in 1540, the French, under Admiral Cartier, sailed 
up the St. Lawrence to Montreal. This was forty-three years after Comjn ofthc 
Columbus' momentous summer trip ; and eighty-five years before the ] 
terrible winter landing on Plymouth Rock. In 1603 and 1612 Champlain 
led the third and fourth French expedition into Canada, and there, at 
Quebec, the gallant French established, by occupation, a foothold which to 
this day they have never abandoned. Politically, France now holds only 
the Islands St. Pierre and Miquelon, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (together 
with fish-curing rights on the north shore of Newfoundland), but by 
direct descendants, by patronymics, by religion and by persistence of 
manners, customs and language, the French still cling to America, not 
only in Canada, where they form the mass of citizens in a great province, 
but even in our own state and city, where they are honored sharers in 
our national and civic liberties. 

How firmly and faithfully they have preserved their nationality 
among us may not be generally known ; but there is within the borders 
of Illinois, a peaceful, happy, prosperous, French-speaking community, 
the lineal descendants and heirs of the gallant pioneers of two hundred 
years ago.* 

* Mason's " Kaskaskia " and " Old Fort Chartrcs," Fergus" Historical Series, No. 12. 



^ ^ -///A- ^p^ ^^ 


The French, taking the 
a century 

The English at Jamestown, Va., in 1607. 

The French at Quebec in 1612. 

The Dutch at New York in 1614. 

The Puritans at Plymouth in 1620 

Such were our starting posts and times, 
water-road to the interior, beat the others 
and more, for Joliet saw the 
Chicagou in 1673; even then 
finding French hunters and trap- 
pors here before him. Next 
arrived the Virginians, when in 
1778 (during the Revolutionary 
war) the heroic, dashing soldier, 
George Rogers Clark, led his 
amazing expedition across the 
Alleghanies and down the Ohio, 
took Kaskaskia, Fort Chartres, 
Vincennes, and, in effect, all 
Illinois from the British, who 
had taken it from the French 
fifteen years before as we shall 
see in due course. It was really 
not until well within the present 
century, that the New York and 
New England stock has come 
in by the Erie canal, the lakes, 
and, above all, by the " prairie 
schooner "or covered wagon, but 
it seems to have come to stay. 

The three first named all came with royal support, with grants, 
with officers of rank, with many ships and much money. The last 
came by their own almost unaided strength, and fought the awful fight 
almost alone. 

The breaking waves dashed high 

On a stern and rockbound coast. 
The woods against a stormy sky 

Their giant branches tossed 

And the h;avy night hung dark 

The hills and waters o'er 
Wh:n a band of pilgrims moored their bark 

On the wild New England shore. 

Anvdst the storm they sang 

And the stars heard, and the sea ; 
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang 

To the Anthem of the Free! 

Race of the 


Who shall say how much of the firmness of our fiber comes from 
their labors, privations and dangers and the fortitude that gave them 
their victory ? 

Before the Pilgrims even stepped on shore, the French had gained 
firm foothold. Champlain set a good example to the emigrants by 
taking his family with him in 1612, and in 1622 the Jesuits began their 
thankless task of converting the Indians to Christianity. They "came 
over in great numbers, bearing the cross and the olive-branch, preach- 
ing the Gospel and extending civilization." In 1639, Nicolet visited 
J the et poruge. ers the west shore of Lake Michigan. In 1673, Sieur Joliet and Father 
Marquette, his priestly scribe, started from Green Bay, ascended the 
Fox, made portage across the Wisconsin Divide and descended the 
Wisconsin to the Mississippi. On this they floated far down (to the Ar- 
kansas ?) and then they paddled back to the mouth of the Illinois, and 
up the latter (pausing at the Indian village of Kaskaskia where they 
were "well received") and entered the Northern fork (Des Plaines), 
which they called the " Chicagou," and so on to our own Chicago 
streamlet which they called the Portage river, a name which clung to 
our South branch until about 1800. Through this they reached Lake 
Michigan (called by them the " Lake of the Islinois ") and they sailed 
along the lake shore to Green Bay, whence they had started. Joliet 
went on to Montreal, where he reported his discoveries, the most impor- 
tant of which was the Chicago Portage. Of this he said, with an accu- 
racy which time has only confirmed, that it would be possible to go from 
Lake Erie to the Mississippi in boats "by a very good navigation.'' 
" There would be but one canal to make, by cutting half a league of 
prairie to pass from the Lake of the Illinois to the St. Louis River 
which empties into the Mississippi." 

In 1674 Father Marquette started again from Green Bay and 

coasted along the west shore of Lake Michigan, on which he observed 

and reported features which may still be recognized by his description. 

^"r"? s He reached " Portage River," and on December 14, 1674, he stopped at 

Hardscrabbie. a ca |- ) | n fi ve m ji es f rom jts mouth " and near the portage," where he was 

detained all that winter by illness. Five miles from the lake would bring 

him to a spot very near the City Bridewell, or House of Detention, 

on which ground he may have been the first prisoner as well as the 

first recorded Chicago resident. 

But we can not even now say that we have identified the absolute 
pioneer of our million souls, for, as we are told, the "cabin belonged 
to two French traders, Pierre Moreau (La Toupine) and a companion, 
who was not only a trader but a surgeon as well." So just as we seem 
to have arrived at the very frontier and starting-point of Western 


civilization, behold, it has been the familiar stamping-ground of French 
trappers who were there before us.* 

La Salle visited the place in 1682, nine years after Joliet, and speaks 
slightingly of the latter's " proposed ditch," saying, " I should not have 
made any mention of this communication if Joliet had not proposed it La 
without regard to its difficulties." Here peeps out the conscious or uncon- 
scious jealousy of the rival explorer. Just now (1890), 208 years later, 
we are proceeding to carry out, in all its fullness, the suggestion of 
Joliet, and to falsify the slur of La Salle. 


The last entry made by poor Marquette, after his journey with 
Joliet, illustrates the tremendous missionary zeal of the Jesuits, and the 
paucity of result from their efforts, as follows : 

Had all this voyage caused but the salvation of a single soul, I should deem all my fatigue well 
repaid. And this I have reason to think, for, when I was returning, I passed the Indians of Peoria; I 

* Judge Caton has taken the pains to fix the spot whereon that cabin must have stooi. He puts it at the point 
where the West Fork joins the South Branch. Here, in 1833, he saw good ground, with a growth of timber, just the place 
which the "two French traders" would choose. And on this point there was an old cab n belonging to Col. Beaubien, 
with an older garJen adjoining. When (in 1836) he built his first house, which stood so far out of t:> wn (corn er of Clinton 
and Harrison strests, at about the present centre of the city) that the real Chicagoans living near Fort Dearborn 
called it ** the prairie cottage," he tramped out to the Beaubien cabin and brought away some ancirnt shrubs, which he 
set out in his own grounds. They grew and bore currants, perhaps reproducing :he fruit of old France on the s^il of 
young Chicago. 


was three days announcing the faith in their cabins, after which, as we were embarking , they brought 
me, on the water s edge, a dying child, which I baptized a little before it expired, by an admirable 
Providence for the salvation of that innocent soul ! 

It is amusing to read La Salle's vivid and unmistakable portraiture 
of our own South Branch, Mud Lake and the Divide at Summit, which 
he calls the " Portage of Chicagou : " 

This is an isthmus of land at 41 degrees, 50 minutes north latitude, at the westof the Islinois 
lake [Lake Michigan] which is reached by a channel formed by the junction of several rivulets or 
meadow ditches [Chicago River]. It is navigable for about two leagues to the edge of the prairie, a 
quarter of a mile westward. There is a little lake divided by a causeway made by the beavers, 
about a league and a half long, from which runs a stream, which, after winding about a half-league 
through the rushes, empties into the river Chicagou [Des Plaines] and thence into that of the Isli- 
nois. This lake [Mud Lake] is filled by heavy summer rains or spring freshets and discharges also 
into the channel [West fork of South Branch] which leads to the lake of the Islinois [Lake Michigan] 
the level of which is seven feet lower than the prairie on which the lake [Mud Lake] is. The river 
of Chicagou [Des Plaines] does the same thing in the spring when the channel is full. It empties 
a part of its waters by this little lake [Mud Lake] into that of the Islinois [Lake Michigan] and at 
this season, Joliet says, forms in the summer time a little channel for a quarterof a league from this 
lake to the basin which leads to that of the Islinois, by which vessels can enter the Chicagou [Des 
Plaines] and descend to the sea. 

There is a strong temptation to linger over the first fragmentary 
tales of our now famous pla-e. Those narratives have themselves a 
sad yet picturesque interest ; they are stories of adventure, danger, 
daring, death; of a brave struggle carried on by knightly soldiers and 
zealous priests, with deadly enemies, animate and inanimate. Every 
fighting traveler, from Ulysses and ^Enaeas to Henry Stanley, has found 
a n audience ready to hang entranced on his words. Every bearer of 
the cross among the heathen, from the first crusader to the latest 
martyred missionary, carries our hearts in his scrip. The older and 
more settled and commonplace the world becomes, the more irresistible 
are the annals of its wild youth. As the unknown nooks become 
more and more rare, we grow almost frantic in our craze for new depths 
to sound, new heights to climb. 

The tendency to dwell upon these romantic episodes must be 
resisted, in order to fix undivided attention upon Chicago itself. Let 
us simply sketch the career of one man, worthy to be studied as the 
typical representative of the best class of bold, chivalrous, devoted, 
intelligent explorers. 

Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, was well-born, well-bred and 
well-educated. Like other young Europeans whose birth was greater 
than their means, he came to America to seek his fortune. At the 
same time the fortune he craved was not of money, but of rank, place, 
fame, honor. He was ambitious for France, and tried to add a whole 
empire to the realm of his king. 

His adventures began in fresh youth, and ended before middle age. 
His first voyage (in 1666, when he was twenty-three) was to the Saint 



Lawrence ; his last (in 1684, when he was forty-one) was aimed at the 
mouth of the Mississippi, which it failed to reach 

Although bred by the Jesuits, he became, from some unknown 
cause, opposed by them. Among the other trials of his knightly honor 
is one (recounted in Margry, Vol. I, p. 380) which recalls the well- 
known adventure of the heroic Joseph, first of the name. It is said to 
have occurred in Montreal on his first arrival from France, and to have 
been brought about by his enemies the Jesuits, through the agency of the ^'sSu'edl 10110 ' 
wife of one of the king's high officials, whose guest he was, one Bazire, 
among the richest men of the place, the lady herself being a beautiful 
devote of the " Society of Jesus " and high in its " Holy Family." She 
is said to have gone directly from the scene of her failure to the church, 
where she took communion without first eoine to confessional, a fact 
which, as we may suppose, establishes 
beyond question the assumption that she 
had acted under ecclesiastical orders and 
therefore had no sin upon her soul. 

It is almost needless to add that this 
recital (in the utmost detail) is furnished 
by an abbe who belonged to a rival order, 
inimical to the Jesuits. 

An impolite, impulsive fellow our hero 
was, using no arts to mask his fiery 
ambition ; none of the well-known Napo- 
leonic devices by which men might be 
lured to build up his glory in the delusion 
that they were advancing their own ends. 

A man like La Salle makes few friends, but those friends are more 
than friends; they are lovers adorers. He makes many enemies, and 
they are as intense in their hatred as are the others in their love. Tonty, 
an Italian soldier of fortune (called "main de fer," from the fact that 
he had lost a hand in the service of France and wore a metal substitute), 
was his devoted squire, his brave right arm, later his sincere and unceas- 
ing mourner. It is related that in one of his rare cries of distress, after 
some staggering blow, La Salle said to Tonty, " Alas ! If I could only 
have you in command of every fort I build ! " 

They built (1679) in the Niagara river, the first of lake vessels, 
the " Griffin," and sailed herthrough Lake Erie, the Detroit river, Lake ' 
St. Clair and Lake Huron to Lake Michigan, loaded her with furs and 
started her homeward, to pay off La Salle's debts and provide for his 
future needs and she came back to him no more. He never heard of 
her again, unless a bit of wreck and a package of spoiled furs, which a 



storm washed up not far from Michilimackinack, may have told him all 
that even tradition has to say of her fate. 

Building forts, one named " Miamis" on the St. Joseph, near Lake 
Michigan, and one at Kaskaskia on the Illinois (the latter prophetic- 
ally named "Crevecoeur" Broken-heart), LaSalle divided his forces 
between them, set out eastward on a vain search for the " Griffin," and 
actually traveled, almost alone, over snow and ice, land and water, all 
the way back to Montreal, between March i and May 6, 1680. 

Here he instantly made new arrangements " to go on with his 
discoveries," and on August loth set out on his second expedition ; 
only to find that the Iroquois had attacked, defeated and almost 
destroyed the Indians friendly to him. When he reached "Fort 
Broken-heart" he saw their mutilated bodies lying unburied in their 
deserted village, while his own comrades, including the faithful Tonty, 
were utterly lost to sight and knowledge. 

At Michilimackinack he found Tonty and learned that Fort 
Crevecoeur and Fort Miamis had both been destroyed by white traitors 
f h' s wn command, even before the coming of the Iroquois. He 
heard, also, that creditors and enemies in Montreal had conspired 
against him, and stopped his supplies. Eastward again he sped, arriving 
in time to meet the traitors of his own band, returning loaded with the 
spoils of his forts, and also in time to kill two of them and carry the 
rest home in irons. 

" Once more into the breach." He set things straight and started 
westward again ; this time going by Chicago and the Des Plaines, 
whither Tonty had preceded him. With incredible pluck and perse- 
verance he pushed on down the Illinois and the Mississippi to its 
mouth, took possession of the entire valley in the name of France, and 
set out on his return ; the first European to descend and ascend the 
Father of Waters. 

Reaching the Illinois River, he built a stockade (Fort St. Louis) on 
"The Rock" (Starved Rock near Ottawa), and put Tonty in command. 
Friendly Indians soon began to gather around it, and a large settle- 
ment of red men and whites, trappers and traders, grew up there with 
Chicago-like rapidity. This was the climax and culmination of the 
hero's fortunes ; the one bright, brief season when his dreams seemed 
to be coming true. He called the place a "terrestrial paradise." 

A change of administration (from Fronteuac to Le Bar) at Montreal 
brought an enemy into power and stopped our hero in full career, by 
seizing his property, cutting off all supplies, detaining his agents, 
encouraging his Indian enemies, the Iroquois, and even appointing 
another commandant for Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock ! 


The indefatigable man started at once for Montreal, thence for 
Paris where the King and the great Colbert set him right; gave him new 
powers, new ships, men and supplies and started him off once more in 
triumph for "New France ;" this time to strike the other end of the 4,000- 
i.iile line by entering the mouth of the Mississippi and by that road re- 
joining his beloved Tonty and the other waiting friends on the Illinois. 

Between the two voyages he had traveled every foot of the fearful 
solitude between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Gulf of Mexico; much 
of it many times over. He had spent all his own means, all the money 
his friends would advance him, all the treasures his king placed in his 

charge ; had fought and starved and suffered without a pause and almost 
without a murmur now the fruit of all seemed just within his grasp. 

His pilot missed the Mississippi, wandered on and landed in Mata- 
gorda Bay. He was in unfriendly desolation, without path or guide ; he 
knew not where to turn for home, friends or help ; he could not even find 
the Mississippi. He set out on a search for it and somewhere in those 
dreary, swampy wastes Texas, Louisiana or Arkansas he was killed by 
traitors of his own band ; and no man knows to this day the place of his 

Final Catastro- 


Who does not feel his eyes grow moist in sympathy with the wan- 
ing strength of his weary limbs? The heart throbs with intense pity at 
the picture. It is one of the most perfect and complete tragedies in all 
history indeed fiction itself can invent nothing more pathetic. 

As a bit of quasi history which may interest the few who are curious as to the life of the last 
two hundred and twenty five years in this region, I have drawn a retrospective table, somewhat like 
the Old Testament genealogies ; only reversed. 

The writer well knew Gurdon Hubbard (1856), who well knew John Kinzie (1818), who knew 
Joseph LeMai (1804), who knew Jean Baptiste Pointe de Sable (1794), who knew the Chevalier 
Rocheblave (1777), who knew the Chevalier St. Ange de Bellerive (1765), who knew Philip Francis 
Renault (1743), who knew Pierre Aco.(i725), who knew Father James Gravier (1706), who knew 
Tonty the true, LaSalle the brave and Joliet the pioneer of us all. 

It is a short list a baker's dozen just a pleasant dinner party of thirteen. (And yet a much 
shorter one is possible ; George II , born 1683, died 1760 ; his grandson George III., born 1738, died 
1820 ; and Victoria, granddaughter of George III , born 1818, still living.) 

On the next pa^e follows a more extended chain, identifying each link and presenting con 
temporaneous occurrences elsewhere. 



ABBREVIATIONS : " E. G. M.," Edward G. Mason ; " K. P. R.," Kaskaskia Parish Records ; " F. C. R.," Fort Chartres Records 
,'S. J.," Society of Jesuits; "b.,"born; "d.,"died. 







1699 J 



Marquette, S. J 



St. Cosme 

Pierre Aco . . 
ravier, S. J. 

Marest, S. J 






1725 Boisbriant. 
1743 Renault.. . . 




736 d 

^rancoise Le Brise. 

729 D 

1 :'- 


St. Ange deBellerive. 

William Murray.. 

1890 J 

rirardot. . 

j Georpe Rogers Clark 


796 Jean Baptiste Pointe de Sable. 

Joseph Le Mat. 
John Kinzie. . . . 

Gurdon Hubbard. , 
ohn Dean Caton . 





















English and 


'assed up Illinois river and down Chicago riverto Lake 

Wintered on South Branch near Mud L?.ke. Founded 
Kaskaskia Mission. Died on Marquette river. 

Most distinguished and most unlucky of explorers. De- 
scribed Chicago and the Portage. (Margry.) 

Most faithful of friends. "Main de fer." "Iron 

Otherwise "Cinq Hommes." Mentions a visit to "the 
house of the Jesuit Fathers at Chicago," 1700. 
(E. G. M.) 

Christian In,!:. m. b. at first Kaskaskia; citizen of sec- 
ond. (E. G. M.) 

At Chicago Sept. 8, 1700. Kept a journal. Tells of re- 
moval of Kaskaskia fr -m the Illinois river to the Mis- 
sissippi. Studied Indian tongue and wrote a gram- 
mar of it. 

Moved with mission from the Illinois river to the 
Mississippi. (K. P. R.) 

First commandant at Fort Chartres. 

Appointee of John Law. Director -General in the 
" Mississippi Scheme." Owned land still shown on 
our maps as belonging to "the Renault heirs." (F. 
C. R.) 

"Perennial Godmother and occasional Mother." (K. 
P. R.) 

Commandant at Fort Chartres. Tortured to death by 

Indians. A boal-song, with his name for chorus, long 

heard on the Mississippi. 

'rominent in Kaskaskia. Cape " Girardeau " on the 

Mississippi probably named for him. (F. C. R.) 

,-,.,. c 
lommandant. Anxious to tight the Sacs and r-oxes | 

Wrote to de Lignerie, commandant at Green Bay. St. Louis founded 1763. 

New York finally taken 
by England fr^m Hol- 
land, 1673. 

Penn founded Philadel- 
phia in 1680. 
eorge II. b. 1683 ; d. 

Parthenon destroyed. 

English National debt 
begun, 1689. 

Saleoi Witchcraft, 1692. 

Bank of England char- 
tered, :6g4. 

Deerfield massacre, 1703. 

B. Franklin b. 1706. 

Detroit founded. 

Frederick the Great b. 

Louis'xiV.d. 1715. 

New Orleans founded, 

The French bring ne- 
gro slavery into Illi- 
nois, 1720. 

John Law's Mississippi 
Scheme ; a *' boom " 
for Kaskaskia. 

Peter the Great d. 1725. 

Isaac Newton d. 1727. 

George Washington b. 

George III. b. 1738 ; d. 

French fort ress o f 
Louisburg taken by 
volunteers from New 
England, 1745. 

Braddock sdefeat, 1755 

Black Hole of Calcutta, 

who replied suggestinga rendezvous "atCnicagou." 
<F.C. R.) 

Napoleon b. 1769. 
Walter Scott b. 1771. 
(Bunker Hill, 17 

Last French commandant at Fort Chartres. (E. G. AL>! Declaration oPf n de- 
Officer of French troops. Fought against Braddock 

and '* Wachension " (Washington) in 1755. Later, 
commander under the English. Surrendered Kas 
kaskia to George Rogers Clark, who sent him, pris- 
oner of war, to Virginia (1779). (E. G. M.) 

Made a purchase from Indians of an indefinite tract of 
land, including "Chicagou, or Garlick creek,*' as one 
of the boundary points. Claim was urged before 
Congress until iSoi. (Andreas' Hist. Chicago.) 

Clark took Illinois from the British for Virginia, and 
so saved Chicago from being a Canadian village. 
Todd kilted in battle with Indians. (Todd Papers 
and E. G, M., Chicago Historical Society.) 

"A handsome negro, well-educated, and settled at 
Eschikagou, but much in the French interest." (Col. 
Du Puyster, English commandant at Fort Mrchili- 
mackinack, writes thus July 4, 1779.) (Andreas.) 
Grignon calls him "a trader, pretty wealthy, and 
drank freely.' 1 He built the cabin which became the 
"Kinzie mansion." 

French trader with Indians. Bought the cabin of 
Fointe de Sable, which stood at about the junction of 
Pine and Kinzie streets. 

pendence. 1776. 

Capture of Burgoyne, 

Voltaire d 1778. 

French Alliance, 1778. 

Yorktown taken. 1781. 

Peace with England, 

London Yinifs started, 

United States Constitu- 
tion adopted, 1789. 

French " Reign of Ter- 
ror,'" 1792. 

Lincoln b. 1809. 

Victoria b. 1818. 


Steam Engine, 1761. 
Illuminating gas, 1792. 
Cotton Gin, 1793. 
Steamboat, 1807. 
Friction Match, 1829. 
Railroad, 1830. 
Photograph, 1839. 
Postage Stamp, 1842. 
Telegraph, 1844. 

Bought Le Mai's cabin in 1804; enlarged and changed Sewing Machine, 1846. 
it from time to time, and lived there till his death, m\cZf8m*i*GoU,,B& 
1827. Bessemer Steel, 1858. 

Indian trader, and most distinguished of early city Petroleum. 1858. 
fathrr Phonograph. 1870. 

latne "' Telephone. 1876. 

Cameto Chicago in 1833. Chief Justice of the Supreme \ a tural Gas. 1883. 
Court of Illinois. Aids i.i the compilation of th:s Electric Light and Pow 
history. ; er, 1850 to 1890. 



EGRETFULLY we turn our eyes away 
from the romantic era of discovery, ex- 
ploration and poetic narrative. Joliet, 
Marquette, LaSalle, Tonty and Hennepin 
were explorers and soldiers or priests, 
and all were traveled men and practiced 
writers. All were natives of France, ex- 
cept Joliet, born in Quebec, and Tonty, 
an Italian. They entered, open-eyed and 
expectant, on this wonderland, as Aladdin 
into his palace, or like favored children 
sent in alone to the Chi'istmas Tree. 
The commonplace would have been a surprise to them. 

Toil, danger, exposure, trial and privation are not favorable to 
long life. Rapidly our heroes fade from sight. Poor Marquette 
never recovered his health; he died May 19, 1675, on the 
first explorers, eastern shore of Lake Michigan, beside the river which still 
bears his name, and two years later a party of Indians came up in 
the depth of winter, exhumed his remains, placed them carefully in a 
birch bark case, and carried them to St. Ignace (north shore of the 
Straits of Mackinaw), where they were buried under the floor of 
the mission-house.* La Salle was murdered by his own men 
March 19, 1687. Joliet died in 1700, and Tonty (after a vain 
hunt for the body of his master) in 1705, both far from the scene 
of those of their exploits in which we are interested ; the spot which 
has been made noteworthy by the building of one of the world's half 
dozen largest cities. Few and poor are the words they allot to the wild 
garlick Portage, for they could not foresee what has occurred there. 
Humanity alone gives life to inanimate things, as the soul vivifies 
the body. A dull, undistinguishable field or hamlet may chance to be 
taken for a battle-field, and so become the Mecca for innumerable 
pilgrims. When some sluggish rivulets, marshes, woods and sand- 
hills, and a stretch of low lake shore grow into the place of joy and 
sorrow, hope and fear, life and death, for thousands or millions, then 

* In 1877 Cecil Barnes, of Chicago, in company with the village priest. Father Jacker, found this long-lost tomb; 
unearth'ng some wrought nails, a hinge, a large piece of birch bark anJ two human bones. (Hist. Sac. Doc.) 


every yard of its surface, every year of its past, takes on an interest of 
its own. If the people had never come, the place would never have 
emerged from its obscurity. As it is, we linger long and lovingly over 
its beginnings, as we should do, if we could, over a tale of the first 
stumbling steps and imperfect accents, the early haps and mishaps, 
pleasures and pains of a Shakespeare or an Abraham Lincoln. 

With the disappearance of the very first comers, occurs almost a 
hiatus in the Story of Chicago. The curtain falls, and for nearly a cen- 
tury what play there is takes place behind the scenes. But a busy life 
was going on just below the southwestern horizon, and, thanks to the 
Chicago Historical Society, and especially to its latest president, Mr. 
Edward Mason, we are not without means of studying it and construct- 
ing a chain of events and persons, link by link, connecting the portage 
of 1673 with the metropolis of 1890. 

Mr. Mason says (Fergus' Historical Series, No. 12) : 

When Father Marquette returned from his adventurous voyage upon the Mississippi in 1673, 
by the way of the Illinois, he found on that river a village of the Illinois tribe, containing seventy- 
four cabins, which was called Kaskaskia. 
Its inhabitants received him well, and ob- 
tained from him a promise to return and 
instruct them. He kept that promise 
faithfully, undaunted by disease and toil- 
some journeys and inclement weather, 
and, after a rude wintering by the Chi- 
cago- river, reached the Illinois village 
again, April 8, 1675. The site of this 
Indian settlement has since been identi- 
fied with the great meadow south of the 
modern town of Utica in the State of 
Illinois and nearly opposite to the tall 
cliff, soon after known as Fort St. Louis 

and in later times as Starved Rock. 


Marquette started the mission, and gave it the name of the " Immacu- 
late Conception of the Virgin," doubtless relying on her divine protec- 
tion. Nevertheless, it led a chequered life, for the terrible Eastern 
Indians (the five nations we knew so well in the valleys of the Mohawk 
and theGenesee, the Tonawanda and Alleghany) disdaining opposition, 
human or divine, came westward and wiped off the face of the earth the 
mission and almost the whole tribe of friendly Illinois. It seems as if 
Heaven itself could not withstand the devilish Iroquois ! It was after 
this raid, that La Salle, returning to the place where he had left a great, 
prosperous, peaceful settlement, found only desolation and the unburied 
bodies of the dead. 

About 1700, the mission, with its surviving Indian adherents, moved 
down the Illinois and the Mississippi to a new location ; a river which 
enters the Mississippi some 100 miles above the junction of the 

Kaskaskia in 
the North. 



Ohio, and south of where St. Louis now stands. To this river and settle- 
ment was also given the name of Kaskaskia, and confusion has arisen 
through the possession of the same name by places 300 miles apart. 

Father James Gravier set out from Chicago on the 8th of Septem- 
ber, 1700, for the Kaskaskias on the Illinois, and found that village on 
the point of migrating southward under Father Marest. 

Father Gravier studied the Indian tongue and reduced to a system 
such grammatical rules as could be traced out. Father Marest has left 

Kaskaskia ii 


us one of the rare bits of real knowledge we possess regarding the true 
state of the relations which existed between the missionaries and the 
savages. He says : 

Our life is passed in roaming through thick forests, in clambering over the mountains, in 
paddling the canoe across lakes and rivers, to catch a single poor savage who flies from us and 
whom we can tame neither by teachings nor caressings .... Nothing is more difficult than the 
conversion of these Indians. It is a miracle of the Lord's mercy. (Moses' Hist. 111., vol. i, p. 89.) 

In 1718 the French sent an expedition under a Canadian gentle- 
man named Boisbriant, holding the office of Commandant of the Illinois, 
to erect a fort near Kaskaskia. The expedition came by way of Mobile 
and the Mississippi ; selected a point 16 miles north of Kaskaskia, 
built the fort and named it Fort Chartres, after a branch of the Royal 
family of France. There were mission and parish records kept both of 
Kaskaskia and at Fort Chartres, and these records, or the perishing 
remains of them, were unearthed and rescued from rapidly encroaching 
destruction in 1880 by the enterprise of Mr Mason; and it is to the 
hints they contain, supplemented by isolated remarks in histories, 


2 9 

biographies and accounts of voyages and travels, that we owe what we 
know of Chicago and its surroundings in the i8th century. 

If the Kaskas- 
kia Mission had 
remained in its old 
place, only some 
80 miles down the 
Illinois Valley, 
then our grasp 
upon the two- 
branched stream- 
let would be firmer 
and more con- 
stant. But the 
Mission went 
away to the south- 
ward, and, what is 
worse, opened 
new and nearer 
avenues to the 
sea. Mobile and 
New Orleans were 
the most acces- 
sible ports; 
through them 
"John Law's Mis- 
sissippi Scheme" 
took a hand in 
settling the great 
valley, and by its 
aid there grew up 
even in Kaskaskia 
and FortChartres 
an excitement 
which, it is safe to 
say, was the very 
first "town lot 
boom" in all 

Western America. Most of us have heard of John Law's bubble; 
know that its iridescence shone on Illinois. 

Even intercourse with Canada found an easier route than via 
Chicago. It was down the Mississippi to the Ohio, up the Ohio to the 




Sew road to 
the sea. 


" Ouabache " (Wabash), up the Wabash to some point (probably near 
Huntington, Ind.) where portage could be made to the head waters of 
the Maumee, down the latter to Lake Erie and so on to the Niagara, 
Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. But the main intercourse with 
the outside world was by way of New Orleans, and 
every year bateaux laden with Illinois staples 
floated gaily down the current, consigned to John 
Law's " Compagnie de 1'Occident " or its successor 
the " Compagnie de 1'Inde." Flour, bacon, pork, 
hides, tallow, wines (highwines?), leather, lumber- 
how familiar it sounds ! A hundred and fifty years 
have changed the direction, destination, manner 
and mass of our trade but not the material. 

The Indians were persistently murderous and 
predatory. Their apologists say we had no right 
to their lands. Not so. In the first place we had 
the same right to the lands that they had; the right 
of conquest. What claim had any tribe to as much 
waste as they could roam over once a year, except 
that it had destroyed a weaker tribe and taken its territory ? The priority 
of claim at the moment of La Salle's arrival was with the Illinois. 
Soon they were causelessly attacked and ruthlessly slaughtered by the 
Iroquois ; and a little later, for the very reason that they were wounded 
and helpless, the Sacs and Foxes fell upon them and completed their 
ruin. Should we then look on the title of the Sacs and Foxes, so law- 
lessly and cruelly acquired, as a sacred right, not to be disputed even 
when our allies, the surviving Illinois, were on our side? 

In the second place, we had a kind of right, which is above and 
beyond the Indian nature ; the right of agricultural employment; the 
right which inheres in the many to gain support on the best part of the 
earth's surface, even though the few should try to exclude them from it. 
Indian idleness disdains to dig ; asks that a square mile or more shall 
be allotted to each savage in order that he may, without labor, live on 
its spontaneous yield. The answer is, No ! He that will not work, 
neither shall he eat. The greatest good of the great number shall ore- 

They must swallow their own medicine. Let him who taketh the 
sword, perish by the sword. Suppose, for a moment, that those dogs 
in the manger had been allowed to tear each other to pieces, and the 
ever-changing victors among them to rule and ruin what they coulu 
spoil rather than use, while we, the strongest of all stood by like the 
patient ass, "respecting their rights !' Rcductio ad absurdum. 




The records of distant, isolated Kaskaskia throw little gleams of a 
lurid light on the state of things: 

In 1722, an entry is made which strikingly illustrates the perils which beset the people in that 
little village, on the great river which was their only means of communication with the nearest set- 
tlements, hundreds of miles away. It reads as follows: " The news comes this day of the death of 
Alexis Blaye and Laurent Bransart, who were slain upon the Mississippi by the Chickasaws. The 
day of their death is not known." Then in a different ink, as if written at another time, is added 
Indian Atroci- below: " It was the 5th or 6th of March, 1722." And this state of things is sadly emphasized by the 
entry immediately following: "The same year, on the 22d of June, was celebrated in the parish 
church of the Kaskaskias, a solemn service for the repose of the soul of the lady Michelle Chauvin, 
wife of Jacques Nepven, merchant, of Montreal, aged about 45 years, and of Jean Michelle Nepven, 
aged 20 years, and Elizabeth Nepven, aged 13 years, and Susanne Nepven, aged 8 years, her chil- 
dren. They were slain by the savages from 5 to 7 leagues from the Wabash." ..." In 
1724, the I2th of April, were s'.ain at break of day by the Fox Indians, four men, to wit: Pierre Du 
Vaud, Pierre Bascau, and two others." (Mason's " Illinois in the i8th century.") 

Sad it is to confess that in taking what we must, what it was our 
duty to take, we have often been untruthful, unfaithful, deceitful and 
cruel. But compared with their immemorial treatment of each other, 
our deceit has been spotless candor, our cruelty heavenly mercy. Not 
that this is a justification; it is but an apology, and a poor one. 

In spite of the diversion of the channels of trade, "Chicagou" 
was before the eyes of the settlers. About 1725 the pestilent Sacs and 
Foxes having grown bolder and bolder in their murderous raids, even 
killing settlers close to Fort Chartres ; its commandant, De Siette, 
wrote to De Lignerie, commandant at Green Bay, urging a combined 
attack, whereby the Fox tribe should be exterminated. De Lignerie 
answered saying that this would be well, provided that the Foxes did not 
exterminate us in the attempt, and suggesting a meeting for conference 
"at Chicagua or the Rock" (Starved Rock on the Illinois), which 
indicates that there was a settlement or trading-post here then. The 
outcome is shown in the words of Mr. Mason : 

Soon the French authorities adopted the views of the, commandant at the Illinois (De Siette), 

and the Marquis de Bjauharnois (grandfather of the Empress Josephine), then commanding in 

Canada, notified him to join the Canadian forces at Green Bay, in 1728, to make war upon the 

Foxes. A battle ensued, at which the Illinois Indians, headed by the French, were victorious. But 

Chicatrua for a hostilities continued until De Siette's successor, by a masterly piece of strategy, waylaid and 

Rendezvous, destroyed so many of the persistent foemen, that peace reigned for a time. 

Du Pratz, an old French writer (quoted by Andreas' Hist. Chicago, 
vol. i, p. 69), a resident of Louisiana from 1718 to 1734, says of the 
"Chicagou" or Illinois route in 1757: 

" Such as come from Canada, and have business only on the Illinois, pass that way yet ; but 
such as want to go directly to the sea go down the Wabache to the Ohio, and from thence to the 
Mississippi." He predicts, also, that unless some curious person shall go to the north of the Illinois 
river in search of mines " where they are said to be in great numbers and very rich," that region 
" will not soon come to the knowledge of the French." 

Well, the lead deposits of Galena and the coal at La Salle were 
searched for and exploited, and, for these reasons and others, it happens 
that the Chicago portage is not lost sight of even to this day. 


It is well for our sympathetic hearts that the curtain of oblivion, 
shutting out this epoch, is almost impenetrable. Even so, we can see 
and hear quite enough the glare of burning cottages, the sharp crack 
of the rine, the. twang of the bow-string, the savage war-cry, " Hu-hu-hu- 
hu !" * of the Indian ; the shriek upon shriek of the tortured victim ; the 
swaggering " brave " flaunting fresh, bloody scalps covered with the gray 
hair of old age ; the long, soft lock of woman ; the short, silky curls of the 
child, new born, or unborn. The thought of these things makes us glad 
that the i8th century is past and that we are not in it or of it. 

The royal game of war went on in Europe and the cards ran 
against France. So it chanced that Canada and the Illinois country, 
thrown into the jack-pot, passed to the English gfamester. In KaskaskiaEngiishsu 

J _ & 6 French. 

lived one Chevalier de Rocheblave ; an officer in the French army who 
fought against Braddock and "Monsieur Wachenston," in 1755. He 
was part of the force of Louis XV., surrendered with Fort Chartres, in 
1765, and later (1778), appeared as commander under George III. to 
surrender Kaskaskia to a greater George, George Rogers Clark ; a 
soldier of the nation of the greatest George who ever lived, George 
Washington, as will appear in the next chapter. 

* Judge Caton describes the war-whoop as a shrill, unearthly, falsetto yell, broken by rapid blows of the open hand 
upon the open mouth. 


Red Coat, 1812. 

savage Ames. 



ETROIT, founded early in the last century 
and ceded to England in 1763, was the 
headquarters of her alliance with the 
Indians against us in the war of the 

Vain is it for English historians 
to treat lightly that infamous alliance. 
Did she know their nature and their 
manner of warfare ? Yes ; Lieut. Gov. 
Abbott (English) wrote to Gen. Carle- 
ton (English) against their employ- 
ment. Did she engage them to fight ? Surely : She had no 
other use for them. Then to fight whom ? Civilized warfare is 
waged solely against armed forces ; where was the armed force against 
which these savages were to act ? Gates, Schuyler and Arnold at Sar- 
atoga ? Washington on the Delaware? Marion in the Carolinas? 
Absurd ! The nearest of these was 800 miles away. The royal orders 
were "to drive back the settlers across the Alleghanies." (Roosevelt, 
Vol. II, p. 5.) But why drive back the settlers if they were, as Britain 
claimed, British subjects? And what does the driving back of settlers 
by savages mean? 

The English commandant at Detroit was Colonel Henry Hamil- 
ton, Lieutenant Governor of the Northwestern region, which included 
all the British possessions outside of the Colonies and of Canada ; in 
other words, from the Ohio river to Lake Superior. Hamilton, who was 
nicknamed bythe "buckskins"( frontiersmen), the " hair-buyer general," 
avers that he did all that he could to induce the Indians to bring in pris- 
oners instead of scalps, but he does not pretend that he succeeded. 
Scalps were certainly publicly bought and sold in Detroit while he com- 
manded the red-coats and their worthy allies, the red-skins, and the 
Haldimand mss. tell of his receiving scalps with solemnity at the coun- 
cils held to greet the war parties when they returned from successful 

*A tale is preserved of one savage swindler who, by dividing a large scalp into two, got so aoiece for them. 


Red death marked their pathway. In case of defeat, happy was 
the man who fell and died; woeful the fate of him who was captured alive. 
Colonel William Crawford, who commanded an unsuccessful expedi- 
tion against the British and Indians, was tortured slowly to death in the 
presence of one fellow prisoner and one white man (Simon Girty) who 
was an officer commanding the Indians for the English. These men 
describe poor Crawford's death heaven forbid that we should even 
copy the description. 

Roosevelt says: 

The captured women and little ones were driven far off exterior. The weak among them, the 
young children and the women heavy with child, were tomahawked and scalped as soon as their 
steps faltered. The able bodied, who could stand the terrible fatigue and reached the journey's end, (j m2 j e an< j 
suffered various fates. Some were burned at the stake, others were sold to the French or British Clybourne 
traders and long afterwards made their escape or were ransomed by their relatives. Still others were 
kept in the Indian camps, the women becoming the slaves or wives of the warriors, while the chil- 
dren were adopted into the tribe and grew up precisely like their little redskinned playmates.* 

It happens that we of Chicago have some direct connections with 
one of these Indian massacres and captivities. To quote Andreas' 
History of Chicago (Vol. I, p. 73): 

Isaac McKinzie and his family were living in Giles County, Virginia, near the Kanawha 
River. A band of Shawnees from Ohio, in one of their hostile incursions, attacked his cabin, which 
they destroyed, and murdered all his family except his two daughters Margaret, a little girl of ten, 
and Elizabeth, two years younger. The girls were carried captive to the great village of the tribe at 
Chillicothe, where they were kept in charge of the chief. After about ten years of captivity they 
were taken, or found their way, to Detroit. Margaret becanr.e the wife of John Kinzie and the 
mother of his three elder children, William, James and Elizabeth. . . . Elizabeth subsequently mar- 
ried Jonas Clybourne, of Virginia, the fruit of this union being two sons. Archibald and Henley. . . . 
Archibald Clybourne reached Chicago, August 5, 1823. 

Descendants of both the captive girls are still among us and we 
shall have occasion to speak of them in due course. In the meantime 
" Kinzie street " and " Clybourne avenue " may keep us in mind of this 
link connecting us with the days of Indian war, massacre and captivity. 

One word more concerning the connection between civilized Eng- 
land and the savage tribes. Such an alliance is more than wicked ; it is 
unmanly, unsoldierly, cowardly in its employment of others to do cow- 
ardly acts. It should be classed with poisoning the enemies' drinking 
water, firing hot shot at their hospital, or hanging the bearer of their 
flag of truce. No more disgraceful story can be found in English his- 
tory from its first page to its latest, even including the spoliation of India 
and the "opium war" with China. 

Turn we from this matter, which makes us ashamed of our lineage, 
to a pleasanter, more honorable and more distinguished and important 
narrative ; the story of one of our real home-born heroes, George 

* Occasionally we come across records of the women's afterward making theirescape. Very rarely they took their 
half-breed babies with them. De Haas mentions one such case where the husband, though he received his wife well_ 
always hated the copper-colored addition to his family. The latter, by the way, grew up a thoroughbred Indian, could 
not be educated, and finally ran away, joined the Revolutionary army and was never heard of afterwards. 


Rogers Clark, after whom our great thoroughfare, Claik street, is 
named, a fact unknown to many Chicagoans of all ages. 

Clark, Daniel Boone, John Todd and others like them, were the 
first settlers of Kentucky and wrested that garden of the earth from the 

human wild-cats that had made it 
their fighting-ground from time im- 
memorial. Needless to say that they 
hated everything Indian with a holy 
hatred. Clark seems to have had 
the most ambition, the most patriot- 
ism and the broadest grasp of mind 
of any of these bold Kentuckians. 
The others were content to defend 
themselves and their fire-sides from 
the lurking foe ; he looked outward 
.and planned achievements of wider 

From "Cyclopedia of United State. Hl.tory.-'-Copytinht. SCOpC and of TCSultS which W6 3rC 

18l, by Harper * Brother!. 

DANIEL BOONE. enjoying to-day. 

In 1778 Clark traveled all the way from Kentucky to the James 
River, to lay before Patrick Henry, Virginia's first governor, a plan for 
seizing Fort Chartres, Kaskaskia, Vincennes and perhaps Detroit itself, 
and so adding to Virginia all the country northwest of the Ohio. He 
told of the outrages of the Indians under English influence, and prom- 
Kemuckians jn ised the sympathy and support of the Kentuckians and other settlers 
who still survived, all embittered to the last extent and all good fighters. 
He added that the Kaskaskia settlement, being French, was surrounded 
by friendly Indians.* Also that among the French themselves we 
should find a most friendly feeling, especially when they should be 
apprised of the alliance with France just then accomplished by 

Virginia gave Clark arms, ammunition and supplies, a commission 
as colonel, and leave to recruit men where he could. She also gave 
John Todd, of Kentucky, the appointment of "County Lieutenant, or 
Commandant of theCounty of Illinois," and a letter of instructions under 
Patrick Henry's own hand, as we shall see hereafter. 

Clark made the long tramp across the Alleghanies, down the 
Monongahela and the Ohio, at the Falls whereof (Louisville) he paused 
to perfect his arrangements. Then he started once more down the river, 
but quitted it before reaching the Mississippi, knowing that the enemy 

* The savages, though always treacherous, never felt the ferocity against the French which they cherished towards 
the rest of the pale faces They murdered many a " robe noir "black-coat, alias Jesuit but not every one they could lay 
their hands on. 


would be on his guard on that side. He landed at old Fort Massac 
(then deserted), and struck across the woods and prairies of southern 
Illinois, arriving on the Kaskaskia River, three miles above the town, on 
July 4, 1778. To quote Roosevelt again : 

They kept in the woods till it grew dark and then silently marched to a little farm a mile from 
lh-. town. The family were taken prisoners, and from them it was learned that the townspeople 

wer^ then off their guard Rocheblave, the Creole commandant, was sincerely attached 

to the British interest He had under his orders two or three times as many men as 

Clark, and he certainly would have made a good fight if he had not been surprised. It was only 
Clark's audacity and the noiseless speed of h!s movements that gave him a chance of success. . . 

Inside the fort the lights were lit, and through the windows came the sound of violins. The 
officers of the post had given a ball, and the mirth-loving Creoles, young men and girls, were dancing 

and reveiing within, while the sentinels had left their posts Advancing into the great 

hall where the revel was held, Clark leaned silently, with folded arms, against the door-post, looking 
at the dancers. An Indian lying on the floor of the entry gazed intently on the stranger's face as the 
light from the torches within flashed across it, and suddenly sprang to his feel, uttering the unearthly 
warwhoop, "Hu hu hu hu!" Instantly the dancing ceased; the women screamed, while the men 
ran toward the door. But Clark, standing unmoved and with unchanged face, grimly bade them 
continue their dancing, but to remember that they now danced under Virginia and not Great 

This picturesque and dramatic scene is told as taken down from 
the lips of Clark himself, some ten years or so after the event. 

The simple Kaskaskians had been taught to dread the " buckskins" 
as rather more terrible than the redskins themselves, and Clark pur- 
posely left them that whole night in their terror and confusion, while he 
took captive Rocheblave and all his forces. Next morning a deputation 
of the chief men waited on Clark, only daring to beg for their lives, 
which they did, says Clark, "with the greatest servancy [saying], that 
they were willing to be slaves to save their families." They were vastly 
relieved to find their captors soldiers and gentlemen, bringing not slav- 
ery, slaughter and spoliation, but freedom and citizenship to all who 
would accept it. 

Doubtless the Catholic church had been closed during the Eng- 
lish rule, and when Clark told the priest (Gibault), in answer to his 
question, that " An American commander had nothing to do with any 
church except to save it from insult, and that by the laws of the Republic 
his religion had as great privileges as any other," the volatile Creoles 
"returned in noisy joy to their families, while the priest, a man of ability 
and influence, became thenceforth a devoted and effective champion of 
the American cause." (Roosevelt.) 

The news, through Clark, of the alliance between France and 
America, and the enthusiastic advocacy of Clark's new friends, soon 
converted Cahokia; and Pere Gibault volunteered to go to Vincennes, 
on the Wabash, to get his fellow-Frenchmen to join the Americans, 
their natural allies. No sooner said than done; on August i, 1778, he 
returned with the news that the entire population gathered in the church 

Go on wiih your dancing," said Clark, "but remember" faftJ7. 


to hear him had taken the oath of allegiance, and that the American 
flag- floated over the fort. 

But where, meanwhile, are Hamilton and his forces? 

Encouraged by the great and wicked success of his war-parties, he 
had planned an attack on Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh), but the startling news 
of Clark's seizure of his own outposts put an end to all thoughts of seiz- 
ing ours. He must retake Vincennes, first, to interpose between Clark 
and his base in Virginia. From Vincennes he could easily sally forth 
against the presumptuous Clark and wipe him out. The Indians must 
all be aroused to fresh scalp-hunting. Even distant Mackinaw and St. 
Joseph, on Lake Michigan, were notified to incite the lake Indians to 
harass the Illinois country. 

Now for a glimpse of Chicago. 

At this time (1778) and for some years before, Jean Baptiste 
Point de Saible was living on the Chicago river at a point now covered 
by Kirk's huge soap factory; close to the corner of Pine and Kinzie 
streets. Of him Colonel Arent Schuyler De Puyster, commandant 
at Mackinaw, writes (July 4, 1779): "Baptiste Point de Saible, a hand- 
some negro, well settled at 'Eschikagou, but much in the French inter- 
est." Elsewhere in his volume of " Miscellanies" De Puyster writes :Cnica g o from 

1778 to 1794. 

" Eschikagou is a river and fort at the head of Lake Michigan." Point 
de Saible was a Haytien mulatto who, with a friend named Glamorgan, 
came north and lived with the Peoria Indians up to about 1779, when 
he came to his Chicago home. Andreas (Hist. Chicago, Vol. i, p. 71) 
says: " Here he lived until i 796 seventeen years. All that is known 
of his life during that long period is gathered from the 'Recollections' 
of Augustin Grignon, of Butte des Morts, near Oshkosh, and published 
in the third volume of the Wisconsin Historical Society's collections." 
Mr. Grignon says: 

At a very early period there was a negro lived there (Chicago) named Baptiste Point de Saible. 
My brother, Perish Grignon, visted Chicago about 1794, and told me that Point de Saible was a large 
man ; that he had a commission (or some office, but for what particular office I can not now recollect. 
He was a trader, pretty wealthy, and drank freely. I know not what became of him. 

About all that can be added to the few particulars related above is 
that in 1796 he sold his cabin to one Le Mai, a French trader and 
returned to Peoria, where he died at the home of his old friend Glamor- 

This cabin Le Mai sold to John Kinzie in 1804. So do we touch 
home once more after one century and a quarter of wanderings. 

Point de Saible's trading-post was necessarily one of the settle- 
ments Hamilton ordered to be harried. Indeed the Haldimand mss.* 

*Sir Frederick Haldimand succeeded Sir Guy Carleton as Governor of Canada in 1778. He is best known as Gen- 
era] Hal Hmand. H's papers were presented to the British Museum in 1857 by his grand-nephew William Haldimand; 
and copies are now in the Canadian Archives at Ottawa. 


speak of an effort made at about this time to prevent a settlement at 
Chicago. But Point de Saible seems bravely or cunningly to have 
stood his ground and to have out-stayed the harassers. A favorite old- 
time Chicago joke is that her first white inhabitant was a black man. 
At least he was not a scalper, nor the ally of scalpers, as we see by De 
Puyster's unfriendly allusion. 

Now, in September, 1778, Hamilton, " hairbuyer-general," and his 
red hair-lifters, begin their grand task of exterminating George Rogers 
Clark and the " buckskins." The first step is the recovery of Vincennes. 
See the conquering hero comes ! 

He led the main body in person, and throughout September every soul in Detroit was busy 
from morning till night in mending boats, baking biscuit, packing provisions in kegs and bags, pre- 
paring artillery stores and in every way making ready for the expedition Fifteen large bateaux 
and pirogues were procured ; these were to carry the ammunition, food, clothing, tents, and espe- 
cially the presents for the Indians. Cattle and wheels were sent ahead to the most important port- 
ages on the route to be traversed ; a six pounder gun was also forwarded. (Roosevelt.) 

Thanks, Colonel Hamilton ; you were unconsciously bringing 

Colonel Clark just the things he needed. To be sure, your force oust- 

nurrtbered ours three to one, for you had a herd of Indians on your side, 

but, on the other hand, on our side were Clark and the " Buckskins," as 

Hamilton takesY 011 shortly found out, to your cost. 

The trip was uneventful ; but one little circumstance crops out in 
the narrative worth remarking. Their course was down the Detroit 
river, across Lake Erie, and into the Maumee river at its mouth 
(Toledo), then up the Maumee until within nine miles of the head 
waters of navigation on the Wabash about Huntington, Ind. Roose- 
velt quotes Hamilton's ' Brief Account" as follows: 

This stream was so low that the boats could not have gone down it had it not been for a beaver 
dam four miles below the landing, which backed up the current. A passage was cut through the 
dam to let the boats pass. The traders and Indians thoroughly appreciated the help given them at 

this difficult part of the course by the engineering skill of the beavers and none of the 

beavers of this particular dam were ever molested, being left to keep their dam in order and repair 
It, which they always speedily did whenever it was damaged 

Vincennes fell into Hamilton's hands, without a fight, just seventy- 
one days after he left Detroit, being only defended by the local Creole 
militia. His spies brought him word that Clark had only 1 10 men under 
him. Had the commanders been reversed, the larger force would have 
hurried on to Kaskaskia and captured the smaller in short order. But the 
way was long, the country flooded and the winter severe. Besides, as 
Hamilton was firmly established between Clark and his home base, why 
should he not, instead of climbing the thorny tree, wait till the fruit 
should fall ? He intended to make a grand campaign in the spring. He 
would rouse the Southern Indians, the bloody Chickasaws, Cherokees 
and Creeks; and he himself, re-inforced from Detroit, would take the 


field with 1,000 men, re-conquer Illinois, sweep Kentucky and destroy 
all settlements west of the Alleghanies perhaps take Fort Pitt itself! 
But his " spring" never came. Clark made a spring of his own a 
tiger spring. He had had no reinforcements or supplies, nor so much as 
"a scrip of the pen" from Virginia since he left Governor Henry a year 
before; nor did he need any. On February 7, 17/9, he marched out of 
Kaskaskia at the head of a Spartan band of 1 70 men, to travel across 
the snowy wastes, the dismal forests, the half-frozen floods, 240 miles to 
surprise a fort held by the enemy's chief commander, with infantry, 
artillery and abundant supplies. The buckskins had no tents, but passed 
the nights around huge camp-fires, where they feasted on the game they 
had killed during the day; on bear's ham, buffalo hump, elk-saddle, venison 
haunch, wild turkey breast, etc.* This was not bad; but when they came to 
the flooded lands of the Little Wabash, their trials were fearful. The two 
branches of the stream were now in one, five miles wide, and three feet 
deep in the shallowest part of the plains over which they flowed. Clark 
built a pirogue, and on they waded, ferrying where the stream was over 

,ii -i rr i i ill! ii. Clark's Winter 

chin-deep. He built a scanold to hold the baggage and the weaklings March. 
who gave out, until he could send back 
the pirogue to go on with the job 
of ferrying them over. On the 1 7th 
they reached the Embarras [our "Am- 
bro"], but could not cross, nor could 
they find a dry spot on which to camp. 
At last they found the water falling off 
a small, almost submerged hillock, and 
on this they huddled through the 
night. At day-break they heard Hamil- 
ton's morning gun from the fort. 
They did not dare to fire a shot for 
fear of warning the enemy of their 
coming, and on the morning of the 
2Oth the men had been without food for 

nearly two days, "drenched, weary and dispirited." They captured a 
small boat with five Frenchmen, and learned the welcome news that no 
suspicions had been aroused at the fort. In the evening they killed a 
deer just in time. On the 2ist, in a continual rain, they ferried across 
the Wabash. The captured Frenchmen said they could not possibly 
proceed, but Clark led the way in person for about three miles, the 
water often up to their chins, and camped on a hillock for the night. 
Another day of similar struggle, " the strongest wading painfully 

* Everywhere in the early French narratives (see Margry, etc.) there occurs mention of the Wild turkey; " faulct 
tfittdt" as they called them, and " dindon" is French for turkey to this day. 

From " Cyclopedia of United State* Hist-try. "Copyright, 
1,1-1. by Harrwr A Hrntber*. 



through the water, the weak and famished in the canoes." A journal 
(whereof a copy is still in existence) ends, " No provisions yet. Lord help 
us !" Heavy frost that night, ice forming an inch thick. " But the sun 
rose bright and glorious, and Clark, in burning words, told his stiffened, 
famishing, half-frozen followers that the evening would surely see them 
at the goal of their hopes. Without waiting for an answer he plunged 
into the water and they followed him, with a cheer, in Indian file. On a 
spot of dry land, the strong and tall get ashore, build great fires and go 
back for the exhausted; and a captured Indian canoe "manned" by 
three squaws, gives them half a quarter of buffalo, with some corn, 
tallow and kettles; just in time again! 

Finally they came to a copse of timber from which they saw the 
town and fort not two miles off ! Clark, with characteristic courage and 
decision, determined to summon the town, so he sent a letter to the 
people of Vincennes by a stray French citizen whom they caught out 
shooting ducks. The French Creoles took Clark's proclamation and 
discussed it eagerly, but did not warn the garrison. Clark marched 
into the place at seven in the evening, and the firing began at once. 
Then, as soon as the moon set, Clark had an entrenchment thrown up 
anduke? ts within rifle shot of the strongest battery, and as soon as dawn made the 
guns visible, sharp-shooters made them indefensible. He summoned 
the fort at noon, using the time of truce to get breakfast, the first reg- 
ular meal they had had for six days. Hamilton declined to surrender, 
and the firing began again, the backwoods men vainly beseeching Clark 
to let them storm the fort. During the fray a party of Hamilton's 
Indians returned to the town from a successful scalping expedition, 
whereupon the " buckskins" fell upon them and killed or captured nine; 
and Clark, to strike terror to the besieged and to express his views of 
the scalping business, had six of the miscreants led out in view of the 
fort, tomahawked and thrown into the river. 

In the afternoon the fort surrendered. Hamilton and the rest of 
the officers were sent to Virginia as prisoners of war, the others were 
paroled, the spoils of war amounting to tens of thousands of pounds 
sterling were distributed among the soldiers, who "got almost rich," and 
Vincennes, Kaskaskia and all the lands so acquired have been ours 
from that day to this. 

That was the winter passed by Washington and his Continentals at 
Valley Forge with so much fortitude, suffering and loss. An enthu- 
siast has said that Valley Forge was child's play compared with the cap- 
ture of Vincennes, and surely he was not without reasonable grounds for 
his belief. At any rate we Westerners should never beat a loss to know 



"Why Clark street Clark County Clarksville ? What Clark do 
they refer to ? " 

George Rogers Clark, sometimes called " The American Hanni- 

& O 

bal," was a natural frontier fighter, like Standish, Boone, Marion, Todd, 
Kenton, John Brown and a thousand others whose names are passing 


or passed away. They were men bred by their dangers to be fearless, by 
their privations to be stoical, by their toils to be tireless and by their 
sacrifices to be patriotic. Coming of the world's most aggressive race, 
they were shaped by hard environments into the sharpest form. 

Clark's later days were embittered by what he considered unjust 
treatment on the part of Virginia and the United States. He had had 
certain large land grants made to him, and claimed, besides, reimburse- 

11 TT'*'ii/n\ ill Anecdote about 

ments for certain outlays and losses. Virginia had (i 782) ceded the 
Northwest territory (now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wis- 
consin) to the United States, and averred, with seeming reason, that 
Clark's claims should be paid by the party that profited by his services. 
The General Government took the opposite view, and between the two 
stools the claimant fell to the ground or at least was never satisfied in 

The legislature of Virginia voted a sword of honor to Clark and 
commissioners were appointed to present it. It is related (probably 
with truth) that on being apprised of their approach the old veteran, in 
full regimentals, limped out (he had a wound in the hip) and took a 
stately position on his grounds fronting the Ohio. He heard their 
presentation address, grasped the sword, drew it from the scabbard, 


stuck the point in the ground, shivered the blade and threw the hilt afar 
into the river, saying: " What I want from Virginia is not compliments, 
but justice. Go back to them that sent you and tell them I 
said so."* 

It is scarcely going too far to say that it is to George R. Clark we 
owe the fact that we are to-day other than a Canadian city. If Hamil- 
ton's territory had remained inviolate, what plea could our Commission- 
ers at the treaty of Versailles have made for the Detroit river as a 
boundary ? 

A century of gratitude makes dim the faults of a benefactor. 
To-day we do not ask whether George Rogers Clark passed his later 
years in drink and the breaking of most of the ten commandments. 
We remember his benefactions ; and as to his failings well, we wish 
either that he had been not quite so blamable or his judges not quite so 
critical (we do not care much which), so that he might have lived with- 
out disappointment and died without bitterness. 

John Todd, Clark's fellow-soldier at Kaskaskia and Vincennes, and 
later, by Governor Patrick Henry's warrant, "County Lieutenant or 
Commandant of the County of Illinois," was killed in the battle of the 
Blue Licks, Kentucky, fought by Todd, Daniel Boone, Thomas Mar- 
T( Gove?nor flrst shall (father of Chief Justice Marshall), and their brother Kentuckians, 
against a superior force of Indians. Says an eye-witness: "When last 
seen he was reeling in his saddle while the blood gushed in profusion 
from his wounds." 

Patrick Henry's commission and long letter of instructions to Todd 
were written on the first five pages of a blank book which was dispatched 
by a trusty messenger who carried it from Williamsburg, then capital of 
Virginia, across the Alleghanies to Fort Pitt, and thence down the Ohio 
till it found Todd, probably at Vincennes just after its capture by Clark 
and the rest. Todd kept the precious book and used the unwritten part 
of it to record his proceedings as Governor, his trials and troubles, his 
doings and dealings. 

Should not such a volume, however old and worn, be interesting to 
every Chicagoan ? Should he not look at it with a thrill of respect for its 
venerable pages and of gratitude to the great souls of i 776 ? 

All who answer " Yes" to these questions can testify to their inter- 
est, and secure to themselves a keen delight by simply calling at the 

George Rogers Clark left no children. His brother William was the man who explored the way to Oregon in 
1804 in what is known as " The Lewis and Clark expedition." William's grandson, Charles Jeffers in Cl irk. ii a frontiers- 
man, as becomes his ancestry (but with the modern improvement of a scientific education) and is a frequent and welcome 
visiior in Chicago. He confirms the sword stjry regarding his grand-uncle, but insists on a slight modification as to 
the destruction of the sword, for he says t^e weapon, unbroken, has descended to his own possession. 


rooms of the Historical Society, corner of Dearborn avenue and Ontario 
street, where the very book itself is in keeping, and where Judge Moses, 
the custodian, is proud to display it, together with thousands of other 
relics and mementoes of the great days past but not forgotten. 


The Wa 
land " 



i AND speculation began early George 
Washington, while Colonial Surveyor for 
Virginia, made notes of desirable tracts 
and devoted his earnings to their pur- 
chase, to the entire satisfaction of all con- 
cerned ; thus laying the foundations of 
his fine fortune, that wealth which enabled 
him to serve his country without pay, as 
he did all through the Revolutionary War. 
Another kind of speculation was the 
purchase, or attempted purchase, from 
the Indians, of unsurveyed lands. Thomas Lee, Lawrence and Augus- 
tine Washington (relatives of George) and others formed the "Ohio 
Company," which aimed to get control of a large tract south of the 
Ohio river, in the Kanawha valley region, now part of West Virginia. 


From " C'yHop.1i* of United StttM History." Copyright, 
1881, by Harper A Hrothen. 

-""\W- ^^ 

From "Cyclopedia of UmKil SUM HUtory." Copyright. Harpr A Brother*. 


Still another case was that of the grant applied for (1772) by Thomas 
VValpole, Benjamin Franklin and others for land for which ten thousand 
four hundred and sixty pounds were paid to the Six Nations Indians 
under the Fort Stanwix Treaty. 



All these glittering plans were crushed by the breaking out of the 
Revolutionary War, and the investors lost largely. 

Even the far West, our own present habitation, was the scene of a 
great and determined effort to secure control of lands, wherein Chicago 
was included. Two companies were formed, one "The Illinois Land 
Company" and the other " The Wabash Land Company," both devised 
and attempted at Kaskaskia by one William Murray, a name which, if 
its owner had succeeded, would be the leading entry in all the tens of 
thousands of "Abstracts of Title " with which Chicago lawyers and real 
estate men are so familiar. 

William Murray was one of the English who came to Kaskaskia 
after the surrender of the country by France to England in 1765. In 
1 773 he formed " The Illinois Land Company " and for that company 
held a council with all the Indians he could muster at Kaskaskia; the 
proceedings of which are reported in a pamphlet (now in our Historical 
Society), published in Philadelphia in 1796. He gave the Indians a 
long list of goods and chattels* and took from them their signature to 
a document pretending to describe and convey a tract by metes and 
bounds which were really a lot of fictitious lines between points, 
some real and some imaginary, which lines after all inclosed nothing. 
Our only interest in this so-called purchase lies in the fact that one of 
the real points named in the boundary was " Chicagou or Garlick WilliamMurra 
Creek." He and his successors pressed this claim before Congress per- tr chic'a" K o buy 
sistently until it was finally rejected in 1801; the ground then held and 
ever since maintained being: 

Deeds obtained by private persons from the Indians, without any antecedent authority, or 
subsequent information [confirmation?] from the government, could not vest in the grantees men- 
tioned in such deed any title to the lands therein described. 

So it all failed and the promoters are heard of no more. William 
Murray, first of Chicago real estate agents, met the fate which has since 
overtaken many another who made the mistake of "biting off more than 
he could chew." 

Failing to find our earliest city-father in Murray, we seek elsewhere. 
Looking the records over, we conclude that Jean Baptiste Pointe de Chicago's erst 
Saible (already named) must hold the ronor of exercising the earliest 
ownership which is kept up continuously to our own time ; holding it, 
however, by allodial, not feudal tenure ; that is to say, by right of the 
plow and not by right of purchase from the lord of the manor or holder 
of eminent domain; in our case Virginia up to 1784 and the United 
States from that time to the present. 

* Here is the curious list: " 250 blankets; 250 strouds [a thick kind of cloth]; 250 pairs of stroud and half-thick 
stockings; 150 stroud breech-cloths; 500 pounds cf gunpowder; 4,000 pounds of. lead; one gross of knives; 30 pounds of 
vermilion; 2,000 gun flints; 200 piunds of brass kettles; 200 pounds of tobacco; 3 dozen pill looking-classes; .... 
10,000 pounds of flour; 500 bushels of Indian corn; u horses; 12 horned cattle; 20 bushels of salt; 20 guns and five shil- 
lings in money." 


Another man was here during a part if not the whole of Jean 
Baptiste's occupancy; one Guarie, whose trading cabin was on the west 
side of the North Branch, near the forks. Guarie's holding was also 
allodial, and when the late Gurdon Hubbard came here in 1818 the 
remains of the corn-hills cultivated by him were still visible. Moreover, 
and Guane. Mr. Hubbard testifies that the North Branch went by the name of 
" River Guarie," just as the South Branch was called "Portage River," 
even down to 1800. 

Other traders were then here, however, though the place was of far 
less importance than St. Joseph, Mich. A St. Joseph trader, named 
Burnett, speaks of it casually in letters written in 1790, 1791 and 1798. 
In 1791 he gives this suggestive bit of "local color." "The Pottawat- 
omies at Chicago have killed a Frenchman about twenty days ago. 
They say there is plenty of Frenchmen." * 

Pointe de Saible, Le Mai and Guarie have disappeared and left no 
sign. Not so another Frenchman who was for a time their contempo- 
rary Antoine Ouillemette. Major Whistler found him here when he 
arrived in 1803 to build the first Fort Dearborn. Ouillemette remained 
Amoine ouiiie- here and hereabouts for the next thirty years, and was the only white 
' inhabitant during the four years following the massacre of 1812. He 
lived about the Fort until 1829, with his wife, a Pottawatomie ; when 
he obtained, through her, a reservation at Gross Point (Evanston), 
which he cultivated until 1835, at which time he moved with the tribe 
to Council Bluffs. The fine suburb "Wilmette" perpetuates his name 
and marks the place which he fenced and cultivated. 

In 1784 Virginia ceded to the United States her rights over the 
territory northwest of the Ohio river, and in 1787 the celebrated ordi- 
nance was passed by Congress whereby the territorial government was 
organized, and certain articles were adopted to be " considered as arti- 
cles of compact between the original states and the people and states in 
the said territory, forever to remain unalterable unless by common 


Among other things the following principles were announced: 
Freedom of opinion in matters of religion; right to the writ of Habeas 
Corpus and trial by jury; proportionate representation ; judicial pro- 
ceedings according to the common law; bail except for capital offenses 
where proof shall be evident or presumption great; no cruel or unusual 

" No man shall be deprived of his liberty or property but by the judgment of his peers or the 
law of the land," and should the public exigencies make it necessary for the common preservation to 
take any person's property, or to demand his particular services, full compensation shall be made 
for the same. 

* For further details, extremely interesting, concerning the "dark hour before the dawn" of Chicago, see 
Captain Andreas' mastcily history, 3 vols. 8vo. published by himself in 1884. Also the excellent " Fergus' Historical 


Schools should forever be encouraged. Good faith should be 
observed toward the Indians, and their lands and property never be taken 
except by their consent. Congress alone should dispose of the public 
lands. Non-resident proprietors should not be taxed higher than resi- ordinance of 
dents. Navigable waters should be common highways and forever free. 
The boundaries of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio were fixed. 

Then followed the immortal clause, big with fate, which has shaped 
our destiny and must influence it forever. 

There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than 
in the punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; provided always, 
that any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one 
of the original states, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming 
his or her labor as aforesaid. 

So vital and far-reaching have been the consequences of this 
clause in our organic law, that it seems appropriate to reproduce, 
with Judge Moses' consent, a fac-simile of the original, in the hand 
of Nathan Dane. (Moses 1 Hist. 111.) 

So far, so good. Here was our paper title ; but more was needed 
to make a full title by possession and occupation ; that was yet to cost 
a lone struo-ale and many battles. The next step was the treaty of 

o Q^ J 1 /~* 

Greenville, Ohio, with twelve Indian tribes, concluded in 1/95, by Gen- 
eral Wayne ("Mad Anthony"), who had before this inflicted crushing 
defeats upon them. By this treaty the Indians, for their southeastern 


boundary, accepted a line running from where Cleveland stands now to 
a point on the Ohio opposite the mouth of the Kentucky. They also 

ceded several isolated bits for trading 
posts, among others, " One piece of 
land, six miles square, at the mouth 
of Chicago river, emptying into the 
southwestern end of Lake Michigan, 
where a fort formerly stood." One 
of the many signers of this treaty was 
"Little Turtle" (" Meshekunnogh- 
quoh"),* whose son-in-law, Captain 
William Wells, was among the 
killed at the Fort Dearborn massacre 
of 1812. 

This treaty is the first official 
recognition given by the United 

c^iop^.ofumie^st.^Hi.torj-."-^^^! States government to the name 

GEO. ANTHONY WAYNE. Chicago,"f and it is pursuant to this 

cession of land that Captain John Whistler was sent here nine years 
later (1803) with a company of soldiers to build a fort, Old Fort Dear- 
born, which was burned after the massacre of 1812. 

captain John Captain Whistler had an eventful life. He was a British soldier 

under General Burgoyne, and was included in the surrender of the 
invading army at the battle of Saratoga. Most of the prisoners of war 
taken then were marched to Boston, where they were held as prisoners 
until the close of the war. Of him, Captain Andreas says : 

After the war he married and settled in Hagerstown, Md., where his son William was born. 
He enlisted in the American army and took part in the Northwestern Indian war, serving under St. 
Clair and afterward under Wayne. He was speedily promoted, rising through the lower grades to 
a lieutenancy in 1792, and became a captain in 1797. He rebuilt th^ fort in 1815 [after the massacre 
and destruction of 1812] and removed to St. Charles, Mo., in 1817. In 1818 he was military store- 
keeper at St. Louis, and died at Bellefontaine, Mo., in 1827. He was a brave and efficient officer, 
and became the progenitor of a line of brave and efficient soldiers. 

His son, George Whistler, was with Captain John when the family 
came to Chicago, being then three years old. This is the Major 
Whistler who became a distinguished engineer in the service of 
Russia. Another son, Lieutenant William Whistler, with his young wife 
(Julia Person^), came to Chicago with Captain Whistler. He will be 

'This Indian name, like most others, is variously spelled by different authorities. 

+ General Dearborn, in his letter to General Wilkinson ordering the construction of the fort, spells the word 
" Chikago." 

* This Mrs. Whistler was horn in Salem, Mass., July 3, 1787. Her maiden name was Julia Ferson, and her parents 
were John and Mary (La Duke) Ferson. In childhood she removed with her parents to Detroit, where she received most 
of her education. In May. 1802, she was married to William Whistler (born in Hafferstown, Md., about 17^1), a second 
lieutenant in the company of his father. Captain John Whistler, U. S. A., then stationed at Detroit. (Fergus 1 Historical 
Series, Xo. 16.) 


mentioned later as one of the last commandants of Fort Dearborn, hold- 
ing that post until 1833. He lived until 1863 ; his wife lived to be ninety juiia Person 
years old, dying at Newport, Ky. ( in 1878. She visited Chicago in 1875, 
when (at eighty-seven) her mind and memory were of the brightest ; and 
conversation with her on 
old matters was a rare 
pleasure. Mrs. General 
Philip Sheridan is her 
grand-neice and cherishes 
her relationship as a patent 
to high ran kin our Chicago 
nobility. No portrait of 
John Whistler is known 
to exist. 

A daughter of Will- 
iam and thischarmingold 
lady was born in 1818, and 
named Gwenthlean. She 
was married at Fort Dear- 
born, in 1834, to Robert 
A. Kinzie, second son of 
John Kinzie the pioneer. 
Mrs. Gwenthlean Kinzie 
is now living in Chicago, 
and has been consulted 
in the preparation of this 

To return to the first Chicago fort. John Wentworth, in his his- 
torical sketch of Fort Dearborn (Fergus' Historical Series, No. 16), 
delivered on the occasion of the unveiling of the Tablet in the wall of 
Hoyt's wholesale grocery store (south end of Rush street bridge), 
quotes Mrs. Julia Whistler as follows, regarding the settlement in 1803 : 

The United States schooner Tracy ... on arriving at Chicago, anchored half a mile from the 
shore, discharging her freight from boats. Some 2000 Indians visited the locality while the vessel 
was here, being attracted by so unusual an occurrence as the appearance in these waters of "a big 
canoe with wings." There were then here but four rude huts, or traders' cabins, occupied by white 
men, Canadian French with Indian wives. . . There was not at that time, within hundreds of miles, 
a team of horses, or oxen ; and, as a consequence, the soldiers had to don the harness and with the 
aid of ropes, drag home t'.ie needed timbers. . . Col. William Whistler's height, at maturity, was 
six feet and two inches, and his weight at one time was 260 pounds. 

* On mentioning to Judge Caton that Mrs. Robert A. Kinzie was again living here after a long absence, the vener- 
able Chief- Justice, after a moment's thought, said: '*Yes! I remember the marriage, and that the britle was one of the 
rost beautiful women you can imagine. I have never seen her since that time. Ladies were nut plentiful in this part of 
the world then, and we were not over-particular about looks, but Gwenthlean Whistler Kinzie would be noted for beauty 
anywhere, at any time." And on loo'.:in-j at the lady herself one can well believe all that can be said in praise of her 
charms in her girlish years 16 when she was married. (A portrait of Mrs. Kinzie is given further on.) 


Old Rush Strr 
Rope Ferry. 

One of the four cabins was the log house so long held by Jean 
Baptiste Pointe de Saible, sold by him to Le Mai and during this same 
year bought by John Kinzie. Another was the Guarie house on the 

West side. The third 
was a cabin near the 
Fort occupied by Ouille- 
mette, and the fourth 
was held by one Pettell, 
of which and of whom 
.only the name survives. 
The old fort (1803- 
4) covered about the 
same ground as that 
occupied by the new 
(1816), built after the 
massacre of 1812. The 
block house of the latter 
stood at the southwest 
angle of the fortified 
inclosure. Therefore, to 
"locate " both the forts, 
one must stand with 
his back to the Tablet 
in the wall of Messrs. 
Hoyt&Co.'s warehouse 
He will perceive at once 
that the river has been widened and that in cutting away the southern 
bank a large part of the old fort ground has disappeared; for the south 
end of Rush street bridge is now somewhere near the middle of the space 
formerly inclosed. Here is where the old "rope ferry" was established 
about 1837 and maintained even down to 1857 a rope stretched across 
the river, lying on the bottom when a tug or vessel passed, raised out of 
water by a windlass and made the guide of a flat boat which plied 
back and forth in a slow and dignified fashion. Thousands of Chica- 
goans still living remember the poor device ; and when they see the 
surging crowd of wayfarers and vehicles that now speed to and fro 
over the splendid, four-track, iron, steam swing-bridge, they smile at 
the recollection of the barge they used to pull across with their own 
hands, seizing the rope and walking the length of the barge to push 
it forward.* 

* In 1857 a passing vessel ran down the rope while a barge-load of passengers was crossing and several were drowned. 
This put an end to the ferry, and a bridge was built net such an one as the present, but a wooden structure, high enough 
to allow lugs and small craft to pass under. 



From 1804 to 1811, the characteristic traits of this isolated corner 
of earth were its isolation ; the garrison within the stockade and the 
ever-present cloud of savages outside, half seen, half trusted, half 
feared ; its long summers (sometimes hot and sometimes hotter), and 

FT. DEARBORN, 1803-4. (Fergus 1 Series, No. 16.) 

its long winters (sometimes cold and sometimes colder) ; its plenitude 
of the mere necessaries of life, meat and drink, shelter and fuel, and its 
destitution of all luxuries ; its leisurely industry and humble prosperity ; 
Kinzie.the garrison sutler, Indian trader, silver-smith and fiddler, vying 
with the regular Government agent in the purchase of pelts and the sale from 18 
of rude Indian goods. In 1805 Charles Jouett was the United States 
Indian Agent here. How much of his time was spent here and how 
much elsewhere we do not know. He resigned the post in 1811 and 
was re-appointed in 1817, after the re-building of the fort. It is proba- 
ble that the United States' agent was at a disadvantage in dealing with 
the Indians, as he would have to obey the law forbidding the supplying 
them with spirits; wnich law the other traders practically ignored. 

Then there was the occasional birth of a baby in the Kinzie house, 
the fort or somewhere about, as there were several women here ; soldiers' 
wives, etc. Those born in the Kinzie mansion and in the officers' families 
we know about.* But these were not all. There were at least a dozen 
little ones who first saw the light in this locality, whose play-ground 
was the parade and river-bank, whose merry voices must have added a 
human sweetness to this savage place, whose entire identity, even to 
their very names, is lost. The one thing we know of them is when 
and how they died, and that will appear later on. 

These quiet vicissitudes and calm excitements were about all the 
news which even a newspaper reporter if there had been one could 
have conjured up in the reign of quietude. 

Ellen Marion Kinzie (l-ter Mrs. Alex. Wolcott) was born in December, 1805; Maria Indiana Kinzie, (later 
Mrs. David Hunter), in 1807 ; Robert Allen Kinzie, February 8, 1810. John Harris Kinzie had been born at Sandwich, 
Canada, July 7, 1803. Two children were a'.so born to Lieutenant William Whistler, who came to the Post with his 
young bride in 1804. One was John Harrison Whistler, born in the fort October 7. 1807. The other was also a son, who 
died young. The daughter, Gwenthlean, was born at another station in 1818. 


Ill 1812 the peaceful quiet was rudely startled, then threatened, 
then destroyed. 

The first breach of the peace was the killing, by Mr. Kinzie (in 
self-defense), of one John Lalime, Indian interpreter at Fort Dearborn. 
This was early in 1812. It had, however, nothing to do with the 
friendliness or enmity of the red-men. 

The second event was of a different kind. A man named Lee, 
who lived on the Lake Shore near the fort, had inclosed and was 
farming apiece of land on the north-west side of the South Branch within 
the present "lumber district," about half-way between Halsted street 
and Ashland avenue. It was first known as " Lee's Place," afterward 
as " Hardscrabble." It was occupied by one Liberty White with two 
other men and a boy. To quote Mrs. Kinzie (Wau-Bun, p. 205): 

In the afternoon [April 6, 1812] a party of ten or twelve Indians, dressed and painted, arrived 
at the Lee house, and, according to their custom, entered and seated themselves without ceremony. 
Something in their appearance and manner excited the suspicions of one of the family, a French- 
man [Debou], who remarked : " I don't like the looks of these Indians they are none of our folks. 

* * * They are not Pottawatomies." Another of the 
family, a discharged soldier, said to the boy [a son of Mr. 
Lee]: " If that is the case, we had better get away, if we 
can. Say nothing but do as you see me do." 

As the afternoon was far advanced, the soldier walked 
leisurely towards the two canoes tied near the bank. The 
Indians asked where he was going. He pointed to the 
cattle which were standing among the haystacks on 
the opposite bank and made signs that they must go 
and fodder them and then they would return and get their 

He got into one canoe and the boy into the other. 
When they gained the opposite side they pulled 
some hay for the cattle .... and when they had 
gradually made a circuit so that their movements were 
concealed by the haystacks, they took to the woods and 
made for the fort They had run a quarter of a mile when 
they heard the discharge of two guns successively. 
They stopped not nor stayed until they arrived opposite 
Burns' place [North State and Kinzie streets], where they 
called across to warn the family of the danger, and then 
hastened on to the fort. . . . A party of soldiers, consisting of a corporal and six men, had that 
afternoon obtained leave to go up the river to fish. They had not returned when the fugitives from 
Lee's place arrived at the fort. . . . The commanding officer ordered a cannon to be fired to 
Double Murder warn them of their danger. Hearing the signal they took the hint, put out their torches and dropped 
scrabble. down the river toward the garrison, as silently as possible. It will be remembered that the battle 
of Tippecanoe, the preceding November, had rendered every man vigilant, and the slightest alarm 
was an admonition to " beware of the Indians." 

When the fishing party reached Lee's place it was proposed to stop and warn the inmates. 
All was still as death around the house. They groped their way along, and as the corporal 
jumped over the small enclosure he placed his hand on the dead body of a man. By the sense of 
touch he soon ascertained that the head was without a scalp and was otherwise mutilated. The 
faithful dog of the murdered man stood guarding the remains of his master. They retreated to their 
canoes and reached the fort unmolested about eleven o'clock at night. The next morning a party 
of citizens and soldiers volunteered to go to Lee's place. . . The body of Mr. White was found 
pierced by two balls and with eleven stabs in the breast. The Frenchman lay dead, with his dog still 
beside him. 



Here we pause on the eve of the darkest day in Chicago's infancy. 
The unspeakable Indian is all about her, destitute, drunken, lazy, greedy, 
cruel, treacherous. Her own citizens have been industrious, temperate, 
economical and thrifty, and so have got stores of good things, food and 
clothing, flocks and herds, houses and furniture. He has remained in 
poverty in spite of his bounties, they have prospered without any. War 
has been declared between England and the United States now is the 
time to follow the counsels of Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet; 
to be rich with the palefaces' possessions now for the war-dance, the 
scalp-dance, the war-path, the war-whoop. Hu-hu-hu-hu-hu-hu !!! 

From "Cyrlowpdift of L'utWd States Histnrv." CopyriRbl- 
1881, b- Hiiro * Rmthrn. 


From " Cyclops-ilia of United SUt History." Copyright, 
1881, by Harper A Brother*. 



Trouble far 

Trouble close 
at hand. 


ATURDAY, August 9, 1812, was a stirring 
day at the lonely little hamlet. In the 
great world things had been happening 
about which far-away Chicago knew little 
and cared less. What had she to do with 
Napoleon's European System, British 
"orders in council" or the American Em- 
bargo? France forbade American ships 
to trade with any other European state; 
England forbade them to trade with 
France, and the United States retaliated 
by forbidding her ships to sail from her 
ports for either nation yet the Indians went on bringing furs to Kinzie's 
store and taking out Kinzie's merchandise without let or hindrance. In- 
solent Britain asserted and maintained a right of search for her deserters 
on all ships bearing the American flag; even attacking and defeating (by 
surprise) an American frigate (the Chesapeake), with one of her own 
(the Leopard), on the high seas, and taking off some of the alleged sub- 
jects of His Majesty, George Third yet the canoes paddled freely up 
and down the Chicago, the Guarie and Portage. Why should Chicago 
care for what might be doing on the Atlantic or its shores, by George 
Third, George Prince Regent, George Canning, or James Madison? 
What had she to do with them or they with her? Wait and see ! 

On this momentous Saturday, Winnemeg, a friendly Pottawottomie 
chief, brings startling news. The United States (June i2th) had 
declared war against Great Britain. On July i6th, Fort Mackinac had 
surrendered to the British. Now General Hull, commanding at 
Detroit, sends orders by Winnemeg that Captain Heald shall evacuate 
Fort Dearborn " if practicable " and proceed to Detroit with his com- 
mand, over land, first disposing of the public property as he shall see fit. 
A terrible responsibility here falls upon poor Heald. Evacuate the 
post but how? He has but seventy men, all told, many of them on 
the sick-list. How care for the women, the children, the sick and 
helpless, not to speak of the pitiful accumulations of their thrift and 
industry? Then there are thousands of dollars' worth of goods public 
and private property, including arms, ammunition and liquor. 



Indian and alcohol combine into a spontaneous explosive, a fulmi- 
nate that needs no spark. The whisky would make the savages crazy 
with ferocity, and the arms would make them dangerous, formidable, 
irresistible. Truly an awful dilemma. 

Winnemeg at first advised that the fort be held to await re-inforce- 
ments. Next instantaneous departure, before the savages could collect 
and decide on aline of action, getting safely 
away while they were occupied with the huge 
spoil. John Kinzie approved this course. 
Both knewthe Indian better than did Heald. 

The first full, circumstantial and com- 
plete account of this troubled time is that 
given by Mrs. John H. Kinzie (Juliette A. 
Magill, of Middletown, Conn., daughter-in- 
law of John Kinzie) in a pamphlet published 
for her, in 1844, by Ellis & Fergus, saloon 
buildings, corner of Lake and Clark streets, 

To the narrative thus happily pre- 
served, the researches of John Wentworth MRS - 
and others have added letters, reminiscences, War Department Docu- 
ments (favored by Hon. Robert Lincoln, Secretary of War) and other 
valuable bits of information. All these are drawn upon to aid in the 
present task of writing this "Story." 

Mrs. Kinzie says, concerning the views of Winnemeg : 

Of this advice, so earnestly given, Captain Heald was immediately informed. He replied 
that . . . inasmuch as he had received orders to distribute the United States property, he should 
not feel justified in leaving it until he had collected the Indians of the neighborhood and made an 
equitable division among them. . . The order for evacuating the post was read next morning 
[Sunday, August loth] on parade. ... In the course of the day ... the officers waited Capt. Heald's 
upon Captain Heald to be informed what course he intended to pursue. When they learned hi? Dilemma, 
intentions, they remonstrated with him on the following grounds: 

First, it was highly improbable that the command would be permitted to pass through the coun- 
try in safety to Fort Wayne. ... In the next place, their march must necessarily be slow, as 
their movements must be accommodated to the helplessness of the women and chi'dren, of whom 
there were a number with the detachment. Of their small force some of the soldiers were super- 
annuated, others invalid. Therefore, since the course was left discretional, their unanimous advice 
was to remain where they were and fortify themselves as strongly as possible. 

The unhappy commander fell back on his orders, general and 
special, adding that he had "full confidence in the friendly professions 
of the Indians, from whom, as well as from the soldiers, the capture of 

* Mr. Robert Fergus, of that firm, is still living in Chicago, and is the head of the Fergus Printing Company, Pub- 
lishers of the Fergus Historical Series so often quoted and to be quoted in these pages. His knowledge of events here 
since his arrival (1836) is authority for many of the facts and incidents herein set forth. Concerning this particular nar- 
rative, Mr. Fergus says that Mrs. Kinzie remarked, with regard to its incorporation by Judge Henry Mrown in his His- 
tory of Illinois, that the Judge had no right or authority to make that use of her work. She, herself, afterward incorpo 
rated it as chapters 18, 19 and 20, in her novel " Waubun," published in 1856. The Fergus Company proposes to republish 
the original pamphlet as No. 30 in the " Historical Series." 


Mackinac had been kept a profound secret." The fact was that they 
knew it before he did ; Tecumseh had sent the news by runners, with 
urgent appeals to them to go on the war-path. 

The under-officers were silenced and unconvinced ; incensed by 
what they thought a mad project. Nothing short of the habit and tradi- 
tion of soldierly obedience kept them from open revolt. To quote Mrs. 
Kinzie again : 

Upon one occasion, as Captain Heald was conversing with Mr. Kinzie upon the parade, he 
remarked: " I could not remain, even if I thought best, for I have but a small store of provisions." 
" Why, Captain," said a soldier who stood near by, forgetting all etiquette, " You have cattle enough 
to last the troops six months " '' But I have no salt to preserve it with " " Then jerk it," said the 
man, " as the Indians do their venison."* 

This ill-feeling between the commandant and his subordinate offi- 
cers was not a new thing. Irritation is unfortunately a common circum- 
stance at frontier army posts, where isolation, idleness and enforced 
companionship are unavoidable. It is vain to try to find out who was 
m j n the wrongr in the case now in question. The quarrelers are all dead; 

the Garrison. & 

some killed during the fight then impending, some wounded, and later 
butchered, in the usual Indian fashion; one. Captain Heald himself, 
though wounded in the hip, dying (probably in consequence of his 
wound) in 1832, twenty years later. 

Precious days were passed in consultation and preparation, during 
which the cloud "cone-shaped and copper-colored," like any other 
cyclone grew and brooded. 

Mrs. Kinzie, evidently using the traditions handed down to her 

directly from her husband's father, says : 

The Indians became daily more unruly. Entering the 
fort in defiance of the sentinels, they made their way without 
ceremony to the officers' quarters. On oneoccasion an Indian 
took up a rifle and fired it in the parlor of the Commandant, 
as an expression of defiance. . . . The old chiefs passed back- 
ward and forward among the assembled groups, with the 
appearance of the most lively agitation, while the squaws 
rushed to and fro, in great excitement, evidently prepared 
for some fearful scene. 

Subjugation and oppression of their 
white sisters was already a familiar idea 
among the squaws. Some six months 
before this, two Calumet Indians, coming 
to the fort on a visit, saw Mrs. Heald and 
Mrs. Helm playing battledore. One of 
them named Nau-non gee said to the 

interpreter : " White chief's wives are amusing themselves very 
much. It will not be long before they are hoeing in our corn-fields." 

*This is done by cutting the meat in thin slices, placing it upon a scaffold and making a fire under it, which dries 
it and smokes it at the same time. 



This taunt was forgotten, until the experience of the female survivors of 
the massacre recalled it to mind and gave it bitter significance. 

As before observed, Wau-Bun is the main source of knowledge 
regarding these days. (It should be reprinted and have its place in 
every Chicago library.) Following its lead, with minor corrections and 
abbreviations, we go on with the narrative. 

August 1 2th, a large number of Indians were assembled from the 
neighboring villages and Captain Heald held a council with them, 
attended by Mr. Kinzie ; his own officers declining to accompany him 
because they had secret information (discredited by him) that a massacre 
of all the officers was planned for that occasion. When he and Mr. 
Kinzie moved out to the meeting-ground, the others took possession of IH<I Council 
the block-houses which overlooked it, opened the ports and trained the 
guns on the assembly. No attack was made, either because the fears 
had been groundless or because the preparations overawed the plotters. 

Mrs. Kinzie says that Captain Heald promised the Indians "not 
only the goods in the United States Store but also the ammunition and 
provisions," and asked of them an escort to Fort Wayne, they to receive 
a further reward on arriving there. She adds : " With many profes- 
sions of friendship and good will the savages assented to all he proposed 
and promised all he required." 

The separate and distinct promise to give up the " ammunition and 
provisions" above set forth, is nowhere else stated or indicated. No 
means exists of absolutely confirming or contradicting the statement ; 
yet one is disposed to doubt its accuracy. It does not appear that the 
question had been raised ; therefore to make a new, uncalled-for, definite 
announcement as here reported, is to start the question and decide it 
adversely to the manifest interest of the whites and contrary to their 
subsequent acts. Captain Heald himself says in a letter dated at Pitts- 
burgh, October 23, 1812 (Niles 1 Weekly Register, vol. iii, p. 155, quoted 
in Hurlbut's Chicago Antiquities, p. 177): 

On the gth of August I received orders from General Hull to evacuate the post and proceed, 
with my command, to Detroit by land, leaving it to my discretion to dispose of the public property as 
I thought proper. The neighboring Indians got the information as early as I did and came from all 
quarters in order to receive the goods at the factory store, which they understood were to be given them. 
. . . On the I4th I delivered the Indians all the goods in the store and a considerable quantity of 
provisions which we could not take with us. The surplus arms and ammunition I thought proper 
to destroy, fearing that they would make bad use of it if put in their possession. I also destroyed all 
liquor on hand soon after they began to collect. 

It is probable that we may make a " personal equation " in accept- 
ing Mrs. Kinzie's narrative. To go meant the utter loss of all 
Mr. Kinzie's hard-earned wealth. Disaster befell the troops ; none, 
excepting impoverishment, befell the Kinzies ; therefore it appears, 
(especially to the last named) that the Kinzies were wise and the army 


foolish. Besides, we must remember there is always a hard feeling 
between the military and the civil officials in every Indian post East 
Indian or American Indian the soldier holding the sword and the civ- 
ilian the purse ; each slightly envying the other what he possesses and 
slightly despising him for the lack of what he is deprived of. 

At any rate the captain (by and with the advice of Mr. Kinzie, by- 
the-way) concluded not to give the whisky and arms to the savages. 
He did what any of us common-sense, reasonable men, unknowing of 
the worst possible conduct in the worst possible of races, might have 
done. He doubtless reasoned thus : 

" I will destroy the means of frenzy and the means of murder ; then 

I will win the grateful allegiance of the Indian by magnificent gifts; 

i n and Ac - stores that will make him rich beyond his wildest dream of comfort and 

abundance. Then I will throw myself and these defenseless ones on his 


Alas, he did not know with whom he was dealing ! What is food 
and clothing to a devil demanding drink and gunpowder ? The scent 
of blood and spoil had brought, by this time, 400 or 500 savages about 
his doomed and helpless little band. He got only insolence in return 
for what he gave them and loud curses for what he withheld. 

The graphic narrative goes on (Wau-Bun, p. iji8) : 

On the I3th the goods, consisting of blankets, broadcloths, calicoes, paints, etc., Were dis- 
tributed as stipulated. The same evening the ammunition and liquor were carried, part to the sally- 
port and thrown into a well . . . the remainder was transported as secretly as possible through the 
Northern gate, the heads of the barrels knocked in and the contents poured into the river. The 

same fate was shared by a large quantity of alcohol belong- 
ing to Mr. Kinzie which had been deposited in a warehouse 
near his residence opposite the fort. 

The Indians suspected what was going on, and crept, 
serpent-like, as near the scene of action as possible, but a 
vigilant watch was kept up and no one was suffered to 
approach but those engaged in the affair. All the muskets 
not necessary for the command on the march were broken 
up and thrown in the well, together with bags of shot, 
flints, gun-screws, and in short everything relating to 

weapons of offence On the afternoon of the same 

day, a second council was held with the Indians. They 
expressed great indignation at the destruction of the ammu- 
nition and liquor. Notwithstanding the precautions that 
had been taken to preserve secrecy, the noise of knock- 
ing in the heads of the barrels had betrayed the operations 
^ of the preceding night; and so great was the quantity 

LITTLE TURTLE ("ME CHE-KAN- thrown into the river that the taste of the water the next 
NAH-QUA"). morning was, as one expressed it, " strong grog." 

All accounts agree that there were among the numerous chiefs 
some who cherished friendly feelings, not toward the whites in general, 
but toward the traders and many even of the soldiers. They went so far 
as to try to stem the rising tide of greed and cruelty among the other 



chiefs and the rank and file of their followers. But they were powerless 
to avert the coming doom. The young bucks were scalp-hungry and 
blood-thirsty; they had been too long deprived of their natural pabulum. 
After the pow-wow, Black Partridge, a chief friendly to the whites, 
visited Captain Heald on a strange mission. He had received from 
Gen. Wayne, at the time of the treaty of Greenville (1795), a medal 
which he had worn ever since. Now that he was going to war, he 
wanted to give back his medal. 

From *' Cyclopedia of United Suto Hitlory. 


'opyright, IS8I, t>y Hirper A Brother*. 

Mrs. Kinzie reports his words thus: 

Father: I came to deliver up to you the medal I wear. It was given me by the Americans, 
and I have long worn it in token of our mutual friendship. But our young men are resolved to 
imbue their hands in the blood of the whites. I can not restrain them, and I will not wear a token 
of peace when I am compelled to act as an enemy."* 

On the same day, August i2th, a cheering sight greets the anxious 
eyes of the fort-dwellers. As the sun is sinking in the West, there 
comes along the lake shore, stretched out beside the yellow sand hills 
that extend southward clear down to the woods now marking the suburb 
of Hyde Park, a band of thirty friendly Indians, Miamies, headed 
by William Wells, a good and brave soldier who knows the Indians as 
well as they know each other. 

They have tramped all the way from Fort Wayne, 150 miles, 
charged with the kindly, dangerous task of escorting the entire Chicago 
community back along the pathless forest they themselves have just 
come through. Captain Wells at least is not blind to the nature of his task, 
for he grew up in the family of "Little Turtle" ("Me-che-kan-nah-qua"), 
fought on his side in his victories over Harmer (1790) and St. Clair 

This most un-Indian speech shows the thumb-marks of many hands. One is' tempted to guess it back into its 
original words. " B'joo! Here! Take 'urn medal. No can help. Partridge lontf time friends. Now no can help. 
Young braves want to kill. Want get scalp. Partridge no can help. No want medal. You keep! B'joo! *' (B'joo 
was the old salutat on of these Indians; doubtless corrupted from the " Ronjour " of the French. I 

Brave William 
Wells arrives. 


View from the 
roof of the 
Block House, 

(1791), and fought against him at the battle of 1794 when Wayne was 
victorious. Wells' wife was a daughter of Little Turtle. Her Indian 
name was Wa-nan-ga-peth. 

Mrs. Heald, wife of the commandant at Fort Dearborn, is Wells' 
niece, being the daughter of his brother Samuel. 

No, it is not ignorance, it is brave self-devotion, even to the death, 
that brings William Wells on this mission. He finds all in turmoil and 
the confusion of divided counsels. The order for removal " if possible" 
has arrived from General Hull. It is impossible to stay, but is it possi- 
ble to go ? Two courses of comparative safety had been open; one, to 
go at once and leave the wolves to gorge on the carrion left behind, the 
other to stay and defend the place to the last. The third course; to 
wait some days and then go, is the fatal one and the one decided upon 
before Wells' arrival. 

Suppose the veteran, tired with the tramping, the trifling and the 
turmoil, to mount to the top of the block-house at the northwest corner 

of the stockade and, in the shadow of its 
motionless flag, pause to look about him ; 
what does he see ? 

A lonely, weedy streamlet flows east- 
ward past the fort ; then turns sharp to 
the right and makes its weak way by a 
shallow, fordable ripple, over a long sand- 
bar, into the lake a half-mile to the south- 
ward. At his feet on the river-bank 
stands the United States Agency Store- 
house. Across the river and a little to the 
eastward is the old Kinzie house, built of 
squared logs, by Jean Baptiste Pointe de 
Saible, nearly forty years ago; nowrepaired, 
WM. WELLS. enlarged and improved by its owner and 

occupant, John Kinzie. A canoe lies moored to the bank in front of 
the house ; when any of the numerous Kinzies wish to come to the 
fort they can paddle across ; when anyone wishes to go over he can 
halloo for the canoe. Just west of Kinzie's house is Ouillemette's 
cabin, and still further that of John Burns. Opposite Burns' place 
(near South State St.) a swampy branch enters the river from the south; 
and on the sides of this branch there is a group of Indian wigwams 
ominous sight! The north side of the river is all wooded, except where 
little garden patches are cleared around the human habitations. The 
observer may see the forks of the stream a mile to the westward, but 
lie can not trace its branches, either " River Guarie " to the north or 


" Portage River" to the south, for the trees hide them. Near him, to 
the west and south, sandy flats, grassy marshes and general desolation 
are all he can see. (Will that barren waste ever be worth a dollar in 
acre ?) Beyond, out of sight, past the bend of the South Branch, is 
Lee's Place with its fresh bloodstains and its two grassless graves. 

And so his eye wanders on across the sandy flat, across the Indian 
trail leading south and the lake-shore trail which he himself came over, 
and finally rests with relief on the lake itself, the dancing blue water and 
the sky that covers it. 

It is said that he who is about to die has sometimes a "second- 
sight," a gift of looking forward to the days that are to follow his death. 

Suppose the weary and anxious observer now to fall asleep and in 
dreams to be gifted with this prophetic foresight, and to discern the 
change that fourscore years are to bring. 

It is 1892 ; close at hand he sees the streamlet, now a mighty channel, 
a fine, broad, deep water-way running straight, between long piers, out 
to the lake ; and stretching inland indefinitely ; bordered by elephantine The Mme spot 
elevators ; spanned by magnificent draw-bridges each built of steel and 8oyea ' 
moved by steam; carrying on its floods great propellorsof 100,000 bush- 
els grain capacity. Looking north, west and south he sees serried 
ranks of enormous buildings towering for miles on miles, each one so 
tall as to dwarf the fort and block-house to nothingness. He sees 
hundreds of miles of paved streets, thronged with innumerable passengers 
and vehicles moving hither and thither, meeting and impeding each 
other so that sometimes so many try to pass that none can pass; all 
must wait until the uniformed guardians of the peace bring order out 
of chaos. Every acre of ground in sight is worth millions of dollars. 

His dreaming ears must be stunned by the thunder of com- 
merce, his nostrils shocked by the smells of the vast food-factories, 
his skin smutched with the smoke of the fuel burning all about him 
to keep these wheels in motion. Bewildered and dumfounded ; 
even more wearied than he had been by his waking view, he would 
fain turn his eyes to the East and rest them on the shining calm 
of the great lake, the dancing blue water and the sky that covers it. 


Flag of distress. 

John Kinzie's 


HE departure was set for August 
During the preceding night Captain Wells 
learned from his Miamis that the Indians 
had resolved on slaughter. Nevertheless 
march they must, and at nine o'clock A. M. 
the great south gates (about at the spot 
where now is the northern end of Michigan 
avenue) were opened and the doomed 
party passed through them for the last 
time. Captain Wells, true to his Indian 
traditions, had blackened his face in premoni- 
tion of death. The garrison fifrs and drums, 
by prophetic choice of the band-master, struck 
up the dead march. Captain Wells led the 
way with half of his Miamis, the rest forming 
the rear-guard to the column. 
According to Mrs. Helm a scene of riot and disorder began even 
as they left the fort. The Indians went to killing the cattle running at 
large. She reports Ensign Ronan as saying to her: "Such is to be 
our fate to be shot down like brutes!" "Well, sir," said the com- 
manding officer, who overheard him, "are you afraid ?" " No," replied 
the other, " I can march up to the enemy where you dare not show your 
face." And as Mrs. Helm proceeds: " His subsequent gallant behavior 
showed this to be no idle boast." Mrs. Helm, in the dispute between 
Heald and his subordinates, evidently took sides with the latter. 

John Kinzie had been warned by To-pee-nee-be, a friendly chief, 
to keep clear of the column from the fort, and he did send his family in 
a bateau to proceed parallel with the marching force but a little way 
out in the lake. At the same time he himself bravely chose to march 
with the land party, hoping to help them in their extremity. 

The boat party consisted of Mrs. John Kinzie and her four younger 
children John H. (9); Ellen Marion, afterward Mrs. Wolcott (7); 
Maria Indiana, afterwards Mrs. David Hunter (5); and Robert Allen 
(2), all of whom were her children by Mr. Kinzie. Her elder daughter, 
Margaret (McKillop) Helm, wife of Lieutenant Helm, accompanied 


her husband and the troops. In the boat also were " Grutte,"* nurse 
to the children (afterwards Mrs. Jean Baptiste Beaubien), a clerk of 
Mr. Kinzie's, two servants, a boatman and two Indians as a guard. 

Irjtthe marching column there were at the head Captain Wells and 
fifteen of his Miamis; next (probably) the wagons with the sick, the 
women and children, the camp equipage and the supplies; and, march- 
ing beside them, such troops as were able to travel on foot; the rear 
being brought up by the remaining Miamis. 

On their right were five hundred Indian braves, their escort, their 
safeguard, their promised help and protection. The train took the best 

Line of March. 


Chart of Chi- 
cago in 1813. 

beaten track, which lay along the lake shore (not far from Michigan 
Avenue), until it diverged to the eastward of the sand hills which began 
about Twelfth street. The Indian "escort," on reaching the point last 
named, veered westward, passed out of sight behind the sand hills and 
hurried on to form an ambuscade. 

Mrs. Kinzie says (Wall bun, p. 223): 

The boat started, but had scarcely reached the mouth of the river, which, it will be recollected 
was here half a mile below the fort [about Harrison street] when another messenger from To -pee 
nee be arrived to detain them where they were. In breathless expectation sat the wife and mother. 
She was a woman of uncommon energy and strength of character, yet her heart died within her as 
she folded her arms around her helpless infants and gazed on the march of her husband and eldest T ne Boat Party, 
child to certain destruction . . They had marched perhaps a mile and a half [Fourteenth 

street] when Captain Wells who had kept somewhat in advance with his M'amis, came riding furi- 
ously back. " They are about to attack us," shouted he; "form instantly and charge upon them." 
Scarcely were ttc words uttered, when a volley was showered from among the sand hills. The 
troops were hastlty brought into line and charged up the bank. One man, a veteran of seventy win- 
ters, fell as they ascended. 

Captain Heald, writing from Pittsburgh, October 23, 1812, says 
that after marching to the top of the sand hill and firing one round 

* Hurlbut says that thii wjrJ is useJ by mistake f jr " Joiette." (Chicago A //////.) 


the troops charged, and the Indians (as might have been expected) 
gave way in the front and joined those on the flanks. The real fight- 
attack ing lasted only about fifteen minutes. The Miamis gave no help. The 

thetrain. * , , . , , 1-1 , i 

Indians closed in around the wagons and seized upon "the horses, 
provisions and baggage of every description," whil^ he drew off the 
remnant of his force and " took possession of a small elevation on the 
open prairie out of shot of the bank or any other cover." 

All this seems like the conduct of a brave fool. To charge upon 
an enemy that outflanks you, is only excusable when either, first, his 
courage depends on his formation, and the centre being pierced all 
will fly (a suggestion quite foreign to Indian tactics, which are for 
individual fighting) ; or, second, when, having nothing to protect, you 
may cut your way through to safety certainly not this case, when you 
have everything to protect and no safety to reach by cutting through. 

Any smart boy could have seen that the safety of the train was 
the main thing at stake, and, besides, that the loss of the train meant 
also the loss of the troops. Heald ought to have planned, long before 
he set out, what should be done in every possible contingency. 

The train massed on the shore, the lake protecting rear and flanks, 
would have been nearly impregnable. There was no shelter for an 
advancing force, and Indians (no matter how numerous), donotattack in 

Howthcymight . n- * r 

ha savi en tne P en where they must sustain more loss than they can inflict. If 
it be true that Captain Wells called for the charge, then his was the first 
error, but all should have been planned in the alternative fashion so 
familiar to soldiers: " The enemy can try such and such means of attack 
[or defence, as the case may be]. If this be his plan, then that is our 
best counter-move," etc. And the first general order should have been : 
"If we are attacked, rally on the wagons and defend them to the last 
shot and the last man." 

Suppose the wagons to be wheeled into a kind of semi-circle, with 
flanks on the lake, and a few rifle-pits dug in the yielding sand and thrown 
out to advantage; these things would have prevented the immediate 
slaughter, baffled the hostile Indians and given the friendly some 
precious hours, days, or even weeks, in which to parley for rescue or 
ransom. At any rate, nothing worse than what was done could possibly 
have been contrived. The sickening story is best given by condensing 
Mrs. Helm's narrative. 

The troops were but a handful, but they seemed resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possi- 
ble. Our horses pranced and bounded as the balls whistled among them. I drew off a little and 
gazed upon my husband and father, who were yet unharmed. . . . The surgeon, Dr. Van 
Voorhees, came up. He was badly wounded. His horse had been shot under him and he had 
received a ball in the leg. He said, " Do you think they will take our lives? I am badly wounded, 
but I think not mortally. Perhaps we might purchase our lives by promising them a large reward. 
Oh, I can not die! I am not fit to die! If I had but a short time to prepare death is 


awful!" I pointed to Lieutenant Ronan; who, though mortally wounded and nearly down, was 
fighting with desperation on one knee. " Look at that man," 1 said. " At least he dies like a soldier." 
" Yes," replied the unfortunate man, " but he has no terrors of the future. He is an unbeliever." 

The difficulties in the way of giving absolute belief to all this are 
obvious. Captain Wells had ridden back from the front and called on Mrs. Helm's 
the troops to charge, which they did. The charge led them some dis- dMcuitiel 
tance from the train. Is it to be supposed that Mrs. Helm and Mrs. 
Heald on horseback accompanied the foot soldiers' advance ? Nothing 
is more improbable. Captain Heald says the Indians closed in on his 
flanks and rear as he advanced ; and it would seem that these must 
have been those Mrs. Helm speaks of. But in that case, how came her 
husband, Lieutenant Helm, and her step-father, John Kinzie, to be with 
her and "yet unharmed ?" Captain Heald, in his letter of October 
23d, already quoted, says : 

We had proceeded about a mile and a half when it was discovered that the Indians were about 
to attack us from behind the bank. I immediately marched up with the company to the top of the 
bank [too yards], when the action commenced. After firing one round we charged, and the Indians 
gave way in front and joined those on the flanks. In about fifteen minutes, . . . finding that 
the Miamis did not assist us, I drew off the men I had left and took possession of a small elevation 
in the open prairie, out of shot of the bank or any other cover. 

The Indians did not follow me but assembled in a body on the top of the bank. 

Thus it appears that Captain Heald and the survivors of the troops 
were separated from Dr. Van Voorhees, Lieut. Helm, Mrs. Helm and 
Mr. Kinzie, at the time Mrs. Helm describes ; by the main body of the 
Indians. But then how about her pointing out Lieutenant Ronan 
fighting desperately on one knee? The simplest explanation is to sup- 
pose that the soldiers, in their fighting advance, became divided, part 
going forward with Captain Heald, part turning back with Kinzie, 
Helm, Ronan and Van Voorhees. 

Another eye-witness (writing only nine months afterwards) is Walter 
Jordan, one of Captain Wells' expeditionary force which went over from 
Fort Wayne to convoy the garrison to safety. He merely says: 

On the I5th, at 8 o'clock, we commenced our march with our small force which consisted of 
Captain Wells, myself and one hundred Confute Indians, Captain Heald's one hundred men, ten 
men, ten women and twenty children in all two hundred and thirty-two. We had marched half a 
mile when we were attacked by six hundred Kickapoo and Wynbago Indians. In the moment of 
trial our Confute savages joined the savage enemy. Our contest lasted ten minutes, when every 
man, woman and child were killed except fifteen. 

Following the ordinary rules of evidence we put most faith in the 
testimony given nearest to the time of the occurrence. It is reasonable 
to presume that Heald and Jordan told the truth as they understood it. Fr aT n "l%^. 
When Mrs. Helm's narrative conflicts with theirs we may reasonably 
suppose that during the twenty-four years that elapsed before it was 
taken from her lips, it had suffered the usual vicissitudes which befall 
tradition and memory.* 

John Wentworth (Fergus 1 History, Series No. 16, p. 16) says that in 1836 Mrs. Helm married her second husband, 
Dr. Abbott, of Detroit, at Chicago. Mrs. Kii.zic (Waubun, p. 201) gives 1836 as the date of her first preparation of the 
narrative. She does not say how and when she go: Mrs. Helm's story; but this seems to make it clear. 


Proceeding with Captain Heald's letter (which is not quoted in 
Waubun) we learn that after he and the survivors had taken refuge on 
the small elevation in the open prairie, and the Indians had assembled 
on the top of the bank, they made signs for him to approach them, 
which he did, alone, and was met by the Pottawatomie Chief Black- 
Bird, with an interpreter. " After shaking hands, he requested me to 
capt. Heaws surrender, promising to spare the lives of all the prisoners. On a few 
etter- moments' consideration I concluded it would be most prudent to comply 
with his request, although I did not put entire confidence in his 

Returning to Mrs. Helm's story, following the interview with the 
bleeding Dr. Van Voorhees, we read : 

At this moment a young Indian raised his tomahawk at me. By springing aside I avoided 
the blow, which was intended for my skull, but which alighted on my shoulder. I seized him 
around the neck, and, while exerting my utmost efforts to get possession of his scalping knife, 
which hung in his scabbard over his breast, I was dragged from his grasp by another and an older 
Indian. The latter bore me, struggling and resisting, toward the lake. Notwithstanding the rapid- 
ity with which I was hurried along, I recognized, as I passed them, the lifeless remains of the 
unfortunate surgeon. Some murderous tomahawk had stretched him on the very spot where I had 
last seen him. I was immediately plunged into the water and held there by a forcible hand, not- 
withstanding my resistance. I soon observed, however, that the object of my captor was not to 
drown me, for he held me firmly in such a position as to place my head above water. This reassured 
me, and, regarding him attentively, I soon recognized, in spite of the paint with which he was dis- 
guised, the Black Partridge. [This indicates that she did not leave the shore with the troops' charge.] 

We must condense the recollections of the half-crazed sufferer. 
The firing died away, and her preserver brought her on shore, where 
her drenched clothes, the heavy sand and the hot sun were terrible. 
When she took off her shoes to get the sand out, a squaw snatched 
hern from her, and she had to stumble on as best she could without 
them. She met Mr. Kinzie. who told her her husband was but slightly 
wounded, and they plodded wearily back toward the fort. They gave 
her a barebacked horse, but she could not ride him, and, supported by 
Black Partridge and another Indian, Pee-so-tum, she dragged her faint- 
ing steps to one of the wigwams of the Pottawatomies' camp on the 
creek, which emptied into the river where now is the south end of State 
street bridge. Pee-so-tum held dangling in his hand a scalp which, by 
the black ribbon around the queue, she recognized as that of Captain 
Wells ! 

Another part of Mrs Helm's narrative tells how Captain Wells 
died. After the futile charge of the troops, he turned his horse toward 
the Indian camp near the fort (State street, north of Marshall Field's 

Killing of store), pursued by the foe. He loaded and fired back at them as he 
wiiiiam wens. fled( Iying fla( . Qn his horse His horse was k;lled and he seve rely 

wounded when Winnemeg and Wau-ban-see came along and tried to 
save him by supporting him along between them. But the Indians 


had now come up, and Pee-so-tum (a "friendly") stabbed him in the 
back and took his scalp. Jordan's letter throws light on the treatment 
of his body. 

Thanks be to God, I was one of those who escaped. First, they shot the feather off my cap; 
next, the epaulette from my shoulder, and then the handle from my sword. I then surrendered to 
four savage rascals. The Confute chief, taking me by the hand and speaking English, said: " Jor- 
dan, I know you. You gave me tobacco at Fort Wayne. We won't kill you, but come and see what 
we will do with your captain." So, leading me to where Wells lay, they cut off his head and put 
it on a long pole, while another took out his heart and divided it among the chiefs, who ate it up raw. 
Then they scalped the slain and stripped the prisoners, and gathered in a ring, with us fifteen poor 
wretches in the middle. They had nearly fallen out about the divide, but my old chief, the White 
Raccoon, holding me fast, they made the divide and departed to their towns. 

Niles Weekly Register (April 3, 1813) says that Mrs. Helm had 
arrived at " Buffaloe" and given the account of her sufferings during six 

1,1 i T i- i i Weekly Regis- 

montns or slavery among the Indians and imprisonment among their ter Reported, 
allies; adding that, for five days after she was taken prisoner, she had not 
the least sustenance, and when she demanded food a piece of Col. Wells' 
heart was offered her. All this is, however, at variance with Mrs. Helm's 
own story as quoted by Mrs. Kinzie in Waubun, as follows : 

The wife of Wau-bee-nee-mah, a chief from the Illinois river, . . . seeing my exhausted condi- 
tion, seized a kettle, dipped up some water from a stream, threw into it some maple sugar, and, stir" 
ring it up with her hand, gave it me to drink. . . The whites had surrendered after the loss of about 
two-thirds of their number. They had stipulated, through the interpreter Peresh Leclerc, for the 
preservation of their lives and those of the remaining women and children, and for their delivery at 
some of the British posts, unless ransomed by traders in the Indian country. It appears that the 
wounded prisoners were not considered as included in the stipulation and a horrible scene ensued on 
their being brought into camp. An old squaw . . . seized a stable fork and assaulted one miserable 
victim, who lay groaning and writhing in the agony of his wounds, aggravated by the scorching 
beams of the sun. . . Wau-bee-nee-mah stretched a mat across two poles between me and this dread- 
ful scene. I was thus spared in some degree a view of its horrors, although I could not entirely close 
my ears to the cries of the sufferer. The following night five more of the wounded prisoners were 

Mrs. Helm then reverts to the scene of the fight itself and gives 
(.manifestly at second-hand) an account of it which mainly confirms 
Captain Heald's, but conflicts with the statement that she had seen Kin- 
zie and Helm on the lake shore after the struggle began. She says that 
our troops, "after their first attack by the Indians," charged and suc- 
ceeded in breaking through the enemy and gaining a rising ground, " not 

far from the oak woods." From here Lieutenant Helm sent Peresh Tortures of dy- 
ing prisoners. 

Leclerc, the half-breed boy, to propose the terms of capitulation. 

" But in the meantime a horrible scene had been enacted. One 
young savage, climbing into the baggage-wagon containing the chil- 
dren of the white families, twelve in number, tomahawked the children 
of the entire group." 

And so perished all the little ones who had been born at and about 
the fort since its building. The mind refuses to picture the doings 
within the wagon-tilt ; all we know is that the innocents were alive 
when the fiend entered at one end, and dead or dying when he emerged 
from the other. He was an Indian ; that is all. 


Captain Heald gives the killed in the action as, thirty-eight soldiers, 
two women and twelve children. Niles Weekly Register (June 4, 1814), 
gives the names of nine soldiers who had arrived at Pittsburgh, N. Y., 
from Quebec, and adds the following details obtained from them. 

Fate of survi- 


" Hugh Logan, an Irishman, was tomahawked and put to death, he not 
being able to walk, from excessive fatigue. August Mott, a German, 
was killed in the same manner for alike reason. A child of Mrs. Neads, 
the wife of John Neads, was tied to a tree to prevent its following its 
mother and crying for victuals. Mrs. Neads afterwards perished with 
hunger and cold. Mrs. Corbin, wife of Philin Corbin, in an advanced 


state of pregnancy, was tomahawked, scalped, cut open and had the 
child taken out and its head cut off." 

Truly, the suffering of one generation is the price paid for the 
enjoyment of the next. The " Massacre Elm " (a cottonwood, by the 
way), still stands in the middle of Eighteenth street, a stone's throw from The Massacre 
the lake, in the midst of one of the most fashionable portions of Chicago, 
Eighteenth street and Prairie avenue. The boundaries of the fight are 
ill-defined, but it is clearly established that it included this spot. There is 
where the Kinzie family stated the occurrence to have taken place ; and 
Indian relics, beads, etc., and an ancient single-barrel brass pistol have 
been found in the vicinity. (Andreas, Vol. i, p. 31.) The tree is of an 
age to have been in existence in 1812, and therefore surely stood 
where the musketry must have shaken its leaves and where dying eyes 
of men, women and children may have looked on it in the last agony. 
It all happened less than eighty years ago, within the lifetime of thou- 
sands now living. Our picture well sets forth the contrasts of time ; the 
gaunt, dead tree, fit memorial of death and desolation, relieved against 
an elegant, gay and hospitable mansion, the home of George M. Pullman, 
citizen of metropolitan Chicago; builder of Pullman, the model working- 
village ; and originator and controller of the famous world-wide system 
of trade and transportation. 

The memorable, historical tree is dead at last, having borne its last 
leaves in 1887, the very year of the death of Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, La st 
Chicago's last connecting link with the time which this story has now 
reached. In these four-score years dance-music has taken the place of 
the whistle of hostile bullets ; and the free laugh of the children of the 
rich has succeeded to the scream of those hapless little prisoners in 
the baggage-wagon the sudden end of a sunny ride which they had 
doubtless entered upon as a rare treat in their monotonous experience. 

aves on 
the old tree. 


John Went- 
worth's Dis- 


: APPILY, joyfully, we add to Mrs. 
Kinzie's record, given in " Wau- 
bun," some almost equally valuable 
r matter not available to Mrs. Kinzie; 
in fact, not committed to paper 
until within ten years before this 
present writing. 

Number sixteen of Fergus' prec- 
ious" Historical Series" is devoted 
to the grand work done by the late 
John Wentworth for the occasion of 
the unveiling (in 1881) of the memo- 
rial BlockhouseTablet which adorns 
the north wall of the Hoyt Grocery 
warehouse, facing Rush Street 
bridge from the south. Mr. Went- 
worth reaped and gleaned the whole 
field with a power, energy, industry, 

perseverance and completeness emblematic of his manly character. He 
it was who obtained (through Robert Lincoln, then Secretary of War) 
every scrap and word which the Department records show concern- 
ing the two forts Dearborn ; including rosters of the force prior to 
the massacre, and letters from Captain Heald after it. Also, extracts 
from the files of Niles Weekly Register, printed in Baltimore, already 
quoted. Also, two special letters from A. H. Edwards, of Sheboygan, 
Wis., who had known and talked with actual survivors of the massacre. 
All these thrilling bits of realism, with many more, are included in the 
appendix to his Blockhouse speech ; published as Fergus' No. 16. 

Besides these, he in some way got knowledge concerning the 
descendants of Captain Heald ; corresponded with them, and to crown 
all actually produced and presented to the meeting, in person, the Hon. 
Darius Heald, of O'Fallon, Mo., son of Captain Heald who commanded 
at the massacre. 

From Darius Heald's reports is condensed the following account of 

Captain Heald and of the occurrence from his point of view. 


Nathan Heald was married in Louisville, Ky., in i8n(as herein 
before told), to Rebekah Wells, daughter of Col. Samuel Wells, and niece 
of Capt. William Wells. They started at once for Fort Dearborn and captain 
went all the way on horseback, she riding a beautiful trained bay mare, 
on which the Indians always looked with longing eyes, and which they 
tried to steal more than once. She was riding this mare when the attack 
took place, and though many bullets struck the rider none wounded the 
steed. The Indians got both, and soon surrendered the almost dead 
Mrs. Heald ; but never, then or thereafter, would part with the mare 
though every attempt was made to buy her. 

There were (says the son) only twenty-five or thirty fighting men in 
the fort, the others being on the sick-list. The weather was very 
hot. All were satisfied with the order to vacate, except "the sutler or 
storekeeper, interpreters, traders, and that whole class who felt that 
their occupation would be gone if the fort should be abandoned. 
They are the persons who have handed down all the reflections upon 
Captain Heald's conduct in leaving the fort." 

When the soldiers had proceeded about one and a half miles from the fort they were surprised 
and surrounded by about six hundred Indians, who had formed in a horse-shoe or semi-circular 
shape upon the bluff. The troops were upon the lake shore. Captain and Mrs. Heald were riding 
together. Captain Wells was somewhat in advance, dressed in Indian costume, riding with his 
Indian forces. Captain Wells first noticed the design of the Indians, and rode back and informed 
Captain Heald, who at once started for the most elevated point on the sand-hills, and endeavored to 
mass his wagons, baggage, women and children and sick soldiers so as to make a better defense Thc Heald side 
whilst the fight was going on. At the first attack Captain Wells' Indians made their escape. Early of ihe story. 
in the fight Captain Heald and his wife became separated. Captain Wells rode up to Mrs. Heald 
with blood streaming from his mouth and nostrils, and told her that he thought he had been fatally 
wounded, and requested her to inform his wife that he had fought bravely and knew he had killed 
seven Indians before he was shot. Soon his horse was shot, and as the horse fell his foot was 
caught in the stirrup, and he was held under the horse for some time. Whilst in this position he 
killed his eighth Indian. He was released from this position just in time to meet his death from a 
bullet in the back of his neck. The Indians immediately scalped him, cut out his heart and flour 
ished it about on a gun-stick, then divided it into small pieces and ate it whilst warm, Mrs. Heald 
being a witness. She was led back to the fort as a prisoner. 

Captain Heald received a wound in the hip which always troubled him, and, it is believed, 
caused his death in 1832. He drew a pension in consequence thereof. Having but about a half 
dozen men left in fighting condition, Captain Heald surrendered. The Indians returned to the fort, 
plundered and burned it. The next morning an Indian chief, Chandonais, who was a half-breed, 
having possession of Captain Heald as a prisoner, sought out the captor of Mrs. Heald and pur- 
chased her. She had supposed that her husband was killed. Chandonais took Mrs. Heald to her 
husband. She had received six wounds. When the Indians were leading her away as a prisoner, 
one of the squaws attempted to take a blanket from her, when she, with her riding-whip, struck her 
several times, which act of bravery, under the circumstances, greatly excited the admiration of the 
Indians. The next day Chandonais took all the warriors with him for the purpose, it was said, of 
burning a prisoner, leaving Captain Heald and wife in charge of the squaws and a small Indian 
boy. That evening, through the assistance of the boy who accompanied them, and probably with 
the assent of Chandonais. they made their escape in a birch-bark canoe to Mackinaw, and finally to 
Detroit, when Captain Heald surrendered himself as a prisoner of war. 

This narrative calls for a little sifting. In the first place, we have 
Captain Heald's own report, showing his immediate advance up the 
bank and charge upon the Indians, and showing no endeaver "to 


mass his wagons," etc., for a better defense. In the next place the cir- 
cumstances of brave Captain Wells' death are quite different from those 
given by Mrs. Helm. Mrs. Heald's account appears most credible. In 
the third place, this narrative ignores the stay of the fugitives at St. 
Joseph before going to Mackinaw ; a matter of but small moment. 

It was at this interesting point of the narrative that Mr. Went- 
worth paused and surprised his audience by the presentation of Darius 
Heald, who was received with great cheering. 

He exhibited a large ornamented shawl or blanket pin into the rim 
of which the Indians had made a hole so as to wear it in the ear or nose. 
This might have been made by John Kinzie; " Shaw-nee-aw-kee ; the 
H H n e 'aki a m U ,88i. silversmith." He then exhibited his mother's bridal comb, a shell cut 
in the shape of an eagle, plenteously studded with gold to represent the 
eagle's wings. Mr. Heald said he had heard his mother say that, whilst 
she was writhing on the ground with pain from her many wounds, she 
saw an Indian chief strutting about with that comb in his hair. 

Difficulties multiply as we go on trying to reconcile Mrs. Helm's 
story as reported by Mrs. Kinzie with other narratives, with itself and 
with probability. Mrs. Kinzie distinguishes it (beginning at page 224) 
by quotation marks, starting each new paragraph by new marks. But 
a little further on (page 235) the narrative (still using the quotation 
marks) begins to speak of Mrs. Helm in the third person, and describes 
her anew as Mr. Kinzie's step-daughter, who had recently come to the 
post and was personally unknown to some of the Indians. The inter- 
nal evidence indicates that Mrs. Helm's tale stops at the point where the 
killing of five more of the wounded is announced as before mentioned. 
That is the last place wherein the pronoun " I " is used. The following 
pages, in Waubun are probably a resume of the traditions of the Kinzie 

All the narratives upon examination and comparison appear con- 
fused and contradictory. For instance, a letter from " Buffaloe," dated 
March 8th, and published in Niles Weekly Register (Baltimore), of Sat- 
urday, April 3, 1813, says that Mrs. Helm, wife of Lieutenant Helm, 
who escaped the butchery of the garrison of "Chicauga " by the assistance 
ted to Mrs. o f humane Indians had arrived at " Buffaloe," and adds that the account 


of her sufferings during three months' slavery among the Indians and 
three months' imprisonment among their allies would make a most inter- 
esting volume The correspondent will mention one circumstance 
alone : 

During five days after she was taken prisoner she had not the least sustenance and was com- 
pelled to drag a canoe ^barefooted and wading along the stream) in which were three squaws, and 
when she demanded food some flesh of her murdered countrymen and a piece of Colonel Wells' 
heart was offered her. 



Now turning back to Mrs. Kinzie's narrative, in the quoted part, we 
find Mrs. Helm, after the battle was over, again in the Kinzie mansion 
disguised in the dress of a French woman, conducted by Black Partridge 
to the house of 
later hidden and 
nearly smother- 
ed under a feath- 
er bed, and on 
the third day af- 
ter the battle ac- 
companying her 
parents, the 
Kinzies, to St. 
Joseph, where 
she staid with 
the Pottawatto- 
mie chief Robin- 
son for several 
months, being 
treated with all 
possible k i n d- 
ness and hospi- 
tality. Thence 

she went to De- 

After their arrival at Detroit, Mrs. Helm was joined by her husband, where they were both 
arrested by the British commander and sent on horse-back, in the dead of winter, through Canada 
to Fort George on the Niagara frontier. . . Notwithstanding their long and fatiguing journey. . 

Mrs. H., a delicate woman of seventeen years, was permitted to sit waiting on htr saddle, 
without the gate, for more than an hour. . . By an exchange of prisoners they were liberated 
and found means to reach their friends in Steuben county, N. Y. 

This accounts for her presence at " Buffaloe," but where do the five 
days of starvation, the canoe, the bare feet in the brook, the bit of Cap- 
tain Wells' heart, etc., come in? Did the correspondent make it up out 
of whole cloth ? Did he take her tale of the sufferings of others anc' 
report it as her personal adventures ? Or, did the little lady with her 
rugged and terrible experiences and her seventeen years have also a 
cumulative memory and a colossal imagination? 

The other account (at second hand), was sent to Mr. Wentworth 
by Mr. A. H. Edwards, of Sheboygan, Wis., and is published in the His- 
torical series No. 1 6, p. 54. It bears internal evidence of authenticity 
and reads as follows : 


I am acquainted with some facts derived from conversations with one who was there and 
witnessed the fight and killing of many of those who lost their lives on that memorable day. She 
Tradition hand- was a daughter of one of the soldiers and was one of the children who, with her mother and sister, 
cddownbyA. occupied one of the wagons that was to convey them from the fort. She told me she saw her father 
when he fell, and also saw many others. She, with her mother and sister, were prisoners among the 
Indians for nearly two years, and were finally taken to Mackinac and sold to the traders and sent to 
Detroit. On our arrival at Detroit in 1816, this girl was taken into our family, and was then about 
thirteen years old and had been scalped. She said a young Indian came to the wagon where she 
was, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out of the wagon, and she fought him the best she knew 
how, scratching and biting until finally he threw her down and scalped her. She was so frightened, 
she was not aware of it until the blood ran down her face. An old squaw interfered and prevented 
her from being tomahawked by the Indian, she going with the squaw to her wigwam, and wae taken 
care of and her head cured. This squaw was the one that came often to their house. The bare spot on 
the top of her head was about the size of a silver dollar. . . . The person was Isabella Cooper. 
Her account, as given to me, and also her mother's, was that as soon as the soldiers were disposed 
of, the Indians made a rush for the wagons where the women and children were. . . She saw her 
father's scalp in the hands of one of the Indians afterwards. He had sandy hair. . . . She saw 
Wells when he fell from his horse, and his face was painted. 

As already told, Mr. Kinzie("Shaw-nee-aw-kee") found himself once 
more in the mansion, on the north bank of the main river, about where 
the junction of Pine and Kinzie streets now is. Thither came his family, 
whose canoe had turned back from the river mouth (Jackson street), and 
Mrs. Heald, who had been, with difficulty and danger, saved and hidden 
in the canoe, crying and groaning with six or seven bullet wounds. Mrs. 
Helm, too, sought refuge there ; also one of the garrison who had 
escaped the general fate. The two last-named were disguised as " Weem- 
tee-gosh " (French engages), and were thus able to pass as part of the 
Kinzie family. This was not without dreadful perils, for the house 
was visited by angry savages from the Wabash, arrived too late for the 
blood, the scalps and the spoil, and determined not to depart empty- 
handed. Just when the situation seemed hopeless; sulky red-skins in 
their war paint all about, and when even the faithful Black Partridge 
had lost all hope, help came. Mrs. Kinzie says: 

At this moment a friendly war-whoop was heard from a party of newcomers on the opposite 
bank of the river. Black Partridge sprang to meet their leader. "Whoareyou?" "Aman. Who 
are you ?" " A man, like yourself; but tell me who you are ?" " I am the Sauganash ! " [English- 
man.! " Then make all haste to the house. Your friend is in danger; you alone can save him." 
Sauganash to 
the rescue. Billy Caldwell* for it was he entered with a calm step and without a trace of agitation. He 

deliberately took off his accoutrements and placed them with his rifle behind the door, then saluted 
the hostile savages; 

" How now, my friends ! A good day to you ! I was told there were enemies here; but I 
am glad to find only friends. Why have you blackened your faces ? Is it that you are mourning 
for the friends you lost in battle ? Or is it that you are fasting? If so, ask our friend here and he will 
give you to eat. He is the Indians' friend, and never yet refused them what they had need of." 

Thus taken b> surprise, the savages were ashamed to acknowledge their bloody purpose-. 
They, therefore, said modestly that they had come to beg of their friends some white cotton in which 
to wrap their dead. 

* Half-breed son (by a beautiful Pottawattomie girl) of Colonel Caldwell, an Irish officer in the British army. Born 
at Detroit about 1780; educated at a Jesuit school ; fought for the English \\ the War of 1812 ; tall, strong, able, bold; 
secretary to Tecumseh ; later a chief of the Pottawattomics ; stout enemy and faithful friend ; long a resident of Chicago ; 
made justice of the peace in 1826 ; had 1.600 acres of land granted him on the North Branch about six miles from the main 
riTer; helped in the great removal of Indians in 1836 : died at their new home. Council Bluffs, September 18, 1841. 


Although Billy Caldwell, " The Sauganash," was an aid to Tecum- 
seh and fought through the war on the English side, yet, on this and 
other occasions he showed himself to have a heart white rather than 
red; and, the war once over, he was a firm, strong and consistent friend 
of the race of his father. No portrait of him is known to exist, but 
through Mr. Hurlbut we are fortunate enough to obtain a fac-simile of 
his signature. 

Three days after the massacre the Kinzie family, thus increased by 
the few refugees who had joined them, resumed their interrupted 
journey across the lake to St. Joseph. There they were kindly enter- TheKmzies 
tained by Robinson (Che-chee-bing-way) the Pottawattomie chief. battie! hc 
With them, finally, were Captain Heald and his wife, with their many 
and grievous wounds ; also Mrs. Helm, whose husband was later freed 
by his captors and joined her at Detroit, as elsewhere told. 

Mr. Kinzie made a few brave efforts to secure some fragments of 
his scattered possessions. His daughter-in-law, in Waubun, says that in 
his excursions in this business he wore the costume and paint of the 
tribe in order to escape capture and death at the hands of those still 
thirsting for blood. She does not say what success he had doubtless 
pitifully small. Then he followed his family to Detroit, where he was 
received as prisoner of war by the British General, Proctor, paroled, and 
later re-arrested and confined at Fort Maiden, at the mouth of the 
Detroit river, where, according to Mrs. Kinzie, he had another thrilling 
experience : 

On the tenth of September, as he was taking his promenade under a guard of soldiers, the 
whole party were startled by the sound of guns on Lake Erie, at no great distance below. What 
could it mean? It must be Commodore Barclay firing into some of the Yankees. The firing con- 
tinued. . . Neither he nor his guard observed the lapse of time, so anxiously were they listening to 
what they now felt sure was an engagement between ships of war. . . . "Let me stay." said he, 
" till we can learn how the battle has gone." Very soon a sloop appeared under a press of sail, round- 
ing the point, and presently two gunboats in chase of her. 

"She is running she bears the British colors she is striking her flag! Now," turning to 
the soldiers " 1 will go back to prison contented. I know how the battle has gone!" The sloop 
was the Little Belt, the last of the squadron captured by the gallant Perry on that memorable occa- 
sion. ..." We have met the enemy, and they are ours." 

Many and various are the scattered narratives, anecdotes and tra- 
ditions of the dark years following the destruction of the first effort to 
occupy the wild Garlick Portage. Probably every hardship reported 
was true of some person at some time. Certainly many of them are 


Chief of the Pottawattomies. Chippewa and others. 

not true as to the identical persons named. The safe plan is to "shun 
around" the quicksands of doubt and uncertainty and return to the 
unquestioned record ; though by so doing we miss some charming sto- 
ries of Mrs. Kinzie's; 
romantic, pathetic, trag- 
ic. All should read 
them in "Waubun." 

The bitter fight is 
over. The dead have 
got through with their 
agony ; the survivors 
have begun their terri- 
ble experience of cap- 
tivity. The bodies of 
the slain lie unburied 
where they fell ; proba- 
bly some within a 
stone's throw, and all 
within a rifle-shot, of 
the " Massacre Tree," 
in Eighteenth street I 
all, that is, except the 

wounded prisoners carried down to the Indian village to the place 
where Chicago women now do their shopping and there slain by inches 
for their captors' delight. 

The fort is burned; the Kinzie m'ansion deserted; the Indians 
themselves scattered afar, for it is only where the carcase is that the 
young eagles are gathered together. The carcase is used up. They 
have killed the goose that laid the golden egg ; the last of their spoil 
816, De 2 soia- is wasted, the last surviving prisoner ransomed and his ransom squan- 
dered what can they do next ? Go to work ? Out of the question t 
Kill and rob another settlement ? Yes ; if they could only find one. 
Doubtless they do what they can not help doing, half do it, half starve, 
half live on carrion, and pray the Great Spirit to send them a new sup- 
ply of palefaces. One white man remains; Ouillemette, who lives with 
his Indian wife and half-breed children in his cottage, or in the Kinzie 
mansion, or wherever he will. There is room enough in the vast soli- 
tude. All is once more as lonely as it was when Joliet and La Salle 
encamped on the stream " convenient to the portage " a century and 
a half before. 

It is 1816. Nearly four years have passed since that wild 
debauch of delight to the many and death to the few. The persist- 
ent whites are coming again to the spot where, in spite of war, pes- 
tilence and famine, fine and flood, Chicago is to stand. 

From 1812 to 



HAVERS have beautiful fur, luckily for the 
speedy settlement of the West, and unluckily 
for the beaver. Where this harmless, exem- 
plary pattern of industry and ingenuity 
dwells, thither comes his enemy, man, bent 
on his destruction and taking the cruelest of 
methods to compass it, for he uses the 
beaver's impulse of well-doing to betray him. 
He baits his trap with the victim's sense of 
.duty. He makes a breach in the dam which 
the colony of rodents has toilsomely built, 
well knowing that as soon as he departs the 
eagerly dutiful builders will rush to repair 
the injury; then he sets the horrid steel jaws 
around the spot where the work must be done! It is like using a 
baby's cry to draw its mother into an ambush. Well does the poet 
declare beauty to be a fatal gift. The beaver, the buffalo and the seal 
are doomed to perish, while the porcupine and the rat endure. 

Up to a score of years after 1810, there could have been no agri- 
cultural immigration to northern Illinois. The Indians were still here ; 
and, though six miles square, including Chicago, had been ceded to the 
government (treaty of Greenville, 1795), even that was unoccupied, 
save by Indians and a few half-breeds like Ouillemette. Possibly, too, 
Jean Baptiste Beaubien, who married Josette La Framboise, may have 
lived in the Kinzie house before the return of John Kinzie in 1816. 
There can be little doubt but that Josette La Framboise Beaubien is the 
person mentioned as " Grutte " in the Waubun narrative. No such name 
as the latter is known in either language, and Josette, coarsely written, 
may well be mistaken for Grutte ; for example: 

Years following 
the Massacre. 



If this be accepted, it shows that Mrs. Kinzie must have had some 
written record to aid in the construction of her narrative, for by sound 
" Josette" could never have been transmuted to " Grutte," whereas in 
manuscript the two are easily confused. 

We present the picture of the new fort as given in Waubun. This 
view was criticised by Mr. Hubbard ; chiefly regarding the tortuous 
course given by it to the river. But the general facts of the scene 
are doubtless preserved. 



In 1814, President Madison, in a message to Congress, recommended 
to"* ship to its attention the importance of a ship canal to connect Lake Michi- 
gan, at Chicago, with the Illinois and the Mississippi, the mouth of which 
latter we had obtained by the cession of Louisiana (Blanchard, p. 317), 
and it was in pursuance of this policy that the post was re-established. 
Captain Hezekiah Bradley with two companies arrived July 4, 1816, 
and at once proceeded to rebuild the fort over the charred remains of 
its predecessor. At the same time he collected the bones of the 
massacred victims and buried them in the garrison cemetery which was 
in what is now the Lake Front park. 

The second Fort Dearborn was a square stockade inclosing bar- 
racks, officers' quarters, magazine and provision store. It had bastions 
(angular earth-works) at the northwest and southeast angles and a 
block-house at the southwest. This block-house stood, the last relic of 
the fort, up to 1857, when it gave way to the march of improvement. 
Its location (as before mentioned) was at about the spot now marked 


by a fine tablet, set ( 1881) with appropriate ceremonies, in the north wall 
of Hoyt's grocery warehouse, facing the south end of Rush street bridge. 
This is one of the innumerable services rendered to Chicago by the 
Historical Society. The old block-house, surviving as it did down to 
1857, is a pleasant memory to thousands of the Chicagoans of to-day 


The first business established here after the re-occupation was, of 
course, the fur trade, a business degrading to all parties connected with 
it. The Indian trapped the beaver, the pale-face trapped the Indian, 
using for bait not duty but drink. To quote from a letter written in 
1695 from Cadillac, commandant at Michilimackinac, to a friend in 
Quebec: (Hurlbut's Chicago Antiquities, p. in.) 

What reason can one assign that the savages should not drink brandy bought with their own 
money? . . . This prohibition has much discouraged the Frenchmen here from trading in the future. 
It seems very strange that they should pretend tlial the savages would ruin themselves by 
drinking. The savage himself asks why they do not leave him in his beggary, his liberty and his idle- 
ness; he was born in it and he wishes to die in it it is a life to which he has been accustomed since 
Adam. Do they wish him to build palaces and ornament them with beautiful furniture ? He would 
not exchange his wigwam and the mat on which he camps like a monkey for the Louvre! 

In 1803, William Burnett, of St. Joseph, writes (Hurlbut, p. 70): 

Mostly all the skins that were made at this post was in part for rum. Consequently, had I 
mine, I might have got my share of what was going, and that for the best peltries. 

At the agency dwelling of the American Fur Company (John Jacob 
Astor) at Mackinaw in 1821 the expense account shows "31^ gallons 
Teneriffe wine, 4^ gallons of port wine, 10 gallons of best Madeira, 7^ 
gallons of red wine, 9 gallons of brandy and one barrel of flour." This 
recalls irresistibly Falstaff's "one pennyworth of bread to all this intol- 
erable quantity of sack." Mr Hurlbut says of the Rev. Isaac McCoy, 
whose work, " History of the Baptist Indian Missions," was published 
in 1840, that he was a man of ability, who ignored self and devoted his 
life to the cause of humanity in the service of his Divine Master. Mr. 

Rum and the 
Fur Trade. 



McCoy and his wife spent laborious years among the Indians, facing 
danger as well as hardship and privation. He entered on the service as 
early as 1817, was active (though not present) in the Chicago Indian 





TU,m7viiKiinNCTi)niMWLcxc(rnB A 

Till THE CREAT FIRE Of OCT. % 1871. 

K6V. I860 N.M.MCYT, 


treaty of 1821, preached what was probably the first (Protestant) ser- 
mon in Chicago, in 1825, and finally helped in the removal of the Indians 
westward in 1835 anc ^ their settlement at Council Bluffs. An honora- 
ble record ! After the treaty, General Lewis Cass (Governor of Michi- 
gan), who negotiated the treaty, wrote Mr. McCoy as follows: 


All attempts to ameliorate the condition of the Indians must prove abortive so long as ardent 
spirits are freely introduced into their country. . . . One fact will place this lamentable evil in a 
clearer point of view than the most labored discussion. At the treaty, Topenebe, the principal chief 
of the Putawatamies, a man nearly eighty years of age, irritated by the continued refusal on the part 
of the commissioners to gratify his importunities for whiskey, exclaimed, in the presence of his tribe: 
" We care not for the land, the money or the goods; it is the whiskey we want, give us the whiskey." 

And in this connection Mr. McCoy adds : 

After the business of the treaty was completed and before the Indians left the treaty ground 
they received seven barrels of whiskey; and within twenty-four hours afterwards ten shocking mur- 
ders were committed among them. 

All this throws a bright side-light on the old Indian question. The 
shallow savages mistook their friends for enemies, their enemies for 
friends. They loved the poison and the poisoner. Their grievance at 
Fort Dearborn (if they had any) was the destruction of the alcohol in 
the fort and in possession of their friend Kinzie. 

In 1816 a treaty was made (at St. Louis) with the Indians, by 
which a strip of land, including Chicago, was obtained. The evident 
object of the purchase was to carry out the suggestion made by Madi- 
son for the opening of the canal, "to connect Buffalo with New Orleans. " 
The boundary points were (in general terms), first, the south end of 
Lake Michigan; second, a point ten miles north of the mouth of Chi- 
cago river; third, a point on Fox river; fourth, the junction of the Fox 
and Illinois; and fifth, a point on the Kankakee, ten miles above its 
junction with the Des Plaines to form the Illinois. 

But these isolated tracts did not tend to establish white settlement, 
or to advance the growth of Chicago, which could only thrive when it 
should have a vast agricultural 
region behind it to create its 
commerce. In 1816, the trade 
in furs was still one of the 
most profitable in the country. 
John Jacob Astor had already 
made a fortune by it, and was 
at the height of his prosecu- 
tion of it. Since his failure 
on the Pacific coast, through 
the seizure of the Columbia 
by England (see Irving's 
Astoria), he had turned all 
his attention to the West, 
and now his principal frontier 
office was at Mackinaw, in 
charge of Ramsay Crooks and 
Robert Stuart, well-known GURDON s. HUBBARr>(//w,*r). 

Chicago names, and names leading up to one still more identified 

Slow growth 
for many 


with all that is ancient and honorable with us Gordon Saltonstall 

In 1818, young Hubbard (sixteen years old) indentured himself for 
five years to the American Fur Company (John Jacob Astor's enter- 
prise), and about November I, 1818, reached Fort Dearborn. Here 
he stayed three days with John Kinzie, at the North Side residence, and 
then the party pushed on westward, up the South Branch to Bridgeport, 
through Mud Lake and over the portage into the Des Plaines, carrying 
their packs and dragging their bateaux. They launched their craft and 
floated down the Illinois to the mouth of the Bureau river, where Mr. 
Hubbard was assigned to duty. They did not see a white man between 
Chicago and the Bureau. They spent the winter trading with the Indians, 
and in the spring of 1819 they paddled the bateaux, now loaded with 
furs, all the weary way up to Lake Michigan and on to Mackinaw. 
There the peltries were packed and forwarded to New York, where their 
values swell the great Astor fortune of to-day. 

Hubbard's next visit to Chicago was in 1821, when he found there 
the same inhabitants as before; including Kinzies and Ouillemettes. 

From that time to our own days up to within four years of the 
present writing the life of "Our Gurdon," as he was affectionately 
called, was a part, and a large part, of our civic history. Here were his 
headquarters for interior trading, for importations and for shipments. 
Eastern goods came West, and Western products, beginning with furs and 
ending with flour, went East through his Chicago establishment. 
Everybody knew him and he knew everybody in the good old simple- 
hearted ways of the time and place. In 1827 he bought from "Big 
Foot," the chief of the Pottowattomies, at Lake Geneva, fifty ponies, 
which he loaded with " trading goods " and led due south to the Wabash 
river, establishing " trading posts" all along the line. The path he thus 
made and traveled was known as " Hubbard's Trail," and for many a 
year was the road and the only road along the now prosperous and 
crowded country traversed by the Eastern Illinois railway. He made 
his inland station at Danville, but his own time was spent on the trail, 
"his home was in the saddle." 

A letter written by Mr. Hubbard to Mr. Ballance (History of 

Peoria) gives a vivid picture of the times of 1818 ; a startling picture, 

when we consider that the occurrence was the experience of a man who 

bards' early h as been an intimate friend to those now living in Chicago; a man who 


died among us so late as 1887. He says : 

. . . I was in Peoria in 1 818. As we rounded the point of the lake above Peoria we noticed 
that old Fort Clark was on fire just blazing up. Reaching it we found about 200 Indians congregated, 
enjoying a war dance, painted hideously, with scalps on their spears and in their sashes, which they 
had taken from the heads in the war with Great Britain, from 1812 to 1815. They were dancing, 
rehearsing their deeds of bravery, etc. These were the only people then there or in that vicinity . . 
A warrior, noticing me (then a boy of 16), asked Mr. Des Champs who I was. He replied that 


I was his adopted son, just from Montreal; but this was not credited. The Indian said I was a, 
young American and seemed disposed to quarrel with me. . . The Indian remained in the bow 
of the boat, talking to me through this man, who interpreted, saying among other things that I was 
an American, and taking from his sash scalp after scalp, saying they were my nations. He saw 
that I was frightened. I was never more so in my life fairly trembling with fear. His last effort 
to insult me was taking a lung haired scalp * * * made it very wet * * * and then shaking 
it so that it sprinkled me in the face. In a moment all fear left me and I seized Mr. Des Champs' 
double-barreled gun, took. good aim and fired. The man . . . just as I pulled the trigger, 
struck up the gun and thereby saved the life of the Indian and perhaps mine also. . . . Des 
Champs and all our men came running to their boats. After a short consultation among the old 
traders, Des Champs ordered the boats to push out and we descended the stream three or four miles 
and camped on the opposite side of the river. That was my first experience of hostile array with 
my red brethren. Yours, etc., G. S. HUBBARD. (Blanchard's Northwest, p. 330 ) 

In 1817 Samuel A. Storrow, Judge Advocate U. S. A., passed 
through Fort Dearborn, and describes his visit as follows : 


On the second of October, after walking three or four hours, I reached the River Chicago, and 
after crossing it entered Fort Dearborn, where I was kindly entertained by Major Baker and the 
officers of the garrison, who received me as one arrived from the moon. . . The River Chicago 
(or in English, Wild Onion River), is deep, and about forty yards in width. . . Traces yet remain 
of the devastation and massacre committed by the savages in 1812. I saw one of the principal per- 
petrators (N'es cot-no meg). 

Schoolcraft (the distinguished Indian chronicler) writes (1820) 
as follows : 

We found the post (Fort Dearborn), under the command of Capt. Bradley, with a force of 160 
men. The river is ... utterly choked up by the lake sands, through which, behind a masked 
margin, it oozes its way for a mile or two, till it percolates through the sands into the lake. . . 
I took the sketch* . . . from a stand-point on the flat of sand which stretched in front of the 
place. This view embraces every house in the village with the fort; and if the reproduction of the 
artist may be subjected to any criticism, it is perhaps that the stockade bears too great a proportion 
to the scene, while the precipice observed in the shore-line of sand is wholly wanting in the original. 
. . . Having partaken of the hospitalities of Mr. Kinzie, and of Captains Bradley and Green, 
during our stay at Chicago . . . we separated . . . Gov. Cass and his party, on horseback, 

* A cony of this r.':-:ch h herewith presented, by permission of Mrs. Hurlbut. 



General Cass' 

Trratv for 
Michigan lands 

taking the old Indian trail to Detroit . . . myself, with two canoes, to complete the circumnavi- 
gation of the lake. . . Within two miles of Chicago we passed, on the open shores of the lake, 
the scene of the massacre of 1812. 

The greatest event in Chicago during the third decade of this cen- 
tury was the treaty of 1821. This compact was made by Lewis Cass 
and Solomon Sibley, as Commissioners, with the Ottawas, Chippewas 
and " Pattiwatimias." (Mr. Schoolcraft acted as Secretary to the Com- 
missioners.) The land secured was a tract extending from Grand River 

south to the southernmost point of 
Lake Michigan, and reaching east- 
ward until it joined with the pre- 
vious cessions on the Detroit and 
Maumee in 1817. Though the treaty 
did not include Chicago, it gave 
her a continuous way to the sea- 
board for the first time in her history. 
The price paid was $1,000 a year, 
forever, to the Ottawas, and $5,000 
to the Pottawatomies ; and $2,5003 
year for a term of years to provide 
instruction in blacksmithing, agri- 
culture, etc. The treaty shows the 
names of sixty-four Indians (each 
ME-TEE-A. spelt out in English letters and fol- 

lowed by a cross made by the Indians) and Lewis Cass and Solomon 
Sibley; all being witnessed 
by sixteen citizens, among 
whom we recognize Alex- 
ander Wolcott,* John B. 
Beaubien and John Kinzie. 
By some unusual good 
luck we have (through Mr. 
Hurlbut) a portrait of one of 
the Indian signers, Me-tee-a; 
who opposed the transfer of 
the land in eloquent words 
closing as follows : " Behold 
our warriors, our women and 
children. Take pity on us 
and on our words." Yet,/ 
after all, he could not resist the temptation to see his X among the 
rest. He sought immortality, and lo ! are we not giving it to him? 

It was with much regret that livers of old Chicago saw the ancient name of " Wolcott'' changed to the awk- 
ward " North State " street : and still worse, the southern pan of Wells street, named for the heroic Captain, sacritised to 
the absurd " Fifth Avenue." 


We give also a portrait of Jean Baptiste Beaubien, copied from a 
miniature in possession of the family, traditionally said to be taken 
for that pioneer. 

Still no growth in the infant metropolis. From 1816 to 1830, 
Chicago gained only some twelve or fifteen houses and a population of 
less than 100. (Chicago Magazine, May, 1857.) In 1819 the agency 
house (called "Cob-web Castle" for reasons easily to be imagined, 
seeing that it stood vacant for long, lonely years), was built at about the Noithsw*, 

*> J J ' 1816101830. 

junction of State and North Water streets, where the North-Western 
Railroad freight house now stands. That and the old Kinzie mansion 
(Pine and Kinzie streets) were the only buildings now known to have 
stood on the North Side in those days, and the whole tract was cov- 
ered with trees. Kinzie had inclosed a field on the North Branch near 
where Chicago avenue now crosses it, which he cultivated for hay- 
making. That John Kinzie had never regained the comfortable compe- 
tency he lost in 1812 we may know from the following letter, written in 
1821, to his son (John H.) at Mackinaw, when the latter was indentured 
to the American Fur Company. 

Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to hear from you and of you. It does give 
both myself and your mother a pleasure to hear how your conduct is talked of by everyone that hopes 
you every advantage. Rather let that stimulate you to continue the worthy man, for a good name 
is better than wealth and we can not be too circumspect in our line of conduct. . . I have been 
reduced in wages, owing to the economy of the Government. My interpreter's salary is no more 
and I have but fioo to subsist on. It does work me hard sometimes to provide for your sisters and 
brothers on this and maintain my family in a decent manner. I will have to take new measures. 
I hate to change houses, but I have been requested to wait Conant's arrival. We are all mighty 
busy, as the treaty commences to-morrow and we have hordes of Indians around us already. Adieu 
I am your loving father. 

This is said to be the only letter of John Kinzie's known to exist. 
(A large and invaluable collection of his papers were, in 1857, given to 
the Historical Society by John H. Kinzie, and perished with the His- 
torical Society building in the great fire of 1871.) No portrait of him 
has ever been found. 

He assisted in negotiating the treaty of 1821 before mentioned; 
addressing the Indians to reconcile them to it, and signing it as sub- 
agent, which post he filled under his son-in-law, Dr. Alexander Wolcott, 
Indian agent. In 1825 he was appointed Justice of the Peace for Peoria 
county. About 1827 he finally quitted the old home. 

Captain Andreas' remarks on John Kinzie's characteristics are as 

The esteem in which Mr. Kinzie was held by the Indians is shown by the treaty made with 
the Pottawatomies September 20, 1828, the year of his death, by one provision of which they gave to 
Eleanor Kinzie and her four children by the late John Kinzie $3,500. in consideration of the attach- 



ment of the Indians to her deceased husband, who was long an Indian trader, and who lost a large 
sum in the trade by the credits given them and also by the destruction of his property. The money is 
in lieu of a tract of land which the Indians gave the late John Kinzie long since and upon which he 

There is no doubt that the Indians had a warm feeling for the 
Kinzies. At the same time it seems probable that the treaty in question, 
like all other treaties, was carefully arranged by the whites and submitted 
to the Indians for ratification. The Indians did not give any money ; 
all payments came from the United States, and were made to such 
persons (other than Indians) as the commissioners thought best to care 
for. As to the land given by the Indians to Mr. Kinzie and on which 
he lived, where was it ? The Indians had parted with the Chicago tract, 
six miles square, nine years before Mr. Kinzie arrived at Fort Dearborn. 
It is true that in May, 1795, the Ottawas (not the Pottawattomies) 
conveyed land in Ohio to John Kinzie and Thomas Forsyth; but he 
certainly never lived on it. He also lived at Parc-aux-Vaches, on the 
St. Joseph river, from 1800 to 1804. It is possible, though not probable, 
that the Indians made him a grant there. 

Every one who visited the hospitable "Kinzie mansion" was glad 
' n the S ir a Home. to do so again. Let us follow the good example. 


The structure as put up by Pointe de Saible, and passed through 
the hands of Le Mai to John Kinzie, was a cabin of roughly squared 
logs. In Kinzie's time it was beautified, enlarged, improved and sur- 
rounded by out-houses, trees, fences, grass-plat, piazza and garden. 
"The latch-string hung outside the door,"* and all were free to pull it 
and enter. Friend or stranger, red man or white, could come and go, 
eat and drink, sleep and wake, listen and talk at will. A tale is told of 

* This odd expression of welcome came from the old style of door-fastening ; a latch within, lifted by the hand or 
by a string which was poked through a gimlet-hole, so that it could be pulled from the outside. To " lock ' ' the door, the 
household simply pulled in the string and kept it inside. 


two travelers who mistook the house for an inn, gave orders, asked ques- 
tions, praised and blamed as he does who feels, "shall I not take mine 
ease in mine inn?" and who were keenly mortified when they came to 
pay their "scot" and found that there was none to pay. 

In front (as the picture shows) were four fine poplars; in the rear, 
two great cottonwoods. The remains of one of these last-named were 
visible at a very late period. [Who knows just how lately?] In the 
out-buildings were accommodated the dairy, baking-ovens, stables and 
rooms for "the Frenchmen," the Canadian engages who were then the 
chief subordinates in fur-trading, and whose descendants are now well- 
known citizens, their names perpetuating their ancestry Beaubien, 
Lafratnboise, Porthier, Mirandeau, etc. 

Captain Andreas says: 

The Kinzie house was no gloomy home. Up to the very time of their enforced removal, the 
children danced to the sound of their father's violin, and the long hours of frontier life were made 
merry with sport and play. Later, the primitive court of Justice Kinzie must have been held in the 
" spare room " if spare room there was. 

Hurlbut, in his delightful, hu- 
morous, gossipy, fault-finding mon- 
ograph, " Chicago Antiquities," * 
says (p. 478): 

The last distinguished guest from abroad 
whom the Kinzies entertained at the old house 
was Governor Cass ... in the summer of 
1827 . . . This was during the Winnebago 
Indian excitement. . . Gurdon Hubbard says, 
"While at breakfast at Mr. Kinzie's house we 
heard singing, faint at first but gradually grow- 
ing louder as the singers approached. Mr 
Kinzie recognized the leading voice as that of 
Bob Forsyth, and left the table for the piazza of 
the house, where we all followed. About where 
Wells street crosses, in plain sight from where 
we stood, was a light birch-bark canoe, manned 
with thirteen men, rapidly approaching, the men 
keeping time with their paddles to one of the 
Canadian boat-songs; it proved to be Governor 
Cass and his secretary, Robert Forsyth, and they 
landed and soon joined in." 

This visit of Governor Cass 
was just before the " Winnebago 
scare" of 1827. He it was who 
informed the lonely, unarmed and HENRY H.HURI.BUT. ,,88 5 .> 

defenseless post of Fort Dearborn of the Winnebago uprising. Gurdon 
Hubbard at once proposed to ride down the " Hubbard Trail" for help. 
The others objected, for fear that they might be attacked before his 
return ; but it was finally decided that he should go, and go he did. At 

* " Chicago Antiquities" was published by the author in 1881. Only 500 copies were printed, a few of which still 
_ remain (1891) in the hands of his widow, Mrs. i._, iu ut, 17 Wimhrop Place, Chicago. 

Scare and 


Danville he raised, within about a day, fifty volunteers, armed and 
mounted, and started for Fort Dearborn. They reached the Vermilion, 
then at flood, and running " bank-full " and very rapidly. The horses, on 
being driven in, would turn and come back to shore. " Hubbard, pro- 
voked at the delay, threw off his coat, crying : " Give me old Charley ! " 
Mounting the horse, he boldly dashed into the stream, and the other horses 
were crowded after him. " The water was so swift that old Charley 
became unmanageable ; but Hubbard dismounted on the upper side, 
seized the horse by the mane, and swimming with his left hand, guided 
the horse in the direction of the opposite shore. We were afraid he 
would be washed under or struck by his feet and drowned, but he got 

" -" 


The brave rescuers arrived; and staid, petted and feasted by the 
Chicagoans of that day, until a runner came in from Green Bay, bring- 
ing word that Governor Cass had made peace with the Indians. 

According to Mr. Hurlbut, as the old master neared his end the 
older homestead also went to decay. The very logs must have been in 
a perishing condition after fifty years of service, and the lake sand, 
driven by the lake breezes, piled itself up against the north and east 
sides. Then, too, the standard of comfort had changed. Son-in-law 
Wolcott had rooms in the brick building of the unoccupied fort. 
Colonel Beaubien had a frame house close to the fort's south wall (now 
Michigan avenue and River street), and thither the Kinzies moved. 
What more natural than that the ancient tree, as it tottered to its fall, 
should lean over toward the young saplings that had sprung up at its 
foot ? It is the way of the world. 

It was in i827thatMr. Kinzie and whatever then formed his house- 
K e inzieandhe hold quitted the historical loe house for the last time. In 1820 it was 

Old Homestead. 

(says Andreas) used fora while by Anson N. Taylor as a store. In 
March, 1831, Mr. Bailey lived in it and probably made it the postofifice, 
its first location in Chicago, as he was the first postmaster. The mail 
was then brought on horse-back from Detroit about twice a month. 
Captain Andreas says : 

After 1831 and 1832, when Mark Noble occupied it with his family, there is no record of its being 
inhabited. Its decaying logs were used by the Indians and immigrants for fuel and the drifting 
sand of Lake Michigan was fast piled over its remains. No one knows when it finally disappeared, 
but with the growth of the new town this relic of the early day of Chicago passed from sight to be 
numbered among the things that were. 

Mrs. Robert Kinzie says now (1891) that she is sure that the house 
was standing when she was married in the fort (1834) and she thinks 
long afterward. She scouts the idea that those solid logs were used 
for fuel by the Indians or immigrants. 

See "The Winnebago Scare," by Hiram W. Beckwith, of Danville. Fergus' Historical Series, No. 10. 



Rufus Blanchard, in his " Northwest," prints an interesting note : 

The following account of Mr. Kinzie's death has been learned from Mr. Gurdon S. Hubbard: 
" He remained in full vigor of health in both body and mind till he had a slight attack of apoplexy, 
after which his health continued to decline until his death, which took place in a few months, at the 
residence of his son-in-law, Dr. Wolcott, who then lived in the brick building formerly used as the 
officers' quarters in the fort. Here, while on a brief visit to Mrs. Wolcott [Ellen Marion Kinzie] he was 
suddenly attacked with apoplexy. Mr. Hubbard, then living in Mr. Kinzie's family, was sent for 

and on coming into the room of the dying man he found him in convulsions on the floor in the 
parlor, his head supported by his daughter. Mr. Hubbard raised him to a sitting position and thu; 
supported him till he drew his last breath. The funeral service took place in the fort and the last 
honors due to the old pioneer were paid with impressive respect by the few inhabitants of the 
place. " 

Mr. Kinzie's remains were first buried in the post burying-ground 
on the lake shore south of the old fort (about Michigan ave. and Wash- 
ington St.), whence they were later removed to a plot just west of the 
present water works (Chicago Avenue and Tower Place), and finally to 
Graceland where they now rest. 



years ago. 

887 saw depart from among us the last 
man who could give personal testimony 
to the condition which prevailed in the 
later years of what may be called pre- 
historic Chicago. Gurdon Hubbard, a 
fountain of knowledge about the past, 
was the greatest loss his beloved city 
has ever suffered ; and it seems doubtful if any one person can at any 
time occupy so high a relative position as was his. Pity that we did 
not fully appreciate this fact sooner. "Blessings brighten as they take 
their flight" 

We have before given the view of things hereabouts, taken by an 
excellent observer and unprejudiced recorder, Mr. Schoolcraft. Others, 
in fact all others, have left a less flattering presentation. No hesita- 
t ' on should be felt in dwelling upon so humble an origin for so proud 
a growth as ours. The greatness of Abraham Lincoln would be less a 
world-wonder if he had been born in a palace and trained in colleges 
and courts. 

William H. Keating (Narrative of an Expedition, etc., London, 
1825) writes under date of 1823 : 

We were much disappointed at the appearance of Chicago and its vicinity. . . The coun- 
try near Chicago offers but few features upon which the eye can dwell with pleasure. There is too 
much uniformity in the scenery; the extensive water prospect is a waste uncheckered by islands, 
unenlivened by the spreading canvas, and the fatiguing monolony of which is increased by the 
equally undiversified prospect of the land scenery, which affords no relief to the sight, as it con- 
sists merely of a plain in which but few patches of thin and scrubby woods are observed scattered 
here and there. 

The village presents no cheering prospect, as, notwithstanding its antiquity, it consists of but 
few huts, inhabited by a miserable race of men. scarcely equal to the Indians from whom they are 
descended. Their log or bark houses are low, filthy and disgusting, displaying not the least trace 
of comfort. 

In 1825 John H. Fonda says of Chicago (Hurlbut, p. 212) : 

We entered the Lake Peoria and were met at the landing by a number of Indians, from whom 
we learned that it was more than two hundred miles to the nearest trading-post on the Lake, which 
was Cki-ca-a go. . . . We paddled along until we came to the Des Plaines river, from which we 
passed into a large slough, or lake, that must have led us into a branch of the Chicago river, for we 
followed a stream that brought us opposite Fort Dearborn. At this period Chicago was merely an 



Indian Agency; it contained about fourteen houses, and not more than 75 or loo inhabitants at the 
most. An agent of the American Fur Company, named Gurdon S. Hubbard. then occupied the 
fort. The staple business seemed to be carried on by Indians and runaway soldiers, who hunted 
ducks and muskrats in the marshes. There was a great deal of lowland, and mostly destitute of 
timber. The principal inhabitants were Mr. Hubbard, a Frenchman by the name of Ouillemet and 
John B. Beaubien. 

It was the winter of 1827 that the U. S. Quartermaster came to me one day and asked if I 
could find my way to Chicago. ... He intrusted me with the not mailbag, but a tin canister 
covered with untanned deerhide that contained the dispatches and letters of the inhabitants. . . . 
One noon we arrived at Fort Dearborn, after being on the way more than a month. It was in Jan- 
uary, 1828; and, with the exception that the fort was strengthened and garrisoned, there was no 
sign of improvement since my former visit. 

Mr. Hurlbut has unearthed and copied from an old Maryland peri- 
odical three letters dated at " Fort Dearborn, Chicago, 111. " in 1830. 



Drawn by 
F.H.rrison Civil Engineer 

Feby. 24^ 1830- 

Wo Howard U.S Civil Engineer 

They give account of sports participated in by persons designated only 
by initials, whom Mr. H. identifies as Captain Martin Scott (killed at 
Molino del Rey), Dr. Clement A. Finley, Major Robert Kinzie, Dr. 
Philip Maxwell, James Grant, Mr. Beaubien, Mr. Clybourn, Lieutenant 
John G. Furman of the 5th U. S. infantry (who died at the fort in the 
same year), and Lieutenant James Thompson, also of the army. 

The first letter describes a deer-hunt with dogs and horses, which 
occurred in "the thick woods on the north side." They found two 
deer before reaching the line of the present Chicago Avenue. The 
second tells of a woli'-hunt in the previous December, on which occasion 


Wild game 
within city 

they found and killed three wolves and three raccoons somewhere on 
the South Side near the South Branch. The third tells of high water, 
when the water in Mud Lake was divided and part flowed east with the 
lake and part west into the Illinois. The writer adds: 

Here, after the waters have subsided, vast quantities of aquatic fowl congregate to feed on 
the wild rice, insects, etc., that abound in it. Swan, geese and brant, passing to and fro in clouds, 
keep an incessant cackling; ducks of every kind, from the mallard and canvas-back down to the 
tiny water-witch and blue-winged teal. . . while hundreds of gulls hover gracefully over, ever 
and anon plunging their snowy bosoms into the circling waters. ... Of these we may hereafter 
send you some account; and when the " rail-road " is finished between Baltimore and Rock River, 
perhaps you may come out and take a week's sport with us. 

This is interesting, not only for its disclosure, of the wild state of 
our great West Side at that late date, and by the abundance of wild 
game there; but also for the jocular allusion to a possible (or impossible) 
" rail-road " all the way from Baltimore to the Rock River ! The writer 
unconsciously names the factor destined to be of incalculable weight in 
the future of the unpromising tract he is hunting over. 1830 may be 
said to be the birth-year of the American Railway system, and that sys- 
tem to be the main source of the greatness of the West, especially that 
of Chicago. Not for eighteen years will the first locomotive press the 
soil of the city, and not for twenty-five years will the first train arrive 
from the East. But nevertheless the little seed is planted, and the great 
tree, with its infinite branches and its immeasurable fruits, is growing 
ceaselessly and resistlessly from this time forth. 

Now, leaving the squalid physical aspect of the place, we will 
observe the course of human life other than as already set forth. 

John Harris Kinzie, son of John 
and Eleanor (Me Killop) Kinzie, who 
was born in Canada, July 7, 1803, and 
was brought to Chicago with the family 
on its first arrival, became, in 1826, pri- 
vate secretary to Governor Cass, and 
later aide-de-camp with the rank of col- 
onel. August gth, 1830,31 Middletown, 
Connecticut, he married Juliette A. 
Magill. This marriage was not only 
fortunate for Colonel Kinzie, but also a 
happy thing for Chicago, as Mrs. Kin- 
zie became one of the best known and 
most admired of the city's early mat- 
rons, and also its historian in no slight 
degree through her chatty narrative "Waubun," published in 1856. 
Many of Chicago's citizens cherish to this day loving memories of this, 
the city's very earliest literary woman. 


Robert Allen Kinzie, born at the old fort February 8th, 1810, 
shared the family's varied experiences (carrying on the fur-trade with the 

Indians), and in 1834, at the fort ( 
married the daughter of Col. William 
Whistler, who built the old fort in 
1803, an d in 1832 came out again to 
the new fort, one of its latest com- 

This daughter has been before 
mentioned as still living in Chicago, 
and it is with great pleasure that the 

. e \ The Kinzie 

circumstance of her marriage is re- Race . 
called, with the interesting recollec- 
tions of the venerable Chief Justice 
Caton, also happily yet among us. 
Never until now has Mrs. Kinzie 
consented to the publication of her likeness. 

Ellen Marion Kinzie, whose birth has been before mentioned as 
taking place in the old Kinzie mansion in 1804, was married July 20, 
1823, to Dr. Alexander Wolcott, then Indian agent at Chicago, who died 
there in 1830. In 1836 she married, at Detroit, the Hon. George C. 
Bates and she died at Detroit in 1860. 

1828 saw the fort once more garrisoned, Major John Fowle being 
in command, and having for his lieutenant David Hunter, who soon 
after married Maria Indiana Kinzie, second daughter of John, born in 
1807. In 1879 Genl. Hunter wrote to the Calumet Club " Old Settlers' 
Reception," as follows: 

More than half a century since, I first came to Chicago on horseback from St. Louis, stopping 
on the way at the log cabins of the early settlers and passing the last house at the mouth of the Fox 
river. I wars married in Chicago having to send a soldier one hundred and sixty miles on foot, to 
Peoria, for a license. The northern counties in the State had n' t liicn b.'en organized, and were all 
attached to Peoria countv. My dear wife is still a'ive and in good health, and I can certify a hun- 
dred times over that Chicag > is a first-rate place from which to get a good wife. 

Beside the course of the main branch of the Kinzie stock, and the 
Hubbarcls, all of whom were kept in view by their connection with the 
army, there were the James Kinzies, John K. Clarks, Clybourns and 
Beaubiens; including men and women quite as worthy and as note- 
worthy as any of their fellow-citizens. 

As has been already told, two girls, Margaret* and Elizabeth 
McKenzie, were (during the Revolutionary times) stolen by the Indians Lessknown 

J early names. 

from their home on the Kanawha river, in Virginia. They were kept 
by* their captors (Ohio Shawnees) until womanhood, when we first find 
them in Detroit. There Margaret (whether a wife or not) bore three 


children, William, James and Elizabeth, to John Kinzie. (This was 
before his marriage with Eleanor [Lytle] McKillop.) 

William Kinzie did not 
come to Chicago. James 
(born 1793) moved west- 
ward soon after 1812, and 
seems to have dealt in 
ardent spirits as a busi- 
ness. In 1821 he was 
"detected in selling large 
quantities of liquors to the 
Indians at and near Mil- 
tvalky," and in 1829 he 
built a tavern on the west 
side, near the forks of the 
river, afterward known as 
the Wolf Tavern, kept by 
Elijah Wentworth. 

In 1833 James built 
the Green Tree Tavern 
on the northeast corner 
of North Canal and West 
Lake streets, " its name 
MRS. GWENTHLEAN H. KINZIE. (,8,,.) being taken from a soli- 

tary oak which stood near." (Andreas.) He held various offices of 
trust and honor School Trustee, Sheriff (the first of Cook County), 

THE GREEN TREE HOTEL. (Slill standine in 1891.)* 

Town Auctioneer and Town Trustee. He moved to Racine in 18^35 
and died in Clyde, Wisconsin, in 1866. (Andreas.) It was in regard 

* Now 33, 35 and 37 Milwaukee A ve. Doubtless the oldest structure in the city. 



to James Kinzie that it has been said " the smartest of the Kinzies was 
a McKenzie," his irregular origin being suggested as an explanation. 

Captain Andreas (p. 96) mentions one David Hall, of Virginia, 
" half brother to James Kinzie," as being James' partner in the Green 
Tree Tavern. This would indicate that poor Margaret, after her 
reclamation by her father, had married, in Virginia, a man named Hall, 
and born him a son. We hear of her, directly, once more, as appears 
in the next chapter. 

Elizabeth Kinzie was married, in 1826, by John Kinzie, J. P. (her 
father), to Samuel Miller, who kept a tavern known as the Miller House, 
situated on the North Side near the forks of the river. It was probably 
the oldest of the houses (on the right) shown in the accompanying cut 
of Wolf Point, the Forks, etc. Samuel Miller had been in partnership 
with Archibald Clybourn (his wife's cousin) in 1829, and they were 
authorized to keep a ferry across the river " at the lower forks." 

Descendants of 
the captive 

In the same cut a bridge seems to occupy the place of the ferry-boat, 
spanning the stream of the North Branch, just above the forks. The 
ferry was established by law (records 
of Peoria county), the citizens of Chi- 
cago to be carried free, and all other 
persons to be subject to a charge for 
ferriage, "one half the sum that John 
L. Bogardus gets at his ferry at 

Reverting now to the captured 
girls before mentioned, Margaret and 
Elizabeth McKenzie, we will trace the 
line of Elizabeth, the younger. In 
Detroit she was the wife of one Clark, 
a Scotch trader, and mother of his 
two children, John K. and Elizabeth. 
Then, after the father of the stolen 
girls came to Detroit, reclaimed his 
lost daughters and took them and JOHN K. CLARK. 

9 8 


The Clarks and 

their children with him to Virginia, Elizabeth married Jonas Cly- 
bourn, to whom she bore two sons, Archibald (1802) and Henley. 
John K. Clark came early to Chicago, and his half-brother Archibald 
Clybourn followed as soon as he was old enough, arriving in 1823. 
Finally the two good sons brought out their parents, Jonas and Eliza- 
beth Clybourn, and the family settled (1824) on the west side of the 
North Branch, at about the place where the North Chicago rolling-mills 
now stand, opposite the west end of Clybourn Place bridge. 

WOLF POINT IN 1830. (Hurlbut, p. 503.) 

Archibald Clybourn was a remarkable man in many ways. He 
married (1829) Mary Galloway, who had come hither with her father, 
James Galloway, in 1826, she being then fourteen years old.* 

Captain Andreas gives Mary Galloway's early impressions of Chicago 
so fully, and with so much of local color, that they deserve transcription : 

Mrs. Clybourn described the appearance of Chicago in the winter o( 1826 as a black and dreary 
expanse of prairie, with occasional patches of timber. At the mouth of the Chicago river, which was 
then at the foot of Madison street, stood the cabin of Jean Baptiste Beaubien, and his shanty ware- 
house somewhat nearer the lake. Where the river turned to the south, at the point where Rush 
street bridge now crosses the stream, was Fort Dearborn. On the other side of the river, nearly 
opposite the fort, was a double log house, occupied jointly by John Kinzie and Alexander Wolcott, and 
near this the blacksmithishop of Daniel McKee and Joseph Porthick (Porthier). At the forks of the 
river, a cabin used for a store, owned and occupied by James Kinzie and David Hall, of Virginia. 
At Hardscrabble there were five or six cabins, several of which were occupied by the Lafram- 
boises, of whom there were four: Francis, Sr., Francis, Jr., Joseph and Claude. Another was occu- 
pied by Mr. Wallace, and another by Barney Lawton. . . . The Clybourns were on the North 
Branch Jonas and his wife, his sons Archibald and Henley, and John K. Clark, their half brother. 

Archibald Clybourn (under the authority of Peoria county) was the 
first constable for the Chicago region, and later justice of the peace. 

* The Galloways started from Sandusky, Ohio, in a small schooner, bringing their household stuff and *' a large 
quantity " of goods to be sold to the Indians. The schooner was wrecked (by a drunken captain) on the Island of St. 
Helena, near Mackinaw, and the passengers, with part of Galloway's goods, saved and brought to Chicago in one of the 

Fur Company's boats The little colony, goods and all, found refuge at Hardscrabble, up the South Branch, in 

a log cottage belonging to Chief Alexander Rubinspn perhaps the same cottage where two whites were killed by the 
Indians in 1812. A stirring tale is told of the defense of their cabins by Mary and her mother, left alone therein during a 
long and fearful winter night in 1830. 



He and his sons were the early butchers, and their successors are 
engaged in the same trade to this day, 1891. He carried on large deal- 


ings in cattle, and when the "Black Hawk \Var" (1832) brought 
crowds of frightened settlers into the fort, " the Glybourns and John 
Noble and sons fed nearly the entire population until the pioneers could 
return to their scattered homes." (Andreas, p. 104.) 

The Beaubiens' connection with Chicago began very early. Jean 
Baptiste (third of the name since the immigration from France early in 
the 1 8th century) was born in Detroit in 1780, visited Chicago in 1804, 
and (as his son averred) bought a cabin and field south of the fort in 
1812.* He married an Ottawa Indian woman, who became the mother TheBeaubiens - 
of his sons Charles, Henry and Madore. In 1812 he married Josette, 
daughter of Francis Laframboise, a French trader, living on the South 
Side. She was the mother of Alexander Beaubien. In 1818 Jean Bap- 
tiste was made agent of the Fur Company. He moved into the com- 
pany building just outside the south wall of the fort (about Michigan 
avenue and South Water street); where he lived until 1840, when he 
moved to his farm on the Desplaines. He was the first president of 
the village debating society, which met inside the fort, and included in 
its membership nearly every able bodied man in town. 

Later he was colonel, and still later general of the Cook County 

*This occupation was sworn to by Jean Baptiste's son, Madore, as the basis of a claim on behalf of the former for 
a " pre-emption right " on land about Michigan avenue and Lake, Randolph and Washington streets. After some fifty 
years of litigation this claim has failed, the final di-.mis.sal from court occurring during the time of writing this chapter. 





militia. He died in Naperville, in 1863. Mark Beaubien, brother of 
Jean Baptiste, came here in 1826. Here is his own story: 

I came with my family by team; no road, only Indian trail. I had to hire an Indian to show 
me the road to Chicago. I camped out of doors and bought a log house from Jim Kinzie. There 
was no town laid out; didn't expect no town. When they laid out the town my house was laid out in 
the street. When they laid the town I bought two lots where I built the old Sauganash, the first 
frame house in Chicago. 

The "Sauganash" stood on the lot (Lake and Market streets), 
later occupied by the " Wigwam," where Lincoln was nominated. Mark 
was, if not the first, the most noted and popular of Chicago inn-keepers. 
Town elections took place at his house. Merrymakings were held there, 
and dancing went on, to the sound of Mark's violin. He loved his fiddle 
dearly and at his death bequeathed it to the Calumet Club, where it is 
still proudly shown and highly prized. Captain Andreas says of him: 

Mr. Beaubien is described as being, in his prime, "a tall, atheletic, fine appearing man, 
Frenchy and polite, frank, open-hearted, generous to a fault, and in his glory at a horse race." His 
favorite dress on great occasions was a swallow-tail coat with brass buttons, and if in the summer, 
light nankeen trousers. His quaint old song, in regard to the surrender of General Hull at Detroit, in 
1812, of which he was a witness, was sung with much gusto. . . . His last visits to Chicago were 
in 1879 and 1880, at the Calumet Club receptions to old settlers . . . The children of Mr. Beau- 
bien, as given in the Chicago Times, March 26, 1876, were Josette, Mark, Oliver, Joseph, Emily, 
Soliston, David, George, Napoleon, Edward, Helena, Elizabeth, Gwinny, Frances, Monique and one 
infant that died unnamed, children of his first wife, Monique Nadeau, of Detroit; and Robert, Frank, 
Mary, Ida, Jimmy, Jesse and Slide!, children by his second marriage. He died on the i6th of April, 
1881, in Kankakee, 111., at the house of George Matthews, who married his daughter Mary. 

In 1825 the assessment roll of John L. Bogardus, assessor of Peoria 
county, shows for that year the following names and possessions in the 
Chicago precinct: 

Taxpayers' Names. 



$ I OOO 

$ IO OO 

Clybourne James, 


6 25 

Clark John K 


2 5O 

^O OO 

Clermont Jeremy, .. 




Coutra, Louis, 





5 oo 







McKee, David, 




Piche, Peter 





2 OO 


5 72 


4 oo 

Total property, $9,047, of which $5,000 belonged to John Jacob Astor. 

There are the surnames and the estates. Now let the civic aris- 
tocracy come forward and pick out their ancestors 

One of the penalties of having grown from 100 to 1,200,000 in two 
generations, is the necessity which compels most of us to look east, north- 
east and southeast for the roots of our family trees. Still, there are some 
of the old names yet extant; and we can, at least, cling to them in the 
nomenclature of our streets, avenues, squares, parks, public places, 



schools and buildings. Our city directory for 1881 shows Kinzies, 
Clybourns, Beaubiens, Laframboises. None of these can claim (as 
do the Virginia descendants of Pocahontas) to share in the blood of 
our predecessors in local dominion (the Indians), except one branch of 
the Beaubiens, but there are other names, among our best society, 
where a strain of that historic race exists. 

NOTE. The killing (in self-defense) of John Lalime by John Kinzie has already been men- 
tioned. Since the writing of that part of our story, a discovery has been made which connects 1812 
with to-day in an interesting way. On April 26th, 1891, some human bones and the bottom of a 
pine coffin, all far advanced in decay, were unearthed at a point near the southwest corner of Cass 
and Illinois streets (the old Saint James Church lot), which point is either identical with or wonder- 
fully near to the grave of Lalime, as described in the following letter written by Mr. Hubbard: 

Chicago, June zsth, 1881. Hon. John Wentworth . . . Mrs. Kinzie says that her husband and La Lime . . . 
had had frequent altercations; that at the time of the encounter Mr. Kinzie had crossed the river alone, in a canoe, going 
to the fort, and that La Lime met him outside the garrison and shot him, the ball cutting the outside of his neck. Mr. 
Kinzie, closing with La Lime, stabbed him and retreated to the house, covered with blood. . . . She, i.n haste, took 
bandages and with him retreated to the woods, where she dressed his wounds, returning just in time to meet an officer, 
with a squad, to seize her husband For some days he was hid in the bush and cared (or by his wife. 

La Lime was an educated man and quite a favorite with the officers, who were greatly excited. They decided he 
should be buried near the bank of the river, about the present terminus of Rush street and within 200 yards of Mr. 
Kinzie's house, in plain view of his front door and piazza. The grave was enclosed by a picket-fence, which Mr. Kinzie, 

in his life-time, kept in perfect order After a full investigation by the officers, whose friend the deceased was, 

they acquitted Mr. Kinzie, who then returned to his family. . . . Mr. Kinzie never, in my hearing, alluded to or spoke 
of it. Knowing his aversion to converse on the subject, I never spoke to him about it. . . . Yours, G. S. Hubbard. 
(Fergus' Hist. Series, No. 16.) 

On July zist, 1891, the writer presented these relics to the Chicago Historical Society, with 
reasons for thinking them authentic. Doctors Hosmer and Freer pronounced them the bones of a 
white male, of mature age, slim in build, five feet four inches high ; also judged them to have been 
interred a long time, probably the 79 years called for. Judge Blodgett, John C. Haines, Fernando 
Jones and others testified as to the position of the ancient grave, and Mr. Jones said that Robert 
Kinzie had expressed to him (many years ago) his gladness that his brother John had caused " the 
little Frenchman" to be placed in St. James church-yard. Old St. James parishioners agree that 
no burials were known to have been made in the church-yard where these bones were found. The 
fact of the body's being coffined shows that this was not a hasty, secret burial. Sure it is, that 
Lalime was buried within a stone's throw of where these bones were found, and at a time just about 
as distant in the past as the day when they must have been buried, and that no other remains which 
might have been Lalime's were ever unearthed. 

Remains unearthed April z6th and presented to the Historical Society, July ai, 1891 

Treaties with 
the Sauks 
and Foxes. 



OOD-BYE Indians! No longer can the 
prairies be left in possession of men who 
will not cultivate them. The law of sup- 
ply and demand has migrated to the west- 
ern frontier, supplanting monopolies both 
savage and civilized. A few nomads, 
without the thrift which would provide for 
each an extra axe or blanket, a habitation 
fit to keep out the weather, a plow and a 
beast to pull one, still. less a winter's sup- 
ply of food and fuel, have held, hitherto, thirty thousand square miles 
-twenty million acres of fertile land, worth a hundred million dol- 
lars to a coming host of farmers. Fate has decreed that the Govern- 
ment shall pay the savages certain annuities goods, tools, schooling 
and money which, properly used, would give to each of them axes, 
plows, blankets, houses, horses, food and education for all time to come 
and that thereupon the eager farmers shall go to plowing the land ; 
turning it up to the sun for the first time since the sun has shone on it, 
and the wild wanderers have tramped over it. 

The savage tenure of the land was like that grip ascribed to the 
poisonous centipede, said to be hardly felt while he crawls along your 
skin unmolested, but suddenly deep, tenacious, bloody and fatal when 
you try to shake him off. 

Black Hawk was a half-breed, a subordinate chief of the Sauks and 
Foxes, under Keokuk, head chief. The treaty of St. Louis (1804) which 
conveyed to the United States all their lands in Illinois, Black Hawk repu- 
diated, saying that but four chiefs of the tribe had signed it, and they 
only when drunk. July 15, 1830, Keokuk made another treaty convey- 
ing all their lands east of the Mississippi, in both Illinois and Wiscon- 
sin, Black Hawk being no party to the trade. The Indians were bound 
to vacate their villages and cross the river in 1831, and Keokuk, with all 
whom he could influence, kept the bargain. Not so Black Hawk; he 
determined to maintain, by force, his hold on his old Rock River home. 
This had been their home since the time of the advent of Jolietand 
LaSalle, and here were the graves of their ancestors the few of them 




who may be supposed to have died at home between their terrible raids 
on their neighbors. 

The veteran doubtless thought, though he did not say : 
" How can man die better 

Than facing fearful odds 
For the ashes of his fathers 
And the altars of his gods ?" 

While Black Hawk 
and his tribe were 
away on their annual 
hunt, white specula- 
tors seized their vil- 
lage all their wig- 
wams and their corn 
land. Even yet the 
old chief by his acts 
keeps his hold on our 
sympathies. His 
people agreed to 
allow the intruders to 
cultivate half the 700- 
acre field while " the 
squaws " should cul- 
tivate the remainder; 
an arrangement 
which necessarily led 
to speedy hostilities. 

John Reynolds was 
then Governor of 
Illinois, the capital 
town being Kaskas- 
kia. On the petition 
of eight of the squat- 
ters he called ouc the 
militia to maintain 


the "rights" of the 
whites at Black Hawk village, and wrote to General Clark* (superin- 
tendent of Indian affairs) at St. Louis for aid in removing the Indians. 
The Illinois militia contingent was raised to 1,600 and assembled at 
Beardstown, and General Gaines, with them and what United States 
Regulars he could muster, marched to the place and took possession of 
the wigwams and cornfield; the Indians, helpless and hopeless, having 

* Brother of our old hero, Georjje Rogers Clark. 



The Black 
Hawk War. 

abandoned all and retired across the Mississippi. Moved with compas- 
sion for the wretched fugitives encamped on the other bank of the 
river under a white flag, Governor Reynolds and General Gaines sent 
them food enough to keep them alive, and on June 30, 1831, Black 
Hawk signed a new treaty confirming the provisions of the former one. 

Next followed an instance of the perversity by which the Indian 
always puts himself in the wrong. A band of Black Hawk's men went 
U p to p ra j r i e <j u Chien, surprised and attacked a camp of Menominees 
and Sioux and killed twenty-eight of their unsuspecting fellow-savages ! 
Of course demand was made on Black Hawk to deliver up the killers, 
and, also of course, Black Hawk failed to do so. 

During the winter of 1831-2 a grand scheme was matured by Black 
Hawk and his emissaries (especially his evil genius, White Cloud " the 
Prophet "), by which Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawatomies and Winne- 
bagoes were to join the Sauks in recovering their ancient possessions. 
One may laugh or cry, as his humor is at the pitiful array which 
marched out for the " Black Hawk War." 

Under this fatal illusion he assembled his people in March, 1832, on the west bank of the 

Mississippi now the site of the flourishing city of Madison, Iowa. Here were assembled 368 

braves, mounted on tough, muscular ponies, not unlike their masters, capable of great endurance, 
with slender means of subsistence; squaws, jaded down with unceasing toil, and their quota of 
half-clad children, shivering in the humid blasts of early spring, bent on a trip to their old home 
east of the Mississippi, probably not without some faint hopes of repossessing it. . . . The men 
leaped on the backs of their ponies and whipped the patient beasts up the west bank of the river, 
while the squaws manned the canoes and tugged up the stream with their materials of war, consist- 
ing of a few kettles, blankets, etc. 

The little squad crossed the 
Mississippi, and as they passed Dix- 
on's ferry station Black Hawk told 
Mr. Dixon that he would not go 
back, nor would he fight unless at- 
tacked. Then he went on, doing no 
harm to the trembling settlers. The 
troops came up with him when he 
was engaged in a dog -feast pow-\vo\v 
with Winnebagoes and other chiefs; 
including " Shaubena " (alias " Shab- 
bonay," "Chambly" and sundry other 
allied names), of the Chicago region, 
of whom we shall hear more.* 
It would be useless to follow the particulars of the so-called Black 
Hawk War. Abraham Lincoln's captaincy in it has drawn attention to it, 
and the story may be found told in many shapes by many pens. Chi- 

* This old chief had been an aid to Tecumseh at the battle of Tippecanoe, but from 1813 forward a constant friend 
of the whites. He now flatly refused to cast his lot with Black Hawk. 


* >H^!Z'~ 

" ' 

This sheet of " memorial portraits." and the others facing pages 105, 112, 113, 120, 121, 128, 
129, 136 and 137, are fac similes oi those exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 
1876, by C. D. Mosher, photographer ; now obtained from Alfred Brisbois, successor, 125 State 
Street, Chicago. 




cago served as a harbor of refuge. At Plainfield, on the Dupage, lived 
the Rev. S. R. Beggs, who has written a book giving his experiences. 
His house was fortified and the residents and fugitives assembled there. 
A rescuing party, under Col. Hamilton, started out from Chicago (forty 
miles) and convoyed them in. Mr. Beggs adds: 

There was no extra room for us when we arrived in Chicago. Two or three families of our 
number were put into a room fifteen feet square, with as many more families, and here we stayed 
crowding and jamming each other for several days . . . The next morning our first babe was 
born, and during our stay fifteen tender infants were added to our number. One may imagine the 
confusion of the scene children crying and women complaining within doors, while without the 
tramp of soldiery, the rolling of drums and the roar of cannon added to the din.* 

Only a handful of Black Hawk's band survived the "war." (A 
few who escaped across the upper Mississippi were met and killed by 
their old foes, the Sioux.) Black Hawk himself was delivered up as 
prisoner of war and in 1833 was sent to Washington. At the Hast he 
was received with flattering attentions, especially from ladies, to which 
he (wily savage!) responded with "Pretty squaw ! Pretty squaw ! " He 
was released and returned to his people, and in 1838 he died at his 
home on the Des Moines River (lowaville), where his remains lie; 
buried in a sitting posture, after the manner of his tribe. Mr. Blanchard 
calls him "The last native defender of the soil of the North West." 

It was 1833, and 5,000 or more Indians were assembled at Chi- 
cago, around the fort, the village, the rivers and the portage, to treat 
for the sale of their entire remaining possessions in Illinois and Wis- 
consin. The commissioners on the part of the Government were 
George B. Porter, Thomas J. V. Owen and William Weatherford, and T he last ch,- 
the Indians present were the tribes of the Chippewas, Ottawas and Treaty" ' 
Pottawatomies, with chiefs and warriors, squaws and pappooses, ponies 
and dogs. All who chose could come, and we may be sure that few 
and regretful were the stay-at-homes ; for a treaty meant a feast, and a 
feast, soon or late, became an orgie. 

Mr. Hurlbut quotes largely from Charles Joseph Latrobe's " Ram- 
bles in North America," and from his selection we will condense the 
following realistic sketch : 

A mushroom town on the verge of a level country, crowded to 
its utmost capacity and beyond. A surrounding cloud of Indians 
encamped on the prairie, beneath the shelter of the woods, on the river- 
side or by the low sand hills along the lake. Companies of old war- 
riors under every bush, smoking, arguing, palavering, pow-wowing, with 
no apparent prospect of agreement. 

* It seems possible that the Reverend gentleman, upon strict cross-examination, might have abated a few of the 
6f teen babies and somewhat of the roar of the artillery. Seeing that the whole number of fugitives, old and young, from 
Plainfield was 125, the sudden arrival of fifteen little strangers would indicate a remarkable unanimity not to say a con- 
spiracy among parents; and considering that there was no enemy within 100 miles, the indicated cannonade is. to say 
the least, excessive. 



Ho\v Chicago 
looked to a 

Within the palisades of the little fort lived the main part of the 
enlightenment of the place, in the small group of officers attached to 
the slender garrison. On the north side of the river some temporary 
plank huts gave shelter to the Commissioners and their attendants. 
Next in rank were certain storekeepers and merchants, looking for 
profits incidental to such extraordinary occasions as this. 

You will find horse-dealers and horse-stealers, rogues of every description, white, black, brown 
and red ; half-breeds, quarter-breeds and no breed at all ; dealers in pigs, poultry and potatoes ; 
men pursuing Indian claims, some for tracts of land, others for pigs which the wolves had doubt- 
less eaten, but which, no matter, the Indians might be made to pay for . . . sharpers of every 
degree, peddlers, grog-sellers, Indian agents and Indian traders, and contractors to supply the 
Indians with food. The little village was in an uproar from morning to night and from night to 
morning; for during the hours of darkness . . . the Indians howled, sang, wept, yelled and 
\vhoopedintheirvariousencampments . . . One chaos of mud, rubbish and confusion. Frame 
and clapboard houses were springing up daily under the active axes and hammers of the speculators. 
. . . Races frequently occurred on a piece of level sward without the village. . . . " Stim- 
ulating," betting and gambling were the order of the 
day ... I loved to stroll out, toward sunset, across 
the river [North Branch], and gaze upon the level 
horizon over the surface of the prairie. Not far from 
the river lay many groups of tents constructed of 
coarse canvas, blankets and mats, and surmounted by 
poles supporting meat, moccasins and rags. Their 
vicinity was always enlivened by various painted 
Indian figures dressed in the most gaudy attire. 

Randolph, Lake and Water streets 
and their crossings, from State to 
Market, must have been a very pan- 
demonium in our view, but to the 
Indians a very paradise ; for here, 
without labor or self-denial, they could 
freely enjoy the food and drink which 
it usually takes labor and self-denial 
to provide. Why should they hurry ? This might go on forever, 
for aught they cared. To the opening speech of Commissioner 
Porter, which stated that their great father in Washington had heard 
that they wished to sell their land, they promptly replied that their 
great father "must have seen a bad bird which told him a lie ; for that 
far from wishing to sell their land, they wished to keep it." And when 
further pressed they looked at the sky, saw a few wandering clouds, and 
straightway adjourned sine die; as the weather was not clear enough for 
so solemn a council. 

In vain the signal gun from the fort gave notice of an assemblage 
of chiefs. After weeks of delay, a council fire was at last lighted in an 
open shed on the north bank of the river. 

The relative positions of the commissioners and other whites before the council fire and that 
of the Red Children of the Forest and Prairie were to me strikingly impressive. The glorious light 
of the setting sun, streaming in under the low roof of the council house, fell full on the faces of the 




former as they faced the west, while the pale light of the east hardly lighted up the dark and 
painted lineaments of the poor Indians whose souls evidently clove to their birthright in that quar- 
ter. . . The business of arranging the terms of an Indian treaty, whatever it might have been 
200 years ago, while the Indians had not, as now, thrown aside the vigorous intellectual character 
which distinguished many among them, now lies chiefly between the various agents, traders, credit- 
ors and half-breeds, on whom custom and necessity have made the degraded chiefs dependent, and 
the Government agents. When the former have seen matters so far arranged that their self-interest 
and various schemes and claims are likely to be fulfilled and allowed, the silent acquiescence of the 
Indian follows as a matter of course. 

Following out the suggestion contained in the final words above 
quoted, and looking up the treaty itself as recorded in the " Book of 
Indian Treaties," one comes upon some curious facts. The chief open- 
ing for questionable practices seems to have lain in the " reservation " of 
funds, not demanded or received by the Indians, but allotted to everyone 
who could get his claim allowed by the Commissioners. $100,000 was 
to go from the Government " to satisfy sundry individuals in behalf of 
whom reservations [of land] were asked, which the Commissioners 
refused to grant," according to " Schedule A." Next $150,000 to satisfy 
claims made against the said United Nation [Indians] which they have 
admitted to be justly due, according to " Schedule B." 

Now, turning to the details of the treaty, we find under the two 
Schedules some 500 or more names of persons to receive from $100 
to $17,000 apiece. Searching through the long list we come to several 
old friends. Beside persons of Indian blood, like the Ouillemettes, 
Beatibiens, Chief Robinson, Billy Caldwell, Indian children of John K. 
Clark, etc., we find "Margaret Hall" and her children and grand- 
children, designated by names which identify this as the line of the elder 
of the "captive girls" so often named, including William and James 
(Kinzie) and David (Hall), her sons, remembered to the amount of 
$5,000. Again James Kinzie, by himself, $5,000 and $300. Also, John 
H., Ellen M. (Wolcott), Maria (Hunter) and Robert A. Kinzie, 
$5,000 each, and Margaret Helm, $2,000. Indeed, everybody near by, 
except the Clybourns, seems to have got a slice. Mr. Hurlbut says : 

One gentleman . . . was present at the treaty and was familiar with the whole proceedings 
whose ideas of the business scarcely accorded with those who would commend the actions of our 
Government officials on that occasion. . . "It is all clear upon my mind [he says], and I pre- 
sume I know it better than any other man that can be found at this date. . . You or hardly any 
other man can imagine what was done, or how ridiculous the whole thing was carried on or closed 
up. It should have been conducted upon principles of truth and justice, but the whole thing was a 
farce, acted by those in office in our Government."* 

At first blush, the allotments of money to the Kinzie claimants 
seem to bear out the slurs of Mr. Hurlbut's anonymous correspondent ; 
but further examination brings more light. We have seen how, on 
August I5th, 1812, all the savings of John Kinzie's long life of toil, 

The Senate, in ratifying the treaty, directed that the claims should be examined by a commissioner and only 
such amounts be paid as should be found justly due. (This may have been the expectation when the claims were 

hue men s 
interest in 


danger and privation were taken from him by violence, and how he then 
went from comparative riches to absolute poverty, from which he never 
emerged. The old homestead, sanctified by the memory of long and 
boundless hospitality to all comers, white or red, fell into disrepair, 
squalor and neglect, and the fine family, those who survived of it, 
sought refuge with a humble fellow-townsman (Beaubien), who enter- 
tained them as best he could, thus following the example of beneficence 
set to us all by our first pioneer, his guest, John Kinzie (Shaw-nee- 

The loss so suffered was surely not less than $30,000, and now for 
twenty years it had been borne in helpless silence. Meanwhile the 
respect and affection entertained for " Shaw-nee-aw-kee " by the Indians 
had been of immense value to the Government and citizens of the 
Union ; not merely in their daily intercourse, but in the negotiation of 
two great treaties, yielding incalculable benefit to us and our kind 

Both parties to this latest treaty were in a measure bound to make 
good the Kinzies' loss; the Government, because it had failed to give its 
citizen the protection against alien enemies which he had a right to 
claim ; the Indians, because they were the aliens who destroyed the 
property. On the whole, one is disposed to wish that the sums named 
may have been paid, together with such of the other " reservations " as 
were equally well founded. 

Apropos to all this ; one observes that old Shaubena (called "Sha- 
bonee" by Hurlbut), who had been the constant and invaluable friend 
of the white man all the latter part of his life, whose name appears as a 
signer to the main treaty and to each supplementary article, has no place 
T shL a u S bena ld in tne "reserved" lists. True, we find a separate clause aimed toward 
giving him two sections of land ; but that clause was stricken out by 
the Senate at the confirmation of the treaty. White friends "chipped 
in," bought him a few acres near Morris, and built him a house. There 
he died in 1859. Probably if more had been given him he would have 
died sooner, for he was an Indian, and his own worst enemy. 

The money paid and the goods delivered, the Indians shook the 
dust off their feet and departed; the dust-shaking being literal, for 
once, as 'they joined, just before starting, in a final "war-dance." For 
this strange scene we fortunately have as witness ex-Chief Justice Caton, 
previously quoted herein. He estimates the dancers at 800, that being 
all the braves that could be mustered out of the 5,000 members then 
present of the departing tribes. The date was August 18, 1853. He says : 

They appreciated that it was the last on their native soil that it was a sort of funeral ceremony 
of old associations and memories, and nothing was omitted to lend to it all the grandeur and 



solemnity possible. . . . They assembled at the Council House [northeast corner of Rush and 
Kinzie streets]. All were naked except a strip of cloth around the loins. Their bodies were covered 
\vithagreatvarietyofbrilliantpaints. On their faces particularly they seemed to have exhausted 
their art of hideous decoration. Foreheads, cheeks and noses were covered with curved stripes of 
red or vermilion, which were edged with black points and gave the appearance of a horrid grin. The 
long, coarse black hair was gathered into scalp locks on the tops of theirheads and decorated with a 
profusion of hawks' and eagles' feathers, some strung together so as to extend down the back nearly 
to the ground. They were principally armed with tomahawks and war-clubs. They were led by 
what answered for a band of music which created a discordant din of hideous noises, produced by 
beating on hollow vessels and striking sticks and clubs together. They advanced with a continued 
dance. Their actual progress was quite slow. They proceeded up along the river on the North Side, 


'^- s 

,. '* 


stopping in front of every house to perform some extra antics. They crossed the North Branch on 
the old bridge, about Kinzie street, and proceeded south to the bridge which stood where Lake street 
bridge is now, nearly in front and in full view from the Sauganash Hotel [Wigwam lot, Lake and 
Market streets]. A number of young married people had rooms there. The parlor was in the 
second story fronting west, from the windows of which the best view of the dance was to be had, 
and these were filled with ladies. 

The young lawyer, afterward Chief Justice, had come to the West 
in 1833, and less than a year before this had gone back to Oneida 
County, New York, and there married Miss Laura Sherrill ; and they 
are probably the oldest Chicago couple now living. They were among 
the lookers on from those upper windows ; a crowd all interested, many 
agitated and some really frightened at the thought of the passions and 
memories that must be inflaming those savage breasts and that were 
making them the very picture of demoniac fury. 

Although the din and clatter had been heard for some time, they did not come into view, from 
this point of observation, till they had proceeded so far west [on the North Side] as to come on a line 

The Farewell 
War Dance 

in 1835. 



with the house . . . All the way to the South Branch bridge . . . cameMhe wild band, which was 
in front as they came upon the bridge, redoubling their blows, closely followed by the warriors who 
had now wrought themselves into a perfect frenzy. 

The morning was very warm and the perspiration was pouring from them. Their counte- 
nances had assumed an expression of all the worst passions . . . fierce anger, terrible hate, dire 
revenge, remorseless cruelty all were expressed in their terrible features . . . Their toma- 
hawks and clubs were thrown and brandished in every direction ; . . . and with every step and 
every gesture they uttered the most frightful yells. . . . The dance consisted of leaps and spas- 
modic steps, now forward and now back or sidewise, the whole body distorted into every imagin- 
able position; most generally stooping forward with the head and face thrown up. the back arched 


down, first one foot thrown far forward and withdrawn and the other similarly thrust out, frequently 
squatting quite to the ground, and all with a movement almost as quick as lightning. . . . The 
yells and screams they uttered were broken up and multiplied and rendered all the more hideous 
by a rapid clapping of the mouth with the palm of the hand. . . . 

When the head of the column reached the hotel, while they looked up at the windows at the 
"chemokoman squaws," ... it seemed as if we had a picture of hell itself before us and a carnival 
of the damned spirits there confined . . They paused in their progress, for extra exploits, in front 
of Dr. John T. Temple's house, near the northwest corner of Lake and Franklin streets . . . and 
then again in front of the Tremont, on the northwest corner of Lake and Dearborn sts., where the 
appearance of ladies in the windows again inspired them with new life and energy. Thence they 
proceeded down to Fort Dearborn . . . where we will take a final leave of my old friends with 
more good wishes for their future welfare than I really dare hope will be realized. 

The Indians were conveyed to the lands selected for them (and 
accepted by a deputation sent by them in advance of the treaty) in 
Clay County, Missouri, opposite Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The 
Missourians were hostile to their new, strange neighbors, and two years 
later they were again moved ; this time to a reservation in Iowa, near 


Council Bluffs. Once more the fate of the poor waif, "move on, move 
on," was theirs, and then they halted in Kansas for many years. 

At the present time (1891) it is hard to trace the Indians who 
departed hence fifty-six years ago. They are lost tribes. The report 
for 1890 of the Commissioner of Indian affairs gives Pottawatomies of 
various descriptions scattered in many places. The same is true of the 
Ottawas and Chippewas. 

The larger part of the Pottawatomies (known of old as the " Woods 
Band" in contradistinction to the "Prairie Band") have renounced 
tribal relations and are known as the "Citizen Band." They number 
scarcely two thousand souls and occupy a thirty-mile square 575,000 
acres in Oklahoma. 

The Commissioner's report says but little about them, giving more 
attention to the "Prairie Band," since they are still a tribe and so 
"wards of the nation." They number only 462, and hold in common 
77, 357 acres in Kansas, where they are cloinsr fairly, but are pestered Present state 

* *" J O J' l of the same 

with the dregs of the "Citizen Band" who fall back on the tribe like Tribei 
the returned prodigal only unrepentant, and still fit company only for 
the husk-eating swine. 

Of the "Citizen Band" Special Agent Porter says: 

The Pottawatomies are citizens of the United States, thoroughly tinctured with white blood. 
Nearly all of them speak English and read and write. Some of them are quite wealthy, being good 
farmers, with large herds of stock. Their morals are below the standard, considering their advanced 
state as a civilized people. 

So, once more, "Good-bye, Indians." It was said of old " The first 
Chicago white man was black;" and it may almost as truly be said " The 
last Chicago red man is white," seeing that they are behaving them- 
selves so much like their neighbors. 

, X 





ning of 


F the decade from 182010 1830 was a dull 
and moveless one, the next was humming 
with coming things. Some of the most 
important and far-reaching occurrences of 
our history date back to the fourth decade. 
The canal now took shape, for in 1827 
Daniel P. Cook, Illinois' representative in 
Congress, had obtained the passage of the 
bill granting alternate sections of land for 
six miles on each side of the line to aid in 
its building.* 

It was long years after the canal was 
"begun," in the sense of preliminary 
arrangement, before it assumed physical 
form. To use the Western phrase, the "wind-work" had to be done 
before the earth-work could begin. It was a struggle to get the land- 
donation bill through Congress; another to decide on the plan, size and 
location ; another to get money for the work. The last was only 
accomplished after, by another struggle, the State had been induced to 
guarantee the bonds. The first earth-work was the building of "Archer's 
Road" (now Archer avenue) from Chicago to Lockport an outlay 
($40,000) which was a great aid to the canal, but which was opposed 
as a "job" because Colonel Archer, canal commissioner, had property 
at Lockport. 

At last, on July 4, 1836, there was a grand celebration of inaugura- 
tion. A gay crowd, composed of citizens and invited guests, assembled 
in Court House square, the signal being given by three guns fired from 
the fort. The officers of the day were J. B. F. Russell, marshal ; and 
as aides, E. D. Taylor, Robert Kinzie, G. W. Snow, J. S. C. Hogan, H. 
Hubbard and W. Kimball. At n A. M. the steamer Chicago started 
from Dearborn street, loaded with excursionists, and followed by the 
schooners Sea Serpent and Llewellin and other craft, all towed by horses. 

* For this service we owe him much thanks, and our chief acknowledgment thus far is the naming our county 
after him when it was organized in 1831. Senators Thomas, Edwards and Kane were also efficient in forwarding the 
great measure, and the two latter were honored by giving their names to Edwards and Kane counties. 



The land procession moved on foot, on horseback and in carriages, and 
all assembled at the " New House" at Canal-Port (Bridgeport). 

In the good old fashion, the exercises were opened by the reading 
of the Declaration of Independence. This was done by Judge Smith. 
Next came an eloquent address by Dr. William B. Egan, our early wit and 
humorist, still regretted by a thousand old friends and admirers. Gurdon 
Hubbard followed, recalling and describing to his hearers the condition 
of the place when, eighteen years before, he had ascended the lonely 
Portage Creek in a canoe. Then the crowd adjourned to the canal 
site where Colonel Archer "turned the first shovelful of earth." 

Does any reader suppose that all was now plain sailing ? Far frbm 
it. The pinch was yet to come in fact, several pinches. The incredibly 
foolish " Internal Improvement Act," 
of 1837, was passed Abraham Lin- 
coln, member of the legislature, one 
of its warmest supporters and wild 
inflation followed. By 1839 a million 
and a quarter had been laid out and 
the commissioners were at their wits' 
end to find means to proceed. The 
scheme was adopted for issuing 
" Canal Scrip," in denominations 
running from $i to $100, and some 
$400,000 of it were given out in all 
when, about 1842, Illinois failed to 
pay the interest on her debt; money 
was gone, credit was gone, and work 
was suspended. More than four and 
a half millions had been spent, and 
nothing finished. 

Pausing only long enough to catch its breath, enterprise began 
again. Arthur Bronson.of New York, and William B. Ogden, Justin But- 
terfield and Isaac N. Arnold, of Chicago, were a self-constituted council 
of war to carry on the fight. A well known scrap of soldier-wisdom is 
that toward the end of every well contested battle there comes a pause, 
a crisis, wherein he who takes the initiative wins the clay. So it was 
here. To quote Mr. Blanchard (p. 449): "Work was now resumed on 
the canal, and under the able and honest administration of these trustees 
[Capt. Wm. H. Swift, U. S. A. ; David Leavitt, of the Am. Ex. Bank, 
N. Y., and Jacob Fry, of Illinois] it was finished April 19, 1848, and on 
May i, 1871, the last dollar 'of the canal debt was paid, and the canal 
itself, with its unsold lands, and nearly $100,000 surplus in the treasury, 
was given up to the State." 


under dif- 


One of the "alternate Sections" granted by the Act of Congress of 

1827 chanced to be Section 9, Town 39 North, in Range 13 East of the 

3d Principal Meridian, and that was the tract embracing the very centre 

original Town o f the coming metropolis, for its boundaries are Chicago avenue on the 


north, State street on the east, Madison street on the south and 
Halsted street on the west. 

On this square mile the Canal Commissioners Dr. Jayne, of 
Springfield; Edmund Roberts, of Kaskaskia, and Charles Dunn pro- 
ceeded, in 1830, to lay out the town; 
James Thompson, a St. Louis sur- 
veyor, being employed to do the 
platting and measurements. Of 
course the commissioners did not 
include the whole Section a square 
mile must have seemed too absurdly 
large for Chicago. 

They established and named, as 
the North and-South streets, State, 
Dearborn, Clark, LaSalle, Wells, 
Franklin, Market, Canal, Clinton, 
Ijefferson and Desplaines; as East- 
fand-West streets they made Kinzie, 
Carroll, Water, Lake, Randolph, 
Washington and Madison. This 
makes about three -eighths of a 
square mile ; say two hundred and 
forty acres. One would like to have 

been an unseen observer of the conclave which named these streets. 
Being State officers, they naturally fixed first on State for a name. 
At the same time they were good enough to honor the pioneer, Dr. 
Alexander Wolcott, by giving his name to the continuation of State 
street, north of the river. 

The locality (being one wherein the Fort was by far the most im- 
portant factor) almost compelled the choice of Dearborn for the next. 
Then some one very likely Mr. Edmunds, of Kaskaskia insisted on 
the honored patronymic of the early hero, George Rogers Clark, the 
captor (1778) of Kaskaskia, and thus savior of the whole Northwest. 
Two other Chicago worthies followed, LaSalle (1682) and Wells 
(1812), after which (the supply of local heroes seeming to fail) they 
fell back on National dignitaries. Franklin, Clinton and Jefferson 
came in for their share, interspersed with Market, Water and Canal for 
especial local reasons. 

DR. \VM. B. EGAN. 


For the lateral streets, similar principles prevailed. Kinzie came 
in for local distinction, Water and Lake for physical reasons, and 
Carroll, Randolph, Washington 
and Madison for national con- 

Many lots were sold at 
auction the same year (1830) 
and brought from ten to two 
hundred dollars each. 

Directly south of section 
nine, in every township, lies 
section sixteen.f By the 1 
munificence of the general 
government, its noble gener-i 
osity and far - seeing shrewd-j 
ness, it has given, at one stroke, ' 
one-thirty-sixth of all its do- 
mains to the cause of educa- 
tion, by dedicating the section 
numbered sixteen in every 
township to the public (free) 
schools of that township. This 
was begun in 1802, when Ohio 
(first of the States carved out 
of Virginia's concession) was admitted to the Union, and has been fol- 
lowed up by further legislation. 

'Attention is invited to the carefully prepared folding map, bound up with this volume ; which gives first the 
meandering line which was the wild, lonely, bird-haunted lake shore in the forgotten ages when Michigan flowed 
southward, as described in Chapter I. Besides this, the map gives the succeeding lines of city limits, with the date of 
each enlargement down to the last hitherto. 

tit is well worth while to learn the admirable system 
pursued in the United States government surveys ; whereby 
every acre of the broad domain is separately traceable; being 
fixed and named (or possible to be named) distinct from every 
otheracre. First, the township (six miles square) is designated 
by p. certain number, in a certain range, east (or west) of a 
certain meridian; next, each section (a mile square) is desig- 
nated by number in that township. Thereafter the parts of 
the section are identified by the points of the compass. To 
illustrate: The "Canal Section* 1 above-mentioned is (and for- 
ever will be) "Section 9, Township 39, North, in Range 14, 
West of the sd Principal Meridian ; " and the portion platted 
*; (so far as it lies east of Market street) is the southeast quarter 
of that section. 

An understanding of this system should be given in 
every school in the land. It is simple, yet too vast to be more 
than indicated here. A plat giving the location and numbering 
of the sections in each township is here presented. Every 
township and every section (except where interfered with by 
lakes, or by the ** narrowing " of the earth as it approaches the 
pole) is like every other. 

The system was devised in 1802, by Col. Mansfield, then 
surveyor of the North-Western Territory. His name deserves 
to be known, for his services to us all are inestimable. 










- - J 

























































8 --- 




Reference to the plat of any township will show the relative places 
of Sections 9 and 16. The latter in Town 39, 13, 3, is bounded by Madi- 
son, State, Twelfth and Halsted streets. Thus it will be seen that in our 
favored spot the two most valuable square miles of land were a free 
gift from our country for public uses, the first for the Illinois and Michi- 
gan canal, our primal source of material prosperity; the second for our 
free school system, the perennial spring of moral progress. 

The sale of the school section was the greatest administrational 
blunder or crime in our annals. The tract (640 acres) was divided 
into 142 blocks perhaps 5,000 lots among the most valuable both 
for wharfing and building purposes in the present city. Suppose 
these to have been leased instead of sold (say upon fifty-year leases, in 
order that lessees should have proper inducement to build upon them), 
they would now constitute an educational " foundation " beside which 
Oxford, Edinburgh and Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Colum- 
bia, all shrink to insignificance. At a rough guess the sum may be 
placed at $100,000,000. 

In view of such a terrible sacrifice of public interest to private 
train, it seems as if it mi<jht even to-day be good policy to enact 

Sale of the _ ' . , 

that no "school-land " in the country should ever be alienated in per- 
petuity ; that fifty years' leasehold should be the limit, forever. 

The Town Commissioners must 
have been the layers-out of the Sec- 
tion (the original plat was burned 
in 1871), but they seem only to 
have named the streets as occasion 
might require ; for in the first 
record of town council proceedings 
in the first Chicago newspaper 
(John Calhoun's "Chicago Demo- 
crat"), among the orders passed was 
one giving the names Madison, 
Monroe, Adams and Jackson to the 
four streets next south of Wash- 

The best history of the earliest 
days of Chicago schools is con- 
tained in a pamphlet, written in 
1851 by W. H. Wells, which was 

RICHARD I. HAMILTON. 11-11 c~\ i i i i 

embodied by bnepnerd Johnston 
(clerk of the Board of Education), in a larger book published in 1881. 



This again is the basis of a very full and. complete treatment of the 
subject by Captain Andreas in his excellent work of 1884. 

Mr. Wells gives the text of a petition (not dated) praying the 
commissioner of school lands, Richard J. Hamilton (ar. 1831), to sell 
the school section. The petition bore 95 names, " embracing most of 
the principal citizens of the town." But Mr. Hurlbut hints that if only 
genuine signatures and citizenship be taken into account they would 
fall far below that number. 

Not all Chicagoans were in favor of this disposition of the school 
section. The most noted, persistent and determined opponent was that 
good man and good citizen, Philo Carpenter (ar. 1832). He used all 
his powers of persuasion, first, that the sale be deferred ; next, that only 
alternate blocks be sold. All in vain; 138 blocks were sold for $38,- 
619.47, and four only retained. The four retained are: block i (Madi- 
son, Halsted, Monroe and Union streets); blocks 87 and 88 (Harrison 
street, Fifth avenue, Polk street and 
the river), and block 142 (Madison, 
State, Monroe and Dearborn streets); 
the last named alone worth two hun- 
dred times the entire purchase price 
of the 138 blocks that were sold. (At 
the same time it is worthy of note 
that a contemporary of "Deacon 
Carpenter," still living, says, " Oh, 
yes; the Deacon had an addition of 
his own just west of the School Sec- 
tion, which he wanted a chance to 
sell first ! ") 

Well, the land speculators 
triumphed and got possession of 
their prey, but in most cases a< 
very few years saw the end of 
their rejoicing, for the panic of 1837 pricked the bubble and universal 
bankruptcy, as usual, followed upon universal inflation. 

The wish to present the topographical start of the city, as exemplified 
by the laying out and naming of its first streets, an operation which 
moulded its outward aspect forever, has led us ahead of the chronolog- 
ical course of events. 

Notice has already been taken of the establishment of a ferry by 
Clybourn & Miller.* 

* The ferriage fees were as follows : 

Foot passengers, 6%" cents; man and horse, 12}^ cents; one-horse wagon, 25 cents; two- horse or ox wagon, 37^ 
cents; mules and neat cattle, 10 cents; hog, sheep or goat, 3 cents; each ico weight of goods, wares, and merchandize and 
each bushel of grain or other article sold by the bushel, 6*4 cents. 


The charges were liberal, but as citizens of Cook County were 
exempt, and as strangers were few and far between, the business lan- 
guished, and by 1831 everybody had to paddle his own canoe. Then 
Ferriage. Mark Beaubien bought a scow from Miller for $65, and went to ferry- 
ing ; but we may imagine that he, too, grew tired of working gratis for 
his neighbors and needed spurring up, for the County Commissioners 
passed an order that he should ferry citizens of Cook County over 
"from daylight to dark without stopping." 

The year 1831 saw a startling innovation. A bridge was built over 
the South Branch, between Lake and Randolph streets. What is still 
more striking is the way it was paid for: $286.20 by white citizens, and 
$200 by the Pottawatomies. This little bit of intelligence puts our red 
brethren in a better light than any other circumstance we have yet 


met. Hurlbut says this bridge stood till 1840. A picture of the United 
States Hotel (West Side), taken in 1839 an ^ here reproduced, shows 
this old bridge. 

A foot-bridge was thrown across the north branch in 1832. not far 
from the present Kinzie street bridge. Both these bridges being low 
wooden structures, it is evident that no navigation of either branch by 
lake craft was possible. The idea was then, doubtless, to leave the 
main river clear to serve as a harbor. Nevertheless, the many on land 
gradually prevailed over the few afloat ; or, rather, expedients were 
devised for the compromise of the contending interests; means which 
endure (though with vast improvements) to this day. 



The first draw-bridge was thrown across the river at Dearborn 
street in 1834, by Nelson R. Norton (1833). Mr. Hurlbut (quoting the 
"Times") says: 

It was of the " gallows frame " pattern, and for five years the two "gallows frames," one on 
either side of the river, frightened timid people at night. The structure was about 300 feet long 
and the opening for the passage of craft was about sixty feet. The draw worked by chain cables 
and opened with cranks." 

Mr. Wentworth (Fergus 1 Hist. Series, No. 8) gives a letter from 
its builder. 

I came to Chicago November 16, 1833. Soon after I arrived I commenced cutting the 
lumber for a draw-bridge on land adjoining Michigan avenue, afterward owned by Hiram Pearson. 
In March, 1834, I commenced building it, and I think it was completed by the first of June. The 


first steamboat that passed through it was the old Michigan, with a double engine. The first 
freight taken down the lakes was in 1834, being a lot of hides from cattle that had been slaughtered 
for the U. S. troops. 

On the bridge question there was a merry war for some years, two 
wars it maybe said; one by the jealous South-siders who wanted to keep 
all the trade from crossing the river ; another by people of all sides who 
preferred ferries. The "prairie schooners," covered wagons, had begun 
coming in great numbers, often 500 a day, bringing grain in what seemed 
then large quantities. They halted on the military reservation over 
night and crossed (if they could) next morning to the grain warehouses 
which were all on the North Side. 


In 1839 the Council ordered the removal of the Dearborn street 
bridge of 1834, and so afraid were its enemies that the Council might 
change its mind that a number of men attacked it with axes before the 
dawn of the following day and soon chopped it to pieces. It may be 
asked why the South-siders did not provide warehouses of their own ; 
to which the answer doubtless is that the whole south bank of the river 
was a miry swamp except at the eastern part, and that was held for the 
military reservation. The bridge article in the Times reads as follows : 

The North Side warehouses were in sore distress. They needed a connection with the other 

two towns. The council was equally divided. At the time when the question was at its height, 

O t Messrs. Newberry and Ogden presented to the Catholic Ecclesiastical authorities the two blocks 

Bridge built, now occupied by their cathedral [North State and Superior streets]. It was said at the time that the 

present was to influence votes on the bridge question. It undoubtedly was. The North Side won 

her bridge. Mayor Raymond cast the deciding vote. A float-bridge was thereupon built at Clark 

street, and the North Side siege was raised. That was the end of the bridge question of 1840.* 

Another momentous physical event of those days was the opening 
of the way from river to lake and from lake to river. 

It has been already said that natural causes combine to produce a 
constant current of sand to the southward along our shore, f This 
drifting mass, battling with the outflow of every river even every little 
streamlet on this side, of the lake, pushes its mouth toward the south 
and deposits sand outside its deflected course. Walk along the shore 
where one will, and observe any rill entering the lake unguided; he will 
find it following its "line of least resistance" by turning to the right 
and losing itself gradually in a shallow ooze. 

The Chicago river was an example in large of these phenomena 
in little. Its general eastern course met a broad, strong bank of sand 
just after passing the fort, and it only managed to accomplish its manifest 
destiny down at about Madison and Monroe streets, where, over a long 
shallow, it mingled its stream with the lake. At low water, one could 
wade from the sand spit to the mainland near Park Row. At high 
water, light draught barges could get f>ver. 

Major Lydecker (Blanchard, p. 540) gives the general facts of the 
change. Congress, in 1833, voted $25,000 for improving the "harbor at 
Chicago, on Lake Michigan." A direct cut was made through the sand 
spit from the bend in the river to the lake. A "revetment " (facing or 
retaining wall) was placed on the north side of the cut, and from the 

* Ex-Gov. Bross says : "The bridges over the Chicago river in 1848 were a curiosity. One end was fixed on a 
pivot in the wooden abutment, and the other was placed upon a large square box or boat. When it was necessary to 
open the bridge for the passage of vessels, a chain, fastened on or near the shore on the side of the pier, some distance 
from it, was wound up by a capstan on the float end of the bridge, thus opening it. It was closed in the same manner by a 
chain on the opposite side of it. Our present (1876) excellent pivot bridges were introduced, and I think invented, by 
City Superintendent Harper, about 1850, or soon afterward. 

t Between 1870 and 1875 the United States "River and Harbor" appropriations were used to build the outer 
pier, which runs parallel with Michigan avenue some quarter of a mile or so out in the lake; and in 1875-80 the north out- 
side pier was built to furnish a harber of refuge in northeasterly gales. The total expenditure from 1833 to iS8o was 
$1,008,005, representing 14.500 lineal feet of piers and breakwaters nearly two and three-quarter miles. Almost all the 
work has been done under the direction oi Major Lydecker, Engineer, V. S. A. 


* ^*- 



outer extremity of the revetment a pier was built out into the lake 
about 1,000 feet, the beginning- of the present "North Pier," which has 
been repeatedly lengthened since that time. This pier at once began 
to catch and hold back the sand, "which, moving south along the lake 
shore under the influence of the littoral current, would soon have closed 
the outlet and left matters as bad as before." * 

While the north pier was in progress the cut was widened to 200 
feet and revetted on the South Side. At about the same time the old 
channel leading southward was closed by a line of cribs filled with stone 
and sunk across its course. Judge Caton remembers the fact that as 
these cribs were sunk, the current, in its effort to follow its old course, 
cut the sand away from under their eastern edges, so that they lay in a 
slanting position; and to this day, at low water, one may see the old 
crib timbers sloping downward toward the deep water, along the face of 
the Goodrich steamboat dock east of Rush street bridge. 

Man having shown his courage and strength, nature gracefully 
yielded the point, ceased her resistance and even lent him her help to 
satisfy his fruitful desire. A great freshet in the spring of 1834 effectu- 
ally established the new channel, and on July 12, 1834, the schooner 
Illinois was pulled over the bar and sailed up the river amid the accla- 
mations of the citizens. The builder of Dearborn street draw-bridge 
says: "The first steamboat that passed through it was the old Michigan, 
with a double engine." No doubt that the schooner with all her spars, 
together with the steamboat with her double engine, could have been 
snugly stowed away out of sight in the hold of one of our modern 2,500 
ton propellers, endowed with a carrying capacity of 100,000 bushels of 
grain ; but we must creep before we walk. 

So, we were coming along. The streets so-called were a sea of 
mud when it rained and a storm of dust when the dry southwest wind 
raged. The most approved vehicle for society ladies was a stout ox 
cart with hay in the bottom. The cart could back up to the door of 
the fair passenger to allow her to mount, plod through the mire to the 
house of feasting and back up to its door to discharge its pleasure-seek- 
ing load. Many a dame now among us remembers those expeditions 
and is quite ready to admit that there was as much pleasure in them as 
in the more elegant style of modern merrymaking certainly, for those 
who were then young and now are young no longer. 

Lake schooners in the river ; prairie schooners in the roads, mud in 
the streets, music in the parlors and hope in the hearts Chicago is 
fairly going ahead at last. 

* The prevailing-southwest wind, blowing the waves obliquely toward the eastern shore of the lake, causes a 
northward current on that side, while the equilibrium is restored by a back-flow along the west shore, where the pro- 
tection of the land measurably lessens the effect of the wind upon the water. 


Schools and 



5 URN ING now once more from 
the physical to the moral aspect 
of the awakening community, we 
come to the beginning of its peda- 
gogic life. Stephen Forbes, in 
June, 1830, was employed by J. B. 
Beaubien, Lieutenant Hunter, and 
others, to teach the children then 
living in and around the fort. He 
lived and kept school in a large, 
low, five-room structure built of 
logs squared on two sides. It 
a, stood near the river outlet (Madi- 
son street), was known as the 
Dean House, and belonged to 
J. B. Beaubien. Mr. Forbes taught 
the boys in one room, Mrs. Forbes 
scholars num- 

the girls in another. The 
bered about twenty-five ; two the children 
of a soldier in the fort, the rest mainly French 
and half-breed Indians. 

This is usually called the beginning of 
school teaching in Chicago, because schools 
were continuously maintained thereafter. 
There had been before sporadic and occa- 
sional efforts in the line. In the winter of 
1810-11, Robert A. Forsyth, aged thirteen, 
essayed to open to John H. Kinzie, aged 
eleven, the gateway of all human 
knowledge, using as a key a spell- 
ing book which by chance had 
arrived at the little frontier post.* 

In 1816, William L. Cox, a discharged soldier, taught John H. 

Mrs. Kinzie (Fergus' Scries No. 10) says that her husband "loved to describe his delight when, upon one 
occasion, among the stores brought by the annual schooner, a spelling book was drawn forth and presented to him. His 
cousin, Robert Forsyth, at that time a member of his father's family, undertook to teach him to read, and . . . the 
exercises gave to the pupil a pleasant association with the fragrance of green tea, which always kept that spelling boo 
fresh in his mind." 




Kinzie, R. A. Kinzie and their sisters, Ellen and Maria, and three or 
four children from the fort, in a small log building behind the Kinzie 

house, at about the present crossing of Pine and 
Michigan streets. Again, in 1820, a small school 
is said to have been kept by a sergeant, within 
the fort. Very touching seem these little strug- 
gles toward knowledge. They suggest the eager 
leaning of a sun-loving plant, in a dark room, 
toward any ray of light that peers through even 
a crevice looking to the free sky. 

John Watkins, writing to the Old Settlers' 
reception in 1879, says: 

I asrived in Chicago in May, 1832. . . I commenced 
teaching in the fall, after the Black Hawk War, 1832. My first 
school-house was situated on the North Side, about half-way 
between the lake and the forks of the river. The building 
belonged to Colonel Richard J. Hamilton, was erected as a 

horse-stable and had been used as such. It was twelve feet square. My benches and desks were 

made of old store-boxes. The school was started by private subscription. Thirty scholars were sub- 

scribed for. But many subscribed who had no children. So it was a sort of free school, there not 

being thirty children in town. During my first quarter I had but twelve scholars, and only four of 

them were white. The others were quarter, half and 

three quarters Indian. . . .In the winter of 1832-3, 

Billy Caldwell, a half-breed chief of the Pottawatomie 

Indians, better known as the Sauganash, offered to pay 

the tuition and provide books for all Indian children 

who would attend school if they would dress like the 

Americans, and he would also pay for their clothes. 

But not a single one would accept the proposition con- 

ditioned on the change of apparel. 

I will now give you the names of some of my 

scholars: Thomas, William and GeorgeOwen; Richard 

Hamilton; Alexander, Philip and Henry Beaubien, and 

Isaac N. Harmon. (Wells' sketch.) 

In the autumn of 1833, Miss Eliza 
Chappel (afterward Mrs. Jeremiah 
Porter, of Green Bay) opened an infant 
school of about twenty children, in a log 
house on South Water street, a short 
distance west of the fort enclosure. 
Some of the garrison children 
attended. In the latter part of the 
same year, Mr. Granville Temple ' / 

Sproat came from Boston and opened an English and classical school 
for boys at the corner of South Water and Franklin streets, in which, 
the spring of 1834, Miss Sarah L. Warren (afterward Mrs. A. E. Car- 
penter, of Warrenville, Wis.) was engaged as assistant. 

In 1834 an appropriation was made to Miss Chappel from the 




Town School Fund (proceeds of lots) and the school taught by her at 
that time, in the First Presbyterian church (west side of Clark street, 
between Lake and Randolph streets'* was properly the first public 
school of Chicago. (Wells.)* 

A bit of " local color" appears in the following extract from a letter 
written in 1858 by Mrs. W'arren-Carpenter. 

My salary was $300 a year, and I think the gentleman teacher's. $600. ... I boarded at 
Elder Freeman's. His house must have been some four or five blocks southeast of the meeting- 
house, with scarce a house between. ... I used to go across without regard to streets. It 
was not uncommon in going to and from school to see prairie wolves, and we could hear them 
howl any time in the day. We were also frequently annoyed by Indians, but the greatest difficulty 
was mud. No person now can have a just idea of what Chicago mud used to be; rubbers were of 
no account. I got me a pair of gent's brogans and fastened them tight about the ankle, but would 

go over them in mud and water, and was obliged to 
get a pair of men's boots made. 

So the home-faring young school 
mistress, only fifty-seven years ago, 
walked at will, picking her steps 
through the mud, scaring the wolves 
and being scared by the Indians, over 
ground now covered by the huge Ash- 
land block, the Fullerton block, the 
Portland block, McVicker's theater, 
the Palmer House and the Pullman 
building, or other equally ponderous 
and important edifices. The many, 
many prints of those "gents' brogans," 
estimated as real estate, are worth per- 
haps scores of dollars apiece. 

Education, public and private, 
being thus fairly under way, need 
e followed no further at this point. 
The school leads up naturally to the Church ; and it chances to join 
on, in the case of Chicago, with peculiar fitness; for Minister Jeremiah 
Porter, already named as having married Schoolmistress Eliza Chappel, 
was almost, if not quite, the first Protestant clergyman regularly carry- 
ing on public worship here. He came here with the troops from Fort 
Brady, in 1833, and on Sunday, May igth, of that year, having had the 
garrison carpenter-shop cleared, cleaned and furnished with seats, Mr. 
Porter preacher his first sermon, taking as his text John xv, 8. The 
good man happily kept a journal from which much interesting informa- 

* Miss Chappel became Mrs. Porter in 1834. In a letter to Mr. Hurlbut, dated Fort Sill, Indian Territory, in 
1873, Mr. Porter says of her: " She began to teach in her native town of Geneseo, N. Y., more than fifty years ago, and 
now, after being the mother of nine children, and laboring in the hospitals of our country for four years [probably war 
times] and then carrying on the Rio Grande Female Seminary for three years, she is now, at this very hour, teaching at 
this post, from love of teaching and doing good." There ought to be some good men and women in Chicago, seeing that 
the virgin soil was tilted by such gardeners ! 




tion can be had. Among the early entries is this : "The first dreadful 
spectacle that met my eyes [on his first Sunday] was a group of Indians 
sitting on the ground before a miserable French dram-house playing 
cards, and as many trifling white men standing around to witness the 
game." (This seems to point toward our friend, Mark Beaubien, 
whose " Sauganash" was directly in Mr. Porter's road to and from the 
West Side.) 

Mr. Porter's sleeping-room (which 
was also his study ) was over the store 
of P. F. W. Peck, built in 1831 on South 
Water street, corner of LaSalle. This 
little building stood for many years. Mr. 
Hurlbut gives a picture of it (from a 
photograph by Hesler in 1855), which is 
here reproduced. It is the small wooden 
building on the right, showing two win- 
dows, one above the other. The lot is 
that now occupied by the store of Crerar, 
Adams & Co. The upper room is fre- 
quently mentioned in early records as the 
place for holding meetings of various kinds. Among other good uses, 
it was the occasional meeting-place of the first Sunday-school, organ- 
ized August 19, 1832, by Luther Childs, Mrs. Seth Johnson, the Misses 
Noble and Philo Carpenter. The Sunday-school library had about 
twenty small volumes, and this was fully one apiece for all the scholars 
and teachers. John S. Wright (ar. 1832) was librarian and used to 
carry the library to and from the school tied up in his handkerchief. 

P. F. W. Peck's name heads the roll of the first Chicago fire com- 
pany, which was organized on September 19, 1835, a year after the first 
serious fire is recorded. This disaster was the burning of three build- 
ings at the corner of Lake and LaSalle streets. The harrowing tale 
("Democrat," October 12, 1834) says that the total loss was $1,200. 
"There was in the house $220 in money; $125, being in Jackson 
money, was found in the ruins; the remainder, the rag currency, was 
destroyed." This throws a curious bit of "side light" on the currency 
troubles of those days, and shows that the Jacksonian " Democrat" 
was, as in duty bound, a " hard-money " organ. 

The Illinois Methodist Conference in 1831 sent the Rev. Jesse 
Walker to take charge of "The Chicago Mission/' accompanied by 
Rev. Stephen R. Beggs. They traveled on horseback (like so many 
devoted clergymen of their devoted, zealous and mighty organization) 
and arrived early in June from Plainfield, forty miles away, preaching 




their first sermons June 151)1 and i6th. " Father Walker " was not 

permanently settled in Chicago until 1832, and held his first quarterly 

meeting in the fall of 1833,* in a 
building long known as " Father 
Walker's log cabin." It stood on 
the West Side, near the junction 
of the north and south branches. 
" It served as parsonage, kitchen 
and church." The First Presby- 
terian Church held its meetings in 
this primitive temple for some 
time, because some of the church 
people objected to going to the 
fort to worship. 

The first Baptists known to be 
in Chicago were Mrs. Heald, wife 

of the unfortunate commander of the fort at the time of the massacre 

of 1812 ; and the Rev. Isaac McCoy, before mentioned as the faithful 

missionary to the Indians, and advocate of temperance. His journal 

reports that he attended the Indian 

payment made here in 1825, and 

adds: "On the Qth of October, 1825, 

I preached in English, which, as I 

am informed, was the first sermon 

ever delivered at or near that 

place." The First Baptist Church 

was organized October igth, 1833, 

by the Rev. Allen B. Freeman. 

The Society started with nineteen 

members only, but they seem to 

have been zealous and liberal souls, 

for they at once proceeded to build 

a church. It was a plain, wooden 

two-story house, near the corner of 

Franklin and South Water streets. FIRST CATHOLIC CHURCH. 

Its tipper story was used as a school, the lower for meetings. It was 

called "Temple Building, "and was used by Methodists, Presbyterians 

and Baptists in common until the others could provide places of their 

own. It took its name from the excellent Dr. J. T. Temple, who built it 

and allowed the infant churches to use it, paying such rent as they 

could afford. The Rev. Jesse Walker's log house on the West Side 

was the only place of worship earlier than this. 

* This would seem to give a slight priority to the Methodists ; though their organization up to the fall of 1833 
was, perhaps, strictly speaking, a mission rather than an independent, self-supporting church society. 



The year 1833 was also the initial year for Catholicism in Chicago 
or, rather, for a new connection with the Holy See, for the faith itself was 
professed here 150 vears previously, when Father Marquette offered it 
to the unresponsive savages. In 1833 St. Mary's Catholic Society was 
organized by Father St. Cyr, a French priest, sent from the diocese of 
St. Louis. The petition which led to this mission was written in 
French and was signed by T. J. V. Owen (nine in family), J. Bt. Beau- 
bien (fourteen), Joseph Lafram- 
boise (seven), Jean Pothier (five), 
Alexander Robinson (eight) and 
other familiar names. The first 
church building was put up on a 
" Canal-land" lot (near the south- 
west corner of Lake and State 
streets); and the Catholic Indian 
women cleaned and made ready 
the building for its first mass, and 
Catholic Indians joined in the 
service. A tower, open to the air, 
was built later, from which a bell, 
about the size of an engine bell, 
called the faithful to prayer, the 
earliest " church-going bell " which 
made itself heard in Chicago. 
Later, the church bought the lot 
on the southwest corner of Wabash 
avenue and Madison street, and to 
this day the massive warehouse 
on that lot is called " St. Mary's 
Block." (We have already seen 
how the block Superior and North State streets devoted to the 
Cathedral, "Church of the Holy Name"- - came to be given by Mr. 
Ogden and Mr. Newberry.) 

The first Episcopal service held in Chicago was in October, 1834, 
when the Rev. Palmer Dyer preached, by invitation, in the Presbyterian 
church, to St. James Episcopal Society, which was organized at or 
about the same time. The next service was held in the Baptist church, 
October igth, by the Rev. Mr. Hallam, who was the first pastor of the 
Society. After this, services were held in a building provided by John 
H. Kinzie, which stood at the southeast corner of Kinzie and State 
streets, and was later known as Tippecanoe Hall. In 1836 Mr. Kinzie 
gave the church two lots at the southwest corner of Kinzie and Cass 






streets, whereon a pretty wooden church, in 
1837. It is a relief to the dullness 
of history to record that Dr. Egan 
(the wit of the town for many 
years), in answering Mrs. J. H. 
Kinzie's natural question, " How 
do you like our church?" said: 
" Very much, indeed ; but won't the 
people think it is a little vain in 
John to put his initials so conspicu- 
ously over the pulpit?" He pre- 
tended to misread the " I. H. S." 
as " I. H. K. ;" and what sharpened 
the point of the joke was that St. 
James was sometimes called "the 
Kinzie Church." 

But St. James' people could 
afford to be laughed at, for the 
edifice cost, complete and furnished, 
$15,500, and, with a parsonage 
costing $4,000, was all paid for before a year passed. 

jothic style, was built in 


With 1830 a third great n- 
lightening force began its COL se 
in Chicago the mail service. ." r r. 
Wentworth says (Fergus' Hst. 
Series No. 7) that in that year 
Elijah Wentworth, Jr., carried the 
mail between Chicago and Niles, 
Michigan, once a month, the post- 
master being Jonathan N. Bailey, 
and the location of the office the 
old Kinzie mansion on the North 
Side. His daughter married John 
S. C. Hogan (ar. 1832), who in his 
turn became postmaster, the office 
: being then in the log cabin (north- 
east corner of Lake and South 
Water streets), built by him for the 
fur-trading business of Brewster, 
Hogan & Co. Mr. Hogan, besides 
being postmaster, fur trader, justice 
of the peace, alderman, lieutenant in the Black Hawk War, and possibly 




deputy sutler in the fort, was a land agent and a poet ! Mr. Hurlbut 
quotes the following effort in the line of the two latter vocations : 


There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet 
As that neat little vale on the banks of Salt Creek. 

A pre-emption right, for sale by the subscriber very cheap, it is only thirteen miles from Chicago. 
March 24th, 1834. 

Mr. Hurlbut adds that Mr. Hogan was one of the many who, over- 
loaded with mortgaged realty, went down in the crash of 1837. Mr. 
John Bates, Jr.- (ar. 1832), who 
took charge of the postoffice for 
Mr. Hogan in 1833, called Mr. 
Hogan "the best educated man in 
Chicago." Mr. Hurlbut further 
says that he was indulgent with his 
customers, and that he (Hurlbut) 
lias in his possession various notes 
of hand, given for goods, by Indians 
and half-breeds. "If any auto- 
graph-hunter of the present era 
wishes to invest in any such sort of 
stock, applications will be in order 
to purchase at a discount some of 
the veritable and rare signatures 
and obligations of a departed race." 

Dr. J. Nevins Hyde, in his 
interesting brochure, " Early Med- 
ical Chicago," gives the following item of mail news : 

Dr. Temple(i833) secured a contract for carrying the mail between Chicago and Ottawa. He 
obtained an elegant thorough-brace post-carriage from Detroit, which was shipped to this port via 
the lakes, and on the first of January, 1834, drove the first mail coach with his own hand from this 
city to the end of the route. On this trip he was accompanied by the Hon. John Dean Caton. 
There was no mail matter for transportation in the bag on this first trip. 

Judge Caton says he piloted the company which first went through 
and established the station, and that the party suffered greatly from cold. 
John Wentworth (ar. 1836) says : 

One of our most reliable places of entertainment was the postoffice while the mail was being 
opened. The mail-coach was irregular in the time of its arrival, but the horn of the driver announced 
its approach. Then the people would largely assemble at the postoffice. . . . The postmaster would 
throw out a New York paper and some gentleman with a good pair of lungs and a jocose temperament 
would mount a dry goods box and commence reading. Occasionally I occupied that place myself. 

Mr. Bates followed the practice of firing a gun just outside the 
north door of the postoffice building at nine o'clock every evening, to 
inform Chicago that bedtime had arrived. (The custom has, un- 
fortunately, been abandoned.) In 1833 Mr. Bates was married by 
R. J. Hamilton, Esq., to Miss Harriet E. Brown, of Springfield, Mass. 




Again we come across a link binding one part of the chain of 
progress with another. Mr. Bates' marriage was announced in the 
first number of the first Chicago newspaper. 

In old Rome, the time of the happening of great events was fixed 
by identifying them with rulers' names : "Dum Flaminius Consul 
erat," etc. So does Mr. Hurlbut introduce the Press to Chicago. " It 
was while Andrew Jackson was Chief Executive, John Reynolds was 
Governor of Illinois, and Thomas J. V. Owens was President of the 
newly incorporated town of Chicago, that the first printing press was 
set at work here, and the first Chicago newspaper made its appear- 

In simpler phrase, John Calhoun, in 
September, 1833, shipped from Sackett's 
Harbor, New York, for Chicago, his print- 
ing press, type and other material, and a 
small lot of paper, in charge of two appren-* 
tices. With his own hands he made ready 
his printing office ; and, his money being 
quite exhausted by freight charges and 
other outlays, he borrowed from Col. 
Thomas J. V. Owen enough to relieve 
him of his difficulties. (He afterward ex- 
pressed deep gratitude to Col. Owen for 
many acts of kindness.) His "Chicago 
Democrat" appeared Nov. 26, 1833 ; a six- 
column, four-page sheet, the printed 
matter eighteen and a half by four- 
teen inches. The paper was demo- 

cratic, but its editor disclaimed selfishness which might exclude "such 
articles as may be temperately written on any subject that the editor 
may deem suitable for newspaper discussion." It proudly stated the 
population of Chicago at over 800, and said that goods had been trans- 
ported from New York in twenty-three days, at a cost of $1.63 per 100 
$33 a ton! It favored the early commencement of the canal. A 


bound volume of the " Democrat " is preserved in the Chicago His- 
torical Society's collection. 

The nearest points where newspapers were then published were 
Galena, Springfield and Detroit, and on one occasion the " Democrat" 


was suspended for two weeks, until paper could be brought hither by 
stage from St. Louis. The river was still closed from the lake and 
vessels lay in the offing, discharging their cargoes by small boats. 

In 1836, J. D. Caton, Ebenezer Peck, Hiram Hugunin and others 
(leading democrats) furnished money to buy a new outfit and enlarge 
the paper. In the fall, Dr. Daniel 
Brainard became its editor, and 
later, in the same year, John Went- 
worth took charge as editor and 

The first of Chicago medical 
practitioners were necessarily those 
connected with the army. We find 
in the roster of Captain Heald's 
company of the First Infantry, 
i S 10, John Cooper, surgeon's mate. 
He was succeeded by Dr. Isaac 
Van Voorhis, killed in the mas- 
sacre. The latter was a young 
man of great merit and promise.* 
The next physician of whom we 
have any account was Dr. Alex- 
ander Wolcott, also of the army, 
who married (July 23, 1823) the 

elder daughter (Ellen Marion) of John Kinzie, who was born in , 

the first white child in Chicago. Dr. Wolcott died in the fort in 1830. titioners. 
He was a man much respected and long lamented. " Wolcott Street" 
(now unfortunately named " North State") was called after him. 

In May, 1830, arrived in Chicago Elijah Dewey Harmon, who had 
been volunteer surgeon on board the "Saratoga" at the Battle of Platts- 
burgh in 1814. He was installed at the fort as post surgeon, to which 
duty he added such private practice as came to him. 

On the night of July 10, 1832, arrived, by the steamer "Sheldon 
Thompson," General Scott with his command and the cholera. In 
a letter written in 1860 by the captain (A. Walker) of the Sheldon 
Thompson, the facts are given which may be summarized as follows: 

The first death occurred about 4 i>. M. of the gth, and twelve 
others between that time and the steamer's arrival at the close of the, 
loth. The yawl boat took General Scott and some other officers ashore ; 
after which three more dead were committed to the deep, where their 
bodies (weighted to the bottom of the lake) were visible from the deck 

* Small attention should bejjiven to the fanciful (hysterical ?) account of Mrs. Helm, given a quarter of a century 
after the occurrence, wherein she attributed unmanly words to the poor martyr, bleeding to death in a hopeless struggle 
with a cruel foe. The narrative contains elements for its own discrediting. 


Cholera of 1833. 


Refuges from 
the Fort. 

next morning. The fort was full of refugees driven in by the Black 
Hawk scare, who were all now driven out to make room for the soldiers 
with their more deadly enemy. In the next eighteen hours, eighteen 
more victims died; which were buried in their blankets in pits dug near 
the southwest corner of Wabash avenue and South Water street, side 
by side, the earth from one grave serving to fill up its neighbor. In 
four days fifty-four more died ; making in all eighty-eight out of that 
one boat-load of troops.* 

The number of buildings outside the fort was five, of which 
three were log tenements. Major Whistler, Captain Johnson and 
others, with their families, found refuge where they could ; some in 
tents, some under boards placed across the fence, etc. The view from 
the steamer's deck Was chiefly a beautiful prairie, spangled with flowers 
and studded with trees. To get fuel with which to sail back to Buffalo 
they pulled down one of the log houses. 

The two companies already in the fort were separated from the 
newcomers and put under the care of Dr. Harmon, who attributed his 
success in treating them to abstinence from the use of calomel. Dr. 
H. had a disagreement with General Scott, who "required" him to 
devote his attention exclusively to the troops ; a requisition which the 

sturdy doctor declined to comply 
with. He served all alike and well, 
and his descendants are among 
Chicago's best citizens at this day, 
1891. Harmon Court was named 
in his honor. 

A most distinguished doctor, 
a typical man, identified with Chi- 
cago from his arrival in 1833 to 
his death in 1860, was William 
Bradshaw Egan. He was an Irish- 
man, and one of the brightest of 


that bright race. He was a clas- 
sical scholar, a worshiper of poetry, 
especially that of Shakespeare ; a 
wit, a humorist, a favorite public 
speaker, a member of the State 
legislature ; and, above all, a lover 
of and believer in Chicago through 

Judge Henry W. modgeu remembers these occurrences, ar.d adds that though his father's family (then living 

u Page), flying from the Indians, had taken refuge in the fort with the rest, yet on that memorable day they 

.d would have got out even if there had been a solid army of Indians encompassing the place on every 



cloud and sunshine, through good report and evil report. Egan avenue 
and Egandale bear his name and mark some of his shrewd investments. 

The rapidly increasing list of physicians men able, educated, 
brave, devoted, untiring, belonging to a profession which renders to the 
poor more unpaid service and help than does all the non-professional 
world put together makes it impossible to give more than a passing 
look at this branch of the story of Chicago. The surgeon of most 
world-wide distinction among us was, perhaps, Daniel Brainard, who 
came here in 1835. Justice Caton gives some characteristic and amusing 
anecdotes of Dr. Brainard in Andreas, vol. i, p. 461. 

The first lawyer who lived in the place now called Chicago did not 
come there as a lawyer. It was Charles Jouett, of Virginia, who was 
Indian agent in 1805, and again in 1817. Still later he sat on the bench 
in Kentucky and Arkansas. Primitive law or, at least, a kind of 
justice perhaps more righteous than law was administered when in 
1825 John Kinzie was commissioned to the old constitutional office of 
justice of the peace. If he heard causes, or even kept a docket, no 
record or memory has perpetuated the fact. 

Russell E. Heacock, born in Connecticut in 1781, licensed as an 
attorney in Indiana in 1808, came to Fort Dearborn in 1827. He was 
commissioned justice * of the peace in 1833, 

and was in Captain ^^^^^^ Andreas' opinion, the 
first to hear trials in form. Governor 

Bross, however, says that a term of Circuit Court was held or provided 
for in September, 1831, "at Fort Dearborn, in the brick house, and in 
the lower room of the said house." He also says that a term was lawyer. 
ordered in 1832 in a room in the house of James Kinzie, "provided it 
can be done at a cost of not more than ten dollars." It was Judge 
Young who came (accompanied from Galena by lawyers Mills and 
Strode) just in time to give notice of the disturbed state of the Indians 
which led to the Black Hawk War. Heacock's office as lawyer and 
justice of the peace was at the corner of Lake and Franklin streets in 


On the organization of the town in August, 1833, John Dean 
Caton was elected Corporation Attorney, and it is probable that he was 
about the first lawyer to make his living by the practice of his profes- 
sion in Chicago.* Between that primitive beginning and the time of 
his becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State, the 

* Chief Justice Caton was born in Orange County, M. Y., March 19, 1812. His father and grandfather were of 
old Maryland and Virginia stock; the latter (Robert Caton) an Irishman by birth, having served in the Royal army, but 
settled on a Maryland plantation before the Revolution. The name is still distinguished in Baltimore. Judge Caton 
relates that the schooner in which he came around the lakes was the " Queen Charlotte," une of those captured by Perry 
in the battle of Lake Erie. She had been sunk in Put-In Bay for twenty years, and tiien raised, repaired and sailed 
again. One would like to know where her bones were finally laid ! 



experiences of Mr. Caton would make an interesting volume, and it is 
to be hoped that the venerable jurist will make use of the enforced leisure 
of his later days to compile and publish such a volume. His literary 
power and experience, as well as his vast fund of reminiscence, indicate 
this as a duty and pleasure. 

Lawyers, and good lawyers, now began to gather here in numbers, 
and from that day to this the supply has been fully equal to the 
demand. A bar which has included such men as Lincoln, Douglas, 
David Davis, Isaac N. Arnold, Mark Skinner, Thomas Drummond, 
Thomas Hoyne, Edwin Larned, Leonard Swett, Emory Storrs, and all 
the host of able counselors now living, is worthy of the confidence which 
has always been felt by Chicago citizens in the professional guardians 
of their rights and liberties. 

" Law, Physic and Divinity," is the trio designated of old as the 
learned professions, to which the progressive intelligence of the world 
has. added that of Instruction. The first practice in each of these lines 
has now been sketched (reversing the order of precedence) so far as it 
seemed to belong to and illustrate the emergence of Chicago from 
darkness to light, from savagery to civilization. It is needless to say 
that each branch of liberal knowledge has been treated by others more 
fully than the limits of this mere "story" will permit. 

LAKE STREET FIRE OF 1835. (p. 125.) 



may now hang up his fiddle, for 
the first piano has come to Chi- 
cago, brought, it is said, by his 
brother, Jean Baptiste Beaubien, 
in 1834. John Wentworth, in 
his address to the Old Settlers 
(Calumet Club, May 19, iSSi), 
presented the old fiddle to the 
Club, with a loving tribute to the. 
memory of its owner. He said: 

" Mark Beaubien died at the residence 
of his daughter, Mrs. George Mathews, at 
Kankakee, on the nth of April of this year. 
Upon his death-bed he requested that his 
fiddle be given to me. At every other reunion 
of Chicago's Old Settlers Mark Beaubien has 

been present, and played upon it. The fiddle is here now; but the 
arm that wielded the bow is palsied in death. . . . And now I 
present it to the Calumet Club, for he was ever honored here. . . . 
As he has passed away, I take pleasure in presenting to you Frank 
Gordon Beaubien, his oldest son. ... He was born in Chicago, 
and so is younger than the fiddle, which his father brought here in 
1826. How long he had it before he came here, I can not say. 
Three generations have listened to its music here. . . . The late 
Jean Baptiste Beaubien was a little higher toned than Mark, and 
brought the first piano to Chicago. Like the fiddle, that piano has 
been well preserved; and, after long use in Chicago, it is now doing 
service in the family of his grand-daughter, Mrs. Sophia (Beaubien) Ogee, at Silver Lake. Kansas, 
daughter of the late Charles Beaubien." 

Other pianos, owned by Mrs. J. B. F. Russell, Mrs. J. H. Kinzie, 
Samuel Brooks, Mrs. Judge Caton, etc., followed in rapid succession ; 
and now (1891) the piano business of Chicago is one of the largest in 
the country. The sales may be estimated at 25,000 a year, and one 
only wonders where the ceaseless stream can find place and players; 
for a piano is not like a penny whistle, easy to buy and to learn, quickly 
used up and joyfully forgotten. It is a permanent possession to some 
one in some place, one may almost say (barring fire) for all time. (The 
Historical Society has one nearly or quite a hundred years old.) 

Music, the very sign and badge of cultivation, showed great vital- 
ity in the rising city, for the Harmonic Society (direct ancestor of the 


Pianos arri re. 



M usic. 

Philharmonic of glorious memories !) gave its first concert on Decem- 
ber iith, 1835, at the Presbyterian Church, at the southwest corner of 
Lake and Clark streets.* 

The first organ was bought and brought out by St. James Church, 
and an amusing account is given in the "Chicago Magazine" of August, 
1857, of the difficulties of the early choir ; partly to get those to sing 
who could sing, and partly to get those not to sing who could not. 

As in all American communities, the Church and the School were 
the main agents in sociability, as well as in piety, morality and philan- 
thropy. Doubtless there was promiscuous merrymaking here in " the 
thirties," but it was not, like the Church and School intercourse, system- 
atic and constant. A young man or woman was "in society" if he 

belonged to a leading 
church especially St. 
James, for here, as in 
most English-speaking 
countries, the Episcopal 
Church, the established 
Church of England, the 
Church upheld by the tra- 
ditions of the most dis- 
tinguished aristocracy in 
the whole world, assumes 
(and not without reason) 
the lead in social li(e. To 
this day, there is not so 
easyatfd certain an "open 
sesame " to best society 
in every young American 
city as good standing in a 
good church of some one of the leading denominations. 

Other fellowship there was, where all decent folks could meet on 
common ground. As early as 1831 a debating club met in the Fort. 
Charles Cleaver, who arrived from London in 1833, tells (Fergus 1 Hist. 
Series, No. 9) of society meetings held at the Presbyterian Church at 
Clark and Lake streets. He says there was a successful fair there, and 
that in the winterof 1834-5 a piano, which had been brought from Lon- 

*The church was built here ("a lonely spot, almost inaccessible on account of surrounding sloughs and bogs ") in 
1833, by contributions and labors of its founders. Some squared the logs, some turned the pillars for the pulpit, some 
worked in the mortar-bed ; all " bore a hand.*' A curious incident connected with its construction was this : After the 
lot was selected, but before it was built upon, some squatter or squatters, desiring to establish a pre-emption claim which 
would have to be bought off, started work one nii$ht and before morning had a small frame set up on the Lake Street 
front. But the church was a "church militant" and also a "church triumphant," for during the following night 
several yokes of oxen were noiselessly collected and securely hitched to the structure; and the next morning saw it 
standing in the street, far enough from the church lot to throw no cloud upon its title. 




don by Mr. Brooks, was taken from the store, where it had been since 
its arrival in 1833, and Mrs. Brooks, assisted by George Davis (who 
taught a school) and others, gave several concerts, to the great delight 
of the citizens. Mr. Davis sang " The Mogul," " The Bluebottle Fly," 
and other songs, and Mrs. Brooks drew loud applause with " The Bat- 
tle of Prague " and such martial pieces. 

Judge and Mrs. Caton smile at the recalling of those times, and 
the venerable ex-chief justice, from 
memory, adds to the song reper- 
tory "A Medley," also sung by Mr. 
Davis, whereof the only words he 
recalls are : 

" Without feet you can't have toes 
To march to the battle-field.' 

He says that Davis was a 
splendid fellow, the life of every 
party of any kind. Also that at 
one meeting of the State Legisla- 
ture George Davis went to Spring- 
field, quite without any political 
backing, and announced himself as 
candidate for clerk of the House. 
That evening he sang songs at the 
American Hotel, where the mem- 
bers most resorted, and next morn- 
ing was elected unanimously ! 

It was in 1834 that a marriage 
took place, memorable in several 
ways. It joined together the two 
historic races, Kinzies and Whist- 
lers. Robert Allen Kinzie married Gwenthlean Whistler, grand-daughter 
of the builder and first commandant of the first fort, and daughter of one 
of the last commandants of the second. The wedding took place in 
the fort, and was, of course, followed by a dance. The beauty of the 
bride has already been spoken of, and the interesting fact that she to-day 
is in Chicago, in the full vigor of her faculties, as are also two at least of 
her early contemporaries, Judge and Mrs. Caton, whose latest portraits 
are kindly placed at the disposal of this " Story," which would scarcely 
be complete without them. In vain do we try to get the bill of fare of 
the wedding feast. Of ice-cream and oysters there were surely none. 
Home-made confectionery, cakes, pies, "sweetmeats," perhaps a few 
precious Eastern apples, cold meats, poulty and game, and such convivial 

Social gayety. 

ler Wedding. 



Scarcity of 
food in 1834. 

liquids as the garrison could furnish this was probably all that the 
union of all the housewifely forces could provide, and good and ample 
it was, and gay the talk and laughter.* 

But think of Chicago gaiety without a jeweler, confectioner or a 
dry goods store; a theatre, a pavement, a railway or horse-car; a car- 
riage, private or public; a street number; an electric or gas light or even 
a kerosene lamp; a telegraph, a telephone, or even a daily mail; a bank 
or insurance company; a daily paper, a postage stamp or a water pipe ! 

Without even a friction match, ex- 
cept as a rare and curious novelty. 
Flint-and-steel was the reliance for 
starting fire, or more usually a coal 
borrowed from a neighbor, in cases 
where the "covered fire" had not 
happened to "keep" overnight. 

The winter of 1834 proved 
remarkably severe, and flour ran 
up to $28 a barrel. Potatoes could 
not be had, nor butter. The entire 
fare at last came to be beef, pork 
and corn meal, with a little molasses 
to sweeten life. Mr. Cleaver says : 
" If a stray hoosier wagon, or prai- 
rie schooner, as we used to call 
them, happened to find its way so 
far north, with a few crocks of 
butter, dried apples, smoked bacon, 
EX CHIEF JUST.CE cATON. hams, etc., the whole village would 

be after the wagon, to get hold of some of the precious commodities. 
On the yth of May a schooner arrived, laden with flour and provisions 
from Detroit. . . Her freight was fortunately consigned to an honest 
man, who preferred to sell it at a fair price $10 a barrel though 
he was offered $25 a barrel for the whole cargo." 

This "honest man " was George W. Dole. Professor Elias Col- 
bert, in his Historical and Statistical Sketch (1868), says that in 1832 
Mr. Dole began the great provision business (the most profitable, on 
the whole, of all branches of Chicago trade) by packing pork and beef 
for Eastern markets. He became, in fact, the father of the packing, the 
shipping, the warehouse and the elevator systems. For his conduct 
regarding the relief of the famine of 1834 his name should be remem- 

* Mrs. Caton relates that every year her parents sent her out some barrels of Oneida county apples precious 
beyond words. One year they were belated and got frozen, and to this day she can scarcely bear to speak of her loss. 



bered as worthy to be coupled with that of Joseph Stockton, whose 
actions during the Great Fire of 1871 are hereafter to be recounted. 

The Lake House was built in 1835, a marvel of elegance and 
magnificence, which people came from afar to admire ; and Mr. Cleaver 
says that in 1836 the boarders 
passed a jocular resolution that 
they would not have any but " rich 
men " staying there, putting the 
standard of opulence at the princely 
sum of $10,000. 

Checkers was a common game 
in the stores in the daytime as well 
as in the evening, for storekeepers 
had plenty of leisure while waiting 
for customers. After closing for 
the night more serious dissipation 
was prevalent cards and drink; 
but this, being only low masculine 
vagary, does not belong in the cat- 
egory of society. Prayer meeting 
was once a week in the churches ; 
the now prevalent and fashionable 
"Wednesday evening meeting" 
coming down to us from those 
days in unbroken course. For sixty years, doubtless, not a Wed- 
nesday evening has passed in Chicago without from one to thirty of 
these pious seasons of happy reunion. 

In the evening at the old Sauganash (even after pianos arrived) 
Mark Beaubien would bring out his fiddle and play for dancing ; and it 
is said that if a string broke he would do well as ever on the other 
three ; if two gave out he went along with the remaining two, and if he 
had but one left he even made shift to keep the bow scraping on that. 

No theatres, concert halls or reading rooms yet. The latest New 
York papers were twenty or thirty days old. A visitor at the Cleaver 
house, seeing a shelf filled with some old books, asked if they kept a 
bookstore. One fine night in the winter of 1833 everybody in Chicago 
turned out for a frolic on the frozen river. One fine night in summer 
Mr. Cleaver caught a muskallonge, five and a half feet long, in the North 
Branch, spearing it by the light of a torch set in the head of the boat. 

There was very little visiting done among the ladies, as they had all they could attend to at 
home, servant girls being very scarce. The houses in those days were not well calculated for com- 
pany, most of them being 16x20, a story and a half, with a lean-to. . . . The house we lived in 
that winter, on the corner of Kinzie and Rush streets, was about as large as any in town ; but, 


Dances and 
prayer meet- 



unfortunately, it was not completed, being neither lathed nor plastered . . The thermometer 
marked twenty degrees below zero. Fortunately, we had warm clothing, and would almost roast in 
front of a huge wood fire in the large chimney, while our backs were covered with thick cloaks to 
keep from freezing. I actually had my cup freeze to the saucer while sitting at the table at break- 
fast. . . . Pots were boiled hanging from a hook over the fire, and bread baked in a baking 
pot with hot wood ashes above and below it. . . . The water was brought from the river in pails. 

The one unequaled, universal, inevitable, invincible thing then pre- 
vailing about Garlick creek otherwise the Chicago river was MUD. 
Mr. Cleaver says that mired wagons were an every-day sight in the 
streets. A stage-coach, stuck fast and abandoned on Clark street, just 
north of Randolph, staid there for days, and near it was stuck a board 
bearing the inscription, " No bottom here." A lady, whom he saw trying 
to cross Randolph at LaSalle, left both shoes in the mire, and only 

Unfathomable . ' . 

reached the sidewalk in her stockings. The only way for " fashionable 
young ladies" to get from the North Side to the Presbyterian church 
was by a dirt-cart with buffalo robes thrown on its floor, and he once 
saw these fashionable young ladies dumped in front of the church 
because of the driver's having forgotten to put in the bolt. A slough 
starting northward from about State and Adams streets grew deeper 
and wider till it emptied into the river near State street bridge. 
Another in Clark street, south of Washington, the village wished to 
drain ; but it had not the $60 needed. The council applied to Strachan 
& Scott for a loan, but could not get it until it was guaranteed by E. B. 
Williams (President of the Town Board), when it was borrowed; prob- 
ably the first dollar of Chicago public debt. 

The first effort at drainage was a curious experiment. Lake street 
was excavated to the depth of three feet, deepest in the middle, and 
planks were laid from sidewalk to centre. This did admirably in dry 
weather. When it rained the wheels worked the planks into mud, 
until it would splash up between them into the horses' faces. After two 
or three years the opposite plan was tried, and the street " turnpiked " 
Experiments m to a ridge in the middle, which did very well, especially in dry 
m times. As the streets rose the houses did likewise, and cellars began 
to be possible, for up to this time there could be none on either South, 
or West Side. This was the beginning of an emergence from the mire 
which has gone on until now, when the bottoms of our deepest cellars 
scarcely reach the original surface of the soil. It will amuse anyone 
curious in such things to peep into any modern excavation for a street? 
sewer in the central South Side and see the strata of street grading and. 
paving which make the walls of the dug-out ditch. 

From this time forward to about 1875, Chicago's steps upward 
were slow, halting and toilsome somewhat like those of the lady whom 
Mr. Cleaver saw leave her shoes in the mud and wade ashore in her 
stockings. To us who watched them they seem absurd, to newcomers 


almost incredible. A street was raised, say six feet. Then each house- 
holder looked upward from his front door as from the bottom of a r 


gully. He was said to live "under the sidewalk." Next, one owner, Brade - 
building anew or raising his house, or (as was sometimes done) mak- 
ing his second story the main floor and using his first as a cellar, had 
his sidewalk laid where it belonged, whereupon his neighbor had to 
build steps to reach it. " The ups and downs of life in Chicago " was 
a perennial joke for many a year.* 

Our invaluable printed record, Volume I of the "Chicago Demo- 
crat," on February 18, 1834, made an announcement as follows: 


Joy hath its limits. We but borrow one hour of mirth from months of sorrow. 

The ladies and gentlemen of Chicago are most respectfully informed that Mr. Bowers, 
Pj-ofesseur de Tours Amusants, has arrived in town and will give an exhibition at the house of Mr. 
D. Graves on Monday evening next. 


Mr. Bowers will fully personate Monsieur Chaubert, the celebrated Fire King, who so 
much astonished the people of Europe, and go through his wonderful chemical performance. He 
will draw a red-hot iron across his tongue, hands, etc., and will partake of a comfortable warm sup- 
per by eating fire-balls, burning ceiling-wax, live coals of fire and melted lead. He will dip his 
fingers in melted lead, and make use of a red-hot iron to convey the same to his mouth. 


Mr. Bowers will introduce many very amusing feats of ventriloquism and legerdemain, 
many of which are original and too numerous to mention. Admittance, 50 cents, children half-price. 
Performance to commence at early candle-light. Seats will be reserved for ladies, and every atten- 
tion paid to the comfort and convenience of the spectators. Tickets to be had at the bar. 

" D. Graves" was Dexter Graves (father of Mrs. Edward Had- 
dock, and therefore ancestor of some of our richest citizens), and his resi- 

- T ,, i r T i i Earliest Public 

dence was the " Mansion House, north side of Lake street, between Exhibition. 
State and Dearborn (now 84 and 86 Lake street). This performance 
was the first given by a professional " artist " whereof we have any 
record. After this they no doubt came along in quick succession and 
with good patronage, for these were the years of Chicago's first 
" boom." Mr. Cleaver quotes as a current saying, " If you leave a shill- 
ing on the doorstep over night, you find it grown to a dollar next 

The first "one-horse shay" was, according, to Mr. Hurlbut, one in 
which Philo Carpenter and his bride rode into the village early in 1834; 
the first pleasure-carriage, that brought from the East by Colonel Jean 

* One of the earliest "ups and downs '' was the rise and fall of the first lighthouse, on the south bank of the 
river, a stone's throw west of Rush Street bridge. Isaac D. Harmon, the seventeen-year old son of Dr. Elijah D. Har- 
mon, before mentioned, wrote an amusing letter to his absent brother (October 31, 1831). " We have had a flattener pass 
over the face of our prospects. The lighthouse that, the day before yesterday, stood in all its glory, the pride of this 
wonderful village, is now ' doused? . . . Cracks have been observed in it. . . . Jackson said 'You can't get 
it down.' My father told them it leaned 10 one side. They laughed at him. . . . About nine o'clock in the evening 
down tumbled the whole work with a noise like the rattling of fifty claps of thunder. The walls were three feet thick, 
and it had been raised fifty feet in height. The first thing father said when he went out was, ' Does It lean any now ?' " 


Field s|K>rt>. 

Haptiste Beaubien, which the villagers greeted on its arrival by turning 
out in procession. 

Mr. Hurlbut also tells of some wild, harum-scarum horse-play car- 
ried on without reference to the rights and feelings of others, by a dozen 

or so of persons he names, 
whom he classes together 
under the name of "the 
club." They played prac- 
tical jokes ; they stole the 
cannon which had been re- 
covered after being sunk in 
the river ever since the mas- 
sacre ; they freed the wild 
animals in the menagerie and 
rode some of them about 
from one dramshop' to 
another. In short, they were 
the drinking element; and, 
by consequence or by re- 
markable coincidence, none 
of the names he records are 
among those which now r 
(1891) appear among Chi- 
cago capitalists and leaders. 
Wild game, once so plen- 
tiful, grew, between 1830 
and 1840, quite rare. Mr. 
Cleaver, being a true Briton, 
was a sportsman. Just after his arrival in 1833 he came upon a 
multitude of prairie chickens in a grove of fir-trees about where Division 
street reaches the lake. He once shot a wild goose on the main river 
near the Rush street crossing. 

In the fall of 1834 a party of a hundred or more went eight or ten 
miles out (Graceland), and, spreading themselves from the North Branch 
to the lake, hunted southward. Some few deer and a few wolves, scared 
by the noise, swam the river near La Salle street, ran through the vil- 
lage and escaped to the South Branch woods; a few others were shot 
by the hunters, but the whole hunt was considered a failure and was the 
last of its kind. Still, the wolves were prevalent for several years more 
and Fernando Jones now points out the very spot where he killed one 
in Dearborn street, just south of Madison, opposite the present site of 
the " Tribune" Building. 




The brick " Saloon Building " was built (southwest corner of Lake 
and Clark streets) by Col. J. B. F. Russell, in 1836. It was not what 
a " saloon " has now come to 
mean, a drinking-place. The 
liquor-dealers have made suc- 
cessive (and temporarily suc- 
cessful) attempts to escape 
the odium attaching to their 
trade by taking new names 
for their shops. The tippling- 
house or rum-shop has been 
re-named the gin-mill, the bar- 
rel-house, the wine-shop, the 
public house, the bar-room, the 
saloon, the sample-room, etc., 
and fifty years ago a "saloon" 
was simply a secular meeting 
chamber. The one in ques- 
tion was the finest hall west of Buffalo, and was used for distinguished 
occasions. It was there that Stephen A. Douglas, in 1838, had the first 
" joint debate " ever held in northern Illinois; being a political discus- 
sion with John T. Stuart, his competitor for 
Congress. The postoffice was in that building 
for a time, and it was in its upper story that 
our present veteran printer, Robert Fergus, 
began business as junior in the firm of " Ellis 
& Fergus." 

The postoffice was for many a year the 
general meeting place of friends and fellow- 
citizens. There was the only place for paying 
postage. Everyone must carry his letters 
thither to post, and call there for any he should 
receive. Not only were there no. carriers and 
no lamp-post boxes ; there were no postage 
stamps, no envelopes, no postal cards, no registered letters or money 
orders. Postage (single rate) was 6* cents for distances up to 30 
miles; 10 cents up to 80 miles ; 12^ cents up to 150 miles; 1 8^! cents 
up to 400 miles, and 25 cents beyond this. Letters were charged not 
by weight, but by number of sheets ; a single one of any weight going 
at single rate, and a double or triple, no matter how light, calling for 
double or triple payment as the case might be. In the absence of 
envelopes, the large letter sheets were folded (the art of neat folding 


1'ostal Service. 


being a part of elegant training) and sealed ; usually with a wafer, 
though sealing wax and a crested seal were the more elegant devices. 
An aristocrat is said to have resented a wafer-closed letter with the 
words " The fellow sends me his spittle ! " 

The fractional charges above named were based on the Spanish 
coins then prevalent ; halves, quarters, eighths (shillings), sixteenths 
(sixpences), as no dimes or half-dimes came into general use until near 
1850. It was pretty poor stuff and alas! very scarce; especially 
in the years to be chronicled in a succeeding chapter; the year 1837 and 
its melancholy train. 

No Chicago annalist can pass over 1835 without dwelling on a 
notable event, the arrival of William B. Ogden. He was then thirty 
years old, and had already made for himself a name in his native State, 
New York, having been member of the legislature and advocate of the 
projected New York and Erie Railroad. Charles Butler (who had mar- 
ried Mr. Ogden's sister) had, with Arthur Bronson, of New York, and 
others, bought from the Kinzies and their connection, David Hunter, 
a large part of the North Side.* 

He employed Mr. Ogden to come to Chicago and manage this prop- 
erty. Arriving in a "wet spell," Mr. O. found the tract to be an unbro- 
ken field, covered with a coarse growth of oak and underbrush, marshy 
and muddy from the recent rains. " It had neither form nor comeliness, 
and he could not, in its then primitive condition, see it as possessing any 
value or offering any advantages to justify the extraordinary price for 
which it had been bought." The Government land sales, instead of 
glutting the market, helped it, for it brought out crowds of Eastern 
niiam buyers, bitten by the land craze of 1835, and these made Ogden's auc- 

B. Ocden. _. . 111 

tion a great success. ' I his result, although it was astonishing to him, 
yet seemed to fail of making the impression on his mind of the future of 
the town which was to become the scene of his after life, and in the 
development and growth of which he himself was to become an active 
and most important factor." He returned to the East, but came back 
in 1836, from which time forward, until he went back to New York to 
end his days, his history may almost be said to be the history of 

It is not best, at this point in our story, to give more than thus 

much of an introduction to this great man, and to add some of his per- 

sonal characteristics. He was generally thought one of the handsomest 

of men. Tall and stalwart ; large of brain and eye ; with manners at once 

* Mr. Bronson and associates, in 1834, bought half of Kinzies' addition, the whole of Wolcott's addition, and 
block No. i (north of the river) of the original town (canal trustee's subdivision), in all 182 acres, for $20,000. In 
May, 1835, Mr. Butler paid for the same property $100,000. Mr. Ogden came out and held an auction sale of lots in the 
summer of 1835, when about one-third of the whole was sold, bringing more than $100,000. (See an interesting letter 
from Charles Butler dated December, 1881, published in I Andreas, p. 139.) 


dignified, courtly and cordial ; to meet him was to be charmed, to talk 
with him was to admire and wonder. His dwelling, up to the great fire, 
occupied the entire block bounded by Erie, Rush, Ontario and Cass 
streets, and was the home of elegant hospitality. He was a bachelor, 
and his establishment was managed by Mr. Edwin H. Sheldon (himself 
one of the best, most cultivated and most lovable of men), and Mrs. 
Sheldon, Mr. Ogden's sister. No one once admitted to that gay circle 
can ever forget it Among the hosts of his distinguished visitors were 
Van Buren, Webster, Marcy, Bryant, Emerson, Miss Martineau, Fred- 
erika Bremer, etc. 

The writer recalls a visit there when Mr. Ogden, with Samuel J. 
Tilden (his friend, associate and counsel), were looking over maps and 
consulting on the possible extension of the North-Western Railroad. 
Tracing its future course to Fond du Lac, St. Paul, etc., Mr. Ogden ran 
his hand in what seemed only a visionary course, away up to Lake 
Superior itself, and then off westward (Northern Pacific) and eastward j, ersona) Mem . 
(Sault Ste. Marie and the St. Lawrence), saying nothing, but intimat- o^ 
ing that his broad views took in as romance all that has since 
become reality. Afterward he led the visitor into the drawing-room, 
where were the younger members of the family and their friends ; and, 
sitting down at the piano, sang to his own accompaniment a sweet, 
pathetic ditty running : 

O come to me and bring with thee 

The sunny smiles of former years, 
If smiles so bright can lend their light 

To cheer a brow long used to tears. 
We will not let one sad regret, 

One thought of grief our meeting chill. 
For thy dear sake I'll strive to make 

This altered cheek look cheerful still. 

Then come to me, our theme shall be . 

The friends we love, not those we mourn. 
We'll not destroy one present joy 

Lamenting joys that ne'er return. 
The sunny rays of boyhood's days 

And early prime we ne'er may see, 
. But hours of bright and pure delight 

We've yet in store then come to me. 

We were prone to connect this little ballad, the only verses we ever 
heard of his singing, with a youthful romance, the crushing whereof by 
the hand of death clouded his early life and kept him a bachelor. 
When he himself died his will showed by some of its provisions that long 
years had not dimmed the memory of her whom he had loved and lost. 

Mr. Ogden had friends and foes about him. What strong man has 
not? But the one thing which Chicago found hardest to forgive was 


his final departure and return to the State of his birth and early life. 
This occurred about 1865, though for some years before he had been 
spending more and more of his time in New York. 

An incident of Mr. Ogden's life may be here related, partly as 

illustrative of the times, and 
partly because it introduces 
another Chicago worthy, 
Isaac N. Arnold. Mr. Ar- 
nold was also one of the 
grand citizens dating from 
"the Thirties," whose life 
and words and works force 
us to say with a swelling of 
the heart, "There, were 
giants in those days." 

A firm in Danville had 
failed, owing $10,000 to Mr. 
Ogden. It also owed Hub- 
bard & Co. a large sum, and 
whichever should reach the 
spot first, with the necessary 
legal process, would fare 
best in the distribution of 
assets. Mr. Arnold, as attor- 
ney for Mr. Ogden, hired 
the best saddle horse in 
Chicago, a stout gelding, and started out bright and early to ride on 
" Hubbard's Trail " over the one hundred and twenty miles of lonely 
prairie which then (1837) intervened between the two towns. On the 
morning of the second, day, at Rexford's cabin, on the Calumet, Arnold 
found himself in company with Henry Hubbard, with his fast trotter 
hitched to a sulky. Neither party hurried his beast, but Hubbard kept 
ahead, the gray following. Each was evidently saving up for the final 
twenty miles or so. They stopped for the last night at a tavern about 
fifteen miles from Danville. 

Before' either started next morning, a stranger accosted Arnold, 
told him of a grievance he had against Hubbard, and added : 

" I hearn say it's a tight race between ye which '11 git t' Dan- 
ville first. Now, stranger, I'll help ye. But don't let on. Let him 
start ahead ; I'll put my boy thar on your gray an' let him follow 
slowly behind, not too far, so your gray kin be seen, but the rider 
not be known. I've got a pair of colts I kin hitch up, an' I'll take 




ye by another road into Danville, thirty to sixty minutes ahead of that 

So said, so done. When Hubbard arrived he found Arnold, 
with the sheriff, in possession of the coveted assets. (Fergus' Histor- 
ical Series, No. 17.) 

Hubbard, Ogden, Arnold, Wentworth, Dole, Skinner, Scammon, 
Brown, Peck, Egan, Brainard, Judd, Calhoun, Wilson such were the 
men (all gone now) who "ran things" in Chicago in the days of canal 
building. It took all their courage, industry, foresight, self-confidence, 
and power of inspiring confidence in others in short, their qualities of 
greatness to carry it through. As some rhymester says, in an early 
issue of the Chicago "Tribune:" 

This notion surely is an awful staggerer. 
Down to the Gulf they'd carry great Niagara! 
And, by forestalling all its feeding torrents, 
Make a dry bridle-path of the St. Lawrence! 




ITHERTO, the question for the historiographer has 
been "What can I find out?" Now comes the period 
when he has to ask "What can I leave out?" The 
latter, needless to say, is the more puzzling problem. 
Still there remains much to be told of the days of small 
things; times strangely primitive, when it is considered 
that they are within the lifetime of a large proportion 
of our contemporaries. 

Great human interest attaches to the adjective 
" first." The first feeble cry of the babe, the first totter- 
ing steps of the child, the first short trousers of the boy and long 
skirts of the girl, the first consciousness of beauty and dawn of love, 
the first month of married life, the first earnings of labor and accumu- 
lation of capital, the first sermon, client or patient, the first battle or 
bereavement in short, the opening incidents in every earthly career 
have a thrill of their own, out of proportion to that belonging to a 
thousand greater things that may follow. The poet says: 

There are gains for all our losses, 

There is balm for all our pain; 
But when youth, the dream, departs. 
It takes something from our hearts 

And it never comes again. 

Perhaps a more appropriate quotation, for the incipient doings of 
a great city, is the couplet from Longfellow's " The Building of the 
Ship : " 

She starts, she moves, she seems to feel 
The thrill of life along her keel." 

To do justice to the beginnings 
of Chicago, both writer and reader 
must be inspired with the kindly 
sentiment that hovers over those 
first cries, first steps, first failings 
and successes. 

The decade beginning with 1830 was the mere childhood of 
the city. Well past the middle of that decade there was a fine grove 
of trees along the east side of the South Branch from Madison street 
southward, and on October 6, 1834, a black bear was shot in those 
woods, near the present corner of Market and Jackson streets. This 






grove was the hiding place of the wolves which infested the village, and 
at about the same time a grand hunt was effectual in killing forty of 
the "varmints." (Bears and bulls still haunt the vicinity.) 

For vagrant domestic animals, provision was made as early as 1831, 
when a log " estray pen " was erected at the southeast corner of Ran- 
dolph and LaSalle streets on the vacant lot (outside of town) which E jan on Pubuc 
had been set apart for county purposes. This was the first " public 
building" in all Chicago, and the second was like unto it in location, 
material and purpose, being nothing else than a log jail built on ,the 
same spot two years later. It is 
now occupied by the city offices, 
board of aldermen, etc., a fact 
which has given rise to the jocular 
remark that its use and purpose 
never have changed.* 

On November 7, 1833, an or- 
dinance passed the Town Board for- 
bidding the throwing into the river 
of any dead animal, under penalty 
of $3 for each offense. On Novem- 
ber 10, 1834, the Council paid $95.50 
for the digging of a public well at 
the corner of Cass and Michigan 
streets. The laws and ordinances 
about fire were strict in 1835 and 
sometimes very oddly worded. No 
person was allowed "to endanger 
the public safety by pushing a red- 
hot stovepipe through a board wall," 
and all were forbidden to carry 

"open coals of fire through the streets except in a covered fire-proof 
vessel." The latter provision, in the absence of matches, was deemed 
a hardship not endurable and was repealed soon after its passage. 

Judge Caton recalls July 12, 1834, as an era in his youthful expe- 
rience. It was the beginning of his judicial career, his election to the 
office of Justice of the Peace, the only public office he ever held, except 
those of Alderman of the city (1837-8) and Justice of the Supreme 
Court, of the 81316(1843-56). The first-mimed election was an ani- 

Some political rhymester, wishing to slur a city administration to which he was opposed, wrote a lampoon, of 
which the closing stanza runs : 

In that same spot, as all may see. 

Are housed, at public charge, 
The dangerous )>cs:s that should not be 
Allowed to run at large. 



mated contest, bringing out every last voter in the precinct, from 
Clybourn's to Hardscrabble and beyond, perhaps taking in the Calumet 
crossing. The Government piers had been built and the beginning of a 
channel had been cut across the immemorial sand-bar, but as yet it had 
never been used. On this memorable day the schooner Illinois chanced 
to be lying at anchor in the offing, and the friends of young Caton 
(George W. Dole and others), to the number of a hundred or so, got 
ropes to the schooner and absolutely dragged her in by main force over 
the. bar through the unfinished dug-way. Then they decked her with 
all the bunting in the village and, hoisting sail, sailed triumphantly up 
the stream to the forks the first vessel that ever penetrated Chicago 
River. And when the votes were counted the tally showed: John 
Dean Caton, 182 ; Josiah C. Goodhue, 47. 

The venerable jurist recalls another incident and relates it; albeit at 
the time of its occurrence it was one he did not care to dwell upon. He 
had studied law in New "York State, and came out thinking he knew a 
good deal of it. To get his license to practice he rode on horseback all 
the way to Pekin, on the Illinois River, where he found Judge Lock- 
of the Supreme Court, holding Circuit Court. It was the last 

B * r - day of term, and he waited till Court adjourned, after which he pre- 

sented himself to Judge Lockwood in chambers, and stated his busi- 
ness. The Justice introduced him to Stephen T. Logan (partner of 
Abraham Lincoln), John T. Stewart, John J. Hardin (killed at the 
battle of Buena Vista), and Dan Stone, Circuit Judge, and later they 
went to the tavern for supper. After supper Judge Lockwood strolled 
out for a walk in the moonlight, taking the young candidate along; and 
suddenly stopping beside an oak stump, began asking him questions on 
the theory and practice of the law; the stump their bar. The examina- 
tion ended, Judge Lockwood spoke the words of fate: "Young man, 
you've got a good deal of law to learn if you want to make a reputation 
at the bar. But if you work hard I think you'll succeed. I shall give 
you your license." And nine years later the young man sat on the 
Supreme Bench beside his friendly examiner. 

In the same year (1834) there was a "cholera scare," and a meet- 
ing of the Town Trustees was held " to make suitable arrangements to 
prevent the introduction of the dreadful and fatal disease." Doctors 
William Clark and E. S. Kimberly were authorized to establish a hos- 
pital outside the limits, to prescribe for the sick, and instruct the super- 
visor in regard to the preservation of public health. The supervisor 
was authorized to compel "every male person in the said town, over 
the age of twenty-one years, to work on the streets and alleys within 
the corporation for the purpose of cleaning them," and a failure to work 


or furnish a substitute was punished by a fine of five dollars for each 
offense.* A similar enactment to-day would produce an amusing exhibi- 
tion ; nearly worth a repetition of the " scare," provided its result was 
the same for the cholera was averted. 


On August 13, 1835, the Board provided for the establishment of 
the first public cemeteries (not counting the garrison burying ground 
on the Lake front), which were located as follows : Ten acres on the 
North Side (Chicago Avenue, near the lake), and sixteen acres on the 

isth Annual Report of the Board of Public Works (1890), p. 430. 


South Side, about where Twenty-Third Street crosses Wabash 
Avenue. During the spring freshet of 1849 two coffins were seen float- 
ing down the river, supposed to have been from some small burying 
ground on the North Branch, in the Waubansia addition. 

On September 19, 1835, the town board ordered the purchase of two 
fire engines (of course the old-fashioned hand-brake machines, to be 

The first Town 
Census of Chi- 


dragged by men strung out on a long loop of rope) and 1,000 feet of 
hose. This was the beginning of the great fire department which has 
served us so often well and once so ill from that day to this. 

On October 7, 1835, John Dean Caton, who had been the town 
attorney in 1833 and 1834, was paid $75 for such service. 

The first census of Chicago was reported in the "Democrat" of Novem- 
ber 25, 1835, showing 3,265 persons, 398 dwellings, 4 warehouses, 29 dry 
goods stores, 19 grocery and provision stores, 5 hardware stores, 3 drug 
stores, 19 taverns, 26 groceries (probably liquor stores) and 17 lawyer's 
offices. The latter doubtless averaged two or more occupants apiece. 
Suppose there to have been 34 lawyers here then, there were nearly four 
times as many as now (1891 ), 
in proportion to the total 
population. Miller's tan- 
nery, still remembered by 
Judge Blodgett as existing 
in 1832 on the North Side 
near the forks of the river, 
is not mentioned. Possibly 
it had been closed. In fact 
Judge Caton remembers that the old tannery, as early as 1833, was used 
as a justice court, for it was there he tried his first case. He was employed 
to prosecute a man for stealing some money. Proof was wanting and the 
accused likely to get clear, when young Caton noticed a lump on the 
side of the fellow's leg inside his stocking. He seized it and held fast 
until it was exposed, and the identical roll of stolen bills came out, from 
which he took $10 as his fee, and handed the rest to the loser. 




In 1835 the first county court house (brick, one story and basement) 
was built at the northeast corner of the Court House square, southwest 
corner of Clark and Randolph streets.* 

May 12, 1836, the sloop Clarissa, the first Chicago built vessel, was 
launched amid great excitement. Her builder was Nelson R. Norton 
(ar. 1833), who has already been mentioned as builder of the first draw- 
bridge, the "lifting leaves," at Dearborn street. The arrivals and ton- 
nage of shipping were as follows: In 1833, 4 vessels, 700 tons; in 1835, 
250 vessels, 22,500 tons; in 1836, 456 vessels, 58,000 tons; 1890, 10,507 
vessels, 5,138,253 tons. 

Launch of the 



The total taxes collected for 1836 were $11,659.54; for 1837, 
$5-905- I 5 I for 1838, $8,849.86; for 1839, $4,664.55; for 1840, $4,721.85. 

The population of the city grew as follows: 1830, 50; 1831, 100; 
1832, 200; 1833, 350; 1834, 2,000; 1835, 3. 26 5; 1836, 3,820; 1837, 
4,179; 1838,4,000; 1839,4,200; 1840,4,470; 1890, 1,098.570. 

The exports and imports by 'lake were as follows: 



1836. . 


$ 325.2O1 QO 




1838. .; 

C70. 17461 

1830. . 

33. 843.00 

630.980 26 

l84O . , 

228. 631;. 74 

562, 106 20 

* The question has been seriously raised whether the county, having received that block for county purposes, had 
any right or power to alienate the west half of it to the city, as it has done, for city purposes. Some citizen of the county 
outside the city might apply for a writ of ejectment, and demand that the city should either pay rent or move its build- 
ing off. But possession is nine points in the law, and identity of interests would be likely, in the view of the courts, to 
give the city the tenth. 



Garrison finally 

The "American," on July 9, 1836, calls attention to a pool of water 
at Lake and La Salle streets, inhabited by frogs. " It smells strong 
now, and in a few days will send out a horrible stench." This spot is 
now (1891) directly over the south entrance to the La Salle street tun- 
nel ; consequently some thirty feet over the heads of the thousands of 
cable-car passengers who daily pass and repass between the North and 
South sides. 

During all this decade, no system of street numbering was in use. 

In October, 1836, the Town Trustees met with delegates from the 

three districts to take measures for organizing the City of Chicago. A 

committee was appointed to draft a charter which was adopted by the 

citizens, was passed by the State 
Legislature and approved March 4, 
1837. Under this charter the elec- 
tion was held and William B. 
Ogden elected Mayor. There were 
six wards, and the aldermen elected 
were Goodhue, Hogan, Caton, 
Pierce, Ward and Jackson. Nor- 
man B. Judd was elected city attor- 
ney. The whole number of votes 
cast at this election was 709. 

On December 29, 1836, the 
garrison was finally withdrawn from 
Fort Dearborn, and after its thirty- 
three years of stirring vicissitude it 
passed into a useless old age which 
lasted a score of years before its 
abandonment as a Government pos- 
session. In fact one of its build- 
ings a great, barn-like, wooden hos- 
pital was standing, in use as a storage warehouse, up to 1871, when the 
Great Fire obliterated it with nearly all else that was ancient in Chicago. 
An exception to this destruction and to the fast gathering cloud of 
oblivion, is to be found in an old red granite boulder, with a rude human 
face carved on it, which stood in the center of the fort esplanade, and 
which is now (1891 ) one of our few antiquarian treasures. It is nearly 
eight feet high by three feet in greatest diameter and weighs perhaps 
4,000 pounds. In prehistoric times the Indians used its concave topfora 
corn mill, and for many, many weary hours must the patient and long- 
suffering squaws have leaned over it crushing the scanty, flinty corn of 
those days into material for the food of braves and pappooses. 




Many persons have looked on it as a relic of prehistoric art the sacri- 
ficial stone of an Aztec teocalli perhaps but Mr. Hurlbut gives the cold 
truth; more modern though scarcely less romantic. He says it was set up 
in the fort, and soldiers, sick and well, used it as a lounging place. Some- 
times it served as a pillory for disorderly characters, and it was a com- 
mon expression or threat that for some offences the offender would 
"be sent to the* rock." Waubansa was a Chicago Chief, and a soldier 
sculptor tried to depict his features on the stone ; and (to quote Mr. 

The portrait pleased the Indians, the liege friends of the chief, greatly, for a party of them, 
admitted within the stockade to see it, whooped and leaped as if they had achieved a victory ; and 
with uncouth gestures they danced in a triumphant circle around the rock. 

In 1837 .... 
Daniel Webster paid a 
visit to the West and 
took Chicago in his 

route The 

conveyance was a ba- 
rouche with four ele- 
gant creams attached. 
Mr. Webster was ac- 
companied by his 
daughter and son. 
Every wheel-vehicle, 
every horse and mule 
in town, it is said, were 
in requisition that day, 
and the senator was 
met some miles out by 
a numerous delegation 
from this the ne~v city, 
who joined in the pro- 
cession .... It 
was the Fourth of July . 
the column came over 

Randolph street bridge, and thence to the parade ground within the fort. There were guns 
at the fort which were eloquent, of course, though the soldiers had left some weeks before. 
The foundation of all this outcry about Mr. Webster is, that the base and platform upon 
which that gentleman stood when he made the speech within the fort was the rock, the same Wau- 
bansa stone Justin Butterfield (who stood directly in front of the senator) swung his hat 

and cheered the speaker. 

The "statue" was pierced to form the base of a fountain, and was 
set up as one of the curiosities of the great Sanitary Commission fair, 
held in 1865, in Dearborn Park, in aid of the sick and wounded in the 
war for the Union. In 1866 it was adopted as a relic by the Hon. 
Isaac N. Arnold member of Congress during the war, and one of the 
staunchest and ablest of patriots and most devoted of friends to the 
soldiers who moved it to his house in Erie street. Mr. Arnold's 
home was burned with the rest in the Great Fire of 1871, and old 
"Waubansa" passed through the flames with the same unmoved 
look which he had preserved through his earlier vicissitudes. After- 



Bogus Towns 
and Cities. 

ward a lot of "fire relics" were grouped about him and a photograph 
taken, wherein, for the first time, he looks abashed as if conscious of the 
contrast between his uncouthness and the carvings which surround his 
ancient lineaments. The stone stands open to public view in the 
grounds adjoining the new home (100 Pine street, North Side) which 
Mr. Arnold built after the fire, and in which he lived up to the time 
of his lamented death in April, 1884. (Only the lack* of space, which 
excludes individual biographies, prevents the giving of a life of this 
great and good man. ) 

To "blow 


two meanings: to inflate, and to 
explode. (Falstaff says, "A 
Plague of sighing and grief ! It 
blows a man up like a bladder.") 
It was Chicago's fate in about 
those days to be blown up in 
both senses of the word. The 
process of inflation is interesting, 
and would be amusing if it were 
not that explosion follows on 
inflation as effect on cause. 

The great gift of land to 
help build the canal, and the con- 
gressional grant of money to 
open the harbor, caused an influx 
of ready cash, while the fact that 
there was to be a canal and a har- 
bor indicated (in a faint degree) 
the coming value of the location. Therefore Chicago's inflation had a 
better basis of actual value than had nine-tenths of the " paper cities" 
which sprang up on all sides in the drunken days of 1835 an ^ 1836. 
Thousands of lots in "cities" which had never been surveyed, were 
sold to people who had never been within a thousand miles of the 
locality. Fifteen town sites were advertised in a single number of the 
Chicago " American," of which many of the names are unknown to-day, 
and the sites (if real) are still in a state of nature. 

When such follies were prevalent, how much more excusable were 
the vagaries of Chicago, which had, as time has proved, a basis of solid 
value ? 

In 1830, lots in the " original town" (Canal Trustee's first subdi- 
vision) were sold at from $25 to $iooeach. Alexander Wolcott bought 
eighty acres bounded by Chicago avenue, State street, Kinzie street and 

Builder of First Fire-proof Store. 



the North Branch at $1.25 an acre ; and a year or so later, Robert A. 
Kihzie bought " Kinzie's Addition" (Chicago avenue to Kinzie street, 
between State street and the Lake) at the same rate. 

The first lots sold in the original town, after being for two or three 
years tossed from hand to hand by luckless owners bought and sold 
and "swapped" like Indian ponies suddenly arose (as Captain 
Andreas says) to the dignity of realty. Bought at $60 to-day they 
bring $80 to-morrow and $100 the day after, while to our backward 
glance they were even then worth thousands ! Of the Tremont House 
lot (southeast corner of Lake and 
Dearborn streets) Mr. J. D. Bon- 
nell, in a letter to the " Times," 
dated March 15, 1876, says that one 
may hear varying stories as to the 
prices at which it might have been 
bought ; for instance : A cord of 
wood, that means 1831; a pair of 
boots, that means 1832 ; a barrel of 
whisky, that means 1833; a yoke of 
steers and a barrel of flour, that 
means 1834; five hundred dollars, 
that means 1835 ; five thousand 
dollars, that means 1836 or 1837. 
Mr. Bonnell doubtless states the 
case in caricature, for no lot in the 
original town was sold by the canal 
trustees for any such trivial sums. 
An extreme case is that of the " Opera House Block" lot, southwest 
corner of Clark and Washington streets, of which a deed, dated June 14, 
1832, is still in existence, showing its sale for $61. Still, Mr. Bonnell's 
price for the Tremont corner in 1831 is not much further out of the way 
than it is in 1835, 1836 and 1837 ; the last must be multiplied by five, 
and so must the first; for J. B. Beaubien, at the sale of 1830, bought 
the property (two lots 160 feet square), with eight other lots, for 
$346 ; an average of $38.44 per lot, or $76.88 for the two. 

It has often been said that some Chicago lots were run up, in 1836, 
to a price higher than they would bring to-day; but the facts scarcely 
bear out that extravagance. Father St. Cyr wrote to Mr. Wentworth 
in 1880 that the lot on Lake street west of State promised him for the 
Catholic Church in 1833 for $200 was sold in 1834 for $300, to Dr. 
Egan, who, in 1836, sold it to Eastern speculators for $60,000. The 

* Indian word for exchanged. 

Landlord of the Mansion House. 


unal city 


lot was 80 by 150 feet, and, supposing the reverend father to have been 

correctly informed, and the price named to have been the " top notch," 

the sum falls still below present values. 

In 1834 the dropsical disease was firmly seated and land agents 

were plenty. In 1835 the Government land sales aggravated the malady. 

Those sales went on as follows : 

May 28 to June 30, sales under pre-emption 8 33,067 

June 15 to June 30, public sale, John Bates, auctioneer 354,278 

August 3 to August 31, private sales 61,958 

September 17 to September 30, private sales 10,655 

Total *4S9,95 8 

The "Chicago American," August 15, 1835, reports sales of fractional Block 
No. 7 (Kinzie, Kingsbury & North Branch): In June, for $1,300; on August i for 
$1,950. Of Lot i, Block 2 (southwest corner of Dearborn and North Water): In 
June, $5,000; in August, $10,000. Lot 8, Block 16 (northwest corner of State and 
Lake streets): In June, $420; in August, $700. 

Skipping the convulsive leaps meanwhile, the lots of 1830, 1831, 
etc., sold in 1836 thus: 

Fifty feet front on South Water street, by 150 on Dearborn, 
brought $25,000. Captain Andreas quotes from the "American" 
Pro ressofthe (April, 1836): " There is a piece of land in Chicago costing $62 in 
1830, which has risen in value one hundred per cent, per day. It was 
sold last week for $96,700. one-quarter down and the remainder in six, 
twelve and eighteen months, at ten per cent." Charles Butler, of New 
York, in a later issue of the same paper, says: 

In 1833, one quarter of Kinzie's addition was offered for $5,500, worth then $100,000. In 
1833. forty acres of land worth $400 could not be purchased in 1836 for less than $200,000. In 
1834 the " Hunter property " was purchased for $20.000. In the spring of 1835 it was resold for 
$100.000. It is now (September, 1836) worth $500,000. 

The Government land office had been opened here in 1835; sales, 
370,000 acres; in 1836, 202,000; in 1837, 15,600. It never, up to its 
close in 1846, had a single year equal to 1835. 

Lots and lands were sold at auction by Augustus Garrett, who 
announced on October 27th, 1835, that he had sold, since January 4th, 
$1,800,000 of real and personal property. 

Ex-Lieutenant Governor William Bross, in his History of Chicago, 
gives a table showing the first sales of lots (1830) and the prices they 
brought; adding a column giving a careful estimate of the value of the 
same lots in 1853 when he wrote. Part of that statement is herewith pre- 
sented, with the addition of columns showing frontage and location, 
and a rough estimate of present (1891) value : 










m o ui u~> O O O N O o O w> 
O N N r^. f> O "~* *t co co oot 
-, en 1-1 *-C_ co~* 






their presc 


88 3 8 8 





>-> CO W Q fi O 1"^ " O f~> cOQ 
01 O O - f - ^ O S 1 *" 1 









1M" *^__l___!_,_i_,l.* 







itute strce 

roperly cons 
ice 1852. 


), Buyers' names, prices, and later values. 


g. : : c -j= : -g. : : : : : :::::?:: .^*' : :* c 

If i|ff Pffll sllEsjiJ |S1 |p 

orated in their rights of way and hence do not now p 
i firm has been continuously in Real Estate business sii 

J? S 



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e^ 4 : 


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c ccenc' cc^cc c2 
rtoj^rt rtcfl r3cc rt 
t*} 100 N r^* ^^ r^ en \/^ t^ 

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f Z S 


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5 c_ c 

i if Skii I i i i 

us = s A -g 5 ^ S 
cd|SESsl s = S 
a' IH 3 Si 1 * it, < iS 



* These properties have been abso 
values are estimated as street frontage anc 
The estimates in the final column are i 



Balestier's Lec- 
ture on these 

One of our very few and very precious scraps of local personal tes- 
timony half a century old, is the address of Joseph N. Balestier (a con- 
nection of the Kinzie family) delivered in the "Saloon Building" 
before the "Chicago Lyceum," January 21, 1840, whereof a copy for 
publication was asked by Grant Goodrich, William B. Ogden, Sidney 
Sawyer, Mark Skinner, David Hunter and John S. Wright. The lec- 
ture survived the vicissitudes of time and fire in a curious manner. An 
article in the Chicago "Tribune" of November 25, 1872, gives the circum- 
stances as follows*: 

The bosoms of the auditory fluttered with honest pride as young Balestier went through his 
manuscript and held the mirror up to the struggling, forlorn, but hopeful Garden City. ... It was 
neatly enough brought into typography by Edward Rudd, and, with the not unbecoming self-satis- 
faction of an author so honored, Balestier took a 
fair copy, wrote on the margin of the title page 
a pleasant note to General George P. Morris, of 
the New York "Mirror," asking his acceptance 
of the small brochure "from one of his corres- 

The little pamphlet had a mail journey of 
three weeks before the great New York editor 
turned over its modest pages, with much the 
same feeling, probably, with which a New York 
journalist of to-day would glance at the cheaply- 
printed, cheerful chirpings of a local lyceum lec- 
ture at Sitka. This identical copy, so addressed, 
drifted back again beyond the lakes, to be stitched 
into a bound volume in the State Library of 
Wisconsin, where a summer rambler among the 
interior lakes of our sister State came across it 
the other day. 

' Mr. Balestier says that in 1835 
the cities of the East were visited 
with an epidemic madness. It was 
suddenly discovered that the Amer- 
ican people had labored under serious misapprehension regarding the 
value of land, especially that which lay in cities and villages. The 
price of real property rose a hundred or a thousand-fold. Paper cities 
flourished, and the public mind became utterly diseased. 

This unwholesome spirit was confined to no classes. It extended into every walk of life. The 
farmer forsook the plow and became a speculator upon the soil instead of a producer from beneath 
the sod. The mechanic laid aside his tools and resolved to grow rich without labor. The lawyer 
sold his books and invested the proceeds in land. The physician "threw physic to the dogs," and 
wrote promissory notes instead of prescriptions. Even the day laborer became learned in the mys- 
teries of quit-claim and warranty, and calculated his fortune by thousands. 

When the mass of the community thus abandoned or neglected their proper pursuits, it may 
readily be assumed that the ignoble few who were willing to work received an ample reward for 
their pains. The price of labor was exorbitant; the simplest service was purchased at a dear rate. 
Even the barbers, who, since the days of Abraham, had shaved for sixpence, discovered that they 
had been working at half price. The great increase of consumers and the proportionate decrease 
of producers rendered the price of provisions-enormous. . . . Credit, reckless and indiscrimi- 

For this article, the lecture itself and other interesting matters connected therewith, see Fergus' Historica 
Series, No. i. 

Sail Loft, North Water Street. 



nate, was the master principle of those wild and maddening days. . . . Already had the banks, 
which greatly multiplied at this period, issued sufficient paper promises to create a spirit of wild 
extravagance; but the property of the country rose too rapidly to be represented by an inflated 
bank-note circulation. Individuals, in humble imitation of the banks, issued their notes without 
stint or limit. ... If old-established communities were thus frightened from their propriety, 
it can scarcely be supposed that the rising village of Chicago should escape the contagion. 
The wonder, then, is, not that we speculated so much, but rather that we did not rush more madly 
into the vortex of ruin. . . . Here, at least, there was something received in exchange for the 
money of the purchaser. But the few miles that composed Chicago formed but a small item among 
the subjects of speculation. The prairies of Illinois, the forests of Wisconsin and the sand hills of 
Michigan presented a chain almost unbroken of supposititious cities and villages. The whole land 
seemed staked out and peopled on paper. . . . Not the puniest brook on the shore of Lake 
Michigan was suffered to remain without a city at its mouth, and whoever will travel around that 
lake shall find many a mighty mart staked out in spots suitable only for the habitations of wild 

This picturesque language _. ~ ; . 

becomes of redoubled interest 
when we reflect that it was uttered 
only five years after the occur- 
rences described. As "Mr. Bales- 
tier spoke the words, one might 
readily have found the town- 
sites he described, the long rows 
of lot stakes standing stark in 
their lonely desolation. 

In 1836 and 1837 the Illinois 
legislature, carried away by the 
spirit of the age, entered on a sys- 
tem of "public improvements;" 
canals, railways, turnpikes, etc., 
which was perhaps the craziest 
exploit of even that crazy time. Bonds were voted and sold, railroads loca- 
ted and begun, and other wild things done; all a full generation in advance 
of the needs of commerce and the. ability of finance. Abraham Lincoln, 
then a member of the legislature, in spite of all the native common 
sense he afterward showed, was not too shrewd to be taken in by the 
transparent folly ; he was not only a party to the movement, but an 
enthusiastic leader in it. This was really after the general " craze " had 
nearly culminated ; and, though it seemed an effort to make up for lost 
time, still its reign was so short as to be, though positively disastrous, 
yet harmless compared to what might have been its results if begun 
earlier. Suppose the State bonds to have been voted in 1835 instead of 
January, 1837, the millions which would have found a market would 
perhaps have been either finally repudiated, or have remained a burden 
to this day ; when, in fact, Illinois is quite out of debt. At the same 
time the melancholy wrecks that mark that old error, instead of being 


" Red Log Grocery," South Water Street. 






few and scattered, would have covered the State. Having in it all ele- 
ments of failure, the sooner the whole scheme failed the better. 

The Milwaukee "Advertiser," of June 14, 1836, gives a reported 
conversation between two Chicago men : " What did you give for your 
portrait ? " "I gave twenty-five dollars for it, and have been offered 
fifty already." 

The balloon was certainly " blown up" in the first sense, and about 
ready to be " blown up" in the second. 




HAT goes up must come down, sooner or 
later, according as it is built solidly or flim- 
sily. An Eastern proverb says that "the 
arch never rests," even the vaulted stone 
goes always down, down till it finds earth- 
level again how much more the bubble 

or the house of cards ! 

Many panics, depressing and disas- 
trous, have swept over our land; never one 
so wide-spread, so complete, so terrible as 
that of 1837. Some have been merely 
financial, or industrial, or commercial; but 
this " squeeze," for various reasons, reached 
every branch of every business. In the 
East, Jackson's withdrawal of the Govern- 
ment deposits from the United States Bank caused (or rather precipi- 
tated) its failure, and that great collapse dragged down every public 
banking institution within its influence. In the whole West a season 
of prolonged drought brought even the tillers of the virgin soil to 
actual want, and a huge speculation in public lands fell in ruins with 
the depression of agriculture. In Illinois, a system of public works 
based on public debt had been instituted which contemplated (besides 
the Illinois & Michigan Canal) the outlay of $9,350,000 in railroad 
building, and $850,000 in other things; in all $10,200,000, as follows : 

Railroads: Cairo to Galena (Central) $3,500,000 

Alton to Mt. Carmel 1,600,000 

Northern Cross 1,800,000 

Branch of the Central to Terre Haute 650,000 

" Alton 600,000 

Peoria to Warsaw 700,000 

Belleville to Mt. Carmel 150,000 

Bloomington to Mackinawtown 350,000 

Great Western Mail Route (highway) 250,000 

Improvement of the Wabash, Illinois, Rock, Little Wabash, & Kaskaskia rivers 400,000 

To counties in lieu of railroads and canals 200,000 

To show how universal was the craze, it should be noticed that 
Stephen A. Douglas (Democrat) framed and introduced the bill; 
Abraham Lincoln (Whig) supported it; and when Governor Duncan 
(Whig) wisely vetoed the measure, both houses passed it over his veto, 


scheme of 
Public Im- 



The total length of railway proposed was 1,341 miles, a point only 
reached just about twenty years later, 1857. But the projectors were 
not only twenty years too soon in their plan ; they were also all wrong 
as to their method, that of State construction and ownership. Governor 

Duncan, in his message of 1835. used the wise words: " 1 would most 
respectfully suggest the propriety of leaving all such works, wherein it 
can be done consistently with the general interest, to individual enter- 
prise ; " which advice, Judge Moses truly observes, had it been .heeded, 
would have been the means of averting manv serious evils which after- 

THE HARD TJMES OF 1837-40. ,6 5 

ward befell the State. Governor Duncan suffered the fate usually 
awaiting the man who is right when the rest of the world is wrong. In 
the next election for Governor his name was not even mentioned, and 
when he did become again a candidate (in 1842) he was defeated. The 
public often admits itself to have been mistaken, but seldom forgives 
the man who has convicted it of its mistake. 

It will be observed that all plans for railways were conceived in the 
view of local convenience, the idea of through lines not having yet taken 
root. So thoroughly was this the case that counties through which no 
road or canal was to pass were to be appeased by an appropriation of 
money. A separate act aimed at the completion of the canal, authoriz- 
ing the sale of $1,000,000 worth of. canal 
lands and an additional loan of $500,000. 
The capital of the State bank was increased 
to $2,000,000, and that of the Bank of Shaw- 
neetown to $1,400,000. Then, says Judge 
Moses, in his excellent History of Illinois: 

The legislature adjourned March 6, amid the plaudits 
of a grateful constituency. Only the so-called misguided and 
narrow-minded minority were received with coldness and 
made the subjects of public censure. The adjournment was 
followed by an era of speculation. There was about to be 
realized in rich fruition the rose-colored future of prosperity 
depicted by the governor in his message of 1835, in which he 
alluded to railroads and canals "bearing with seeming 
triumph the rich productions of the interior to the rivers, 

lakes and ocean, and almost annihilating time, burthen and 



In 1838, the pinch having come, suspension of specie payments was 
authorized by law. But the issue of irredeemable currency by the State 
banks went on, and so did the " internal improvements," not one of 
which, except the canal, was ever other than a bill of expense. In 1830 

' pended. 

the State debt reached $13,230,550. Still, at the same time, Ohio owed 
nearly $15,000,000; Indiana $14,000,000, and even little Michigan, with 
a population of only 212,276, owed $6.000,000! In 1840 Illinois had 
476,183; and it was in that year let all loyal Illinoisans plume them- 
selves on this in the midst of deep financial tribulation and frantic 
political strife, the legislature, without distinction of party, tried heroic 
expedients for paying interest on the State debt, going so far as to lay 
an additional tax of ten cents on the $100 (later raised to 35 cents on 
the $ i oo) for that express purpose, and at last pledging $804,000 of pub|u . 
bonds for $261,500 of cash, (i Moses, 443.) Meantime the work on the st pp ed - 
internal improvement scheme was discontinued. To quote Governor 
Ford's history of Illinois, " The channels of trade had been obstructed, 
and the vitality of business seemed almost extinct." In February, 



1842, the State Bank and the Shawneetown Bank "exploded with a 
great crash," leaving more than $3,000,000 of irredeemable currency 

The tide of immigration ceased to flow into the State, and there could hardly be found suf- 
ficient money to pay taxes. Produce could not be sold for cash at any price, and was valuable to 
the owner only as a sort of circulating medium available in trade. The following were the " mar- 
ket prices" in Central Illinois for leading articles, namely: Wheat, 40 to socents per bushel; corn, 
10 to 12; pork $1.50 per hundred. It required forty pounds of butter (selling at from 5 to 8 cents 
per pound) to buy the farmer's wife a calico dress of eight yards the usual size of the pattern at 
Bank> fail. that time the price being from i8J|" to 37^ cents per yard; twenty-five dozen eggs would only pur- 
chase one dollar's worth of coffee, five pounds. Ten bushels of corn would scarcely outweigh in 
value eight pounds of sugar, and the hog had to be a large one that would liquidate the price of a pair 
of boots. Everybody was in debt, and there was only " produce " to pay with, at these starvation 
prices. The newspapers were filled with notices of bankruptcy and of sales by trustees and sheriffs. 
(I Moses, 452-3.)* 

Judge Caton, looking back on those days, says, " I had to take for 
law fees anything I could get in farm products. I could buy pork at 
$1.50 a hundred pounds, but the $1.50 was very hard to get." 

Governor Ford, elected in 1842 as a Democrat, but essentially 
an independent, said in his first message that there was not enough 
S tM teT 7S u a e v mone y m tne State treasury to pay postage on State correspondence, 
and the postmaster refused credit. Auditor's warrants were selling at 
50 cents on the dollar; State bonds, 14 cents. In the same breath 
Ford advocated payment of every dollar of public debt, and the com- 
pletion (on a diminished scale) of the canal, Verily, " there were giants 
in those days." 

The State surrendered to the banks the stock in them which it 
had held, receiving in return the bonds which it had issued for such 
stock, and the banks began redeeming their circulating notes as best 
they might doubtless taking bad currency in payment of bad debts 
s S btand finally retiring and cancelling them all. The State debt had been 
reduced by these means until on January i, 1845, it stood as follows: 

Illinois and Michigan Canal debt $4,741,783 

Internal improvement, banks and State house 6,712,886 


To this must be added accumulation of interest from July, 1841 
(the date of latest payment), amounting to $2,323,199.! The total 
assessed value of the State's real estate for 1844 was fifty-one millions, 
personal property sixteen millions. It would not now be hard to find 
three or four Chicago men able to join hands and buy, at assessed valu- 
ation, everything there was in the State, pay its debt, complete its canal 
and have enough left to give their families three meals a day after all. 

The lowest prices for grain ever reached in Chicago during recorded times were in 1843, when white winter 
wheat was worth but thirty-eight cents per bushel; corn eighteen cents. 

t The sum of this indebtedness, $13,777,868, is just about the present total debt of Chicago (1891), $13.545,400. But 
the disparity of assets and liabilities becomes very glaring when we compare the assessed valuation of the State in 1841, 
$67,000,000, with that of Chicago tonlay, $219,354,368. The State owed nearly one dollar in five of total valuation; the city 
owes less than one dollar in sixteen, under an assessed valuation notoriously inadequate. 



The summer of 1838 showed an accumulation of miseries. 
Drought that evil whose touch is death in a farming region pre- 
vailed over the whole West. No rain fell from July igth until Novem- 
ber. Streams dried up and springs yielded poor water. Fatal fever 
broke out in Chicago. Work on the canal was nearly suspended by a 
strange disease called, for want of a better name, " canal cholera." 
It carried off its victims in a few hours and many of the dead lay along 
the road near Bridgeport, unburied for days together ; all the well 
being afraid of catching and spreading the deadly epidemic. 

Judge Blodgett served on the 
canal as "rod man" in the engineer- 
ing force, near Lemont. He says 
this disease was like yellow fever, 
and came from the malarious ex- 
halations of the upturned soil, the 
hard work in the hot sun, and the 
unwholesome living on pork and 
poor bread. Work" began at half- 
past six in the morning, at ten a 
pail of whiskey was passed and 
each man given a "jigger" from a 
tin cup. At noon an hour was 
allowed for dinner, at three or four 
another "jigger" was served, and 
work stopped at six. The fever 
victims would be seized with black 
vomit at night and die next morn- 
ing, and they would bury them as 
soon as might be. There was but 
little drinking, except the "jig- 
gers," and he never heard of any unburied dead. 

The writer, a resident of Michigan in 1840, remembers the distress, 
the utter absence of specie, the prevalence of the worthless " Michigan 
money " (dreadfully scarce, poor as it was) ; the feeling deepseated in 
a small boy's hea,rt, that "hard times "were the natural state of man 
and that anything else must be a delusion, foolish, insane, temporary 
and evanescent. He even remembers a political caricature used in the 
Harrison campaign of 1840 to show the consequences of the Demo- 
cratic (" Locofoco") rule of Jackson and Van Buren. It displayed a 
mass of struggling, poverty-stricken wretches standing in Wall street 
while one building showed the legend, " Bank. No specie payments 
made here;" another, "Custom house. Nothing but specie taken here." 

Canal cholera. 




The " Michigan currency" went by the epithets opprobrious and 

appropriate of " red-dog," "wild-cat," " shinplasters," etc. It is said 

Red-dog,- that a certain man, having this money offered to him, exclaimed : " Oh 

"Wild-cat" , . . . . ^ T f , . 

se e here ! can t you give me something else ? if you ve got any good 
Eastern counterfeits, I'd rather have them !" 

Turning now to Chicago, how did she stand the pressure of ill 
luck ? There was plenty of it. As Mr. Balestier says : 

The professional speculator and his victims were swallowed up in one common ruin. Trust- 
ing to the large sums due to him, the land operator involved himself more and more deeply, until 
his fate was more pitiable than that of his defrauded dupes. The year 1837 will ever be remem- 
bered as the. era of protested notes; it was the harvest to the notary and to the lawyer, the year of 
wrath to the mercantile, producing and laboring interests. Misery inscribed its name on many a 
face lately radiant with high hopes; despair was stamped on many a countenance which was wont 
to be wreathed in smiles. Broken fortunes, blasted hopes, aye, and blighted characters; these were 
the legitimate offspring of those pestilent times. The land resounded with the groans of ruined 
men and the sobs of defrauded women who had entrusted their all to greedy speculators. 
It was a scene of woe and desolation. Temporary relief came in the shape of Michigan money 
but, like all empty expedients, it, in the end, aggravated the disease it pretended to cure. 
Let us turh from this sickening spectacle of disaster and ruin. Mad as her citizens had been. Chi- 
cago was Chicago still. Artificial enterprises had failed, but nature was still the same. 

Professor Colbert, in his history of Chicago (p. 21), says: 

When the crash came in the autumn of 1837 the selling value of real estate fell almost to zero. 
For three or four years it was scarcely possible to realize anything on so-called property and not 
till after 1842 was there a sign of recovery. In 1841 sale was made of a number of lots on the east 
side of Michigan avenue, between South Water and Randolph streets, the average price being five 
dollars per front foot. 

In the Chicago Magazine for April, 1857 (p. 139), we read that in 
1839, at the sale of the Fort Dearborn land, lots on Michigan avenue 
sold still lower than those above named ; going at $5 1 for 48 feet. 

John S. Wright, an excellent citizen and conservative man, said in 
after years: " By 1840 my property had all gone. What had cost me 
$100,000 went for $6,000; what had cost $12,000 brought but $900." 

In June, 1837, the City scrip was issued in denominations of $i, 
$2 and $3, bearing interest at one per cent, per annum, receivable for 
taxes not exceeding $5,000. At the same time some Chicagoans were 
sturdy anti-inflationists, for J. S. C. Hogan resigned the office of Town 
Treasurer rather than be party to the borrowing by the town of $2,000. 
No specimens of this currency are now known to exist. 

In these years was issued the "Canal Scrip" in various shapes 
and forms. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the old stuff are 
in the vaults of the Historical society, and four varieties of its issues 
are here reproduced, that "old residenters" maybe reminded of the 
aspect of " money " which they were once so eager to get hold of and, a 
little later, to get rid of. 

The earliest in date is August i, 1839, and is a broad, dignified- 
looking bill, reminding one of the Bank of England's five-pound note. 



Its vignette is a steamboat ; with one of the old " sash-frame " engines, 
used before even the "walking-beam" was introduced. 

It is a ninety-day draft for $100, dated at Lockport, drawn on the 
Branch State Bank at Chicago, signed by W. F. Thornton, president, 



,Ai!tu &> me enter <r_ 



k me 

and registered by J. Manning, secretary. Its indorser (not shown in 
the cut) was J. Calhoun. Perhaps it was issued in payment of a news- 
paper bill. The engravers were Rudd & Childs, of Chicago, and it is 
a production highly creditable to the young village. The name 
" Childs " is to-day prominent among Chicago engravers. 






TREASUSBR'S Ui'KICK OK 7 UK ILL'-. ^ Mir 11: ('AXAl. 

l^trfstf '*i\ t <-i' * / . / .- / /''"<. f 

i X, ^ / 


The second bill is a check, dated at Lockport, October i, 1839, 
drawn on the Chicago Bank to the order of David Prickett, treasurer, 
and signed by W. F. Thornton, president, and Jacob Fry, acting com- 
missioner. Its vignette is doubtless borrowed from the Erie Canal 
(then about eighteen years old), as it shows a canal boat and team 



Strupplinp to 
keep faith. 

engaged in passing a lock. The bill is severely plain compared with the 
earlier issue. It bears the name of P. A. Mesier's Lith., 28 Wall street, 
New York. This is probably the issue which Judge Blodgett remem- 
bers as having been conterfeited not, however, successfully, for he 
says that the counterfeit bills were easily detected because they were so 
muck better than the genuine. 

Number three is the most pretentious of all, and bears the name of 
Woodruff & Childs, Cincinnati. It is in a form resembling a modern 
bank bill. It is dated at the office of the Board of Public Works, 
Springfield, March 18, 1840, and directs the Fund Commissioner to 
pay to the order of J. Beall, Commissioner of the Board, $100, with 
interest from June 1 5, 1 840, at six per cent, per annum ; signed J . Hogan, 
Pres't, and Wm. Prentiss, Sec'y. Its vignette is a curiosity, showing as 
it does a railway train of the earliest construction. Each of the three 

, /,:/. <- <? f f 


passenger cars is in the semblance of an old-fashioned, curve-bottomed 
stage coach, set on a four-wheeled wagon truck, and filled with passen- 
gers both inside and on top. The baggage car is a kind of barrow 
hitched to the rear of the train. The engine is the most curious of all, 
looking like a little stationary boiler (no visible cylinder) perched on a 
slight four-wheeled truck like that which carries the passenger cars. 
One would not like to be one of those wayfarers on the top of the 
coaches, unless the speed be limited to three miles an hour at the out- 
side. On the left-hand end of the bill is old Aquarius with his urn, and 
on the right Agriculture with her plow, sheaves and cornucopia of fruits. 
The reverse of the bill is an interesting bit of history, marking a 
step in the persistent and successful struggle of our State to perform 
its promises to the very letter. It is an indorsement reading thus : 

Paid on the principal of this scrip seventy 40-100 dollars, being the dividend of the State debt 
fund, declared January ist, 1851, $70.40. THOMAS H. CAMPBELL, Aud'r. 


The latest issue is dated at the Lockport office, Sept. 22, 1840, and 
calls upon the Agency State Bank of Illinois at Chicago to pay to the 
order of David Prickett, $1,131.35 ; signed W. F. Thornton, Pres't, and 
Jacob Fry, Act. Com. The note is of severe plainness, a simple draft, 


torn out of a stub-book. It bears no 'evidence of having been paid 
(except a stamp of cancellation), but we know that every one of them 
was finally paid in full, from the earnings of the canal and the sale of 
canal land. 

The total of completed work under the " Internal Improvement; 
Scheme," after the expenditure of its six million dollars, was only one 
small section of railroad (connecting Springfield with Meredosia on the 
Illinois river), supplied with two engines and a few cars, the whole cost- 
ing $1,000,000. This was the first railroad in the State, and was fifty- 
eight miles long. W. K. Ackerman, Esq., in an excellent and exhaustive 
pamphlet on Early Illinois Railroads (Fergus' Hist. Series No. 23), says: 

The road was constructed by spiking flat strips of iron on long timbers, which were laid 
lengthwise on the tracks, and which were kept from spreading by cross-pieces inserted every five or 
six feet. In a short time the road and engines needed repairing, and the engines were taken off and 
mule teams used for some years in their place. . . Its whole income was insufficient to keep it in 
repair, and its operation was abandoned by the State. The road was sold in 1847, and realized 
$21,500 in State indebtedness. 

Old settlers give a pathetic picture of the decadence of the little 
line ; an engine in the ditch, a few mules pulling a few cars through the 
dust, final abandonment loneliness, weeds and cattle tracks. Judge 
Caton recollects riding, in 1842, over the road between Jacksonville and 
Meredosia, when the grass was so heavy over the rails that the engine's 
driving-wheels slipped enough to retard their progress. At a certain small 
watercourse the passengers were fain to turn out and dip up water in 
buckets from the stream, to fill the water tank of the tender. 

Utter failure 
of Internal 




Most of the rich men of 1835-6 went down before the storm of 
1837. William B. Ogden was in straits through liabilities assumed for 
friends, and did not get clear of the trouble until 1842-3. His biog- 
rapher, in the "Chicago Magazine" (p. 33), says: 

The first time we recollect to have heard him address a public meeting was in the fall of 1837 
while he 'was mayor. Some frightened debtors, assisted by a few demagogues, had called a meet- 
ing to take measures to have the courts suspended. . . . They sought by legislative action, or 
" Relief Laws," to suspend, for a season, the collection of debts. An inflammatory and ad captan- 
dum speech had been made. . . . During the excitement the Mayor was called for. He stepped 
forward and exhorted his fellow-citizens not to commit the folly of proclaiming their own dishonor. 
. . No misfortune was so great as one's own personal dishonor. . . . "Above all things," 
said he, " do not tarnish the honor of our infant city." . . . This first attempt at " repudiating " 
met ... a rebuff no less pointed than deserved. 

Position c.f Chi- 
cayo Branch 
State Bank. 

William H. Brown, cashier of the Chicago branch of the Illinois 
State Bank, was another bulwark of solvency. Regarding his course 
the " Magazine " says: 

Everybody was in a condition of suffering, and wanted money with an intensity that would 
take no denial; and the very urgency of the want pointed to the very reason which made it unsafe 
to accommodate them. . . . A'o is not a popular word with men who wish to borrow money. 
. . . The Chicago branch suffered with the rest; for real estate was forced upon it in place of 
money. Yet, in the aggregate, it was so managed that the profit and loss would have shown a bal- 
ance on the right side. 

Charles Walker began, in 1836, the business of bringing from the 
East agricultural and household implements and other merchandise, 
which he sold or exchanged for Western products. In 1838 he stood 
the pressure with the rest, but never "lay down." He shipped Eastward 
what he received in exchange for Eastern merchandise, and so made 


himself superior to the vagaries of banking and currency ; an expedient 
which has more than once placed Chicago above her Eastern contempo- 


B. W. Raymond had come to Chicago in 1836, and brought a val- 
uable stock of goods, belonging to himself and his Eastern partner, S. M. 
Dexter, of Oriskany, Oneida county, N. Y. In the autumn of 1837 
the firm, besides the loss of all its capital, was $15,000 short of money 
enough to pay its engagements. Nothing daunted, Mr. Dexter fur- 
nished, as needed, during the next two years, $20,000 additional. I n stubborn busi. 
1843 things had measurably recovered, and Raymond & Co. sold out 
their merchandise, taking in part payment sixty feet on Clark street, 
between Lake and Randolph, including the old Postoffice on the alley 
in the Sherman House block, which property was taken at $5,000 ! He 
had already (in 1839) bought the Lake street lot (now No. 122) 
whereon he had built the first fire-proof stores in town. (This was the 
structure which checked the "great fire" of that year.) In the same 
year he was elected mayor to succeed William B. Ogden. It is related 
that he gave his whole salary ($1,000) to the relief of the "emeralders," 
canal laborers, then out of work and in great distress. 

Needless to say that, having such lots as those above named 
bought and paid for, Mr. Raymond never was brought to want, even 
by such unbusiness-like conduct as the relief of the suffering poor. 

Our "story" having got down to the memory of living men, it is 
possible to get some " local color" from old settlers. Talks with Judge 
Blodgett (ar. 1831), Justice Caton (ar. 1833), the Messieurs Arthur 
G. Burley (ar. 1835) and Augustus H. Burley (ar. 1837), Fernando 
Jones (ar. 1835), A. C. Wood (ar. 1835) and others, give scattered bits 
of incident, some of which have not been heretofore printed, and would, 
perhaps, not be worth repeating, except as characteristic of the time, 
place and circumstances. 

The book and stationery store of Stephen Gale and Augustus 
Burley, was the only one of its kind in the whole district, and was the 
natural gathering-place of all the more intellectual members of society, 
who talked, read the papers and played chess there, by hours together. 
"In going one square through Washington street, from Dearborn to 
Clark" says one of this firm, "I meet more persons than in 1840 I 
should see in the whole length of Lake or South Water street during a 
whole day. And then, I knew by sight every passenger I met; now, 
perhaps, not one." Arthur G. Burley started his business (crockery 
and glassware) in 1835, an d has kept it up continuously from that day 

* In 1868, and again in 1873, every bank in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia suspended payment, while 
Chicago stood firm. This is ascribed to the fact that while Wall street is based on stocks and bonds, which men may 
take or leave, as they fancy. La Salle street relies on grain and provisions, which the world must have. 

Where men 
used to con- 


Real Estate 

Cost of living. 

to the present (1891); making his the oldest house in any business in 

Chicago, if not in the entire West. 
One of the old residents remem- 
bers that about 1842 Judge Dickey 

offered him an undivided half 

interest in the property at the 

corner of Michigan avenue and 

Jackson street (now covered by 

the Leland Hotel), at $40 a front 

foot. He consulted his senior 

partner about it, but the latter ob- 
served that the nearness to the 

lake made the place so bleak as to 

deprive it of value for residence 

use, just as its distance from town 

ruined it for business purposes. So 

the trade was never made. 

What the narrator did buy was 

the southeast corner of Dearborn 

and Washington streets (Portland 

block), for $4,500. There were 

two houses on the lot (80 feet) and the owner lived in one of them 

for many years. In 1857 he sold 
the whole for $63,000, and the 
buyer proceeded to build upon 
them, borrowing the money for the 
purpose. The evil days of 1858 
found him unable to carry his 
mortgages, and he failed. 

A young business man in about 
1843-44 lived at the City Hotel, 
which stood at the northwest corner 
of Clark and Randolph streets (the 
present site of the Sherman House) 
and for the board and lodging of 
self, wife, child and nurse paid the 
moderate sum of $8 per week. 



Plain food was abundant and 
I cheap, prairie chickens were so 
I plenty that you could do little ex- 
' cept give them away, but domestic 
fowls brought about three "York"shillings(thirty-seven and a half cents) a 




dozen ; eggs, about three cents a dozen. Country folks, even well-to- 
do farmers' families, lived on boiled pork and cabbage and sassafras 
tea. They .had plenty of milk, to be sure, if you don't mind its being 
"leeky ;"- flavored with the wild onion (Chi-ca-gou) which the cows 
grazed upon. 

The junior member of the stationery firm naturally had the monthly 
bills to make out and (what was more troublesome) to collect. Justin 
Butterfield was one of the gruff and crusty customers. " Well, young 
man, what do you want?" " This 

little bill 
so.) "Humph! 

($8, $12, $15, or 
No money!" 

Next two or three calls, same col- 
loquy, same result. Finally, " That 
bill again! Here !" (pays it.) "I'll 
be hanged if I ever owe you an- 
other cent." A day or two later, 
entering the store: " Bottle'of ink. 
Bunch of quills. Quire of fools- 
cap! Charge them." Another 
customer ( later a multimillionaire) 
was less gruff, but equally trouble- 
some. Thrusting his hand deep 
into his pocket and bringing out 
a jack-knife and a single small coin, 
he would say, "Young man, that's 
the last copper I've got in the 

Colonel J. M. Strode built himself a modest frame house at Michi- 
gan Avenue and Jackson Street. One day he called on the carpenter 
who had done the work. "Opdike, how much did the glass cost you? 
How much did you pay for putty, nails, locks and hinges? Well, here's s 
the money; I don't want a man to lose money he's paid out for me, but 
as for your work, why you'll have to wait for your pay for that." 

So it went on. The stores had to take what they could get. 
Broken-bank notes, canal scrip, city scrip, anything and everything came 
in, except specie. The canal scrip got down to thirty-seven cents on 
the dollar. City scrip was worth from seventy to ninety cents, but the 
holder must find somebody to buy it who wanted to use it in paying 

In those days ruffled shirts were still worn, and a certain elegant, 
well-educated lawyer, coming hither from the East, was noted for their 
use. He was a better chess-player than lawyer, and too easy-going to 



make his way through the hard times; and the ruffles marked their 
owner's decline. On Sunday they would show forth fresh and snowy, 
turned over, say to the right. On Monday they might be seen turned 
towards the left, and on Tuesday spread apart, one each way; but for 
the rest of the week the poor fellow wore his coat buttoned up. 

Judge Bloclgett remembers an occurrence which shows how natural 
it is for man to look up when he is flat on his back and can not look 
any other way. Some one, entering the hardware store of Jones, King 
& Co., where things looked dull and blue enough, asked Mr. Jones how 
he felt, and was answered: "Oh, I'm easy now. They ve got done suing." 

As a proof that the ruin of the panic of the early forties, or that of 
the late fifties, or those of the seventies, or that of the early eighties, 
was not universal bankruptcy, it may be observed that neither of the 
Not an bank- members of the firm of stationers before named, all of whom have lived 
here constantly since 1837, has ever failed to pay every debt when it fell 
due, no matter how many debtors failed to pay sums owed to them. All 
bought and sold real estate as occasion offered, but held their mer- 
cantile debts to have the first claim; and, whenever needful, the real 
estate must go to provide cash for the merchandise liability. The same 
is true of the crockery establishment. 

When the builders of Chicago's first railroad (Galena) were strain- 
ing every nerve to get it through as far as Elgin, they called on all the 
business houses on the route to take stock, and the Chicago firms, or 
most of them, subscribed for shares, one or more. (The stationery 
firm took ten shares.) But some of the richest men, notably John 
High and H. H. Magie, declined, saying that it would ruin the town. 
Here were hundreds of teams coming in ; prairie schooners from the 
South and common farm wagons from the West; bringing wheat and corn 
and taking back goods. Now if the road should be built out west, say 
to Elgin, the farmers would drive to Elgin, sell their grain there and 
buy their goods there, Chicago becoming a mere passing point. 

It is of these hard days that Captain Andreas well says: "The 
speculation which had been rampant for the past three years was gone, 
but a grim determination showed in the lineaments of each true Chica- 
goan's face which meant that, although fortunes had fled, Chicago was 
still left." This reminds one of a characteristic Indian story. Mokopo 
had drank fire-water too much, and yet not enough and was wander- 
Vc. jngr aimlessly about. " Why, Mokey; what's the matter ? Are you lost ?" 
" No ! " (striking his breast resounding blows) " Wigwam lost ; Mokopo 
HERE!" The application of this parable to Chicago in 1812, 1840, 
1849 (flood), 1854 (cholera), 1859 (panic), 1871 (fire), 1874 (fire), and 



under certain other staggering blows, is too obvious to need explana- 
tion. As we come to these successive cataclysms we shall have repeated 
cause to note the elasticity of the 
reserve force which underlies the 
Garden City. 

NOTE. One of the pleasant incidents that 

lighten the labors of the annalist occurred while 

this chapter was under way. It was an accidental 

meeting with the Rev. Stephen Ruddel Beggs, 

named in Chapter XII I, as the pioneer of Method- 
ism in Chicago. The writer, passing over the 

site of the vanished Fort Dearborn, chanced to 

observe an old gentleman who was accompanied 

by a younger person. The latter made some 

remark about the spot, to which he replied, 

"Yes; I knew Fort Dearborn long before you 

were born." 

This made an opening for acquaintance 

and resulted in much pleasant talk concerning 

the days gone by. Mr. Beggs "Father 

Beggs" was born in Virginia in 1801, and in his 

ninety-second year looks as if he might well live 

to see the end of the century whereof he saw 

almost the beginning. His faculties are still in 

good condition, and he sticks stoutly to the 

number of babies (fifteen) whom he said were 

born at the Fort during the " Blackhawk Scare." 

Therefore skepticism is put to flight. REV. STEPHEN KUDDEL BEGGS. 

Father Beggs speaks with bitterness of the obduracy of Major Whistler, on his arrival 

with troops, in expelling from the Fort the many 
refugees who had taken possession of it. Mrs. 
Beggs, on a certain Monday, gave birth to a 
daughter in one of the upper rooms, and with 
her babe was lying there helpless when the sol- 
diers arrived later in the week. Her husband 
was her sole attendant, and, when the Major 
passed through the room, explained to him the 
circumstances, and begged to be allowed more 
time, a favor which the other refused, saying 
that he must have the place for his men. " If it 
had not been for the kindness of John H. Kinzie 
on the North Side," says the minister, " both 
mother and child might very probably have per- 

It was but a few weeks afterward that 
Gen. Scott arrived with more rank, more men 
and the cholera. Father Beggs relates how Major 
Whistler was forced incontinently to vacate, in 
his turn, the place whence he had ousted the 
luckless refugees, and tells it with aglow of sat- 
isfaction which illustrates the tact that there is a 
good deal of human nature left even among the 

It is pleasant to be able to give a fresh 
portrait of Father Beggs in his ninetieth year. 
Also a portrait of John S. C. Hogan (ar. 1830), 

who was postmaster at the time when Father Beggs arrived in 1831. 





'HICAGOANS did not, in 1840 (or in any 
other year), give themselves up to low spirits 
and repining. This was the year of the 
Harrison campaign, the first successful 
effort of the Whigs, and their last except 
the election of Taylor in 1848. Excite- 
ment ran high here as elsewhere, and 
Charles Cleaver's pamphlet gives a vivid 
account of his trip to the Springfield con- 
f'vention. There were seventy delegates, 
provided with fourteen canvas- covered 
wagons, and a two-masted boat mounted on 
wheels and armed with a cannon for firing 
salutes. Captain (afterward General) Da- 
vid Hunter was in command, and the com- 
pany consisted of citizens of the best class. Of the whole number it 
is probable that scarcely half a dozen survive now (1891), Mr. Stephen 
F. Gale being the only one positively known. They started June 
n . /th, and it took them all day to reach " the ridge," ten miles out. The 
second day took them to Joliet, where a mob of Democratic canal- 
laborers assembled with tin horns, kettles, etc., and barred the passage. 
They got through without bloodshed, and reached Springfield in a week, 
where the "full-rigged ship" made a great sensation among prairie- 
dwellers all unused to such an object. 

As Hercules strangled the serpents that invaded his cradle, so did 
Chicago grasp firmly and kill quickly the enemies, Doubt and Despair. 
This was no "paper city" which could disappear: 

The baseless fabric of this vision, 
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples . . . dissolve, 
And, like this unsubstantial fabric faded, 
Leave not a rack behind. 

Here was still the " portage," where the greatest stretch of lake 
navigation could come into nearest contact with the longest system of 
rivers and the grandest spread of fertile lands. Money, real money, 
came hither every year from the general government to be laid out on 

the harbor, and before long $1,600,000 of other money, attracted by 




the solid value of the enterprise, came from the reviving East, to be 
used in the completion of the canal. Like the drops of a cool shower 
on soil thirsty from drought these dollars fell, and the soil being unfail- 
ingly fertile, earth once more smiled with richness and gave forth of its 
abundance in gener- 
ous measure. The 
ablest men inthe com- 
munity maintained 
their faith. Caton, 
Ogden, Wentworth, 
Peck, Carpenter, Cly- 
bourne, Arnold, Bur- 
ley, Dole, Cleaver, 
George Smith, Cobb, 
Couch, Gale, Hub- 
bard, Harmon, Judd, 
Loomis, Manierre, 
Page, Raymond, 
Sherman, Stone all 
whose names appear 
in Hurlbut's copy of 
Rudd's directory for 
1839, besides Scam- 
mon, Skinner, Wright 
and others who are 
not mentioned 
never swerved from 
their unbounded con- 
fidence in the coming 
greatness of their 


chosen spot of earth. 

Each of them found his faith rewarded by fortune ; some greater, some 
less, according as he had combined faith and judgment in fitting pro- 
portions The Kinzies, Beaubiens, Wolcotts, etc., sold out untimely i 
and so fared less well. They had seen Chicago grow from units to 
thousands; and the further steps, tens of thousands, hundreds of thou- 
sands, etc., seemed no doubt chimerical. 

At the same time there were men who made the opposite error ; 
who, truly estimating the greatness of growth, underestimated the length 
of time it would require; and, building too high a superstructure on too 
narrow a foundation, saw their whole edifice topple to utter ruin. The 
Chicago of to-day is spangled with brilliant fortunes, and blotted with 




sad disasters. The lights are patent to all ; the shadows are unnoticed. 
It is like the sea ; wrecks are hidden and tall ships sail on. 

A ripple in the dull current of hard times was a rumored " personal 
difficulty " connected almost of course with the freedom of the press 
in its remarks upon private persons. 

John Wentworth, in his " Democrat," used the following language : 

It is an indisputable fact that every one of these persons who have been filching money 

Alleged row unjustly in the shape of Indian claims are opposed to the administration [Van Buren's] and use 
lohnt'nd'c'a" 8 such '"-8 otten gains to injure it in every possible manner. It is due to the people that all Indian 
tain Hunter, treaties for the last ten years be overhauled in the most thorough manner, arid the thousand knave- 
ries practised by men thereby made nabobs fully exposed to the public gaze. 

It is said that Captain (afterward General) David Hunter took 
offense at this and went to the " Democrat" office, pistols in hand, for 
an explanation. The opposition (Whig) paper, "The Democratic 

Advocate" (printed by our friend, 
Robert Fergus), got out a cartoon, 
showing the editor surprised in his 
sanctum, the soldier entering, pre- 
senting two murderous -looking 
weapons and saying, "Take your 
choice and stand back!" To which 
the other replied, " Don't shoot 
don't shoot ! I'll sign anything." 
But this was regarded as the mere 
squib of political opponents, as the 
parties concerned denied any such 
occurrence. So everybody was 
willing to laugh the matter off and 
accept the theory that Captain 
Hunter had only dropped in at 
editor Wentworth's office after 
calling at Peacock & Thatcher's 

gun store, where his pistols had been left for cleaning, and that there 
was no challenge not even an unpleasant word perhaps not any allu- 
sion whatever to the alleged injury. Certain it is, however, that a later 
edition of the "Democrat" disclaimed any reference to Captain Hunter; 
and the captain, on his part, published a card saying that the pistols 
were not loaded. Mr. Fergus is non-committal as to the true inward- 
ness of the matter, which was a sensation in its day. 

Stage-lines were now running out of Chicago in several directions. 
They were naturally connected with the carrying of the mails; whoever 
had the mail-contract carried the passengers and light parcels. John 
Frink succeeded Dr. Temple as mail-carrier, and Frink & Bingham, and 



Frink & Walker became famous throughout the region as mail carriers 
and stage coach men. The stage office was long at 123 Lake street 
and afterward at the southwest corner of Dearborn and Lake streets. 
M. O. Walker was a name known not only through Illinois but in other 

Strange as it may seem, some important undertakings were begun 
even in the most depressing times. Isherwood and McKenzie estab- 
lished (1838) the first regular theatre (named, at Dr. Egan's sugges- 

Stage coach 


tion "The Rialto"), taking and fitting up the upper floor of a wooden 
building on the west side of Dearborn street, between Lake and South 
Water streets. In the flush times this building had been the public 
sales-room of John Bates and other auctioneers. The first Chicago 
daily, "The American," was issued April 9, 1839. ("The American" 
had been issued weekly, with some intermissions, since 1835.) 

Death, as well as life, has to go on, in foul weather as in fair, and 
1840 saw the beginning of a cemetery which, in its turn, was the begin- 
ning of a park, the first in the magnificent system of city pleasure 
grounds with which Chicago is now surrounded. In order to be surely 
far enough out of town to remain forever secure from encroachment the 

'The reader is referred to Andreas' history for most interesting fac-similes of all the early Chicago newspaper 

First regular 



Cemetery at 
Clark Street 
and North 

States emerging 
from their 

selection was made a mile and a half north of the northern boundary of 
the "original town" (Kinzie street), and a full mile outside of the 
desolate northern line of Wolcott's and Kinzie's additions (Chicago 
avenue). In fact it was in another township, being section 33 of Town 
40, while the others were in section 9 of Town 39. The cemetery sec- 
tion, like the "original town," was "canal land," and had been bought 
of the canal commissioners by John S. Wheeler, probably at $1.25 an 
acre. A number of public-spirited citizens joined and bought this from 
Mr. Wheeler and presented it to the city, the latter contributing but a 
tririe toward the purchase.* The later history of " The Cemetery" and 

its final merging into Lincoln Park, 
will be set forth in detail in chrono- 
logical order as they occurred. To- 
day (1891) in the appearance of the 
magnificent park, with its statues, 
fountains, hills, dells, lakes, streams, 
flower-beds, palm -house, menag- 
erie, and miles of roads and paths, 
there is almost nothing to indicate 
that it was once the burial place of 
uncounted thousands of our fel- 
low-citizens, many of whom, no 
doubt, accidentally omitted in the 
removal, still sleep beneath its sur- 
face. Nothing, except a single 
tomb, that of the old Couch estate, 
to which, for certain reasons, the 
Park Commissioners never obtained 

JAMES COUCH. .-.i i ... , . 

title; this remains silent and grim, 

as if to remind the pleasure-seekers that in the midst of life we are 
in death. 

Illinois being the last State to step into the quicksand, sank least 
and scrambled out soonest. She could make the famous old Western 
boast of being able to "run faster, jump higher, dive deeper and 
come up dryer "than another. Little Michigan (then only the horse- 
shoe-shaped peninsula inclosed by Lakes Michigan, .Huron and St. 
Clair and the Detroit River), began in 1839 her policy of retrench- 
ment, and in 1846 found that there had been spent on her railroads 
$4,500,000 of money and 305,000 acres of public land. Stephen Gale, 

The public-spirited deed was done largely by the efforts of William Jones, Esq., a prominent hardware mer- 
chant, whose son, Fernando Jones, has furnished these facts for our use. Among the citizens who were greatly inter- 
ested in the matter may be mentioned William B. Ogden, John H. Kinzie, Dr. John H. Foster, James H. Woodworth and 
Jonathan Young Scammon. 


during a visit to Boston, was asked by Mr. Wilkins, president of a 
Boston bank, about Western investments, and replied advising the pur- 
chase of Michigan bonds at seventy per cent., and with them getting 
control of Western railroads. Boston capitalists did buy the Michi- Boston capital. 
gan Central for $2,000,000, and the Michigan Southern for $500,000; 
which, paid for in State bonds at seventy cents on the dollar, made 


the outlay $1,750,000. This was effected, and gave rise to the boast 
of the Boston capitalists that "when the Western States and their peo- 
ple fail to complete a railroad, Boston steps in with her capital and 
assumes control." After this transaction, Eastern capitalists looked to 
what they termed the insolvent West as the reservation for their 
investments. (Andreas, p. 261.) 

Illinois sold her scattered bits of work for what they would bring. 
and now each forms part of some great through line. The writer 
is familiar with one of them; abrown-stone pier, low, broad and strong, 
in the Vermilion river at Danville, on the top of which pier stands 
a tall limestone pillar holding up the great iron bridge of the Wabash 
through line. 

hatiuw cut 


As has been before told, a new advance of $1,600,000 was obtained 
through the agency of Messrs. Ogden, Butterfield, and Arnold, of 
Chicago, State Senator Michael Ryan, of the La Salle district, and 
Arthur Bronson, of New York. Mr. Arnold made public speeches in 
its favor and advocated it in the legislature whereof he was a member. 
The governor appointed Michael Ryan and Charles Oakley commis- 
sioners to place the loan, and they visited New York and London. 

Canal Com- ' 

Every one abjured the idea of any possible repudiation of the State 
debt, or any part of it. Baring Brothers and other bankers sent out 
expert examiners (Captain W. H. Swift, U. S. A., and ex-Governor 
John Davis, of Massachusetts) and, their report being favorable, the 
money was forthcoming to complete the canal on a smaller plan and 
profile than it had been begun upon.* 

Here came in another difficulty; for a shallow cut the water must 
be supplied at a higher level than fora deep cut. Ira Miltimore, builder 
of Chicago's first water works, proposed to raise the water from the 
river to the canal by steam-pumps. Others urged the bringing of the 
needed supply (43,000 gallons per minute) by a 3o-mile feeder from the 
Fox river. The pumping plan was, however, adopted, and has worked 
well from that day to this, when it is about to be superseded by a deep 
cut, natural-level channel, capable of taking from the river 600.000 
cubic feet (4,300,000 gallons) per minute, and thus disposing of the 
city sewage. 

Captain Andreas gives the sums paid in from June, 1 845, to Novem- 
ber, 1846, as follows: Illinois subscribers, $94,810; New York, $273,- 
841, and French and English, $721,000, of which the French contrib- 
uted about one-quarter. 

It appears that besides its commercial value the canal exercised an 
influence on the political standing of the city. Wisconsin was aspiring 
to the honor of Statehood, and cast covetous eyes on the Garden City ; 
going so far as to offer to John Wentworth and Joseph Hage (of 
Galena) the honor of representing her in the U. S. Senate, provided 
their section of Illinois should become part of Wisconsin. To support 
the idea they had this formidable circumstance: The ordinance of 1787 
designated the southern point of Lake Michigan as the starting point 
for the northern line of the State ! 

But the manifest folly of allowing the canal to fall under a divided 
dominion running, as it would have done, partly in Wisconsin and 
partly in Illinois killed the Wisconsin project, and Chicago stayed, 
where she seems naturally to have belonged, part of the State of Illinois. 

* Russell E. Heacock had early shown himself shrewd enough to foresee trouble in carrying out the magnificent 
"ship canal " project of the original enthusiasts. He argued, he pleaded, he talked, he wrote, and at last acquired the 
nickname of " Shallow-cut Heacock." As often happens, the scoffers were wrong, their butt in the right. 



In a thousand ways the canal has blessed Chicago. The money 
laid out in building it helped her to her rapid recovery from the col- 
lapse of 1838-40. The men it brought here added to her own num- 
bers, and still more to the sturdy farming population which 
built up her trade ; men who saved their canal-wages and with 
them bought canal-land from which they raised products to form 
canal-freights. (The land through which it runs is the garden of 
the State.) Its location saved Chicago and the whole northern belt of 
counties to Illinois. Its revenues paid its cost with interest, and made 
a surplus. It has brought stone, 
brick, food and fuel in vast quan- 
tities to build up her trade, and 
carried away an inconceivable mass 
of lumber and merchandise. And 
now to crown its benefactions it is 
soon to be enlarged to proportions 
originally unthought of, to furnish 
an outlet to drain the city (also 
grown to unforeseen greatness) and 
solve the sewerage problem, which, 
without its aid, would present ap- 
palling difficulties to its further life. 
Still more ; the sewage thus turned 
inland may, at no distant day, be- 
come the fertilizing material which 
shall maintain the whole Illinois 
valley in a state of more than Nile- 
like fertility and productiveness. 

For the details of its troubles and dangers, the quarrels of divided 
management, the epidemic of 1846, the labor strike of 1847, the "leaky 
level " from Joliet to the Du Page, the great drought of one year, and 
the great flood of the next even the fraudulent re-issue of $223,000 of 
its "scrip" which, after it had been paid, was presented and paid a sec- 
ond time ; all these things must be looked for in larger histories; notably 
i Andreas, pp. 165 to 173. Suffice it here to say that on April 10, 1848, 
the canal boat " General Fry," towed by the canal propeller, " A. Ros- 
siter," passed from Lockport to Bridgeport, and thence down the South 
Branch (LaSalle's " Portage River"), welcomed by the Mayor (Wood- 
worth) and with an eloquent speech by Charles Walker. On April 24, 
the canal boat, " General Thornton," arrived at Chicago from LaSalle, 
laden with sugar from New Orleans for Buffalo, which point it reached 

The Canal's 
many bene- 




in the steamboat " Louisiana" on April 30; two weeks before the Erie 
Canal was clear of its winter ice. 

The following table gives the city statistics from 1843 (when per- 
sonal property was first included in its assessment list) to 1857: 









$ 1. 441. 314 

$ 12, 6'?'; 









1841; . 







J* J* 



is, 821; 





I 3.1 7O 







22,01; i 



6 676,684 

^6 \i\ 


2*. O47 



7 22O 24Q 

Q3 1QZ 

25. 27O 



i8e i 

8 526 717 

I 4O ^QO 




181:2 . 


I 26.0^5 




i8q*. . 



i, 662 



181:4. . 






iSqi;. . 

26 QO2.8O3 

728 ooo 





36 33? 281 

^-2C OOO 


84. 113 


i8<;7. . 

-7 c QQI 732 

C ? c OOO 

4*0 100 




2IQ 354 368 

j j j ' 


3e 7 I 164 

I 208 669 


Therefore, with 13 times the population it had in 1857, the city 
has (1891) 6 times the assessed valuation, owes over 25 times the debt, 
and pays over 8 times the taxes. In other words, the relations of per- 
sons to assets and liabilities were as follows : 


Valuation per City Debt per \ 
Capita. Capita. 

Taxes per 

In i8>;7. . 

$387 oo 1 5 75 


In 1891 

1 8 I OO I I 2 I 

2 <K 

To a farmer, who was not in debt, the "hard times" were less 
hard than to any other class of persons. It is. in truth, always and 
everywhere the case that the agriculturist feels least the ups and downs 
of fortune ; all that he asks is to be let alone, buying what he can pay 
for and must have, wherever he can buy it cheapest, and selling what 
he can spare wherever he can sell it for the best. Bar interference, and 
give him soil and water, and he can live on any part of earth's surface 
between the Arctic and the Antarctic circles. 

The Illinois farmer, however, under these conditions, does more 
than barely live. He grows rich. Judge Bloclgett's narrative is a typ- 
ical illustration of the emigrants' possibilities. His father, Israel P. 
Blodgett, was sent as the advance agent of a colony organized in North- 


ampton, Massachusetts, to examine and report on the best location for 
a farming settlement. They were of the stern old Puritan stock and 
full of the feeling that they were chosen to carry the Bible into the 
waste places to make them glad. Without waiting for his return the 
little band journeyed westward, bringing along Israel Blodgett's family, 
including the little Henry, then some ten years old. Their course was 
overland from Northampton to Albany, thence by canal to Buffalo, and 
by steamboat to Detroit. This was in June, 1831 ; and they found 
themselves too late for the first and too early for the second of the two 
steamboats which came around the lakes each year. Therefore, they 
bought teams and wagons in Detroit, and drove across the State ; the 
journey from Northampton to Chicago taking six weeks and two days. 
David McKee, the blacksmith for the Indians, then lived and kept 
his shop about where the North-Western Railway's general offices now 
stand, three streets east of Kinzie street bridge. With him Israel 
Blodgrett left word to look out for his family, as he was building a cabin THC story <>f a 

typical family 

for them on the Du Page, near where Naperville now stands. David n>'s"<'n- 
was to send word to Israel as soon as he got news of their arrival. 
This news came by the Indian who carried the mail between Chicago 
and Detroit, who passed the teams somewhere on the road ; and 
McKee met the party down at the Calumet crossing, where they arrived 
one Saturday night. Never, in the whole journey, had the good Puri- 
tans traveled on a Sunday ; but now, their own provisions being 
exhausted, and all they could get at the Calumet being not enough to 
last them till Monday, they were forced to come on to the fort and set- 
tlement on the Sabbath. 

Here Israel met them and told them that he had picked out a spot 
which, for soil, timber, water and locality, he thought could not be 
beaten. They had from the start resolved to get on the waters con- 
necting with the Mississippi, for they looked to the Gulf for the great 
future outlet for farm products. The head of the party was one Jones, 
a stout old Cromwell, who was his own judge of what was right and 
best, find his own general to make his judgment prevail. He had a 
brother already here, who, without any instructions, had pitched upon 
a spot further down the valley, on the Bureau River. This was nearer 
the Mississippi and the Gulf, and to that location the leader's face was 
firmly set. But Israel was also firm, so the colony divided ; three 
families staying on the Du Page and the rest going on to the Bureau. 
Both sections did well, the Joneses founding Princeton, and the Blod- 
getts, Naperville. 

Israel went back to his claim (thirty miles west by south), to finish 
the cabin, and his family stayed with the McKees. Mrs. McKee got up 



a tea-party in honor of Mrs. Blodgett, inviting every white woman in 
the neighborhood, who, when assembled, made a company of six : Mrs. 
Graves, Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. Owen, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. McKee and Mrs. 

The canal was started and everything a farmer could raise found 
ready market. Young Henry worked and studied, and in course of 
time had a year of schooling at the East. Then he returned and taught 
school a year, and served a time on the engineering corps on the canal. 
Israel was a corporal in Captain Naper's company of mounted volun- 




teers for the Black Hawk War, but the company saw no field service. 
He grew rich on his farm, dying full of years and of honors, and his 
son became, as all the world knows, first a distinguished lawyer, and 
later a Federal judge, attaining a degree of distinction on the bench 
almost unique in its eminence. 

Such is the story of a single migration and "growing up with 
the country; " not differing from others except in that one of its 
members reached an exceptional elevation through exceptional powers. 

An interesting narrative of the times has survived in an interesting 
way. It is Sylvester Marsh's testimony before a Senate Committee on 
Education and Labor : 

Chicago grew very fast, and in 1835 there must have been 2,500 people there. We then went 
down to the Wabash country, as we called it, and bought cattle and hogs and drove them up for 
market. In 1836 they commenced buildingthe canal and in that year I packed 6,ooohogs there, mostly 

* Twenty years and more after this, Mrs. Blodgett, being in Chicago, went to call on one of the other ladies, who 
grew quite eloquent on the absurdity of the claim of later comers to be classed as old settlers. Said she, "You and I, 
Mrs. Blodgett, know better ; for we saw the very tegunment of it all ! " 


forborne consumption. The contractors took the pork for their men. The State failed to pay in 1838-9 
and work on the canal was stopped. State bonds went down to 25 cents on the dollar and the State 
issued what was called " Canal Scrip" to pay the contractors what was owed them for work they had 
done. That was afterward redeemed, dollar for dollar. . . One section of the canal land was 
right in the heart of old Chicago. It was sold in June, 1836, for a quarter down and the balance in 
one, two and three years ("Canal time"), and I think there was but one man in the city that made 
his second payment, P. F. W. Peck. . . Everybody burst up the banks and everybody else 
went up. The Canal went along for a while. Contracts were entered into by the State and work 
went along until 1839, the State trying every way to pay, and about that time they stopped. 
From 1836 to 1842, when the United States bankrupt law was passed, there was no responsibility. 
No man had anything hardly that he could call his own. 

"The Forties " saw the beginning, in a small way, of nearly all the 
great institutions Chicago now enjoys. In 1841 the first water-works 
were built. The first propeller was launched in 1842, in which year the 
exports were for the first time greater than the imports. The first 
book compiled, printed, bound and issued is said to have been in 1843. 
The first meat for the English market was packed in 1844. The first 
permanent public school building was built in 1845. In 1846 the River 
and Harbor convention met, and Chicago was made a port of entry. ^'-"th?!-! 
In 1847 the first permanent theatre was opened (Rice's; south side of 
Randolph street between State and Dearborn streets), and McCor- 
mick's reaper factory was started. In 1848 the first telegram was 
received, being a message from Milwaukee, and later the " Pioneer" our 
first locomotive, was landed from the schooner "Buffalo" and started out 
on- the Galena railway. In the same year the Board of Trade was 
established and the canal opened. In 1849 the "Chicago & Galena 
Union Railroad " was opened to Elgin. Surely this is a fair decade's 
work for a " ruined city," and yet we know that these are merely typical 
and conspicuous enterprises which, great as they are, would shrink into 
insignificance if one could see the thousands of individual achievements 


which were going on unmarked meanwhile. Concerning the water 
supply, the " American," of June 10, 1842, says: 

The whole outlay of the company has been about $24,000. A large brick building has been 
erected [northeast corner of Michigan avenue and Lake street] with a pier running into the lake. 
The steam engine is of 25 horse-power. The working barrel of the pump is 14 inches in diameter 
and 44 inches stroke double action. The suction pipe by which the water is drawn from the lake 
is also 14 inches in diameter and 320 feet in length. The pump raises upward of 25 barrels of water 
per minute, 35 feet above the level of the lake. There are two reservoirs each of the capacity of 1,250 

barrels, a space of about 50 minutes is required to fill each of the reservoirs. The reservoir is of The Lake street 

,,.,,.. .. hydraulic 

sufficient elevation to throw water into the second story of any building in town. About two miles works. 

in length of pipe are now laid down. The machinist under whose direction these works have been 
put into such complete and successful operation, is Mr. Ira Miltimore. It was for a long time con- 
fidently predicted that his undertaking would prove a complete failure. These predictions were to him 
a source of constant and harassing anxiety. It can scarcely be imagined how keenly intent were his 
feelings, when the works were on the point of being put into operation. His feelings at that moment 
were assuredly not to be envied They were to be envied when the regular evolution, the easy 
play, the harmonious action of every part of the machinery announced the triumph of skill. 

The 25 horse-power engine was so far in advance of the city's 
hydraulic needs that in 1842 a contract was made with James Long 


whereby he agreed to run the pumps gratis for ten years for the privi- 
lege of using the spare power in operating a flour-mill. In pursuance 
of this agreement, Mr. Long built a brick mill, with three run of stone, 
and actually ran it for ten years, doing a good business. His son still 
remembers seeing an Irishman with a "pod auger" boring out length- 
wise the logs needed to convey the entire water supply of the young 
metropolis, and even as this chapter is being written a log of water pipe 
has been dug up (in excavating for the foundations of the Cook County 
Abstract building, No. 98 Washington street), which is in good condi- 
tion and, like other relics, connects old things with new in an amusing 
fashion. Mr. Long had his own troubles to keep the insufficient appa- 
ratus at work. He said : " In winter the pipes would be disarranged 
by the heaving of the frost, and I had frequently to spend hours at a 
time to caulk up the joints by throwing on water and thus freezing up 
the cracks before we could make the pumps work." 

. . Chicago had no start no life until the legislature passed what we called the relief 
law; that is, they gave us as much of the land as we had paid for. If a man had bought four lots 
and paid the full value for one, the relief law gave us one lot and then gave us up our notes. 
(Andreas, p. 501.) 

This calls to mind a remark of Judge Lockwood, remembered by 
Justice Caton. While prices were " booming," many bills in chancery 
were filed by buyers to compel the " specific performance " of contracts 
to convey land. Said the Judge : " The day will come when they will 
be as anxious to get out of contracts as they are now to enforce them." 



r EXAS was annexed in 1845, a d Zachary 
Taylor with 4,000 regulars marched across 
the country to the Rio Grande, thus neces- 
sarily creating a state of war with Mexico, 
which claimed Texas, though in revolt, as 
part of its territory. The Mexicans at- 
tacked Taylor's forces in May, 1846, and 
were defeated at Palo Alto and Resaca de 
la Palma. President Polk asked for 50,- 
ooo volunteers, and Governor Ford called 
on Illinois for thirty companies to serve 
one year ; the men to choose their own 
company and regimental officers. Two 
companies were allotted to Chicago, and w 
Captain Lyman Mower and Captain Elisha 
Wells unfurled the flag and enrolled the 

volunteers who came forward freely and soon filled the ranks. A second 
call was made in 1847, one regiment only being required from Illi- 
nois, one company from Chicago. In the three companies appear some 
well-known names, notably Murray F. Tuley, now a Circuit Court 
Judge, Charles C. P. Holden and one or two others. These were fol- 
lowed by other companies and innumerable scattered enlistments; the 
entire number from Illinois reaching 6,315. 

They volunteered freely, did their work well and suffered severely 
in killed and wounded and still more by the other casualties of the march 
and the hospitals. Their names were honored and cherished for their 
patriotic sacrifices, though the feeling toward them was necessarily dif- 
ferent from that entertained for their brothers-in-arms of fifteen years 
later; who fought not simply for the glory of their land but for its very 

Hither comes Chicago's canal at last. Now what will she do with 
it ? True, she has an opening from her two-branched streamlet to the 
lake ; a narrow, shallow, unstable ditch through a sandbar, and a short 
pier to check the beach-sand from choking it at once. This has been 



1 9 2 



Previous River 
and Harbor 

Folk's veto. 

the work of small appropriations by Congress in its annual " River and 

Harbor Bills."* These acts began 
with the first Congress after the 
adoption of the Federal constitu- 
tion, wherein the Nation, from and 
after August 15, 1789, assumed care, 
support and control of " all light- 
houses, beacons, buoys and public 
piers, erected, placed or sunk at the 
entrance of or within any bay, inlet, 
harbor or port of the United States, 
for rendering the navigation thereof 
easy and safe." This bill was signed 
by Washington, and succeeding 
acts for like purpose were signed 
by Adams, Jefferson and Madison. 
The first distinctively Lake harbor 
bill was signed by Monroe. Other 
like bills were signed by John 
Quincy Adams, Jackson and Van 
Buren ; the appropriations under 

the two latter (both of them Democrats, and "strict constructionists ") 

amounted to $7,800,000. 

Next follows the Mexican War 

for slave territory, and James K. 

Polk, of Tennessee, to administer 

the government and favor the "pe- 
culiar institution." Polk makes the 

discovery that measures of this kind 

are both unwise and unconstitu- 
tional! The River and Harbor bill, 

passed and presented to him for 

signature, had twenty-three items 

looking toward our northern lakes 

and rivers, inluding a lump sum of 

$80,000 for Racine, Little Fort 

* The appropriations were as follows: In 1833, 
$25 ooo; in 1834, $30,000; in 1835, $30,000 ; in 1836, $25,000; 
in 1837, $30,000 ; in 1838-9, $40,000 ; in 1842, $30.000 ; the 
last expended under the supervision of Captain (afterwards 
General) George B. McClellan. The constructions were 
the north pier, 3,000 feet lonp, and the south pier, 1,800 feet. 
This year (1846) the sand had begun to form a dangerous 
bar outside the end of the north pier, and the available 
channel had shallowed up to ten feet and less of depth 
Now came Folk's veto of the appropriation needed to pre- 
vent it from closing entirely. 



(Waukegan), Southport, Milwaukee and Chicago. But he had his war 
on hand, and vetoed the bill, saying: 

Some of the objects of the appropriation are local in their character and lie within the limits 
of a single State; and though in the language of the bill they are called harbors, they are not con- 
nected with foreign commerce, nor are they places of refuge or shelter for our navy or commercial 
marine on the ocean or lake shores. . . 

It would seem the dictate of wisdom under such circumstances to husband our means and not 
waste them on comparatively unimportant objects. 

One does not wonder at the fury excited by this insolence, or the 
disastrous defeat suffered by the Democrats in the next election, when 
Taylor was elected over Cass. The Chicago "Journal " says (August 

12, 1846): 

Thus discourses James K. Polk in his veto message on the Harbor bill, and the sentiment is 
an insult to the country: " Husband our means forsooth!" Are not millions being squandered by 
this same James K. Polk for the invasion of Mexico and the extension of slavery? Are not steam- 
boats being bought and chartered daily, at enormous prices, to enrich his favorite prodigals? Are 
not the Treasury doors unbarred whenever the " open sesame " is whispered by the slave driver? C 
And yet Mr. Polk outrages the intelligence of the people, his masters, by claiming, when a pittance 
is asked for a great Northern interest, that we must " husband our means." That the object for 
which we ask them is comparatively UNIMPORTANT! . 

The same spirit and energy that forced emancipation of the whole country from Great Britain 
will throw off the Southern yoke. The North and West will look to and take care of their own 
interests henceforth. . . . We shall see. The spirit of freedom yet lingers about Bunker Hill, 
Bennington and Saratoga, and there are children yet living of the fathers whose bones are bleaching 
there. They have ever been willing to allow more than justice to their Southern brethren, but they 
will not allow them to be their masters they will have justice. The fiat has gone forth Southern 
rule is at an end. 

The infant city, born but ten years before these stirring utterances, 
evidently came early to its voice. Within the next twenty years the 
spirit of Bunker Hill did arise, and the yoke was thrown off. 

The same kind of irritation was felt all over the North. In New 
England it took a form fairly typified by Lowell in his " Biglow 
Papers;" which are dialect verses like the following : 

On'y look at the Demmercrats, see wut they've done 
Jest simply by stickin' together like fun; 
They've sucked us right into a mis'able war 
Thet no one on airth ain't responsible for; 

To the people they're oilers ez slick ez molasses. 
An' butter their bread on both sides with The Masses, 
Half o' whom they've persuaded, by way of a joke, 
Thet Washin'ton's mantelpiece fell upon Polk. 

A non-partisan convention was called, largely through the initiative 
of William Moseley Hall,* who from 1845 to 1848 was agent at St. Louis 
of the Lake Steamboat Association, connecting by Frink & Walker's 
stage lines, and later by Illinois & Michigan canal packets with Illinois 

In 1882 the Fergus Printing Co. got together all the matter in existence regarding this convention and pub- 
lished it as number 18 of their inestimable " Historical Series." It forms a fine book of 200 pages and should be owned 
and read by every Chicago man; as should, in fact, the whole series. With it are printed late letters of William Moseley 
Hall, recalling with pardonable pride the part he took in the River and Harbor movement. Also disclosing something 
that is less pleasant to think of. namely, that even his cash outlays ($576) in its behalf have never been refunded to 
him; and that he is now old and not rich he would be glad to receive them. 



river steamers to St. Louis. He, 

Calling of the 


in harmony; for we see Wentworth, 
"Journal"), Hoyne, Kinzie, Sher- 
man, Newberry, Hubbard, Couch, 
Magie, Alonzo Huntington, Peck, 
Gurley, Frink, Walker, Page, 
Egan, Brainard, Calhoun, Cobb, 
and numberless men then more 
newly arrived, though now (1891) 
numbered with the dead, or classed 
with the others as "old settlers." 

Preliminary meetings were 
also held in Buffalo, Michigan Citv 


an d other places, each passing res- 
olutions and sending delegates. 

The great event was fixed for 
July 5, 1847. A grand civic and 
military procession was the open- 
ing function, with artillery and 
infantry, city officials, a ship on 
wheels with all sail set, fire depart- 
ment, citizen societies, etc., and 
bands and banners innumerable. ' 

with our Robert Fergus, William 
Duane Wilson, of Milwaukee, and 
Thomas Sherwood, of Buffalo, 
called a meeting at Rathbun's ho- 
tel in New York on September 28, 
1846, reported in following day's 
New York "Herald." The next 
step was a Chicago meeting at the 
Court House on November i3th, 
called by William B. Ogden, S. 
Lisle Smith and George W. Dole, 
and presided over by Mark Skin- 
ner, with E. B. Williams and B. 
W. Raymond as vice-presidents, 
and Geo. W. Meeker and Mahlon 
D. Ogden as secretaries. J. Young 
Scammon, Isaac N. Arnold and 
Norman B. Judd offered appropri- 
ate resolutions. Besides those men- 
tioned there were numerous others 
soon engaged, all parties working 
Goodrich, Manierre, Wilson (of the 


(What a feature of those old days 



was the fire department, with its shining apparatus and red-shirted, 
leather-hatted citizens! In the afternoon, at a competitive show, "Red 
Jacket" threw a stream over the top of the public square flag-staff.)* 

The procession halted at Dearborn Park (Michigan avenue, Ran- 
dolph and Washington streets) where a monster pavilion had been 
erected, capable of seating 5,000 people, and well filled with delegates 
and spectators at every session. 

The attendance was large and distinguished, reaching to about three 
thousand delegates. Among them we find the names of Schuyler Col- 
fax, Abraham Lincoln, Anson Burlingame, Oliver Newberry, Edward 




Bates, J. De P. Ogden, David Dudley Field, Philip Hone, Horace 
Greeley, Thurlow Weed, James Brooks, John C. Spencer, Erastus strangers in 
Corning, John L. Schoolcraft, Andrew White, etc. 

Noteworthy letters were received from Thomas H. Benton, Silas 
Wright, Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren, Daniel Webster and others. 
The convention sat July 5th, 6th and yth, and with much adroitness 
avoided the Scylla and Charybdis of political partizanship, Whiggism 
and Democracy, which threatened it on either hand. This must have 
been particularly hard, for the very occasion of their being called 
together was a political act by a partisan president whom some of the 
members supported while others opposed him. 

* The " Evening Journal " of the 6th grows fairly incoherent with enthusiasm, and holds forth in a single sentence 
a third of a column without taking breath on the "dangers that throng our waters and rise like the mists from their 
surface, festering in many a living heart " 



One little circumstance shows 
" ragged edge." It is this: David 
Dudley Field, a distinguished New 
m a Dei- York Democrat, addressed the con- 
vention on Tuesday, and on the 
afternoon of the same day a resolu- 
tion was passed which expressed 
regret at "the ill-feeling which had 
been evinced while Mr. Field was 
speaking"; and pledged the conven- 
tion to regard, in future, the rights 
of all members who should confine 
themselves to the rules. Later in 
the same session this entry appears: 
"Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, 
being called upon, addressed the 
convention briefly," 

Horace Greeley, in his letter 
written that evening to the New 
York "Tribune" expressed himself 
as follows : 

how near they hovered to the 



Hon. Andrew Stewart, of Pennsylvania, was next called out and made a vigorous and ani- 
mated speech in favor o* Internal Improvement. . . It pleased right well a majority of 

the convention, but brought up in opposition Mr. 
David Dudley Field, of our city, who favored us 
with an able and courteous speech in favor of 
" strict construction." . . He denied the 
right of the Federal Government to improve the 
navigation of the Illinois river, since it runs 
through a single state only, or of the Hudson 
above a port of entry. The convention, or rather 
a portion of its members, manifested consider- 
able impatience during the latter portion of this 
speech, which is to be regretted, for Mr. Field 
was perfectly courteous and not at all tedious. 
For my part I rejoiced that the wrong side of the 
question was so clearly set forth. When he had 
concluded the convention adjourned to dinner. 
In the afternoon Hon. Abraham Lincoln, a 
tall specimen of an Illinoisan, just elected to Con- 
gress from the only Whig district in the State, 
spoke briefly and happily in reply to Mr. Field. 

Mr. Greeley's whole letter is 
delightful reading, full of jest and 
anecdote, poetical quotations, 
good-natured thrusts at his oppo- 
nents and serious 
against the position then widely held though it now seems to 

THOMAS CHURCH. (Health Officer.) 





absurd that it was only foreign and strictly inter-state commerce which 
the Government had a right to help by light-houses and river and 
harbor improvements. 

Thurlow Weed also wrote 
capital letters to the Albany 
" Evening Journal." With all 
the vigor of capitals and ex- 
clamation points, he boasts of 
coming " from Albany to 
Detroit (nearly 700 miles) in 
FIFTY-ONE HOURS!" and adds, 
"We are, they tell us, the 
only persons who ever per- 
formed the journey in so short 
a time." He reports several 
speeches, but unhappily not 
Lincoln's. Tom Corwin's is 
a gem of fun and sarcasm. 
Turning to Mr. Wentworth, 
Representative in Congress 
from this district, he continued: 
"Gentlemen; when he and I 
can agree on any subject, there 
must be harmony: I might say 
that the gentleman is latitudi- 

narian on the subject; perhaps this is owing to his longitude. He goes 
his whole length." Horace Greeley must have been pleasant to listen to; 
Mr. Weed reports him as saying that he had cherished the hope that his 
reputation as a bad speaker had become national, and regretted to dis- 
cover it had been only local. . . . He was accustomed to look to the Thurlow 
results of such meetings as these. His ears heard coldly the shouts 
which ascended in commemoration of victorious battles, but he loved to 
hear the triumphs of such victories as the Erie and Welland Canals. 

Weed prophecies that in ten years Chicago will exceed Albany 
He says they rode out a few miles to get a glimpse of the prairies. 

We found the road all the way occupied with an almost unbroken line of wagons, drawn gen- 
erally by two yokes of oxen. These teams are called " prairie schooners." Felix Grundy McCon- 
nell, among his last acts, asked the House of Representatives to " Resolve, that this is a great country 
and constantly increasing." One needs to visit Chicago to realize and confess that the proposition 
is one of undeniable truth. 

It is said here that the article in the Union [Washington] throwing cold water on the conven- 
tion, kept Senators Breese and Douglas, with other leading Locofocos, away. But a large number of 
the " bone and sinew " of the Democracy of the West are here. 




The Resolu 

A noteworthy incident in the convention is the deep and strong 
impression made by its chairman, Edward Bates, of Missouri. He was 
unknown, and when his name was proposed to the meeting for its chair- 
man, a buzz of questioning went around: "Who is he?" But at the 
close of the proceedings he made a speech of such high and fervid 
eloquence as to do what it is rare for a single utterance to effect, namely 
^^^^^^^ make his name and fame suddenly 

^^^01 9^^ conspicuous. Judge Caton was 

absent from the convention, hold- 
ing court elsewhere, but he well 
remembers that " Bates' speech " 
was the theme of talk all over the 
State. Thurlow Weed says : 

When the labors of the convention closed, 
and six hearty, spontaneous cheers rent the air 
in honor of their president, more than four thou- 
sand delegates separated to return home and 
speak of Edward Bates with enthusiasm as one 
of the ablest and most eloquent men they had 
ever heard. It was the occasion of deep and 
universal regret that his masterly speech was 
not reported. It was made at the close of the 
session, when some of the reporters had retired 
and others had put away their materials. After 
Mr. Bates was fairly on his feet, all were too 
intent and absorbed as listeners, to think of 

The achievement of the convention was, naturally, the passage of 
a series of resolutions, submitted "to their fellow-citizens and to the 
Federal government." The gist of the resolutions was that river and 
harbor improvements were within the c6nstitutional scope of the Fed- 
eral power, wherever the interests of two or more States were involved, 
and being within Federal jurisdiction they were excluded from State 
interference; that hitherto the interior interests had not had care pro- 
portioned to that given to the seaboard; that the time had come when 
this should be rectified; and that the convention disavowed any attempt 
to connect its objects with the fortunes of any political party. Then 
an executive committee was appointed to make known to Congress the 
principles and views of the convention. 

Chicago then contained 16,000 inhabitants, and Thurlow hazarded 
the following glowing prediction : " On the shores of these lakes [Erie, 
St. Clair, Huron and Michigan] is an extent of country capable of sup- 
porting and destined to receive, in the course of half a century, at least 

* Mr. Bates was a member of Congress from Missouri in 1825. He seems to have been one of those fine Ameri- 
cans, the Whigs from slave States; a class of men independent, able, influential and respected, but soon left in the lurch 
by their constituents. 

Health Officer and Fire Marshal. 


I 99 

a quarter of a million inhabitants." It does seem incredible that a man 
like Weed, speaking in 1847, should have limited the number of persons Wecd , s 
in "the extent of country" on all the shores of all these lakes, in 1897, mislake - 
to 250,000! The fact will be about fifty times the estimate. 

Such was the great River and Harbor Convention. The " Journal " 
was always loudly urging it to "deeds, not words," but words like these, 
uttered as these were, are deeds. 
The following Congress, however, 
did nothing, and it was not until 
1852 that the next appropriation 
was made, when Congress allotted 
$20,000 to be used on the inner 
harbor. It is probable that the 
great flood of 1 849 swept away so 
much sand that the threatened 
closing up of the channel was 
averted for some years to follow. 

From 1848 to 1854 the Govern- 
ment work at Chicago was under 
the able and upright charge of 
Lieutenant (afterward General) 
Joseph D. Webster. Lieutenant 
Webster married one of Chicago's 
most beautiful women, Miss Ann E. 
Wright, and from that time forward 


to his death in 1878 remairfed one 

of its favorite citizens. During the Union War he was a soldier dis- 
tinguished for his services, especially at the battle of Shiloh, where as 
Chief of Artillery on Grant's staff he massed the guns in such a manner General 

* . . . , . Webster. 

as to serve a good purpose in checking the enemy s triumphant advance 
at the close of the first day's fight. Whether in war or in peace, he was 
a blessing to his country and an ornament to his city. Of him it may 
be truly said : ., None knew him but to love him 

None named him but to praise." 

William Moseley Hall, who had taken the initiative in assembling 
the convention wished to get it to give its advocacy and approval to 
George Wilkes's plan for a national railroad to the Pacific. He was 
overruled in this; but after adjournment a special meeting was called at 
which a vast audience listened to an excellent speech from him upon 
the subject, and adopted his resolutions. It is doubtful, however, if the 
State at large, with its recent experience of State railroad building, 
would have considered favorably any plan having more of it in view. 



Later events have thrown such a halo about the name of Abraham 
Lincoln that we hail his bodily appearance on the stage of our 
city's history with a thrill and a quickening of the pulse. Even so 
slight a part as he took in the canal convention becomes moment- 
ous. We would give much to 
know the very words he uttered 
about our city and its future, our 
lake and harbor, our rights under 
the law and constitution; although 
those words seemed to their hearers 
not worth reporting. 

The nearest approach to a 
real view of the unpretending per- 
sonality then on his way to un- 
measured greatness is a picture 
taken about ten years later, in 
Chicago, by a man still living and 
plying his trade among us, Alex- 
ander Hesler. As will be noticed, 
the picture is of the roughest, both 
as to subject and to artistic appear- 
ance (being a late copy from a very 
old plate), but it is left with all its 
marks of age and authenticity. 
The picture is obtained from Mr. Hesler, with an interesting little 
tale about its origin. It was in 1857 that Mr. Lincoln began to be 
famous as the standard-bearer of Northern sentiment in the West. He 
happened to be in Chicago and some of his lawyer friends came to Hes- 
ler's studio and told the photographer that Abe couldn't afford to pay for 
his picture, but if he would take it they would each buy one, and perhaps 
he wouldn't lose anything by it in the long run. He consented and Lin- 
coln came. " He was the greenest specimen of a country lawyer I had 
ever seen. He had been to a barber and his hair was plastered clear 
down over one side of his forehead to his eye-brow. I ran my hands up 
through it on each side the way you see it and he said: ' That's better. 
My folks would never know it for me the way the barber had fixed it.'" 
Mr. Hesler afterward reduced the picture to about the size of a 
postage stamp, and prepared it with a gummed back to attach it to let 
ters, circulars, etc., and did an immense business with it. He received 
one order from Boston for 200,000 of them, and in three days had it 
filled and dispatched. He is still in business (70 State Street) and 
keeps a large variety of historic views, beside his regular portrait studio. 




'ATER is a good thing in its place, else the 
canal would not have been begun in hope 
in 1832, carried on in hardship for the 
next sixteen years, and finished in triumph 
in 1848. The grand opening on April i6th 
of the latter year has already been de- 
scribed. During that season its operation 
(in spite of deficient equipment, scarcity 
of water, and a leaky stretch between Jol- 
iet and the Dupage!) was more than had 
been hoped. Tolls collected at Chicago 
were $52,000; at La Salle, $35,000, to 
which should be added other tolls, and 
$400,000 received from sale of lots in the "canal trustees' subdivisions" 
in Chicago. 

The trustees, under whose good management the canal went on 
from May, 1845 to November, 1848, received $1,949,042 during that 
time, and paid out $1,719,859. Times were again good and 
plenty. Sales of lands and lots were enormous. In the decade which 
followed the opening, the total receipts from all sources were about 
$7,000,000, half of it from land sales. Captain Andreas gives the fol- 
lowing figures from the work done by the boats: Wheat, five and a 
half million bushels; corn, twenty-six million bushels; pork, twenty-seven 
million pounds; lumber, five hundred and sixty-three million feet, and 
coal, fifty thousand tons. 

Quietly, however, an enterprise took root and began to grow, which 
in its maturity was destined to dwarf even the canal to comparative 

On October 10, 1848, there was landed from the brig " Buffalo," a 
small, nameless engine, the first of the mighty army of iron giants which 
have made Chicago. The machine, or its rusty carcase, is still in exist- 
ence here in the city which it has helped to build ; and more than 
one of the men who unloaded it from its marine conveyance are still 
among us. The anonymous little stranger weighed ten tons, h?d been 
built by Baldwin, the veteran Philadelphian engine builder, for the 
contractors on the Rochester & Tonawanda Railroad in New York and 

used by them. 


money opening bus- 



The unloaders were John Ebbert, Redmond Prindiville, Wells Lake, 
George W. Waite and George C. Morgan. Of these the first two are 
known to be still living (1891). John Ebbert was master mechanic of 
the road for many years, and is now out of business. Mr. Prindiville is 
a leading business man, full of vigor in body and mind. He remem- 
bers the arrival of the strange new engine, and his own share, he was 
the youngest of the party, in giving her to Chicago soil. She looked big, 
though but a little thing compared with the leviathans of later days. She 

'The first en- 
gine that ever 
turneda wheel 
in Chicago." 


had but two driving-wheels instead of the four, six or eight now used. 
Having what was called "inside connections," her cylinders (9 by 14 
inches) were set at an angle up against the boiler. She was in good 
order; smoke-stack housed and "bright-work" covered with tallow. 

She was lodged on deck, crosswise of the brig. The landing 
place was the Railroad yard, west side of the North Branch, just south 
of Kinzie Street ; and there were plenty of timbers and ties at hand, and 
jack-screws to do the lifting ; so they jacked her up level with the rail, 
laid a track from deck to dock (where a track had been laid ready to 
receive her) and easily ran her ashore on her own wheels, and pushed 
her out to the little machine-shed where Ebbert (engine-driver as well 
as master-mechanic of the road) put her in shape and lighted her fires 
for the first time, next day. The job was not a hard one and took less 
than the whole of that bright autumn Sunday a great day for us to 
look back upon. 



She was not christened for a long time afterward. When the rail- 
way got more engines, and it was 
necessary to be able to distinguish 
them, John Van Nortwick (presi- 
dent) asked what she should be 
called. " Call her the Pioneer, of 
course," said Prindiville, and Pio- 
neer she was and is, and should be 
for centuries to come. One of our 
parks should have her, set in a glass 
case and attended more carefully 
than any white elephant that ever 
was knelt before in the Royal Tem- 
ple at Bangkok. 

The "Galena & Chicago Union 
Railway," as Chicago's first oper- 
ating road was named, runs in a 
straight line west from its Kinzie 
street station to the Desplaines. 
It is said that at the time of the 
first survey, which was made (1837) 
by James Seymour, the surveyors waded sometimes in deep water. 

Augustus Burley says that it was 
thought necessary to lay the road 
on piles, and that the road-bed was 
so constructed for some miles, he 
himself having seen long lines of 
the pile-heads sticking out of the 
ground in places where is now dry 
land, covered with buildings. These 
things illustrate the change which 
has been wrought in the character 
of the region by the institution of a 
great system of sewerage. * 

The stretch of road first built 
(and for a very long time it seemed 
doubtful if any more ever would 
be built), was from Kinzie street 
to Oak Ridge, eight miles west, 


The ' Pioneer. 1 

Running a 
railroad line 
through the 

and we were glad at night to reach the hotel at Barry's Point and dry ourselves by the large fireplace." 

Mr. Seymour says (Fergus' Hist. Series No. 16): 
" We began our survey at the foot of Dearborn street 
[North Side] and ran three lines nearly due west to the 
Desplaines river. Much of ihe time we waded in water, 



(Mayor in 1847) 

and two miles further to the Desplaines, where there was yet no bridge 

or station. The entire equipment 
consisted of five flat cars, one box 
car and the Pioneer. On Novem- 
ber 2Oth, by invitation of the direct- 
ors, a number of stockholders, 
newspaper men and friends of the 
enterprise to 'the number of about 
a hundred took a "flying trip" on 
the primitive train, which had been 
provided with temporary seats. A 
crowd assembled at the starting 
point to admire the spectacle. At 
the western terminus (ten miles 
out) a farmer's wagon with a load 
of wheat was in waiting; the wheat 
was taken on board and constituted 
the first installment of the vast flood 
of farm, mine and forest products 
which has entered Chicago by rail ; 
a mass nearly large enough to bury 

the great city above its roofs and spires if it were all here at one time. 
Captain Andreas says: 

About a week after the line was opened for 

Galena Railroad traffic the business men of Chicago were electrified 
begmstorun. by the announcem ent that over thirty loads of 
wheat were at the Desplaines river waiting to be 
transported tothe city. (!) The expected receipts 
of the road would amount to $15 per day all win- 
ter. (!) Wheat-buyers were informed (partly with 
the view of increasing the passenger traffic) that 
they must now take their station at the Desplaines 
river instead of at the Randolph street bridge. 
The total earnings of the road from the com- 
mencement of business in January, to December I, 

1849. were $23,763.74. From December I, 1849 
to December I, 1850, $104,359.62. By January, 

1850, the main line had been extended to Elgin, 
forty-two miles west of Chicago, which, with side- 
tracks, gave a roadway of forty-four miles. The 
amount expended on this superstructure was $164,- 

Mr. Prindiville says that as long 
as the road only reached the Des- 
plaines it was " hard sledding," be- 
cause a farmer who had hauled his 
grain perhaps fifty miles already 
would not give it to a railroad to haul it the last ten. These were the 



2C 5 

trying times. All the cash was gone, and the road partly done and not 
earning expenses ! But, as usual in Chicago, when things look darkest 
it is nearest dawn. J. Young Scammon, in his memoir of William B. 
Ogden (Fergus' Hist. Series, No. 17), says: 

A meeting of the directors was called. It looked blue. To go ahead would endanger the 

stock. Mr. Ogden was embarrassed Most of the other directors were fearful. 

Thomas Dyer lost faith. The writer called him a doubting Thomas A committee was 

appointed consisting of Scammon, Collins, Walker, Dyer and Raymond, to have charge of the sub- 
ject. This committee gave the writer carte-blanche. He applied to George Smith, the only banker 
in the place who could make such a loan, for $20,000, for six months, to enable him to go on with 
the road. Mr. Smith declined. He was asked why; if he had not the money. He replied, " Yes, 
but I do not wish to lose it. I have no confidence in the road. . . . Mr. Scammon, I will lend 
you the money. Make out your note." The writer did so, and the money was placed in the treas- 
ury of the company, no other person in the road except those connected with the loan and the treas- 
urer, Frank Howe, knowing whence it came. . . . The road was pushed on and completed to 
Elgin. ... It did not cost much money in those days to build a flat railroad on level land. 

As soon as the road 
was completed to Elgin it 
began to be profitable, and 
from June, 1849, to April, 
1850, it earned $48,331, with 
operating expenses only 
$18,519; less than forty per 

The shrewdness of the 
"grangers" along the line 
may be judged from the 
prophecies of some of them: 
"The landlord told us he 
was against railroads. They 
were bad things for farmers 
and hotel-keepers, but good 
for big fellows at the ends 
of the road." Another de- 
nounced railroads as " un- 
democratic institutions that 
would ride rough-shod over 
the people and grind them 
to powder. " 

Water, so good as a servant, is terrible as a master The flood of 
1849 has already been mentioned. That was a spring of floods, when 
the heavens were opened and the fountains of the great deep broken up. 
A New York girl, now a Chicago matron, happened to be one of a 
party who, in May and June, made the trip then rare in steam- 
boats down the Ohio to Cairo, up the Mississippi to St. Louis, and 

$20,000 from 
George Smith. 


High Water all 
over the West. 



The old Portage 


thence up to Peru on the Illinois river, where they took a canal-packet 
for Chicago. At Cairo they saw a whole village of houses standing in 
water up to their second stories. On the Mississippi there were houses 
floating down stream, one of them with a live cat clinging to its ridge- 
pole. The voyage on the canal was delightful. Colonel E. D. Baker was 
on board, handsome and dignified, the young girl's beau ideal of a hero. 
"Oliver Twist " had just come out, she was reading it and Colonel 
Baker talked with her about it ; a circumstance never to be forgotten. 
"The portage," the ancient water-way between Lake Michigan 
and the Illinois and Mississippi byway of -Mud Lake and the Des. 
plaines, once more took on the aspect described by Joliet when at high 
water one could pass from lake to river without leaving the canoe. The 
Desplaines was wild and out of all bounds. It poured its floods east- 
ward over the divide at Summit and into the South Branch until that, 

too, took the bit in its teeth and 
galloped lakeward like a sea-horse 
with waving mane. A momentary 
bar to its wild career was the ice 
which covered the river and 
wrapped each vessel and floating 
thing in its close embrace. But 
the stronger 'the dam and the 
longer the delay, the greater the 
rush when at last the waters tore 
themselves free. The beast gath- 
ered weight and strength by what 
it swallowed. On a small scale, 
and due to another of the elements, 
it was a foretaste of the wild rush 
of winged destruction which swept 
the city (moving in the same 
direction, by the way) some twenty- 
one years later : namely, on Oc- 
tober 8th and gth, 1871. 
Mr. Rufus Blanchard says (" Northwest," p. 566): 

The river soon began to swell, the waters lifting the ice to within two or three feet of the sur. 
face of the wharves. Between 9 and 10 A. M. loud reports as of distant artillery were heard toward 
the South, as if the ice were breaking up. Soon to these were added the sounds of crashing timbers; 
n ChU ^ nawsers tearing away the piles around which they were vainly fastened, or snapping like pack- 
thread on account of the strain upon them. To these succeeded the cries of people calling to the 
parties in charge of the vessels and canal boats to escape before it would be too late ; while nearly 
all the males and hundreds of the female population hurried from their homes to the banks of the 
river, to witness what was by this time inevitable a catastrophe such as the city never before sus- 

A. c. WOOD. 
(Builder of Old St. James Church ) 


It was not long before every vessel and canal boat on the South Branch . . was swept 
with resistless force toward the lake. As fast as the channel at one spot became crowded with ice 
and vessels intermingled, the whole mass would dam up the water, which, rising in the rear of the 
obstruction, would propel vessels and ice forward with the force of an enormous catapult. Every 
lightly built vessel would at once be crushed as if it were an eggshell ; canal boats disappeared from 
sight under the gorge of ships and ice, and came into view below it in small pieces, strewing the 
surface of the boiling water. 

At length a number of vessels were violently precipitated against Randolph Street Bridge, which 
was torn from its place in a few seconds, forcing its way into the main channel of the river. The 
gorge of natural and artifical materials ice and wood and iron kept on its resistless way to the 
principal bridge in the city the Clark street. This had been constructed on piles and it was sup- 
posed would prevent the vessels already caught up by the ice from being swept out into the lake. 
But . . . the moment this accumulated material struck the bridge it was swept to utter destruc- 
tion, and with a crash the noise of which could be heard all over the city; while the ice below it 
broke up with reports as if from a whole park of artillery. 

This graphic picture leaves out Madison street and Wells street 
bridges, yet we know that they went with the rest. Perhaps, being 
mere " float" bridges they did not make even a ripple on the torrent. 
At the place where the river, east of State street, bends to the north- 
ward, a new jam occurred, held by the ice in the curve, and the stronger 
vessels which had withstood the pressure higher up. Mr. Blanchard 
says that several canal boats and, in one instance, a schooner with rig- 
ging all standing, were sucked under the jam, only to reappear in frag- 
ments below. The ice that held the entangled craft soon broke away, 
and, as the way out to seaward now was clear, several bold men, armed Accidents am) 
with axes, made their way out to mid-stream, cut the vessels loose from the'nSSd. ' 
the gorge and let them drift on to clear water and safety. He names 
R. C. Bristol, Alvin Calhoun, Cyrus Bradley and Darius Knights as 
prominent, and says that some ten or twelve large craft floated down 
the stream, their preservers proudly acknowledging the cheers of the 
crowds on shore. The vessels either caught on to the lake piers, by 
hawsers, or were brought up by dropping their anchors. 

The " Journal " states the number of craft in port as follows: four 
steamers, six propellers, twenty-four brigs, two sloops and fifty-seven 
canal boats. There >was some loss of life. A boy was crushed to death 
at Randolph street bridge and a little girl was killed by the falling of a 
topmast. A son of Mr. Coombs was lost at Madison street bridge; 
James L. Millard had his leg badly broken on board his vessel; one poor 
fellow on a canal boat out on the lake waved his handkerchief as a sig- 
nal of distress, but there was no boat which could go to his rescue; 
the vessels being disabled in their rigging and the steamers in their 
machinery. The losses were stated by the " Democrat" as follows: 

Damage to the City (bridges, etc.) $ I5,''o 

"Vessels 58,000 Losses. 

" Canal boats 30,000 

" Wharves 5,oo 






The losses seem to us rather trivial, seeing that a single bridge or 
vessel of these latter days might well exceed their total. The statistics 
of craft in port are interesting, showing as they do the proportions of 
which our marine was then composed. The great invention of John 
Ericsson the propeller was already making its slow but sure progress 
toward the dominion of the waves. 

The regular river crossings being all destroyed, passengers made 
their way over the wreckage, which the "Democrat" of March i4th calls 
"one of the most costly bridges ever constructed in the West, and the 
only one Chicago now boasts of. ... Many ladies were not afraid 
to venture over this novel causeway, beneath which the water roared, 
falling in cascades from one obstruction to another; the whole forming Ac08 " ybridse ' 
perhaps the most exciting scene ever witnessed here." The "Journal" 
says, " No mails left the city last night. All egress is prevented by 

high water and impassable roads." 
Now followed necessarily a 
partial embargo of North, South 
and West Sides as to each other. 
Numerous volunteer ferries sprung 
up; boats paddling across carrying 
passengers at one cent each. A 
canal boat spanned the south 
branch at Randolph street and a 
schooner at Clark street, which 
allowed foot passage at the same 
rate. Scranton's old ferry at State 
street was at once re-established, 
and between the Lake House and 
the fort the old rope ferry (which 
many of us remember as still run- 
ning in 1857) ran gaily and freely 
as usual. About this primitive 
institution the "Democrat" of 
JUDGE HAMMOND. December 1 2, 1848, says : 

Sometimes, the wind blowing strong up the creek, a brig comes along with foresail, topgallant 
and jib set An impatient citizen is on the South Side, with visions of roast beef and dessert to 
match in his mind's eye. Bill sees the brig. The captain halloos, " Let go your d d rope." The 
citizen cries : " Come over, you've got time enough." But Bill thinks " It's better to be sure of the 
line ; if that breaks, the gentleman loses his dinner and I may lose my place " So he lets go all and Ferry, 
the impatient citizen has to wait just two minutes and a half, at which he grumbles some when Bill 
runs the old boat's nose ashore and gives him a chance to step aboard, but Bill takes it coolly. With 
the consciousness of having done his duty he lets the landsman "have his pipe out," as he can 
afford to be generous as well as just. 

At this time the continual and inevitable contest between lands- 



The great 
question re- 

men's rights and sailors' rights came to judicial adjustment. In June, 
Madison Street bridge was reopened for travel, and, two weeks later, 
Clark Street bridge. Autumn saw the completion of the Wells and 
Kinzie Street structures. Lake Street bridge was begun and its oppo- 
nents applied to Judge Drummond, of the United States District 
Court, for an injunction, relying on the right of the general Govern- 
ment to keep from obstruction the navigable waters under its control 
The complaint was dismissed; the learned Judge holding that "the 


right of free navigation is not inconsistent with right of the State to 
provide means of crossing the river by bridges or otherwise, when the 
wants of the public require them." 

Even after this, the bold navigators stuck to the old idea that the 
prior right was theirs ; that whenever they approached a bridge it must 
fly open for them, no matter who wished to use it. Therefore it fre- 
quently happened that a vessel, to save the cost of towage, would 
"warp through" bridge after bridge ; that is, carry a cable along the 
shore, hitch it to a pile, and then drag the craft slowly forward by wind- 
ing up the line on the vessel's capstan. E. MacA'rthur charged the 
Madison Street bridge tender with keeping the bridge open " an hour 
longer than was necessary," and proved the fact; yet was not the 
offender disciplined. It was not till 1852 that bridge-tenders were 



brought under law and compelled to give bonds ($500) for the faithful 
performance of their duties. Still later were all sail vessels made to em- 
ploy tugs. It is only within the last two decades that bridge-tenders have 
been authorized and empowered to keep bridges open for land travel at 
certain times, warning navigators to halt until their turn should come. 
As late as 1860 Clark Street bridge was so low above the water that not 
even the smallest tug could pass without the swinging of the bridge. 
What a change has taken place since then may be imagined and one 
may also imagine a possible future time when bridges shall be perma- 



nent structures of arched stone and iron; when all loading and unloading 
of lake craft shall be done in the outer harbor and only lighters and 
towing-barges shall navigate the rivers and penetrate the interior of the 
huge metropolis. In other words, when our river above Rush Street 
shall be like the Thames "above bridge," that is, further up stream 
than London bridge. 

In 1848 the first municipal building was put up. The City Govern- 

_ . First City Hall 

ment had up to this time "hired a hall to talk and act in. In 1837 it bum in state 


had been in the Saloon building, Clark and Lake Streets. In 1842 they 
moved to Mrs. Nancy Chapman's building, opposite the jail, at the 
corner of Randolph and La Salle Streets. Captain Andreas says: 

The public square at this time was fenceless, and presented such a dilapidated and barren 
appearance that citizens were urged to improve the park by individual exertion. In April a number 
of citizens did turn out with shovels, mattocks, etc., and planted a few trees and built a fence- 



But . . . the " Democrat, " in May, noticed that " the fence around the public square on Clark 
Street stands like a good many politicians we wot of but half whitewashed." J. Young Scammon 
and William H. Darns did much about this time to improve the appearance of the square. 

The market building (put up in 
1848) occupied the middle of State 
Street, facing Lake Street from the 
south. It was of brick with stone 
basement. The ground floor had 
thirty-two stalls, and the second 
story had rooms for the council 

Stage Manager, 

Mr. .\. It. Clarke. 



Of the Engagement of <he Distinguished, Tragedian^ 


Fust representation, of Schiller's great Tragedy of lie 


TVhicU haa leen.for fiDme time m preparaGoni pitli_c!iararferiaIfl 

Jgcentni, StppolntoTcttlg. jrtjtofc., fee. 

Ai pffTormea by lira famlt tlip principal Tlifairel tf>nnilnil ibo IT. S- A 

this Evening, SATURftil, NOT. J.Otli, 1849, 

Will be iclci) ffie^rageoj-nt the 

Tdaxamilliaia Count do Mow, 

Mir. Clifford. 



Francia do 




Libertines | 


BOSS, , 



\A\ S: 

1 Bobbon. I Beaver. 

A Commisnr 











Tbo wliole to cjncUdc wilh the Fftrca of 

Fli c bl 7 , 

Mr. McVickr. 

ISr fiat. 

The following Song* ad Dance Incident to tho piece. 
Jir. "Htigio for * Hn.Dooi" ia B. ' 


meetings and other municipal pur- 
poses. One may fancy the atmos- 
phere in that council chamber, 
during an August meeting, over 
the market and under the heat of 
the sky and of political agitation! 
The building was removed in 1857. 
In 1848, by the way, Clark Street 
was numbered from South Water Street to Randolph. 

We can not leave behind the great decade of the forties without a 
glance back at the city in its physical aspect. " The" theatre the house 
built on the south side of Dearborn Street, east of Randolph, by John 

On MondajTEvening, Mr. 'Murdoch's Benefit. 

r 25 ta iMbroiorea'jFewons, 26stt 



B. Rice, in 1847 and burned in 1850 was the chief place of public 

amusement. Here had appeared 
many actors, some famous already 
and some whose names have be- 

" Familiar in our mouths as household words" 

in the years which have since 
elapsed. Here James H. McVicker 
and Mrs. McVicker appeared on the 
evening of May 2, 1848, he playing 
Mr. Smith in the farce of " My 
Neighbor's Wife;" and she taking 
the part of Louisa in the Yankee 
comedy of "The Hue and Cry." 
The world was satisfied with the 
good old system of "stock com- 
panies" then, and Andreas reports 
that for 1849 as being composed 
of Mr. and Mrs. Rice, Mr. and 
Mrs. McVicker, Mr. and Mrs. D. 
Clifford, Mrs. Coleman Pope, Jos. 
W. Burgess, N. B. Clark, William Meeker, J. H. Harwick and C. H. 
Wilson. Messrs. Beaver & Beck- 
with were the "scenic artists," and 
Perry Marshall, treasurer. He also 
gives the bill of the play for Sat- 
urday, November 10, 1849, when 
Mr. Murdock played " Schiller's 
Robbers." The bill was of the fa- 
miliar, old-fashioned kind ; one's 
feast for the evening was all simply 
set before him, ungarnished and 
undisguised; not as in the cumber- 
some and troublesome fashion of 
1891. , We reproduce the interest- 
ing play-bill. 

Meanwhile, music, another 
branch of the fine arts, one in which 
Chicago has always kept an ad- 
vanced place, was taking firm hold 
on public favor and support. Mr. 
George Upton, more closely con- 
nected with the art than any other Chicagoan, gives some items connected 

Mr. McVicker 
in song and 
dance act. 




Beginning; of 
the City's 
Musical Life. 

with the times now under notice ; the very epoch of the arrival of a man 
whom he calls the father of classical music in the West : George Dyh- 
renfurth. Mr. D. arrived late in 1847, an d on December 27 attended 
the New England Festival, where George Davis, Frank Lumbard and 
others sang. On the same day there was a concert at " the theatre," 
where the celebrated Sig. Martinez played the guitar. On February 
14, 1848, Mr. Dyhrenfurth made his own first appearance in Chicago as 
an amateur violinist. On September 13, 1849, he played at the City 
Hall for charity, and appeared during the following year on various 
occasions. Then came a great day in Chicago's musical history Octo- 
ber 24, 1850; when the first Philharmonic subscription concert took 
place at New Tremont Hall under his direction. The series numbered 
eight concerts, and formed the beginning of an organized musical cul- 
ture which has affected and benefited this city through all its later life. 

Ogden's lesson 
to Prindiville. 


Apropos to the endless subject of gains made from Chicago real 
estate speculations, the following story from Captain Prindiville is 
characteristic. William B. Ogden (when they were both engaged on 
the Galena Railroad) offered him a five-acre piece on the West Side 
for $1,000, "canal time." Prindiville hadn't the money. But Ogden 
would trust him for a year for the first payment. Still the younger man 
hung back. Well, Ogden would take the land back at the end of the 
year if Prindiville didn't like the bargain. No, he did not see where he 
was to get the cash to make the payments and wouldn't promise what 
he might not be able to carry out. Ogden broke out: " Why, Redmond, 
that is not the way to get along. When you are dealing with Chicago 
property, the proper way is to go in for all you can get, and then go on 
with your business and forget all about it ! It will take care of itself." 
Another man took the bargain and made $4,000 on it in six months. 

We are, luckily, also able to see Chicago as it appeared to Gov- 
ernor Bross's backward gaze when he wrote his history in 1876. He 



says that in 1848 he lived with the Rev. Ira M. Weed at Madison and 
State Streets (the "Buck & Rayner corner"). That was considered GOV. 
"far south," and he by custom selected the best sidewalk (that on Dear- 
born street) to make his way out there. 

The sidewalks, where such luxuries were indulged in, lay in most cases on the rich prairie 
soil, for the string-pieces of scantling to which the planks were originally spiked would soon sink 
down into the mud after a rain, and then as one walked, the green and black slime would gush 
up between the cracks. ... In 1849 I bought of Judge Jesse B. Thomas forty feet on Michigan 
Avenue, south of the corner of Van Buren Street, for $1,250. The Judge had bought at the canal 
sales in 1848 for $800 on " Canal Time ; " a quarter down, balance, one, two and three years. 
The lake shore was perhaps one hundred feet east of the street, and there my brother John and 
myself, rising early in the morning, bathed in summer for two or three years. We had an excellent 
cow for we virtually lived in the country that, contrary to all domestic propriety, would sometimes 
wander away, and I usually found her out on the prairie in the vicinity of Twelfth street. I saw a 
wolf run by my house as late as 1850. The rule of speculators at the canal sales was to buy all the 
property on which the speculator could make the first payment; then sell enough each year to make 
the others. . . . When my lot was struck off to me, Harry Newhall came across the room and 
said, "Bross, did you buy that lot to live on ? Are you going to improve it" "Yes." "Well, I'm 
glad of it ; I'm glad some one is going to live beyond me. It won't be so lonesome if we can see 
some one going by every night and morning." 

Bross- d- 


Citizens' strug- 
gles in start- 
ing the first 



||H|vEHOLD the strong new helper! "The 
fifties" were eminently the years of railroad 
beginnings on a large scale. January i, 
1850, saw neither more nor less than 
thirty-three miles of railroad completed 
from Chicago; being the first difficult, 
stumbling, halting steps of the Galena 
line. It would take a volume, instead of 
a chapter, to tell of the efforts required 
to finish even so much of the work, and 
another volume to tell of those expended 
in its ultimate entire completion. The best 
short story of it is to be found in Mr. 
Scammon's and Mr. Arnold's obituary 
sketches of William B. Ogden, published in Fergus' Hist. Series, No. 

Mr. Scammon begins with tne public meeting at Rockford (half 
way between Chicago and Galena) in 1846, where Judge Drummond 
presided and where there were present among others the following Chi- 
cago men: William H. Brown, afterwards president of the road and of 
the Chicago Historical Society; B. W. Raymond, Isaac N. Arnold 
(also a president of the Historical); Gen. Hart L. Stewart, Mr. Ogden 
and himself, Mr. Scammon. In 1847 Mr. Ogden and Mr. Scammon 
traveled (probable by stage) the entire distance from Chicago to 
Galena, stopping along the road, holding and addressing meetings and 
"going into the highways and byways to compel them to come in" to 
partake of the feast. 

The main Galena advocates of enterprise were Messrs. Drummond, 
Hoyne, Hempstead and Washburn.* The Galena People, even then, 
feared that their city would never be the better for the road, and only 
the most solemn promises, public and private, sufficed to overcome their 
fear. The promises were kept as long as Ogden and Scammon were 
in control. Afterwards they were disregarded, to the lasting injury of 
Galena and the regret of those who, in perfect good faith, had uttered 
the misleading words. 

Before the road could be completed to Galena, the great Illinois 

* The two latter names are recalled to mind by that of the Mayor of Chicago at this time (1891) Mr. Hempstead 
Washburn, son of Elihu B. Washburn. 




Central road, reaching from Cairo to Dunleith; from the southernmost 
to the northwesternmost point of the State; laid out its line which 
took in two of the stations of the Galena road; namely, Freeport and 
Galena. Thereupon the Galena Company halted its road at Freeport 
and arranged to run unbroken trains from Chicago through Freeport to 
Galena. The line was completed; but being under two companies, and 
besides, going beyond Galena to Dunleith, a point on the Mississippi 
(Galena was on the Fever river, a small affluent of the Mississippi), it 
failed to benefit Galena. 

The next road to connect with Chicago was the " Michigan South- 
ern & Northern Indiana," now the Lake Shore. 

On February 20, 1852, the 
first train arrived, greeted by cheers 
and cannon firing, this being the 
first eastern connection by rail: 
Not all rail, however, as the link 
from Buffalo to Toledo was not 
made until 1857; meanwhile the 
eastern connection for both the 
Southern and Central roads was 
by means of Lake Erie steam- 
boats. And in the very year of its 
establishment of a through all-rail 
connection with the east, the Mich- 
igan Southern Company went to 
protest, its property was seized, and 
the new Board of Directors, holding 
its first meeting, was compelled to 
borrow a few chairs to take the 
place of those held by the sheriff. 

Three months after the Southern began to run in, namely, on May 
21, 1852, the Michigan Central made its way to the city, by utilizing 
from Calumet, fourteen miles out, the track of the Illinois Central. 
There was a bitter fight between the two Michigan roads, the right of 
one road to cross the tracks of another (as the M. C. R. R. did those of 
the M. S. & N. I. R. R. ) was not yet established and regulated bylaw. 
It was soon so established, the settlement being hastened by a deplor- 
able calamity which occurred at the crossing (the point now known as 
"Grand Crossing," within city limits) on April 25th, 1853. The South- 
ern, being the first in the field, denied to the other the right to cross 
its tracks at all; and strove by injunction to prevent it. During the 
legal contest it ran its road as if the other's did not exist, passing the 

Bad faith in 
dealing with 



and Central 
come in. 



Terrible ace 
dent at Gra 

The Illinois 

crossing point at full speed. This recklessness led to the natural result; 
two trains came together and as usual the innocent suffered from the 
wrong-doing of the contestants. Eighteen persons were killed out- 
right and some forty of the injured were brought to the city. An in- 
dignation meeting was held and a demand made that every train should 
come to a full stop before crossing, at grade, the track of another road. 
That became the rule and so continues to this day. 

The great Illinois Central now looms above the horizon. The 
State had received from the general Government a grant of alternate 
sections of land in a strip six miles wide on each side of a railroad to be 
built from Cairo to Dunleith (on the Mississippi, opposite Dubuque), with 
a branch from the main line to Chicago. This splendid gift was largely 

the result of the efforts of Syd- 
ney Breese, Stephen A. Douglas, 
James Shields, John Wentworth 
and William H. Bissell, all Illinois 
members of the Senate and House 
of Representatives of the United 
States. Judge Breese, senator from 
1842 to 1848, said in a letter he 
wrote to Stephen A. Douglas in 
1851 : " When my last resting-place 
shall be marked by the cold marble, 
which gratitude or affection may 
erect, I desire no other inscription 
than this: 


The total quantity of land thus 
set apart was 2,595,000 acres- 
more tnan 4,000 square miles, or a piece over sixty-three miles square. 
Owing to the character of the Prairie State, nearly every acre is arable 
land; therefore there are whole States which have not as much produc- 
ing capacity as this single public benefaction.* 

Here come in some considerations usually overlooked in discussing 
this land grant. The first is this: The Government, when it gave the 
alternate sections, doubled the price of the alternate sections which it 
retained. Then these retained sections found prompt sales at the 
doubled price. Where, then, did the Government lose anything by its 

At the same time the donation sinks into insignificance when compared with some other subven- 
tions. It amounted to 3,700 acres per mile of road. The grants to the Union Pacific, twelve years later, were 12.800 
acres per mile, and a subsidy in Government bonds was added fit the rate of $i*,ooo, $32.000 and $48,000 per mile; the 
object being to apportion the subsidy in ratio to the cost of the several sections. (Ackerman's " Early Illinois Rail- 
roads.* 1 Fergus' Hist. Series, No. 23.) 




bounty? The second is, that the grant was to the State; and the State, 
before it surrendered it to the railroad company, stipulated that the 
latter should pay, forever (in lieu of all other taxes), the large slice 
of seven per cent, of the gross earnings it might gain from the opera- 
tion of its road.* Where, then, did the State sacrifice anything? In 
fact, the sums paid to the State Treasury, under this provision, are 
enough (with proper economy) to run the entire State Government. 
It is largely due to this fund that Illinois is one of the few States entirely 
free of a State-debt. The payments made by the Illinois Central to 
the State are as follows : 

1855,129,752; 1856,177,632; 1857, $145,646; 1858,1132,006; 1859, $132,104; 
1860, $177,557; 1861, $177,253; 1862, $212,174; 1863,1300,394; 1864, $405,514; 1865, 
$496,489; 1866, $427,075; 1867, $444,007; 1868, $428,397; 1869, $464,933; 1870, $464,- 
584; 1871, $463,512; 1872, $442,856; 1873, 
$428,574; 1874, $394,366; 1875, $375,7 6 6; 
1876, $356,005; 1877, $316,351; 1878, 
$320,431; 1879, $325,477; 1880, $368,348; 
1881, $384,582; 1882, $396,036; 1883, 
$388,743; 1884, $356,679; 1885, $367,788, 
1886, $378,714; 1887, $4M,374; 1888, 
$424,955; 1889, $460,244; 1890,8486,281. 
Total paid to the State, $12,620,915. 
(Cents are omitted.) 

Judge Caton recalls the fact 
that when some local authority en- 
deavored to levy a local tax, in spite 
of this provision, on the ground 
that the State could not barter 
away the right of a minor munici- 
pality to levy taxes for its support, 
Mr. Lincoln argued the case for the 
Road, and won it. Also that he charged his client $5,000, which 
the local authorities paid, but which the directors objected to and ordered 
should be reclaimed from the counsel. Also that Mr. Lincoln told one 
of his quaint stories regarding the matter (which has never appeared in 
print); which was about to this effect : 

A farmer, much annoyed by the trespassing of an unruly bull be- 
longing to a neighbor, drove the beast away, and cut off its tail as it 
departed. Some one suggested that the owner might object, where- 
upon the farmer replied that, object as he might, the tail would never 
grow on again. Even so, the lawyer opined that that particular $5,000, 

* Judge Caton suggests that this lien being seven per cent, of the Road's gross earnings (deducting nothing for 
expense of operation) is at least equivalent to a sixth of its capitalized valuation. Also that this consideration 
should make the State favor every increase of the road's capitalized value, and encourage it to invest still more money 
in income- earning property. If, for instance, the corporation should add six millions worth of realty (Lake Front) to 
its possessions, one million of the increment would, in effect, belong to the State, to have and hold forever. 

State percent- 
age of Illinois 
Central earn- 

JOHN u. 

Mr. Lincoln's 
little story. 



Threatened de- 
struction of 
Michigan Ave. 

however much its payment might be objected to, would never find itself 
back in the company's treasury. (This may not be exactly the story, 
but it is sufficiently near to show the general drift and application.) 

Now, as to the relations of the Central with the City of Chicago. 
Many old Chicagoans remember though a larger number, being 
newer comers, never knew, heard or cared anything about it that from 
the time the North Pier was built and the southward current of sand 
retained on its upper side, the resulting eddy began and continued to 
eat away the land south of it. First the great sand spit disappeared and 
deep water was where dry land had been before. Then the lake shore 

itself was encroached upon, the 
broad strip outside of Michigan 
avenue grew narrower and nar- 
rower. The coffins in the old Fort 
burying-ground stuck out grimly 
into the air, as the waves kept up 
their ceaseless sound and motion 
below. A plank facing and vari- 
ous other weak expedients were 
used to check the ominous waste 
that was going on; but there was a 
conflict of jurisdiction; the neigh- 
boring owners called on the munici- 
pality to interfere, the latter rather 
thought it was the business of the 
State, (holder of "eminent do- 
main"), and all would have been 
glad to shoulder it on the General 
Government, which by building the pier had caused the abrasion. 

Meanwhile the waves paused not at all "to parley or dissemble" 
but merrily continued their destructive play. What -\vas to be done ? 
It was a question of millions of money to be laid out, or other millions 
lost in Lake Michigan. The city and the citizens could not, if they would; 
the State and the Nation would not if they could. And, at last, in a 
storm, the waters actually washed away a part of the eastern edge of 
Michigan avenue itself; the lake park having already largely disap- 

As usual in Chicago, when at the last extremity, help came. The 
Illinois Central had money and needed access to business. The city had 
no money; and it needed the business the road would create; but its 
most present and urgent need was defence against Lake Michigan. 




Therefore the road was offered, not land, but water; no track, but a 
right to build a track through the pathless waves, and the privilege of 
protecting that tract, which in its turn should protect Chicago. 

So said so done. The Illinois Central Company spent two millions 
of dollars of its capital in a two-mile stretch of stone cribs sunk in the 
lake, four or five hundred feet outside the shore line; and then drove two 
double lines of piles inside the cribs whereon to lay its tracks. 

Perhaps one in fifty of Chicago's present citizens remembers the 
years in which they used to look across "the basin" at the piling track 
and the stone crib beyond it, and sail, row, swim and skate there as the 
seasons dictated; only thinking (those who thought at all) how lucky it 
was that there was a power strong enough and liberal enough to pro- 
vide the young city with such a 
grand benefaction. 

Those days are past. Chicago 
pocketed the benefit and forgot its 
source.- The city saw that the Cen- 
tral had finally also been benefited 
(though it was once afterward, in 
1857, utterly bankrupt and in the 
hands of assignees), and grew to 
feel as if Chicago had done it all; 
as if she had been the author of her 
own well being and the giver of the 
prosperity of the Illinois Central. 
The fact is, Chicago never contrib- 
uted appreciably toward the cost of 
building any of the roads which have 
done so much for her, either as a 
municipality, or (except a little in 
the early days of the Galena) by investments from the funds of private 
citizens. The chief service Chicago men rendered or could render was 
the bringing in of foreign capital. In the case of the Central it was a 
three-sided arrangement, wherein the general Government, the State 
and the railroad corporation joined, and wherein a fourth party, the 
public, was the chief beneficiary, after all. Three servants plowed, 
planted and harvested, and the master eats the crop grumbling. 

Roswell B. Mason, later Mayor of the city, and still (1891) an 
honored citizen, was the first president of the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company. It was under his wise guidance that the Lake Shore pro- 
tection was effected between 1852 and 1855. 1 1856 the Central took 
the initiative in the matter of suburban traffic, since grown to such 

The line of Crib 


Foreign capital 
to the rescue. 



The makers of 

tbe Illinois 


great proportions. On June ist of that year it started its Hyde Park 
train ; and in his daily telegram to Wall Street that evening, John B. 
Calhoun, the local treasurer, used this sententious phrase: "The Hyde 
Park train made its first trip to-day. Nary passenger, up nor down." 

The next administration of the Illinois Central was a memorable 
one for power and enterprise. William H. Osborn, who became presi- 
dent in 1856, was a man whom every man who came in contact 
with him pronounced one of the ablest men Chicago has ever seen. 
John W. Foster was Commissioner of the Land Department; a scien- 
tist, a man of wit and humor, and of varied accomplishments. William 

K. Ackerman, successively Secre- 
tary, Treasurer, Vice- President and 
President, is still (1891) an honored 
Chicago citizen; noted for executive 
ability and high standard of per- 
sonal and business honor and recti- 
tude. Peter Daggy, now (1891) 
one of Chicago's old and well- 


Streets general- 
ly begin to be 
and paved. 

known citizens, Commissioner of 
the Land Department. John M. 
Douglass, who only lately died in 
Chicago, full of years and of hon- 
ors, was Counsel and later Presi- 
dent. J. F. Tucker, beginning in 
the freight office, became success- 
ively General Freight Agent, Gen- 
eral Superintendent, Master of 
Transportation and Traffic Manager. Through the dark days of the 
Illinois Central these men and others like them were its preservers 
from utter ruin; and when it once more saw better days it was to them 
that it owed its permanent prosperity. 

With the beginning of this decade began the general numbering of 
streets and also the use of the plank pavements of inglorious memory. 
In dry weather the planked streets were not very bad; nor would they 
have been if unplanked. In "wet spells," the planks were unfortunate'y 
not submerged; they were afloat, and under the impact of wheels and 
hoofs sent up streaks and shoots of vileness indescribable. 

Grand opera began in a way that sadly prefigured much of its later 
history. Captain Andreas says : 

On the evening of July 30, 1850. an Opera Company consisting of Mr. Manvers, Mr. Giubelei, 
Mr. Lippert and Miss Brienti, assisted by a home chorus and orchestra, began the first season of 



opera ever given, or rather ever attempted, in the city. The piece for the opening night was 
"Sonnambula" and the place of presentation was Rice's first theater, located on Randolph street. 
A fair audience was present and everything progressed smoothly until the rising of the curtain on 
the second act. At this juncture the alarm of fire was given, and in an hour the theater lay in ashes, 
involving a loss to its owners of over $4,000. 

Undaunted by his ill-success, Mr. Rice soon purchased a lot on Dearborn street and began 
the erection of a new theater. 

Another account of the accident says : 

The audience started to its feet in terror. . ' . . Serious injury to many might have 
ensued had it not been for the presence of mind of Manager Rice. Hastening to the footlights, he 
cried: "Sit down! Sit down! Do you think I would permit a fire to occur in my theater? Sit 
down! "... Soon the building was cleared ot its audience. J. H. McVicker was on the stage 
at the time. He began to pull down scenery, hoping to save something, but the flames spread so 
rapidly that everybody was driven away. . . . 
He was compelled to go to the Sherman House 
in his stage costume. He lost everything except 
the clothes then worn by him. 

The opera company visited Milwaukee, 
where a brief season of their so called Italian opera 
was given. The lines were rendered in Italian 
by those of the party who could speak that tongue, 
and in English by those who could not. 

An incident is related by Mr. McVicker 
which illustrates the trials of those days. The 
price of admission in country towns was twenty- 
five cents. At St. Charles one of the citizens 
waited on Mr. McVicker and said: "See here, 
my family is five in number the old woman and 
three children. I think you ought to let us see 
the show for a dollar." Mr. McVicker assented. 
The next day his patron returned and said: 
"See here; your show put my boy asleep last 
night, so he didn't see any of it. I think you 
ought to give me back a quarter. McVicker ar- 
gued that he had received but twenty cents each, 
but the man silenced him by saying: " Well, I 
know; but it's worth twenty-five cents to carry a 
boy home when he's asleep." The quarter was 

Rice's new theater was on Dear- 
born street, south of Randolph. 

Tremont Hall.a lame dancing room on the second floor of the Tre- 

C5 O 

mont House, facing Lake street, was used by local and traveling com- 
panies between the times of Rice's first and second theaters. There 
the infant prodigies and real artists Kate and Ellen Bateman, 
appeared on November 18, 1850, and on two later evenings, with suc- 

The first general charity hospital went into operation in 1850, being 
located in the Lake House (already called the "Old Lake House"), and 
in charge of those sterling citizens, Mark Skinner, Hugh T. Dickey 
and Dr. John Evans. Dr. N. S. Davis lectured for its benefit and Dr. 
Brainard served it as surgeon all gratis of course, for who can set 
bounds to the charitable work of the medical profession ? 

Burning of 
Rice's Theatre. 


First General-' 
Charity Hos- 




silenced by 


Slave Law mob. 

The same year, 1850, saw occurrences elsewhere which had at least 
a reflex influence on things in Chicago. The famous and infamous 
fugitive slave law passed then, and Douglas, one of its adherents, came 
back to Chicago, his home, and on Oct. 24, 1850, made, in defence of 
the measure, what has been called the ablest speech of his life, a speech 
which silenced, if it did not convince, the already half-rebellious demo- 
crats. To anticipate a little, letlis look on to his return home in 1854, 
and his effort to defend his Kansas-Nebraska bill. An article appearing 
in the " Times " (Democratic), Aug. 19, 1877, tells the story fully, and 
from it (as copied by Andreas) we quote : 

The " Little Giant " determined to face the music, and it was announced that after his arrival in 

Chicago he would take occasion to address his 
constituents on the issues of the day, and, may- 
hap, make a few personal explanations. 
From numerous orthodox pulpits the fiat went 
forth that this anti-Christ must be denied every 
opportunity to pollute the pure atmosphere of 
Illinois with his perfidious breath. . . It was 
on the evening of Sept. I, 1854, that he was an- 
nounced to speak in North Market Hall (where 
the county jail now stands). . . Under such 
circumstances as these, assembled the meeting 
on that September evening. During the after- 
noon the flags of such shipping as was owned by 
the more bitter of the " fusionists" (a name early 
given to the men of both parties who joined hands 
against disunion, afterwards "republicans") were 
hung at half mast; at dusk the bells of numerous 
churches tolled with doleful solemnity. A little 
before eight o'clock Mr. Douglas began to speak. 
And still the crowd increased, completely filling 
up Michigan street as far east as Dearborn and 
west as Clark. The roofs of the opposite houses 
were covered and the windows and balconies 
filled, for the ' ' Little Giant" had a way of making 

himself heard at a great distance On the questioning of some statement of the speaker by 

a person in the crowd the rumpus began in earnest, and for two hours pandemonium raged. 
It was reported at the time that the " Little Giant" was pelted with rotten eggs. This feature is 
now called in question by trustworthy witnesses who substitute rotten apples. . . . From the 
date of Douglas' rebuff Chicago men never ceased to be on the extreme verge of anti-slavery 
excitement, and Chicago became the center of the Western movement which resulted in making 
Kansas a free state. 

The limits of a " story " do not permit a statement in detail of the 
development of political opinion in the years which intervened between 
the killing of Lovejoy in 1837 and the firing on Sumter in 1861. They 
were years of progress of revolution. At least as early as 1838 an 
anti-slavery meeting was held in the " Saloon Building," where the Rev. 
Flavel Bascom, of the First Presbyterian Church, and Charles V. Dyer, 
Philo Carpenter, Robert Freeman and Calvin DeWolf were leading 
spirits. A mob was then feared, a mob not of the kind which assailed 



Douglas in 1854, but one of the opposite stripe, the Southern sympa- 
thizers. In 1842 a black man, named Edwin Heathcock, was arrested 
on the ground of being in Illinois without free papers, as prescribed by 
the " black law." He was committed by Justice Kercheval and confined 
in the log jail at the northwest corner of Court House square. He was 
advertised to be sold Monday, Nov. 14, 1843, and then, in the pres- 
ence of a crowd which blocked Randolph and La Salle streets, actu- 
ally put up and "cried" by the sheriff (Lowe), who explained to the 
crowd that it was only duty, not choice, that put the job on him. 
For a long time nobody bid, and it seemed as if the poor, shivering 
fellow would have to go back to 
the wretched log jail. A voice was 
raised from the opposite side of 
the street: "I bid twenty-five cents." 
It was the voice of Mahlon D. 
Ogden. The man was " knocked 
down " to him and he handed up a 
silver quarter-dollar to the sheriff; 
and then said: " Edwin, I have 

Sale of 
man a 

a black 
t auc- 

You are my man 
Now go where you 


bought you 
my slave ! 

In 1848 the Democratic party 
divided on the Free Soil issue, and 
Cass lost his election to the presi- 
dency in consequence. In 1850 the 
colored people met in convention 
at Chicago, and resolved not to fly 
to Canada, but to remain and 
defend themselves. In 1851 the 
last Chicago fugitive slave case was tried, and the black man remained 
free. The claimants were called upon by lawyer Collins, to prove, by 
other than "hearsay evidence" that Missouri was a slave State, and 
while they were engaged in the effort to do so, the great crowd 
passed the negro over their heads and prevented the constable from 
following him. 

Zebina Eastman (then living at the town of Lowell) sent the 
first passenger on the "Underground Railroad " (organized assistance 
of slaves escaping to Canada) in 1839. It was a "strange, famished 
and terrified negro," caught in a barn near Lowell and forwarded to 
Dr. Dyer in Chicago, who smuggled him on board the steamer Illinois, 
bound down the lakes for Buffalo. Captain Blake, of the Illinois, 




found among the firemen the "new hand" gun, knife and all and 
exhibited much fury, vowing to kick him ashore at the first point he 
stopped at. " So when he reached the Detroit river he made a grand 

circuit, as if to show off his boat 
to a crowd of admiring Southerners 
on board, and then ran it into a port 
on the Canada shore, where he had 
no passengers to leave, but where 
he furiously dragged the negro from 
the lower regions and "kicked him 
off into freedom ! " 

To many readers all this will 
seem like Greek. What do they 
know about escaping slaves and 
the "Underground Railroad"? But 
such persons may be assured that 
their ignorance is only the conse- 
quence of the fact that they came 
on the scene a few years late. Those 
of the past generation (now them- 
selves rapidly passing over to the majority) can recall the days of all 
this turmoil, malice, mob-law and murder, and find the present smiling, 
prosperous calm almost a matter of surprise; such a contrast is the con- 
dition of "the nineties" to that of "the forties." 


- . 7 -- . _.- 




H 1C AGO is often said to have been built 
by nature rather than by any human inter- 
ference. Now begin the days when her 
various and infinite natural advantages come 
most fully to light. From the earliest times 
her position was conspicuously favorable. 
She stands just where water-travel and N ?y u to e chicag 
marine freightage intrude furthest into the 
bosom of the continent. All men may sail 
to her, no man can sail past her. Short- 
sighted observers fell into the error of think- 
ing that certain places reached by river had 
a better outlook. Cairo, for instance, was 
pitched upon as the place for the greatest 
city of the continent, as being near the geo- 
graphical center and at a great river centre and being joined by the Ohio 
with the Alleghany range, by the upper Mississippi and Missouri with 
the Arctic and the Rockies, and by the lower Mississippi with the Gulf. 
These very circumstances were fatal to greatness. Craft arriving from 
either direction could sail on in either of two other directions without 
pausing. Three mighty cataracts there, or some other impassable 
barrier, would have made Cairo what its founders hoped ; but wherever 
men can sail freely by, they are apt to do so. A warehouse in mid-ocean 
would do no business save in ship chandlery and marine stores. Lon- 
don is the head of marine navigation on the Thames, Liverpool on 
the Mersey, Paris on the Seine and New York on the Hudson. Cairo 
is a mere passing point. 

This is the first of Chicago's natural advantages; the one without 
which all her others would have been of small worth, but which itself 
would have been of little value without some others easy to name. 
First, the productiveness of her back country. As the lakes and sea H cu"iSo~n. 
in front of her are insatiable, so the land behind her is inexhaustible. 
What next? Measureless forests of excellent pine and hardwood, 
near by, to the northward; limitless mines of steam-coal still nearer to 
the southward; great quarries of good lime-stone only eighteen miles 
distant on the canal; iron mines accessible by sail from Lake Superior. 
And, as if all this were not enough, the city rests upon layers of its own 



Built of materi- 
al taken from 
her own sub- 

building material; a bed of brick clay comes close to the surface 
almost everywhere, and where it is covered it is usually with a layer of 
fine, sharp building-sand. It is an every day experience with builders 
to take enough sand from the cellar to made the mortar and plaster for 
the whole house. The docks, too, almost construct themselves; thus: A 
man owning a water lot establishes a brick-yard and takes his clay from 
his own land, moulds and burns his brick and sells them at a profit. When 
this is done, he has his dock ready excavated, and all he has to do is to 
put up his piers and wharves and let in the water. The city has in- 
numerable " slips" along its dock front, a great many of them con- 
structed by this simple device. 

It was in 1852 that the convenient canal stone was first largely used. 


A competent geologist, Professor Hitchcock, examined and analyzed 
the stone (a magnesian lime-stone) and named it "Athens Marble, "but 
of late years it has been usually called " Lemont stone," from the dis- 
trict whence it largely comes. The quarries are inexhaustible. An im- 
mense quantity of the stone will be taken out of the new "drainage 

The proximity of the great lakes offers pure lake water and pure 
^ a ^ e a ' r> anc ^ tnose w ^o have ever lived in such proximity are apt to feel 
cow p a e nd b heat. as if human life would be impossible in places not so blessed. The 
coldest winds in winter and the warmest in summer come not over the 
lake but over the prairies. The coolest airs in summer are, of course, 
the lake breezes ; and in winter the lake never freezes over to any great 
extent, consequently any wind which passes over its surface can not 
remain very far below the freezing point. 

Lake breezes 



All these physical glories and beauties did not befall without phys- 
ical drawbacks. A prairie city, Chicago had a site almost marshy. 
The prairies are anything but craggy and romantic the picturesque and 
the productive do not co-exist. Her long, deep, quiet rivers are very 
far from being trout streams ; being what they are, they could not be 
strung up the slope of a hill. Her hundreds of miles of level streets are 
hard to drain, and her peaceful, tideless waters are hard to keep pure. 
In tidal London, the great dock gates can open but twice a day. In 
Liverpool the Mersey is navigable only about half of the twenty-four 
hours; in Chicago all hours are alike fitted for business. 

Drawbacks of 3. 
level lite. 

and streets. 


The excellent report of Mayor D. W. C. Cregier, for 1890, gives, 
with innumerable other items of interest, a short historical recapitulation D [e r "rfv e e 'r. Wa " 
of the drainage, water supply, river, fire, sanitary and street systems. 
On the subject of water, quoting Mr. Chesbrough, the report says: 

In 1851, when the population was about 35,000, the present works were commenced. Under 
the directions of the Board of Water Commissioners. John B. Turner, A. S. Sherman and H. G. 
Loomis, the pumping works were located on the lake shore on the north side of the Chicago river. 
The works were put in operation in February, 1854. They consisted of one reservoir, containing 
about half a million gallons, and eight and three quarter miles of iron pipes, beside the pumping 
works. The population at this time was about 70,000. The increased growth of the city after that 
time and the introduction of sewerage, together with the establishment of packing-houses, distiller- 
ies etc., caused such a change in the quantity of filth flowing into the lake that complaints began to 
be made of impurity and offensiveness in the supply from the pumping works. What, however, 
was at first apparent only to the most sensitive organizations sodn grew evident to all, and in the 
course of two or three years more a remedy for this state of things could no longer be neglected. 



Chowder in 

At this time, be it remembered, the water was taken into the pump- 
ing well (at the east end of Chicago Avenue) directly from the lake 
shore, a few piles being driven around the inlet, about close enough 
together to exclude a young whale. The small fry of the finny tribe 
passed freely inward, and if they were lucky they passed out again; 
if unlucky, they were sucked up by the pumps and driven 
into, the pipes; where they made their way into the faucets of priv- 
ate houses even the hot water faucets, in which case they came out 
the cooked, and one's bathtub was apt to be filled with what squeamish citi- 
zens called chowder. At about this time a most sensational article ap- 
peared in the " Times," gravely asserting that we were like cannibals, eat- 
ing our ancestors. For, it said, the cemetery, being on the lake shore a half 
mile north of the pumping works, was subject to overflow and abrasion 
by the waves; wherefore the fishes were fed on the dead at the ceme- 
tery, were sucked into the pumps, and were then fed to the living in 
the city! Of course this was nonsense, but it was a kind of nonsense 
that fastened public attention and made easy the next step in our 
civil life, the tunneling the lake and bringing the water from the pure 
depths two miles from shore. It was a bold, a startling project, success- 
fully put in operation. Appended is a table with some interesting 


Gallons per 
day (j ciph- 
ers omitted). 

Gallons per 
day to each 

Miles of 
pipe in 

(3 dpliers 

Cost of wk s - 
at close of 
war ( ? ciph- 
ers omitted) 

Tons of 
Coal used. 

(j ciphers 

l8<!4.. . 


8 o 





18:;:;. . 

2 1Q1 

2 I .O 




I Q7O 

$ cS 

l8q6. . 

4 ooo 

j6 s 






1 Z C "* 

?8 2 




I 966 



2 QQI 

>2 S 





1 02 


3 877 



2 724 

T 2 = 


4 7O4 

45 O 





T 31 









The report treats at length of drainage. 

In the year 1849 Madison Street, east and west, and State Street, north and south, were decided 
on as the summit in the south division, the streets of that portion north of Madison and west of 
State Street to drain into the main river. The portion east of State to slope east and drain into the 

Lines of drain- | a k e The part south of Madison and west of State to slope west and discharge into the South 
age establish- 
ed. Branch. Nothing was done in the way of drainage, except open ditches, until the year 1850, when 

triangular-shaped wooden box sewers were built in Clark, LaSalle and Wells Streets from the main 
river to the alley south of Randolph Street. The cost of these sewers was $2,871.90, wholly paid for 
by the property benefited. 

By act of the Legislature in 1852, Henry Smith, George W. Snow, 
James H. Reed, George Steele, H. L. Stewart, Isaac Cook and Charles 
V. Dyer were made Drainage Commissioners for Cook County. The 
commission found awaiting its attention nearly 100,000 acres of swamp 



land ; much of it considered worthless, as its surface was but from five 
to twelve feet above lake level. They saw that all it needed was ditch- 
ing to reclaim it. In two years, at an expense of only $100,000, large i 
tracts were made available which had been thought uninhabitable. These 
tracts lay within four miles north, eight miles west and ten miles south 
of the city. The change in the flooded flat traversed by the Galena track 
west from Kinzie Street was doubtless due to this work. 

A board of sewerage commissioners was organized in 1855, con - 
sisting of William B. Ogden, Joseph D. Webster, and Sylvester Lind, 
with Ellis S. Chesbrough as Chief, and William H. Clark Assistant 
Engineer. The following was the system agreed on. It has remained 
in force ever since and will continue perhaps as long as Chicago stands. 
It will be observed that it follows 
essentially the old plan as to levels 
and slopes; State Street the summit 
line north and South, and Madison 
Street the summit east and west : 

The South Division east of State Street was 
drained by a main sewer in Michigan avenue, 
from the river to Sixteenth Street, the summit 
being at Van Buren Street ; that part south of 
Van Buren Street discharging into the lake at 
Twelfth Street, the part north of Van Buren 
emptying into the main river [near Rush Street 
bridge] ; the portion lying south of Washington 
Street west of State to be discharged into the 
south branch at various streets ; north of Wash- 
ington by two foot sewers in each north and 
south street, emptying into the main river. 

From the outset Mr. Chesbrough insisted 
on constructing sewers to discharge by gravity; 
this necessitated raising all streets from one to 
three feet above the natural surface of the ground, 
in order to have sufficient cover over the top of SYI.VESTKK I.IMI. 

the sewers to protect them from frosts and traffic. 

At the end of 1856 there were in operation six miles of sewers; at 
the end of 1890 there were seven hundred and eighty-five miles. 

This shows that on even the south side, with its ready access to 
river and lake, the ground had to be raised from one to three feet 1 
merely to give the requisite cover to the sewers. So it seems like the 
constructing of a network of sewers on the surface, and then filling up 
streets and house-lots to a point high enough to use those sewers by 
draining into them ! No wonder the house-owner stood aghast and 
even strove to prevent the carrying out of such a ruinous " improve- 
ment!" Take a great brick hotel like the Tremont House ; how was 
it to live when the street which had been level with its front door 
was raised half way up to its second story windows ? 




Law of street 
grades 6xed. 

Raising of old 
brick buildings. 

One of Judge Caton's numerous reminiscences of occurrences on 
the bench refers to the changes of street grade in their relation to pri- 
vate rights. Lake Street was ordered to be raised, and the Couches, 
owners of the Tremont House, prayed an injunction to stay the work; 
which had already been begun. The crisis was so important that the 
judge was induced to hold a special term of circuit court (which, as a 
a Justice of the Supreme Court, he could do at his own discretion) to 
hear the cause. 

Court opened, and Beckwith, for the claimants, and Arnold, for the 
city (evidently expecting several days of wordy war), came into the 
room, each armed with a formidable pile of law books. Scarcely had 
they got under way when the judge, instead of listening to their 
speeches, began to ask questions regarding the facts of the case and 

the points of law relied upon. Then 
he asked that the papers in the 
case be handed him, and without 
consulting any authorities ad- 
journed court and retired to his 
room in the Tremont House, the 
very property concerning which the 
suit was brought, and overlooking 
the street-filling which was objected 

Before he slept he had com- 
pleted his examination and written 
his opinion. Next morning he 
walked over to the clerk's office, 
found it locked, tossed the whole mass of documents in through the 
transom over the door, and went back to the hotel; on his way telling 
the contractor he could set his men at work, he had decided the case. 
Before the court hour arrived he had started out of town. 

His opinion was in favor of sustaining the power of the city 
over the street grades, and that has been the law from that day to 
this. The case was not even appealed. 

With the trouble came (once more !) the remedy. A contractor 
was found willing to raise the whole great, high building (the Tre- 
mont House) to its new grade, without even interrupting its business 
The cellar was vacated, huge timbers were introduced and placed so 
as to take upon themselves the weight of the sustaining walls, 5,000 
jack-screws were placed under the timbers and a small army of men 
detailed to work by word of command, one man to four screws. Then, 
at a signal given by the whistle of the foreman, each man gave each 



jack-screw one half-turn ; and the whole structure, by imperceptible 
steps, rose in the air, the bricklayers building up the walls as fast as 
there came spare space wherein to lay a course of brick. It was said 
the guests did not know they were mounting toward the sky. How- 
ever that may be, not a wall was cracked, not the slightest accident or 
untoward event took place to interfere with the entire and perfect 
success of the novel experiment. 

Soon after, the entire brick block of stores facing south on Lake 
street, and reaching from Clark to LaSalle street, was similarly treated, 
and these were only specimen instances of a great undertaking; the 
lifting of a whole city out of the Slough of Despond on to dry ground. 
The extent of that particular raising was from six to eight feet. Others 
have occurred at especial times and places, so that many parts of the 
city now tower fourteen feet above original levels. Men's feet are 
above the place where passed the heads of their predecessors. 

This enterprise benefited Chicago indirectly, thus : A young 
man, born in central New York in 1831, grown up without wealth 
and educated without help, having a widowed mother dependent on 
him for support, had bravely undertaken a large contract for the rais- 
ing of buildings along the Erie Canal to the new plane made neces- First work of 
sary by the canal enlargement then recently affected. The knowl- 
edge of the great task to be done in Chicago in the direct line of 
his experience brought him out to the West, and he became the lead- 
ing house-raiser in Chicago. The man was George M. Pullman. 

After making much reputation and a little money in his original 
business, he turned his attention to the greater job of improving the 
system of long-distance travel, and began, in a small way, the enter- 
prise which has revolutionized the passenger-carrying of the country, 
and, to some extent, of the whole world. 

It was in 1859 that he made a contract with Governor Matteson, 
of the Chicago & Alton railroad, to fit up two old passenger cars on 
that road as sleeping-coaches. This was the first step ; the next was in 
1863 when he hired from the same Company the use of an old repairing 
shed, secured skilled workmen and built the first " Palace car," a com- 
bined day and sleeping coach. (Previous sleeping cars had been mere 
bunking coaches, used only for the night.) The car took a year in 
completion and cost $18,000. Like our friend the old-new locomotive, 
it was christened the "Pioneer" and like that is still in existence, being 
preserved for the sake of the vista of enterprise which opened with its 

The next great step was the formation of a running arrangement 
with the Michigan Central Railroad for the use of Pullman's cars on 



The Sleeping 
Car system. 

that line for a term of years. The fact was soon apparent that any 
road using those cars took the cream of patronage away from any 
rival road not doing so, and from that day to this the course of the 
sleeping coach and its originator has been onward and upward, until 
to-day (1891) the Pullman Palace Car Company controls more than 
2,000 cars running on 14,000 miles of rails, while all rivals and imitators 
combined have perhaps as many more in their fields of operations. 

In 1880 Mr. Pullman devised and built the model town of Pullman 
(now within the corporate limits of Chicago), which will be treated 
herein, when reached in due chronological order. 

The early fifties were cholera years. The deaths by this strange 
epidemic were as follows: In 1851, 216 out of 669 total deaths; in 1852, 
630 out of 1652 ; 1853, 113 out of 1205 ; 1854, 1424 out of 3834; in 1855, 



The Cholera; 
1857 to 1855. 

147 out of 1983. A few items from the record of 1850 may recall to our 
minds the aspect of that half-forgotten terror. Captain Andreas quotes 
from "an old settler who was participator in the horrors whereof he 
wrote and had a narrow escape from death himself": 

One Sunday morning in May, or perhaps June, on my way to church, I was crossing Rush Street 
ferry when I overheard a fellow-passenger telling another that Captain Jackson had died of cholera 
As the ferry landing was within a few rods of the Jackson dwelling, being one of the houses within 
the fort, I hastened thither. I found William Jones alone with the corpse. The face was a shade 
darker than usual and around the mouth were the dark purple spots which I soon learned to be the 
unmistakable deathmarks of that dreaded disease. Mr. Jackson had been attacked the previous 
afternoon while engaged in his usual employment of driving piles along the river; he hastened home 
and died within a few hours. 

I think the death of Mr. Bentley, the father of Cyrus Bentley, soon followed that of Deacon 
Jackson. L. M. Boyce, a prominent druggist, died in his house alone, his family having just left for 
the country. The Rev. W. H. Rice, pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist church . . . was intend- 
ing to preach and was hastening for that purpose. I assisted him into the house of Mr. Pillsbury on 
Dearborn street, a few doors south of where the Tribune building now stands. Dr. D. S. Smith 
attended him. . . . He continued thus through the day when he again began to fail and soon 
died. When Mr. Price was attacked the weather was very warm and so continued till there came 



one of our Lake Michigan chilling breezes. It was to this that I attributed his relapse, for I had 
noticed that deaths were more numerous after these sudden changes from hot to cool. . . 

That summer I boarded with Mr. T. C. James. One day when I went in to dinner, Mrs. 
James asked me to go into another room and look at one of her daughters, a girl of fourteen, who 
had just begun to complain and had lain down. I saw at a glance it was cholera. She died in about 
seven hours. Another daughter was taken while returning from the funeral'and died before morning. 

Judge Caton was holding court in Ottawa on a certain afternoon. 
James H. Collins, his intimate friend and former partner, argued a case 
up to adjournment of court ; apparently in good health and spirits. He 
went to his room at the Fox River house and Judge C. went to his own 
home. About day-break some one came to the judge's door and called 
him, saying that Mr. Collins had died of cholera. Judge Caton went 
at once to the hotel where he found the report to be true ; thence he 
went to the telegraph office (he 
was an officer of the company, car- 
ried an office-key and was himself a 
pretty good operator), and as he 
entered he heard Chicago calling 
Ottawa, the message being ad- 
dressed to Mr. Collins, telling him 
that a servant had just died of 
cholera at his house. The judge 
took the message, replied, in tele- 
graphic custom, " O. K. ;" and 
wired back to the sender the news 
that Mr. Collins was dead. 

Hospitals were established and 
quarantine to isolate the sick on 
arrival. In June, 1854, an incom- 
ing train arrived, carrying Norwe- CHARLES v. DYER. 
gian emigrants, among whom the disease was raging. Six were dead 
on the train, and a seventh died a few minutes after being taken out. 

Dr. Dyer used to tell this story at the expense of his profession: 

" Deeming it requisite to establish a quarantine to prevent the 
introduction of the disease, we organized an amateur board of health, 
and hired a warehouse to be used as a hospital. Hearing that a steam- 
boat was coming into port with eighteen cases of cholera on board, we 
went out to the vessel and removed the patients to the improvised hos- 
pital. On viewing the sick, nine were decided to be beyond medical 
aid, and the remaining moiety were decreed to be favorable subjects for 
pathological skill; but, unfortunately, the nine upon whom we lavished 
all the resources of science died, and those who were esteemed to be 
about in articulo mortis all got well." 

Incidents of the 

Dr. Dyer's good 



Tie Lake Street 
Fire of 1857. 

The first Steam 
Fire Rngine. 

The fire department, in its volunteer stage, nas been already spoken 
of. In 1850 "fire limits" were established, and no wooden buildings 
were allowed to be built between Randolph street, the main river, 
Wabash avenue and the South Branch. Up to 1855 fire alarms were 
struck by the bell of the First Baptist church, Washington and LaSalle 
streets, but in February of that year the large bell was hung in the 
steeple of the Court House, a watch was set there, and whenever the 
watchman detected a fire the bell was rung; and by day flags, and by 
night, lanterns, were hung out to show in which direction citizens were 
to look for the danger. 

In 1857 a dreadful calamity occurred; the memorable "Lake street 
fire," wherein the loss of property was only some half million dollars' 

worth, but there were twen- 
ty-three lives sacrificed, 
many of the dead being lead- 

J o 

ing citizens. Water was 
scarce and the flames raged 
long and fiercely, but as 
morning approached they 
were getting somewhat un- 
der control, when suddenly 
the walls and upper floors 
of Barnum Brothers' dry 
goods store on Lake street 


fell, burying more than a 
score of men who were en- 
gaged in removing goods 
from the lower floor. Among 
the well-known citizens crushed to death were: Ezra H. Barnum, E. R. 
Clark, John High and Alfred H. P. Corning.* 

The fire department on this occasion showed its inefficiency, dis- 
organization and incapacity to deal with any serious fire. Two engines, 
(No. 6 and 10) were out of order and did not work, having been injured 
while competing for a silver trumpet. Hundreds of feet of hose had 
been burst on the same festive occasion. A movement for a paid fire 
department was instituted, supported by the best of the firemen and 
opposed by the worst. The better counsels prevailed though not with- 
out danger of serious rioting. The first steam fire-engine, the " Long 
John," was bought, tested at the foot of La Salle street and approved 
a death-blow to the volunteer system. Engine Companies No. 4, 10 
and 14, Hose companies Nos. 3 and 5 and Hook and Ladder No. 3 

* The writer was at work at the fire, heard the crash, and saw some of the blackened and distorted corpses 
brought out next day. 



met on Clark street, traversed the principal streets and marched into 
Court House Square, to show defiance of law and order. The mayor 
(Wentworth) was equal to the occasion. He dispatched a force of 200 RKHOUS 
policemen with orders to arrest the demonstrators for riot and disor- 
derly conduct. A few arrests were made and the rest of the rioters fled, 
leaving their apparatus to the police, who took the machines to the 
armory and locked them up, arrangements being made with special 
policemen to man them in 
case of fire. On August, 2, 
1858, the paid fire depart- 
ment was established. 

Concerning our highly- 
prized, praised and perse- 
cuted river, Mr. Cregier's 
report is full of interest. 
In July, 1856, the first 
clearance from Chicago di- 
rect from England was 
made, the vessel being the 
"Dean Richmond." Her 
trip was probably not profit- 
able ; she got no return 
freight and was sold abroad. 
In 1857 the "Madeira Pet" 
left Liverpool April 24th 
and arrived July i4th in 
Chicago. The long and ex- 
pensive voyage via ocean, 
St. Lawrence river, Welland 
canal and the lakes made a 
loss of time, wages, insur- 
ance and interest, which 
more than counterbalanced 
the gain by relief from cost of trans-shipments. 

The original plan concerning river-banks was to arrange them in 
levees, sloped and paved like those on the great rivers. Therefore, 
"water lots" were not sold. The river-side streets extended to the 
stream itself. But this system, excellent for the light draft Missis- Fate o<the 
sippi boats, was not good for the deep-hulled lake craft ; their keels 
would be on the bottom long before their bulwarks were within 
reach of the bank. Thereupon some enterprising citizens, holding 
lots fronting on the streets whereof the opposite sides were river- 


river hanks. 


banks, caused an act to be passed by the legislature allowing the owners 
of such lots to take up, at nominal prices, the " river lots " opposite 
their respective holdings, which they immediately turned into building- 
spots ; a shallow store being placed on each with its face toward the 
street and its back upon the river, with only a five-foot strip of wharf 
between. This is the explanation of the unsightly condition of the 
river-banks a succession of back-walls instead of the open streets con- 
templated by the original plan. 

A great deal of litigation ensued, but it is hard to annul an act of 
the legislature. The intruders held on, and, as to the law-suits, time 



and Har 

has mad away with their memory and the great fire with their records. 

There were, up to 1857, only six miles of dockage built along the 
river-banks, including the basins. The length of dock at the present 
writing (1891) is not given by the report, but it is stated by Mr. Cregier 
verbally that, including the annexed towns, the running frontage of both 
sides is forty-one miles, spanned by fifty-eight bridges and two tunnels. 

An interesting letter, dated June 21, 1880, written by G. J. Lydecker, 
Major of Engineers, U. S. A., to Rufus Blanchard ( " Discovery of the 
Northwest and History of Chicago," p. 540), gives the Government ex- 
penditures up to that time as $1,108,005, to which must be added $105,- 
ooo appropriated in 1880 and laid out in the completion of the works 
then under way. It would seem that the municipal expenditures on 
rivers and harbor, excluding sums spent for deepening the Illinois and 


Michigan canal, and for building the tunnels and bridges, would be not 
very far from equal to this amount. 

An interesting circumstance connected with Chicago's lake and 
river is the occasional advent of a " tidal wave," often several feet in 
height, coming suddenly and departing in the same unceremonious fash- 
ion. No satisfactory explanation of these phenomena has been offered; 
nor of the slower and more majestic variations of lake levels. The 
report so often quoted contains a very beautiful diagram or chart of 
curves, showing, by colored lines, the variations in successive years of 
the following historical items : Population, harbor expenditures, com- 



merce by tonnage, canal tolls, and lake levels. The last named line 
starts with the lowest level of the lake in 1855 (called "datum"), and 
shows a gradual rise of the high-water mark up to four and three-quar- 
ters feet in 1858, agradual fall to one and four-fifths feet in 1872, a grad- 
ual rise to four and two-fifths feet in 1876, a gradual fall to two and 
one-half feet in 1879, agradual rise to four and two-fifths feet in 1886 
and a gradual fall to two and one-fifth feet in 1890. Low-water mark 
in each year was pretty regularly about three and a half feet below the 
high-water mark of the same year, except in 1 88 1, when it got away 
down to two feet below "datum;" in other words, six and three quarters 
feet below highest water recorded, and six and two-fifths feet below 


high water of 1876 and of 1886. 



Referring to tidal waves, an interesting one of these phenomena 
was observed by Judge Caton in 1838. His office was then in the 
irregular " triangle" formed by Water, Market and Lake Streets. As 
he was approaching the office and facing the river, he observed an 
overflowing of the water, which flooded the street and checked his 
progress. He halted until it receded, as suddenly as it had come ; then, 
going on to where the wave had formed and left a pool in a slight 
depression, he found imprisoned in the little pond a large fish, three 
or four pounds in weight. He picked it up, floundering as it was, 
took it home, and it was served for the family dinner. 

The history of the Chicago river as a river is easy to write; as 
water, it is more puzzling. In fact, in some times and places it has 



been scarcely recognizable as water.* About the middle of the thirties, 
Charles Cleaver speared a fine muskallonge in the North Branch. 
Since those, its halcyon days, the long-suffering stream has over and 
over gone from bad to worse, until the worse became intolerable, when 
some costly expedient has been adopted looking to a " permanent " cure. 
Before incorporation a township ordinance was passed, threatening 
with fine any one who should put into the stream the carcass of any 
dead animal. In 1848, the starting of the canal pumps to lift water 
into the "shallow cut" was a prompt and welcome relief. In 1871 this 
was supplemented by the completion of the " deep cut," at huge 

* An old fable tells how a philosopher, to illustrate the evanescence of earthly things, said to one of his disciples, 
"Wouldst thou know how long thou wilt be remembered when thou art dead ? Then thrust thy hand into the river and 
mark how long the shape of it will endure in the water after thou hast withdrawn it." To which some Chicago man 
added that if it was the Chicago River, he guessed it would last about an hour and a half. 



expense, and again the relief was welcome, but it helped only the south 
branch and main river, the north branch having no source of supply to 
drive its polluted mass toward the canal-gate. To remedy this, half a 
million was spent in engines and a subterranean channel from the lake 
to the river, along the line of Fullerton avenue. At this present writ- 
ing (1891) we are brought face to face with a mammoth undertaking 
nothing less than the outlay of a score of millions, to send a whole 
river of Lake Michigan water (600,000 cubic feet a minute) down to 
the Illinois; whereby the city sewage shall not only be carried off, 
but shall be so diluted as to be " oxydized," and therefore inoffensive to 
the dwellers on the borders of the stream below. 

This seems surely ample and final, and a permanent solution of the 
fearful problem. The whole civic life of Chicago has been a succession 
of strenuous throes, whereby she has kept barely ahead of her absolute 
needs. Her citizens do not drag her car along ; they have all they can 
do to keep from being overtaken and crushed by its irresistible prog- 
ress. She is a Juggernaut to the laggard. 



Banking and 
Currency sys- 
tem a failure. 


HILE glorying in and gloating over the 
phenomenal gifts nature had heaped upon 
her favorite garden-spot of ground, as 
depicted in the last previous chapter, an old 
Chicagoan, looking back in " the fifties," 
will be conscious of an uneasy sense that 
all was not quite so rosy as, to a superficial 
view, it appeared. He knows that at that 
very moment there was a hidden weakness 
in the foundation of things ; that the edi- 
fice was based on a shaking quagmire, 
and would take something more efficient 
than jack-screws to lift it up to solid 

It is impossible to overestimate the adequacy of the natural advan- 
tages for business, or the inadequacy of some of the artificial expedients 
by which it was being carried on. 

Among others, the system of banking and currency was bad to the 
point of absurdity. The banks started in the following order (i An- 
dreas, 534): 

1836. Chicago branch of the State Bank of Illinois, corner La Salle and South Water Streets, 
removed to Lockport in 1840; agency remained in Chicago till bank closed in 1843. 

1837. Strachan & Scott, remained in business until 1840; sold out private banking business to 
Murray & Brand. George Smith succeeded them as agents of the Wisconsin Fire and Marine 
Insurance Co. The Chicago Fire and Marine Insurance Co. did a full banking business, except 
issuing bills. Its charter was amended in 1849, and it was the predecessor of the Marine Co. of 

1840. George Smith & Co. , La Salle Street bankers, continued in business in Chicago until 
1856-57, at which time the business of the house was closed up. Mr. Smith, after an honorable and 
successful career of twenty years as a Western banker, retired with a very large fortune and returned 
to Scotland. 

1844. Murray & Brand, exchange brokers, corner of Lake and Clark Streets; Newberry (Wal- 
ter L.) & Burch (I. H.), bankers, 97 Lake Street; Griffin & Vincent, brokers, Dearborn and State 
Streets; George Smith & Co., private bankers and exchange brokers, Bank Building, La Salle Street' 
Elijah Swift, broker, 102 Lake Street; R. K. Swift, broker, 102 Lake Street; H. W. Wells, agent of 
Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank, 112 Lake Street. 

The directory for 1849-50 has the following: 

Money lenders. G. P. Baker, 193 Lake Street; J. S. Dole, 181 Lake Street; Thomas Parker, 40 
Clark Street; R. K. Swift, in Lake Street. Banks, bankers and dealers in exchange: Alexander 
Brand & Co., 127 Lake Street; I. H. Burch, 125 Lake Street; Chicago Savings Bank, 125 Lake 
Street; Chicago Bank, 125 Lake Street; Curtis & Tinkham, 40 Clark Street; D. C. Eddy, 97 Lake 
Street; George Smith & Co., 41 and 43 Clark Street. 

This showing, on the face of it, does not indicate anything essen- 




tially rotten. The banks named were " private banks " and dependent on 
private capital and individual character, credit, means and responsibility ; 
and their whole history shows the truth of what was said by the apolo- 
gists of the system at the time: "Illegal banking honestly conducted 
is better than legal banking dishonestly conducted." 

The following extract from the "Democrat" of September 19, 
1849, shows or at least outlines the chaos of money-matters as late 
as forty years ago; the first schedule being the "current funds ;" i. e. 
worth 99 cents on the dollar: 

New England banks in good credit, New York State banks in good credit, New Jersey and 
Maryland banks in good credit; Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky banks in good credit; Michigan, Vir- 
ginia and Missouri banks in good credit; Wiscon- 
sin Marine and Fire Insurance Company [George 
Smith and Strachan & Scott] and Pennsylvania 
banks not over one per cent, discount in New 

Uncurrenf. Canada, three per cent, dis- 
count; Pennsylvania, par to three per cent, dis- 
count; Tennessee not taken; State Bank of 
Illinois, fifty per cent, discount; State Bank of 
Shawneetown, seventy five per cent, discount. 

Scrip: Chicago city orders, par to five per 
cent, discount; Cook County orders, thirty to 
thirty-five per cent, discount; Auditor's warrants, 
ten to fifteen per cent, discount. 

New York exchange was sold 
for $10 premium per $ 1,000 for 
coin, $15 per $ 1,000 for currency; 
while in 1891 its average is not far 
from par, and it is almost never at 
so much as $i per $ 1,000; either 
of premium or discount. 

To those who lived and did bus- 
iness through those strange days, it 
would seem like the millennium to fancy many of the blessings now 
enjoyed by all, especially those o'f a solid and stable currency, one "dol- 
lar" as good as another over all the broad land! Then a study of 
" Thompson's bank-note reporter," giving standing, credit, value, and 
counterfeits on perhaps 1,000 banks in all the States of the Union, was 
an indispensable part of the daily life of every business man. 

As an illustration of the chaos of currency, Captain Andreas 
quotes the list of bank-bills received and turned in by Oscar Caldwell, a 
conductor on the C. B. & Q. Railroad, as taken by him on a single trip. 
The whole amount was $203, and the hotch-potch was as follows: 
Twenty-seven bills on five Georgia banks ; two bills on one Michigan 
bank ; seven bills on five Illinois banks; three bills on three banks in 

Chaos of Bank 


One day's col- 
lections on tha 
C., B. & Q. 


New York ; three bills on three banks in Wisconsin ; one bill on a bank 
in Ohio ; one on a bank in Connecticut ; one on a bank in Maine ; one 
on a bank in Indiana; one on a bank in Tennessee ; one on a bank in 
Virginia and one on a bank in Iowa. What a memory such a con- 
ductor must have needed ! If he took a "bad bill" it was his own 

The " Democrat " was bitterly hostile to all this business of issuing 

Thehard- " money " and is quoted by Captain Andreas as saying: "We under- 

Democrat." stand that before long we shall be blessed (?) with more home-made 

money. Glorious times, by and by, if paper money will make them." 

And the gold-and-silver organ did not have to wait long for its "glorious 


Up to 1837 there had been a revulsion in business affairs about 
every ten years fora long time ; 1817, 1827 and 1837 being the years of 
"liquidation." It is probable that somewhere about 1847 there would 
have been another of these periodical spasms, if it had not been for the 
intervention of the California bonanza, with its huge inflation of the 
world's supply of solid currency. But the settling day was only delayed, 
not abolished. Whether because of our stimulating climate, our quick- 
ening pulse as the liveliest blood of many races meets and mingles, or 
of some other disturbing element or circumstance, we seem doomed to 
overdo, from time to time, our buying, selling, building, borrowing, 
lending, etc.; and to be forced to a halt and a painful accounting. 

The crops of 1854 were almost a failure. Wall street was shaken 
to its foundation by the exposure of the " Schuyler fraud " the over- 
issue by Robert Schuyler of $2,000,000 of New York and New Haven 
convulsions. Railroad stock. The political horizon was clouding up in anticipation of 
the thunderstorm of 1861, and foreign capitalists were prone to dis- 
believe in the future solvency and cohesion of our States as a Nation. 

Rome was not built in a day, neither did it fall in a day; there were 
years of fighting against the inevitable. Who shall tell of the desper- 
ate struggles of business men through 1855, 1856 and the early part of 
1857 to preserve at least an appearance of solvency? It was just 
twenty years after the cataclysm of 1837 that the financial ground again 
took to shaking under men's feet. On June 18,1857 the "Tribune" 
announced the protest of Chicago city orders for non-payment. On 
July 3d, the private banking-house of E. R. Hinckley & Co. closed. 
On August 3d there was a run on Hoffman's bank, which it withstood 
successfully. On September 2gth the great banking house of R. K. 

* The witty John B. Calhoun. local treasurer on the Illinois Central Railroad, once said to the writer: " Curious 
isn't it. that whenever we throw out a bill turned in by a conductor and he takes it back he 'most always finds the man 
that gave it to him ! " This was a sarcasm, the hidden meaning being that the conductor simply passed off the worthless 
token on some fresh victim. 



Swift, Brother & Co. failed. On November i6th the great house of 
Walker, Bronson & Co., dealers in grain and provisions, suspended ; 
after which everything seemed to go to ruin. An occurrence outside 
Chicago which was typical of the state of things, was the failure on 
August 4, 1857, of the Ohio Life & Trust Company of Cincinnati, 
for $7,000,000. In the vast upheaval there occurred, in the United 
States and Canada, 5,123 bankruptcies, with liabilities amounting to 
$299,800,000; a sum equivalent to $1,000,000,000 in these later and 
larger times. 

Meanwhile, namely on October gth (direful date for catastrophes, 
being the same as that of the great Chicago fire of 1871), every bank in 



New York, except the Chemical, suspended payment, and most of those 
throughout the country followed suit, though, as we have seen, some in 
Chicago stood firm. On that day, however, the Illinois Central railroad 
was driven to the wall. The company, especially while operating discon- 
nected bits of road, had not paid running expenses, and even its great Tribulation of 
land sales had furnished little ready cash, being made chiefly on credit ; central. 
and being, besides, of mortgaged lands, they yielded most ot their receipts 
toward the redemption of bonds, not toward the payment of interest or 
expenses. The Michigan Southern railroad was also forced to an 
assignment. The Alton road had previously been in difficulties from 
which it was still suffering. It is not now quite certain what other rail- 
roads were practically bankrupt in 1857, but it is safe to say that tem- 



porary insolvency was the rule ; regular payment of all demands when 
due, the rare exception. 

As ill-luck would have it, 1858 was another poor-crop year. The 
enforced liquidation, return to safe bounds after perilous, disastrous 
inflation, would have been hard enough even if nature had been especi- 
ally bountiful instead of exceptionally niggardly. As it was, the feel- 
Hard times ing once more prevailed, that "hard times " was the natural state of 
come again. human a ff a j rs . an( j ^^ any ot h e r condition was only a delusion, fleet- 
ing and foolish. Once more we had come to look upon our currency as 
mere token-money; perhaps available to pay debts with, but having no 
special relation to the coin which it professed to represent. It was 
(as had been the trash of 1837) called by a contemptuous nickname, 
only this time instead of "wild-cat," "red-dog" or "shinplaster," it was 
characterized as " stump-tail," in allusion to the diseased and mori- 
bund milch-kine fed upon distillery 
slops in low, pesti.'ential city milk 

By a curious anomaly in finance, 
badness in the circulating medium 
serves a certain purpose in expe- 
diting and facilitating liquidation 
in times of business disaster. Dis- 
trust in the currency prompts the 
holder to thrust it upon his creditor, 
if he have one. It often happens 
that instead of a debtor's flying 
from him to whom he is indebted, 
he is seen pursuing him to force a 
settlement Thus the questionable "money" gets chiefly into the 
hands of the "creditor class," which class is, on the whole, better able 
to stand its depreciation than is any other. 

The natural law (announced by Gresham in the time of Henry 
VIII.), that where two kinds of money are available the one having 
least intrinsic value drives out the better one, had operated on the masses 
"*" unknowing of its existence. (As has been wittily said, "Nature plays 
fair, but puts in force against you all the rules of the game, whether 
you know them or not.") Bills of banks at a distance kept flying about 
from hand to hand; but those of sound Chicago banks were no sooner 
issued than they were presented at the counters of their respective insti- 
tutions for redemption in coin or in Eastern or foreign Exchange. 
This gave rise to the natural expedient of locating banks at inaccessi- 
ble points. 




The Illinois banking law of 1851, prescribed that no Illinois bank 
should issue its notes without having first deposited with the auditor at 
Springfield, the State bonds of Illinois or some other solvent State, in 
amount equal to that of the bills proposed to be issued. Then, and 
not till then could it present its bills to be countersigned by the auditor; 
and the issuance of bills not so countersigned was an offense to be 
heavily punished. Several good Chicago banks began business on this 
basis; but their bills came back upon them nearly as fast as they were IllinoisBanking 
put forth. Then Chicago men, desiring to earn the profit naturally a d . Currency 
attendant upon a currency bearing no interest, yet loanable on interest, 
located many banks at out-of-the-way places, small towns far from any 
railroad or river. Now, the bills being scattered in many hands, it was 
rare that enough were accumulated at one time and place to make it 
worth any one's while to send them home for redemption in any incon- 
venient amounts This made, for some years, a comparatively safe and 
respectable circulating medium.* 

But, as there was a currency afloat intrinsically poorer, Gresham's 
law came in and the Illinois banks were slowly driven to the wall. 
Georgia was perhaps the furthest off and least accessible of the "money 
factories," therefore we observe in Conductor Caldwell's hotch-potch, 27 
Georgia bills, and only two from all New England: To their honor be it 
said, most of the Illinois banks, compelled to wind upat this time, finally 
redeemed their bills at par, or near it, though forced to sell the bonds, 
(especially those of the Southern States) at such discounts as used up 
all the profits which had been so easily and as it seemed so safely- 
made when they were organized. Men can be named, now poor, who 
were rich in the days when they were running these banks at full swing 
and who impoverished themselves to redeem the bills when the bonds 
deposited for their security became, through depreciation, insufficient for 
the purpose. 

Luckily and Chicago has always had a good deal of this kind of 
luck the principal "Georgia banks " owned in Chicago were run by a 
man who always paid dollar for dollar George Smith. Therefore even G , r d K ' h f mitl1 
the despised Georgia currency, so far as he controlled it, was also finally Banks!" 
redeemed in full. 

It is not to be understood that banks did not fail. They did, in num- 
bers, and in their failure dragged down business men by the hundred; 

* Absurd as it may seem, this system made it possible for a shrewd man of good character and credit, to start a 
bank when he had only enough money to pay for engraving the bills! Thus: From a rich friend he borrows, say, 
$10,000 worth of Missouri 6 per cent. State Bonds. These he deposits with the State Auditor and receives $10,000 worth 
of legitimate bank bills. These he may use to square accounts with his rich friend ; or, slill better, he may, with his 
$10,000 in bills, buy another like sum in bonds whereon to base another like issue in bills. And so on, he may turn his 
fund over and over until he has say, $100,000 of bonds in the State's custody drawing interest, while he has outstanding 
$100,000 in currency bearing no interest. (Of course when he chooses to stop buying bonds he pays his last $10,000 of 
bills over to the friend who lent him the first bonds.) 



Chicago on the 
Slavery Ques- 

but in their failure the sufferers were their depositors, not the bill-hold- 
ers. The system was like (though inferior to) the present " National 
Bank" system ; in which banks may and do fail, yet the bonds (all 
National bonds) placed in the U. S. Treasury by such banks, remain 
there and are infallibly enough, and more than enough, to protect the 
bank-notes issued by the bank and used by the public. 

On the whole, the position in Chicago from 1857 to the breaking 
out of the war in 1861 was " on the ragged edge." It was a time of 

retrenchment, contraction, liquida- 
tion. In the autumn of 1860, there 
was $12,000,000 of Illinois cur- 
rency afloat, secured* by $14,000,- 
ooo of State bonds, of which $9,- 
500,000 were of the Slave States ! 
Beside this mass, there was the 
" Georgia currency," of unknown 
volume ; and as to gold and silver, 
scarcely enough to keep the com- 
mon people in mind of what it 
looked like ! Small change had 
become so scarce that extraordi- 
nary expedients were resorted to 
to accommodate the people. The 
State law prohibited the issuance 
of bills for a less denomination 
than $i, but it did not in terms 
specify that all bills must be in 
multiples of $i ; therefore bills 
\vrrr issued for $1.25 and $1.50, 
FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. "Anything for change!" was the cry. 

The financial disturbance came in company with a political crisis 
which, compared to it, was as a cyclone to a zephyr. 

Never, after Douglas' rebuff at North Market hall in 1854, was 
there any doubt as to Chicago's position on the slavery question. The 
" Free Kansas" movement had her indorsement and support. Captain 
Andreas quotes at length from the "Tribune" of June 2, i856,an account of 
a meeting, evidently composed of members of both the old parties, at 
which men and money were pledged to oppose the " Border Ruffians:" 

Illinois alive and awake! Ten thousand freemen in council! Two thousand Old Hunkers 
[Democrats] on hand! Fifteen thousand dollars subscribed for Kansas! 

The resolutions were as follows : 

That the people of Illinois will aid in the freedom of Kansas. That they will send a colony 
of five hundred actual settlers to Kansas and will provision them for one year. That these settlers 


will invade no man's rights, but will maintain their own. . . . That an Executive Com- 
mittee of seven, namely, J. C. Vaughan, Mark Skinner, George W. Dole, I. N. Arnold, N. B. Judd 
and E. I. Tinkham be appointed with full powers to carry into effect these resolutions. That Tuthill 
King, R. M. Hough, C. B. Waite, J. H. Dunham, Dr. Gibbs, J. T. Ryerson and W. H. tgan be a 
finance committee to raise and distribute material aid. 


About half-past twelve, Sunday having come, the meeting unwillingly adjourned and the crowd 
reluctantly went home. At a later hour the Star-Spangled Banner and the Marseillaise, sung by 
bands of men whose hearts were full of the spirit of those magnificent hymns, were the only evi- 
dences of the event that we have endeavored to describe. 

It is a bright and enlivening picture that hilarious and shouting FreeKansf , 
meeting of freedom-lovers, and the groups straggling homeward "5"" 
through the "wee sma' hours," singing the freedom-breathing songs in . 

voices and volume which might reach almost from one end to the other 
of the little city. Well for them that they did not see all the conse- 
quences that were to flow from the movement so blithely undertaken! 

In the next year occurred a most significant event the election of 
the "Old Hunker "-editor of the "Chicago Democrat," John Went- 
worth, to the mayorality on the Republican ticket ! 

No fugitive slave was ever taken back to slavery from Chicago. 
The efforts made in that direction were futile ; Chicago recognized some 
riehts as inherent in a negro, and took care that the white man should 

Injustice to 

admit them, whether the constitution did or not. Most Chicagoans J ud e e Tan y- 
doubtless think to this day that Justice Taney said that a negro had no 
rights which a white man was bound to respect ; whereas, wjiat he did 
say was quite different almost the opposite. He said (1857) that in 
this day it was difficult to conceive of the state of public sentiment 
regarding the negro, which prevailed for centuries before the constitu- 
tion was adopted. He said : " They had been regarded as beings of an 
inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, 
either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had 
no rights which the white man was bound to respect." 

Events were crowding on thick and fast. In 1857 took place the 
celebrated series of " Joint Debates" between Lincoln and Douglas, in 


the effort to overthrow the Democratic majority in the Illinois Legisla- llsi: 
ture, and elect Lincoln senator in place of Douglas. The debate did 
not elect Lincoln to the senatorship, but it did more it educated the 
people to elect him to the Presidency, three years later. In 1858 
occurred Join Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, his death and burial ; 
since which "his soul goes marching on," with a goodly host of fellow- 
martys to the cause of freedom. 

Douglas stuck to his party until its southern wing became involved 
in the movement for disunion. He saw the peril the Union was in, 
and tried to avert it by concession and compromise. (Perhaps if others 


Doujrlas 1 strong 



had had as clear vision as he to see the approaching reign of blood and 
horror, they, too, would have taken the course which seemed to him the 
safe one.) But from the firing of the memorable " first gun " on Fort 
Sumter, the " Little Giant," true to his life-long devotion to the cause of 
the union of the States, gave every thought of his heart, and every effort 

of his great strength, to oppose those 
who attacked it, although they were 
men whom he had counted as friends. 
Secessionist!!, whether Northern or 
Southern, was always fought by Mr. 
Douglas, from the beginning to the 
end. No better statement of his last 
public acts can be made than that 
given by Capt. Andreas (2 Hist. 
Chic. 305): 

In 1858, speaking from his place on the floor 
of the Senate, Douglas denounced in scathing terms 
the Harper's Ferry insurrection, and charged the 
Republican party with having abetted, if not insti- 
gated it. This was his last public utterance of 
sympathy with his old pro-slavery allies. When 
the cloud of secession appeared on the political 
horizon, Senator Douglas was one of (he first to see 
and prepare to avert the coming storm. 
From the moment when boomed the first gun which 
consummated South Carolina's treason, to the hour 
of his premature death, he gave to the Federal gov- 
ernment all that he had of time, of strength, and of 

His support of the administration was hearty 
and sincere, and Abraham Lincoln soon learned to 
trust as a friend and counsellor the man whom he 
had long since learned to respect as a foe. . . . 
On May i, 1861, he returned from Washington to 
Chicago. . . . All parties united in making his 
return the occasion of an ovation. . . . A salute 
of thirty-four guns was fired as he was escorted to the 
old Wigwam, which had been rechristened National 
Hall, where he addressed an audience of 10,000 on 
the issues of the day. This was his last public ad- 
dress. The malady from which he had long been 
suffering, acute rheumatism, assumed a typhoid 
type. On the morning of June 5, 1861, the spirit 
of Stephen A. Douglas took its flight. 

Judge Douglas lies under the monument erected to his memory, by 
the State of Illinois, on the Lake shore at Cottage Grove (35th Street). 

Clouds do not impede crops ; in fact, the alternation of storm and 
sunshine is the condition of healthy, natural growth ; and this condition 
surely has always prevailed in Chicago. Under the cloud she has 
strengthened and under the sunshine she has blossomed. So during 



the dark days that closed the fifties she went on laying stone on stone 
and enterprise on enterprise. Street railroads began then. The city 
council in 1856 granted to Roswell B. Mason and Charles B. Phillips 
the right to lay tracks on State Street from Randolph south to the 
southern city limits (then 22d Street) and on Dearborn and Franklin 
Streets north from Kinzie to the northern city limits (then Fullerton 
Avenue). The panic killed this grant, but in 1858 the council passed 

. .. ,, T^II T^ II-T-. i Beginning of 

another giving to Henry fuller, franklin Parmelee and Liberty Bigelow ^" lKai1 ' 
the right to lay tracks on State Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, on 
Archer Avenue and on Madison Street. Ground was broken November 
i, 1858, in front of the Garret block, on State near Randolph Street, 
Henry Fuller wielding the spade and William Bross the spike-maul. 
Track was laid from Randolph to Madison Street, and two cars were 
run back and forth (Andreas says) greatly to the amusement of the 
public The line was opposed by property-owners but was opened to 
1 2th Street on April 25th, 1859. It was a single track with turnouts, 
the cars running every twelve minutes. Silver change was becoming 
quite scarce, and the company found it necessary to resort to twelve-ride 
punch-tickets, which it sold at fifty cents ; and before long these began 
to be used as currency by the public, driven to its wits' end by lack of 
small coin and forced to use postage-stamps, milk-tickets, bread-tickets, 
and various other devices contrived by the mother of invention. Many 
of these tickets were worn out, lost, burned, destroyed or laid away as 
curiosities ; never presented for redemption. 

In 1855 we bid good-bye to Fort Dearborn new Fort Dearborn it 
must be called, in deference to the structure burned by the fury of the 
savages during or after their bloody deeds of August 15th, 1812. Now 
the Illinois Central bought the historic ground and pulled down the 
memorable buildings. The old blockhouse, so often drawn and painted, 
lasted a year or two longer than the other fort buildings. The writer Disapj 
remembers it with its picturesque over-hanging upper story, built in So ' 
that shape in order that it might be better defended from the torch of 
the Indian. When he looked at it, where it stood, lonely and deserted 
on the river bank, the thought struck him that it ought to be preserved 
as a memento of departed perils and sufferings. The same thought 
rose in the mind of others even found expression in the newspapers 
but what is everybody's business is nobody's business. It was moved 
somewhere, log by log, with the idea of preservation, but now no man 
knows even the place or manner of its final disappearance from the 
earth, any more than of the immortal old " Kinzie mansion," which had 
antedated it eighty years, and endured to within twenty years of its end. 

In 1856 a fine iron bridge (the first in the West) was built across 

of tort Dear 



the river at Rush Street. Its cost was $48,000, of which the city paid 
First irondraw-$ J 8,000, and the Galena and the Illinois Central railroads $15,000 each.* 
(The first bridge built entirely at the city's cost was that at Madison 
Street, put up in 1857.) 

December 2, 1858, the schooner "Charles Howard" was driven 



ashore off Lake View. The crew was rescued in the yawl-boat of the 
" Mohawk" manned by Captain Graw, N. K. Fairbank, Isaac Walker 
and Captain Moore. (A story of the rescue is appended to this 

The telegraph and express business was growing. We reproduce 
statistics of railroads centering in Chicago as given in Bross's His- 

* This bridge had a curious fate. In 1863 it was destroyed in consequence of being opened while a drove of cattle 
was crossing. They took a stampede toward one of the unsupported ends and the whole structure toppled over, drown- 
ing the cattle and sinking into irretrievable ruin at the bottom of the river. 



tory (p. 77) up to the close of 1857. (The change for the next three 
years, clouded as they were by revulsion and disaster, was not marked.) 
Mr. Bross does not give the final column (earnings per mile), but it is 
made up from his figures and is at least nearly correct. The compari-Ra'iroad miles 

. i . ! / i and earnings 

son with present earnings per mile of the same roads may be observed in l8 "- 
by those interested ; but should be noted with the fact that rates per 
mile, both for passage and freight, have fallen more than one-half since 
those days, so that twice as much service is now rendered for every 
dollar paid. 


Railroads, both Main and Branch. 


Chicago & Milwaukee 85 

Kenosha & Rockford 1 1 

Racine & Mississippi 86 

Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac 131 

Milwaukee & Mississippi 130 

Galena & Chicago Union 121 

Fox River Valley 34 

Wisconsin Central 8 

Beloit Branch 20 

Beloit & Madison 17 

Mineral Point 32 

Dubuque & Pacific 29 

Galena (Fulton) air line 136 

Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska 36 

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 210 

Burlington & Missouri 35 

Quincy & Chicago 100 

Hannibal & St. Joseph 65 

Chicago & Rock Island 182 

Mississippi & Missouri 88 

Peoria & Bureau Valley 47 

Peoria & Oquawka 143 

Chicago, Alton & St. Louis 284 

Illinois Central 704 

Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne & Chicago 383 

Michigan Southern & Northern Ind 242 

Cincinnati, Peru & Chicago 28 

Michigan Central 282 

New Albany & Salem 284 



per mile. 



Totals 3,953 j$i8,s8o,7io 

2, 2 75,955 


99 8 >3 9 



5, 1 80 






The typical "grain of mustard seed" took root in 1850 when the 
Chicago Board of Trade began its corporate existence. In the outset 
it did not buy and sell and get gain; it merely collected $2 a year from 
each member, appointed inspectors of fish, provisions and flour, commit- 
tees on banking, etc., worked for public good in the matter of harbor 
improvements, canal tolls, etc., passed resolutions concerning the free 
navigation of the St. Lawrence, the Illinois Central Land Grant, and, 


Union Stock 
Yards started. 

in short, paid its respects to nearly every subject except the making 
of money. (Its practice in this regard has not continued unchanged 
to the present time, 1891.) Under these circumstances we are not 
surprised to learn that at the annual meeting of 1851 the membership 
was only 38, and the Board almost hopelessly in debt, owing $165.96. 
Captain Andreas gives the following record of attendance: July 9, 
Present, C. Walker. No transactions. July 10. Present, C.Walker, 
J. C. White, J. C. Walter. July 12. Present, O. Lunt. July 13. 
Present, none. July 14. Present, none. July 15. Present, C. 

Walker. July 16. Present, none. 
July 17. Present, J. C. W'alter. 
July 1 8. Present, none. 
New rooms were rented at the 
corner of Clark and South Water 
Streets ; and occupied for the first 
time at the fourth annual meeting, 
April, 1852. 

In 1853 the meetings were held 
in rooms at No. 8 Dearborn Street, 
daily, at 10 A. M., and "regular at- 
tendants" were provided with 
crackers, cheese and ale. In 1854, 
the Board took up the question 
of grain measurement, which, up 
to that time, had all been done by 
the half-bushel measure! Through 
its efforts all the grain-producing 
States soon substituted weights for 
measures, and thus made possible 
the huge business now carried on. 
Its next great public service was 
ST. JAMES' CHURCH AND PARSONAGE. tne beginning, in 1857, of the an- 

nual reports of the trade, commerce and manufactures of Chicago. 
Captain Andreas well says: 

Nearly all the modern means, methods and facilities for transacting business or carrying on 
either local trade or foreign commerce had their inception in the Board, and were, in their perfec- 
tion, evolved from its action. The inspection, warehousing and shipping of grain in well defined 
and standard grades; the standards of inspection of flour, pork, beef, lard, butter, lumber, etc., were 
all primarily established and ultimately perfected through its action. The rapid dissemination and 
interchange of reliable commercial news and market quotations was evolved from the mutual neces- 
sities of Boards of Trade in the business centres of the world. . . . The daily gather- 
ing on the floor, the Babel of trade, where more business is done than in any like place in the world, 
although the most conspicuous, is thus seen to be but one of the many phases of its work. In all 
great crises the Board has come to be the true index of the patriotism, the benevolence and the 
humanity of its members. Witness their acts of humanity when Chicago went up in flame and 



smoke, and their never failing loyalty and patriotism in the dark and troublous times of the Rebel- 
lion. The history of these years will in future volumes constitute the brightest pages in its annals. 

The mayors from 1850 to 1860 inclusive were Curtiss, Gurnee, 
Gurnee, Gray, Milliken, Boone, Dyer, Wentworth, Haines, Haines and 
Wentworth. The population by years was as follows: 1850, 28,269 ; P fiu!? s ss in the 
1851,34,437; 1852, 38,733; 1853, 60,652; 1854, 65,872; 1855, 80,028; 
1856,84,113; 1857,93,000; 1858, 90,000; 1859, 95'; 1860, 112,172. 

In 1850 Chicago was an almost unknown wooden town in the 
mud, in darkness, in comparative isolation, save for its lake and canal, 
without water, without coal, without steam-tugs, without draw-bridges 
except " floats," without suburbs, without a theatre though with many 
churches, without elevators or stock 
yards, almost without manufactures. 

In 1860, Chicago was a thriv- 
ing young city, raised up and 
drained, connected by rail and wire 
with the North, South, East and 
West; having streets planked, cob- 
ble-stoned or wooden-blocked, with 
gas, water, coal, stone; with stages 
and the beginning of street rail- 
roads; with fine, high draw-bridges; 
with many large factories; many 
papers, daily and weekly; in short, 
a place of great pretensions and 
still greater hopes. The best resi- 
dences were large, comfortable, 
hospitable wooden houses, each 
occupying, with barn, green-house, 
out-houses, garden and shrubbery, the middle of an entire square, hav- 
ing streets on its four sides. 

The decade saw the end of the Taylor and Fillmore administration; 
the, election where Franklin Pierce defeated the veteran Winfield 
Scott; the consequent disintegration of the Whig party and the inaugii-Binhof the Re- 
ration of the Republican originally called the " Fusion Republican"- P*"*- 
and the political battle between slavery and freedom wherein slavery, 
under Buchanan, achieved a temporary triumph; and, all the while, 
beneath the surface there was the unconscious embattling the hosts 
that were to fight out the Secession question in the first half of the 
next decennial period. 

And so, amid doubt, dismay, determination and defiance, the after- 
noon of the " fifties" comes to its sombre close. 

Friend of Stephen A. Douglas. 


Wreck of the 
" Charles 



On the night of December 2, 1856, I came into the Tremont House, where I lived, about nine 
o'cloqk, and found a group of men quite excited over a message just received from Mr. Rees. of Lake 
View, that a vessel had run ashore near the old Lake View House that she had struck on the bar, 
so far out that no assistance could be rendered by the people on shore. The sea was making a 
clean break over her; her crew were in the rigging. It was a very cold night and a severe storm of 
rain, sleet and snow was raging. 

I started out at once with Mr. C. L. Bissell to see if we could not send a life-boat and crew to 
their rescue. We first found Colonel Joseph Stockton, who put one of his large trucks, with a good 
four-horse team and several men, at our disposal, and I think he went himself. 

I then went around to several saloons on South Water Street where sailors congregate o'nights, 
and telling the story of the peril of the crew as graphically as I could, called for volunteers to man 
the life-boat. I soon had a good crew. 

We first tried to get the government life-boat, which was stored on the pier of Clark Street 

bridge, but found it unfit for use no oars. etc. 
I then went to a propeller lying at the dock, 
roused the captain and told the story and asked 
for his life-boat, which he willingly gave us. 
(Don't remember the propellor or captain.) We 
quickly loaded it on the truck and started them 
off for the scene of the wreck. 

Meantime I procured a good supply of 
whisky, brandy, etc., and a quantity of clothing 
and blankets to be used in resuscitating the men 
if we should get them off, and followed the truck. 
When we arrived at the scene we found a hun- 
dred people gathered on the shore. They had 
done all they could. We built a large fire, by 
the light of which we could plainly see the vessel 
and the crew in the rigging. 

We were received with shouts, and the 
crew could see by the light that a boat had arrived 
and help was at hand, which they afterward said 
encouraged them to hold on, although so be- 
numbed with the cold that they were on the point 
of giving up. 

We had great difficulty in launching the 

NATHANIEL KELLOGG FAIRBANK. boat> as there seemed , o be no Qne among th( , 

sailors I had hurriedly picked up who was a "captain." The boat was swamped several times, as 
the water was shoal and the seas very heavy They would launch her on a big wave and before she 
caught the next one she would strike the bottom and roll over. I finally called for volunteers and 
took the command. I put twelve men on each side of the boat and we went into the surf and out 
far enough and held her steady until they could catch a wave which we thought big enough to float 
them on to the next as she rose to the top of that. I shouted " let go " to my men and "give way " 
to the crew, and she caught the next wave without striking in the trough. This was only accomplished 
after several attempts, so that we were all in the water up to our necks about half an hour; in fact 
the final wave that floated her off lifted us off our feet and washed us ashore. 

The boat carried out a line which I had brought out and with it reached the vessel. Making 
the line fast to the wreck and a tree on the shore, we had a good rope ferry established and landed 
them all safely filankets and brandy soon made us warm, and we returned to the city none the 
worse for our adventure, though if that wreck had been on a prohibition coast, I doubt if any one 
of the crew or participators in the rescue would have been left to tell the tale. 



'HEN Greek meets Greek, then comes the 
tug of war. When free men loyal to the 
union of States are assailed by free men 
loyal to the individual States, then it is a 
fight to the death. 

The story of Chicago during the mo- 
mentous days of the Civil war is largely the 
story of the whole country, but the limits 
set for this especial narrative require that 
only so much of the general course of 
events be sketched as is indispensable to 
the picturing of the city's doings, condition 
and progress. 

Chicago was the place, 1860 was the 
time and the Republican convention the 

circumstance which marked the opening of a new era in the national 
career of the United States of America. 

It is safe to say that if the selection of a place for the convention 
had been left to New York, Chicago would not have been chosen. The 
writer well remembers the mixture of surprise, amusement and incredu- 
lity with which was received the whisper that Mr. Seward and the New 
York delegation had brought along some hired professional bruisers to 
see to their personal safety ! We peaceful, order-loving Chicagoans 
could scarcely believe that anybody should have an idea that we were 
so bad as to be dangerous to visitors, or, on the other hand, so weak as 
to be unable to defend them from violence. But there they were Mr. 
Thomas Hyer (whom we recognized from his prize-ring pictures) and 
other lights in the sporting world registered at the Richmond House on 
the same page with Mr. William H. Seward and the other lights of 
Eastern politics. To tell the truth, the confident expectation was enter- 
tained at the East that Mr. Seward would be the nominee, and it was 
equally expected that his nomination would lead to mob violence against 
the Eastern man by the disappointed adherents of the Western favorite. 
Lincoln had been a candidate for nomination to the Vice-presidency 
with Fremont at the Philadelphia convention in 1856, receiving about a 
third of the votes cast, Mr. Dayton getting the other two-thirds. In 
1857 he wrote a letter saying that he and his friends were "setting no 


of 1861. 

Sewurd and the 
New Yorkers. 


Lincoln on 
his own 

stakes against Seward." In 1858 he made his carefully considered dec- 
laration of opinion that the Union could not endure half free and half 
slave. In the same year he said: " Nobody ever expected me to be 
President. In my poor, lean, lank face nobody has ever seen that any 
cabbages were sprouting." In 1859 he made his wonderful speech at the 
Cooper Institute, New York; facing a magnificent audience of all the 
best citizens, and having on the platform with him William Cullen 
Bryant, Horace Greeley and a large number of others of the leaders of 
thought in the country. Then the break in the Democratic ranks at 
Charleston and Baltimore made the success of the Republicans probable, 
and his friends grew more and more urgent in his behalf, he himself 
being the most reluctant to take up the idea. 

Mr. Seward seemed to have everything in his favor. He was an 



experienced politician and statesman a governor, senator, scholar and 
gentleman. Ninety-nine in the hundred of the thinking men would 
nd have said in their hearts (and been utterly wrong in saying it) that he 
would make the best possible President. " Practical Politics " would say 
that, though he might be the best President, he would not be the best 
candidate, seeing that the enemies he had made would lose him the 
"doubtful States," New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois. 

The Lincoln headquarters were at the Tremont House, as the Seward 
rallying point was at the Richmond (Michigan Avenue and South Water 
Street). The Seward men had plenty of money, brass bands, flags, 
torches and " organization. " The Lincoln men had David Davis and 
the common people from all over the West to the number of 40,000. 
Chicago was crammed to overflowing. On the night before the opening 
of the convention Horace Greeley (who was not giving Seward a hearty 



support) telegraphed his "Tribune" that Seward was sure to be nominated 
because the opposition could not unite on either of the other candidates, 
Lincoln, Dayton, Chase, Cameron 
and Bates. 

On the morning of May 16 
1860, the convention met and be- 
gan its labors ; George Ashmun of 
Massachusetts being made chair- 
man. May 1 8th was nomination- 
day, and the Seward crowd indis- 
creetly marched about the streets 
in a noisy procession all through a 
precious hour during which the 
hall, except the part reserved for 
delegates, was quietly occupied by 
the Western men; so that when the 
procession arrived but a small part 
of it could find even standing 

room. Senator Evarts nominated THK RFV - ROBERT 

Mr. Seward, and the New York Delegates shouted, but the audience made 
but slight demonstration. Then Norman B. Judd nominated Mr. 

Lincoln, and his sympathizers made them- 
selves heard in no uncertain tone. The 
other possible candidates were named. 
Indiana seconded Lincoln with increased 
demonstrations from outside, and Michi- 
gan seconded Seward, who also had an 
ovation. A portion of the Ohio delega- 
tion added its voice to the nomination of 
Lincoln, which was the signal for a demon- 
stration from the Westerners, which 
dwarfed all previous experience. So says 
a gentleman who was present: " It wasn't 
a shout, it was worse than a shout. It was 
an unbridled shriek such as I never heard 
before nor since. It was almost unearthly. 
It made the wigwam shiver. It made a 
cold sweat come out on the brows of the 
members of the New York delegation." 

For a picture of the final scene nothing better can be said than the 
words of an article in the Chicago "Tribune" of September 5, 1891 :* 

* The Chicago Tribune of t86o must be credited with a piece of journalistic enterprise which was unprecedented 
in those days. It reported the convention in full, proceedings, speeches, aspect and occurrences of ail kinds. 

Scenes in the 




The Balloting. 

Union Mass 
Meeting at 
Bryan Hall. 

The roll was called and the result of the first ballot was, Seward, 173^; Lincoln, 102. A second 
roll call was ordered and the result was a gain of 179 for Lincoln. All the had 
come to him. Seward had gained II . The result was, Seward, 184^; Lincoln, 181, scattering ()f)%. 
Then the Lincoln crowd continued their hurrahs, yells and shrieks. No string of adjectives, no 
matter how ably they might be arranged, could do justice to the scene. 

On the third ballot Lincoln got .... 231 J^, Seward, 180. Total votes cast, 465; neces- 
sary to a choice, 233. Lacking to nominate, ij. A breathless moment actually came upon that 
scene. The stillness was so effective that the flutter of fans by the ladies and the scratching of pen- 
cils by the reporters could be heard distinctly. If New York could rally, the tide might yetbe 
turned to Seward. Lincoln must win the next turn or he was liable to fall back and be lost. An 
Ohio Delegate got up and announced a change of four votes from Chase to Lincoln. There was 
another pause. The teller waved his tally sheet and announced a name. There was a cannon which 
the Lincoln men had planted on the roof of the wigwam to be fired off when the nomination was 
made. The cannonier got a tip and the explosion occurred. It shook that section of the earth, and 
the great crowd in the streets yelled and shrieked and jostled .... The teller announced that 
Lincoln had received 364 votes. Senator Evarts moved to make the nomination unanimous. 

The momentous election of November, 1860, passed off quietly. 
Illinois gave Lincoln over Douglas 11,646 majority; Cook County 

giving4,743. (In 1856 Illinois had 
given Buchanan over Fremont 
9,098; Cook County 3,340 Fremont 
over Buchanan.) 

On Saturday evening, April 13, 1861, tele- 
graphic dispatches announced the bombardment 
of Fort Sumter. The following day was . . . 
one of those beautiful, cloudless Spring days 
that visit the West, and in the sweet April air 
floated the old flag from every spire and bal- 
cony, office and warehouse, mast and dwelling. 
From early morning until late at night the usually 
quietSunday streets were thronged with an eager, 
indignant, troubled people, all intent on one sub- 
ject ana swayed by one common feeling. Men 
of all parties talked only of the indignity done the 
flag of the country, and the necessity of preserv- 
ing its honor as a priceless heritage 

Dr. Patton, at the First Congregational Church, 
told his congregation that the crisis had arrived 
GKN. ]. B. LF.AKE. in which every Christian might rise from his 

knees and shoulder his rifle, and that Sumter, if taken by the foe like Bunker Hill, so like Bunker 
Hill it must be retaken. Robert Collyer, at the Second Unitarian; Mr. Corning, at the Plymouth 
Congregational, and indeed the preachers at nearly every church in the city, spoke only of "war 
and rumors of war." (2d Andreas, 160.) 

On April i8th a mass-meeting was held in Bryan and Metropolitan 
Halls. At the former a Union defence fund was started, to which 
$9,000 was at once subscribed; $36,000 before the close of the next day. 
The banks of Chicago offered the Governor $500,000 to be used in the 
Union cause in advance of the assembling of the Legislature. A War 
Finance Committee was appointed, which later was merged in the 
" Union Defence Committee," composed of Judges John M. Wilson, 
Grant Goodrich, Van H. Higgins, Thomas Drummond and George 
Manierre, and Messrs. E. W. Willard, John M Douglas, Thomas 



Hoyne, Thomas B. Bryan, A. H. Burley, Edwin C. Larned, James. H. 
Bowen, J. C. Dore, H. D. Colvin, John Van Arman, George Schneider, 
Eliphalet Wood, Rosell M. Hough, P. L. Yoe and Charles G. Wicker 
and Colonel Joseph H. 'Tucker. 

Chicago, like all other cities, had had companies of "citizen soldiery" 
from time to time, no two alike in arms, uniform, accoutrements or outfit. 
Like other Northern cities she had given these self-sacrificing little 
bands scanty support and encouragement. The adversity of the last 
few years had worked against the militia-men, and they had been too 
busy to give time, toil and attention to the thankless task, and too poor 
to pay for arms, clothing, armory-rent and the many other things 
required by such organizations as theirs. So, in fact. 1861 found this 
city, containing i io,oooinhabitants, 
possessed of not more than 150 
armed, drilled and equipped militia- 
men. The exigencies of the hour 
now moved the public-spirited citi- 
zens to fill up and improve these 
skeleton companies so that, when 
on April iqth Governor Yates 
called on Gen. R. K. Swift to take 
what men and arms he could mus- 
ter and with them occupy Cairo, 
he, in two days, started with 595 
men and four six-pounders and 
took temporary possession of the 
important point a point, by the 
way, south of the latitude of Rich- 
mond, Va. The companies A and GEN RICHARD s. TUTHH.L. 
B Chicago Zouaves, commanded by James R. Hayden and John H. 
Clybourn (it is pleasant to recognize this pioneer name again!); Chicago 
Light Infantry, Captain Frederick Harding; Turner Union Cadets, 
Captain Kowald ; Lincoln Rifles, Captain Mihalotzy ; Chicago Light 
Artillery, Captain James Smith. 

The President's call for 75,000 volunteers for three months quickly 
followed, and six regiments were demanded from Illinois. Out of regard 
for the six volunteer regiments (numbered one to six), which Illinois had 
sent to the Mexican war, these new battalions were numbered seven to 
twelve. Chicago at once recruited two companies, which were both 
incorporated in the Twelfth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under Colonel 
(afterward Brigadier-General) John McArthur. The Twelfth was, 
therefore, the first volunteer regiment embodying Chicago troops. The 

in 1860. 



izth and igth 

33d ; Irish- 

Hecker Jaeger 

companies were A, Captain Kellogg; and K, Captain James R. Hugunin; 
General A. L. Chetlain and General A. C. Ducat were later connected 
with this pioneer among the regiments. 

The next regiment to be noticed is the Nineteenth, one of those 
organized under the "Ten Regiments Bill." It, like the Twelfth, was 
made up of companies from different parts of the State. It was largely 
composed of bodies of militia which had been organized years before; 
the Highland Guards (1855) and the Chicago Zouaves (1856), 
which hastened to Cairo under General Swift as before-mentioned, 
formed three of its companies. It was mustered into service "for three 

years or during the war," on May 
4, 1 86 1, under Colonel John B. 
Turchin, an educated soldier and 
engineer and an eminent comman- 
der all through the war. The Chi- 
cago Zouaves were the company 
which, under the guidance and in- 
spiration of Colonel Ellsworth, 
became famous for drill and disci- 
pline in 1859 an d 1860, making a 
tour of the United States and giv- 
ing exhibition drills in Michigan, 
Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, 
Pennsylvania, Washington, Mis- 
souri and Illinois, and being filed 
and praised to the utmost. It is 
said that, on their return to Chi- 
cago, with all the decorations which 
had been showered upon them, 
they "looked like a Christmas tree." 
The Nineteenth was a battle regiment. To follow it through its 
trials and triumphs and its immense sacrifices, would be to write a 
story of the war in the West. We are only writing the Story of Chi- 

The Twenty-third was raised in response to a call to the Irish, 
signed by James A. Mulligan and other patriotic Irish-Americans. It 
was mustered in June I5th, 1861, under the colonelcy of James A. Mul- 
ligan. The Twenty-third earned battle fame sooner than any other 
Chicago regiment, through its heroic fight at Lexington, Missouri, Sep- 
tember 18, 1861. General Mulligan was killed at Kernstown in 1864. 

The Twenty-fourth was composed of German companies, and 
originally called the " Hecker Jaeger regiment." Two of its companies 







34th ; German. 
American . 

37th; Fremont 

39th; Yates 

had been the "Union Cadets" and the " Lincoln Rifles," which formed 
part of the original Cairo expedition. The regiment was mustered in 
on July 8, 1861. It was made of good men as its conduct showed later. 
The Thirty-seventh was organized by Julius White, under the name 
of the " Fremont Rifle Regiment." It was mustered in September 18, 
1861. Mr. White was its first Colonel ; upon his promotion to brigadier- 
general, Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes took command, and at the bloody 
fight of Pea Ridge it was led by Major (afterward General) John Charles 
Black, who was severely wounded. 

The Thirty-ninth Regiment was called the Yates Phalanx. It 

was mustered in in August, 1861; 
Thomas O. Osborne being unani- 
mously elected colonel, but resign- 
ing in favor of Austin Light, who 
had been a sergeant in the regular 
army and had served in the Mexi- 
can war. Lieutenant-Colonel Os- 
borne and Major O. L. Mann in 
succession came to command the 
Thirty-ninth ; and under Colonel 
Mann it had the distinction of tak- 
ing by assault Fort Wagner. 

The Forty-second was organ- 
ized in Chicago and mustered into 
service September 17, 1861, under 
Colonel William A. Webb. Mur- 
WILLIAM DE WOLF. * freesboro was its first severe battle- 

experience, though it fought at Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, and at 
4 *d infantry, many other places where service was to be rendered and sacrifices 
were to be made, ending with the terribly glorious day of Franklin, 

The Fifty-first was made up of home companies and called the 
Chicago Legion. It was mustered in December 4, 1861, under the 
colonelcy of Gilbert W. Cumming, who was later succeeded by Luther 
P. Bradley. Its service was much like that of the Forty-second; 
Murfreesboro, Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Peach-tree 
Creek, Atlanta, and other names connected with bloody fighting. 

The Fifty-seventh, called the " National Guards," was mustered in 
December 26, 1861, under Colonel Silas D. Baldwin. It served at the 
capture of Fort Donelson and the bloody battle of Shiloh. 

* Son of William F. De Wolf, an old citizen of Chicago. The young soldier was wounded at Donelson. At 
Williamsburg, May 4, 1862, he got a wound in the left thigh from a shell which killed his horse ; caught another horse and 
kept his post, received a bullet in his right knee ; yet stuck to his battery all day ! He died of his wounds June 3 

5ist; Chicago 

57th ; National 



The Fifty-eighth, called the "McClellan Brigade," was mustered in 
January 25, 1862, under Colonel William F. Lynch. It fought at Donelson 
(only a few weeks after it left Chicago), and again at Shiloh, where it 
suffered heavily. 

The Sixty-fifth, known as the "Scotch Regiment," was mustered 
in on May 5, 1862, under Colonel Daniel Cameron. Its service was 
severe and ended with the great battle of Franklin and the subsequent 
pursuit of the enemy. 

The Seventy-second was known as the " Board of Trade Regi- 
ment," that institution taking the initiative and bearing the expenses of 
the organization. It was (what most of the regiments were not) made 

S8lh; McClellan 

6sth: Scotch 

72(1; Board of 



up almost entirely of Chicago officers and men. It was mustered in 
on August 23, 1862, under Colonel F. A. Starring. It suffered terribly 
in the fruitless and ill-advised assault on Vicksburg on May 22, 1863. 
It was in the battle of Franklin, where its lieutenant-colonel, Joseph 
Stockton, was severely wounded. 

The Eighty-second was called "the Second Hecker Regiment," 
being, like the Twenty-fourth, largely German. It was mustered into 
service October 23, 1862, under Colonel Frederick Hecker, who was 
succeeded by Col. Edward S. Saloman. Its first heavy fights were in 
the East, at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg; then it returned westward 
and fought at Resaca and Peach Tree (where the men are said to have 
fired more than 140 rounds apiece), and, after the march to the sea, 
closed with the battle of Bentonville. As might be expected the losses 
of this regiment stand almost unrivaled in the history of the war. 

82d; Second 



38th; second 

Board of 

goth; Irish 

The Eighty-eighth was the " Second Board of Trade Regiment." It 
was mustered in on August 27, 1862, under Colonel Francis T. Sher- 
man. Its baptism of fire was at Perryville, the first of many fights. 

The Eighty-ninth was called the " Railroad Regiment," being 
organized under the supervision of Robert Forsyth, of the Illinois Cen- 
tral and W. D. Manchester, of the Michigan Southern. It was mus- 
tered in September 4, 1862, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hotchkiss. Like 
so many other Chicago regiments, the first battle of the Eighty-ninth 
was Murfreesboro, and its last Nashville. 

The Ninetieth was called the " Irish Legion." It was mustered in 
September 22, 1862, under Colonel Timothy O'Meara, and on Novem- 
ber 25th, fought its first battle, at 
Mission Ridge. Its last was at Ben- 
ton ville, March 21, 1865, and it 
fought on many fields between. 

The One Hundred and Thir- 
teenth was the " Third Board of 
Trade Regiment." It was mus- 
tered in on October i, 1862, under 
Colonel George B. Hoge. Its first 
serious fight was the taking of Ar- 
kansas Post in January, 1863. 

The One Hundred and Twen- 
ty-Seventh was mustered in on Sep- 
tember 6, 1862, under Colonel John 
Van Arman. It took part in the 
terrible seige of Vicksburg in 1863, 
and in all the subsequent struggles 
of that force, including the March to the Sea and the actions of Fayette- 
ville and Bentonville. It is claimed for it that it marched 3,000 miles 
and was in 100 engagements. 

The Fourth Cavalry had many Chicago men; among others 
M. R. M. Wallace, later county judge of Cook county. 

The Eighth Cavalry (Col. Farnsworth) was not a Chicago troop, 
though Chicago furnished it at least one distinguished officer: Major 
William H. Medill, brother of Joseph Medill, for many years a the 
head of the Chicago "Tribune." The regiment won fame unsurpassed by 
that of any cavalry regiment in the whole war, largely through the gal- 
lant leadership of Major Medill, who gave his life to the cause ; being 
killed in a bold effort to check Lee's retreat after Gettysburg. 

The Ninth Cavalry was mustered into service November 30, 1861, 
under Col. Albert G. Bracket. The Twelfth Cavalry was mustered in 




h and i7th 

in February, 1862, under Colonel Arno Voss, succeeded by Lieut.-Col. 
Hasbrouck Davis. The Thirteenth Cavalry was mustered in late in 
1 86 1 under Col. Joseph W. Bell. The Sixteenth Cavalry was made up 
of companies organized from time to time and mustered in in June, 1863, 
under Col. Christian Thielemann. The Seventeenth Cavalry was mus- 
tered in on January 22, 1864, under Col. John L. Beveridge, afterward 
governor of Illinois. 

The old Chicago Light Artillery was in existence as early as 1854. 
On April 19, 1861, when men were called for to seize and hold Cairo, Anility, 
the company was recruited up to its full strength in three hours after 
the call was received, and the battery formed part of the expedition sent 
down under General Swift. It later 
formed Batteries "A" and " B " and 
fought through the war, beginning 
with Donelson and Shiloh. Battery 
B, Light Artillery, known as 
Bridges's battery, was formed of 
Company G, Nineteenth Infantry. 
After receiving its guns it served 
through the heavy operations, be- 
ginning at Chickamauga, and end- 
ing with Franklin and Nashville. 
Company I, First Artillery "Bou- 
ton's Chicago Battery," was mus- 
tered in on February 10, 1862, and 
saw hard service at Shiloh. Battery 
L, Second Artillery, "Bolton's Bat- 
tery," was mustered in on February 

28, 1 862, and, among other services, took part in the Siege of Vicksburg. 
Battery M, Second Light Artillery, " Phillip's Battery," was mustered in 
June 6, 1682. The Chicago Board of Trade Battery was mustered in on 
August i, 1862. It had the inestimable advantage of the captaincy of James 
H. Stokes, of the regular army, who had been instructor of artillery at 
West Point. Its services were in accordance with its name and leader- 
ship. The Chicago Mercantile Battery was mustered in on August 29, 
1862, and served through the war. 

It need not be said that a large proportion of the troops in these 
regiments, squadrons and batteries came from parts of the State outside 
of Chicago. It is also true that many Chicago men joined other regi- 
ments than those here named. 

ChicaofO commissioned officers who were killed in action or died of 


wounds are given by Captain Andreas (2 Hist. Chi. p. 288-299) as 


Stokes' Board 
of Trade 
Batter y. 



of Honor. 

Typical Memoir 
of one 

follows: Joseph R. Scott, James A. Mulligan, James Nugent, Thomas 
Cliff, Geza Mihalotzy, Nathan E. Davis, Charles J. Wilder, George W. 
Roberts, David Stuart, Edward H. Brown, Julius Lettman, George C. 
Smith, Alfred O. Johnson, Henry 
W. Hall, John S. Keith, Thomas 
T. Lester, George L. Bellows, Otis 
Moody, Henry A. Buck, Robert 
D. Adams, Theodore M. Doggett, 
Joseph C.Wright, Henry C.Mowry, 
Richard Pomeroy, Edwin C. Prior, 
Frederick Bechstein, George W. 
Chandler, Charles H. Lane, Thos. 
F. W. Gullen, Henry W. Bingham, 
Duncan J. Hall, William H. Rice, 
Henry L. Rowell, John W. Spink, 
Herbert M. Blake, James J. Con- 
way, John A. Bross, Henry A. 
Rodgers, George Throop, Joseph 
W. Barr, William H. Medill, 

Frederick Schaumbeck, William COL - ALBERT ERSKINE, 13 CAVALRY. 

De Wolf, John H. Kinzie (Jr.) Lucius S. Larrabee and Richard Skin- 
ner. (The last four names are inscribed on the tablet erected in the 
vestibule of St. James' church in memory of its parishioners who were 

soldiers in the Union War.)* 

To lighten these cold-blooded details with 
the touch of nature that "makes the whole world 
kin," read a bit of biography typical of our best 
volunteer officers. Major William H. Medill 
entered (at 26) Barker's Dragoons, the first troop 
formed in Chicago, signing the roll two days 
after the fall of Sumter. This squadron took 
part in McClellan's short, brilliant campaign in 
West Virginia. At the affair near Beverley the 
Dragoons fought on foot with their carbines. 
Private Medill (always among the foremost) 
advancing through the woods, saw a rebel lieu- 
tenant aiming at him from behind a tree. 
Taking a tree of his own, he waited till the rebel 
had fired and missed ; then, rushing forward 
before the other could re-load, he called to him, 
in the stormy language natural to the occasion, 
to surrender or he would let daylight through 
him. In short order there was a rebel prisoner 
marching to the rear, and now (1891) his straight, 
rapier-like sword hangs in Joseph Medill's hall, 
, ,,, r .,,, crossed with that of the captor's sword and with 

V\ I I , [ . I A M rl. Mr.llll.i,. 

another taken later in somewhat similiar fashion. 
It was at Ashby'sGap in 1863. Medill, now Major of the Eighth Illinois Cavalry, was attacking 

* This list is necessarily extremely imperfect. It is hopeJ that its publication in this shape will lead to the 
receipt of facts to make it more nearly true and complete Roll of Honor. 


* Omitted in first edition, to appear in its place in subsequent editions. 



Stewart's Cavalry guarding the Gap. A little sergeant of the Eighth, somewhat separated from the 

command, was marked for capture by the Colonel of the Eleventh Virginia Cavalry. Major Mcdill put 

spurs to his "big bay " and dashed straight for the would-be captor who, giving up the lesser prize 

for the greater, turned toward Medill, with sword upraised, 

shouting, "surrender!" Still they drew near together, 

and then the rebel saw the unionist's revolver with its six 

bullets staring him in the face. He seemed to grasp the 

situation and realize the shoitness of range of his sword 

compared with that of the revolver; for he suddenly 

shouted "Don't shoot, I surrender !" 

The troopers who noticed the incident said : " That 

makes the Major colonel of the Eighth." And so it would, 

but that lie was marked for higher promotion martyrdom. 

In bidding his last good-bye to Chicago he said : " You'll 

see me next with brigadier's stars, or in my coffin." It 

was the coffin. 

After Lee's defeat at Gettysburg, the Eighth and 

Twelfth were hurried forward to harass his retreat to the 

Potomac, taking over 2,000 prisoners and 800 army 

wagons. They came to where the enemy were building a 

bridge at Williamsport, and attacked the unknown force 

without hesitation. Half the Eighth was dismounted, 

fighting as skirmishers. Major Medill took a carbine and 

fought with the rest. He was aiming it at the rebels when 

a ball struck him in the lower part of the breast, penetrat- 
ing bone and lung. He lived for ten days, during which 

his brother Joseph arrived only to bid him good-bye. The 

bad news was brought to him that Lee had got away. " I 

wish I had not heard it ! " he cried. " I am going to die 

without knowing that my country is saved." He was 

greatly consoled, however, by the news of the capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. " Ah !" said 

he, ''blood will tell. It takes the Western boys to handle the rebels." He asked that his body 

might be embalmed, dressed in full uniform', and 
buried from Chicago in Graceland cemetery, 
because it was controlled by the patriot Thomas 
B. Bryan, and that the funeral be conducted by 
the patriot Robert Collyer and so he died, f 
soldier, a gentleman, a lover of his country. 

In September, 1861, Camp 
Douglas was established to serve as 
a rendezvous for Illinois volunteers. 
It was an irregular block belonging 
to the Douglas estate, bounded by 
3ist and 33d streets, and Cottage camp 
Grove and Forest avenues. It was 
in the open prairie far below the 
southern boundary of the built-up 
district. Colonel Joseph H. Tucker 
was its constructor and first com- 
mandant. Its design was changed 
GEN. JAMES H. STOKES. after the taking of F"ort Donelson 

(February, 1862), when some 8,000 or 9,000 prisoners from that victory 
and the one at Island No. 10 were sent up. Much suffering ensued 


Captain of Battery. 



Prisoners' Atd 
and Relief. 

among the prisoners, and a public meeting was held at Bryan Hall, 
where a relief committee was appointed and liberal contributions 
received from public subscriptions and collections in the churches. 
The philanthropic and patriotic Thomas B. Bryan was treasurer of the 
fund. After this there was never any scarcity ot good and sufficient 
food, but the unfamiliar climate and poor sanitary arrangements caused 
pneumonia and camp fever ; and the deaths averaged six a day. The 
dead were buried at the old cemetery on the lake shore, about six miles 
south of the camp. In 1864 small-pox and other diseases attacked the 
prisoners and 1156 died, out of the 12,000 confined a record that shows 
how Camp Douglas compared with Andersonville as Paradise might 

compare with sheol. The expenses 
of the camp, not including pay of 
the garrison, was $8,540 a day. 

"The Camp Douglas Conspir- 
acy " as recorded by William Bross 
and the official report of General 
B. J. Sweet, then commandant of 
the camp, was a serious and danger- 
ous plot set on foot, in 1864, by 
Jacob Thompson (a member of 
Buchanan's cabinet), to liberate the 
prisoners of war and form a union 
between them and Southern sym- 
pathizers in the North, to aid the 
secession cause by a Northern in- 
surrection. The developments 
were sufficiently grave to induce a 
strong re-inforcement of the camp guard with infantry and artillery. No 
overt act was attempted, though a large deposit of arms and ammunition 
was found. Some Chicago men, and more Southerners, were arrested 
and tried. Five were found guilty and served terms of imprisonment. 
C cT,spira?y! s On e, the venerable Buckner S. Morris, was acquitted of guilty knowl- 
edge of the contemplated crimes, both by the court and by deliberate 
public opinion. The war closed and most of the punishments were 

Time and space would fail to give even a sketch of the patriotic 
self-devotion of the citizens of Chicago to the cause of the Union and 
of humanity. Scarcely did the need arise for help to soldiers on their 
way to or from the front, before the means were provided to meet that 
need. There was a great meeting for the purpose as early as April 18, 
1 86 1. The Young Men's Christian Association took the lead in organ- 





ized effort, and with it was afterward combined the Chicago branch of 
the Sanitary Commission, whereof the great and good Henry W. Bel- s 
lows, of New York, was the head. Thomas B. Bryan as usual was the 
most liberal among the liberal, the most devoted among the devoted, 
the chief among the leaders in every movement of philanthropic 

With him in the work were Mrs. George Gibbs, Mrs. O. E. 
Hosmer, Mrs. Joseph Medill, Mrs. D. P. Livermore, Mrs. A. H. Hoge, 
Mrs. Smith Tinkham, and a host of less well-known women. As the 
demand grew, the supply came forward to match it ; the hosts of 
wounded from Chickamauga and 
Mission Ridge were no less well 
cared for than the few early maimed 
and helpless whose arrival first 
brought home to swelling hearts 
and tearful eyes the dread reality 
of war. In July, 1863, the first 
great Sanitary Commission Fair 
was held, and netted $86,000. The 
second was held in Dearborn Park 
in March, 1864, and yielded $240,- 
813 ! The published report of the 
Sanitary Commission contains the 
following summary of its work : 
" In the four years of its existence 
the Northwestern Commission dis- 
bursed 77,666 packages from its 

storehouse and $405,792.66 from its treasury." And even these large 
figures are but a part of the universal outpouring of love and gratitude 
to those who went forth to fight from those who stayed at home. Then 
at least the men in the rear felt as if they could not do enough to put 
themselves on an equality with the men at the front. 

It was then as happy a task to give time and money for public 
good as it is in these changed and later days to use them for private oldda v s - 
and personal ends. 

* Another son of William F. De Wolf. He served in the 34th Regiment until the end of the war; and is now 
1(1891) treasurer of the Illinois Central Rail Road. 




Loss of the 
Lady Elgin. 


AR did not invent death, nor can even blessed 
peace prevent it. On Friday, November 7, 
1860, the " Lady Elgin" (Captain John Wil- 
son), one of the largest and finest of lake 
steamers, left her dock at Chicago for a voyage 
to Milwaukee, it being the return trip of an 
excursion which she had brought from Milwau- 
kee the day before. There were 393 persons 
on board. In the night the steamer was run 
into by the schooner " Augusta," lumber-laden, 
bound south. The following is condensed 
from the excellent account, given in much 
detail, by Captain Andreas (2 Hist. Chic. 75) : 

At two o'clock in the morning the vessel was off Waukegan, about ten miles from shore, 
and the passengers were at the height of their merriment. . . . After the crash of the collision, 
the music and dancing ceased of course ; but, though the lamps were extinguished by the shock, no 
cry nor shriek was heard. The women stood in the cabins pale, motionless, and silent. No 
sound was heard except the escaping steam and the surging of the waves. As the vessel settled, 
the passengers mounted to the hurricane deck. . . . Within half an hour after the collision, 
the engine fell through the bottom of the vessel, and the hull went down immediately after, leav- 
ing the hurricane deck with its vast, living freight, floating like a raft. . . . And now, drifting 
before the wind, and tossed by the waves, the deck began to break up, and finally separated into 
five pieces, to each of which, half-submerged, many of the passengers desperately clung ; but many, 
as their strength gave out sank amid the tossing waves. One portion of the deck, on which the 
captain was, held twenty-live persons. He was the only one who stirred from the recumbent position 
necessary to keep a secure hold on the precarious support. . . . Day broke upon them, and found 
them drifting southward, nearly off Winnetka. . . . Relief parties hurried to the scene from 
Evanston, Winnetka, and along the shore. . . . The saving of John Eviston and wife created 
great excitement. The gallant fellow was seen some distance out, on the wheel-house, on which he 
firmly held his wife. As they neared the shore, the surf capsized the raft, and for several seconds 
both were submerged. When they rose again to view, the wife was at some distance from the wheel- 
house, to which Mr. Eviston was still holding. Seeing his wife, he swam out to her, and succeeded 
in regaining the wheel-house with her. . . . At last the wheel-house grounded. Taking his wife 
in his arms, he attempted to wade to the land, but sank exhausted. At this moment he was caught 
by the brave Edward W. Spencer, and they were brought safely to shore. 

It was past noon on Saturday before the last rescued passenger 
was brought ashore. From the raft on which the captain was, not 
more than seven or eight persons were saved ; the brave captain not 
among them. As the raft neared the shore, it, too, capsized, and but 
a few of the chilled and exhausted waifs who had clung to it up to 
that moment, regained their hold. Captain Wilson managed to drag 



back to it one of the women washed off ; but a great sea swept them 
off again, and both drowned, only a few rods from shore. 

The lost numbered two hundred and ninety-seven, the great- 
est single fatality Chicago or Milwaukee ever suffered, and a larger 
death-roll than befell the soldiers of both cities in any one battle. 

Years after the disaster there drifted ashore, in front of General 
Simpson's place at Winnetka, a great piece of wreckage, part of the 
keel, planking, and ribs of a side -wheel steamer, easily recogniz- 
able as a relic of the " Lady Elgin." The pitiful skeleton lies there 
yet (1891), and a picture of it in its present desolation is here- 
with presented. 

The bones of 
the ship now 


The next serious calamity was the foundering, in Lake Superior, 
of the Chicago steamer " Sunbeam," in August, 1863, when, of a human 
freight of twenty-six, only one was saved. 

Another terrible disaster was the burning of the Goodrich steamer, 
" Sea- Bird," off Lake Forest, in April, 1868, when sixty-seven of the 
passengers and crew were drowned. 

It has of late years been thought that for lake navigation, where 
short, high waves are to be expected, the paddle-wheel steamer, with 
its wide, weak " overhang," is not as well adapted as is the propeller, 
with its smooth sides which give the waves no " hold." 

There was no pause in the growth of Chicago before, during 

Other Wrecks. 



not checked 
by War. 

Lake Tunnel 

or after the war. If asked to tell, from the census, when the "drain 
of men for soldiers " occurred, one would be completely at a loss. The 
population stood as follows: 1860, 112,172; 1861, 120,000; 1862, 138,- 
835; 1^63, 160,000; 1864, 169,353; l86 5- 178,900; 1866, 200,418; 
1867, 220,000; 1868, 252,054; 1869, 273,043; 1870, 298,977. All 
the works of peace went on in ever accelerating ratio. The Board of 
Public Works was created in 1861 (Benjamin Carpenter, J. G. Gindele, 
and F. Letz ; later, J. G. Gindele, F. Letz and O. J. Rose, together 
with the mayor, F. C. Sherman) ; and its great work was the construc- 


tion of an inlet crib in the lake, two miles from shore, and a tunnel 
to connect it with the water-works at the foot of Chicago avenue. 
The shaft was sunk to the required depth (seventy feet), and the 
drift begun May 26, 1864, after which it burrowed out in the hard, 
blue clay at the rate of some ten feet a day. Ellis S. Chesbrough was 
city engineer, one of the most trustworthy servants Chicago has ever 
had. William H. Clarke was the engineer in charge, a most efficient 
officer, who had under him a most efficient corps of helpers. The 
lake crib was five-sided, each side of the outer shell 58 feet long, and 
each side of the inner shell 22 feet long, which left a space 25 feet 


It was 40 feet high. The huge 


wide between inner and outer shells. 

structure was built on the south 

side of the north pier, and was 

launched on slanting ways, like a 

great five-sided ship, July 25, 1865, 

gliding gracefully into the river 

without delay or accident. It was 

towed at once to its destined place 

over the proposed eastern end of 

the tunnel, and the work begun 

of filling with stone the space 

between the two shells. A three- 
days' storm came on before the 

filling had gone far, and moved the 

structure thirteen feet (against the 

wind), and threw it out of the per- 
pendicular. These imperfections 

are still perceptible ; but from the 

time the filling was complete no change or deflection in its position 

has occurred up to this day (1891), 
a period of twenty-seven years. 
Mr. Cregier's report says : 

A tremor is frequently felt during severe 
storms, and when large fields of ice are passing. 
The rubbing of field ice against the crib is 
occasionally accompanied by a fearful noise. i a kcDjfficul- 
At such times the crib appears, to a spectator on 
it, to be an immense plough moving through the 
ice. On several occasions the broken masses 
lodged on the south side of the crib, forming 
banks several hundred feet long, and reaching 
from the bottom of the lake to ten or fifteen feet 
above the surface. . . . The work of tunnel- 
ling was carried on from this end about as 

rapidly as it was from the land shaft 

When the work from the land shaft was within 
one hundred feet, it was thought necessary to 
stop the masonry there, and run a small timber 
drift through to be certain as to how the lines 
were going to meet. The two faces were brought 
together November 30, 1866, when it was found 
that the masonry at the east face was only about 
seven and one-half inches out of the line from 
the west end. This result, considering the diffi- 
culty of getting a clear atmosphere in the tunnel, 
was considered very good, and much better than 
was generally expected. . . . Water was first 
let into it on March 8, 1867. ... On the 24th, 
about 4 r. M., the mouth of the old inlet was cut 

ties overcome 


off from the lake. 

The actual cost, up to April I, 1857, was $457,844.95. 

The usual 

2 7 6 


Beginning of 
Lincoln Park 


prices paid during the work were : Common labor, $2 ; masons, $5, and engine-men, $3 per day ; 
for brick, $14 per thousand, and cement, $2.75 per cask of 300 pounds. 

Once more the struggling citizens had leaped forward out of the 
way of the advancing city ; but this was only for a time, as we shall 
see hereafter. 

The splendid park system of Chicago, constituting (with its con- 
necting boulevards), one of the most extended in the world, took its rise 
in the construction of Lincoln Park, and this in its turn was the off- 
spring of the cemetery established in 1835, north of and adjoining what 
is now North Avenue. In all, this burial-place included sixty acres of 
what was once sand-hill and pine forest but became, by the care of lot- 
owners, a fine and well-ordered graveyard. The city also owned sixty 
acres north of and adjoining the burial-place. In 1860 the council passed 
an ordinance forbidding the sale of lots and the interment of dead in 

the last-named tract, and in 1864 
another ordinance setting apart the 
same for a public park, " to be 
named Lake Park. " The latter 
ordinance also forbade the sale of 
more lots in the first plot, and the 
interment of bodies on the part not 
sold the " potter's field. " * 

Mr. Lawrence Proudfoot was 
elected, in 1865, alderman of the 
ward inclosing the 120 acres, and 
to him belongs more credit than 
to any other one man for the initial 
steps that led to the dedication of 
the Park which is now the pride of 
the city ; the resort of uncounted 
thousands who love the lake shore 
and the lake breezes ; and the show-place for strangers whom it is desir- 
able to impress with the beauty of Chicago's eastern water horizon. 
It is the one place where innumerable inland dwellers can stand among 
trees and look out to where sky and water meet. 

The South and West Sides were jealous of so large a gift to the 
North Side, and it was only the fact that they were more jealous of each 
other than of the smaller North, and that the latter held the balance of 
power between them, which made success possible. One thingwas evident; 

* Numberless bodies, unclaimed and therefore unremoved, still repose where they were laid, quite undisturbed by 
the footsteps of thousands of pleasure-seekers passing over them. One noticeable instance of this is the case of David 
Kennison who was buried there in 1852. He was 114 years old and was the last survivor of the *' Boston Teaparty " of 
1774. More than this; he was a soldier in old Fort Dearborn, and his name appears on the muster-roll of the Fort in 1810. 

He was a pensioner and eked out his living by service in museum. George Fergus, of the Fergus Printing Co., 

is able to point out the spot where the old man lies, and would be glad to do so to any one who will provide a stone to 
mark his grave. 




the city having grown out around the cemetery, the latter must be 
removed. This was first accomplished through the efforts of a committee 
whereof Mr. Proudfoot was chairman; and the further disposition of the 
land was next taken up. In season and out of season he urged the 
importance of parks to a city's well-being, and the folly of falling into 
the usual error of waiting before establishing them until land grew too R t e c^ietery. 
dear to be bought. The city was short of money, and a resolution was 
offered directing that the vacated ground be subdivided and sold for the 
benefit of the city. Proudfoot proposed as a substitute a resolution that 
the property be dedicated as a public park. The latter policy prevailed. 
In the meantime William C. Goudy was pressing upon the State 
legislature a bill creating a " North Park Commission," to effect the 
procuring of not more than a square mile of land for park purposes, and 


the joining the same with the cemetery tracts already described. The 
bill passed February 16, 1865, and Lincoln Park was safe. From such 
small beginnings and by such great efforts and narrow margins was the 
great Chicago Park System instituted. 

In 1865 "Goose Island," a small triangle of dry land at the north 
side of the junction of the North and South branches, was dredged away 
and the fine large basin opened there which is so important an adjunct of 
the river-harbor. A sand-bar had begun to form at the outer end of 
the North Pier, so an extension of it was necessary. Congress made 
the required appropriation, there was no Polk to veto it, and the work 
was begun; to be finished in 1866. 

One of the greatest " institutions" of Chicago the greatest in 
profits earned dates from 1864; it is the "Union Stock Yards." At that 
time the unparalleled growth of the trade in live-stock and its products 

of the River 





had made it evident that some plan must be evolved for bringing 
together buyers, sellers, manufacturers and carriers. To quote Elias 
Colbert ("Chicago," p. 60): 

Very frequently it was the case that the market for cattle or hogs was quite active at one yard, 
while at the others it was fearfully dull. Sometimes the receipts at one yard would almost equal the 
combined receipts of all the others. . . The commercial reporters from the various papers had great 
difficulty in making up an accurate summary of the daily market, from the conflicting reports of the 
buyers and sellers at the various yards. The packers, particularly, found the system disadvantageous. 
Finally the railroad managers saw the inutility of the old system. The expense of switching and 
the wear and tear of rolling stock over the narrow and tortuous curves were eating a large hole in '"'h^Unjon 
their profits. The trade had reached a magnitude never anticipated, and the then Eastern railroads Stock Yards, 
found that they had as much to do in transporting stock as could be attended to. 

The issuing of the prospectus was followed by an almost immediate subscription of the stock of 

$1,000,000, of which $925,000 was subscribed by nine railroad companies Opened for business 

December 25, 1865; area of ground, 345 acres; in pens, 100; acres for hotel and other buildings, 45; 
present capacity, 21,000 head of cattle, 75,000 hogs, 22,000 sheep, 200 horses; total 118,200. There 
are in the yards 31 miles of drainage, 7 miles- of streets and alleys, 3 miles of water-troughs, 10 
miles of feed-troughs, 2,300 gates, 1,500 open pens and 800 covered pens. 22,000,000 feet of lumber 
were used in construction, at a total cost of $1,675,000. The water is supplied by an artesian well about 
1,100 feet deep. 

Professor Colbert's statement of dimensions, capacities, etc., should 
be doubled many of them more than once to fit the stock yards of 
1891. It has been generally supposed that the grain trade was the 
leading business in Chicago, but this is a mistake: Grain is enormous, 
lumber is far larger than grain, and the stock yards larger than grain 
and lumber together. Again: Manufactures far overshadow everything 

In 1865 the clearing house was established. James D. Sturges (later 
National Bank Examiner) was its prime mover. It is a daily "bankers' 
fair," where the claims of each bank against every other are adjusted and 
the balances or "differences" only are required to be settled in money. 
Before the invention of this labor-saving contrivance (in London, about 
the beginning of this century) each bank had to send its claims on every 
other bank to such other bank and get the money for them. The First, 
having taken from its depositors and correspondents a thousand checks 
and drafts on the Second, the Third, the Fourth and so on, had to sort 
out these checks and drafts and hurry them around to the banks they 
were respectively drawn on; while each of the other banks was doing the 
same. The day was hardly long enough for the messengers racing about or the clearing 

" House. 

and passing each other on the streets. Under the clearing house system, 
all their mutual claims are sent to a convenient upper chamber where they 
are, by a simple arrangement of desks in a line, matched against each other. 
The messenger goes there with his checks and drafts done up in neat 
little bundles, one for each of the other banks, and he comes back with 
another lot of neat little bundles, being the checks and drafts on his 
bank sent in by the others ; also a memorandum of the cash balance 
which his bank has to pay (or to receive, as the case may be) to "clear." 



The River 
again foul. 

Within an hour the debit balances are all paid in cash to the clearing 
house manager and he pays to each bank which chances to be "at 
credit" the amount of its claim. Quietly, leisurely, orderly, between n 
A. M. and i P. M. six days in the week, the whole business is done, the 
liquidation (1891) of $15,000,000 to $18,000,000 of indebtedness. 

Again Nemesis, in the shape of intolerable foulness of the river, 
vvas fast overtaking the hard-worked city; and again was a desperate 
effort called for to remedy the evil. This time the plan was to change 


the "shallow cut" canal into the deep channel originally planned. The 
upper level is twenty-six miles long, and, though part of it had already 
been cut deep, yet by far the larger part must now be deepened at 
enormous expense ; the desideratum being a continuous movement of 
The Remedy, water at the rate of 24,000 cubic feet per minute. (The minimum in 
the drainage scheme of 1891 is 600,000 cubic feet per minute.) The 
work was pushed vigorously only in winter however, the use of the 
canal being uninterrupted and finally completed at a cost of $2,982,437. 
It was on Saturday, July 18, 1871, that the final blow was struck; 


a temporary dam across the canal at Bridgeport was cut away, and, 
as Mr. Cregier says : " Quite a strong current was at once created in 
the canal, and an entire change in the water in the main river and the 
South Branch was effected in about thirty-six hours. Tl run*e u. 

Other noteworthy permanent public improvements were going on 
at the same time. The tunnel at Washington Street was begun in 
1866, and finished in 1869, at a cost of $517,000. The tunnel at La 
Salle Street was built in 1871, and, having the advantage of previous 
experience, only cost $566,276, though possessing an intrinsic value 
certainly fifty per cent, greater than its forerunner. 

Exactly how did Chicago and the West emerge from gloom of 
many kinds to brightness of many kinds ? Strangely enough, it was 
through the dark iron gate of war. Thousands died that millions 
might live. Incalculable waste occurred that infinite prosperity might 
follow. The flowers of happiness took root in a soil enriched by 
countless nameless and forgotten graves. 

The central government took hold of the affairs, not only of the 
nation, but of the people ; and each loyal State (though not every citizen) 
upheld the Federal Union in its strong-handed grasp of the situation, 
leaving to some future day the re-establishment of the old " compro- 
mises of the constitution." As war measures, legal-tender currency 
was issued. National banks were organized, income and stamp- FederalAffairs - 
taxes were levied and collected, the draft was enacted and enforced 
by the Federal arm. Martial law was declared, and the writ of habeas 
corpus suspended. No wonder that most Europeans thought our 
boasted republican liberty to be gone forever.* Nor is it any won- 
der that when the war was fought and won, and the volunteers hur- 
ried back to their farms, their factories, their shops and their homes 
as eagerly as prisoners freed from a dungeon, then the cause of free 
government grew suddenly stronger the world over. 

The withdrawal of workers from all fields of labor was slow to 
make itself felt. The first change in daily life that affected every 
body was the issue of the " greenback currency," the promissory 
notes of the Federal government, made legal tender in all amounts 
for all purposes except duties on imports. These bills were a posi- Greenbacks. 
tive and welcome relief from the horrors of "stumptail," and the 
" fractional currency," little halves, quarters, dimes, and half-dimes, 

William H. Russell, war correspondent of the London Times, said to a young volunteer officer: "It is all 
very well to get a million men together and arm them ; but how will you ever get rid of them ? All history shows 
teat a great army, when once it feels its power, is slow to give it up again. Suppose you whip the rebels as I 
think you will then what?" "Pay off the volunteers and let them go home." "But suppose they won't go." "O 
just give them the chance ! They'll go so quick it will make your head swim." " Suppose your own General 
[McClellan] were to call on his army to follow him to Washington and seize the government." " He'd never think 
of such a thing. He'd die sooner. And if he were to try it, his whole army would leave him I among the first." 
*' Aha ! That sounds well ; but you'll see. You'll see." 



i. Maj. Gen. John M. Scho- 
lield, U. S. A. 

5. Brig. Gen. Francis T. 
Sherman, U. S. A. 

9. Col. Henry M. Kidder, 
U. S. V. 

13. Capt. Richard Robins, 
U. S. A. 

17. Col. Stephen V. Ship- 
roan, U. S. V. 

:. Mai. Gen. George Crook 

fi. Capt. James A. Sexton, 

U. S. V. 
10. Maj. William L. B. Jen- 

ney, U. S. V. 
14. Capt. Ephraim Otis, 

U. S. V. 
18. Capt Edward A. Blud- 

gett, U. S. V 

-.. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, 
U. S. A. 

?. Lieut. Richard Water- 
man. U.S.V. 

11. Col. ArbaN. Waterman, 
U. S. V. 

is. Capt. Eli Hugeins, 
U. S. A. 

19. Paymaster Horatio L. 
Wait, U. S. N. 

4. Bvt. Maj. Gen. Rufus Ir.- 
galls, U. S. A. 

6. Lieut. Col. Robert W. 
dowry, U. S. V. 

12. Surgeon Edmund An- 
drews, U. S. V. 

16. Brig. Gen Joseph B. 
Leake, U. S. V. 

20. Capt. George K. Dau- 
chy, U. S. V. 


were eagerly welcomed to take the place of the postage stamps, car- 
tickets, bar-tickets, and other scraps and valueless tokens of small 
values. These had an intrinsic worth, in that they pledged the faith 
of the nation to their holder; and they had a patriotic value a sen- 
timental beauty well borne out by their handsome, tasteful, and 
dignified appearance. Many can' not, to this day, see a new "green- 
back " without a thrill of recollection of their first welcome. 

For years the sweet jingle of coin was, to the many, an unknown "JSed 1 but 
sound. Dollars and fractions of dollars rustled instead of rattling, 
and their dwelling-place was the wallet, not the purse. The nickel 
half-dimes were the first glimpse of a return to old-time moneys, and 
many a dollar's worth of them was hoarded by simple folk as being 
safer than paper, green or white. 

To feel the pulse of an industrial community one must put his 
finger on the banks. Chicago's was a fluttering pulse in the early 
sixties. As Captain Andreas says : 

The Illinois cuirency in circulation had no uniform value; it had been transformed into 
a mass of bank debentures, the value of which could only be estimated by the value of the bonds 
deposited for their redemption. . . . The Chicago bankers issued daily bulletins giving the 
names of those banks whose bills were entirely discredited, such as would be received at a dis- 
count, and such as would be received at par. Railroads, lumbermen, merchants, and the Board 
of Trade each issued a list of the current value of bank bills, no two of which were alike, and none 
of which remained unchanged long enough to be of any value. . . . The Marine Bank [not 
George Smith's " Wisconsin Fire & Marine"] was the depository of the city funds, and its officers 
declined to liquidate their indebtedness to the city in specie. On July 5, 1861, at a meeting of the 
Board of Education, a proposition was submitted by the president of the Marine Bank [Scammon], 
that the city accept sixty-five cents on the dollar ... of the school fund. In respect to other 
city funds the proposition was not so favorable. 

In November, 1862, there were but twenty-two solvent banks 
reported in all Illinois, while ninety-three were reported as suspended, 
or in process of closing business. Andreas gives a list of the rates at 
which the bills of the failed banks were finally redeemed, five being 
paid off in full, namely, Bank of Northern Illinois at Waukegan, Bank T1 d * e r ;J^ d nks 
of Peru at Peru, Chicago Bank at Chicago, E. I. Tinkham & Co.'s 
Bank at McLeansboro, and Kane County Bank at Geneva. The 
remainder ran from 49 to 95 per cent., with quotations at almost 
every point between those two extremes. 

The Merchants' Loan & Trust Company (originally called the 
" Merchants' Savings, Loan & Trust Company)" is the only bank or 
banking house which, dating from before the war, exists to this clay 
(1891), in continuous strength and solvency under its original desig- 
nation. And even this institution, having a " currency- mill " (the 
"Reaper Bank") on its hands, was forced, on October it, 1864, to 
a short suspension of active operations, though sound at bottom, as 
it has always been, before and since. 



Unfailing value 
of City 

The State Savings Institution (1861), which later (1877) became 
a disastrous wreck, and a reproach to Chicago's fair fame, was, through 
the troublous times of war and business disaster, a tower of strength. 
George Schneider was its manager, and under him it paid all demands 
in gold or its equivalent. His expedient was simple, as his foresight 
was unimpeachable. He argued that, though States might fail, munici- 
pal securities must be valid ; and as fast as the so-called " current 
funds" poured into the savings depository he invested them in 
Chicago Sewerage and Water-works bonds. These remained sound 
and solvent, and so did the State Savings Institution, until its evil 
days came on, years after he was out of it. (Even after its disastrous 
failure, its assets, by careful management, and the rise of the real estate 

which had been thrown on its 
hands, became large enough to 
have met its liabilities in full.) 

How did the luckless debtors 
and the almost equally unhappy 
creditors get on in the troublous 
times of the early sixties ? 

The chief manifestation was 
the utter collapse of the " stump- 
tail " currency. It had long been 
moribund, now it was in dissolu- 
tion. Individual men in the early 
sixties kept their strong shoulders 
under the towering, tottering mass. 
George Smith was the Atlas sup- 
porting the Georgia banks of 
Milledgeville and La Grange. 
Against him and them fought 
a fighter by nature. " He was a 
fortified by its lead mines, the 

R. K. Swift 


Farewell to 
George Smith 

Henry Corwith, described as 
Galena banker, and Galena was 

products whereof brought gold in the world's markets, 
joined with Corwith in the effort to drive out George Smith by collect- 
ing and sending down to Georgia by Elihu B. Washburn all the Mill- 
edgeville and La Grange bills they could get ; but Smith was always 
ready for them, redeemed the bills as fast as presented, and got back at 
the senders with equal, or greater, sums of the bills of banks which they 
had started. The Swifts were driven to the wall, and, at the breaking out 
of the war, travel between North and South being interrupted, no more 
demands on Georgia banks could be made. Nevertheless George Smith 
finally redeemed every dollar of his currency at par. 


One naturally asks what became of those millions of slips of paper 
after they had passed from hand to hand, from banker to public, from 
buyer to seller, from debtor to creditor, from employer to employed, 
from victim to robber, from philanthropist to beggar, from beggar to 
grog shop loans, legacies, payments, bribes, gifts, wages of labor and 
of sin or what not. There must have been tons in all ; if not a car- W oid r ra d gsgo < ? 
load, at least a huge truck-load. Some of it exists, in the shape of curi- 
ious relics. The Historical Society possesses some nominal thousands 
in all stages of wear-and-tear, loaded with grime, grease and the sweat 
of many palms. But all these would not fill a grip-sack. Where did the 
great mass finally lodge and rest? 

This seeming puzzle has a very simple answer, so far as concerns 
the bills issued on the security of bonds deposited with the Auditor of 
the State of Illinois or whatever officer in other States had charge of 
securities deposited under laws similar to that of Illinois. He it was 
who countersigned and issued the bills as he received the State bonds 
furnished to him as security for them ; and he it was who must take them 
back before he could return those State bonds to their owners. There- 
fore the bankers, as fast as their issues were returned to them for 
redemption, hurried them to Springfield, got back their bonds and sold 
them in Wall street or where they could. The currency poured into the 
State office at Springfield and was burned.* 

When the war closed, business affairs in Chicago and the North- 
west were in an easy, though not a healthy, state. Inflation still pre- 
vailed, though it was national inflation instead of stumptail inflation. 
Gold was worth two-and-a-half for one at the darkest days ; therefore a Gr inflfon. 
man who borrowed a dollar in 1860 could pay the debt with forty cents 
in 1865. The apparent profits of investment in real or personal property 
were fifty per cent, a year through the mere depreciation of currency. 
Therefore was it said, with a kind of truth, that " the greatest fool was 
the best man of business ; " that is, he who went most recklessly into 
debt got rich the fastest. 

Under these circumstances the rates paid for day labor grew in a triple 
ratio. There was more to do because of the demands of Government 
and the waste of war : There were fewer to do it because of the absence 
of so many workers : The wages were paid in depreciated currency. 
The chief sufferers were those who had to live on a stated income arising 
from money lent, or in some other way established when things were 
at a specie basis and unchanged when inflation made everything dear. 

* A similar process is now (1891) constantly going on in the United States Treasury building at Washington regard- 
ing such greenbacks or bills of national banks as re to be redeemed because of being worn or mutilated or because the 
issuing banks desire, for any reason, to have them retired. The process now, however, is to macerate the bills to a pulp 
instead of burning them. 



21. Col. Charles W. Davis, 

U. S. V. 
25. Maj. George Mason, 

30. Capt. George M. Farn- 

ham, U. S. V. 
33. Lieut. Archibald Winne. 

U. S. V. 
37. Mai. William M. Luff, 


22. Maj. William E. Fur- 
ness. U. S. V. 

26. Capt. Horace H. Thomas. 
U. S. V. 

30. Col. William B. Keeler, 
U. S. V. 

34. Surgeon James N. Hyde, 

38. Master Charles W. Ad- 
ams, U. S. N. 

23. Mai. Huntineton W. 

Jackson, U. S. V. 
27. Capt. John G. McWill- 

iams, U. S. V. 
31. Capt. Amos J. Harding, 

35. Maj. Clarence H. Dyer, 

39. Maj. Samuel E. Barrett, 
U. S. V. 

24. Col. Aldace F. Walker, 
U. S. V. 

28. Brig. Gen. Joseph Stock- 
ton, U. S. V. 

32. Lieut. Martin J. Russell, 
U. S V. 

36. Maj. Robert W. Mc- 
Claughry, U. S. V 

40, Col. John Mason 
Loomis. U. S. V. 



dearer, dearest. A soldier's family, trying to get along on the money sent 
back by the absent bread-winner only thirteen dollars a month, even 
when he sent every penny home, as many did, and the thirteen dollars 
dwindling month by month as the price of the necessaries of life climbed 
out of reach; the thought of such sufferings and sacrifices brings a 
swelling of the heart and dimming of the eyes which makes it hard even 
to dwell upon them ! The relief societies of the rich did large and noble 
work ; the neighborly help of the poordid ten times as much in unmarked 
ways; all this was well, but, after all, the stay-at-home givers grew rich 
and the absent fighters and their families grew poor, and so, to this day, 
the respective classes have, on an average, remained. There was always 
plenty of work and wages at the rear and plenty of room at the front. 

End of the 

But no\v the stormy "sixties" seemed to come to a safe, un- 
troubled close. The war was five years past, the gold premium falling 
every day, the national debt shrinking every month, the city growing 
at every census, fresh water coining in floods from the new crib and 
tunnel, the sewage departing through the deep-cut canal by its own "confidence, 
gravity, the city government all in good working order. 

The fire department was particularly ample, showing 201 men, 17 
steam fire-engines, 54 hose carts, 4 hook-and-ladder trucks, 2 hose ele- 
vators, i fire escape, 1 1 alarm bells and 48,000 feet of hose. 

"Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." 


The Great 
before the 
Great Fire. 

Condition of 
the city in 
i8 7I . 


ULY 3, 1871, was a "showery day," that is 
to say, one -and -a- half inches of rain 
fell. From that time to October 9, 
1871, but two-and-a-half inches fell in all. 
In other words in the ninety-eight days 
there was only a total rainfall equal to 
a day and two-thirds of showers,* about 
one-fourth of the average supply at that 
season of the year. Such dryness, if per- 
petual, would make a desert of the Grand 
Prairie. Meanwhile, the southwest wind, 

the hot-haze-laden, the thirsty, the grass-killer, the corn-ripener, the 
hay-fever-breeder, the Western sirocco in short.the prevailing prairie 
breeze which, even in ordinary seasons, blows strongly and steadily 
perhaps four days out of five the year round, and perhaps nine days 
out of ten during the summer, leaving its mark on the trend of the 
branches of every pliable tree, from the willow to the cottonwood ; 
this blast blew without ceasing. 

It turned the prairies brown and dry as old hay, so that they 
lighted at a touch, and burned as long as a blade or a leaf was in 
the fire's path. The prairie fires ignited the grass in meadow and 
the hay in stack, the grain in rick, and the corn in shock. The wind 
sucked all the moisture out of the forests, so that by the square mile 
and the township they burned like the grass and the crops. It turned 
all the wood in wooden Chicago into tinder ; and as soon as the 
fittest moment came, turned the tinder into flame and ashes. 

Chicago had then a population of about 334,000. The city limits 
were Fullerton Avenue on the north, the lake on the east, Thirty-first 
Street on the south, and Western Avenue on the west, about eighteen 
square miles, or 11,520 acres. The North Side had chiefly wooden 
buildings ; varying from the elegant homestead, occupying a whole 
square, to the miles of small, cheap tenements, each usually standing 
alone, gable toward the street, and only a few feet from its neighbor 
on each side, from which it was separated by high pine fences. The 
pavements were wooden, but not inflammable ; while the sidewalks, 

* The War Department records show even less ; namely, one-and-a-quarter inches for the ninety-eight daya. 



almost entirely of pine plank, were generally raised, allowing a free 
circulation of air beneath, and fit to burn like a box of matches. 

The business part of the South Side also contained a great num- 
ber of wooden buildings ; and even the brick structures were, as a 
rule, of flimsy build, with wooden floors, doors, windows, lathing 
and roofs. Of the West Side no account need be made, except to 
say that from Jefferson and De Koven Streets to the South Branch 
everything was wooden. Worst of all and most disastrous (and insane), 
the Water-works (at the foot of Chicago Avenue) had a wooden ceil- 
ing to its engine-room, and a wooden roof covered with a thin layer 
of slate.* 

The feast was spread, and only awaited the fiend ; and he deigned 
to take a taste of it on Saturday, October 7, 1871. A fire occurred 


that night, the largest, in extent of ground laid bare, that Chicago 
had ever seen. Twenty-seven acres four blocks, inclosed by Adams, 
Clinton and Van Buren Streets, and the South Branch were burned 
over. The "Tribune" of the next morning reports the firemen as 
working most heroically. It adds, however, that a saloon-keeper, at 
the corner of Canal and Adams Streets, threw open his stock to the 
public, and that the firemen availed themselves of that hospitality. 
This brings to mind the talk which, in the days that followed, threw 
discredit on the personnel of the Fire Department. It was reported 
and believed that this branch of the city government, like most of 
the others, had been controlled by party politics, and not in accord- 
ance with the best interests of the city. Also, that Saturday, October 

* It is reported that the roof and ceiling were originally of iron, but had been replaced with wood, because 
the iron collected and condensed the steam, letting it drop in water on the machinery and injure it by rust. 

of the Fire 



7th, was pay-day in the department, which fact, added to the great and 
exhausting labors of Saturday night, made Sunday, a day of relaxation 
to use no harsher term. Two of the seventeen engines were in the 
repair-shop, and the rest were certainly not the better for their 

The O'Lcary 
House and 


Saturday's experience, any more than were the men in charge of 

them. Such was the angry gossip of the days we are now nearing. 

On Sunday night there was a festive dance in the little wooden 

house, No. 137 De Koven Street, occupied by Patrick O'Leary and 



his wife Catherine, also their five children, also Catherine McLaughlan, 
who occupied part of the house, and was on that evening entertain- 
ing friends with music, dancing and the festive bowl. In the rear 
of the house was a barn, of wood, two stories high ; the loft full of 
hay, and the main floor containing a horse and wagon and some 
cows which the O'Learys kept, making a business of supplying milk 
to customers. A high wind was blowing from the Southwest. 

Shortly before 9 r. M. fire was discovered issuing from the O'Leary 
barn. So far, there is no conflict of testimony. The belief of the city Testimony 
and the world was that the fire aforesaid was started by a kerosene 
lamp, used by Mrs. O'Leary and upset by the cow. (A broken lamp 
was found in the ruins of the stable.) But Mrs. O'Leary denied 
under oath the soft impeachment. She testified " that she and her 

family were in bed, but not asleep and knew nothing 

of the fire until Mr. Sullivan . . . woke them up." Thereupon, 
the captious world re-asserted its belief that Mrs. O'Leary knew all 
about the fire before being awakened from the sleep into which she 
had not yet fallen ; and that her denial was prompted by fear that 
she might be called upon to make good the consequent loss of $200,- 
000,000, which, even if she had been willing, she was quite unable 
to do, seeing that, though her house was unharmed, she had lost her 
barn, her live-stock, and consequently her milk-business. 

So did a little laughter force its way through many groans, sighs 
and tears. 

There was miserable delay in getting the alarm to the depart- 
ment, and in getting water to the fire after the alarm. The watch- Delay m giving 
man on the court-house saw the light and misjudged it as being a 
mile west of where it actually was; by which error the nearest engines 
failed to get to the fire until it was beyond control, in the dry gale 
that was blowing and the dry fuel that was ready to help it forward. 

Now began a frightful scene. Great brands of fire were caught 
up high in the air observers say from 300 to 500 feet and whirled 
off to the northeast, dropping where they would, and starting new 
fires far to leeward of the old, and of the few, puny, ill-manned engines 
playing (rather than working), to hold it in check. At this point 
occurred an incident which connects the great catastrophe with therheattack 
old, peaceful, early days ; it is the burning of the house put up "in thedefenc 
the prairie," by Judge Caton, as related in a previous chapter. The 
incident is given (2 Andreas, 717) by William Bateham, an early 
fire-marshal, and in 1871 a member of the city council. He says: 

The northwest quarter of this large block of ground was known as the " Huntoon Place," 
having the appearance of a large country farm-house. The residence stood well back from the 
street, and the lot was filled with large trees. The house was a land-mark, having been built 

the alarm. 

2 9 2 


by Judge J. D. Caton, nearly half a century before. The quaint old mansion had twelve stacks 
of chimneys, constructed in various parts of the house to accommodate the rooms. It was alto- 
gether a picturesque place in the neighborhood of puffing and impertinent modern factories. . . . 
Thus was the block bounded by Harrison, Mather, Canal and Clinton Streets not only a landmark 
of the progress of the great fire, but also a site of historic interest. 

Engine No. 14 was surrounded by fire at Canal and Van Buren 
Streets, and abandoned to destruction. This was about half-past ten. 
Now the flames had reached the space burned over on Saturday night, 
and here, under ordinary circumstances, would the destruction have 
been stayed. But that night no single ordinary circumstance pre- 
vailed. To quote the account of Sheahan and Upton : 


There was probably not a person in the South Division who imagined for a moment that 
the fire would extend beyond the portion of the city in which it originated. Indeed, when it 
approached the burned district of the previous Saturday night, there was a universal sigh of relief, 
for here, certainly, it would be stayed, notwithstanding the furious wind. The hope was futile. 
At twenty minutes past twelve, a huge burning brand was blown across the river. Onward it 
Flames jump sped, like a fiery messenger of doom, and lodged on the roof of a three-story tenement house 
South Branch which was as dry as tinder. The roof was immediately in a blaze. . . . The house was about 
midway between Adams, Monroe, Wells and Market Streets, and surrounded by wooden houses. 
Through this wooden nest the fire spread with inconceivable rapidity, and soon attacked " Conley's 
Patch," densely covered with saloons, tumble-down hovels and sheds, and peopled by the lowest 
class in the rity. ' . . . The male inhabitants were absent at the fire in the West Division ; 
and, as the flames reached it, squalid women and children rushed out in droves. Most of them 
escaped ; but undoubtedly some were overtaken by the fire and miserably perished. Right and 


left the flames spread as fast as a man could walk, and soon the gas works, and huge piles of coal 
in the yard, took fire, and a red glare shone all over the doomed city. 

The watchmen on the Court-house fought the flying embers, and 
kept the great 10,000 pound bell ringing by machinery until they 
were driven away by the ignition of the cupola (wooden), and the ' 
whole structure became almost instantly a mass of flames. The bell 
rang on until it fell. The mayor, Roswell B. Mason, was in the 
building as long as it was tenantable, giving such directions as seemed 
best, among other things authorizing the use of powder by Alderman 
Hildreth. This was about i A. M. The jail was in the basement, 
and the prisoners, half-suffocated with smoke and frenzied with fear, 
shrieked and shook the bars of their cells, until Captain Hickey, to 

. ,. i j i , UseofGun. 

save their lives, ordered the doors to be thrown open, when they po^er. 
rushed out, half-naked, swarmed on a truck load of clothing that was 
passing and then dispersed ; the one wretched fragment of humanity 
bettered by the stupendous calamity. 

This was the supreme moment of disaster ; for that building had 
been the storehouse and was now the tomb of the public records. 
The chain of title by which every owner held every foot of property 
in Cook County, from the Government to the latest buyer and lender, 
was coming to utter annihilation. All real estate the burned, the 
burning and the untouched would lie, when those records were c< g; 
destroyed, as naked of legal, recorded proof of ownership, as it had 
been when Joliet passed it in 1673 > always excepting a slender thread 
of evidence contained in certain "abstract books" and "indexes" 
owned by private persons, all stored near by in buildings as certain 
to be burned as the burning Court-house itself. Did this slender 
thread also perish ? We shall see. 

At about 3 A. M. the Postoffice and Sub-treasury were burned, 
the latter with some $2,000,000 in currency and Government securi- 
ties. A writer in the "Times" of October 18 said: 

Hardly twenty minutes had elapsed from the burning of the Grand Pacific Hotel [La Salle 
and Jackson Streets] before the fire had cut its hot swathe through every one of the intervening 
buildings, and fallen mercilessly upon the Chamber of Commerce [La Sa'.le and Washington Streets]. 
The few heroic workers of the Police and Fire Departments, wno had not already dropped out of 
the ranks of fighters, from sheer exhaustion, sought once more to check the devastation by the 
aid of powder. A number of kegs were thrown into the basement of the grand business palace 
of the Merchants' Insurance Company. A slow match was applied, and as the crowd drew back 
the explosion ensued. A broad, black chasm was opened : but .... the arms of flame 
swung over the gap, and tore lustily at the rows of banking houses and insurance companies 

One observer reported that the fire moved straight from its start- 
ing point to the water-works, like a wild beast intent on destroying its F 'o"ht 
worst enemy, the enemy which it must either kill or be killed by. 
Another likens it to a torrent sweeping mainly straight onward, but 



Fire crosses 
the main 

causing innumerable side eddies. Another calls it an army, pre- 
ceded and flanked by skirmishers, and leaving in its track only dead 
and wounded. 

Up to the time of its passage of the main river, the fire had 
done its work on the West Side (194 acres), and had partly done that 
on the South Side (460 acres); now it began the unchecked devas- 
tation of the North Side (1,488 acres). It was at half-past two, A. M. 
that Wright's livery stable, at Kinzie and State Streets, only a stone's 
throw from the river, caught fire and burned fiercely ; many fine horses 


being lost through the suddenness of the attack. It took fire from 
a car loaded with kerosene standing on the North-Western Railway. 
At 3.20 A. M. the city water-works took fire in the inflammable 
and unprotected roof. To avoid doing injustice to the persons in 
charge of the one establishment the failure of which to do its duty 
was the death-blow to all efforts to fight the fire, let their own words 
be heard : 

d'efend'the Frank Trautman, assistant engineer; S. W. Fuller, time-keeper; D. W. Fuller and others 

Water Works were on w atch, guarding every exposed point to the best of their ability. . . . As the walls 
of the building were of stone, the roof covered with slate, and the whole structure quite as sub- 
stantial as ordinary circumstances would require, there appeared no immediate cause for alarm. 


2 95 

, However, .... a line of hose was laid from the hydrant, and men with buckets 

of water were stationed on the roof and between that and the ceiling 

The roof of the main building, as before stated, was covered with slate ; the bays, and 
that portion adjoining the battlements of stone three feet high were covered with tin. There 
was no exterior woodwork in the cornice or elsewhere. However, but a short time elapsed before 
the roof ignited, the fire communicated to the floors and other woodwork, and the interior became 
a mass of flame. . . . Assistant Engineer Trautman, with the regular night corps of firemen 
and others, courageously remained at their posts until a portion of the roof fell in, when the engines 
were stopped, the fires hauled and the safety-valves raised, leaving the faithful men barely time 
to escape from the burning building. 

" The assistant engineer with the regular night force." Where 
was the day-force, and, if needful, a hundred or a thousand extra 


men? It certainly must have been known that the ceiling of the 
engine-room was of wood, as were the doors, floors and window 
frames. All must have perceived that a fearful exigency was at hand, 
wherein devotion to the very death might be called for. This W T ater- 
works squad was the forlorn hope, the last reliance of a beaten army, 
and it makes an orderly retreat; all hands saved. [See Fire Appendix. ] 
The fire, having now reached the wooden North Side, laid low its 
foes, the pumping engines, and entered upon an unopposed career of 
rapine ; seemed to take on a new character, best described by a letter 

Whose fault? 

One woman's 



written to the East immediately afterward, and preserved in certain 
family archives. The following are extracts from that letter : 

. . . On Sunday morning, October 8th, Robert Collyer gave his people what we all felt to 
be a wonderful sermon on the text : " Think ye that those upon whom the tower of Siloam fell were 
sinners above all those who dwelt at Jerusalem ? " . . . We passed the pleasant, bright Sunday, 
some of us going over to the scene of the West Side fire of the night before and espying, from a good 
distance, the unhappy losers of so much property. ... At ten o'clock in the evening the fire 
bells were ringing constantly, and we went to bed, regretting that there must be more property 
burning up on the West Side. Eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock, and I woke my sister, saying : " It's 
very singular; I never heard anything like the fires to-night. It seems as if the whole West Side 
must be afire." One o'clock, two o'clock ; we get up and look out. "Great God! The fire has 
crossed the river from the South ! Can there be any danger here ?" And we looked anxiously out, 
to see men hurrying by, screaming and swearing, and the whole city to the South and West of us 
one vivid glare. " Where are the engines ? Why don't we hear them as usual ?" we asked each 


other, thoroughly puzzled, but even yet hardly personally frightened, by the strange aspect of the 
brilliant and surging streets below. Then came a loud knocking at the door : " Ladies, ladies, get 
up ! Pack your trunks and prepare to leave your house. It may not be necessary, but it's well to 
be prepared." It was a friend who had fought his way through the LaSalle Street tunnel to warn us 
that the city was on fire. We looked at each other with white faces. . . . We determined to wait 
till the last minute, and threw some valuables into a trunk, while we anxiously watched the ever- 
approaching flame and tumult. 

Then came a strange sound in the air, which stilled, for a moment, the surging crowd. Was 
it thunder? No, the sky was clear and full of stars, and we shuddered as we felt, but did not say, 
it was a tremendous explosion of gunpowder. By this time the blazing sparks and bits of burning 
wood, which we had been fearfully watching, were fast becoming an unintermitting fall of burning 
hail, and another shower of blows on the door warned us that there was not a moment to be lost. 
. . . I ran down-stairs, repeating to make myself remember, " birds, deeds, silver, jewelry, silk 
dresses," as the order in which we would try to save our property, if it came to the worst. 

As I paused in our pretty parlors, how my heart ached ! Here lay a relic of my father's 
library, a copy of a Bible printed in 1637, on one table; on another . . . the gift of a lost friend. 
What should I take? What should I leave? I alternately loaded myself with gift after gift, and 
dashed them down in despair. . . . But my poor parrot called my name and asked for a peanut, 
and I could no more have left him than if he had been a baby. But could I carry that huge cage? 
No indeed ! So I reluctantly took my poor little canary, who was painfully fluttering about and 



wondering at the disturbance, and kissing him, opened the front door and sel him free only to 
smother, I fear. 

What a sight our usually quiet street [Dearborn Avenue] presented ! As far as I could see, a 
horrible wall a surging, struggling, encroaching wall like a vast surface of grimacing demons, came 
pressing up the street a wall of fire, ever nearer and nearer, steadily advancing on our midnight 
helplessness. . . . A truck loaded with goods dashed up the street, and, as I looked, flames burst 
out from the sides and it burned to ashes in front of our door. No hope, no help for property: what 
we could not carry, we must lose. So, forcing my reluctant parrot into the little bird's cage, I took 
him under one arm and a little handbag on the other, and started. The good friend who had warned 
us appeared, and, leaving all his own things, insisted on helping my sister save ours, and he and she 
started on, dragging a trunk. They were obliged to abandon it at the second corner. ... As I 
turned wildly back once more, I saw the beautiful Episcopal Church of St. James in flames. They 
came on all sides, licking the marble buttresses, one by one, and leaving charred or blackened masses. 
But the most wonderful sight of all was the white and shining church tower, from which, as I looked, 
burst tongues of fire. . . . 

Constantly, faces that I knew flashed across me, but they were always in a dream, all black- 
ened and discolored, and with an expression I never saw before. . . . Very little selfishness and 
no violence did I see. . . . Some friend it was days before I knew who took my parrot and 



forced a little bottle of tea and a bag of crackers into my hand as I wandered. ... I found myself 
opposite Unity Church. ... I was grieving enough, heaven knows, over my private woes; 
but I awoke to new miseries when I saw our pastor's heart, which had sustained the fainting spirit 
of so many, freely give way to lamentations and tears, as his precious library, the slow accumulation 
of twenty laborious and economical years, fell and flamed into nothingness in that awful fire. 
. A new sight soon struck my eye. What in the world was that dark, lurid, purplish ball, that 
hung before me, constantly changing its appearance,, like some fiendish face that grimaces at our 
misery? I looked and looked and looked again. May I never see the sun, the cheerful daily herald 
of comfort and peace, look like that again. It looked devilish, and I pinched myself to see if I was 
not losing my senses. It did not seem ten minutes since I had seen the little moon look out, cold, 
quiet and pitiless, through a rift in the smoke-cloud, from the deep blue of the sky. . . . 

C. S. K. 

It is needless to follow the sickening details of the slow hours fol- 
lowing the failure of the water-works. Many a man made frantic efforts 
to save his home, only to see it lost at last. Each was like a private 
soldier, facing a victorious enemy after his captain has fallen or fled. 




the world 

Many, out of the direct course of the wind, succeeded in their efforts. 
They soaked carpets and blankets in the scanty and uncertain cisterns 
and other deposits not dependent on the public supply, and with them 
covered their roofs and window cases, while with their feet they stamped 
out the stray brands that assailed them. So was the destruction stayed 
on its Northwestern edge. The last house to be destroyed was that of 
Dr. John H. Foster, on Fullerton Avenue, where it ends in Lincoln Park. 
It burned at about half-past ten on Monday night, twenty-five hours 
after the time, and four miles from the place, of the starting of the 

Of the fire apparatus there were abandoned to destruction eight 
engines, one hose-elevator, three hose-carts and three hook and ladder 



trucks. This is not, as might at first appear, a mark of cowardly 
desertion ; rather the contrary, for it tends to show that the men kept 
their machines in service until it was too late to harness the horses 
to them ; and a steam fire-engine can not be dragged by hand with- 
out leading-ropes, no matter how willing its crew might be. 

The relief work, wherein all the world joined, is a familiar memory. 
s f Volumes have been written about it, and still much must be left to 
the imagination. At first, everybody was full of zeal in trying to 
do everything for everybody else. The natural impulse was to get 
rid of as many hungry mouths as possible, and so the railroads car- 
ried away thousands and tens of thousands ; and, in an immense 
number of cases, without charge. Special relief committees brought 
money, provisions (cooked and uncooked), clothing, and all the imme- 


diate necessaries of life. This generous course, indispensable at first, 
could not go on without injustice to givers and receivers, for it offered 
a premium on grasping beggary, and left honest want in the back- 

It would be impossible to begin to name the benefactors. Once 
begun, the list could never be closed without doing injustice to the 
unenumerated. By telegraph came offers of $100,000 each from Bos- 
ton, New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh! Now, if one 
could look at some of the small, smaller, smallest gifts, with knowledge 
of the proportion they bore to the means of the giver, it is safe to say 
that these great benefactions would dwindle by comparison. 

A Relief Committee was organized, which appointed sub-com- 
mittees in charge of health, the lost and found, the water supply, 

First Relief 


the shelter and provisions. Churches became the natural centres of 
relief. All school-houses were devoted to sheltering the homeless. 
The street watering-carts turned their attention from laying the dust 
of the streets to moistening the clay of thirsty humanity. It is safe 
to say that even on those terrible nights of Monday and Tuesday, 
few if any went hungry to rest, though many had to sleep ouj: of doors, 
under such slight shelters as ruins and scraps could afford. On Mon- 
day night Chicagoans fed each other ; on Tuesday night the outside 
world was feeding all together. 

Some of the ablest, most noted, honored and trusted citizens, 
banded together under the name of the Relief and Aid Society, met 
and remained in almost continuous session, and gradually all the 
scattered and sporadic movements were quietly turned over to their 

The Chicago 
Relief and 
Aid Society. 



charge. The Mayor was naturally the recipient of the great mass of 
money, goods and offers of assistance; and, on Friday, October I3th, 
he issued his proclamation turning over to this splendid organization 
all the contributions which had reached him, and which should reach 
him. The manner in which this trust was administered furnishes 
the best possible testimony to the wisdom of the act. They perse, 
vered in their devoted, unpaid servitude to the city not for days and 
weeks only, but for months and years. 


To preserve order some 500 citizens were sworn in as special 
policemen, and many thousands enrolled themselves in volunteer 
patrols by- which the unburned streets were watched day and night 

Special Police ' .-/. i r i 

sworn in. to guard against fire and against any organized movement of the 
lawless class threatening peace and order. With the same object in 
view Governor Palmer took into the State service and ordered to 
the city six companies of the State militia. At the same time or 
rather, before the arrival of troops, for it was on the night of 
October 10 he sent three carloads of tents and supplies from Spring- 
field, which arrived on Wednesday, the eleventh. On the same morn- 



ing arrived two companies of regulars from Omaha, ordered in by 
General Philip Sheridan, at the request of Mayor Mason, and under the 
sanction of the Secretary of War, General Belknap. More were 
under way and continued to arrive until there were on the ground 
in all ten companies of regulars, and eight companies of State militia. 
The city was never in better order so far as administration of justice 
was concerned than then. It is not necessary to do more than 
allude to a spasm of jealous State pride which made Governor Palmer 
and others take offence at the use of United States troops on this 
occasion. Everybody was working with the same object in view, 
and the object was accomplished. That is all. 

Militia and 
troops come. 


U. S, soldiers. 


" Water" was now the cry. All the surviving steam fire-engines 
were stationed where they could draw water from the river, and inject 
it into the pipes of the city water-system. The Crane Brothers Manu- 
facturing Company contributed some powerful steam pumps for the 
same use, which were driven by steam from the boiler of a North- 
Western railway engine ; and slowly, slowly, the pipes were filled 
high enough to reach the level of the fire-plugs ; so that one cause 
for dread was somewhat relieved. Then, eight days after the stop- 
page, namely, on October 17, the main engine built up to that time 
was restored to running order; and, with its 18,000,000 gallons per 
day, made the temporary expedients with their few thousands quite 
unnecessary, welcome as they had been in their day. 

So disappeared from earth about 275 lives, $190,000,000 of pro- 
perty, 17,450 buildings, including the homes of 98,000 persons, with 
substantially all their household goods, chattels, books, pictures, cloth- 

First new 

supply of 



ing in short, everything that goes to make a home. To help Chi- 
cago sustain the blow, came funds about as follows : From insurers 
(New York, Connecticut, Great Britain, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsyl- 
onsvania, California and Rhode Island leading), between $45,000,000 and 
$50,000,000.* From gifts in money and other valuables, sent freely 
by a vast range of countries and a variety of ranks, embracing Eng- 
land's queen and New York's newsboys, the African, the Japanese 
and the Hindoo, something like $4,000,000. From the bone and 
marrow, blood and sinew of Chicago herself, about $140,000,000 were 
taken, after all alleviations are allowed for. 

Nevertheless, the spirit of the citizens was too elastic to show 
any long depression. What man has done man can do. Man had 

Rebound of 

I: '] ' 


built Chicago, and could build it again. Some one saw a " burnt 
outer" pick up a brick from his ruins, and asked him what he was 
looking for. " Looking to see how soon they will be cool enough 
to lay again," said he. Mr. Bross, traveling in the East to buy a 
new outfit for the " Tribune," had occasion to speak in public in 
answer to the oft-repeated question regarding Chicago's future. He 
felt confident, and tried to express his confidence tried not to tinder- 
BTOSS under, state the city's future but he failed; he did understate it in spite of 

estimates the . 1rIT , i ni 

recovery. hmiselt. Here was his most extravagant prediction : " r5y the year 
1900 the new Chicago will boast a population of 1,000,000 souls." 
To-day (1891) the city contains a million and a quarter. 

* Charles A. Hewitt, editor of the Albany "Argus," gives the following whimsical details concerning this 
great sum : " Converted into $5 bills, it would make a greenback ribbon from Nev." York through Chicago to Daven- 
prot, Iowa; or a legal tender blanket of thirty-eight acres. In $i bills it would make a railroad track (two rails) 
from New York to San Francisco. 



Close by St. James Church (corner of Cass and Huron Streets) stood one of the small 
wooden houses so numerous all over the city, but particularly on the North Side. It was undis- 
tinguished from the thousands of its kind ; except that it was the home of the writer hereof ; its 
master away and its mistress and her three little children alone and unprotected. The mother 
was wakened shortly after midnight by the roaring wind and the voices of people talking in the 
street ; and looking out saw the southern sky red with flame. A brother living near by tried to 
calm her fears by ridiculing the idea of danger, but maternal instinct forced her to arouse and 
dress the children, and send them northward in his carriage, she remaining behind, and watch- 
ing the ever-increasing glare, and the flight of sparks borne on the blast 

Another friend appeared with offers of help, and by his aid she got her own pony-phaeton 
from the livery stable where it was kept. Meanwhile she was packing the family silver and a 
few garments into a bundle tied in a sheet ; these she put on the phaeton and carried northward 
(the horse restive under the failing sparks), to the house where the children were already lodged 
in temporary safety. Then she walked, facing the blast and the storm of sparks, back to a point 
whence she could see the beloved home, but not reach it. All itf treasures were beyond human 
help. The next day (Monday), the fire in its course was unhurried, as it was traveling across 
the direction of the wind ; but, the water having failed, it was irresistible as ever. At about 


6 A. M. they were compelled to leave the refuge of the night before, and this time they fled far 
to the north, into the part, then sparsely peopled and covered with forest, lying quite beyond 
Lincoln Park even as now (1891) extended. 

It was after daylight on Tuesday that the writer arrived at Chicago, still unable to believe 
that the destruction was quite so frightful as rumor had made it. The first startling and sug- 
gestive indication was the sight of scores hundreds of people, armed with pails, pitchers, 
casks, cans and even barrels, crossing and recrossing the Central tracks, dipping water from 
the lake, and carrying it inland. Then the water-works were really destroyed ! This was bring- 
ing it near home ! The train came no further than Twenty-second Street ; where began a memor- 
able walk. At first nothing strange was met except the "bucket brigade," and the occasional 
overhearing of trivial, defiant, jocular allusions to the fire, uttered by men drunk either with 
liquor or with over-wrought nerves. Walking northward on State Street, distant ruins began to 
be visible; then, just as the last surviving structures were passed, there were several houses 
ruined and prostrate, but not burned. These were no dcubt those which were blown up to check 
the spread of fire southward, for beyond them all was chaos. 

State Street was obstructed with street car rails bent, contorted, displaced by the heat, 
and with tangled skeins of telegraph wire mixed with the brands of burned poles. Perhaps a 
quarter of a mile away might be seen a building or two which seemed to have escaped the destruc- 
tion ; but, on approaching, each one turned out to be only an empty shell, desolate and blackened. 

One man's 




In hundreds of cellars the coal-pile was still slowly burning : and, by the way, when night fell these 
scattered, lurid, half-buried flames were a most picturesque feature of the strange landscape. 

It was a fresh Autumn morning, beautifully clear ; the slanting rays of the sun came over 
the lake, and silvered the calcined walls and chimney-stacks with a cruel imitation of life, gayety 

and brilliance. For the first time in many a 
year the eye roamed at will from lake to river. 
The masts of unburned craft in the South Branch 
were plainly visible ; as were also on the bosom 
of the lake the vessels freshly arrived, bringing 
freight and passengers to the city which was no 
city. If Captain Wells could now have looked 
from the roof of the block house he might have 
thought the flat waste of 1812 to have been 
turned into a magnificent grave-yard. 

Not many people were visible; and those met 
had either never had any sensibilities aroused, 
or had had them calloused by over-tension. Not 
so the newcomer from outside ; no hard-fought 
battle-field could have been more dreadful than 
this vast waste of the products of human labor 
and life. Every fresh vista of ruined beauty, 
vanished riches, departed glory, was a fresh 
poignant, tear-compelling pang. 

It is not true that streets were obliterated 
and landmarks destroyed. Any one familiar 
How the streets with the city could go where he pleased with never more than a momentary doubt of his road, 
newly arrived Far off on the r 'K ht the g reat Illinois Central elevator was standing, towering like a huge elephant 
Chicagoan. above the intervening ruins. 

Toward the west arose the white marble walls of the Postoffice ; only its blind, glassless 
windows and its roofless upper story showing that it was a mere empty shell. A fine tall arch 




of pointed gothic was remarkable as it stood like a gateway; vacancy behind it. It was the 
remains of the entrance to the Honore Building on Dearborn Street. Further in the same direc- 
tion a half-mile away, yet perfectly visible from State Street was the well-known form of the 
Court-House and City Hall. All these passed, by threading the way through the middle of streets 
still quite impassable to vehicles of any kind, the La Salle Street tunnel was reached. This being 
the only remaining passage way between the South Side and the North, was already well filled 



with walkers. The covered part was in darkness, and the cry, " Keep to the right," was inces- 
santly repeated, mingling with the tread of innumerable footsteps. 

Even now it seemed as if some miracle 
must have saved the little homestead; but emerg- 
ence from the tunnel, showing a much more per- 
fect clearance than even that of the South Side, 
showing the naked tower of St. James Church 
standing in solitary state, visible from summit 
almost to base this brought home the certainty 
of homelessness and desolation. The tower 
being a guide the intervening space was soon 
passed, and there was the vacant lot ; there near 
the front was the harp-shaped iron of the piano, 
with a jangle of tuneless strings ; half-way back 
lay the distorted remains of the heating-furnace; 
beyond that again the fragments of the cooking- 
range, and this was all. Not quite all either, for 
under where the familiar "hall-closet" had been, 
there lay three blackened, bared and twisted 
strips of steel which had been swords one Union 
and two rebel. 

No shadow of doubt had been felt (or 
needed to be felt) as to the safety of the more 
precious contents of the home. They must of 

course be sought in the North. So Lincoln Park 
was the next objective point. In passing through the park the attention was repeatedly drawn to 
pitiful little heaps of ashes with spiral bed-springs and other scraps of iron scattered about them 
Each of these told of some hurried deposit of household gear, brought thus far out of the burning, North Side 
and here left to be set on fire by the flying embers. Desolation. 

Somewhere along there a country visitor made his appearance driving a one-horse wagon. 


On being thereto moved he named the moderate sum of one dollar as his price for turning round 
and carrying a passenger indefinitely northward. A shorter task was his, however, for a scant 
half-mile showed approaching the well-known phaeton and pony. "All safe!" "Of course, 
with you to care for them. How about the old pictures?" "All gone!" "Everything else 
gone?" "Everything, but silver and watches, and a bundle of clothing." "Well; we'll get 
some more." J. K. 

Books about 
the Fire. 



HE first book published about the Great 
Fire was by Alfred L. Sewell. After that 
followed volumes enough to form a small 
library ; those of Sheahan and Upton, 
of Elias Colbert, of Isaac N. Arnold, 
and a host of others.* As even these 
careful and able works, written at the 
time and on the spot, could not exhaust 
the great theme, it is vain to try to do 
it any kind of justice in a short " story" 
aimed at showing the before-and-after as 
well as the famous event. He who would 
gain an adequate idea of it may read any of the works, or all of them, 
and the more he reads the more nearly he will come to a real conception 
of the scenes and incidents. From one or other he will learn of the 



sufferings of those who took to the lake shore for refuge, some of whom 
were forced into the waves even up to the chin. He will read of the 

The list in the Chicago Public Library is as follows: "The Doomed City," "New Chicago," "Relief from 
Artists of Paris and Dresseldorf," " Colbert and Chamberlain ; Chicago Fire," " Goodspeed ; Fires in Chicago and 
the Northwest;" "Luzerne: Chicago, or the Fire-lost City," "The Ruined City;" "Sewell: the Great Fire of 1871:" 
"Sheahan and Upton: Chicago Conflagration;" Strickland: the Chicago Fire. 1871;" Seeger and Schlaeger: Chi- 
cago," and bound volumes of newspapers relating to the Chicago tire. 




bank-officer who saved the treasures of his bank, and find out how he 
did it ; of those who passed up the river in a tug-boat threading its 
way through masses of floating obstruction and between walls of fire ; 
of the terrible experiences of the sick and the gruesome fate of corpses 
awaiting burial. 

In a previous chapter the destruction of the Public Records 
was mentioned, and the existence of a thread of testimony which if 
saved might mitigate the loss. To make this more clear it is neces- 
sary to inform those who do not already know the fact that trans- 
fers of real estate are, in this country, matters of public record. In 
each county a " Recorder" is appointed, whose business it is to copy, 

Fate of the 


at full length, in a book or books provided for the purpose, every 
deed, every mortgage, every judgment, and every release of mort- 
gage or judgment. It is the duty and privilege of him who receives 
any such instrument to present it at once for record ; and from that 
moment the original instrument is almost a superfluity, for the record 
of it answers all purposes which such original could serve. In Eng- 
land, the owner of property which he wishes to sell offers to the 
proposed buyer bundles and boxes full of documents showing who 
has owned the land before him, from time immemorial ; thus estab- 
lishing the chain by which the title has come to him. The exami- 
nation of this mass of wills, deeds, mortgages, releases and what not, 
makes fine pickings for attorneys, but it also makes the transfer of 
land very awkward, slow and expensive. In America the buyer has 
his recourse to the title as shown by the Public Records, which 
he can have abbreviated and shown in one convenient document 




Maps and plats 
of City prop- 

called an " Abstract of Title," which presents, not copies in full of 
the deeds, etc., as they exist on the Records, but a brief statement 
of each, showing date, page of record, description of property, names 
of grantor and grantee, witnesses, consideration, acknowledgment and 
other particulars. The original documents may be, and usually are, 
neglected, scattered, destroyed or otherwise lost sight of ; the Record 
taking their place for all practical purposes. The great ledgers of 
items accumulate by the thousand in the vaults of county buildings. 
The property holder feels safe. Whether he lives or dies ; there is 
the legal proof of his ownership, safe under the seal of law. 

The public records included, besides, maps or plates of the whole 
city, showing all the original boundaries and also the additions, sub- 


divisions and re-subdivisions sometimes several successive cuttings 
up of the same land, giving new lots, blocks, streets and alleys to 
supersede the old in which every foot of ground is displayed, and 
according to which every conveyance is made. These maps and plats 
were copied by the " abstract men," as well as the written instruments, 
and were as necessary indispensable as they, to the integrity of 
the private property of each citizen. 

As these records are public ; absolutely open to every citizen, 
high or low, lawyer or layman, property-owner or pauper ; there are 
a host of industrious scriveners who spend their time in making 
indexes of these transfers, and preparing the " abstracts of title " 
before mentioned, as the convenient vouchers of ownership to accom- 
pany every fresh transfer. 

The Abstract 
makers anc 
their work. 



This " Abstract Business," so-called, had been, up to 1871, a safe, 
laborious and reasonably profitable 
calling ; mainly in the hands of 
Chase Brothers, Shortall & Hoard, 
and Jones & Sellers ; and each of 
these firms had a set of books, more 
or less complete, showing indexes, 
lot-records and press copies of ab- 
stracts given out. 

On the morning of October 9, 
1871, within half an hour after the 
Court-House bell fell (2.05), every 
scrap and vestige of the Public 
Records of Cook County vanished 
into thin air and ashes. 

What next? Suppose one to 
have bought a lot, paid for it, built 
a house on it and seen it burn, with 
the deed which showed his owner- 
ship ; how is he to make good his 
claim ? Suppose another to have FERNANDO JONES. 

sold a lot, but not got the pay for it in full ; how is he to prove his 

lien ? Suppose a third to have lent 
money on mortgage, how is he to 
collect his debt ? Suppose a fourth 
to have borrowed money on mort- 
gage, and afterward repaid it wholly 
or in part ; how is he to show his 
credit? How are pending suits 
concerning disputed titles to be 
settled, now that Court Records 
and County Records are alike lost? 
The " abstract- men " natur- 
ally had their offices, their indexes 
and their lot-books all in the im- 
mediate neighborhood of the 
Court-House and the records which 
formed the basis of their work; and 
S.J.HAYES. there was not an hour's difference 

between the burning of the first and the last of them. If there was 
a thread or shred of evidence preserved by them to avert the unspeak- 
able disaster which seemed to have overtaken all property -holders, 

The real-estate 

3 io 


A clue to the 

from the cottager to the millionaire, it was worth an incalculable sum. 
"Its weight in gold" is an absurdly inadequate standard of value for 
the occasion. 

Happily, the golden thread, the clew to the labyrinth, was safe ; and 
to show just how it chanced to survive, and at the same time to give a 
fresh and hitherto unwritten account of the events of that momentous 
night, we are favored with a narrative drawn from the excellent 
memory of John G. Shortall ; a chief actor in the episode by which 
his firm's part of the precious documents were preserved. They were 
almost unharmed, and to this day (1891) they remain in the abstract 
office (now Handy, Simmons & Company), as precious muniments to 
show the origin of land-titles, as well as an interesting memento of 
a terrible night's work : 

a night. 


I went to church Sunday night as usual; while we were walking home Mr. and Mrs. 
Hibbard and Mrs. Shortall and I Mr. Hibbard said to me: "You should have seen that lire 
last night ; it was an amazing spectacle ; the flames were fiercer, rose higher than I had ever seen 
John G. Short* before," and he gave me a very vivid description of it. Naturally, inasmuch as it had occurred, 
I regretted that I had not seen it. My interest was much excited by his description. 

About half-past nine o'clock, as we were retiring, passing a north window, I noticed the 
reflection in the sky of another great fire ; I thought at first it was that which remained of the 
fire of the night before, but soon saw that it was too far south for that ; I stood there a few 
moments, and presently concluded doubtless impressed by Mr. Hibbard's description of an 
hour before that I would go out and see it "run to a fire" something I had not done for 
ten years or more. Just as I was, with a velveteen house-coat I had on, I put on my hat 
and started. 

I followed the crowd down Michigan Avenue and across Harrison Street bridge, and then 
turned again southward, until I came close to, but still northward and eastward of the fire. It 
was even then an awful exhibition of the fury of flame uncontrolled. I retired before it, as it 
moved from house to house, continually spreading, and a great stillness was upon the crowds 
who had gathered; nothing was audible but the roar* of the flame and the crackling of the tim- 
bers and sheathing of the houses. At that time I perceived one house, it must have been fifty 


feet by seventy feet, two high stories, with a sort of an attic a very fine house, one of the 

best of those days and as I remember near if not upon Harrison Street. From curiosity, I 

timed the burning of that house from the moment the cornice began to smoke, for it took fire 

from the top, until there was not a particle of the woodwork of the structure left, and it was 

all woodwork except the foundation; it took it seems scarcely credible just eight minutes p ateo f an at 

to burn ; just eight minutes until there was nothing left but a heap of ashes.* The wind was landmark. 

high, very high, from the southwest. I went along with the crowd, retreating before the fire, 

burning clapboards and smaller stuff carried high over our heads, or falling about us, the air 

being filled with the glowing particles that were carried on the wind, now risen to a heavy gale. 

The heat was dreadful ; the heat of both air and fire. 

By the time we reached Van Buren Street bridge, or near it, the whole air was filled, as 
1 have said, with the movable burning embers, and with hundreds thousands of larger pieces 
of burning material that had been wrenched away by the wind, ami were being hurled along 
through space, northeasterly, toward our office, a mile away. I perceived here in the crowd, Mr. 
B. F. Hadduck, an old friend and client of ours, as we were struggling across Van Buren Street 
bridge, and I said to him (he was the only one with whom I spoke that night until I arrived 
at my office): " I am afraid that these embers, driven by the wind, will set fire to the roofs or 
curtains or screens in front of our buildings down town, and those buildings will be set on fire." 


THE FIRE OF 1871. 

He did not think it possible, but I made up my mind that our office building was in danger 
from that cause. The great projecting cornices that were in those days all woodwork, the casings F 
about the windows, and the window screens or awnings, would be easily set on fire, and when 
any of these should catch, anything everything might be apprehended; so I started for the 
office, resolved to cut down our awnings. 

Our office of Shortall & Hoard, Conveyancers was in the building on the northeast 
corner of Washington Street and Clark Street, directly opposite the Court-House and County 
Record office. I tried to find the janitor, but failed. It was as quiet as the grave there at that 
time. I broke open the office door and got inside, and began to cut down the awnings upon 
which the embers were already falling, and the fire was approaching rapidly. At this time a 
very curious thing occurred ; a sudden jet of flame appeared to rise, as I judged, about Lake 
Street, near La Salle Sireet, a sudden bursting out of flame, out of the darkness of the night 
and I thought something had been set on fire by those flying embers, as I had expected. I did 
not have time to watch its development I was too busy with my own affairs. 

But to resume; I got our awnings cut down, and they fell to the ground, but I found the 

work done of no value, for all the front windows of the building being supplied with awnings, 

the removal of our half-dozen was useless. I tried again to find the janitor to help me, but 

again failed. Then I gave up the thought of saving the building, and made up my mind that 

* This was the old " Caton house in the prairie," mentioned back in " the thirties." 

irst appre- 
hension of 
the coming 



The fugitive 

I would get a truck, and get out our books, if I could. The street was now filled with streams 
of people ; all sorts of vehicles, trucks, wagons, were flying by us, all going northward ; it seemed 
that everybody was driving northward, or being driven, by the fire behind them. 

It did not seem possible even then that the fire could cross the riiiti the South Branch, 
half-a-mile away it could not be, unless it should have leaped, and fallen so, by the mode I 
have suggested, that is, by the setting fire to awnings or cornices by the dropping embers. I 
stood down on the street in front of our door, and I engaged, I am sure, fifteen trucks stopped 
them as they were (Tying northward, filled with all sons of household stuff, beds and bureaus, 
chairs, clothing, people even, the old and helpless. I engaged them one by one to come back to 
me ; not one of them returned. I offered them any price they demanded. The fact was they 
were largely taken forcible possession of by people who were in diie distress, who insisted that 
they should carry their goods and little things to a place of safety. 

By this time I became convinced that I must act at once, and that it was rather danger- 
ous to risk the return of any of those truck-men ; when my friend Mr. J. Young Scammon rode 
by on a horse, and I said to him : " Mr. Scammon, I am afraid we are all going to burn up." 
(At this time, I may say that several of the old clerks employed in our office, were gathering 
about the entrance to the office all faithful friends ready to help in the endeavor to save our 


Records, a great mass of heavy volumes in which were entered all matters pertaining to our 
land titles, and from which we make our digests or abstracts). Mr. Scammon said : " Why, 
Shortall, you have no idea that the fire will get as far as this?" I said: "I am very much 
afraid it will, Mr. Scammon, and I wish you would do me the favor to ride over to Parmelee's 
stables, and ask him to send me a couple of his largest wagons." "Oh," said he, '' I think 
you are mistaken, but I will give you the horse if you wish, and you ride over." It was kind 
of him, but I said I did not dare to leave my office, hoping some of the trucks would return. 
Lucky failure and possibly our little force would scatter in my absence, so I waited. At one time during 
meant'effort. tnese moments, that seemed as years, a most providential thing occurred, well worth consider- 
ing. I tried to get into the Court- House at its eastern door with the intention of carrying our 
books in for safety, never dreaming of the possibility of its destruction a large stone building, 
isolated as it was. I found that east door locked, and I could not get the key. Had I found 
it all our books would have shared the fate of the Public Records they duplicated. 

Just then Mr. James W. Nye, who was in the hardware house of Hibbard & Spencer- 
came up and said: "Mr. Shortall, what are you going to do? Are you going to get youi 
books out?" "I want to," I said; "that is what I am here for, and we must have a truck, 
or we are all lost." He said, " You stand here on Clark Street, and I will go around the corner 
on Washington Street, and we will hire or take the first man with a wagon who passes by." That 
was practical and timely help. I waited there, and Mr. Nye went around on Washington Street. 
In a few minutes he called to m. I hastened to him. and found him holding an expressman's 



horse by the bit, while the driver was mad all through, as was natural, but useless under the 
pressure. I soon had the horse's head myself; and the driver being now under some subjection. 
I released Mr. Nye, with much gratitude, from his position. Before going he handed me a revol- 
ver he had in his pocket, and said I might want to use it. I told the man there was no use in 
his struggling ; we should hold the horse and wagon ; would release him if he desired, but the 
horse and wagon we must have. 

So I backed the horse up to the side entrance of the building on Washington Street. As 
soon as our clerks saw this, they began to bring down the books from the office, and soon the 
wagon, which was a small one and weak, was as full as it could be, and yet not one fifth of the 
books we desired to save were down. It was a trying moment. 

Just then our friend, Mr. John L. Stockton, came up with a double-team large truck ; I did 
not know him, he was so black and grimy with smoke, cinders and dust. He said: "John, this 
is what you want ; I have been trying to find one of our teams for you for the last hour." 
Curiously, as I afterward found, this was one of the men I engaged hours before to come back 
to me but the Messrs. Stockton had given instructions to these men all of them (they were 
in the transportation business), to go out with their teams and save and help everybody they 
could. This was a team and truck he had at last found, and brought around to us; of course it 

Stocktons to 
the rescue. 


took but a few moments to unload the wagon, and get the books piled up snugly and carefully 
on the new god-send, as I deemed it. I gave the expressman $5 for his five minutes that was 
about the time he was in our possession and dismissed him with thanks. 

It was now about 1.30 A. M. or 2 o'clock. At that time the air was fu'l of the fire, sweep 
ing toward and all about us, and of cinders, that fell on the books, as I stood on the truck 
stowing them snugly, and on horses and driver; it was a perfect rain of fire. No description is 
adequate, and yet so wrought up was I that I did not feel it, barely was conscious of it, while I 
brushed the burning cinders off the books, and occasionally shook myself, to keep free. We 
then continued bringing the books down from the office, and the various port-folios and material, 
and so with my aides I got everything out except a lot of the labor saving memoranda that we had 
made in all the years preceding. But the books or records themselves were all on the truck 
and piled up high upon it, as you may guess. 

A serious difficulty occurred when it was reported that General Sheridan and some of his 
soldiers were down there, at the corner diagonally opposite us, about Smith & Nixon's building 
{where the Opera House Block is now) to blow up the building, to stop the fire if possible. That 
was a fact that filled the driver of our truck with alarm, and he said he'd be damned if he would con- 
sent to be blown up for all the people in the city; and I threatened him, but did not blame him. 
There was no cessation of our work, whatever danger might impend. The men kept steadily on 
carrying the books down: but the driver would start up his horses every little minute, and when I 

Books on the 
truck and rain 
of fire on the 



threatened, and in earnest, too, would stop, and then start and stop again, and so on through that 
dreadful time, until the last load of books that came out of the office and they came out only when 
the fire was coming up through the floor of the office, from Buck & Rayner's drug store under- 
neath were placed on our wagon a block away from the door, to which point we had thus 
nervously, spasmodically, come. 

During that last hour, the Court-house, with all its contents, was burned down, and the great 
bell came down, down through the floor of the belfry, and on down, crashing through one floor 
after another to the bottom ; and fell within a few hundred feet of me, and I never heard it, the roar of 
The peat bell the fire was so awful, and the hoarse noise of the frightened, panic-stricken crowd so great, to which 
' was added my own great stress, so that the first I knew of it was when other people spoke of the 
great crash afterwards. 

Then we started, all being safely stowed on the truck. There were two prisoners who had been 
allowed to escape from the jail (then in the Court-house) and I had one of these two on each side of 
my overladen truck, to hold the books on. I formed the apex of the group, with my pistol, cocked 
still, in my pocket, and directed the truck man to drive forward through the rain of fire so as soon 
as possible, to get to windward of it ; and we worked to eastward, and southward, through 
the dense crowds of people who were fleeing toward the north, until we got finally through the fire 


Help of the 

Back again tc 
the fire. 


and brought our precious books down to my house and gratefully stowed them away there in safety 
in safety if the wind should continue southwest, and not change, of which there was much and 
natural fear. 

When we arrived at home, my jail birds, the truckman and I carried the books in, piling 
them up in the hall, library and parlor got them in any way. There must have been two hundred 
record volumes and this I may say, in parenthesis, that it took three trucks to carry those books 
back again, to where they were lodged after the fire, when we built our vault for them in a basement 
on Wabash Avenue. We lost nothing from the truck in that savage passage of wind and fire and 

What streets did we take? We went down Washington Street to State Street, along State to 
Madison, along Madison to Wabash Avenue, Wabash Avenue to Adams Street, I think, and then 
over to Michigan Avenue Michigan Avenue was full of moving, fleeing people, bent on reaching 
the lake shore with their goods and lives; the buildings were there yet untouched by the fire; it had 
not yet worked so far eastward. 

When I had gotten my books safely housed, I left them to return to the fire to help other 
friends Hibbard & Spencer and others. When I returned, the fire was destroying the west side 
of State Street; it had gotten thus far. 

While I was at the office, between i and 2 o'clock in the morning, Mr. Hoard, my associate, 
came to the house to find me, and Mrs. Shortall told him that I had been gone since 9:30 o'clock. 



He said to my wife: " We are all ruined; our office is gone, the whole city is on fire; " and went 
on down town. While he was down town, I had carried the books up to the house, and, as I said, 
returned to the fire to help my friends who were in the same agony of mind I had passed through, 
and I did work, with them, until morning. 

Hoard went from my house down town, as I said, and returned in a couple of hours about 
3.30 A. M., to my house I having come home and gone again. He said, again: "We are all 
ruined " appearing to be entirely broken down " I have been down town, and can not get within 
three blocks of the office, everything is destroyed gone utterly." As he was turning to go away, 
Mrs. Shortall said, " Mr. Hoard, won't you step inside?" And when he saw the library in the house, 
he threw up his hands, and said: " My God, who has clone this?" He was completely unnerved, 
as I said. I speak of this to show how little one could have done had he not followed the progress 
of the destruction as I did. 

I went back again to help my neighbors, as I might be able to do, and did what I could. One Exasperating 
incident will show the thoughtlessness of eome 
men: Hibbard & Spencer attempted to save a 
lot of their fine cutlery, and, after great effort, 
got it carted over to that vacant space of ground, 
east from the avenue the north end of the 
ground between Michigan Avenue and the lake 
and we all worked hard to cover it up with 
sheet-iron and zinc plates to make it reasonably 
fireproof Just as we had gotten it perfectly 
packed and secure, as we thought, some one 
came along with a great truck-load of boxes of 
tea, and the truck man insisted on unloading it 
in front of, and to windward of this valuable cut- 
lery. We all expostulated, pleaded with him: 
We said: " Please do not put it down there, it 
is so inflammable; " but in spite of anything we 
could do, he persisted, and unloaded it there; it 
was not half an hour before the flames had fallen 
upon the tea, and not only it, but all our fine cut- 
lery was destroyed. Fancy that heat! 

Worn out, and on my way home, I sat 
down for a moment on the Western News Com- 
pany's front doorstep on State Street John R. 
Walsh then had his news store where Mandel 
Brothers are now and there it was, that, for the 
first time. I lost my nerve. Sitting there, I saw 
the walls of the building just south of the First 
National Bank building on the corner of Wash- 
ington and State Streets crumble, as the fire swept through the buildings from the West. The 
destructibility of all material, the instability of all substance, even the most impervious, shocked px^austed 
me. I saw those walls crumble with the heat, they seemed to melt, slowly, steadily; one could see nature breaks 
them moving in the process of disintegration, and presently sink helplessly down. I cried like a 
child, and it was some time before I recovered myself sufficiently to go home. 

Tuesday afternoon at Madison Street, standing on a slight elevation, say the height of an 
omnibus, one could see the trees in Lincoln Park, two and a half miles away, with everything in the 
intervening space utterly destroyed. That was slightly illustrative of the superficial extent of the 
destruction. JOHN G. SHORTALL. 

CHICAGO, July, 1891. 

Such is the thrilling story; interesting as a mere narrative of struggle 
with and victory over adverse future, doubly interesting by reason of 
the magnitude of the interests at stake. True, these were only the 
archives of one of the three " Abstract Firms," but their loss would not 
only have ruined the owners scattered to the winds the product of all 
the myriad hours of human labor with mind and pen, that had been 




The loss 


Chain i- for 

spent in creating these records but would have left a disastrous blank 
in the " chains of title " of thousands of pieces of property: And in law, 
as well as in mechanics, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. 

The other abstract firms (Chase Brothers and Jones & Sellers) had 
somewhat different experiences. They carried away some things, saved 
some in fire-proof safes, and left some to burn; for they were all literally 
within a stone's throw of each other, and burned practically at the same 

It curiously happened that, though the portion of records saved by- 
each abstract firm was only a portion, yet the part lost by each was 
saved by another, so that when combined the fragments made a total 
whole and entire, lacking nothing in continuity or completeness. Chase 
Brothers lost many of their press copies of abstracts given out, but saved 


Tract indexes, Judgment dockets, Tax sales, and some volumes of their 
"Original entries." Shortall & Hoard lost their record of Original 
Entries, but saved Tract indexes, Judgment dockets, Tax sales, and 
some volumes of their Original entries. Jones & Sellers saved all 
their Original entries and letter-press copies of abstracts given out. 

So the past history of all Chicago real estate (and its future fate, 
one might almost say) was in the hands of six men, their private prop- 
erty, to do with as they pleased. They could destroy it without break- 
ing any law. They could keep it to themselves, using their private 
knowledge to unsettle titles, and take advantage of confusion and dis- 
turbance to convert property to their own use. They might make 
their ownership the means of immense extortion, of incalculable gain to 
themselves and their heirs and successors forever. Who so rich as he 



who holds his fellows at his mercy and treats them without mercy ?* 
A third course was open to them ; to use their precious records for 
the benefit of the public, charging a reasonable price for reasonable ser- 
vice. The last was the course pursued ; and the abstract business of the 
three firms, combined into one vast establishment, is to-day what it was 
before the fire, laborious, intricate, well done, prosperous and reason- 
ably profitable ; its owners not the poorest men in the community, and 
very far indeed from being the richest. 

Such a course of conduct places these men in the list of Chicago's 
worthies ; a long list, and yet one where there is always room. In 1673 
and 1683 LaSalle and Marquette toiled, and died for an idea. In 1812 
William Wells rode out to almost certain death in the effort to save the 
helpless whites from the ruthless red men. In 1835 George W. Dole 



refused to trade upon the necessities of the hungry, or even to let 
others do so. In 1861 thousands of citizens threw life and fortune into 

* Evil-disposed persons tried, in the days that followed, to lure them into such schemes. Over and over they were 
approached by sharpers anxious to pry into weak titles, in order to trouble innocent holders and get their holdings away 
from them or levy " blackmail " on them ; but no : " What interest have you in the property in question ? " was asked : 
and where the answer was not satisfactory, the precious books remained sealed to the knavish schemer. 

The following letter, additional to the narrative furnished by Mr. Shortall, will speak for itself, and is printed as 
corroborative of the opinions above expressed : 

. . "After the fire it became necessary to reinstate, so far as practicable, the pending cases and dockets of the 
various Courts, as well as the plats of Sub-divisions, in order that the business of the Courts and the work of the tax 
collector's office might proceed with the least injury to the public interest- the whole Public Records, of that character, 
as of its deeds, mortgages, etc., having been entirely swept away by the Fire This information was promptly and freely 
given to the public by our firms, whenever and wherever requested by the authorities, without any charge being made 
by us. The Surveyors of the city were also allowed free and generous access to our maps, for information for the public 
interest. The well-known atlases compiled by Greeley and Carlsen were so compiled by them, for the most part, from 
our original maps and tracings, without any charge by us, upon the theory that we were thus serving the public replac- 
ing and making accessible, in so much, the fundamental portions of the Public records. 

" Our officers al ways stood between the assaulter of titles professional or otherwise and the owners of property, 
in protection of the latter's interest. Information has invariably been refused, although continuously sought for, and at 
any price, that would endanger property interests or serve to disturb the bona fide holders of Chicago real (state. . . 





the scale of patriotic duty. In 1871 Joseph Stockton (one of the wounded 
veterans of 1861), and his brother and partner, John Stockton, when in 
possession of a small army of teams and trucks, which might have been 
farmed out at $ 1,000 an hour, simply sent them forth with orders to give 
all the help they could to whomsoever might be most in need. (They 
themselves were already "burned out," and heavy losers.) And to this 
list of model citizens, arising in time of trial, tried and not found want- 
ing, should be added the names of the Abstract-men of 1872. 

It has often been said that the only building in the track of the 
fire which escaped destruction was the wooden house of Mahlon D. 
Ogden, which stood at about the center of the North Division (North 
Clark Street and Walton Place). This is a mistake, as it loses sight of 
the great Sturges& Buckingham " Elevator B" (also of wood) in the 


Illinois Central freight grounds, at the junction of Chicago river and 
Lake Michigan. The story of the saving of this important structure is 
worth recording, but seems to have remained untold. Mr. Ebenezer 
Buckingham relates it as it was burned in upon his memory at the time. 
Putting this with the recollections of Joseph F. Tucker, general freight 
agent of the Illinois Central road, the following facts appear: 

Toward morning of Monday, Mr. Tucker became convinced that 
the fire must reach the Illinois Central and Michigan Central grounds, 
full as they were of buildings, trains and goods. He went down to the 
machine shops at Twelfth Street, where the engines were stored and 
where S. J. Hayes, master of machinery, lived, and with loud knocking 
and calls awoke Mr. Hayes and told him that the yards must be cleared. 
In a short time Mr. Hayes had a great force of engines fired up, manned 



and started, and as fast as cars could be coupled they were sent down 
the road ; some of them switched out as far as Calumet, fourteen miles 
away. All the cars were saved, with whatever of value they contained ; 
but the buildings, with all goods, wares, merchandise and baggage 
stored in them, were perforce left to their fate 

Among the articles in the freight-yard were two steam fire-engines 
shipped on a flat car from the " Fishhill Manufacturing Co." to Chicago 
for forwarding, one to Racine, Illinois, and one to Manistee, Michigan. 
On Monday morning, at about eight o'clock, Elevator A (only a few 
hundred feet from B) caught fire from the flying embers, or from the 
Illinois Central freight house or passenger station, and was soon a mass 
of flame. 

This was a matter of almost as much importance to the railway as 


to the owners ; for without elevators what could the road do with its 
great grain business? It was a ticklish moment. The wooden coal- 
shed of Elevator B took fire from the intense heat of its burning neigh- 
bor, and all seemed lost. 

In some way the knowledge of the presence of the new fire- 
engines came to the helpless watchers, and they acted on the impulse of 
the moment. Mr. John Buckingham, Mr. Hayes and Mr. Mitchell 
(superintendent) seized a machine; Mr. Hayes fired it up, backed it to 
where it could draw water from the river, and started the pump. Mr. 
Mitchell held the hose, and though the fire had already burned through 
from the coal-shed to the office in the engine-room of the elevator, the 
building was saved. 


The elevator company gladly bought the engine, and, in honor of 
its service, gave it the name of " Rescue," and a good house to itself; 
and to this day (1891) it remains on the ground, in perfect condition 
and well cared for, and once a month is fired up and put in operation 
to test its continued efficiency. 

Reverting to the matter of Cook County Records, some new and 
interesting statistics and narratives are given as appropriate to the sub- 
ject, although the statement of facts is anticipatory. 
Accumulations New books, pens, ink, paper, desks, etc., were bought ; the interior 

since the fire. * 

of the old water-tank at Adams and La Salle Streets was fitted up and 
the gigantic task entered upon anew with unabated spirit. 

Mr. W. Scott Kaufman, Deputy Recorder, is authority for the 
following resume of the accumulations of the Record office in the 
twenty years following the Fire (1871 1891): 

Record Department. Pages. 

4,000 Record Books, averaging 640 pages each ......................... 2,560,000 

325 Index 600 " " ......................... 195,000 

53 Tract " " 75 " " ......................... 3,975 

6 Index 600 " " ......................... 3,600 

Abstract Department. 

200 Original Land Entry Books, averaging 640 pages each ............ 128,000 

300 Tract " " . 500 " " ............ 150,000 

100 Recorded Abstract " 640 " " ............ 64,000 

325 Tax-Sale 400 " " ............ 130,000 

too Judgment Record " 400 " " ............ 40,000 

120 Office Memorandum " . " 600 " " ....... .... 72,000 

320 Press Copy Abstract " r,ooo " " ............ 300,000 

5.829 Total ...................... 3,646,575 

The entire number of documents recorded in the twenty years has 
been 1,762,233. The number recorded in the year ending April 30, 
1891, was 200,000; a number exceeding, it is said, those of New York, 
Philadelphia and Boston put together. So active is the market for 
lands and lots; and the buying, selling, incumbering, releasing, laying out 
and indexing of real estate in the formation of a mighty city. 

Mr. Kaufman was in charge of the U. S. Government Weather signal office at the time of the 
Fire and sent off his final report for Chicago just before midnight. When he left the office he 
observed the advancing glow in the southwest and walked toward it, crossed the river, turned about 
Government and recrossed it at just the same time when the fire leaped over. He returned to the signal office 
na*officers B ~ (La Salle Street, opposite the Court House) and packed up his instruments for carrying away. 
Before starting he went out on the roof and took a last look at his anemometer (wind gauge) and 
saw that it registered sixty miles an hour! The additional resistance offered by his bodv to the 
furious gale was such as to threaten the carrying away of the gauge frame, himself and all, and he 
beat a hasty retreat; later pausing at the corner of Washington and Clark Streets until his office and 
the Court House were all burning up together. His boarding house was on Michigan Avenue, 
near Monroe Street, from which place he was driven by the flames shortly after seven on Monday 


morning. He dragged his trunk across the Lake Front Park (then filled with furniture, pictures, 
books, baggage, etc., all doomed to destruction) and threw it into the water, covering it with a 
drenched mattress to keep it under. Then he found a friend, and the two hired a boat, came back 
for the trunk, tried to row the boat against the wind down to Twelfth Street, gave up the effort, 
spent most of the day among the piles which supported the railroad track, and late in the after- 
noon boarded a train which had backed down to about Madison Street to allow the refugees to get 
on board, and so were carried South, out of the way of further harm. 


That there are two sides to every question is a general rule, and it would be absurd to assume 
that an exception existed in the matter ol the conduct of the Chicago fire department and water 
department on that night and day of trial, failure and disaster. As to the destruction of the water 
works, it should be noticed that D. W. C. Cregier, chief engineer, was out of the city. In reply to a Inter yj cw with 
question as to whether or not it would have made any difference if he had been here. Mr. Cregier Cregier. ' 
says (1891) that the building would have gone just the same, only he would probably not have 
remained alive to tell of it. He says that they had streams playing on the roof, and that 
the south windows were where the fire came in, from the burning of Lill's carpenter-shop, and came 
in such intensity that to stay would mean death, sudden and inevitable. He says that three men in 
the brewery staid too long, and on coming out, crept into some lengths of large iron pipe lying 
near by, where they perished, and whence he next morning pulled out their remains a mere hand- 
ful, without clothing or any semblance of humanity. He says that this building had never had a 
metal roof; that the previous building (1854) h ad a ceiling of corrugated iron, which condensed the 
steam and dropped the condensations, to the injury of the machinery; wherefore the use of wood on 
the new building. Regarding the fire department he can say but little. It was not up to the wants 
of the city, and never would have been but for the Great Fire and the fire of 1874. After the flames 
got across the South Branch, no department in the world could have done anything with it in the 
face of that furious dry gale, and in a city built as Chicago was at that time. 

It is to be remembered that the steam fire-engines of that day were not equal to those of the 
present; and that directed against the furious gale, an eye-witness says, " They wouldn't carry ten 
feet!" In an interview with Chief Fire Marshal Williams, on November I4th, copied in Sheahan & 
Upton's admirable "Chicago, Past. Present and Future," we read : " When I got to the fire I should 
think there were six or seven buildings ablaze sheds and out-houses. We got it under control Qiief'Fir*'" 1 
and it wouldn't have gone a foot further, but the next thing I knew they came and told me that St. Marshall 
Paul's Church, two squares north, was on fire. . . . The Rehm stood on the corner of Church w 'l'iams. 
and Mather Streets, working that plug, and it was so hot the engineer had to put up a door to pro- 
tect himself. The Gund was on the east side of ttie church and the Coventry on the north. 
The next thing 1 knew the fire was in Bateham's planing-mill. When I got there I found that the 
match factory was going, as was the lumber just north of it. We got two streams in there, but 
couldn't do any good; as the fire was thick and heavy, and ran along to another lumber yard, north, 
and spread east to the old red mill. I went north to head it off and found it was down to Harrison 
Street. Commissioner Chadwick came to me, and said. ' Don't you know the fire is ahead of you?' 
I told him it was getting ahead of me in spite of all I could do; it was just driving me right along. 
I got down to Van Buren Street and was working the engines there, but it was so hot that the men 
were obliged to run for their lives, leaving their hose on the ground. They came to me and asked 
what they were to do about hose. I said, ' God only knows." 

"We got the Gund located at the corner of Van Buren and Canal Streets. . . . The 
flames rolled over the men who were with the engine on the corner and I told the foreman to get 
her out or we would lose her. I asked some citizens to help and we ran up to uncouple the suction 
from the plug, and others commenced to uncouple the hose. Just then a wave of flame came rolling 
over the street, and I was obliged to get away. Hose was afterward attached to the axle of the 
Gund, and the citizens pulled her up on the sidewalk where she was burned up. 

" I met Alec McGonigle. fireman of the Long John, and he told me there was a fire on the 
South Side. I told him to go for it, and I jumped on a hose cart and went over too. ... I got 
the Economy to work on the corner of Washington and La Salle Streets and led the hose in through 
the stairway opposite. We were not in there three minutes before a sheet of flames rolled over us 
and the boys dropped the pipe and ran for their lives. The wind was blowing so heavy that the 
water would not go ten feet from the nozzle of the pipe. We could not strike a second-story win- 
dow. ... I then went to work and got my two engines to play on the Sherman House. I 
thought we would be able to save it on account of the open space opposite. But. my God! there 
was a piece of board six feet long that came over and landed right on top of the [old] Tribune build- 
ing on Clark Street, and it was not two minutes before that row was on fire. . . . While I 
was wetting down the Sherman House I heard ihat the Water Works were on fire. I jumped into 
my wagon and drove over to see if it was true, and when I got near there I saw that the roof was 
all on fire, and the flames rolling out of every opening of the building." 


conduct of 

Trepidation of 
the timid. 


ERRICK time" is the name which at- 
tached itself to the years immediately fol- 
lowing the great fire. Those who have 
complained bitterly of an occasional 
obstruction caused by construction can 
partly appreciate the state of things when 
everywhere in the burned district there 
was either a blank or a brick-pile. Not 
infrequently a derrick dropped its load to 
the ground, or toppled over bodily into 
the street. Occasionally some one usu- 
ally a laborer was killed, or grievously 
hurt. In such cases, the stricken family 
was well and easily cared for, as it was 
only one additional item on the hands of 
the toiling, burdened, but inexhaustible Relief and Aid Society. The 
poor, in those days, were the rich, and the rich were the poor, for com- 
mon labor was in unparalleled demand ; the only trouble was to obtain 
the money for settling-day. Even this was not a desperate thing, for 
the blessed insurance companies those which did not utterly fail vied 
with each other in promptness and liberality of payments, and $50,000,- 
ooo is a huge sum! A. T. Stewart, shrewd old Scot, foresaw that the 
worst pinch would come, not at once, but a few years later, when the 
first outflow of cash should begin to diminish ; and he directed a part, 
or the whole, of his large gift ($50,000) to the relief of the postponed 

A vast quantity of foolishness was talked, and some excusable 
alarm was really felt, regarding the possibility of rebuilding on the old 
lines and with the old stability. The first question was, "Who will lend 
money where titles can not be shown of record?" This agitation was 
soon quelled by the passage through the legislature of what is called 
" The Burnt Record Act," which provided for the use of " abstracts of 
title," and other documents (though in private custody) as foundation 
for new records, and as proof of ownership under certain careful 
restrictions. Suits brought under this act had a calendar of their own, 



Record Act. 

Words hearty 

Many andtimel y- 

and were tried more promptly than other cases. This was the first 
great step toward perfect relief; the next was the liberal and reasonable The Burnt 
course of the "abstract men," described in the last previous chapter. 

Then came the question whether the city could be built, and busi- 
ness credit re-established, by a set of " ruined " merchants. In answer 
to this doubt came a cloud of telegrams from Eastern wholesalers and 
manufacturers reading in this wise : " We suppose you are burned out. 
Order from us what goods you want, and pay us when you can." 
a man who, dry-eyed, had seen his property burn, felt the tears surging 
up, as he spelled out this message. 

To this, followed the doubt as to whether, even if rebuilt, the busi- 
ness district would not be somewhere outside the old locality. Banks, 
insurance companies, stores, hotels, 
shops, etc., occupied the residences 
lying south and west of the burnt 
district ; would they not stay there 
indefinitely, rather than rebuild in 
their old places, having nothing to 
rebuild with ? 

The city council gave a good 
deal of acceptable relief by leas- 
ing out the east side of Michigan 
avenue (Lake Front Park) in 
twenty-five foot lots, at twenty-five 
dollars a year, apiece, for one 
year, to persons needing temporary 
stores and shops while permanent 
ones were preparing. The whole 
space from Park Row to Randolph 
street was soon filled with low, barn-like " shanties," which, though 
small, dark and desperately cold in winter and hot in summer, served 
a very good purpose. The Relief and Aid Society* spent nearly a Buildings 

. r 1 i 

million dollars in structures, temporary and permanent, some of which 
are still standing (1891). Between October i8th and November i 7th. 
the society put up 5,226 houses, using 35,000,000 feet of lumber. The 
reports of this great charity present a bewildering mass and magni- 

* The following is an imperfect list of the workers in the Relief and Aid directly after the fire; incomplete as to num- 
ber, and faulty in its failure to distinguish those more devoted than their fellows : Henry W. King. Wirt Dexter, E. C. 
Lamed, T. M. Avery, T. W. Harvey, Marshall Field, John V. Farwell, N. S. Bouton, Murry Nelson, J. T. Ryerson, N. K. 
Fair&ank, George M. Pullman, Dr. H. A. Johnson, H. E. Sargeant, Julius Rosenthal, C. H. S. Mixer, A. B. Meeker, B. 
G. Caulfield, J. McGregor Adams, C. G. Hammond, Mayor R. B. Mason (ex-officio). Mayor Joseph Medill (ex-officio), 
Rev. Robert Laird Collier, J. Mason Loomis, E. B. McCagg, Abijah Keith. George R. Chittenden, Rev. E. P. Goodwin, 
Mrs. D. A. Gage, Louis Wahl, Mrs. J. Mason Loomis, Mrs. Joseph Medill, Mrs. J. E. Tyler, Orrington Lunt, Elijah K. 
Hubbard, William E. Doggett, and Drs. J. E. Oilman, B. McVicker, Reuben Ludlam, M. J. Asch, J. H Rauch, M. Mann- 
hcimer, Ernst Schmidt and R. C. Miller. 


U P by *' 11 




Doubls all 
proved to 


Mayor Medill 
and the city 

tude of statistics; and the services of its administrators, as a spectacle of 
self-devotion, are such as the world has rarely seen in time of peace. 
They must be added to the list of Chicago's " worthies." 

Vain doubts. Substantially the same trades went back to the same 
placed often a firm hired a new building (as soon as it could be built) 
on the very lot which it had before occupied. Those who had owned 
the lots hastened to settle all doubts by building anew. " Build first, 
and discuss afterward," was the principle acted on ; but how it piled up 
the mortgages ! Every man asked himself and the lending world, 
" How much can I borrow?" Not " How am I going to pay?" It was 
a perilous system ; nothing can justify it except the result, which has 



been triumphant. Still, it should not be taken as a precedent, for the 
world does not contain many Chicagos. 

Another serious problem was to be met in the rehabilitation of the 
city's terribly depleted finances. A new city government was elected 
within the month fpllowing the fire, including, as mayor, Joseph Medill. 
The new chief officer showed himself a man of immense power, 
dauntless courage, tireless industry, unfailing shrewdness and unques- 
tionable personal honesty. Even in the heat of political partisan strife, 
it is difficult to find any serious attack on Mr. Medill's administration 
of his office as the " Great Fire Mayor." In his inaugural message to 
the council, he said : 

Of the total property in Chicago created by labor and capital, existing on the 8th of October, 

more than half perished on the gth The city, as a corporation, has lost its property and 

income, precisely as have individuals .... As our citizens are retrenching expenses to meet 




557,000 $13,546,000 

the exigencies, and keep within their means, so must the municipal government do likewise 
I shall proceed to state the present fiscal condition 01 the city 

Bonded debt 

Less bonds in sinking fund - 

The debt is composed of the following items : 
Funded debt, old issues 
new issues 
School bonds 
School construction bonds 

Sewerage bonds . .... 

River Improvement bonds 
Water bonds ----- 

$ 342,000 


[Floating debt may be omitted, as it is nearly balanced by cash on hand. The loss of the city 
in buildings, machinery, etc., is placed at $2,509,180, but was more.] 



. . . What lesson should this cruel visitation teach us ? ... A blind, unreasoning 
infatuation in favor of pine for outside walls, and pine, covered with paper and tar, for roofs, has 
possessed many of our people. ... If we rebuild the city with this dangerous material, we 
have a moral certainty, at no distant day, of a recurrence of the catastrophe. . . The outside walls 
of every building hereafter erected within the limits of Chicago should be composed of materials as 
incombustible as brick, stone, iron, concrete or slate. 

In accordance with the mayor's suggestion, the " fire limits " (pro- 
hibition of wooden buildings) were extended to the city limits, but not 
without bitter opposition. People naturally cried out against a new 
burden, added just when all were least able to bear it. The Relief and 
Aid cottages were already built ; and, excepting some cases of unnoticed 
breach of the law, no other wooden structures have been put up in, or 
moved into, the city proper, since the great fire. To this is attributed 
the comparative uniformity of architecture observable throughout the 
burnt district at this time (1891). In New York, some thousands of 
old, unsightly wooden tenements may be counted in even the ancient 

Fire limits 



portion of the city say south of the line of Bleecker Street. One looks 
down upon them from each of the elevated roads, wondering how they 
could have been put up within modern days, or have stood since earlier 
times. New York has had no Great Fire. 

This brings up a question as to how grievous, after all, was the per- 
manent loss in the destruction of buildings. Every day one sees, in 
Chicago, large, costly brick buildings demolished to make place for 
i the it** of structures larger and more costly. How much worse would it be if 
those buildings were burned instead of pulled down? It is rare that 
the debris of a demolished building pays for the labor and loss of time 
involved in its demolition. Suppose all the burned structures to have 
been, by this time, doomed to destruction, to make way for better 

How serious 
is the loss c 
old buildmps:- 

Early recon- 


things ; how much loss, if any, would be chargeable to their sudden, 
wholesale removal ? Andreas says : 

Within six weeks after the fire, 212 permanent stone and brick buildings were in ccurse of 
erection in the South Division alone, their tutal street frontage extending 17,715 feet, or three-and- 
a-half miles. Before December 1st. 250 building permits had been issued, and between December 
I. 1871, and October :, i?72, the number of permits issued was 1,250, classified as follows : 

As to material : 
Frame (exclusive of temporary 

structures). - 

As to height : 




One story 
Two stories 
Three stories - 
Four stories 
Five stories - 
Six stories 
Seven stories 

The total frontage of these buildings was 43.413 feet; over eight miles. 
Below is given the grand total of the first year's work : 

Total frontage. 

South Division - - 2 feet 

North Division - 7.9' 

West Division - - 891 








Total cost. 

f??. 1 34.700 


99! 500 





Reverting to the matter of civic finances, one wonders how the 
interest on the public debt can be paid, the absolute damages repaired, Civic finanees 
and the defects remedied, which the fire has brought to light, all with 
destroyed assessment rolls, and diminished tax-paying power. Mayor 
Cregier's report, already quoted, gives the following items of destruction 
of corporation property: 

The fire spread over a territory about four miles in length by an average of two-thirds of a mile 
in breadth, comprising about 1.687.69 acres, and finally ended at midnight of the second day, at the 
extreme northeast portion of the city, having destroyed, with two or three exceptions, every build- 
ing in its course. It burned over, on an average, sixty-five acres per hour, and the average destruc- 
tion of property was about $7,500 ooo per hour, or (125,000 per minute .... The new City 
Hall, which had been occupied only about a year, and which had cost the city about 1470.000, was 
entirely ruined .... There were six vaults in the building, which were intended to be fire- 
proof . . .In the first four, which were composed wholly of brick, everything was preserved 


uninjured, while in the last two, in consequence of the giving way of the 5tone which was used for 
the floors, the contents were destroyed. [The general experience was to the effect that brick stood 
the fire better than stone.] 

The great fire inflicted material injury on the harbor. Several vessels were sunk, and being 
abandoned by their owners, the city had to remove them. All the plats of the river survey 
were destroyed. The following is an estimate of damages resulting from the fire, inflicted upon 
public property relating to the harbor: Bridges and viaducts. $204,310; river tunnels, $6. ooo: 
docks at ends of streets, $6,000; removing sunken hulls, f 7,300 .... 

At this trying juncture occurred something which illustrated the 
soundness of Mr. Schneider's saying ; that municipal securities are safer 
than other public obligations, because there is tangible property to show 
for them. The city had taken hold of the Illinois and Michigan canal, 
and enlarged it at an expense of $2,955,340. Now the State legislature 
(convened by Governor Palmer to devise measures of relief) took 
from Chicago its lien on the canal, paying to the city its sorely needed 
$2,955,340 ! The act provided that not less than a fifth nor more than 


saying about 



a third of the sum should be applied to the re-building of bridges and 
other structures of a permanent character, while the remainder should 
go to the payment of interest on the public debt and the maintenance 
of the police and fire departments. This was in the form of a purchase 
(in fact, if the city had not had this to offer as an equivalent, the legis- 
lature could not have appropriated the money, for the lack of constitu- 
aiityofthe tional authority), but it was in truth a noble act of benevolence; showing 
that though Chicago's rural neighbors may sometimes feel or pre- 
tend to feel a certain jealousy and distrust of metropolitan airs, graces, 
pretenses and extravagances ; yet when evil days fall upon the chief 
town of the State, it suddenly becomes evident that blood is thicker 
than water, and that all Illinoisans are of one blood, from the Cairo 
point to the Wisconsin line. 

State Gov- 


The Rookeries, 
old and new. 

The city, owning the lot (i"]^> feet square) whereon stood the great, 
ugly, circular, iron water-tank or reservoir, at the corner of LaSalle and 
Adams Streets, proceeded to build around it a City Hall, uglier if pos- 
sible than the tank itself.* This, from its barrack-like squalor and 
dusty desolation, acquired the name of the " Rookery," and in revenge, 
the same lot now shows ( 1891 ) one of the most beautiful office-build- 
ings in the city or the world ; the name " Rookery " still sticking to it 
and being glorified by its new application. The old "rookery "was 
begun a week after the fire and finished, furnished and occupied in little 
more than seventy days, at a cost of $75,000. Bad as it was, it served, 
for want of a better, for fourteen years ; when its gigantic successor, on 
the old Court-house lot, took its place ; more imposing, more costly, 

* One critic said that the tank looked like the basement of the Tower of Babel, while the Rookerv looked as if it 
had been a formless product out of the waste material after the confusion of tongue*. 



more pleasing to the eye, more satisfying to civic pride, but scarcely 
less faulty, being perishable, dark and incommodious. 

To make a long story short, the city's public losses were met ; the 
damages of all kinds were repaired; the buildings, bridges, lamps, pumps, 
hydrants, fire-engines and houses, alarm system, tunnels, docks, viaducts 
and ten thousand other necessaries of civic life have been provided and 
paid for; and after it is all done and doubled and re-doubled in the 
twenty years that have elapsed, the city debt, $14,103,000 in 1871,15 
$13,545,400 in 1891, of which nearly a million ($983,900) has arisen 
from the assumption of the debts of annexed suburbs. Can history 
show a parallel to this achievement ?* 

The first new structure in the business district was built almost 
before the fire had spent its force in the north. It was a board hut put 

by the city. 


up by William D. Kerfoot, real estate agent, in front of his old office, 
89 Washington Street, between Clark and Dearborn, and was begun 
and finished on Tuesday, October loth. It was 12 by 16 feet, had 
board sides, floor and roof, and was surmounted by the proud sign, 
" Kerfoot's Block." (He would have built it on the lot instead of the 
street, but the bricks were still too hot.) Here was the gathering- 

* A change in method of collecting taxes suspended and finally defeated parts of the tax-levy of 1873, '74 and '75, 
amounting to $900,000. A defalcation of the City Treasurer, amounting to $500,000, brought the total deficit up to $1,400,- 
ooo. Meanwhile City scrip was issued for pressing needs, relying for its redemption on these "assets, 1 ' so called, which 
scrip being based on an unlawful assessment, and in excess of the constitutional limit of indebtedness, could not be col- 
lected by law. The City was morally bound, but legally free. Thereupon Mayor Colvin called a meeting of leading 
citizens at the Old Rookery. One and all, Marshall Field, John V. Farwell, and others (whose names ought to be remem- 
bered but are not) declared in favor of payment, and a bill was prepared and pushed through the Legislature, providing 
for the re-assessment of the old defeated levy, which re-assessment was made in 1878 and collected in 1879, and every 
dollar of the indebtedness paid a really voluntary act on the part of a " soul-less " corporation. Chicago worked as hard 
to find an expedient for paying, as some others have worked to find an excuse for repudiating. 



place, the half-way house between the South and West divisions 
there was no North. Here people put up their names and new 
addresses, and here were the notices of meetings, etc., affixed. 

What quiet reigned for a few days and then what a busy hum began ! 
The telegraph wires and contorted street-car rails were shoved aside, 
on certain streets, especially those leading to the tunnels, enough of 
the debris of fallen walls was removed to make a passage, narrow and 

Gradual clear- 
obstructed' tortuous, for wheeled vehicles, and in about a week these could make 

their way about the desolate wastes ; not on all the streets, but on 
many; the number being daily increased. Meanwhile the streets and 
bridges just outside the destroyed part were crowded with carriages 
and wagons of all kinds; and foot-passengers brought in by business or 
curiosity tramped among the ruins. Whole rows of dwellings in the 

of the news- 


far south, and in the not-so-distant west, were turned into hotels. 
Many single residences, and the front rooms of others, were let at great 
rentals for banks, business offices, etc. The postoffice was established 
in a convenient church. The newspaper offices were opened chiefly on 
the West Side, as that was nearest to the ancient news center. The 
"Journal" had almost alone the distinction of continuous publication. 
Regarding the " Tribune" we have the vivid word-painting of Mr. Bross : 

On Monday afternoon Mr. Medill sought for and purchased Edwards' job office, No. 15 South 
Canal street. When I arrived, I found him in the upper stories among the types and printers, doing 
all he could to get ready to issue a paper in the morning. . . . My next duty was to get up four 
stoves. For these I started west on Randolph Street, but every store had sold out. At the corner 
of Halsted Street I found the four I wanted, price $16 each. Told the owner. . . . they were 
for the Tribune Company ..." I don't know about dat," said the worthy Teuton; " I guess I 
must have de money for dem stoves." . . . On Saturday our note would have been good for 
$100,000, and on Tuesday we could not buy four stoves on credit. . . . My first question, half 
joke, half earnest, to every friend I met was " Have you got any money?" The tenth man, 



perhaps, said: "Yes; how much do you want?" "All you can spare." And he handed me $60. 
. . . Coming back to the office I found a dozen or two more of our leading citizens, like myself, 
all " strapped," till, at last, E. S. Wadsworth handed me $100 . . . But money soon began to 
flow in. Between three and four o'clock our clerk, Mr. Lowell, came to me and said: " There are 
some people here with advertisements for lost friends." I said: " Take them and the cash, 
registering in your memorandum book," and, upon a dirty old box on the window-sill fora desk, the 
" Tribune " at once commenced doing a lively business. . . Another sleepless night: and in the 
morning, as I sat sipping my coffee, I saw Sheridan's boys, with knapsacks and muskets, march 
proudly by. Never did deeper emotions of joy overcome me. Thank God, those most dear to me, 
and the city as well, were safe. 

As might be expected, the earliest impulses were the most generous 
and unquestioning. Where delay occurred, other interests came in, 
calculation took the place of impulse and men began again to see that 
"business is business" after all. The most conspicuous example of 
this was in the effort to move Congress to rebate the duty on building 
materials absolutely used in reconstruction ; as had been done in the 

Failure of Con. 
gressional ef. 
lorts at relief. 


Andreas (2 Hist. 

case of the Great Fire in Portland, Maine, in 1866. 
Chic., p. 59) says: 

When the measure was first proposed it encountered no serious objection; but before the bill 
was taken up for action, the enthusiasm of sympathy had cooled, and an opposition, headed by the 
lumber interest, had been formed. A long and bitter fight over the passage of the bill ensued, 
resulting in its enactment, with the rebate clause relating to lumber stricken out. Chicago derived 
but little benefit from the enactment, owing to the dilatoriness of the Treasury Department in 
adopting rules to give it efficacy. Many difficulties were interposed and not a little bitter feeling 
toward the Secretary of the Treasury was engendered by what was believed to indicate a disposition 
on his part to defeat the object of the act. 

The upshot of it was that only a single block of buildings (east 
side of Rush Street, between Ohio and Indiana Streets) was built 
wholly or largely of material imported free of duty. 

Derrick time was not an unhappy time. All were in similar straits, 
all busy, all hopeful, all economical together. A certain informality, 

All poor, busy, 
hopeful and 



Relics of the 


comradeship, frankness, is the inevitable result of this state of things; 
shipwreck brings all passengers to a level of helplessness or helpfulness, 
as their nature may be ; whether they be first cabin, second cabin or 
steerage. The natural leaders go to the front, and the natural workers 
follow them. Economy and benevolence were the fashion. The earli- 
est gaiety was the establishment of a dancing-class wittily named "The 
Cinders." The old Court-house bell was bought by an enterprising 
speculator who broke it up and melted it down into innumerable tiny 
bells suitable for a lady's chatelaine, and the " Cinders" dances were 
vocal with a silvery tinkling ; a sound, by the way, that was also audible 
at the dispersing of certain church congregations, until it was frowned 
away as being unsuited to the time and place. These bells are still 
(1891) for sale in town. 


The east-bound trains for days and weeks were loaded to their full 
capacity with women and children, in almost all stages of destitution as 
to clothing. For once the baggage cars were not filled proportion- 
ately with the passenger coaches. Most of the refugees had nothing 
whatever to take along. As has been said, a vast number of these were 
transported by the railroads without charge, though the roads themselves 
had shared the losses of the people. 

Severed families were many ; the bread-winners toiling among their 
ruins while their hearts were away with the loved ones at the " old 
home" in the East, whither their thoughts turned whenever they were 
free to turn at all. Meanwhile the "mother-in-law" derided in fiction 
and journalism, though beloved in real life was caring for wife and 
babies. It is safe to say that in ten thousand hearts there arose the 
consoling thought, even while the fire was raging, that " Father's" was 



the safe and certain refuse ; and that ten thousand wandering, home- 
less, uncomfortable little ones were comforted by the assurance that 
all would be well as soon as they could get to "grandmother." It 
with a feeling of shame that an old " burnt-outer" comes across the 
current gibes and jeers at mothers-in-law ; and he wonders if the wit- 
lings remember that every grandmother is necessarily a mother-in-law; 
that that position comes successively to every woman who, with her 
offspring, perpetuates the race. 



About ten A. M., Wednesday, October II, 1871, Mr. Shock, T. J. Bigford and myself, walking 
along State Street, below Harrison, noticed an old mahogany sideboard. It was suggested that we 
purchase it and start business, so we made a bargain with the owner, a second-hand dealer. 

Our combined cash capital being less than $5.00, we had to make the most of it. Our pur- 
chases consisted of the old sideboard, an empty barrel, a water bucket and six glasses, which cost us 
$2.50. We then hired an expressman to take the things down to the Lake, fill the barrel with water 



and haul it to the corner of Deaiborn and Monroe Streets, opposite the old Post Office. While this 
was being done, I went over on West Lake Street, where the commission men were opening their 
stores, and purchased a barrel of cider, a barrel of apples and some grapes, getting trusted for them. 

At about one o'clock we opened the first store in the burned district, our stand being located 
at 169 Dearborn Street. We cleared about $25.00 that afternoon, selling our goods at the " old 
prices." The photograph of our stand was taken by Coplin. 

The next day Mr. Bandwin opened a book and news stand near us, Frank Barker, then a 
little boy, clerking for him. H. W. KENNICOTT. 


(A buildinr entirely made of fragments collected from the ruins of the North Side. Still 
standing in iSgi.) 




CERTAIN metropolitan character began, from 
and after the Fire, to mark Chicago society 
for the first time. As already observed, the 
beginnings of social life had been largely con- 
nected with the several churches, and there- 
fore clannish, rather than homogenous. Now 
the congregations were scattered, some of them 

* ** 

never to re-unite, for the principal church- ' 
buildings, to the number of thirty-nine, 
were burned; and such as had been central 
in place, so as to draw attendance from all 
over the city, were not rebuilt in the same 
spots (the land being at once too valuable, 
and too far from the homes of the people), 

but were moved out to one or other of the three residence districts, 
which are north, south and west of the business area. 

This scattering was painful at the outset, but advantageous in the 
end, for it tended to break up cliques, and to favor the formation of 
society on its proper basis; association induced by intellectual sympathy 
instead of mere church membership. . Social growth on this basis has 
been rapid and creditable, although subject to a disadvantage springing 
from the topographical character of the city; in that it is divided into 
three widely separated areas, the North, the South and the West Sides, 
by the main river and its sprawling north and south branches. Adjoin- of omm* 

1 -1 t 1- j- . tionsbythe 

ing the mam river are some square miles ot solid business streets. bre - 
Along the banks of each branch are long lines of the sordid and rather 
squalid growth which is inevitable to commercial water-ways. Far on 
the outskirts of the region thus useless for society are three " centers/' 
of social life; three large cities instead of the one very great one which 
alone could make the full and adequate tabernacle of culture, art, fash- 
ion and luxury for a rich metropolis of a million and-a-quarter of inhab- 
itants; for the Chicago of 1891. The day will come when one or other N 
of these three will take its unquestioned place as the Holy of Holies 
for worshipers at the shrine of "good society." In the meantime the 
lingering provincialism of the three smaller circles is not without its 
compensating advantages. As social life grows in magnificence and 




Hospitality and 

None rich by 

splendor, it loses the gentler graces of youth and simplicity; graces which 
still flourish in Chicago, associated with a degree of gay hospitality and 
inclusiveness which it will lose when exclusiveness shall be forced upon 
it by metropolitan proportions and aristocratic aspiration. 

Unquestionably, some of the most hospitable and benevolent people 
in the world live in Chicago. Their houses, their opera-boxes, their car- 
riages, their luxuries of all kinds are kept for the use of their friends as 
well as themselves. The city is not yet old enough (especially since 
the Fire) to have lost the personal love and pride of its citizens. No 
Newport competes with it for their devotion. London, Paris, Rome 



and Berlin are all very well to visit with Chicago as a line of retreat 
and base of supply. 

The thing to be borne in mind in studying Chicago social phenom- 
ena, is the fact that all the riches of the community are still in the 
hands of the men who have, by labor, power, good luck and good man- 
agement, earned and won them. Not one of the hundreds of million- 
aires, and scarcely one of the thousands of smaller fortune-holders, is 
rich by inheritance. Each has earned and counted his dollars as they 
came in. Therefore, when he is economical he krows it, when he is 
extravagant he knows it, when he is (as he very often is) liberal, hos- 
pitable, charitable, generous, even lavish he knows it all the time. 
Let him (as he constantly does) travel abroad en prince, give great 
sums to the cultivation of the arts, entertain his friends with unbounded 
hospitality, endow charities, colleges and churches splendidly ; he does 



it all with a full knowledge of the value of money and a keen enjoyment 
in the use of it for the benefit of others. It is not " easy come, easy 
go " with him ; it is the deliberate outlay of hard won wealth, keeping a 
proper application of means to ends ; so that no matter how much is 
paid or given, nothing is wasted. 

If the true Chicagoan allows himself, in his general good nature 
and tolerance, to hate anyone, it is the man who, having found Chicago 
a good enough place to make a fortune in, looks for some better place 
wherein to enjoy it. There have been a few such, but their memory 
is not fragrant in their old home. The question naturally arises : " If 



not favored. 

Chicago is deficient in any of the arts and graces, why not stay and 
help remove the imperfection ?" And this is the course most of her 
children are pursuing with great pleasure and great success. 

" With age our faults diminish, while our vices increase." It is to 
be feared not hoped that when the three big social circles shall have 
merged into one, these youthful exuberances will disappear and be 
replaced by the more dignified, self-centered, aristocratic characteristics 
of the communities full of inherited fortunes, where luxury and idleness 
are taken as the natural endowment of the "upper ten thousand" 
instead of the reward of labor well done, and of brave fighting in the 
battle of life. 

The old-world " nobility" which " draws the line " at any trade or 
profession where money is to be made ; the supercilious indifference to 
all things and persons outside a narrow pale ; to all labor and usefulness 

One circle in 
the far future 



No tr 

except as it is the labor of outsiders, useful 
sources of their luxury so long as 
the luxury itself is unstinted ; this 
"nobility "is beyond the scope of 
the present generation of Chica- 
?ra r cy m'c'ht goans. They know how hard they 
*"'' themselves or their fathers have 
worked and are not ashamed of it. 
And just now it seems more prob- 
able that the " great world " will 
come to their way sooner than 
they will go to its way. 

Social clubs are later develop- 
ments of the change wrought by 
the Fire. In Chicago as else- 
where, they are a mixture of good 
D c v .ub pmentof and evil. As an elevating and 
brightening influence for men with- 
out families, they seem indispens- 
able to modern city life ; as an influence 

to the chosen few, to all the 


ures ; but behind its front doors, from the 


adverse to the taking up of 
family cares, and a drawback 
to home purity, integrity, 
happiness and sufficiency, 
they are disastrous. Of all 
Anglo-Saxon true nobility 
and stability, the home, the 
ancestral homestead, the 
household, the fireside, and 
the family, are the root, the 
trunk, the branches, the 
flower and the fruit. The 
best of clubs is that which 
a fortunate man gathers 
about his own hearthstone, 
his wife and children being 
his fellow- members. The 
true glory of Chicago is to 
be found, not in its parks 
and boulevards, stock-yards, 
elevators, factories, banks, 
newspapers, shipping, rail- 
roads or sky-scraping struct- 
proudest to the humblest. 



Between churches and social clubs, as nuclei of gregarious human- 
ity, no philanthropist, whether churchman or not, can hesitate to 
give the preference to the churches. They tend to unselfishness 
instead of mere pleasure, to cultivation instead of mere amusement, 
to " faith, hope and charity," instead of (possible) dissipation. Above 
all, they make no invidious distinction between the sexes ; they seek 
to enfold man, woman and child in happy and virtuous communion. 

The earliest of the great ^^^^==^^^^^^|^^^^^^^^^HM^MI 
clubs, properly so called (as I 
distinguished from socie- 
ties organized for special 
purposes, such as music, 
dancing, athletics, etc.) was 
the Chicago Club, chartered 
March 25, 1869; with Ezra 
B. McCagg as the first 
president. Almost at the 
same time (April 5, 1869) 
the Standard, specially in- 
stituted by Jewish citizens, 
was incorporated, its first 
president being E. Frank- 
enthal. The third in order 
of precedence is "The Fort- 
nightly," organized June 4, 
1873. Its object is the in- 
tellectual and social cult- 
ture of women. Mrs. Kate 
Newell Doggett was its 
prime mover and its first 
president. Its meetings oc- 
cur on alternate Fridays of 
the Spring, Autumn and 
Winter months. At each 
there is an essay, discus- 



sion, reading or concert. At this present writing (1891) the I- r ort- T1 J= e c s h t ' a c |; 
nightly is approaching its three hundredth successive meeting ; and has *$,{! Foft " 
at least a fair showing of right to accept the position attributed to it 
by an English visitor, that of " the greatest of women's clubs of its 
kind in the world." 

Next came the Chicago Literary Club, organized in 1874, for 
" social, literary and aesthetic culture." Its first president was the 



The Literary. 

The Union. 

The Illinois. 

The Union 

Rev. Robert Collyer. Every Monday evening (except in summer) it 
meets in its handsome rooms overlooking Lake Michigan, for an essay, 
conversation or reception, and now (1891), in its seventeenth year, is 
holding its fifth hundred of consecutive sessions. (It is characteristic 
of Chicago's newness that such a space of time is cherished as ven- 
erable, rock-rooted antiquity and stability.) 

The Union Club was organized in 1878, Henry W. Bishop betng 
its first president. This is the North Side club, being finely located 
on Washington Square. 


The Illinois Club was chartered April 26, 1878, its first president 
being John G. Rogers. The Illinois is the West Side social club, its 
home being on Ashland Avenue, between Monroe and Adams Streets. 

The first club to unite political with social aims was the Union 
League. Though the name " Republican " was not used in its pro- 
gramme, yet the phraseology was so framed as to emphasize the prin- 
ciples which had been the groundwork of that party, and which had 
called it into being ; and it is recognized as a Republican stronghold. 
It was organized in 1879, with Lewis L. Coburn as its first president. 
Its club-house, facing the government building from the south, is the 
most imposing of all in the city. 



The Iroquois Club was the next to recognize party distinctions. 
It was organized by leading members of the Democratic party in 1880, 
its first president being Perry H. Smith, Jr. 

These are the leading clubs of the city dating earlier than 1880, 
leaving out of view those which have no permanent abiding-place, or 
are devoted to the interests of citizens coming from some particular 
state or foreign nation, or to the study of some particular art, science, 
or accomplishment. Their comparatively rapid growth in the years 
following the fire is 
a mark of the 

The Iroquois. 


'metropolitan change 
which was one of the 
conspicuous conse- 
quences of that mo- 
mentous cataclysm. 

When a Chica- 
goan turns to the 
purely benevolent, 
philanthropic and pa- 
triotic side of his 
city he finds much to 
be proud of. True, 
there are other cities 
where more money 
is invested in public 
charities or rather 
private charities for 
public use -- larger 
and more numerous 
endowments and 
foundations ; but 
none where, within 
the same space of 
time, anything like 
an equal sum has been given ; and it has come mostly from living men, 
who have themselves earned and saved what they gave. 

The Relief and Aid Society, so fully spoken of in connection with 

i <* . T^< . i T. . r . Relief and Aid 

the Great r ire, was organized in 1857. To mention the names of its society. 
incorporators is somewhat like writing a directory of leading " Old 
Citizens." They were Edwin C. Lamed, Mark Skinner, Edward I. 
Tinkham, Joseph D. Webster, Joseph T. Ryerson, Isaac N. Arnold, 
Norman B. Judd, John H. Dunham, A. H. Mueller, Samuel S. 




Its most 

Home for tne 

Greeley, B. F. Cook, N. S. Davis, George W. Dole, George M. Higgin- 
son, John H. Kinzie, John Woodbridge, Jr., Erastus S. Williams, Philo 
Carpenter, George W. Gage, S. S. Hayes, Henry Farnham, William 
H. Brown, Philip J. Wardner and others. 

In the work following the fire (October 18, 1871, to April 20, 1873, 
in which space of time relief was extended to the extent of $8,923,400) 
the great mass of free, unpaid supervision was exercised by Henry W. 
King, Wirt Dexter, Edwin C. Larned, T. M. Avery, T. W. Harvey 
Charles G. Hammond, Nathaniel K. Fairbank, Dr. H. A. Johnson, J. 
McGregor Adams, Ezra B. McCagg, the Rev. Robert Laird Collier and 

others too valuable to be forgotten, but too numerous to be named 

here. It is with extreme regret that this inestimable benevolence is 
here dismissed with words so few and inadequate. A chapter would 
scarcely do it greater justice in proportion to its deserts. Those who 
desire a more complete appreciation of the possibilities of charity and 
knowledge of how to apply wisely immense means to an immense 

object, should buy the handsome 
volume comprising the Society's 
Report for 1874, written by Sidney 
Howard Gay and published by 
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston. 
In 1858 the Home for the 
Friendless was organized. The 
names of the incorporators, being 
those of women, are less known 
though not less notable than those 
connected with the Relief and Aid. 
They are Martha A. Wilson, Ada- 
line R. Judd, Julia Dole, Julia A. 
Warner, Anna M. Gibbs, Marga- 
retta Varian, Margaret M. Gilman, 
Jane C. Hoge, Adaline C. Morgan, 
Lavinia Morris, Maria Excern, 
Emily S. Roy, Minerva Botsford 
and Emma F. Haines. Jonathan Burr was the greatest benefactor of 
the institution, both during life and by bequest; and George Smith and 
Flavel Moseley were also among the early supporters. 

The Nursery and Half-Orphan Asylum began in 1859, when, as 
Mrs. Samuel Howe and a few other ladies under- 
took the task of maintaining a day school for little ones whose mothers 
were unable to care for them during working hours." From this small 
beginning grew up a great charity.. In 1869 it received $17,000, 


Nursery and 

Capt. Andreas says, 



bequeathed by the sainted Jonathan Burr; and William B. Ogden, with a 
few others, endowed it with a large lot on the corner of North Franklin 
and Burling Streets, where its asylum still stands. At the Great Fire 
it was not finished, but the children, driven from their former refuge, 
were huddled there for shelter then carried further on the approach of 
the flames then returned there ; for the destruction had halted two 
squares away ! 

The Old Ladies' Home was begun in 1861 by Miss Caroline Smith. 
Upon Miss Smith's death she bequeathed to it $1,000, and also 
devised to it two lots on Wabash Avenue, near 35th Street. Its perma- 
nent home is in Indiana Street, near 27th. The Society was incorpor- 
ated in 1865 by Benjamin W. Raymond, O. H. Tiffany, George D. 
Cummings, W. W. Everts, F. W. Fisk, William H. Ryder, Jonathan 
Young Scammon, Robert Collyer, Mark Kimball and S. P. Farrington. 

The Chicago Historical Society seems, in the view of a writer 
of history, to deserve a chapter to 
itself, so grand is its aim and so 
laborious and painstaking have 
been the efforts of its faithful 
friends. Its prime mover was the 
Rev. William Barry, who started 
it in 1856. Again do we seem to 
be making a list of early Chicago 
worthies as we copy the names 
of the incorporators. William H. 
Brown (president), Wm. B. Ogden 
and J. Young Scammon (vice-pres- 
idents), S. D. Ward (treasurer), 
William Barry (recording secre- 
tary and librarian), Charles S. Ray 
(corresponding secretary), Mark 
Skinner, M. Brayman, Isaac N. 
Arnold, George Manierre, John H. 
Kinzie, J. V. Z. Blaney, Edward I. Tinkham, Joseph D. Webster, W. A. 
Smallwood, Van H. Higgins, N. S. Davis, Mahlon D. Ogden, F. Scam- 
mon and Ezra B. McCagg. (Of all these, only four are alive at the 
present writing, 1891.) The devoted services of its friends managed, in 
the first fifteen years of its life, to accumulate a mass of historical treas- 
ure. There were some 20,000 volumes, 1,738 files of early newsppers, 
4,689 manuscripts (including the entire Kinzie collection), portraits of 
noted men of early times in the West, and last, but not least, the original 
draft of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ! These call a glow to 

Old Ladies' 





The Athe- 

the heart, only to be followed by a spasm of pain, for every vestige of 
them all was destroyed in the Great Fire. After this disaster many 
friends sent boxes of books addressed to the society, which were stored, 
awaiting some movement for rehabilitation ; and again, in the Fire of 
July, 1874, these, too, were burned. 

If this had been all, it seems impossible that even such faithfulness 
as theirs could have survived in the hearts of its friends ; but there were 
funds, which must be administered, notably the "Gilpin Fund," which 
was a sum of money bequeathed by Henry D. Gilpin, of Philadelphia, 
(Solicitor of the Treasury in 1839), which, with accumulations, amounted 
in 1874 to over $72,000. There were also debts to be paid, so it was : 

" Once more into the breach, dear friends, 
once more," 

and E. H. Sheldon, B. F. Culver, 
Geo. F. Rumsey, Isaac N. Arnold, 
George L. Dunlap, W. S. John- 
son, Levi Z. Leiter, Mark Skinner-, 
Julian S. Rumsey, J. S. Waterman, 
E. T. Watkins, Charles B. Farwell, 
John Wentworth, Jonathan Young 
Scammon and others put their 
weary and burthened shoulders to 
the wheel and lifted it out of the 
Slough of Despond. At this 
present writing (1891) it has gotten 
together a new lot of treasures, 
though, alas ! still in mourning for 
the old. They are now stored in 
an old, low, one-story " fire-trap," 
but the funds of the Society have accumulated to over $110,000, and 
the new, permanent, fire-proof building will very shortly take shape and 

The Athenaeum is an institution most creditable to Chicago, and 
one of the most admirable in the world. It is quite independent of 
sects except as unsectarianism is itself stigmatized as a sect and 
enjoys the support and honor of liberal men of all creeds and professions. 
It is devoted to the dissemination of useful knowledge, and this it does 
through a reading-room and library, a gymnasium, with bath-rooms, etc., 
and eight class-rooms. In these, nearly a thousand pupils are taught 
each year, at charges which barely cover the mere cost, for it is not a 
charity school. Every beneficiary pays something, however small. 

The existence of the Athenaeum dates from the very month of the 




Great Fire. To quote from its report : " Then the fairest portion of the 
city lay in ashes, and it was this great calamity that prompted a few 
earnest spirits to plant amidst the ruins an institution which should help 
to build up true manhood as the best criterion of progress." 

The Athenaeum is allied with the Mechanics' Institute, quite the 
oldest of Chicago benevolent associations, dating, as it does, from 1843. 

The religious charities of Chicago are beyond count. Each church 
is in itself a vast benevolence, and each has some one or more separate 
dependent charities, whether reformatory, educational, or simply 

One, destined to reach immense proportions, not confined to any 
one denomination (though largely composed of Methodists), was the 
Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion. It was started as early as 
1858, under the leadership of Cyrus 
Bentley, Henry Howland, John 
V, Farwell, T. M. Avery, E. W. 
Blatchford, and others.* 

This great agency for scrength- 
ening the weak, raising the fallen, 
finding work for the strong and 
bread for the weak, has never 
ceased it blessed ministrations for 
a single day, through fire and trial 
of all kinds, through the days of 
danger and suffering, and the still 
more perilous times of prosperity 
and indifference. It, with its con- 
genial and connected Young Men's 
Christian Temperance Association, 
Women's Christian Temperance Union, and other allied societies, 
has done a mass of public service which defies the power of imagination. 

The Illinois Humane Society has for its motto the gentle words 
" We speak for those who can not speak for themselves." It was incor- 
porated March 25, 1869, by George C. Walker, Thomas B. Bryan, Julian 
S. Rumsey, Belden F. Culver, I. N. Wilcox, and T. D. Brown. The 
objects of the Society were the pledging of the State to the protection 
of its children and animals from unnecessary cruelty, and the enforce- 
ment of such laws in that behalf as might be enacted. It is an honor- 
able mark of any time and place that such laws exist, that such societies 
have their administration in charge and that public sentiment is in 

The far-famed Dwight L,. Moody began his work, a very young man, in this association, and, gathering strength 
by the use of his abilities, graduated from it to be the great power for good he later became and still is (1891). 

Young Men's 
Christian As- 




sympathy with them. At this time (1891) its president and untiring 
supporter is John G. Shortall. 

The Great Secret Societies, Free Masons, Odd Fellows, etc., have 
their favorite field in Chicago. Here they exercise all their benevolent 

^societies. an d ennobling influence, and mould and sway an innumerable host of 
the bone and sinew of the land. A mere catalogue of their Lodges, 
Posts, Circles, Encampments, etc., would fill a page of our Story. The 
Grand Army of the Republic had its origin in Illinois and has in Chicago 
its largest or nearly largest "stamping ground" and the largest Post 

union war (No. ';, the "George H. Thomas") in the whole organization. The 

Veterans. \ *J' o 

Veteran Union League, the Union Veteran Club, the Military Order of 
the Loyal Legion, and many veteran regimental societies, are all strong, 
well ordered and flourishing mementoes of the War for the Union. 

The Art Institute is perhaps 
the most distinguished, successful 
and prosperous of all the undertak- 
ings for advanced culture which 
exist in Chicago. It is the succes- 
sor of the Academy of Design, 
which was organized in 1866, and 
which, in 1869, was incorporated 
by E. B. McCagg and others. The 
Academy included among its mem- 
bers some artists of world -wide 
reputation, notably George P. A. 
Healy, whose long course of 
splendid work, beginning in 1836, 
and continuing even to the present 
writing (1891 ), places him easily in 
G. P. A. HEALY. the front rank of portrait-painters 

of this country. The fire, destroying at once nearly all the art products 
and quite all the demand for art, was a terrible blow to the Academy 
The Art an d t ' le ^ na ^ re 30 ' 1 was tne institution, in 1879, f a new Society, 
institute. with the same general purpose of the old. 

The new enterprise, the " Art Institute," was incorporated by Mar- 
shall Field, Murry Nelson, Charles D. Hamill, Ferd W. Peck and 
George E. Adams. By slow, strong and steady steps it reached a 
height of achievement scarcely hoped for by its founders, having a 
splendid building overlooking Lake Michigan, a magnificent collection 
of pictures, ancient and modern (owned by the Institute or loaned to 
it), a large and flourishing school of design, and, better than all, a corps 
of strong and devoted friends, proud of its progress hitherto and 



resolved upon still greater advance in the future. Among them are 
Charles L. Hutchinson, Edson Keith, Lyman J. Gage, James H. Dole, 
Charles D. Hamill, W. F. Blair, W. T. Baker, D. W. Irwin. E. W. 
Blatchford, N. K. Fairbank, O. S. A. Sprague, H. N. Hibbard, George 
E. Adams, S. M. Nickerson, Levi Z. Leiter, Marshall Field, Lambert 
Tree and John C. Black. William M. R. French is Director of Schools 
and Galleries, and to his artistic ability, his business capacity and his fine 
personal qualities is attributable an incalculable proportion of the 
remarkable success of the great institution. 

The Art Institute has 265 " governing members," 5 " honorary mem- 
bers," and 2,070 " annual members." Its students number from 500 to 
700 a year. In his report for 1890, Director French observes: 

It is an extraordinary fact in our history that the Art Institute has never had any endowment, 
has never received any bequests, and has never 
required contributions for current expenses. 
The only considerable gifts have been to the 
building fund and collections. While almost al 
the other museums of the country have at least 
received the privilege of building upon public 
land, the Art Institute has bought all its real 
estate. The regular sources of income, aside 
from gifts, are membership fees, exhibition 
receipts, tuition fees, and rents. . . . The 
expenses of the Museum for the last year have 
been $25,559.53. The earnings of the Museum 
have been $26.010.35. The expenses of the 
school were $12,315.25, and the earnings $14," 
881.13. The expenses of the library were 
$674.04, and the receipts $831.42. 

Like other young cities, Chi- 
cago has been better as a market 
for art produced elsewhere, than as 
a place for the production of salable 
work. A conspicuous and unmistak- 
able mark of provincialism is lack ENOCH WARD, Artist, now of London. 
of confidence in one's own judgment, in social, artistic and literary mat- 
ters. Every new community looks to an older one for guidance in these 
respects. "A prophet is not without honor save in his own country," 
and a Western man or woman who does anything worthy of honor must, 
ordinarily, look for recognition in some older community before he or 
she can enjoy it at home. The home-bred author, painter, etc., finds his 
home fame dependent on what New York, Boston and Philadelphia 
critics say about him. This reminds one of a story familiar in army 
circles: It is a well known military principle that "any fortress can be 
taken if the assailant be strong enough." A certain instructor, who had 
inculcated this lesson on his class, asked* later on, what would be the 
best expedient for the defence in a given case, to which a bright student 

Chicago as an 
art centre and 
art market. 


replied: ''Move out; get the assailant inside, and then defeat him." So, 
in matters of taste in a provincial city, it can more readily be captured 
from without than from within. These remarks apply to Chicago, par- 
ticularly, during " the seventies." 

While Chicago was experiencing great triumphs and great 
reverses, places just below her horizon were going on in the even tenor 

A (fiance back o 

: of their way. The following sketch in the quiet life of one of those 
localities was crowded out of the page in " the thirties," where it might 
more appropriately have found a place; but it perhaps fits here well 

ata t 
time an 



enough as a '' foil " to the great things which were happening " so near 
and yet so far;" for the glare of the Great Fire was quite visible from 
the place in question. 

A few miles from the Israel Blodgett settlement on the DuPage 
is the inappropriately named " Skunk's Grove," on Hickory Creek. 
Hither came the parents of Charles C. P. Holden, already mentioned; 
Phineas, born in New Hampshire in 1792, and Betsey (Parker) 
Holden, born in Massachusetts in 1793. They arrived in Chicago, 
June 30, 1836, and put up for a short time at the old Green Tree 
House, the first shelter of so many Chicagoans. (It still exists and 
should be placed in some appropriate spot and custody for long years 
of future preservation.) 



Naturally, being farmers, they liked not at all the little, dirty, dis- 
orderly, squalid trading-post, and were very glad to find such a garden- 
spot as the DuPage Valley, a leafy forest meandering through grassy 
prairies. Here they lived, prospered, grew old, died and are buried; 
another grafting on the young West of old New England strength. 

A curious anecdote is told by C. C. P. Holden, illustrating the 
habitual and affectionate reference (more frequently made then than 
now) to the charters of our liberties. At a celebration Independence 
Day, probably there was a gathering at "the Grove," and loud calls The Deciara- 
were made for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. For a pe"denread 
time no copy could be found, as books, whether of law or of history, handkerchief. 
were still a rare possession. At last the deficiency was supplied, the 
desired scripture was found ; where does one suppose ? Printed on a 
woman's pocket-handkerchief! 



PANIC OF l8/;. 

R uins of twen 
ty-nine bank- 

Only one safe 
failed in its 

first and de- 


FIRE OF 1874. 

IGHTEEN of the nineteen Chicago Na- 
tional banks were burned in the Great Fire, 
together with eleven other banks, includ- 
ing savings-banks. Twenty-nine piles of 
ruins confronted, on Tuesday morning, 
the eyes of bankers, depositors and pub- 
lic. Perhaps no more fearful suspense 
can be imagined than the state of mind 
with which the slow cooling of these piti- 
ful heaps of chaos were watched. It was 
at once evident that the contents of the 
Sub-treasury were hopelessly lost; what 
better chance had the private hoards ? One 
by one the vaults were reached and opened. 
Great care was needed; for in at least one 
case, where air was admitted before the inside temperature was suffici- 
ently lowered, the whole contents, though safe till then, burst into a 
blaze. Great care was used; in fact the operation of opening was, in 
most cases, a job, not for the cashier with keys or combination, but for 
a blacksmith with sledge-hammer and chisel. 

Only one serious loss occurred ; that of the bank of Lazarus Silver- 
man, whose safe, containing $50,000 in gold and currency, was destroyed. 
The safety of the others was due to the fact that they were universally 
built into brick vaults, the foundations whereof rested on the solid earth. 
No "safe," elevated above the ground and liable to fall into a bed of 
coals when the floor beneath it should burn away, could be counted on. 
The trouble in the case of the Sub-treasury was due to the fact that the 
brick vault was held up clear of the ground by iron pillars, supporting 
bars of railway iron, which bent when hot and let the whole mass fall in 

Two days delay was enough Monday for consternation and Tues- 
day for deliberation. On Wednesday a meeting was held at Standard 
Hall, Wabash Avenue, presided over by W. F. Coolbaugh, President of 
the Union National Bank, and all resolved on starting again as soon as 
each could find a place to start in. Before that night half of them had 
secured quarters of some kind ; a parlor on Wabash or Michigan Ave- 




nue, or the cross-streets between them ; a room or two in some of the 
small buildings on the old " Wolf's Point," west of the forks of the river, 
or some other place where clerks and tellers could sit or stand, and 
where customers could apply for cash or drafts, or could bring cash for 
deposit. This last may seem to be an unnecessary provision, but not so. 
The deposits came in faster than they were drawn out, almost from the 
very start. 

On Thursday most of the banks had recovered, or were recovering, 
the contents of their vaults, and it was publicly given out that all deposi- 
tors could have fifteen per cent, of their funds on demand savings 
banks paying in full all demands not exceeding twenty dollars by one 
person. By the next Tuesday (i7th of October), most of the institu- 
tions had begun paying all de- 
mands in full. Andreas (3 Hist. 
Chic., 434) says : 

The deposits exceeded the drafts, even 
with the Savings-banks. Among the causes of 
this fact may be named the circumstance that 
large sums of money were forwarded here for 
relief, and millions of dollars paid by Insurance 
Companies in settlement of losses.* In addi- 
tion, much Eastern capital was sent here for 
investment in real estate at the anticipated low 
prices. . . . On October i6th, Comptroller 
Hubbard made an official examination of the 
Chicago banks and reported their condition as 
satisfactory, and from the date of the resump- 
tion forward, for a period of some months, 
money was so " flush " in the city that the banks 
had more cash than before the fire, notwithstand- 
ing that immense sums were sent East in pay- 
ment of mercantile indebtedness. . . . The 
announcement of their intention by the Savings- 
banks resulted in but little demand for money, 
except from small depositors. 

It was just two years after the Fire that the " pinch " came again upon 
the city and the financial world. Wall Street in a manner suspended 
payment ; so did Boston, Philadelphia and most of the other money 
centres. The clearing-houses were the crucial tests, for when a bank 
can not "clear," that is, make good to its sister banks the checks upon 
it they have taken from its depositors, then such bank has failed. But a 
pooling expedient was invented in Wall Street and copied by the cities 
which take their cue from New York ; and that expedient was the use 
between banks of "clearing-house certificates." A bank which can not 
"clear," sends a mass of securities, in place of cash, to the clearing-house, 
and the latter thereupon delivers vouchers, or " certificates," to the 

The Phenix, of Brooklyn, claims the honor of having made the first payment on account of the Fire losses. It 
was a draft for $5,000, dated October 12, 1871, in favor of Hart, Asten & Co., well-known manufacturers of paper bags. 

Banks begin 
again to pay 
out money. 




not used. 

averted . 


creditor banks. This of course is good for the feeble bank and bad for 
the strong, for a depositor who draws his check on the former and 
deposits it in the latter, can get his cash from the latter, while it gets 
only a "clearing-house certificate" in return. On a certain day this 
quasi stoppage took effect in the Eastern cities, and the question arose 
of the taking of similar action in Chicago. One would expect the 
stricken and struggling burnt-out city to be helpless, the earliest to 
succumb, stunned, if not paralyzed, by the first blast of monetary strin- 
gency. There was a meeting of Chicago bankers in the clearing-house 
room, and a stormy debate lasting till two A. M. A few heroes of financial 
courage withstood the natural impulse to follow Wall Street's comfort- 
able example. A clear numerical 
majority was in favor of it, but Geo. 
Schneider, Lyman J. Gage, C. B. 
Blair and others opposed it, and 
this is an operation which could not 
go on without their co-operation, 
for they could insist on receiving 
their balances in cash, being them- 
selves ready to pay cash. Mr. 
Blair said : " I don't care what 
others may do, and I don't know 
how I shall come out ; but no 
matter who stops, I go on pay- 
ing." The First National was 
called on for its vote on the ques- 
tion of a resort to clearing-house 
certificates, and Lyman J. Gage 
answered, " No." The die was 
cast, and the general collapse being averted, even those who had falt- 
ered came into line or tried to do so, and soon most of them all 
who ought to survive were going on as usual. Among these were 
National banks as follows : The First, the Fifth (now the National Bank 
of America), the Merchants', the North-Western, the Illinois, the Com- 
mercial, the Union, the Hide & Leather, the Home, the Corn Exchange, 
the Stock Yards and doubtless others. Among non-National banks, 
there were the Merchants Loan & Trust, the Illinois Trust & Savings, 
the Hibernian and many others not now recalled to mind. The banks 
which failed at this crisis or within the year were: the Second, Fourth, 
Cook County, Manufacturers, City and German National banks, and 
the Franklin Savings Bank; beside others now forgotten by all except 
perhaps some of their unlucky depositors and share-holders. The bill- 
holders could lose nothing. 


PANIC OF 1873. .FIRE OF 1874. WHISKY RING. 353 

The fact is that what the Chicago Board of Trade buys and sells is 
more staple than what the New York Stock Board buys and sells. Wall Food roduc( 
Street owns securities, La Salle Street owns food. Grain and meats 
have a world-wide value and salability, which stocks and bonds can not 
claim. The latter exist for generations, whereas the former are neces- 
sarily created, sold and eaten each year, since mankind must have them 
or perish ; while the paper muniments of ownership are always subject 
to the fluctuations of popular favor the luxuries of the rich, instead 
of the necessities of all. When the panic came, our English and Cana- 
dian neighbors rushed in to buy up, not Erie seconds, but wheat, corn, 
oats, beef and pork. There is a whimsical parallelism between the sta- Awhim 
bility of Western banks when the Eastern banks gave way, and the P" 8 "' 1 - 
firmness of brick vaults compared 
to the failure of the Government 
depository. The latter had most 
funds in store, but it was insecurely 
based on railway iron ; while the 
former rested on the solid earth, 
the soil itself, whence comes all 
permanent stability. 

For this reason, among others, 
Chicago failures have rarely been 
total wrecks. In the cases of bank- 
rupt National banks, the proceeds 
of their United States bonds have 
always redeemed the bank-notes, 
the other assets have partly or 
wholly paid the other liabilities, 
and the shareholders have usually 

made up the deficiency, if any. POTTER LMER. 

Now (1891) the stock of one bankrupt bank (the Third National) is 
worth 250 per cent, or more, through the advance of real estate which 
was among its abandoned resources. 

The only really disastrous banking convulsion which has struck 
Chicago since 1837, was that of 1878, when the State, the Beehive, 
the Fidelity and the German savings-banks went down, chiefly because 
of real estate loans, the security for which was valuable, but inconvert- 
ible. The losses were terrible, not because of their magnitude, but of 
the helplessness of the losers, they being savings depositors. The State 
was precipitated by wrong doing and flight on the part of its manager, 
D. D. Spencer. George Schneider had been out of it for fifteen years, 
and the sound principles which guided him had been replaced by a very 



State, Beehive, 
Fidelity, and 
German Sav- 

Building Socie- 
ties and their 

different spirit.* The others were recognized as being the victims of 
misfortune and bad judgment. The two largest, the State and the 
Fidelity, finally paid between fifty and sixty per cent of their indebted- 
ness, but most of the small depositors had already sold their claims for 
a song. At prices afterward reached, the land securities would have 
paid all claims in full with interest. The moral effect of these failures 
was bad, as many of the sufferers were discouraged from ever again 
practising the painful economies whereof the results were so pitifully 

Other savings-banks have sprung up, and the innumerable "build- 
ing associations" have formed attractive, profitable, and hitherto safe 
channels or reservoirs for savings, through which tens of thousands of 

homes have been built up and occu- 
pied. Properly managed "building 
societies," namely, those which lend 
to individual heads of families and 
not to building speculators, are safe 
beyond peradventure. 

At the same time, savings- 
banks are now (1891) coming 
again into favor. As fast as homes 
are built and paid for (probably 
faster in Chicago than in any other 
city on earth), the habit of saving 
becoming formed, other healthy 
investments will follow. Speed the 
day! The additional sums which 
might be saved to American labor- 
ing classes, if there were no spirits 
or beer in the world, would trans- 
fer to their ownership all the most valuable property in the country, 
railways, mines and manufactures, in a single generation. It is calcu- 
lated that the "drink bill " of Chicago (not taking into account the indi- 
rect injury caused by the drink habit) amounts to between $20,000,000 
and $30,000,000 each year, chiefly from the earnings of labor. The rich 
are not saving money half as fast as the poor are throwing it away. 

The mass of ashes, stone-fragments, brick-bats, mortar-dust, slag, 
metallic debris, melted and agglomerated nails, spikes, horse-shoes, bars, 
bundles and other forms of iron, crockery, china and glass-ware and ten 

* Mr. Schneider is characterized by a friend as " the man to whom is justly due the honor of having done more 
than any other journalist to bring the Germans of the Xorthwest into line with that great anti-slavery movement 
which, taking its rise in England under Wilberforre, Clarkson, George Thompson, Daniel O'Conncll and others, saw 
the consummation ot its labors in the emancipation proclamation of Abraham Lincoln." 






thousand thousand other relics, impossible of grasp by memory or imag- 
ination, remained to be disposed of.* If the fire had annihilated them 
all it would have been well ; but there they lay, the bones of the old 
Chicago to be buried out of the path of the new. Burdensome as they 
were, they were not entirely useless. In the first place, the occasion 
was seized for raising the established grade in some places ; and in 
others, raising the actual grade to the established standard. Then again 
there was the "basin" in front of the Lake Front Park and within the 
Illinois Central breakwater. This had long been a weedy, half stagnant 
eyesore; now it was the convenient dumping-ground. Thither went 
the wagon-loads of debris, almost by the million. The place was filled ; 
and if at some far distant age Macaulay's fancied " New Zealander" 
shall sit on the ruins of the ancient 
Chicago and wonder at the great 
remains of past glory, he may be 
led to excavate the bank which 
the lake will have abandoned, and 
if so he shall there have rich finds 
of the relics of a forgotten race. 

The " Little Fire," the great 
fire of July i\, 1874, seemed like 
adding insult to injury; like plung- 
ing the same dagger afresh into the 
old, half-healed wound. Captain 
Andreas says (3 Hist. Chic. 462) : 

The starting point was a low shanty in the 
rear of No. 527 South Clark Street, occupied by 
a rag peddler as a store-house. . . . The first 
estimate of the loss was $4,025,000, but this was 
subsequently reduced to $3 845 ooo. The loss to 
the insurance companies was about $2,200,000, 

leaving a loss to property owners of between $i, 600. coo and $2,000,000, The fire lasted from 4:30 
p. M. on the I4th till 3:30 A. M. on the ijth, and at one time it looked as if the city was menaced by 
another sweeping conflagration At an early hour in the evening the apprehension was so great that 
many firms began carting their valuable goods to the West Side. Guests left the hotels and people 
on the North Side began preparing for another visitation by packing up their chattels. 

The Fire, driven by a southwest wind, as was its greater predeces- 
sor, swept from its origin on Clark Street eastward to the Lake, skirting 
the southern edge of the rebuilding "burnt district," and doing little 
damage, if any, to the new brick structures. But it was the " last straw" 
on the back of the patient insurance interest. Anticipating the inevit- 
able outcry, the local insurance agents met on the day after the disas- 
ter and agreed to insist on a " new deal." The fire department must be 

*Even while these pages were preparinz, a huge mass of iron melted together in an obstinate henp. has lain in 
the way of the erection of one of the great new structures (the Masonic Temple), and has Hnally been raised and trans- 
ferred to the "Libby Prison Museum." 

Relics of the 
past made 
for the future. 

A new blow on 
the old sore 



re-organized, the chief must have absolute control, the fire-limits must 

be strictly observed and respected in all building, the water-mains must 

Last straw on be enlarged, extra hazardous merchandise must not be stored, wooden 

the insurance awnings, cornices and cupolas must be removed. In spite of all this the 


National Board of Underwriters in Philadelphia, on October ist 
resolved that all its companies should retire from Chicago, and the with- 
drawal actually began. 

At this alarming juncture the Citizens' Association (working with 

Citizens- ASSO- the Board of Underwriters) raised $5,000 to carry into effect the reform 

rescue. of the Fire Department. Franklin MacVeagh went East, argued the 

matter before the Board of Underwriters and engaged General Shaler, 

of New York, an old soldier and 
an experienced fireman, to come to 
Chicago and re-organize the fire- 
fighting service, and the second 
conflagration, severe trial as it was, 
proved to have been a blessing in 
disguise, for from that day to this 
(1891) no fire has got beyond the 
control of the department, so as 
to outflank it, jump* over it, defy it 
and rage unchecked over any large 
extent of ground, although Chicago 
still remains largely a " wooden 

The Insurance Companies, it is 
needless to say, cheerfully even 
eagerly returned to Chicago, and 
have found it a profitable field for 
their tillage ; although one of the 
authorities on the subject assures 

the writer (1891) that the net profits of the business here can never 
repay the big loss ; for the reason that they can not pay the interest on 
it, year by year. At six per cent, this would amount to $3,000,000 ; 
and, compounding interest for the delay, would now take perhaps 
$10,000,000 per annum to be gained before any beginning is made 

11*1 ... 

toward reducing the enormous principal. 

The growth of the Fire Department from the fifteen poor rotary 
engines of 1871, which could scarcely throw a respectable stream against 
the wind, may be judged from the following extract from Mayor 
Cregier's report of 1890, dated April 27, 1891 : 

The fire department continues its usual efficiency. This arm of the service consists of 914 
men in all capacities, 209 fire apparatuses, 89 stations, 387 horses and 115,000 feet or nearly 22 miles 


The companies 
forgive, but 
do not forget 



of hose. During the year the department has responded to 4,639 alarms, of which 3,459 were fires. 
104 men were injured while in the discharge of duty, but not a life was sacrificed during the year. 

The new fire-boat " Yo Semite " was completed and put in service December iqth, and has a The new army 
capacity to deliver 24 one-and-one-fourth streams simultaneously. This fire-boat has thrown a 
single four-inch stream a distance of 420 feet. The power and utility of this boat will prove an 
important addition to the department. 

This one flood-thrower, drawing water from the river regardless 
of any water-works, would alone have quelled the fire-fiend of 1871. 
Its power is probably three times as great as that of all the apparatus of 
the older days put together. There are more machines now than there 
were men in the ante-fire days. 

A very striking and noteworthy experience in the business history 
of Chicago was the exposure and 
punishment of the " whisky frauds'* 
in 1875. The large internal rev- 
enue tax laid on distilled spirits by 
Congress in war time ($2 a gallon, 
later reduced to 90 cents a gal- 
lon), offered an overpowering 
temptation to fraud and conceal- 
ment, the tax being more than ten 
times the cost of production.* The 
frauds had been of long standing, 
and, as is usual in such cases, the 
offenders had grown bold and care- 
less, regarding " beating the Gov- 
ernment" as a kind of recognized 
game of chance and skill even 
as certain women look upon the 
introduction of foreign finery in 
defiance of the customs laws. The 
conspiracy involved many Govern- 

ment officers. One member of President Grant's Cabinet was considered 
.to be implicated, and people went so far as to charge the President 
himself with privity in the swelling of campaign means by "whisky 
money," or corruption funds, paid for convenient blindness on the part 
of tax-collectors. This accusation, false as it proved, found many believ- 
ers among his political opponents. General Grant's famous phrase, 
"Let no guilty man escape," was the keynote of the prosecution, and 
it went on to a triumphant conclusion. 

Secretary Bristow was the instigator of the whole proceeding, and 

* When corn is low and beef and porlc are high, spirits can be distilled in the West almost for nothing, seeing 
that the " slops," or remains from distillation, are nearly as valuable for fattening cattle and hogs as was the corn before 


Bursting of the 
Whisky ring. 

" Let no guilty 
man escape.'' 



to him, perhaps, more than to any other one Government officer, was 
due the great reform, comparable to that which ousted the "Tweed 
Ring," in New York, in the same year,* a campaign whereof the glory 
is assigned to Samuel J. Tilden. Special Deputies Tutton, Asa 
Matthews and Captain William Somerville (the two last named Illinois 
men) made the arrests and seizures. Judge Mark Bangs was the 
United States District Attorney and managed the attacking force. He 
had the help of some of the best legal talent in the city, Wirt Dexter, 
B. F. Ayer, and L. H. Boutell; and, of course, was opposed by all the 
ingenuity and ability that the profession could furnish and money could 
employ: Robert G. Ingersoll, Emory A. Storrs, Leonard Swett, Sydney 

Smith and others. 

Eight large distilleries and 
numerous rectifying and wholesale 
liquor houses were seized, and 
goods bearing the marks of these 
houses were confiscated all over 
the country, wherever found. The 
"first batch" of the accused ar- 
rested were scarcely in custody 
before some of them showed symp- 
toms of weakening. They knew 
that the Government would have 
little or no trouble in making out its 
case, and finally, with one accord, 
offered their testimony against 
others on the hope of obtaining in- 
demnity from the penalties of their 
wrong-doing. After much consul- 
tation and mature deliberation, Judge Bangs concluded to put them 
prop- on the witness stand, they to rely on the clemency of the Government 
as the consideration for their repentance and becoming its friends and 
allies. Thereupon about a score of more distinguished culprits were" 
arrested, including some men widely known and highly esteemed. 

The trial was sensational, the court room crowded, the public-press 
sensational alive with staring headlines and full columns. All defence was practi- 
and sentences, cally hopeless, in view of the extreme severity and far-reaching pene- 
tration of the revenue laws. Every gallon fraudulently distilled and 
marketed was a separate offence calling for fine, confiscation and impris- 

* It is partly in consequence of the uncounted stealings of the " Tweed Ring " that the public debt ol New York 
is so great and so complicated that no man can give a complete statement of its amount. It has been estimated at 
$140,000.000, which is somewhat more than ten times that of Chicago. Chicago naturally boasts of the difference, and of 
the fact that in spite of all the charges, true and false, of fraud and peculation in her city government, no official or con- 
tractor has grown rich on his city business. 


ong men 


onrnent. As millions of gallons had been "crooked," all the money in 
the country would not have paid the possible fines, and centuries would 
not have exhausted the possible terms of imprisonment. Frantic efforts str 
were made to have the sentences confined to money penalties, but 
imprisonment, with its accompanying stigma, was insisted on in every 
case, and men of age, wealth and standing broke down in tears on being 
condemned to the common jail. 

Afterward came the question of the extent of indemnity to be 
allowed to the " State's evidence " men. The Government was disposed 
to insist that only imprisonment should be spared them ; that all fines 
and confiscations should be enforced, and further, all liability as surety '".^TJiakre 
on the bonds of the very men whom their evidence had brought to 
justice. As finally settled, the "squealers" submitted to the loss of 
the distilleries and liquors siezed, also to all the taxes proven against 
them as being unpaid, but escaped the money penalties and liabilities 
on bonds, the latter chiefly by compromise, for they were stripped of 
their property and could not go into business again with the old liabili- 
ties hanging over them. " Let no guilty man escape" was carried out 
so far as the law or the public could identify him. Even if the " State's 
evidence" men had got off scott free, it would only be in accord with 
the general common-law principle of expediency. "Approvers" have 
been favored, from very ancient times, on the ground given by an old 
English commentator who says that a main safeguard for the upright is 
found in the mutual distrust of the knaves who fear betrayal at each 
other's hands. 

The years 1873 to 1878 were years of extreme business depression ; 
usually called years of "disaster;" but Judge Caton wisely calls them 
years of prosperity, seeing that they were those where the process of 
economical repair and renewal went on. In 1873, he observes, the im- 
ports were $300,000,000 more than the exports ; indicating wild extrava- 
gance in the use of foreign luxuries. This was quenched by the "hard 
times," and economy took its place. Debts were liquidated and the 
balance restored; so that in 1878 the exports were $300,000,000 above seeming tm 
the imports. The process of contraction was not one of destruction bun-^uet 
but of reconstruction; not an attack of melancholia, but the return to 
reason after drunken foolishness. The "ministry of pain" is a blessing; 
deeply disguised, but a blessing nevertheless when it is a preventive of 
grealer pains. 

Sure it is that every check which Chicago has ever met, be it war, 
pestilence or (money) famine ; flood, fire or scandal, has only marked a 
pause in her progress, a halt to gather strength for a higher leap. 


In the Mayoralty, Roswell B. Mason was succeeded in 1871 by Joseph Medill 
next (1873) came Harvey D. Colvin; next (1876) Monroe Heath; next (1879" 

Carter H. Harrison, who had the unprecedented honor of serving through four 
successive terms with marked ability. 


After Mr. Harrison, came (1887) John A. Roche, and next (1889) 
DeWitt Clinton Cregier, who was followed (1891) by the present 
Mayor, Hempstead Washburne. 


Chicago should congratulate herself on the high character for per- 
sonal honesty which has marked her chief executives without exception. 

In war and peace, through dark 
days and bright, through fire and 
flood, through riots and other 
epidemics, they have served her 
faithfully. In many cases the 
choice to the high office has 
seemed to raise its incumbent to a 
higher plane of principle than had 
ever before been attributed to him. 
Partisan rancor has often accused 
them of partisan bias; never of pri- 
vate peculation. So far as known, 
they, one and all, have left the 
Mayoralty poorer than they entered 
it; in spite of the fact that in the 
meantime huge sums have been 
spent upon public works of great 
extent and magnificence, offering 

Uniform integ- 
rity of the 
Mayors of 


temptations to all kinds of 


The 1 

uxury of 
poor and 


ARKS are among the many luxuries which 
the advance of the world's means and 
appliances for human enjoyment has 
brought into the category of necessaries 
of life. Warmth, light, air, sport, beauty 
and music (among thousands of other 
comforting and elevating gifts) are now 
offered to the poorest, to a degree which 
even within historic times, was beyond 
the dream of the most favored of men. 
And city parks are the purveyors of 
warmth, light, air, sport, beauty and 
music, to vast crowds of city-dwellers, who 
otherwise would find very little of either 
in their lives. 

Reference has already been made to the establishment of Lincoln 
Park, the pioneer of the magnificenj: park system of Chicago. Those 




who, with so much courage and persistency, carried through that enter- 
prise, established not only a park, but a precedent. The legislative 
commission, with its powers, duties and limitations, was the all-potent 
machine by which, in 1869, the South and West Divisions effected for 
themselves what the North Division had devised for itself. 

On February 24, 1869, an act of the legislature was passed and 
approved, which created a commission, consisting of John M. Wilson, 
George W. Gage, Chauncey T. Bowen, L. B. Sidway and Paul Cornell, 
to locate and maintain a park in the towns of South Chicago, Hyde 
Park and Lake, authorizing them to obtain certain designated lands by 
purchase or condemnation, to cause the appointment of assessors by the 
Circuit Court to levy taxes, to issue bonds secured on the park and its 
improvements, and generally to do all things needful in the premises. 

South Park 


After nearly two years of hard work, the Fire came and swept 
away almost all the visible result, namely, the magnificent plans and 
specifications prepared by Olmstead & Vaux (landscape architects of 
New York Central Park), the maps of the region, with ownership, etc., 
the Board records and books of account, all contracts, estimates, accounts 
and vouchers, and, perhaps worst of all, the roll of "assessment for bene- 
fits." In spite of this, and in accordance with the spirit which animated 
the community, they were soon at work again, making up for lost time. 
In 1872, '73 and '74, boulevards were laid out and graded, an artesian 
well was sunk, water-mains were extended, sewers built, hundreds of 
acres of land planted and fertilized, artificial lakes excavated, a tempo- 

its Fire lo* 


rary music-stand was erected and Hans Balatka's orchestra employed to 
give weekly concerts. 

To quote Andreas (3 Hist. Chic., 170): 

Up to 1875 the whole amount of land purchased was 1,045 acres. . . 350 acres had been 
tilled, seeded down and planted with forest trees, of from three to twelve inches diameter. That 
part of it known as the "South Open Green " had been laid out as a lawn probably the most exten- 
sive in America and the four main boulevards, Grand, Drexel, Pavilion and Oakwood, had been 
built and completed, affording eleven and one-half miles of road. A connecting drive between the 
h'a'ses^nd East and West divisions of the park, beside other minor boulevards, some five miles in length, had 
improvements been constructed. The nursery furnished several thousand trees each season, which were planted 
in the park, their places being supplied with young stock. The floral department and botanical gar- 
den were well established, with good hot-houses, steam forcing apparatus, etc., and the Board found 
itself able to furnish therefrom all the plants for the walks and drives in the parks. 

The various boulevards and portions of the park were named from 
time to time. The East became Jackson Park; the West, Washington 



Park. The boulevards were named Grand, Garfield, Drexel, etc. In 
acknowledgment of the last, the Drexel heirs in Philadelphia furnished 
that boulevard with a handsome bronze fountain, surmounted by a statue 
of A. J. Drexel, the founder of the family, and a distinguished philan- 
thropist. The greatest innovation was that which connected the park 
w ' t ^ t ' le centre f tne c i tv by the adoption by the Board, and repaving 
and improving as a boulevard, of Michigan Avenue, for nearly its whole 
length, namely, from Jackson Street to 35th Street, a distance of over 
three miles. This cost more than $500,000. 

Under the provisions of the Park acts, any street " boulevarded " 
is placed under the control of the Park Board, as to its care, government 



and use, and the Board can assess adjacent property for its reimburse- 
ment. The Board thereupon forbids the use of the roadway for busi- 


ness travel (and even for funerals) except so far as absolutely necessary 
to the residents on the street itself. The Board must be applied to for 
permission by any railway which desires to cross its boulevards ; in short, 



Hardship of 
some streets 
at the cost of 

the whole length of each is treated as part of the park. This is not 
looked upon with favor by the residents on parallel streets near by, as 
it not only gives the favored avenue a certain glory and distinction, but 
also throws on the other roadways more than their share of the public 
business, the traffic which is heavy, dirty, noisy, unsightly, undesirable 
and pavement-wearing. Still, they submit, perforce, and with as good a 
grace as may be. " It is for the city's good." 

The South Park Commissioners' report for 1890 gives the total 
outlays since 1869 as $11,101,935, and the entire remaining debt as 
$281,000. In other words, the taxpayers of the South Division have in 



eighteen years freely paid $10,820,935, and wiped out the cost of lands 
and everything else, except the paltry sum of $281,000. This is a fresh 
and strong illustration of the severe " pay as you go " policy which has 
pay-as-yo u . ? o always characterized Chicago and resulted in making all her immense 
outlays, both before and after the Fire, without increasing by a dollar 
the old debt of less than $14,000,000. 

The South Park is to accommodate the World's Fair. It has sur- 
rendered to the "Columbian Exposition Board" the whole of Jackson 
Park and the midway Plaisance. This makes 666 acres, including a mile 
and a half of lake frontage. As Paris managed to do fairly well with 



225 acres and no lake frontage, it may be supposed that the Columbian 
will not suffer for elbow room. 

Some idea of the work required to keep the South Park in shape 
may be gained from the list of equipments, etc., it has in use: 53 wagons, 
8 phaetons, 23 sprinkling wagons, 5 carts, i steam roller, 121 horses, 85 
boats, and tools and implements beyond count. The park has 40 tennis 
courts, 10 base ball fields, three skating ponds and one curling pool. 
The receipts from sale of hay, hire of phaetons and boats, sales at 
refreshment counters, etc., were over $24,000. 

The Commissioners' report for 1890 gives the following: 


needed by a 



75 ^ 

Improved Area, 

Improved Drives, 





6 18 



i S3 

Drexel Boulevard 200 feet wide. 

Oakwood Boulevard 100 feet wide . . . . 

. 50 

. 50 

c . 71 

i 77 

Thirty-fifth Street Boulevard 

3 50 



I 7Q 




1 6 17 


28. iJ. 

Table of areas 
and distances. 

The total area of the territory embraced within-the limits of the South Parks and Boulevards 
is 1,306 acres. 

The commissioners are (1891) William Best, Joseph Donners- 
berger, James W. Ellsworth, John B. Sherman and Martin J. Russell. 

The act for incorporating the West Park Board was passed Feb- wt 
ruary 27, 1869, the commissioners being Charles C. P. H olden, Henry 
Greenebaum, George W. Stanford, E. F. Runyan, Isaac R. Hitt, Clark 
Lipe and P. W. Gates. The act provided for a boulevard, beginning 
at the North Branch north of Fullerton Avenue, running west to a point 
west of Western Avenue; then southerly, as the commissioners might 
direct, to the line of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway; and 
parks were to be situated along the line of this boulevard, in the dis- 
cretion of the Board. With this large liberty of choice, the Board laid 
out four boulevards, namely, Douglas, Central, Humboldt and South- 

inK cf 





west ; with a total surface of 262 acres, and a length of 8^ miles. 
These boulevards join together the three great new parks : Douglas, 
180 acres; Garfield, 186 acres; and Humboldt, 200 acres; covering, 
Douglas, Gar- with the boulevards, 828 acres. Besides these laid out by the Board, it 
has had assigned to its charge five older parks, namely: Union, 15 
acres ; Jefferson, 5 acres ; Vernon, 4 acres; Wicker, 5 acres, and Camp- 
bell, half an acre. Also five older boulevards, namely: Washington, 
Jackson, Ashland, Twelfth Street and Ogden Avenue ; which bring the 
total surface of West Side parks and boulevards up to about 940 acres. 

field and 

Great Boule- 
vards on the 
West Side. 


The boulevards are 250 feet wide; and, starting from Lincoln Park, 
and running west to Humboldt, thence south through Garfield Park, 
they continue until they join the South Park system. This carries the 
roadway on southward to a point parallel with Jackson Park; there it 
turns eastward, reaching, through the South parks, Lake Michigan, which 
it quitted at Lincoln Park, some nine miles north, having, in the meantime, 
traversed seventeen miles of continuous boulevard and park cultivation. 
There, the traveler can, if he so choose, turn northward, and by Grand 
and Michigan Boulevards return to the place he started, after making a 
grand tour of twenty-six miles. 



As yet, this long detour is through the outskirts of the city (except 
the Michigan and Grand Boulevards stretch), but within the not distant Future 
future the city "without the wall"* will be larger than that within it, and b *" ui "- 
it is easy to fancy the grandeur and beauty of this system under those 






Humboldt Park 

200 ^ 


Humboldt Boulevard 

2 \4 

Garfield Park 



Central Boulevard 

\ 1 A 

Douglas Park ... 



Southwestern Boulevard 


Wicker Park 




I'nion Park 




Jefferson Park 

5 '4 

Twelfth Street Boulevard 

Vernon Park 



i l A 

Campbell Park 


Jackson Boulevard ... 


Total acres .... 

;nl . 


Total miles 


Acres and 
miles of West 
Side system. 

The outlay on the West Side parks and boulevards for 1890 was 
$148,150 for maintenance, and $i 14,361 for improvement. The miscel- 
laneous receipts from boat-hire, rents, etc., were $17,647. 

The Board of West Park Commissioners for 1891 comprises 
George Mason, Henry S. Burkhardt, Fred M. Blount, Willard Wood- 
ard, Harvey L. Thompson, C. K. G. Billings and John Kralovec. 

The original signification of " Boulevard " is bulwark or rampart. 



Lake Shore 
Drive; the 
Glory of the 
North Side. 

Lincoln Park, on 
the North Side, has 
the peculiar and in- 
estimable advantage 
of a Lake Shore 
drive ; the beginning 
of a roadway des- 
tined to be at some 
future time continu- 
ous to Milwaukee; 
if not to far away 
"Devil's Door," the 
entrance to Green 
Bay, 300 miles to the 
northward. Already 
(1891) it is completed 
or in a fair state of 
forwardness, from the 
heart of the city to 
Fort Sheridan, the 
United States Mili- 
tary Post, twenty-two 
miles down the lake, 
passing through an 
almost continuous 
line of pretty sub- 
urbs. Wherever pos- 
sible, the drive skirts 
the lake itself ; else- 
where it keeps the 
water in view through 
the trees or over the 
bluff, and at still other 
places it is driven 
quite inland by the 
irregularities of sur- 
face or by the un- 
willingness of private 
owners .to be sepa- 
rated from the beach. 
Doubtless, as time 
goes on, changes will 




be made in its location, and always in the direction of nearer conformity 
to the meandering shore ; for nothing in all the joys of mere travel can 
compare with the delight of speeding over solid land beside open water 
unless it be sailing along smiling water in view of a pretty landscape. 
Of this peculiar opportunity the Lincoln Park Commissioners took 
shrewd and early advantage. Almost the first outlay they incurred was 
the preparation of .the driveway along the Park front. This was at n 

~ . / . O Primeval Sand- 

once (in 1870) made much use of, even while most of the Park land bills 
was still in its normal and primeval condition of barren, bare or weedy 
sand-hills. The driveway served a double purpose : it pleased the North 
Siders and made them, .one and all, willing to pay the new assessment 
which added to their tax burden, and it shut out and made forever 


impossible the alienation of the Lake Shore for a railway entrance to 
the city; a fate which overtook the whole South lake front at a day so 
far back that it was in the time when the shore was regarded as a dreary 
waste instead of a refreshing pleasure-ground. 

It is easy to perceive that a range of wind-swept sand-hills is an 
unpromising place fora park, but hard to conceive of the immensity of 
the task of subduing it to verdure and beauty. On the other hand, there 
are some compensatory features; the sand is easy to move by plow and 
scraper, and is a self-draining material when reduced to the desired 
form. On the whole, one would rather attack for park purposes warm 
sand than oold, refractory soaked clay or hardpan. A design once fixed 
on, with a pond here and there to be excavated, a hill or two or three 

Exclusion of 
Shore rail- 



Blossoming . 
the rose. 

to be brought low, a mound to be raised, a slope to be graded, a ridge 
to be ranged, numberless rlower beds to be started, a hot-house, a con- 
servatory, a green-house,a palm-house,a boat-house, a tool and-machinery- 
house, a keeper's dwelling and bafn to be built all these things and a 
thousand others being laid out for deliberate achievement, the thing 
goes on step by step, and the change, to an occasional visitor, seems 
almost magical. ioo,ooocubic yards or more of clay make a substratum 
to the grass-plats ; tens of thousands of loads of black soil and the fer- 
tilizing city street-sweepings make the top-dressing ; thousands of trees, 
home-grown and imported, soon stand in orderly confusion, and behold! 
the wilderness blossoms as the rose. 

Lincoln Park, itself, is the only park under the control oi the Com- 


missioners of Lincoln Park ; its acreage, including the area within the 
shore protection now in process of construction, is 325 acres, of which 
300 acres are improved. Its driveways, outside its own limits and those 
of the Lake Shore Drive, are : 

Lincoln Park Boulevard, one-fourth of a mile (being Pine Street 
from Pearson to Oak Street). 

North Avenue Boulevard (Clark Street to Lake Shore Drive), 
one-fourth of a mile. 

North Park Avenue Boulevard (Center Street to Fullerton Avenue), 
one half-mile. 

Lake View Avenue Boulevard (Diversey Avenue to Belmont 
Avenue), one half-mile. 



Diversey Avenue Boulevard (Clark Street to Lake Shore) one- 
fourth of a mile. 

The city council of Chicago recently transferred to the Lincoln 
Park Board control of Fullerton Avenue from Clark Street to North 
Park Avenue, nearly one-fourth of a mile, and it is now being improved ; 
the city council also transferred the control of Diversey Avenue from 
Clark Street west to the North Branch (the exact distance unknown). 

It has been conditionally accepted by the Commissioners but it is 
probable an amendatory ordinance will be passed before the Board 
assumes control. 

Miles and acres 
of the Lincoln 
Park system. 


The Board issued seven per cent, bonds for land amounting to 
Of these 650 have been paid 




Original cost 
,OOO and present 

$50,000 of this issue is retired in April of each year. Beside 
these, $350,000 of five per cent, bonds have been issued for the con- 
struction of the outer drive and protection. 

There has been expended on account of Land Improvement and 
Maintenance, from 1869 to April i, 1891, the sum of $5,250,264, and 
the only sum unpaid is the bonded debt of $600,000 before mentioned. 

For the year ending April 30, 1891, the receipts were $347,566, 
and the outlays $341,364. 



The successive Commissioners have been Ezra B. McCagg, John 
B. Turner, Joseph Stockton, Jacob Rehm, Andrew Nelson, Samuel M. 
Nickerson, William H. Bradley, Francis H. Kales, Belden F. Culver, 
Frederick H. Winston, Anthony C. Hesing, Thomas F. Withrow, L. J. 
Kadish, Max Hjortsberg, Isaac N. Arnold, Charles Catlin, and J. 
McGregor Adams. The Commissioners for 1891 are William C. 
Goudy, President; C. J. Blair, Treasurer; E. S. Taylor, Secretary, and 
Horatio N. May, Andrew E. Leicht, Joseph Stockton and John Worthy. 

It is unquestionable that the park and boulevard system of Chicago 
was planned and carried out far ahead of the city's actual needs. In 


Park System 

stiii beyond 

present needs. 

truth, even at the present writing (1891 ) they are beyond all proportion 
to the use made of them. Large expanses of park are lonely solitudes, 
except on some special feast day. Long stretches of boulevard are as 
inappropriate to their respective neighborhoods as would be a cathedral 

. ,..,. 11-11 11 

in a country village. 1 his being so when the city has long passed the 


million mark, how almost absurd must they have seemed when they were 
laid out encircling (though far away from) a town of only 300,000 souls! 
They fitted about as well as a wedding ring on a baby girl's finger. But, 
all this being true, it only proves the projectors to have had the gift of 
second-sight. If it had not been done when it was, it would have been 
impossible ever afterward. In spite of the loudly-blamed greed of the 
property owners (who in general, though not invariably, got every 



penny they could) the land was bought at prices far below present 
values. The limit of permitted rates of assessment (between one and 
two cents on the hundred dollars of value) gave, at first, very scanty 
means for improvements and sinking funds ; but as surrounding lands 
and lots rise (partly by aid of the parks and boulevards themselves) the 
same old rates give generous yearly sums to the successive Boards ) 
while the lessening of the debt, by calling in bonds for the sinking 



funds, reduces year by year the interest charges, so that in the Colum- 
bian year the whole system will be substantially clear of incumbrance, 
while the available funds will authorize expenditures not less than mag- 
nificent. Not only has this generation planned for the next and its 
successors a princely pleasure ground, it has bought it and paid for it, 
and devises it to the future free of the usual purchase-money mortgage. 
And this, too, achieved by the burnt-out generation, the rebuilders of 
the ruined city. 

means and 

Bought and 
paid for; a 
free Rift to 
the future. 



VERY city, the majority of the citizens 
whereof are householders, is safe, not 
from riots, but from successful riots. He 
who has much to lose is a sure defender 
of law and order. Building societies are 
the best form of special police and civic, 
unarmed militia. The dangerous classes 
are nomadic; rovers, " foot-loose," dwell- 
ers in tents, figuratively, if not literally. 
The home-lover is not formidable for 
attack and aggression, but for defence he 
is invincible. 

A city of homes 
safe from 

Trade unions 
necessary and 

The Pittsburg 

On the other hand, combinations of 
wage-earners are natural and proper, as 
are also combinations of employers. The 
latter are not prone to advance wages (however reasonably) except upon 
necessity, and that necessity is not brought to bear, except by the refu- 
sal of employes to work at the lower rates ; nor will the wage-earners 
consent to a reduction (however necessary) except by the refusal of all 
employers to pay the higher. Both seem to be as necessary as are two 
parties in national politics. Their contests and clashings are inevitable 
and lawful (so long as peacefully carried on), and from them comes the 
" market rate," the meeting point of supply and demand. 

In July, 1877, occurred what were known as the "Railroad Riots," 
in reality a combined and premeditated effort on the part of wage-earn- 
ers all over the Union to force down the hours of labor and force up the 
rates of wages, the railroads being chosen as the point of attack. In 
many Eastern cities there were great riots, with bloody results, espe- 
cially in Pittsburg, where the killed and wounded, among citizen-soldiers 
and citizen workmen, numbered hundreds.* In Chicago on July 23rd, 
a mass-meeting of laborers was called at Market Square (Market, 
Madison and Washington Streets), at which speeches were made, coun- 

* In Pittsburg, mismanagement (complicated with treachery or cowardice) led to dreadful disaster. The local 
military refused or failed to support the civil power, whereupon regiments from other pans of Pennsylvania were brought 
into service. These probably opened fire too soon certainly stopped too soon after the fight was upon them. The 
enraged rioters by thousands surrounded them, and drove them into the railway machine shops and engine houses, then 
set fire to the places of refuge. The militia sought refuge m the armories of the city companies and were refused. They 
dispersed and were killed and wounded in large numbers. Every vestige of railway property was burned buildings, 
machinery and rolling stock, including 125 first-class engines. The loss aggregated $10,000,000. 





selling mob violence. On Tuesday some hundreds of men and boys 
marched down Canal Street, warning from their work all laborers in 
coal-yards, lumber-yards, factories and railway-yards, and threatening Fi 
with violence any who persisted in their occupations. These were dis- 
persed by the police, but the isolated bands continued their paralyzing 
interference, so that before the next morning industry was almost at a 
stand-still. The railroads, except some mail-trains, were entirely 

Warned by the occurrences at Pittsburg, where gun-stores were 
raided and the mob armed with their contents, the Police (M.C. Hickey, 
Supt., and Joseph H. Dixon, Deputy) requested fire-arm dealers to re 
move all weapons from their win- 
dows to a place of safety, a request 
which they willingly complied with, 
well knowing that if called on to 
part with their wares it would be 
in a way devoid of profit to their 
pockets. Handbills were circu- 
lated calling another mass-meeting 
at Market Square on Tuesday 
evening, but the assembly was 
prevented by the police, who dis- 
persed the crowds as fast as they 
arrived. By Tuesday evening 322 
special policemen had been called 
into service, and over 125 rioters 
arrested and confined. Mayor 
Heath issued his proclamation call- 
ing on citizens to organize protec- 

tive associations in each ward, and the First and Second Regiments of 
militia, with Bolton's Veteran Battery, the Battalion of Cavalry and 
some smaller armed companies were assembled at their respective 
armories. Beside these, the Grand Army posts and other veteran 

.. . i r i f 

organizations offered their services, and, as if by magic, a force estimated Defence. 
at 20,000 men was enrolled for the defence of law, order and property. 
A. C. Ducat, Major General, and Joseph T. Torrence, Brigadier 
General of State Militia, and took immediate command of the force, 
making up their staffs from such material as could be readily found, 
availing themselves, as far as possible, of men who had seen service 
during the rebellion, as both the generals named had done. Mayor 
Heath placed the public defence entirely in their hands, ordering the 
police force to report to General Torrence for orders. 


forces lor 



Outbreak and 

Points to be 
defended . 

The earliest, longest and latest parts of the struggle fell necessarily 
on the police, which certainly acquitted itself admirably. To quote 
Andreas (3 Hist. Chic., 109): 

The first actual violence occurred on Wednesday. The rioters, growing bolder, began driving 
men from work and destroying property in the lumber districts, and massed 900 strong near 
McCormick's reaper factory on Blue Island avenue. Here a detachment of police, under command 
of Lieutenants Cailahan and Vescy, routed the mob. A second mob, at Van Buren Street bridge, 
was dispersed by Lieutenant Ebersold; and still another, in the vicinity of the Illinois Central eleva- 
tors, by Lieutenant Bell and Sergeant Brennan. Before noon a dozen outbreaks occurred in the 
various divisions of the city, in which men were beaten, windows broken and street cars stopped. 
The saloons were ordered to be closed, trucks were kept in readiness to carry the police. 
A mass-meeting of the rioters was broken up and their platforms torn down. . . At the Burling- 
ton & Quincy Round-house, on Sixteenth Street, Lieutenant Macauley and Sergeant Ryan's detail 
had a half-hour battle with the rioters, during which five of the latter were shot dead. That evening 
Pribyl's gun store on South Halsted Street was raided, and the arms taken by the mob. 



Thursday morning the rioters were massed in the vicinity of the Sixteenth Street viaduct 
Lieutenant Bischoff's detail were fired on, special policemen Landacher and Shanley being wounded. 
. . Alarming rumors of riot and carnage were afloat and each fusillade intensified the popular 
excitement. The hour for decisive action had come, and the First and Second regiments, com 
manded respectively by Colonel S. B. Sherer and Colonel James Quirk, were ordered by General 
Torrence to report at the scene of disturbance to Police Captain Seavey. 

The points of first importance to be protected were the water- 
works, the fire department whenever it should be called out by an 
alarm, the various distilleries with their large stores of spirits, and 
whenever they should resume their operations, the railroads. The resi- 
dence portions of the city were protected by organized bodies of citizens 
who patrolled the streets by regular "reliefs" and made any organized 
attack on private property hopeless if any plan for such attack was 
ever entertained, which is not proven and not probable. 



Turning now to General Torrence s report, it appears that : 

The Union Veterans, a force wholly composed of old and tried soldiers, not connected with 
the State military organization, but sworn in as special policemen, reported to me for duty and 
obeyed orders from headquarters. The command was organized and equipped under the efficient 
supervision of General Reynolds, Colonel Owen Stuart, General O. L. Mann and General Martin 
Beem, on the 24th of July [Tuesday]; and from that time forward was almost constantly engaged 
in the performance of duties which were of the first importance to the preservation of public order. 
Company A, Captain Lewis F. Jacobs, and Company D, Captain Charles H. French, were on duty 
for several days, guarding the Phoenix Distillery [Clybourn Ave. Bridge], which was seriously 
threatened by mobs. Company B, Captain L. W. Pierce, was the first fully organized and equipped j 
and was employed in guarding the North and West Side water-works. Company F, Captain C. R. 
E. Koch, was mainly occupied in protecting the distillery at the corner of Canalport Avenue and 
Morgan Street. General Lieb also recruited and commanded a company of veterans, which was of 
the greatest service 

The infantry was moved from its armories for the first time on 
Thursday, July 26th. The First was then marched to the Exposition 
building (Lake Front Park) and the Second 
to the Rock Island Railway Station. At 
10 A. M. Captain Williams, with Lackey's 
Zouaves, the North Chicago Light Guard 
and his own company of the First, marched 
to the corner of Milwaukee and Chicago 
Avenues, near Halsted Street bridge, where 
the police were hard pressed. At 1 1 A. M. 
.the main body of the First was marched to 
the Harrison Street Police Station, where 
it was joined by one gun of Bolton's veteran 
battery, when the force was marched to 
the eastern end of Twelfth Street bridge, 
where the gun was placed in position to 
command the bridge, the infantry support- CAPTAIN JOHN BONFIELD. 
ing. The Second at the same time took its position at the West 
Twelfth Street Station, supporting a second gun of Bolton's battery. 
Thursday night the troops occupied the following positions: Four 
companies of the Second, under Colonel Quirk, on Halsted Street via- 
duct, and three companies under Major Murphy between the viaduct 
and Twelfth Street; two companies of the First at Twelfth Street 
bridge, two at Jefferson Street and two near West Twelfth Street 
Turner Hall. 

General Torrence's report continues : 

On the 26th of July [Thursday] a strong veteran cavalry force of about 150 men was 
organized by Major James H. B. Daly, assisted by General Shaffner. . Immediately upon 

being mounted and equipped, the troops under Captains Waters, McNeill and Agramonte were 
ordered to the scene of disturbance the Halsted Street viaduct in the neighborhood of which 
they remained on duty all day, making many charges and capturing a number of prisoners, some 
in the open streets and others in houses from which shots had been fired, and dispersing groups of 
rioters. General Torrence took command of the cavalry on Halsted Street and at the viaduct in 
person. The conflict on Halsted Street having terminated in the discomfiture of the rioters, the 

'*"^ To |J'',n C ''* 

United States 

Unanimity in 


cavalry was employed for the remainder of the time in patrolling the disaffected districts. It would 
be difficult to overestimate the services rendered by the cavalry, some of whom were almost con- 
stantly in the saddle performing duties of the most exhausting and harassing nature. 

Two companies of United States infantry arrived during the prog- 
ress of the affair, and their soldierly quiet and dignified bearing were a 
matter of admiration and inspiration to the local forces. They reported 
to the State commanders and were posted in exposed positions. As is 
usual wherever they appear, all over the Union, they were received 
with respectful welcome. Even in cases where local militia are subject 
to jibes, if not opposition, "the regulars" never fail to meet with 
cordiality. Men may be jealous of their neighbors in arms, but are sure 
to look upon National soldiers with pride and affection. 

It is certain that all the troops 
behaved with exemplary faithful- 
ness, discipline and self-restraint. 
They were never in the way when 
the police found themselves ade- 
quate to the emergency, and never 
out of the way when the civil force 
required help. It was a task of 
some delicacy to assign its place to 
each body of troops, not because 
any hung back, but because each 
chafed at being held back. The 
First was stigmatized as the " silk- 
stocking" regiment, and the Second 
was even (by persons who did not 
know it well) distrusted as possible 
sympathizers with the striking riot- 
ers. The Second burned to show 
its loyalty, and when the First was 
moved from the armory before orders were received by the Second, the 
latter made known its displeasure in no uncertain terms. In fact, there 
was not, nor has there ever been, any feeling in either except eager- 
ness to prove its usefulness and devotion to duty, harm who it might. 
The same is true of the troops judged by nationality. The Clan-na- 
Gael Guards were as trustworthy as Lackey's Zouaves or the North 
Chicago Light Guard : All were simply Americans and citizen soldiers 
of Chicago. 

The grand display of force made any severe use of force needless. 
It seems that riots do not start out with many persons resolved to break 
law, but grow by the excitement of any early success that may attend 
them, drawing into their bad influence idle spectators, carried away by 




the infection of excited example. Panics grow and spread in like 
manner. Men may be " stampeded " forward as well as backward ; to 
attack as well as to fly. This riot was like an Alpine snow-ball scattered 
by a timely obstruction ; but for which it might have become an ava- 

The stampede, in this case, seized upon the "upper classes," at the 
dawning of the day of trouble. Not that there was any general exodus 
(though some few men were "compelled to leave town" with their 

The threatened 
scattered at 
the start. 


families), but there was general alarm, consternation, dismay, earnest 
appeal to all who had any experience in military matters a degree of 
trepidation which was not without its entertaining features to such 
as did not share it. The newspapers blazed with what are technically 
called "scare headlines." At the first collision one saw "the pale air 
streaked with blood." At this stage the force which stood between 
property and its perils were " brave defenders," and nothing they could 
ask was too good for them. They asked nothing but arms, ammuni- 
tion, supplies and means of transportation ; these furnished, they did 
their duty quietly, incessantly for seven days and nights, till all anxiety 
was over, the railways again running, the wheels of industry turning 
and life and money-making going on as usual. Then all was changed, 

Fear ol the mob 
succeeded by 
jibe* at the 

of the m 


blanched faces grew red with laughter, the timid grew jocular it had 
been a huge joke ! The public press was not ashamed to turn the 
defence to ridicule, publishing the names and personal characteristics 
of inconspicuous actors in the drama, and, with exquisite irony, prefix- 
ing the title of " General " to each. If the militia had originally paused 
to raise the question of regimental armories, money for uniforms, flags, 
music and other requisites of fine " soldiering," they might have gotten 
iitia. all they had been so long asking in vain. But they stopped for noth- 
ing, and consequently are still (1891) giving, not only their time but 
much money they can ill spare, all in the service of a heedless and 
ungrateful public. 

Probably very few of those who " turned out " thought of any pos- 
sible money equivalent for their efforts, but as soon as the Legislature 
met all were paid in proper proportion to their rank and term of service. 


It seemed likely that a generation might pass before there would 
come another collision between law and lawlessness. Such storms are 
wont to clear the air and make all ready for a long calm diversified by 
only gentle showers and soft zephyrs. So far as concerns anything like 
a popular uprising the railroad riots -may turn out to be the last for 
several decades, but within a single one a new collision between law and 
The \narchit anarcn y took place ; the latter being a struggle wherein reputable labor 
movement, had no recognized place. It was in 1886 that certain professed and 
professional law contemners (all of foreign birth) tried to bring the 
masses of American working-men to the principles or sentiments enter- 
tained by certain European theorists who hold with Marat that "prop- 
erty is robbery," that law is oppression, and that order is slavery. 
Right or wrong, the American public disagrees with them, and they 
are in a minority so hopeless as to be pitiful. They are not either 
loved, hated or feared ; they are only laughed at. 

In that year they fancied that the time was ripe for a revolution in 
their favor. This was only one of their delusions, as the world thinks and 



as the result tends to prove. Two newspapers, the " Arbeiter-Zeitung " 
and the " Appeal," socialistic, communistic or anarchistic, it is hard to 
say which, had been leading a struggling existence for some time, the 
former edited by a zealous and able man named August Spies, and 


printed and published by him in connection with Balthazar Rau, Albert 
Parsons, Michael Schwab, Gustav Fischer, Rudolph Schnaubelt, Louis 
Lingg and others; and these men had really formed sundry clubs, called 



"Lehr und Wehr Verein,"with "Armed Groups," which were secretly 
sworn in, armed, drilled and organized for a war with the great Ameri- 
can Nation. They were not crazy enough to fancy that these squads 
could, single-handed, cope with the powers that be; but just crazy TheirfoUy> 
enough to believe that a little bit of success at the start would bring to 
their side the mass of wage-earners of Chicago, and then those of other 
towns and cities. (What part the far greater masses of agriculturists 
were to play does not appear.) 


Difference be 
tween labor 
unionists and 

Shorter hours of labor was the reform aimed at in the agitation of 
1885-86. This the communists did not favor, calling it a half-way meas- 
ure, likely to postpone complete communism. Albert R. Parsons wrote 
in the "Alarm" : 

The private possession of property, or ownership of the means of production and exchange, 
places the propertyless class in the power and control of the propertied class, since they can refuse 
bread, or the chance to earn it, to all the wage-classes who refuse to obey their dictation. Eight 
hours, or less hours, is, therefore, under existing conditions, a lost battle. The private property 
system employs labor only to exploit (rob) it, and while the system is in vogue, the victims those it 
disinherits have only the choice of submission or starvation. 

The McCormick Reaper Works, after long and bitter negotiations 
with their men, closed voluntarily on February 16, 1886. This was the 
communists' opportunity, 'and they urged the idle wage-workers to 
violence. They formed and drilled two " armed groups," experimented 
with dynamite and the making of bombs, and looked for the "Great 
upheaval." At the same time the McCormick Company hired detect- 

Trouble at 

ives, and the regular police placed 500 men on the ground to preserve 
order. Under the advice of the press and leading citizens, the Company 
raised wages, but insisted on employing whom they pleased, union or 
non-union. This started the works and the disturbances; for every 
" scab" was marked for insult and injury by the " unionists." 

Saturday, May i, 1886, was the day set for the universal eight-hour 
strike. On Monday, May 3rd, a crowd of 10,000 collected not far from 
the McCormick Works. August Spies addressed the men, advising them 
to arm themselves with "dynamite, rifles, shot-guns, pistols, clubs, sticks, 
stones" anything they could use, and make a bold stroke for "freedom." 
The factory was attacked, the chief sufferers being non-union moulders 
in the foundry. Two officers, Condon and West, trying to defend the 
" scabs," were badly beaten. Reinforcements of police arrived and a 
fierce struggle occurred. About half a dozen rioters were killed and 
half a hundred wounded. From this scene Spies went to the office of 
the "Arbeiter-Zeitung," and there wrote a circular, as follows : 

Revenge! Workingmen, to arms ! Your masters sent out their bloodhounds, the police. They 
killed six of your brothers at McCormick's this afternoon. They killed them because they had the 
courage to disobey the supreme will of your bosses; they killed them because they dared to ask for 
the shortening of the hours of toil; they killed them 10 show you, free American citizens, that you 



must be satisfied and contented with whatever your bosses condescend to allow you, or you will get 

killed. You have for years suffered unmeasurable iniquities, you have worked yourself to death, 

you have endured the pangs of want and hunger, your children you have sacrificed to the factory 

lords in short, you have been miserable and obedient slaves all these years. Why? To satisfy the The "Revenge" 

insatiable greed, to fill the coffers of your lazy, thieving masters. When you ask them now to lessen 

the burthen, they send their bloodhounds out to shoot you kill you. If you are men, if you are the 

sons of your grandsires, who have shed their blood to free you, then you will rise in your might, 

Hercules, and destroy the hideous monster that seeks to destroy you. To arms ! We call you to 


The " brothers" in whose name he signed the " Revenge " circular 
were the little separate knot of communists. To each of their "armed 
groups "was sent the word " Ruhe "( Rest), which, as afterward dis- 
closed, was the agreed watchword for a forcible uprising which should 
put into use their warlike preparations. 

That night a meeting took place in Haymarket Square (West 
Randolph and Desplaines Streets), which soon moved north on Des- 
plaines to the nearest alley, where stood a convenient truck to serve as 

a speakers' stand. At this meeting were Fischer, Engel, Schwab, Par- 
sons, Fielden, Spies, and others of the same kidney. 

Reporter Hull, of the " News," quotes Parsons as saying : 

We speak harshly of the scabs. . . . What is a scab? He is a flea on a dog. Now the 
trade-unionists want to kill the scab, or flea, while the socialists want to kill the dog itself and pre- 
vent fleas. 

This is an apt illustration of the difference between a labor rioter 
and a communistic agitator. The blows of the former are struck 
against laborers who propose to underbid the unionists ; the latter 
aims at the employer. 

Parsons in his speech also said : 

You have nothing more to do with the law except to lay hands on it and throttle it until it 
makes its last kick. . . . Keep your eye upon it. Throttle it. Kill it. Stab it. Do every- 
thing you can to wound it to impede its progress. . . . Don't turn over your business to any- 
body else. No man deserves anything unless he is man enough to make an effort to lift himself 
from oppression. 

Six platoons of police now came on the scene. They took up the 
whole width of Desplaines Street and swept it clean as they advanced 
the people retiring without resistance. Captains Bonfield and Ward 
marched in front of the leading platoon. On reaching a point near the 

Parsons* speech 
at the Hay- 


speakers' stand (the truck) Captain Ward gave the word " Halt;" then 
stepping forward to within three feet of the truck he cried, "I com- 
mand you, in the name of the people of the State, immediately and 
peaceably to disperse ;" and turning to the right and left added, " I com- 
mand you, and you, to assist." 

There was a hissing sound from the ground in the middle of the 

police array and then a tremendous explosion. Sixty-seven of the 

Erosion, police were wounded (of whom seven died): A moment's conster- 

" e a u th. sa nation seized the unhurt, but not a moment's disorder, for on the 

instant rang out the voice of Officer Fitzpatrick: " Close up, form into 

line and charge." The conspirators had perhaps expected that more 

than one bomb would be thrown ; at any rate, except a pistol fusillade 

(afterward denied by the accused), they fled in disorder, leaving many 

wounded on the ground, victims of the pistols rapidly and effectively 

used by the advancing officers. 

Next day, Wednesday, May 5th, began the arrests. Fielden, 
Spies, Engel, Neebe, Schwab, Fischer, Lingg, Rau and others were 
Arrests. taken into custody. Rudolph Schnaubelt was taken, but for some rea- 
son or other released; though later the opinion gained ground that he 
was the one of the conspirators who actually threw the fatal bomb. 
Dynamite, loaded and unloaded bombs, moulds, fulminating caps, pipe 
and lead for making bombs, arms, ammunition and incendiary literature 
were found at the " Arbeiter" office, at Louis Lingg's home, underside- 
walks and in lumber yards, and at many other places, some quite near 
the scene of the explosion. 

On June 7th the trial began. In impaneling the jury, twenty-one 
days were consumed and 982 men examined, under the cumbersome 
Trial, and fictitious system which rules criminal practice in Illinois; a system 

Sni's'hm ent an that has survived from the old days when the accused were really in 
danger from the oppression of the court. The trial lasted sixty-two 
days. The prosecution called and examined 143 witnesses and the 
defence 79. Parsons, Spies, Engel, Fischer, Lingg,- Fielden and Schwab 
were found guilty; the four first named were hanged, Lingg killed him- 
self by exploding a fulminating capsule in his mouth, and Fielden and 
Schwab were sent to prison for life; where to this time (1891) they 

Julius S. Grinnell was State's Attorney, and to his excellent con- 
duct of the prosecution was its success attributable more than to any 

Judge Gary . .. . . . . ,. - 

and Prostcmorother one agency; while the wise, able and correct rulings or the veteran 

Grinnell. *> ' 

Judge Joseph E. Gary were the efficient cause of making the proceed- 
ings invulnerable on the review by the Supreme Court. 

Loud outcries are made by sympathizers with communism, 



impugning the fairness of the trial, the sufficiency of the evidence, the 
treatment of the defence, etc. These are the points dwelt upon, not the 
probable guilt or innocence of the accused. But the world will take a 
view forbidden to court and jury; will start from the other end, asking: 
"Was dynamite prepared ? Were bombs cast, loaded and capped ? If 
so, by whom, and with what possible lawful purpose ? Were articles 
published advising violence ? If so, by whom ? Were men killed by 
dynamite while in the act of breaking up a communistic meeting? If 

so, by whom?" So, by "exhaustive analysis," will the world probably 
come to the conclusion that justice was done. 

The most noteworthy thing of the whole momentous story is not the 
conduct of the offenders, or of the police, but of the true working masses 
of the City, State and Country, not. one of whom raised hand or voice to 
defend these " Saviors of Labor," or made any public utterance, except 
to disclaim part or lot in the effort to disturb the law of the land; that 
system of government wherein they and each of them has his share of 
control through the ballot-box. 

The erand plan 

and its origin- 




\BOR, law-abiding industry, leads the Chicago 
annalist quite naturally to the discussion of the 
great Pullman experiment say rather enter- 
prise, seeing that at the present writing (1891) 
it seems to have passed from the stage of inno- 
vation to that of approved invention. Like other 
new things, it received scanty approval, and still 
more sparing help, from any one except the orig- 
inator and advocate himself. It is an old saying 
in military matters that " a council of war never 
fights," and it is equally true that' an industrial 
corporation never innovates. In each case, the 
new departure must be substantially undertaken 
and carried through by the Commander-in-Chief. 
If he chances to be a Marlborough, a Frederick, 
or a Clive, he wins all; if a Napoleon III., he 
loses all, and the glory or the ignominy is deserved 
and bestowed accordingly. 

In 1880 the idea long entertained by George 
M. Pullman began to take physical shape in 
architectural, mechanical, commercial, industrial 
and sociological detail. It was, perhaps, quite 
as well that he had to carry on alone the cam- 
paign his mind had conceived. Divided counsels 
are not strong in any case, and Mr. Pullman's 
nature is one that demands not countenance, but 
seconding. He welcomes knowledge from every source, but would 
not care to drive a team, he holding one rein and some one else the 
other. So, having ample power, though little sympathy or encourage- 
ment, he managed every detail, and even since success has crowned 
the work there is no man who disputes with him the credit of devising 
it, or of arranging its details down to the smallest particulars. 

The tract of land now " Pullman " at the beginning of 1880 was a 
lonely waste of low, nearly level, grassy prairie, on the west shore of 
Lake Calumet, fourteen miles south of the centre of Chicago and eight 
miles south of Hyde Park, the nearest suburb of the city itself. It 




extended about two miles north and south, by a mile and a half of 
average width. It was crossed lengthwise by the Illinois Central and 
Michigan Central Railways. 

This was the unpromising plain whereon the prescient eye pictured 
what ? That which exists ten years later ; namely: nearly eight miles 
of paved and drained streets, including a grand boulevard (now inth 
street of the city of Chicago), 100 feet wide, abutting on the lake: Twenty- 
five blocks of brick dwellings along these streets, capable of housing 
1,750 families : A steam-heated arcade building 250 by 164 feet, con- 
taining all the mercantile stores, the bank and the post-office, and, in 
its second story, rented offices, a public library and reading-room, and a 
pretty and well-appointed theatre; while its third story holds lodge-rooms 
for societies : A handsome and 
well-kept hotel: School houses(now 
in charge of the Chicago Board of 
Education), where 1,000 pupils a 
day are taught: A water-tower 195 
feet high, having one tank contain- 
ing 500,000 gallons, at an elevation 
great enough to throw water over 
the highest building, in case of fire: 
A market no by 100 feet in size, 
with stalls for meat, vegetables, 
fish, poultry, etc.; and in its upper 
story a public hall capable of seat- 
ing 600: Gas-works connected with 
every house in town: Green-houses 
for furnishing the town, its parks 
and gardens with flowers and 
shrubs: Brick-yards, ice-houses along the lake and lumber yards 
covering eighty acres. Finally, the soul of the whole and the reason of 
its existence, the great Pullman car-works, the Union Foundry, the 
Drop Forge and Foundry, the street-car works, the Terra-Cotta works, 
the Standard Knitting-mills, the Columbia Screw factory, the Allen 
Paper Car-wheel works, the Calumet Paint-manufacturing works, the 
Pullman Iron and Steel works and other enterprises 

It is perhaps too much to say that any one mind could grasp in 
advance each of these details, but the idea contained the " plan and 
potentiality" of them all, and laid the broad and deep foundations 
on which they could rise, have risen and are' constantly growing. 
Then, too, Mr. Pullman's designing mind has seized each position and 
made it a stepping-stone for each further advance. It has been his 

An unpromising 


Magical trans- 


" daily thought and nightly dream," and nothing has seemed to him too 
good and great for his " model town." 

The commercial result may be loosely summed up as the produc- 
tion on weekly average of ten passenger coaches, three sleeping-coaches, 
T an<Tth r ework. 2 4 freight cars, and several street cars (making about four cars an hour 
during working hours), 240 paper car-wheels, 600 tons of rolled iron, 
1,200,000 brick, and many other articles of minor importance, whereof 
the value is estimated at $14,000,000 a year. This comes by the labor of 
about 5,250 operatives whose average earnings are $2 a day each. Of 
these only a few are children (perhaps 200 in all), and still fewer women, 
of whom only 1 50 are employed. Some of the latter hold clerkships, 
some work in the upholstering rooms, and some in the knitting-mill. 

The largest single motor is the famous '"Corliss Engine," which 
won so much admiration by its majestic beauty of form and opera- 
coriiss Engine, tion as the source of motive power for the Philadelphia Centennial 
Exposition. It is a simple condensing engine of 2,500 horse-power. 
(The total engine force in all the works is rated at 8,632 horse-power.) 
The Corliss is ample for its purpose, easily run and cheap to keep in 
repair and will doubtless last for many years unless displaced by a 
" triple condensing " engine, or some still better device for saving fuel. 
The " triple condensing" has a scientific beauty, buttptheuninstructed 
eye compares but poorly with the stately Corliss, with its two great 
eleven-ton walking-beams held up twenty-five feet above the floor by the 
great A-shaped frame. The engine-room is sixty feet high, and brilliantly 

The buildings, both for business and for residence, are mainly in 
the various modifications and varieties of the Oueen Anne architecture, 


pleasantly diversified and adapted to the purpose of each edifice. 

Turning now to the less obvious features, one finds still more to 
admire. The sewerage and surface drainage preceded the population, 
sewerage and being established at the same time when the dwellings were building. 
''The surface drainage carries the rainfall into Lake Calumet. The 
sewerage proper is a separate system, connected with every sink and 
cesspool, and taking the entire sewage from houses and shops. (Each 
house is supplied with sanitary plumbing, and there are no out-of-door 
closets.) The sewage is conducted below the surface to a huge tank 
beneath the water-tower, whence it is pumped and piped ( 1,800,000 
gallons a day) to the " Pullman farm," three miles away to the south- 
west, to be used as a fertilizer. The sewage-tank is thoroughly venti- 
lated through pipes debouching above the top of the water-tower, and 
has, besides, a connection with the tall chimney of the boiler-house, 



which outlets, combined, produce a down-draught in all the neighbor- 
ing sewer openings. The town has no evil odors. 

The water supply (except for the fire service) is not brought from 
the water-tower, as usually imagined, but is furnished from the Chicago 
water system, which sells it (by metre measurement) to the Pullman wr supply. 
Company, and the latter collects water-rates from the householders. 
The town has about fifteen miles of water mains. 

The brick-kilns are supplied with good clay dredged from the bot- 
tom of the lake, which, in this process, is being gradually deepened for Brick K,in and 
commercial use. The ice-houses have a storage capacity for 25,000 tons. 

The Pullman farm consists of 140 acres, thoroughly piped and 
underdrained for the reception, purification and utilization of the 

Ice Houses. 


Pullman village sewage. Hydrants are placed so that the distribution 
can be conveniently done. All organic matter in the sewage is taken 
up by the soil and the growing vegetation, and the water (which is, of 
course, by far the greater mass) runs off through the underdrains to 
the ditches, and they deliver it, pure and clear as spring-water, into thepuii 
Calumet river. In winter the sewage runs upon one field or one filter- 
bed, and then on another, the filtering process appearing as perfect as 
in summer. Thus are the waste products largely transmuted by vital 
chemistry into luxurious vegetable forms. The most profitable crops have 
been found to be onions, cabbages, potatoes and celery. One acre takes 
care of the sewage of one hundred of the population. This solution 
answers one of the problems so often propounded in relation to the 

Sewage Farm. 

39 2 


Lesson Regard- 

Growth of a 

A Train a day 

sewage of Chicago, namely: "Why not utilize it for fertilization?" 
At one acre to the hundred of population, it would need twelve 
thousand acres to dispose of the sewage of Chicago twenty square 
miles from which settlers would have to be excluded. At some future 
day, when lands naturally fertile and spontaneously productive shall 
have grown more scarce and distant, this may be effected, but now it is 
a manifest impossibility. Even in old Europe, where there are at least 
150 sewage farms, there is scarcely one which pays expenses of hand- 
ling, instead of the large profit which might be expected from a free gift 
of unlimited manure. On the other hand, guano is brought from far 
away, and finds ready sale at all times. The difference seems to be in 
the impossibility of rotting or properly " composting " the crude elements 
of the sewage. The Pullman farm pays a reasonable profit. 


The growth of a freight car in the works is a most interesting pro- 
cess. The wheeled axles roll in on the track, and from that moment its 
course (though not its motion) is continuous, through process after pro- 
cess timber, lumber, iron, bolts, nails, screws, plates, springs, chains, 
patent appliances, etc., and finally paints, and lubricating oil for the jour- 
nals until it issues gaily forth for all the service, the hardships, the 
vicissitudes of its hundreds of thousands of miles of motion. 

Cars equal to a full train a day of new-built passenger and freight 
cars leave Pullman to carry, to feed, to warm, to shelter the people. 

One of the main beauties of the town is a negative adornment : It 
has no drinking shops, no gambling houses and no alms house. A 



cemetery it can not quite dispense with ; but the " City of the Dead " 

is of slow growth. The Pullman " death-rate " is one of the smallest 

in the world, having never exceeded eleven per thousand, which is less Health of the 

than half the average for American cities, and only one third of the 

world's average, while the birth-rate has run as high as forty-six per 

thousand. One is not surprised to learn this after looking at the big 

crowd of little folks swarming about the beautiful public school. 

The absence of " saloons," those forcing-beds of depravity, is due 
to the fact that the Company has not parted with its realty , in fact, it 
was chiefly to insure this that it resolved on that policy. Whenever Tem P w n - 
and wherever public sentiment is up to it, they can be excluded by 
popular consent ; but in this case the promoters preferred to take no 


chances ; and " prohibition prohibits !> at Pullman, however it may 
struggle, prevail, triumph and fail elsewhere. At the same time, nobody 
is prohibited from drinking. In fact, just outside the town limits there 
are drinking places enough, and drinkers patronizing them can, if they 
choose, bring into the town itself the cup which inebriates but does not 
cheer. Therefore drunkenness is not unknown; but it is marked, excep-, 
tional and disgraceful. The sight of it under these conditions is not so 
much corrupting as warning. It serves the purpose for which the 
Spartans of old forced their slaves to become drunken ; namely, that 
their young might look on drunkenness and be disgusted. At any rate, 
the poison is not paraded and disguised, with all the art of luxury and 
light, to lead youth into the damning error that spirituous stimulation 
is the parent of joy instead of the solemn truth that it is its deadly, 




Free public 


Aspect of the 

sneaking assassin. The operatives doubtless know which of them are 
drinkers and which are not, and form their likes and dislikes accordingly; 
but the management leaves it all to them, taking no cognizance of the 
matter. Freedom is held to be the only condition for a healthy, stable 
growth of morals, manners, intelligence and wealth. 

At Pullman, personal liberty of thought is associated with that 
of action. Religion is not assailed and dwarfed by patronage certainly 
not by opposition. There are eight places of worship in town, repre- 
senting as many shades of sectarian belief. Each is (of course), 
entirely sustained by the voluntary contributions of its members. The 
company built, at the outset, a beautiful green-stone church, but it is 
rented to a congregation like any other edifice or tenement 



Mr. Duane Doty, of Pullman, is the inexhaustible source of inter- 
information concerning the enterprise in all its aspects. He 
says : 

The portion of the city already built is about half a mile in width, and it is two miles from the 
north to the south end of the town. The successive blocks are unlike, giving pleasing changes to 
the views along any street. There are now about seven miles of paved streets, and twelve miles of 
sidewalks. At intervals of thirty feet, shade-trees are planted along both sides of the streets, and 
on the main streets flowers are grown around the trees. Open spaces planted with shrubbery and 
flowers really constitute a large park, in the midst of which the homes of the people stand. The 
monumental buildings and vast shops in the long stretches of meadow, walks and shrubbery, empha. 
sizes the park features of Pullman. 

There is one style of flats having from two to four rooms each, which rent from six to nine 
dollars a month. Of these there are now six buildings, each containing twelve families, one build- 
ing containing twenty-four families, two containing thirty-six each, and one containing forty-eight 
families. There is not a room in these buildings which has not one or more windows, giving resi- 
dents abundance of fresh air and light. These flats and their surroundings are kept in order by the 



company. Blocks 14, 27 and 30 contain about 300 flats, each apartment containing from two to five 
good rooms and its proper proportion of basement. Still another style of fiats is seen where every 
family has a separate entrance, and is accommodated with five good rooms and a basement. These 
flats rent from $14 to f 16 a month. There is now a tendency in cities to build flats, and the 
advantages in them are usually set forth about as follows The tenant secures a home fora lower rent, 
and is brought nearer his place of work and business. In case of sickness and trouble he has help " 
close at hand ; the common hallway is lighted and the whole building cared for by a janitor, services 
which can not be rendered in single houses. By accommodating many families upon a small tract 
of land, men are able to reduce their living expenses to a minimum, while all have the advantages of 
living upon improved streets, and in close proximity to parks and gardens. Of course, separate 
sinks, water-taps and closets, all inside the houses, are provided for every family. 

There is a variety of single houses with rents ranging all the way from $16 to $50 a month. 
These houses are adapted to the needs of men receiving from $2 a day to $5,000 a year. The average 
rental of all the tenements in Pullman is only $14 a month. 

The average monthly rental per room, including basements used as 


kitchen and dining-room, in houses occupied wholly by operatives is 

The population of Pullman grew between 1881 and 1885 from 
nothing to 8,603. The census of 1890 showed 10,680, of whom 5,223 
were workmen; the latter classified as to nativity as follows: Americans, 
l <73& (33 P er cent.); Scandinavians, 1,137 (21.8 per cent.); Irish, 318 
(6.1 per cent.); Other British, 685 (13.1 per cent); German and Diitch, St popuiat?on, 
1,177 ( 22 -5 percent.); Latin races, 56 (i percent.) and all others 112. 

In 1891 the total population is 1 1,000, of whom 6,083 are workmen ; 
the latter classified as to nativity as follows: Americans, 2,086 (34.3 per 
cent.); Scandinavians, 1,375 ( 22 -44 P er cent.); Irish, 315 (5.18 per 
cent.); Other British, 796(13.1 per cent.); German and Dutch, 1,348 
(22.15 P er cent.); Latin races, 107 (1.76 per cent.); and all others, 56. 



Savings in 

'good order. 

The labor 
troubles of 

It is not improbable that these percentages would hold mainly 
good throughout the manufacturing population of Chicago. 

The Pullman Loan and Savings Bank is the local financial deposi- 
tory of the Company, and also the custodian of the voluntary hoards of 
the citizens. Its savings deposits in 1891 amount to $467,981.45, in the 
names of 1,828 depositors. The average sum held by each savings 
depositor in 1884 was $145.43. In 1890 it had grown to $243.97, and 
in 1891 is $256. By purchases in the immediate vicinity, 885 of the 
operatives are freeholders in their own right. In all, 2,297 live outside 
the town. All employed are free to live where they please but 
Pullman town is always full. 

No reserve or " hospital money," or " insurance fund" is exacted by 
the Company, nor are any store accounts collected on the wages pay-roll. 
(The Company is not interested in the shops except as landlord of the 
shopkeepers.) The only deductions from the earned wages are rents 
due by those who occupy Company houses or fiats. 

Good order in the community is always maintained, without interfering with the freedom of 
the individual, so long as his freedom does not trespass on the liberty of another. There has never 
been any attempt (by the founders) to set up any religious denomination in the town. There was a 
church building constructed at the outset, but it was rented to a society which represented a major- 
ity in the town. Within a stone's throw of the green-stone Presbyterian church is a new building 
put up by the Catholics. In addition to this the Swedish Lutheran and other denominations have 
rooms where services are held. . . . There is no artificial stimulus anywhere. There are no 
lectures given to the workmen. Neither politics nor religion has any part in the administration; 
that is left to the individual. Sunday is a day of relaxation; many go to church; many go to the 
lake shore and take part in the out-door games. . . . The town gave a small democratic major- 
ity at the last election. The men know that they are perfectly free from criticism on the part of the 
management, whatever result is declared at the polls. 

The connection of the Pullman Company with the so-called "labor 
riots " treated in the last preceding chapter was short," but full of 
interest for the moment, and suggestion for the future. Pullman 
industries were a shining mark, and the elements of destruction would 
score a brilliant victory if they could lay them low. Therefore, the 
attack was expected, and it came from the outside, of course. With 
a shrewdness worthy of them, the assailants chose, as the weakest point 
in the industrial citadel, the cabinet-shop, which was largely filled with 
foreigners, not yet imbued with the "American Idea." 

The foreign idea of irrepressible conflict between laborand capital, 
and of "Internationalism" as the only refuge of the former from the 
oppression of the latter, these men had either brought over with them 
or readily absorbed from the plausible talkers sent among them. The 
mass of other workmen, not so much convinced by argument as 
moved by brotherly feeling, consented to join in the demand for an 
eight-hour day and other proposed changes, and at an appointed time 
a committee called on Mr. Pullman to lay that demand before him. 



Arrival of the 
walking dele- 


The committee, as usual in such cases, was chosen mainly from 
the men known to and respected by their employers ; but contained 

also some of the "walking delegate" 
element; men who had entered the 
employment on purpose to inter- 
fere with it. Mr. Pullman, recog- 
nizing easily the "outsiders," invited 
a statement of their position. They 
had free scope to ask what they 
had determined on, and to enforce 
the demands by such arguments 
they thought best. When they 
had entirely covered the ground he 
said, in substance, as follows: 

That it was evident that the 
advocates had come with the delib- 
erate purpose of either controlling 
the works or stopping them. Con- 
trol them they could not, for the 

Pullman Company was satisfied with its present management, and was 
as free in its actions as were its employes in theirs. Stop them they 
very possibly might, and what then ? The Company could live, doing its 
work elsewhere, or not doing it at all, but how about the wage-earners ? 
The Pullman Company was paying out $10,000 a day in wages for 
work, and when work stopped wages must stop. The shop-keepers in Mr p ulllian ,. 
the Arcade would look pretty blue at the prospect of unpaid accounts; 
even the saloon-keepers down at Kensington were likely to feel unhappy, 
and though these delegates might be far away, propagating dissension 
elsewhere, yet the mass of men, hitherto doing well, would still be here, 
sitting about on doorsteps and fences and doing nothing, and unable 
to explain to their families why they are idle. How were all these to be 
satisfied? Had not the delegates taken a pretty big contract? Were 
they sure they could fill it ? 

The sight of all these manufacturing shops standing idle, nothing 
moving but their shadows as the sun advanced, would not be pleasant, 
but he could stand it as long as anybody. He had not the slightest 
apprehension concerning their safety, for he knew the nature of the"' 
American workman. The buildings as long as they stood idle would 
take care of themselves ; there were no policemen here, nor were any 
needed. And idle they must stand until their owners and their oper- 
atives should agree to start them ; a thing which neither could ever do 
alone or on compulsion, or otherwise than as free agents. 

reception of 
the committee 

lis answer. 



One thing more he had to say, namely, that as each side had 
had its hearing, the subject, being exhausted, would close with the 
Finality. of the end of this interview, and no other would be held. The delegates 
would, of course, be expected to call the men together to " report 
progress;" but he could assure them there could be no progress to 
report as far as the Company was concerned. 

He then stopped to hear further from the committee, and they 
talked for some time, but, as he had nothing to add, the}' bid him good- 
afternoon ; and immediately upon their departure, the watchword being 



The strike is on 

given, the operatives filed out of their shops in orderly fashion, and 
the procession began its parade. " The strike was on." The men 
next morning sat around in sun and shade, listless and ill at ease, 
the officials giving to the works such care as was requisite to prevent 
injury by non-use there was no need of any other watchfulness. So 
passed the idle days idle yet not restful. 

One day certain leading Socialists arrived bent on an interview. Mr. 
Pullman, sitting working in his office, heard the confab in the ante- 
room. The agitators asked for him and were told he was engaged. The 
visitors answered that they had business with Mr. Pullman and wanted to 
see him, and that at once. Their card was brought in, and Mr. Pullman 
sent word back that he was quite certain he had no business with 
them and should not see them, whereupon they departed. Looking 
from the window, it was observed that the esplanade was crowded 



with workmen, doubtless gathered to see the result of the issue between 
the great leaders of disorder and the great leader of order. The latter 

knew men knew these men espe- 
cially and, his business being end- 
ed, alone and defenceless, he went 
out (the crowd dividing for him 
without a sign of disfavor), and 
walked over to the hotel to supper. 
The next development was a 
request on the part of the foundry- 
men, a very large, strong and re- 
spectable body, that they be allowed 
to go to work ; that the whistle 
should blow next morning, and that 
they would take care of themselves. 
That night a great meeting was 
called. Next morning the first man 
at the gate, in his working-clothes, 
and with dinner-bucket in hand, was 

DAUGHTERS OF PULLMAN WORKWOMEN. ^ c/lairman Q f tkat meet i ng f The 

great Pullman strike was ended. It had lasted two weeks, a space of 
time well invested to the saving of time in the future. 

To the superficial view, this 
must seem like a victory for capital 
over labor, for the few over the 
many. Not so. It was a victory 
for the many order-lovers over the 
few law-contemners. George Pull- 
man simply took his natural place 
as a leader of men ; and the best 
men of course a majority of all- 
followed his lead, maintained their 
individual liberty to work such 
hours as they chose at such wages 
as suited them. In short, they re- 
asserted the "American Idea" of 
free competition, in opposition to 
the un-American doctrine of en- 
forced combination or communism. 

That this happy outcome of a critical epoch was in no proper sense 
a " victory " for one or a " defeat " for another, is proven by the fact 

* This great engineer, engaged on the Pullman works, was accidentally killed during its progress. 

Attempted so- 
cialist inter, 

come forward. 

End of strike. 



Piece-work at 

that that outcome was by no means a closing of discussion between 
employer and employed ; on the contrary, it was a re-opening of it. 
The work at Pullman is largely (as largely as possible) piece-work, that 
bite noir of the socialist and the communist, who desires to put all men 
on a dead level. This piece-work depends to a great extent on arrange- 
ments, appliances, proportionings of advantages and profits ; and these 
are the themes of frequent free discussions between the management and 
the operatives. These conferences are carried on in a friendly not servile 
spirit, and sometimes result in convincing the one party, sometimes 

the other; oftenest in a com- 
promise of conflicting inter- 
ests and claims. What will 
be the consequence of the 
next great, far-reaching busi- 
ness depression it is hard to 
predict ; but it is not too 
much to hope that Pullman 
will fare as well as the best, 
perhaps better. The vast 
resources of the Company 
enable it to go on with work 
through "hard times" (even 
at an apparent loss), in which 
case its reserve capital acts 
as a balance-wheel, an " in- 
surance fund for the perpet- 


uation of wages." 

This chapter of history is "fors clavigera, " as Mr. Ruskin says; 
" perhaps a key-bearer." Before the civilized world a great vault seems 
P be l a a rer* ke> ~ to stanc ^ ! a vault with a locked door, a stronghold containing prosperity 
and peace and other blessings which all desire and few possess. 
Shall the stronghold remain locked ? It can not. Shall it be taken by 
assault ? That would destroy its contents as by fire. Shall it be opened ? 
If yes, then where is the key? Is it nowhere, or is it now here? 

The historian is not the prophet, but it may be said without undue 
presumption that if {/"the path in front of Pullman proves as fair to the 
: foot as its vista appears to the eye, then the enterprise sounds the key- 
note for the full and final chorus of concord between labor and capital. 
In that case its founder has, single-handed, built the enduring monu- 
ment of the passing XlXth century; a pyramid, the broad, deep ground- 
course whereof is human nature, while its sun-lit cap-stone is peace. 

is peace. 



OTHING teaches more effectually the 
vastness of "a million," so easy to write, 
to speak of and to treat as a unit, than 
the effort to summarize the doings and 
sayings, haps and mishaps of a city as it 
nears, reaches and passes the million- 
mark. Whichever way one turns, the 
vista stretches to an infinite and invisible 
horizon. Each subject touched seems to 
call for a volume. Individual men, who, 
while the city was young and small, would 
have loomed up into heroic proportions 
and called for corresponding attention, 
must be ignored or treated, not as inter- 
esting individuals, but as types, imper. 
sonal and therefore shorn of attractive characteristics. Events, incidents 
and accidents are swamped by their own number, and dwarfed into 

. . . ~ T i r 1 *1 Vastness of the 

insignificance. In the forties a single railway train a day ran slowly """"on. 
out a few miles and came slowly back when it was convenient; in the 
eighties hundreds of trains each day rush thundering out and in; and 
more wayfarers are accidentally killed all unnoticed, save by those per- 
sonally concerned than the entire death-list of fifty years ago. Then 
a church festival was a notable event, making a stir proportional to 
that now created by a presidential convention. In the thirties the mark 
for a rich man was the possession of $10,000; and the entire annual Then and now. 
transactions did not usually reach a million dollars ; now the fortune 
of a single merchant is rated at $30,000,000, and the business of a single 
packer at $1,000,000 a week. In 1833 one farm wagon coming in from 
the " Wabash region" with butter, eggs, apples, honey and poultry, 
would draw about it half the housekeepers in town. Now, on the 
Board of Trade, the daily transactions in food-products often reach a 
magnitude which would relieve the Russian famine. A single bank now 
handles, out and in, $10,000,000 a day. 

Chicago in 1891 embraces the Southern end of Lake Michigan Chicago in 1891. 
(the head of the lake) and extends northward along its west bank some 




Her relative 

fifteen miles. Her nearest seaports on the Atlantic are Boston, 1,150 
miles east by north ; New York, 91 1 miles east ; Philadelphia, 822 miles 
nearly east ; and Baltimore, 850 miles east by south. Her nearest ports 
on the Pacific are Vancouver, 2,350 miles north-westward ; Portland, 
2, 450 miles west by north; and San Francisco, 2,450 mileswest by south. 

BRONZE STATUE OF I.INN/F.rS IX LINCOLN' PARK. (Gift of Scandinavian citizens.) 

New Orleans, on the Gulf of Mexico, is 920 miles south. The centre 
of population in the Union is about 200 miles south of Chicago and a 
little to the eastward, but moving slightly north of west at every census. 
Therefore Chicago is very much nearer the centre of population than 
any other great city. This fact was duly considered in connection with 
the choice of place for the Columbian Exposition, together with the 


further fact that of all visitors to the Fair, ninety-nine in the hundred 
will be Americans. 

In his "World's Fairs, Past and Future," the late Colonel other world* 
Charles B. Norton (a veteran of the Union war) whose lamented 
death occurred in Chicago in 1891, while engaged in indefatigable 
labors for the Columbian Exposition, gives the following table of 
nationalities forming the population of Chicago in 1890, with his 
remarks thereon : 


American 292 463 

German 384,958 



Bohemian 54,209 

Polish 52,756 

Swedish...., 45,877 

Norwegian 44,615 

English 33,785 

French 1 2,963 

Scotch 1 1.927 

Welsh.... 2,966 

Russian 9 977 

Danes 9 891 

Italians 9,921 

Hollanders 4 912 

Hungarians 4.827 


2 735 

oumanians 4 35O 

Canadians 6989 

Belgians 682 

Greeks 698 

Spanish 297 

Portugese 34 

East Indians 28 

West Indians 37 

Sandwich Islands 31 

Mongolians 1,217 


Thus it will be seen that there are few nations in the world that are not represented in 
Chicago, and certain sections of this great city are almost entirely given up to special nationalities, 
so that in 1893 every foreigner will be sure to receive a hearty welcome in his own language. One 
would suppose that in so large a body of representatives of all nations that there would be an increased 
mortality, but, as indicated below, Chicago is an exceptionally healthy city, comparing most 
favorably with the three cities in Europe 'n which Worlds' Fairs have been held. The annual 
mortality per 1,000 is : 

London 21.92 ' New York t 26.27 

Paris 27.02 Boston 25.18 

Vienna 2719 Philadelphia 21.19 

Chicago 17.49 : Brooklyn 22.05 i 

The number of births for the year 1889 was 20,995, and the number of marriages for the 
same period, 12,500. 

The population of the city since the fire has grown by the follow- 
ing striking steps: In 1872, 367,396; in 1874, 395,408; in 1876, 407,66 i: Grc>wthofC1)i _ 
in 1878, 436,731 ; in 1880, 503,298 ; in 1882, 560,693 ; in 1884, 629,985 ; KE" 
in 1886, 825,880 ; in 1887, 850,000 ; in 1888, 875,000 ; in 1889, 900,000, 
and in 1890, 1,208,669, of which 200,000 are due to the annexation of 
the great suburbs which now form part of the city. 

The public schools, absolutely free to every child without regard 
to race, color or nationality, number 286, the teachers 2,920 and the 
pupils 1 19,602, to which should be added 341 private schools, attended 
bv 65,000 pupils. The number of adults in Chicago who can neither 
read nor write is 2,635. 

The growth of the city, at this present writing (close of 1891) 
is estimated at 100,000 a year. Does anyone, without having his 
.attention specially called to it, appreciate what this means? There are 



Present growth 
and what it 

Demand again 
overtakes sup- 

Good-bye to 
Gurdon Hub- 

2,000 additional souls and bodies a week to care for, to house, to feed, 
to clothe, to warm, to govern and protect, to transport, to provide with 
mail and banking facilities, medical attendance, legal advice, news, 
instruction and amusement. In short, one large town of 2,000 inhabit- 
ants must be built and equipped within Chicago city limits between 
every Monday morning and its following Saturday night. 

The industry and devotion of business men are inconceivable and 
the rush and crush of traffic unparalleled. Once more the car of 
progress is overtaking the moving mass of humanity, and once more 
must every facility for existence be enlarged. The intramural travel 

is beyond the means of car- 
rying it on, and its avenues 
are almost hopelessly con- 
gested. Two great elevated 
railroads are approaching 
completion and none too 
soon. A third, the elevated 
terminal, is projected, more 
far-reaching in its scope than 
any existing in any city, 
and even that is not likely 
to over-top the demand. A 
moving sidewalk, of very 
great carrying capacity 
(four times that of any 
railway), is in the experi- 
mental stage, with fine pros- 
pects of success. 

The events of most 
painful public interest in 
the decade of the "eighties" 
the anarchist riots, trial and punishment have already been detailed. 
An occurrence of private loss and regret was the death, in 1886, of 
Gurdon S. Hubbard, our pioneer hero, venerated patriarch, beloved 
friend. His losses by the fire and other adverse fatalities were never 
repaired ; and worst of all, his health gave way, his eyesight failed, 
and when too late his old friends awoke to the consciousness that 
they had not made the utmost possible of his declining years, either 
for his sake or their own. 

Now to turn to some of the inestimable blessings the past decade 
has brought ; its charitable and benevolent bequests and gifts. 




As controlled by Government surveys, the land next north of the 
main river was taken and held in three eighty-acre subdivisions ; each 
bounded on the north by Chicago Avenue and on the south by Kinzie 
Street, which streets are half a mile apart. (A Government " eighty " 
is always half a mile long -by a quarter of a mile wide.) The eastern 
tract (Kinzie's addition) extends from the Lake to State Street ; the 
next (Wolcott's addition) from State to LaSalle ; the next (Newberry 's 
addition) from LaSalle to 
Market Street. Kin^s- 


bury's addition, broken by 
the North Branch of the 
river, lies west of New- 
berry's. Each of these was 
bought from the Govern- 
ment at $1.25 an acre. The 
Kinzies and Wolcotts sold 
theirs early at what seemed 
a fine profit, but Walter L. 
Newberry held on to his till 
it became an enormous for- 

Mr. Newberry came to 
Chicago in 1833 (it is 
believed), and his name is 
one constantly recurring in 
its annals from that time 
until his death, in 1868; 
while his memory must 
endure for countless years 
to come. From Andreas 
we learn that he offered 
"valuable lots for sale" in 
the "land boom" of 1835-6. 
In the latter year he was one 
of the petitioners for a city charter. 1840 was the year of the great 
bridge contest, when the South and West Sides tried to prevent the North w 
from having any bridge across the river. The contest was close and 
(it is said) in the nick of time, Messrs Ogden and Newberry, advocates 
of the bridge, gave to the Catholic Church the lots it still owns on the 
corner of State Street and Chicago Avenue and the bridge was voted. 
(The anti-bridge men sneeringly " put this and that together," but later 
all agreed that the bridge ought to have been built, by all means.) 





In 1841 Mr. Newberry was President of the "Young Men's Asso- 
ciation," which may be considered as the pioneer of Chicago's great 
Public Library a foretaste of the greater service he was to render in the 
same direction in the magnificent endowment of the Newberry Library. 
In 1843 he served on the Board of Health; and he and William B. 
Ogden joined in the gift of a lot on the corner of Ohio and LaSalle 
Streets for the Lutheran Church, which still (1891) occupies that place. 

In 1846 he took part in the 
convention assembled in the 
interest of Common Schools. 
In 1847 he was a director in 
the pioneer railway, the Chi- 
cago and Galena. In 1848 
he sold, for public school 
purposes, 85 feet frontage 
on Ohio Street for $1,050 
a little over $12.25 a front 
foot. This seems cheap 
enough, yet also dear 
enough, considering that 
each front foot brought ten 
times as much as each acre 
had cost only fifteen years 

In 1851 Mr. Newberry 
was City Comptroller and 
for a time acting Mayor. 
In 1857 he was one of the 
organizers of the "Mer- 
chants' Loan and Trust 
Company," the only bank- 
ing institution which, in 
1891, dates back to ante- 
war times. From 1859 to 

His public acts. 1863 he was a member of the Board of Education and in the latter 
year President of the Board. In 1862 he gave $1,000 to serve as a 
permanent fund for providing books for indigent scholars in the New- 
berry School. In 1863 he helped the Sanitary Fair by lending works 
of art to the exhibition held in its aid. In 1864 he gave to the Charita- 
ble Eye and Ear Infirmary the use of a lot in East Pearson Street. In 
1857 he became a member of the Historical Society, and its president 
in 1863, and remained its friend and benefactor up to his death in 1868. 




Mr. Newberry possessed much public spirit, as his numerous public 
services attest. His gifts of money were doubtless very far greater than 
are now known or can be known. At the same time he was a man of 
exceeding thrift in money matters, a characteristic which grew upon him 
with years. As age and illness impaired his faculties this tendency grew 
to a mania, and he was possessed with an unreasoning terror of coming to 
want. During his last illness (consumption) he consulted his physician 
as to the probable duration 
of his life, and learned that 
even with all possible care it 
might not last six weeks. 
Thereupon he proceeded to 
settle his earthly affairs and 
make ready for a voyage to 
Europe, where his wife and 
daughters were living. He 
had a faithful nurse whom 
he was urged by his most 
intimate friend, Judge Skin- 
ner, to take with him, but 
his only reply was " I can 
not afford it." The attend- 
ant did go with him as far as 
New York, only to be there 
dismissed; and the unhappy 
millionaire died alone in his 
state-room during the pas- 
sage outward. 

This trait interfered with 
the personal affection which 
his other and more impor- 
tant characteristics should 
have inspired. On the other 
hand, this very quality of 
acquisitiveness became, through the happening of unforeseen events, 
the cause of a blessing of almost infinite value to the city which 
had made the immense fortune wherefrom he drew so little happi- 
ness. It was through the inspiring suggestion of that good 
man, Mark Skinner, coming opportunely to aid Mr. Newberry's own 
philanthropy, that this grand result was made possible, and, as events 
turned out, actual and certain. Mr. Newberry called upon Judge 
Skinner to draw his will, and the latter, under instructions, devised and 

Personal char- 




bequeathed everything in trust for the benefit of Mr. Newberry's wife 
and daughters, during their lives, with remainder over to their heirs. 
Judge Skinner then observed that there might be no direct heirs and 
suggested a library as the alternative inheritor. Mr. Newberry thought 
the contingency most improbable, but co-incided with Judge Skinner's 
suggestions for providing for it, and added the clauses under which 
Chicago is receiving and is to receive the grandest endowment ever 
made for such a purpose in America, a benefaction which, by present 
appearances, may reach to $4,000,000. 

Judge Skinner, in his position of friend and legal adviser, suggested 
other possible bequests which should take effect, even if the great gift 
should never fall in to the benefit of Chicago, suggesting the Historical 

Society; but Mr. Newberry said all 
must remain as it stood; adding, as 
if with a new thought at variance 
with his former idea : " I feel in my 
heart a prophecy that my property 
will never reach my descendants. 
It will go to the city." 

The pregnant clause in his will 
reads as follows : 

In case of the death of both of my said daugh- 
ters without leaving lawful issue, then immedi- 
ately after the decease of my wife, if she survives 
my said daughters, my said trustees shall divide 
my estate into two equal shares, my said 
trustees being the sole judges of the equality 
and correctness of such division, and shall at 
once proceed to distribute one of such shares 
among the lawful surviving descendants of my 
own brothers and sisters, such descendants 
taking per stirpes and not per capita. 

The other share of my estate shall be applied 
by my said trustees, as soon as the same can con- 
veniently be done, to the founding of a free public library, to be located in that part of the city of 
Chicago now known as the "North Division." And I do hereby authorize and empower my said 
Mr Newbcrry . s trustees to establish such library on such foundation, under such rules and regulations for the gov- 
"'" ernment thereof, appropriate such portion of the property set apart for such library to the erection of 

proper buildings and furnishing the same, and such portion to the purchase and procurement of 
books, maps, charts and all other articles and things as they may deem proper and appropriate for a 
library, and such other portion to constitute a permanent fund, the income of which shall be appli- 
cable to the purpose of extending and increasing such library, as they may judge fit and best, having 
in view the growth, preservation, permanence and general usefulness of such library. 

Mr. Newberry had planned to make Judge Skinner his executor and 
trustee; and, though the latter objected strenuously, for professioual 
and personal reasons, his objections were overborne by Mr. Newberry's 
judge swnner. a pp ea j^ based on inability, in his failing health and strength, to take 
care of the matter. Even then it is unlikely that Judge Skinner would 
have consented, but for the possible public service which might result 



from his doing so. He joined with him in the trust Eliphalet W. Blatch- 
ford, and later, compelled by his own declining strength, left the charge 
to the trustworthy hands of Mr. Blatchfordand Mr. William H. Bradley. 
The daughters died unmarried ; Mary Louisa, February 14, 1874, 
at Pan, France; and Julia Rosa, April 4, 1876, at Rome, Italy. Mrs. 
Newberry died at Paris, December 9, 1885. The nine years interven- 
ing between the end of any possibility of direct descendants and the 
close of Mrs. Newberry's life were troubled by much discussion and ' 
some litigation. The descendants of Mr. Newberry's brothers and sis- 
ters naturally sought for a division which should enable them to begin 




the enjoyment of their portions; and they brought suit, which the trus- 
tees were compelled, for their own protection, to defend, willing as they 
would have been to begin administering the library bequest should the 
courts so decide. The decision was against the claimants and favorable 
to a strict and literal obedience to the dictates of the will. 

The daughters left all their property to their mother, and the latter, 
at her death, bequeathed her large accumulations to her own relatives 
at the East. 

At the settlement of the estate in 1886 the inventory and appraise- 
ment amounted to $4,298,403, of which the moiety reserved to the 
library was $2,149,201. The trustees wisely chose for custodian William 
F. Poole, Esq., L.L. D., then librarian of Chicago Public Library (a 
life-long librarian and, perhaps, the most distinguished in America, if 
not in the world), and the buying of books began. A depository was 



Location of 

established in Ontario Street, adjoining the open square which had been 
Mr. Newberry'shome in his lifetime and had been vacant since the great 
fire. A very large proportion of the persons most interested thought 
that this fine square would have been the best and most appropriate 
place for a "Scholar's Library" (the founder's plan does not include the 
lending of books), but the trustees decided against it, and bought the 
" Mahlon Ogden lot," fronting on Washington Square, Clark Street, 
Oak Street and Dearborn Avenue, where a great building is planned 
and begun, the library, meanwhile, occupying a temporary structure 
built for the purpose at the corner of Oak and State Streets. 

The lot selected is, in its way, memorable. For many years before 
the fire, as the residence of Mahlon D. Ogden, the house on it was one 

of the handsomest dwellings in the 

F n city, the home of elegance and of 

boundless hospitality. Later, when 
the Fire swept the North Side, this 
house had the distinction of being 
the only structure spared in its 
course. It had, to the windward of 
it, first, Washington Square, and 
beyond the square the large tree- 
covered lot of Mr. McCagg, with 
only one house and barn to carry 
forward the conflagration.* Then, 
too, there was a zealous and sys- 
tematic defense, headed by General 
Wm. E. Strong (Mr. Ogden's son- 
in-law), who, after being driven 
from his own home, found refuge 
there, and by the help of other 
refugees actually preserved the 
place entire. As the homestead ante-dated the water system, there were 
in the grounds wells, cisterns and tanks which contained a little of the 
precious fluid, and these sufficed to wet carpets spread on the roof and other 
cloths covering the window frames, so that the fiery hail assailed it in 
vain. But alas! the desolation about it for miles on every side made it 
nearly intolerable as a residence, and after lying idle for years it was 
leased to the Union Club, and later was left tenantless until the lot was 
taken for the Library, when the old landmark (in 1890) was pulled 

JOHN MOSES (Custodian of the Historical Society). 

* Curiously enough, the great green-house, adjoining Mr. McCagg's beautiful home, lived through the fire, and 
was a marked object neit day, standing fresh aid fair, with scarcely a pane of glass broken. 

To quote from an address by Dr. Poole : 


The largest legacy made (or a public library in this country has recently fallen to the benefit 
of the citizens of Chicago, by the death of Miss Julia Newberry, last surviving daughter of the late 
Walter F. Newberry, of Chicago. She died at Rome, Italy, April 4, 1876. The value of the Newberry 
estate is now estimated by the trustees at $4,000,000. One-half of the estate is to descend to the 
heirs of the testator's brothers and sisters, and the other half is to be devoted to the foundation and 
support of a free public library, to be situated in the North Division of Chicago. Mr. Newberry 
died on the 6th of November, 1868, leaving his whole estate to Mark Skinner and E. W. Blatchford as 
executors and trustees, with full powers to administer the same and to appoint their successors. 

After providing for the widow, his two unmarried daughters and other relatives, his executors 
were required to pay to his daughters, or to the survivors of them, annually the net income of the 
estate. After the death of the daughters, if they married and had issue, the estate was to be divided 
among such issue. 

Mr. Newberry, formerly a resident of Detroit, came to the city when it had less than 
inhabitants. He brought with him money which he judiciously invested in land, which has 
increased enormously in value. 

His business habits were singularly exact and methodical. He never contracted debts or 
allowed incumbrance on his property. To the attorney who drew up his will he stated the estimate 
he had made that one-half of his estate would go to the founding of a library eventually. 

For several years before his death he was president of the Historical Society, and took great 
interest in the institution. It was a surprise to the society that it received no legacy in his will. 

Dr. Poole's 

NEWBERRY LIBRARY BUILDING, (Under construction January ist, 1892.) 

The plans for the Newberry library building have been prepared Tnc bu ,i ding 
with the most anxious and painstaking care, and the lower stories of the 
first building are even yet (1891) only fairly begun. The building will 
be 300 feet long and 60 feet deep; and all the resources of art, science 
and experience will be exhausted to make' it absolutely perfect as to 
safety, light, air, convenience and beauty. It is planned with a view to 
adding other buildings as they may be required. The librarian's latest 
report gives the whole number of books on January i, 1891, as 60,614, 
and of pamphlets, 23,958. The average attendance has risen to about 
forty a day, even in the present temporary, inconspicuous and incomplete 



The death (in 1890) of John Crerar is the latest of the bereavements 
whereby Chicago, while gaining a vast benevolence, loses the presence 
of a good and worthy citizen and a much-beloved man. He was of Scotch 
descent, born in New York in 1827, where he was at one time president 
of the great Mercantile Library Association. He came to Chicago in 

1862 as a member of the 
railway-supply firm of Jes- 
sup, Kennedy & Co., later 
merged in the great house 
of Crerar, Adams & Co. In 

1863 he became a director in 
the Chicago & Alton Rail- 
way. He was one of the 
original incorporators of the 
Pullman Palace Car Com- 
pany and always a director. 
In 1883 he is named as a 
director in the Liverpool & 
London & Globe Insurance 
Company.* He was one of 
the original and constant 
stockholders of the Illinois 
Trust and Savings bank ; 
and in 1877, when the State, 
the Fidelity, the Beehive 
and the German went 
down, the Illinois, then 
newly organized, paid out 
"a cold million" as fast as 
it was demanded and came 
forth with its credit only 



by the 



A few of his 

business con- 

These are but a few of Mr. Crerar's business connections, which 
were vast and varied. And when one turns to his charitable works, he 
finds them to be beyond count. In innumerable cases they were known 
at the time to no one on earth except the giver and the receiver. 
Among those recorded are gifts to the Relief and Aid, the Historical 
Society, the Presbyterian Hospital, the Chicago Orphan Asylum, and 

' The " Liverpool and London and Globe ' telegraphed from its main office, two days after the fire, " Draw at sight 
and subscribe, for the benefit of sufferers, ten thousand dollars : " and it paid, in settlement of Great Fire losses^ 
$3,270,000. Only the "./Etna," of Hartford ($3,700,000), exceeded this stupendous outpouring; and only one other, 
the "Home," of New York, reached $3,000,000. 



the Chicago Manual Training School ; and the Musical Festivals of 
1882-84. He was a Vice-president of the Young Men's Christian 
Association. He was one of the founders of the Commercial Club, 
and a very long time member of the Literary. In the First Presbyte- 
rian Church Mr. Crerar was an elder, a constant attendant, and an 
unfailing, liberal supporter of " every good word and work." In 1871 
he was one of the Vice-presidents of the Young Men's Christian Asso- 

But Mr. Crerar's largest perhaps not most precious services to 
Chicago and to humanity were to come out after his death. His will, 
made in 1886, appoints Huntington W. Jackson and Norman Williams 
his executors and trustees ; and, 
after a great number of special 
gifts to relatives and friends, 
makes the following charitable 
bequests : To the Second Presby- 
terian Church, Chicago, $100,000, 
and for Mission Schools a like 
sum: To the Scotch Presbyterian 
Church, New York, $25,000 : To 
the Chicago Orphan Asylum and 
the Nursery and Half Orphan 
Asylum, $50,000 each : To the 
Historical Society, the Presby- 
terian Hospital, St. Luke's Hospi- 
tal and Bible Society, 25,000 each : 
To the American Sunday School 
Union, the Relief and Aid Society, 
Training School for Nurses, Man- 
ual Training School, Presbyterian 

League, Old People's Home, and Home for the Friendless, $50,000 
each : To the St. Andrews Societies of New York and of Chicago, and 
the Chicago Literary Club, $10,000 each: For the erection of a colos- 
sal statue of Abraham Lincoln, $100,000: To the Greenwood Ceme- 
tery Association, $1,000, and to the Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion, $5,000. 

Then follow these cordial, cheerful, loving words : 

Recognizing the fact that I have been a resident of Chicago since 1862, and that the greater 
part of my fortune has been acquired here, and acknowledging with hearty gratitude the kindness 
which has always been extended to me by my many friends and by my business and social 
acquaintances and associates, I give, devise and bequeath all the rest, remainder and residue of my 
estate, both real and personal, for the erection, creation, maintenance and endowment of a fiee 
public library, to be called "The John Crerar Library," and to be located in the City of Chicago, 
the preference being given to the South Division of the city, inasmuch as the Newberry Library 
will be located in the North Division. 

.'.T Trrrar's 


The Crerar 



A message from 
beyond the 

The Armour 
Mission and 
its founders. 

This hearty greeting seems like a voice from beyond the grave; 
like a cheery call from a departing traveler as his steamer leaves the 
dock: " Good-bye, dear friends, till we meet again soon! " and a toss back 
of a precious keepsake to each, which he had .been thoughtfully provid- 
ing for the occasion. 

The gift will probably reach $2,000,000. The directors whom he 
asks to have appointed for the first year of the corporate life of the 
library are Marshall Field, E. W. Blatchford, T. B. Blackstone, Robert 
T. Lincoln, Henry W. Bishop, Edward G. Mason, Albert Keep, Edson 

Keith, Simon J. McPherson, John 
M. Clark and George A. Armour. 
John Crerar lived and died a 
bachelor. His demeanor to his 
fellow men was the very type and 
example of equable, dignified gay- 
ety, good humor, kindliness and 
charity toward all the world. He 
was fond of the best society. His 
favorite attitude was standing firm 
and erect, the lapel of his coat 
thrown back, and his thumb caught 
in his vest. To see him in this 
position was a signal for gay, wel- 
coming recognition from friends 
and acquaintances perhaps to the 
number of a thousand or more. 


When rallied on his insensibility 
to feminine charms, his customary answer was, " I am in love with all." 

A great charity the largest in Chicago springing from an individual 
gift is the Armour Mission. It was established in November, 1886, 
and owes its origin to a provision in the will of the late Joseph F. Armour, 
bequeathing $100,000, for its founding. He entrusted the carrying out 
of his design to his brother Philip D. Armour, who in administering the 
trust has given to it the same tremendous energy and close attention 
he shows in managing his business affairs ; and no man excels him in 
these qualities. With characteristic shrewdness he has elected to 
administer his charity himself, leaving nothing to the chances of post- 
mortem litigation. In this line he has united with his brother's bequest 
a great gift of his own, and the entire foundation now reaches the large 
sum of a million dollars. It is in the hands of a corporation, having a 




board of five directors, Philip D. Armour, John C. Black, William J. 
Campbell, Jonathan O. Armour and Philip D. Armour, Jr. 

The foundation is established 

... , i , 

and its income made perpetual by a 
block of buildings containing 194 
separate flats whereof the revenue 
is collected by the corporation and 
applied to the use of the Mission. 
The corporation also owns adjoin- 
ing ground upon which Mr. 
Armour is erecting a manual train- 
ing school, to supplement the 
instruction given in the Mission. 
The construction of the school 
building is only commenced. It 
is designed for giving boys an 
education in all manual training, 

* 1 i r 1 M 

with departments for girls in 
cooking, dress-making, millinery, 
type-writing, etc. It will be for 

education only, and not for maintenance. There will probably be 

sessions both day and evening. It will be a magnificent building, and 

as complete in every department 

as any similar institution in the 

country. It will cost upwards of 


The Mission is strictly non- 

sectarian ; free and open to all to 

the limit of its capacity, without 

condition as to sex, race, creed 

or other peculiarity. Its build- 

ing fronts north on 33<-l street, 

adjoining Armour avenue, and 

is very handsome without and 

within. The first floor contains 

a large room fitted up to receive 

the creche or day nursery, kitchen, 

day-room, kindergarten room, read- 

ing-room, bath-rooms, etc., and four 

rooms used as a free dispensary for 

the sick poor. The second floor contains pastor's study, library, 

officer's rooms and a main audience room capable of seating 1,300, but 

divisible by ingenious glass p