The book Early Chicago. A Lecture delivered before the Sunday Lecture Society, at McCormick Hall, on Sunday afternoon, May 7th, 1876 by Hon. John Wentworth is available online for free viewing.
One year ago, I gave a lecture at this place, as I then stated to you, “with a view of exciting among our people a spirit of historical research which would result in recovering lost newspapers and documents, and placing upon record the experiences of our early settlers.” I had no ambition to figure as a lecturer, or as a historian. I waited until the regular lecture course was finished. The proceeds were given with pleasure to the Committee for the employment of men more at home in the lecture field, as the proceeds of this lecture will be,—such men as pass six months in preparing one, two, or three lectures, and pass the next six months in delivering them. As this is their sole means of living, it is right that they should be well paid for them; and it is one of the noble objects of this Association to furnish you, at an hour when you have no worldly pursuits nor religious entertainments, for ten cents, what other people on a week-day pay from fifty cents to a dollar for.
I can think of no other object that would have brought me before you with a written lecture. I felt that the duty peculiarly devolved upon me, and I performed it with pleasure. There are scarcely half a dozen persons, habituated to public speaking, who were here before the city was incorporated. I was sole conductor of a public press for twenty-five years lacking a few months. It seemed proper that I should lead off in this important matter.
The Chicago Democrat was commenced on the 26th of November, 1833, by the late John Calhoun, whose widow now resides in this city. Augustine D. Taylor, now living in this city, saw the press landed; and Walter Kimball, now living in this city, was a visitor in the office, and saw the first number printed. That paper fell into my hands in November, 1836, and contained not only a history of current events, but also a vast amount of information touching the early history of the entire Northwest. It is a sad reflection that the same fire which swept away my files, also swept away those of everyone else, and all our public records. But there are copies of the Chicago Democrat scattered all over the Northwest, as well as of other papers and documents that will be of service in restoring our lost history. No person should destroy any papers or documents of a date prior to the fire. If there is no one who wants them, let them be sent to me, and I will take care of them until our Chicago Historical Society becomes reorganized. Our old settlers are fast passing away. Some of the few remaining have very retentive memories. Let them not be discouraged because they do not remember dates. It is events that we want; and by comparing them with other events, the dates of which we know, we can in time obtain the exact dates of all of them.
While so many of our old settlers have passed away, there yet may be remaining among their effects old papers whose value their legal representatives do not appreciate. Many old packages have been given to me, with the remark that they did not see of what use they could be to me. One widow sent me some pieces of newspapers, which the mice had kindly spared, with the remark that she was ashamed to be sending such old trash to any one; but from-them facts enough were gathered to save another widow from being swindled out of her homestead. When I lectured before, it was a matter of dispute what was the name of the first steamboat that ever came to Chicago, and who was the person in command. She came to bring the troops for the Black Hawk War in 1832, and brought the cholera with them. All that was known for a certainty was the place where they dug the pit into which they most unceremoniously plunged the dead bodies. That was remembered because it was the site of the old American Temperance House, northwest corner of Lake street and Wabash avenue; and many old settlers remembered that from the fact that they always passed by the Temperance House on the other side, and so could read the sign. The river and lake water, which we had to drink in those days, was considered unhealthy. I made a statement as to the name of that boat, based upon what I considered the best authority. But when I had finished, a gentleman came upon the stage and gave me another name, claiming that he helped fit out the very vessel at Cleveland, and I changed my manuscript to correspond. But some of the reporters published the statement as I delivered it, and thus two statements were before the public, as given by me. Thus different persons, anxious to assist me in reestablishing the landmarks of history, had an opportunity, by quoting the one statement to provoke discussion by insisting that the other statement was true, when they really did not know any more about the matter than I did, and had perhaps consulted only one authority, when I had previously consulted many. But a lady, in looking over her old papers, found, where she least expected it, a Chicago Democrat dated March 14, 1861, containing a letter from Capt. A. Walker, giving a history of the whole expedition, showing that both statements were correct. The United States Government chartered four steamers to bring troops and supplies to Chicago, and their names were the Superior, Henry Clay, William Penn, and Sheldon Thompson; but the Superior and Henry Clay were sent back when the cholera broke out on board. Capt. Walker says, that when he arrived at Chicago, in July, 1832, there were but five dwelling-houses here, three of which were made of logs. There are other old newspapers yet to be found settling questions equally as interesting.
All must admit, that there has been more said about the history of Chicago, and more important publications made, the past year than ever before. Booksellers inform me that they have had within the past year, a greater demand than in all time before for all works appertaining to the history of the Northwest, and that they have had, all the while, standing orders for such works as are out of print. And it is to encourage a still further research that I address you to-day. And, if the result of this year’s researches is not satisfactory, I shall feel myself in duty bound to address you again in a year from this time. Many aged settlers have thanked me for bringing them into a higher appreciation. One octogenarian lady informs me that, for the past fifteen years, when any young company came to the house, she was expected to leave the room. After my lecture, she said she saw a gentleman approaching the house, and she left the room as usual. But soon her granddaughter came out and said, “It is you he wants.” And this was the first gentleman caller-she had had for fifteen years. When she entered the room, and he told her he wanted to inquire about early Chicago, she felt as if her youth had come again, and she told the others that it was their time to leave the room. She said, “He has been to see me six times, and has printed nearly all I said, and there is not another member of our large family who-has ever said a word that was thought of sufficient importance to be printed; and now I am thinking over what I know about early Chicago, and letting the newspapers have it.” She observed with great force that the young folks were constantly asking her how she used to get along amid early privations, and she insisted that, if I ever lectured again, I should assert that the early settlers of Chicago were the happiest people in the world, as I believe they were. But a strict regard for the real historical purposes of this lecture will permit me to allude only incidentally to our early sources of entertainment.
We are apt to speak of Chicago as a new city. But it is not so, compared with the great mass of other cities in the United States.
Take out Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and New Orleans, and what is there older, in the date of its incorporation, in the West, extending to the Pacific? But when our city was organized we had no Pacific possessions, save Oregon Territory, which we then owned in common with Great Britain. The future historian of America will not, however, take into consideration the date of our incorporation. The ancient Romans were in the habit of dating events from the foundation of their city. But “Urbs condita” or “Chicago condita” will never be a reckoning point in our city’s history. Even in this assembly, there are not as many who know in what year our city was incorporated as in one of our public schools there are children who can spell Melchisedec, notwithstanding modern politicians have kicked from the public schools the Book that contained the eighth commandment.
From Washington’s inauguration, in 1789, to Chicago’s first Mayor’s inauguration, in 1837, we have but forty-eight years, a period of time that the future historian of America, when speaking of Chicago, will not notice. But a resident of Chicago was not elected to Congress until 1843, and yet he became associated not only with men prominent under every Administration of the United States Government, and many of them born before the inauguration of Washington, but with some born even before the Declaration of Independence, and two, at least, before the tea was thrown overboard in Boston harbor. John Quincy Adams was born in 1767, and he was accustomed to tell us that among his earliest recollections was that of hearing the report of the guns at the battle of Bunker Hill. Benjamin Tappan, Senator from Ohio, was born in 1773. Then there was Henry Clay, Secretary of State while John Quincy Adams was President, United States Senator as early as 1806, Speaker of the House in 1811, born in 1777, nine months after the Declaration of Independence, and one who could collect a larger crowd and disperse it quicker and in better humor than any other man who ever lived in America. I shall never forget my last interview with Henry Clay, and its description is appropriate to the history of Chicago. Our harbor was suffering for appropriations. President Polk had vetoed them all. A change of dynasties had been effected. Millard Fillmore was the acting President, and he was a warm friend of our harbor. It was in the spring of 1851. The Harbor bill had passed the House, and was sent to the Senate at a late day, and the controlling spirits had managed to keep it back until a still later day. The Southern Senators, under the lead of Jefferson Davis, spoke against time, declaring the bill unconstitutional. Clay did all that man could do for us, but in vain. Our bill was talked to death. Clay came on with us to New York City, to take a steamer for New Orleans. As the vessel was about to sail, we went on board to take our leave of him, and we all expressed a hope that the next time he returned home he would go around by the lakes. He replied, “I never go where the Constitution does not go. Hence I must travel by salt water. Make your lakes Constitutional. Keep up the war until your lake harbors get their deserved appropriations, and then I will come out and see you.” We finally got the Constitution out here, but not until after Henry Clay had paid the debt of nature.
Then there was John C. Calhoun, Vice-President while John Quincy Adams was President in 1825; a member of Congress in 1811; Secretary of War when the reconstruction of our fort was completed in 1817; born in 1782, the year before Great Britain acknowledged our independence. He said his name came once very nearly being associated with Chicago,- as the new fort had been completed while he was Secretary of War, and it was suggested that it be called Fort Calhoun. But he did not think it right to change the old name which had been given in honor of Gen. Henry Dearborn, who was Secretary of War when the first fort was built, in 1804. Official documents tell us that, in 1803, Capt. John Whistler, then a Lieutenant at Detroit, was ordered here to build the fort, that his troops came by land, and that he, with his family and his supplies, came round by the lakes in the United States schooner Tracy, with Dorr for Master. This probably was the first sail-vessel that ever came to Chicago. I can think of no business that could have brought one here before. This Capt. John Whistler was father of Col. William Whistler, who died in 1863, and was so favorably known by our early settlers, and who was father-in-law of the late Robert A. Kinzie, of this city.
Besides, there was Judge William Wilkins, of Pennsylvania, born in 1779; Daniel Webster, of Massachusetts, born in 1782; John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky, born in 17863 and Judge Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, born in 1789.
Then there were three men whose names are identified with the history of the West. There was Lewis Cass, born in 1782, appointed, in 1813, Governor of the Northwestern Territory, then embracing Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and all west. And William Woodbridge, born in 1780, appointed in 1814, Secretary of the same Territory. These gentlemen where walking histories of the Northwest. Then there was Thomas H. Benton, born in 1782, Senator when Missouri was admitted in 1821, who made his first trips to Washington on horseback. Add his knowledge to that of Messrs. Woodbridge and Cass, and we have a complete history of the entire West. Many now before me will remember the patriotic lecture he delivered here in the spring of 1857, upon the approaching crisis to this country, about a year before his death, probably the last lecture of his life. Nor should I fail to mention Gen. Henry Dodge, the Anthony Wayne-of his period, born also in 1782, one of the first Senators from Wisconsin.
A single member of Congress, and the first one elected from Chicago, was associated in Congress with two members who served in President Monroe’s Cabinet, one in President J. Q. Adams’, three in President Jackson’s, one in President Van Buren’s, five in President Harrison’s, four in President Tyler’s, four in President Polk’s, four in President Taylor’s, seven in President Fillmore’s, four in President Pierce’s, five in President Buchanan’s, and six in President Lincoln’s; embracing a period of American official history from 1817; and some of these men were born before the tea was thrown overboard in Boston harbor.
For some years after Chicago elected her first member of Congress, the widow of President Madison gave receptions at Washington, and on the first of January her guests were shown apartments where were suspended dresses which she had worn upon all great occasions, including the receptions of Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and her husband. James Madison was not only a member of the Continental Congress, but also a member of the first Congress under the Constitution, and so continued during the terms of Washington’s Presidency; and was Secretary of State under Mr. Jefferson’s Administration. So this lady had had ample opportunity to know the customs of every preceding period of our Governmental history. Now, if her heirs bring out these dresses for the Centennial (she had no children), the public will be astonished at their remarkably small number, she not having had, in over a quarter of a century, what the wife of the average officeholder of these days will have in a single year.
Then there was the widow of Gen. Alexander Hamilton, the confidant of Gen. Washington in the Revolution, and his Secretary of the Treasury, who was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr. She was born in 1757, and died at Washington in 1854. She was soliciting Congress to aid her in publishing her husband’s works. She could tell all about her father, Gen. Philip Schuyler, of the American Revolution; the personal appearance of Gen. Washington and his lady; and of almost all other public persons of the Revolutionary period. In fact, when you sent your first member of Congress to Washington, all society was redolent with scenes of the Revolutionary period; and here in our midst were several Revolutionary soldiers; and one, Father David Keniston, who claimed to have been one of the party who threw the tea overboard in Boston Harbor.
You will excuse me for digressing from the direct purpose of this lecture if I here state to you, that since I commenced writing it, I have received a letter from an old colleague in Congress, who was born the same year Great Britain acknowledged our independence, 1783,—as it will probably be the last opportunity that many of you will ever have of hearing a letter read from a man now living who is older than our Government; I allude to the Hon. Artemas Hale, of Bridgewater, Mass. He is the oldest ex-member of Congress now living, in his 93d year. Do you want to hear what the veteran says?
My health, considering my age, is quite good. But my time for taking any active part in public matters is past. Still, however, I feel a deep interest in the welfare and prosperity of our beloved country, and am pained to hear of the corruption and frauds of so many of our public men. It appears to me that it is of the highest importance that our circulating medium should have a fixed and permanent value, which it cannot have but by a specie basis. I should be very much pleased to receive a letter from you, with your views of public matters.
I answered his letter in one word, “Amen !”
Thus you will see that our history laps so closely upon the Revolutionary period that there is no precise point at which we can say that Chicago began, unless it be in 1832, when the marching of the troops of Gen. Scott to Rock Island, on the Mississippi, called attention to the fertility of the soil and the beautiful locations west of us. We often hear of different men who have done much for Chicago, by their writings, their speeches, or their enterprise. But I have never heard of a man who has done more for Chicago than Chicago has done for him. God made Lake Michigan and the country to the west of it; and, when we come to estimate who have done the most for Chicago, the glory belongs first to the enterprising farmers who raised a surplus of produce and sent it here for shipment; and second, to the hardy sailors who braved the storms of our harborless lakes to carry it to market. All other classes – were the incidents, and not the necessities, of our embryo city. Chicago is but the index of the prosperity of our agricultural classes. And to this day we hear Chicago mercantile failures attributed to the inability of farmers to get their produce to market, when the roads are in a bad condition. If we pass by the impetus given to the agricultural development of the country west of Chicago by the Black Hawk War of 1832, we must admit that we are passing into the bi-centennial period. What did Chicago know of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, the Peace of 1783, or the inauguration of Washington, until years afterwards? It is probable that Capt Whistler, when he came here to build the fort of 1804, brought to Chicago the first information on these subjects, and probably had to employ an interpreter to explain it. It was probably his Chaplain that made the first prayer for the President of the United States and all in authority; and his vessel that first floated the Stars and Stripes on Lake Michigan. But there were prayers here 200 years ago, and a flag that did not denote our national independence, but French territorial aggrandizement.
I have used my best efforts to find the earliest recognition of Chicago by any official authority. Charlevoix and other French writers make mention of the place, but I cannot find that the French Government in any way recognized it. After the Canadas were ceded to Great Britain, the whole Illinois country was placed under the local administration of Canada by a bill which passed the British Parliament in 1766, known as the “Quebec Bill;” but there is nothing to prove that the Canadian Government took any official notice of this place. It may be interesting to know what was religious liberty in those days. At the period of the change of Government from the French, under the treaty of Paris, in 1763, Thomas Gage was Commander-in-Chief of the British King’s troops in North America; and in 1764, he issued a proclamation authorizing the Roman Catholics of Illinois to exercise the worship of their religion in the same manner as they did in Canada, and to go wherever they pleased, even to New Orleans.
In October, 1778, the House of Burgesses of Virginia created the County of Illinois, appointed John Todd, of Kentucky, Civil Commander, and authorized all the civil officers to which the inhabitants had been accustomed, to be chosen by a majority of the citizens of their respective districts. From this we should infer that there were then settlements somewhere in the State. But I can find nothing of Chicago while we belonged to Virginia. The late Wm. H. Brown, of this city, in a lecture before our Historical Society, in 1865, said: “The French inhabitants of Kaskaskia, in 1818, the year in which I made my residence there, claimed that that village was founded in 1707. There were evidences at that time (the remains of former edifices, among them the Jesuit College) that their chronology was substantially correct.”
In 1788, Gen. Arthur St. Clair became Governor of the entire Northwestern Territory, and was the first man to fill that position.
The seat of government for Chicago people was then at Marietta, O. In 1790 he came to Kaskaskia (some writers say Cahokia) and organized what is now the entire State of Illinois into a county, which he named for himself. Besides this there were but two counties in the whole Northwestern Territory—the County of Knox, embracing Indiana, and the County of Hamilton, embracing Ohio. But there is nothing to show that Chicago at that time was known to the civil authorities. Besides consulting all the early writers upon the subject, I have corresponded with all the men in the country who I thought would know anything concerning it. And I cannot find anyone who has any authority for stating that there was any official recognition of Chicago until Gen. Wayne’s Treaty, made at Greenville in 1795, in which he acquired title from the Indians to a tract of land, six miles square, at the mouth of the Chicago River, where a fort formerly stood. Greenville is in the southwestern part of Ohio, in Dark County, upon the Indiana State line.
There is nothing to show that, at that time, Gen. Wayne came any farther west, not even as far as Fort Wayne, although he appears to have had the same knowledge of the importance of the position of Fort Wayne as he did of that of Chicago. Why the fort at this place, referred to, was built here, and who built it, I have not been able to ascertain. As the French and Indians were always allies, there is no reason why the French should have built such a fort. It may be that it was built by one of the tribes of Indians to defend the place from some other tribe. But offsetting tradition against Gen. Wayne’s official recognition of a fort here, it may be that there was a mere trading and store-house, surrounded by pickets. The prevailing impression is that such was the character of all those places called forts prior to the abdication of the French authority. Col. Gurdon S. Hubbard, our oldest living settler, who was here in 1818, favors this idea, and has reminded me of an almost forgotten, but at one time extensively received, tradition, that this old fort, or palisaded trading-post, was on the West Side, upon the North Branch, near where Indiana street now crosses it; and it was erected, or at least was at one time occupied, by a Frenchman named Garie, and hence the tradition that our North Branch river was one called “Garie’s River.”
There was a powerful chief of the Illinois named Chicagou, who went to France in the year 1725. The Hon. Sidney Breese, who settled at Kaskaskia in 1818, who was in the United States Senate six years during my service in Congress, and who still honors our Supreme Court, is the best informed man in Illinois history now living. He writes me:
I know of no authorized recognition of Chicago as a place on this globe, anterior to Wayne’s treaty. I have a copy of a map, which I made from one in the Congressional Library, which I found among the papers of President Jefferson, made in 1685; in which is a place on the lake shore, about where your city is, marked “Chicagou;” and Father Louis Vivier, who was a priest at Kaskaskia in 1752, in a letter to his Superior, says: “Chikagou was a celebrated Indian chief, who went to Paris, and the Duchess of Orleans, at Versailles, gave him a splendid snuff-box, which he was proud to exhibit, on his return, to his brother redskins.”
Some have contended that our city was named from him. But Charlevoix, in his History of New France, gives us that name as early as 1671, in which year, he says, a French voyageur, named Nicholas Perrot, went to Chicago, at the lower end of Lake Michigan, where the Miamis then were. This was before Father James Marquette came here.
The treaty of Greenville, at the time considered of no other importance than as settling our difficulties with the Indians, afterwards became a matter of very serious importance in the settlement of our difficulties with Great Britain, while the treaty of Ghent was being negotiated, 1814. When the Commissioners met, the Americans were surprised by the British Commissioners demanding the recognition of that treaty as the basis of negotiations as to the western boundary of the United States. The British at first refused to negotiate except upon the basis of that treaty, and insisted upon the entire sovereignty and independence of the Indian Confederacy. They claimed the Indians as their allies, and considered themselves bound to protect them in their treaty. It will be remembered that the Indians had, for a long time, received annuities from the French Government, and that these annuities were continued by Great Britain after the treaty of cession in 1763; and that, after our independence was acknowledged by Great Britain, the Indians annually sent delegations to Canada to receive these annuities.
During the pendency of these negotiations, it was ascertained that there had been an alliance, offensive and defensive, between the celebrated Chief Tecumseh and the British authorities. After discussing the matter, and finding the Americans peremptorily refusing to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Indians, the British Commissioners proposed that the United States and Great Britain should exercise a joint protectorate over the Indians, and consider all the territory not acknowledged to belong to the United States by the treaty of Greenville as embraced within that protectorate. This would have left the six miles square at the mouth of the Chicago River in a permanently Indian country. The West would have been situated similarly to Oregon, which was so long held under the joint occupation of Great Britain and the United States; and the final result of the joint occupation would have been the same as in Oregon, a division of the territory; a part of it, perhaps including Chicago, being attached, in the end, to the Canadian provinces. The British Commissioners were so pertinacious on this subject that it was thought at one time that negotiations would have to be given up. And when the British Commissioners finally yielded, the British Government received the bitter curses of the Indians.
Billy Caldwell, better known in Chicago as Sauganash, who lived here several years after I came here, and was well known to me personally, had been the intimate friend of Tecumseh, and declared that if Tecumseh had been living he would have aroused all the Indians in the Northwest in a general warfare upon the Canadian settlements, in retaliation for what he considered the treachery at Ghent. Caldwell, to the day of his death, insisted that Tecumseh, not long before he was killed, predicted that the British in time would abandon them, and seriously meditated, during the war of 1812, upon going over to the Americans with all his forces. Caldwell was the son of an Irish Colonel in the British army, stationed upon the Detroit frontier, whose name he bore. His mother was Tecumseh’s own sister. He ultimately went to his tribe at the Pottawatomie Reservation in Shawnee County, Kan., and died there.
When the Illinois territory was a part of Indiana, our seat of government was at Vincennes. When it was set off from Indiana, in 1809, the whole territory was organized into two counties, St. Clair and Randolph. Judge Breese, whose home was in Kaskaskia in 1818, informs me that his home was never in the same county with Chicago, being in the southern County of Randolph.
From St. Clair County, what is now Cook County, was set off in the new County of Madison; thence in the new County of Crawford; in 1819, in the new County of Clark; and so little was then known of the northern country, that the act creating Clark County extended it to the Canada line. In 1821, we were set off in the new County of Pike; in 1823, in the new County of Fulton; and in 1825, in the new County of Peoria. I have not only caused the County records of these counties to be examined, but have also corresponded with their earliest settlers, and I can find no official recognition of Chicago until we reach Fulton County. The Clerk of that County writes me, that the earliest mention of Chicago in the records is the order of an election at the term of the Fulton County Commissioners’ Court, Sept. 2, 1823, to choose one Major and company officers, polls at Chicago to be opened at the house of John Kinzie. The returns of this election cannot be found, if they were ever made. As the county was organized in 1823, this, of course, was the first election under the organization of the county. The same Court ordered, April 27, 1824, that the Sheriff, Abner Eads, be released from paying the money tax collected at Chicago by Rousser. In those days the Sheriffs were ex-officio collectors of taxes. The name indicates that our Tax-Collector was then a Frenchman, or a mixed-breed French and Indian. It seems that they had defaulters in those days, as well as now. It would be a gratifying historical fact if we could know how much this man Rousser collected, as showing the financial resources of our population at that time, when all the real estate belonged to the General Government. The numerous followers of this man Rousser have shown their ingratitude to the founder of their sect by their failure to erect any monument to his memory, or to name after him a street, a school-house, or a fire-engine house. These Rousserites are getting to be a numerous body of men, and their motto is, “Keep what you collect.” One election and one steal are all that the records of Fulton County show for Chicago!
The Clerk of Peoria County writes me, that his earliest records commence March 8, 1825. From these records I learn that John Kinzie was commissioned Justice of the Peace July 28, 1825. He was the first Justice of the Peace resident at Chicago. Alexander Wolcott, his son-in-law, and John B. Beaubien, were commissioned Sept. 10, of the same year.
I have also the assessment-roll of John L. Bogardus, assessor of Peoria County, for the year 1825, dated July 25, which is as follows:
Tax-Payers’ Names.; Valuation.; Tax.
1. Beaubien, John B; $1000; $10.00
2. Clybourne, Jonas; 625; 6.25
3. Clark, John K; 250; 2.50
4. Crafts, John; 5000; 50.00
5. Clermont, Jeremy; 100; 1.00
6. Coutra, Louis; 50; .50
7. Kinzie, John, 500; 5.00
8. Laframboise, Claude; 100; 1.00
9. Laframboise, Joseph; 50; .50
10. McKee, David; 100; 1.00
11. Piche, Peter; 100; 1.00
12. Robinson, Alexander; 200; 2.00
13. Wolcott, Alexander; 572; 5.72
14. Wilemet [Ouilmette], Antoine; 400; 4.00
The entire valuation, land then being not taxable, of all the property in Chicago was $9,047, and the rate was one per cent. But the property of the American Fur Company was assessed to John Crafts, its agent, at $5,000. He was a bachelor, and died the next year, and Mr. Kinzie was appointed in his place. Deducting the American Fur Co.’s assessment, we have only $4,047 as the personal property of Chicago, in 1825, $40.47 as the tax, and thirteen as the number of the tax-payers.
The clerk sent me a copy of two poll-books used at Chicago – one at an election held Aug. 7, 1826, containing thirty-five names; the other at an election held Aug. 2, 1830, containing thirty-two names; thus showing a decrease of three voters in four years. I will read you the names of our voters in 1826, and you will see that only ten of the fourteen tax-payers in 1825 then voted:
1 Augustin Banny. [Bannot?]
2 Henry Kelley.
3 Daniel Bourassea.
4 Cole Weeks.
5 Antoine Ouilmette. 1825
6 John Baptiste Secor.
7 Joseph Catie.
8 Benjamin Russell.
9 Basile Displattes.
10 Francis Laframboise, Sr.
11 Francis Laframboise, Jr.
12 Joseph Laframboise. 1825
13 Alexander Larant.
14 Francis Laducier.
15 Peter Chavellie.
16 Claude Laframboise. 1825
17 Jeremiah Clairmore [Clermont ?] ‘25
18 Peter Junio.
19 John Baptiste Lafortune.
20 John Baptiste Malast.
21 Joseph Pothier.
22 Alexander Robinson. 1825
23 John K. Clark. 1825
24 David McKee. 1825
25 Joseph Anderson.
26 Joseph Pepot.
27 John Baptiste Beaubien. 1825
28 John Kinzie. 1825
29 Archibald Clybourne.
30 Billy Caldwell.
31 Martin Vansicle.
32 Paul Jamboe.
33 Jonas Clybourne. 1825
34 Edward Ament.
35 Samuel Johnston.
I will now read, you the names of our voters in 1830, showing that only three of the fourteen tax-payers of 1825 then voted:
1 Stephen J. Scott.
2 John B. Beaubien. 1825, 1826
3 Leon Bourassea.
4 B. H. Laughton.
5 Jesse Walker,
6 Medard B. Beaubien.
7 John Baptiste Chavellea.
8 James Kinzie.
9 Russell E. Heacock.
10 James Brown.
11 Jos. Laframboise, 1825, 1826
12 John L. Davis.
13 William See.
14 John Van Horn.
15 John Mann.
16 David Van Eaton.
17 Stephen Mack.
18 Jonathan A. Bailey.
19 Alexander McDollo. [McDole?]
20 John S. C. Hogan.
21 David McKee. 1825, 1826
22 Billy Caldwell. 1826
23 Joseph Thibeaut.
24 Peter Frique.
25 Mark Beaubien.
26 Laurant Martin.
27 John Baptiste Secor. 1826
28 Joseph Bauskey.
29 Michael Welch.
30 Francis Laducier. 1826
31 Lewis Ganday.
32 Peresh Leclerc.
It is a remarkable commentary upon the fickleness of our population, that only six of the men who voted in 1826 voted in 1830; and these six-were half-breeds or Government employes. Father John Kinzie, however, died between the two elections, upon the 6th of January, 1828, aged 65. But there were some not voting at the second election, such as the late Archibald Clybourne, his father Jonas, and half-brother John K. Clark, who ended their days with us. The half-breeds and French who did not vote may have been away on a hunting and trading expedition. The voters in 1826 seem to have understood their true interest, being dependents upon the fort, as every one of them voted the Administration ticket, John Quincy Adams then being President. If there were ever three men in the United States who electrified the whole country with their fiery denunciations of the military power, they were President John Quincy Adams, his Vice-President John C. Calhoun, and his Secretary of State Henry Clay. Neither of the three ever forget Gen. Jackson! It would have seemed malicious, and yet quite pertinent, on the part of the Chicago member of Congress to have asked either of these gentlemen whether it was not a singular fact that, while Mr. Adams was President, the people of Chicago unanimously voted with the fort! Ninian Edwards for Governor, Samuel KL Thompson for Lieutenant-Governor, Daniel P. Cook for Congressman, the Administration candidates, each received thirty-five votes, being all there were. The much-complained-of military power of the present day has never secured a greater unanimity in the colored vote of the South. But four years later, in 1830, when Andrew Jackson was President, there was a material change in the politics of the place. John Reynolds, the Jackson candidate for Governor, received twenty-two out of the thirty-two votes cast. Of the six who voted at both elections, and who voted for the Adams candidate in 1826, five voted for the Jackson candidate in 1830; showing their consistency by each time Voting with the Administration, or more properly with the fort. Billy Caldwell, the Sauganash, the nephew of Tecumseh, voted the Jackson ticket; while Joseph Laframboise, a noted Indian chief, stood out and voted against it. Perhaps Gen. Jackson, in some of the early Indian wars, had caused the death of some of Laframboise’s relatives or friends. Up to 1848, we had the viva voce system of voting in the State of Illinois. Each man went up to the polls, with or without a ticket in his hands, and told whom he wanted to vote for, and the judges so recorded it. But in those days the masses knew as little whom they were voting for as they do now. For the judges often read off the names of the candidates from the tickets, and the voter would nod his head. There was no chance, however, for stuffing the ballot-box under the viva voce system. It may account for the falling off of the vote between 1826 and 1830, that some persons would not vote the Jackson ticket, and yet disliked to vote against the fort. There were four of the Laframboise family voting in 1826, and only one in 1830. The names of voters in 1826 indicate that full three-fourths of them were French and half-breeds. The judges in 1826 were Father John Kinzie, the late Gen. John B. Beaubien, and Billy Caldwell. The clerks were the late Archibald Clybourne and his half-brother John K. Clark. The election was held at the Agency House, in Chicago Precinct, Peoria County. The Agency House was on the North Side, and was the second house built in Chicago, Mr. Kinzie’s being the first. The Indian Agent was Dr. Alexander Wolcott, who died in 1830, son-in-law of Mr. Kinzie.
The election of 1830, was held in the house of James Kinzie, Chicago Precinct, Peoria County. This house was on the West Side, near the forks of the river. The South Side had no status at that time, there being nothing then on that side except the fort and light-house building, and the log-houses of the two Beaubien brothers,—one residing at the lake shore, and one near the forks of the river, with such a marsh between, that, much of the time, their most convenient, way of visiting each other was in boats in the river.
The judges at the election of 1830, were Russell E. Heacock, the first lawyer to settle in Chicago, Gen. John B. Beaubien, one of the judges in 1826, and James Kinzie. The clerks were Medard B. Beaubien, well known in this city, now principal agent of the Pottawatomie tribe of Indians at Silver Lake, Shawnee County, Kansas, and Jesse Walker. The names of voters in 1830, indicate a large influx of the Anglo-Saxon race; but among them was one Irishman, probably the first Irishman who ever trod the Chicago soil.
The first thought that occurred to me was, What could bring an Irishman out here all alone? Who was to help him celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Who was to attend his wake? His name was Michael Welch. What have our many Irish Aldermen been thinking of, that they have never given us, in honor of their first settler, a Welch avenue, a Welch street, a Welch schoool-house, or a Welch fire-engine? The next thought that occurred to me was, What could he be doing out here all by himself? Now, what would an Irishman naturally do when he found himself here all alone, hundreds of miles distant from any other Irishman? He was a bugler. He blew his horn. He was a discharged soldier, and, having faithfully served out his time, he stopped long enough to vote the straight Jackson ticket, and then joined Captain Jesse Brown’s Rangers and marched on to clear the Indians out of the way of his coming countrymen, who were already aroused by his bugle’s blast, as his patron St. Patrick, centuries before, had cleared the snakes out of his way in the land of his nativity.
Capt. Jesse Brown was a brother of the late Judge Thomas C. Brown, of our Supreme Court, and was authorized by President Jackson to raise a company of men, who were called “Brown’s Rangers,” and was ordered to report to Gen. Stephen W. Kearney, on the Western frontier.
There is a prevailing impression that Irishmen never go anywhere except in squads. But the history of the American Continent will prove that Irishmen have ventured as far alone upon hazardous explorations as any other men. But he dislikes to stay alone. Like the honey-bee, when he finds a good thing, he wants some others to come and help him enjoy it. My original Congressional district extended north to the Wisconsin line, west to the Rock River Valley, south so as to embrace Princeton, LaSalle, Bloomington, Urbana, and Danville. I had to travel all over this district with a horse and buggy, and visit the spare settlements. I often found an Irishman cultivating the soil alone. But when I made a second visit, I found some more Irishmen there, or else the original one had gone. Gov. Winthrop, of Boston, in his journal under date of 1642, tells us of one Darby Field, an Irishman, who could not rest contented after his landing in America until he had climbed to the top of the White Mountains. He was the first man to ascend Mount Washington, and when asked why he went, replied, “Merely to take a look at the country!”
The official dispatches of one of the battles of the Mexican War commended the conduct of Private Sullivan, of one of our Chicago regiments. In the battle he had advanced before his company, engaged in a single combat with a Mexican officer, and killed him. I called President Polk’s attention to the report, and asked for Sullivan’s promotion. He referred the matter to the Adjutant- General. Time passed along, and no appointment was sent to the Senate. I called upon the Adjutant-General, and he read me a letter from Sullivan’s superior officer, commending his courage and general good conduct, but strongly protesting against his appointment as Lieutenant in the regular army, on account of his deficiency in West Point education. I appealed to the President, and it did not take long to satisfy him that good fighting in war- time would counterbalance all deficiencies in education, and Sullivan was promoted. Some time after the close of the war, his father called upon me, said he had not heard from his son for a long time, and wanted me to find him. Many of you will remember the father, Jeremiah Sullivan, at one time Justice of the Peace,—a tall and well-proportioned gentleman, with as prepossessing a general appearance as any gentleman who walked our streets. I wrote to Washington, and received for answer that Sullivan resigned his Lieutenancy at the close of the war. Inside the official letter was a note marked “private and unofficial.” “Tell Sullivan’s father to read the news from Mexico. I enclose some scraps from a New Orleans newspaper, and the Col. Sullivan therein mentioned is reported to be the late Lieut. Sullivan of the regular army.” Some time afterwards, an officer of the army gave me the following account: After the close of the war with Mexico, some of the officers were tarrying late at dinner, when Lieut. Sullivan entered and was saluted with “Will you join us, Lieut. Sullivan?” “Col. Sullivan, if you please, gentleman,” was the reply. Whereupon one of the officers said, “It will not surprise us at all if you are Col. Sullivan. If your killing that Mexican was of so much account as to put you on an equality with us who have studied four years at West Point, and have seen considerable active service, a little personal favoritism might carry you still higher, and make you a Colonel. Why, Lieut. Sullivan, if you should kill another Mexican, those politicians at Washington would make you Commander-in-Chief!” “Gentlemen,” said Sullivan, “it is business that brings me here. Here is my commission as Colonel in the Mexican revolutionary army, and now you know my authority. And now, here’s my business in this paper, which I will read.” He then read a paper authorizing and requesting him to employ a competent engineer upon his staff. The officers reminded him that they knew nothing of the face of the Mexican country, had no maps, knew not his route, and insisted that they could be of no service to him.
“You do not understand me, gentlemen,” replied Sullivan; “it is not for what I am going to do that I want any of your assistance. I only want you to map it out after I have done it. You are always talking about your military school, and what you have studied, and the like of you will be at school hereafter, and they will want to study Sullivan’s Route to the Capital of Mexico; and if ever I should be Emperor, whom would I want for Secretary of War but my own Engineer?” Sullivan set out upon his march with no one to map out his route. He penetrated regions where no man had ever been before. He came out of forests where men least expected him. He appeared to be everywhere, and the inhabitants could make no calculation where he was not. They either all joined him, or fled before him. He had everything his own way, until, in his efforts to join the main army, he found himself in the fortified country.
Here he missed his engineer and his military education. He was wounded, taken prisoner, marched into the Plaza, a bullet pierced his heart, and that was the last of Sullivan. But it just took a Chicago Irish boy to teach the Emperor Maximilian how to die the death of a soldier some twenty years afterwards; and Sullivan had as much right in Mexico as Maximilian.
There are 67 names upon the two voting-lists of 1825, and 1830. Six voted at both elections, leaving 61 different names, which, with the four on the tax- list of 1825 who did not vote at either election, constitute the 65 from whom our first families are descended.
And as there may be some pride in after years in tracing one’s connection with our first families, the real Knickerbockers of Chicago, 1 have taken some pains to obtain interviews or hold correspondence with such of them as might be living, and with the descendants of such as are dead. Of a very large proportion of them I can obtain no knowledge whatever. I shall publish all their names, and at some future time shall publish what I have ascertained, or may hereafter ascertain, of their history and of their descendants. When it was known, in 1860, that the Prince of Wales was to make Chicago a visit, one of our society-men suggested that it was my duty, as Mayor of the city, to select about a hundred from our first families and give the Prince a ball. I asked him to give the names of the hundred from the first families. This he said he was unwilling to do. I asked him then to give me the names of even ten of our first families, meaning, of course, nine besides his own. This he also declared himself unwilling to do.
But if, at any future time, any one of our society men should wish to make a party from our first families, he may derive some assistance from this lecture.
At this time I think there are but three of those voters-living. One is Medard B. Beaubien, son of the late Gen. John B. Beaubien, of this city, now the leading man among the Pottawatomie Indians, in Kansas. The second is David McKee, now living near Aurora, Ill. He was born in Virginia in 1800, and went to Cincinnati when a young man, as a blacksmith. Under the treaty of Chicago, made with the Indians by Gen. Cass, in 1821, the Government was to keep a blacksmith here, who was to work exclusively for the Indians.
Col. Benjamin B. Kerchival, then Indian Agent, afterwards a prominent citizen of Detroit, went to Cincinnati and employed McKee to come here in that capacity. McKee reached Fort Wayne, and there waited for a guide. At that time the only mail Chicago had was a monthly one to Fort Wayne. He did not wait long before the exploring expedition of Maj. Stephen H. Long reached that place, and he accompanied it to Chicago. Turning to the history of that expedition, by Prof. William H. Keating, of the University of Pennsylvania, I find that orders were issued to Maj. Long, April 25, 1823, for him to commence at Philadelphia, thence to proceed to Wheeling, thence to Chicago or Fort Wayne, thence to Fort Armstrong or Dubuque lead mines, thence up the Mississippi to Fort St. Anthony, etc. The expedition reached Fort Wayne, May 26, 1823, and Prof. Keating speaks of the fort then there as erected in 1814 on the site of the old fort, the location of which had been designated by Gen. Anthony Wayne after his victory over the confederated Indians on the 20th of August, 1794, which gave rise to the treaty of Greenville in the following year. The Professor says also, that the expedition fortunately met at Fort Wayne the express sent from Chicago for letters, and obtained him as guide.
They left Fort Wayne May 29th, 1823. Their cavalcade consisted of seven persons, including the soldier, mail-carrier, and a colored servant; and they had two horses loaded with provisions. On the 5th of June they reached Fort Dearborn, Chicago, having been eight days in traveling the distance of 216 miles, an average of 27 miles a day, their distance exceeding the usual allowance, by 16 miles, in consequence of their circuitous route to avoid the Elkhart River. The railroad train now leaving here at 9 a.m. reaches Fort Wayne at 2 p.m. The post at Chicago was abandoned a few months after the party reached it, in consequence of the rapid extension of the white population westward, and the establishment of a chain of military posts along the Mississippi River, rendering the continuance of the force here unnecessary. An Indian Agent, Dr. Alexander Wolcott, uncle of our present County Surveyor, of the same name, remained here to keep up amicable relations with the Indians, and to attend to their wants, daily becoming greater in consequence of the increasing scarcity of game. Fort Dearborn was not occupied by soldiers again, except temporarily in transit, until 1832, when the Black Hawk troubles broke out. When Mr. McKee came here there were but two houses: one belonging to John Kinzie, the other to his son-in-law, Dr. Alexander Wolcott, the Indian Agent,— Mr. Kinzie’s having been built first. Both houses were built of logs, and lined with cedar bark. The third house was built by Joseph Pothier, a Frenchman, and one of the voters here in 1826, and who until recently was a resident of Milwaukee. He married an Indian half-breed, brought up by Mr. Kinzie, and was striker for Mr. McKee in the blacksmith shop. Mr. McKee was married by Mr. Kinzie, at Mr. Kinzie’s house, and he built the fourth house. All four houses were on the north side of the river.
The inhabitants were soldiers, Frenchmen in the employ of the American Fur Company, and Indians. When the fort was not garrisoned, and the fur-traders were in the country making their purchases, the Indians constituted almost the entire population. In 1827-28, Mr. McKee carried the mail once a month to Fort Wayne. As his Indian pony had to carry the mail-bag and the blankets for him to sleep upon, he could not carry corn for the pony and provisions for himself. He drove the pony in front of him, and cut down an elm or basswood tree for the pony to browse upon during the night. He carried a gun with which he killed the game for his own food. His route was from here to Niles, Mich., thence to Elkhart, Ind., and thence to Fort Wayne. His average trip from this place to Fort Wayne was fourteen days; the quickest time he ever made was ten days. Gen. John McNiel, one of the heroes in the battle of Lundy’s Lane, commanded the fort when Mr. McKee came to Chicago. Soon after his arrival, a sailing vessel, called the Heartless, undertook to enter the mouth of the river, ran ashore, and was beached in the sand. They tried to cut her out, but she went to pieces. About a year thereafter the first vessel entered the harbor, and anchored opposite the fort. It was the United States revenue- cutter Fairplay. When we speak of the first vessel coming to Chicago, there is always a confusion between the vessels that anchored outside and the vessels that actually came up into the river. It is claimed that this United States revenue-cutter Fairplay was the first one to actually enter the river. In 1826, there came here a sailing vessel called the Young Tiger, to enter the river, but she anchored out in the lake, slipped her cable, and went ashore.
Mr. E. Buell, now residing in Clinton County, Iowa, near Lyons, aged 75, claims that he was pilot and navigator on the schooner Aurora, Capt. Titus, that came to Chicago in 1820 or 1821; but he leaves the question unsettled as to whether or not he came up into the river. The steamers which brought here the troops of Gen. Scott, in 1832, had to anchor some distance outside. The persons claiming to have been upon the first vessel that passed over the Chicago bar and came up into the river, are even more numerous than those claiming to be descendants of the persons who had the first white child born in Chicago. I will not discuss this matter now, as the mass of you care less about those who had the first child than you do about those who are to have the next one, and what is to become of it.
The third man now living who voted in Chicago Precinct, Peoria County, in 1830, is our well-known fellow-citizen, Mark Beaubien. He came here in 1826 to visit his brother, John B. Beaubien, who was an employe of the American Fur Company, and who lived in a log-house near the lake-shore, near the mouth of the river, on the South Side. Mark returned to Detroit, and brought his family here, and built him a log-house, fronting the river, on what is known as the “Old Wigwam Lot,” on the corner of Lake and Market streets; it being at that time the only dwelling-house on the South Side, except his brother’s. He constructed it for hotel purposes, and, when the Indian Chief Sauganash learned his design, he told him that Americans named their hotels after big men, and asked him what he was going to call it. Mr. Beaubien took the hint, and said I’ll call it Sauganash!” A few years afterwards, he built a large addition to it, which was the first frame-house built on the South Side. It was in this house that I took my first meal, on my arrival here in 1836, it being then kept by John Murphy. Mr. Beaubien was born in 1800, and in Detroit, where his father was also born; but his grandfather was an emigrant from France. He established the first ferry, at the forks of the river. He was an original fiddler, having inherited the art in the natural way; and he will probably die one. In case of the absence of the music at any of our parties in olden times, Mr. Beaubien was always sent for, and when one fiddle-string broke, he was good for the three; and, when another broke, he could still keep up the music; and if there were only one string left, a party would never go away disappointed if Mr. Beaubien was left to play upon it. He has done much to keep up our first families, having had twenty-three children. His grandchildren had numbered fifty-three when the great-grandchildren began to make their appearance, and he stopped counting. I introduce him to you to-day as the only man you will probably ever see who witnessed the surrender of an American army. God grant that such an event may never happen again! During the War of 1812, Mr. Beaubien’s father, hearing that the town (Detroit) was about to be bombarded by the British army, had ordered his children to go down into the cellar, when news came that Gen. Hull had surrendered. Mark Beaubien saw Gen. Hull and his staff rowed over to the Canadian shore, and then the soldiers were taken over under the charge of the red-coat officials.
Cook County was set off from Peoria County under an act passed in 1831. The first election was in Aug., 1832. The county was named for the Hon. Daniel P. Cook, son-in-law of Gov. Ninian Edwards, who was one of the first United States Senators from this State.
Mr. Cook was a member of Congress from 1820 to 1827, and died in 1827, aged 32, one of the most talented men who ever lived in this State. As our poll- lists of the first election, in 1832, were burnt, I can no longer trace our first families, and those, who wish to marry into them must look back to those who were taxed in 1825, or voted in 1826 or 1830, if they do not wish their honors disputed. Cook County then included the present Counties of Lake, McHenry, DuPage, and Will, all west being included in Jo Daviess County. The only voting-place of Cook County at that time was at Chicago. The highest number of votes cast for all the candidates for any one office in 1832 was 114, against 32 in 1830, and 35 in 1826.
It seems to have been the practice then, as now, to take our officers from Galena, and then, as now, they were very good men.
Galena and Chicago were then in the same Representative and Senatorial Districts. Col. James M. Strode was elected to the Senate, and Benjamin Mills to the House, both being attorneys-at-law at Galena. Elijah Wentworth, Jr., who died at Galesburg, Ill., on the 18th of November last, received all the votes for Coroner at this election. He wrote me, just before his death, that he went with his father, Elijah Wentworth, Sr., from Maine to Kentucky; they moved thence to Dodgeville, Wis., where he was living at the time Jefferson Davis was constructing Fort Winnebago, about 75 miles distant. Davis had been ordered there soon after his graduation at West Point in 1828, and he often visited Dodgeville in attendance upon social parties, and is well remembered by old settlers there, to this day. In 1830, Mr. Wentworth and his father moved to Chicago, and rented a new hotel of James Kinzie, then the best in Chicago, on the West Side, near the forks of the river. It was a log-house, with upright boards upon the outside. He carried the mail from Chicago to Niles, once a month.
At the annual election in August, 1834, the highest number of votes for all the candidates for any one office was 528, against 114 in 1832. Thus our population began to increase. This vote was for the whole County of Cook. In 1835, the highest number of votes in the entire county, for all the candidates for any one office, was 1064. And religious enterprise and liberality had so far advanced that, at the Ladies’ Fair at the old St James, the mother of Episcopacy in the Northwest, on the 18th of June in that year, the receipts were $1,431. In the spring of 1837, at our first municipal election, the city alone cast 709 votes.*
It seems not to be generally known that, up to the time of the opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, Chicago was not at all troubled with mosquitoes; a blessing which amply compensated for many of our early deprivations.
*For list of names on the poll-book, see “Fergus’ Directory for 1839.”
The history of Chicago furnishes one with a complete history of an irredeemable paper-money system. Emigration was fast tending westward in 1835. Government land was $1.25 per acre. The emigrants had little or no-money, and would purchase land on credit at greatly advanced prices. Eastern speculators flocked here and took advantage of this, condition of things. The Government money received for lands would be deposited in the banks, credited to the Government, and then reloaned back to speculators. Thus the Government had credits in banks to more than the amount of their capital, and their assets consisted almost entirely of the notes of Western speculators. The Government was out of debt, and had no use for its surplus, which was forming the basis of those large speculative loans, and men became even more excited and reckless than were the land-operators here in Chicago at the time of the recent panic. Besides, money was taken from every branch of business to invest in these Western speculations. The President of the United States had no power to stop the sales of lands or to limit bank discounts. He saw the immediate necessity of arresting this condition of things, and he had no other way to do it than to issue an order that nothing but gold and silver should be received for the public lands. According to an invariable law, a redundancy of paper had driven the precious metals out of the country, and the banks had not the specie wherewith to redeem their bills, which were fast being presented to obtain land-office money. The banks all failed, and corporations and individuals issued certificates of indebtedness, which were interchanged as currency.
States, counties, and cities paid their debts in warrants upon an empty treasury. The Canal Commissioners paid contractors in scrip, and the contractors paid their laborers in a lesser scrip, redeemable in the scrip of the Commissioners.
Nearly every man in Chicago doing business was issuing his individual scrip, and the city abounded with little tickets, such as “Good at our store for ten cents,” “Good for a loaf of bread,” “Good for a shave,” “Good for a drink,” etc., etc. When you went out to trade, the trader would look over your tickets, and select such as he could use to the best advantage. The times for a while seemed very prosperous. We had a currency that was interchangeable, and for a time we suffered no inconvenience from it, except when we wanted some specie to pay for our postage. In those days it took 25 cents to send a letter East. But after a while it was found out that men were over-issuing. The barber had outstanding too many shaves; the baker too many loaves of bread; the saloon- keeper too many drinks, etc., etc. Want of confidence became general. Each man became afraid to take the tickets of another. Some declined to redeem their tickets in any way, and some absconded. And people found out, as is always the case where there is a redundancy of paper money, that they had been extravagant, had bought things they did not need, and had run in debt for a larger amount than they were able to pay. Of course, nearly everyone failed, and charged his failure upon President Jackson’s specie circular. In after times, I asked an old settler, who was a great growler in those days, what effect time had had upon his views of Gen. Jackson’s circular. His reply was that Gen. Jackson had spoiled his being a great man. Said he, “I came to Chicago with nothing, failed for $100,000, and could have failed for a million, if he had let the bubble “burst in the natural way.”
A single instance will illustrate to what various purposes those little tickets of indebtedness could be put. A boy had a ticket “Good for a drink.” He dropped it into the church contribution-box, and heard no more of it. He told another boy, who did the same thing with the same result. That boy told his sister, who told her mother, who told her husband, who deemed it his duty to tell the Deacon. Meanwhile the boys were putting in the tickets “Good for a drink,” and telling the other boys to do the same. The Deacon, alive to all the responsibilities of his position, for the first time in his life entered a saloon; called the barkeeper one side, and asked him to change a $1 scrip, well knowing he could not do so unless it were in liquor-tickets. The saloon- keeper was afraid to offer such tickets, and declined to make the change, until the Deacon gave him a hint that, although he did not stimulate himself, he thought he could use the tickets. Then, said the Deacon, “I have a curiosity to know the extent of the circulation of these tickets, and really wish you would put a private mark upon them, and notify me when one returns.” Think of a Deacon putting such currency into a contribution-box! But he did it, and the boys put in some more. On Monday afternoon, the Deacon was notified that one of his tickets had been redeemed. Oh, what a chance for a scandal case! Imagine that such a thing had happened in our day!
Think of our enterprising newsgatherers calling upon a Deacon, and asking him what was the average time of a liquor-ticket’s going from his church contribution-box to a saloon! With solemn tread the Deacon made his way to his pastor’s residence, and asked him what disposition he made of the various tickets taken from the contribution-box. The reply was that his wife assorted them, strung them upon different strings, entered them upon a book, and gave the church credit as she used any of them. “And do you say, my dear brother,” asked the Deacon, “that you have no knowledge of the particular uses to which these tickets have been put?” “I do say so,” said the pastor. The Deacon breathed freer. He had cleared his pastor, but I have no doubt he prayed, “May the Lord have mercy on his poor wife!” The wife was called, and her husband said, “The Deacon wishes us to give an account of the proceeds of the contribution-box.” “Not exactly so, my dear sister,” said the Deacon; “but I wish to know for what purposes the liquor-tickets have been used.” She comprehended the matter at once, and promptly replied, “Why, Deacon, did you want them? I never thought you were a drinking man. Now, as you didn’t have the tickets, will you share with us the proceeds? Let us all take a drink!” She rushed to her pantry, brought out a pitcher, with tumblers, and it was filled with milk! In making the change with her milkman his eyes had fallen upon these tickets, and he said he could use them. Thus throwing the liquor- tickets into the contribution-box was but a repetition of the old adage, “Evil be thou my good.” They had discharged all the functions of the modern greenback, even to furnishing a poorly-paid clergyman’s children with milk.
Not long after our Chicago citizens were victimized by another irredeemable currency device. Michigan legislators thought that, while there was not specie enough in the country for a banking basis, there was land enough. So they passed what is known as the “Real Estate Banking Law.” They contended that real estate was better than gold and silver, because a man could not run away with real estate. Chicago merchants, business men, and speculators generally, instead of paying their debts with their money, bought Michigan wild lands, had them appraised, and then mortgaged them for bills, which they brought home to pay their debts with. Real estate, which is generally the first property to feel the effects of inflated currency, soon rose in value, and its owners paid Michigan another visit, secured a higher appraisal of their lands, and exchanged the second mortgage for some more bills. For about a year we had excellent times again in Chicago. But then confidence began to weaken. Agents were sent into the country to buy anything they could, provided Michigan money would be taken. Merchants would post in their windows a list of bills that they would receive for a given day, and then revise the list for the next day. The bubble soon burst, and every one was the poorer for the good times he had enjoyed. Manual labor, which was the last thing to rise, was the last resting- place of the worthless bills.
During all this excitement incident to our great variety of irredeemable paper, our sufferings were the greatest for postage money, which had always to be in specie, and specie was then at from 50 to 100 per cent premium in our depreciated currency. But postage was then reckoned by the sheet instead of by weight. The result was that, although friends wrote but seldom, their letters were a sort of daily journal. When anything occurred to them, they would write it out; and when they had filled a sheet, oftentimes writing crossways also, they mailed it as soon as they could raise the postage. In traveling at the East, I have fallen in with several of these letters written in early times, whose publication would add materially to the early history of our city. But their contents were so mixed up with private matters appertaining to different families that it is impossible to obtain possession of them. As our laboring men were paid in currency, it often took more than a day’s work to pay the postage on a letter to an Eastern friend.
I will relate an anecdote to illustrate this matter. Soon after my first election to Congress, a young man who had rendered me material service, made me a call, and observed that postage was very high; in which sentiment I concurred, and promised to labor to reduce it. He then remarked that I would have the franking privilege; to which I assented, and promised to labor to abolish it. But all this did not seem to interest the young man, and I was perplexed to know the drift of his conversation. Finally, with great embarrassment, he observed that he was engaged to a young lady at the East, and wanted to know if I could not frank his letters. I explained that there was but one way to avoid the responsibilities of the law, and that was for him to write his letters to me, and then I could write a letter to her, calling her attention to his; and she could have the same privilege. The correspondence took this form until the Congressman from her district asked me if, at the close of the session, I was going home by the way of his district. I did not comprehend him until he stated that he was well acquainted in the family of the lady with whom I had been corresponding, and suggested that, if I was going to be married before the next session, it would be pleasant for us to board at the same house! This put a new phase upon my way of dodging an abuse of the franking privilege, and I wrote to my constituent that he must bring his courtship to a close, and he did so. Four letters from him and three from her covered the transaction, and I stand indebted to this day to the “conscience-fund” of the Post-Office Department for $1.75. But this was a very insignificant sum to pay for the securing of a good Yankee girl to the West in those days. Besides, there are seven in the family now, and one went to the War; and that $1.75 was an insignificant bounty to pay for a soldier. After all, the best way to procure soldiers is to breed them yourself. But every time any one speaks to me about the corruptions and defalcations among public men of the present day, I see “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin” written on the wall! I think of that $1.75, and say nothing.
Not satisfied with the real estate banking experiment in Michigan, of trying to make easy times without prompt specie redemption, some of the speculators of Illinois thought that they would try the Michigan system, with State bonds substituted for lands. The result of this last experiment is too familiar to the mass of our citizens to need an extended comment. Money was borrowed, and State bonds were purchased. The most inaccessible places in our State were sought out for the location of banks, and bills were extensively issued. Money was abundant, prices of everything advanced, and a financial millenium was once more among us. The consequences of this system were quite as disastrous as those of the real estate system of Michigan. Considering its age, Chicago has been the greatest sufferer of any place in the world from an irredeemable paper-money system. Its losses in this respect will nearly approximate those from the great fire. And when you talk to one of the early settlers of Chicago about the advantages accruing from an irredeemable money system, you waste your labor. He has been there! One of our early amusements was that of wolf- hunting. Experienced Indian ponies were plenty in our city. The last hunt I remember had for its object the driving of as large a number of wolves as possible up to the ice upon the lake shore, and as near the mouth of the harbor as could be done. There was to be no shooting until the wolves had got upon the ice. No person was to fire unless his aim was entirely over ice, and then to the eastward. Two parties started early in the morning, one following the lake shore south, and the other the river, to meet at a common centre not far from Blue Island. Then they were to spread themselves out, cover as much territory as possible, and drive the wolves before them. About 4 o’clock in the afternoon, a wolf made his appearance in the outskirts of the city. The news was spread, and our people turned out on foot, keeping along the margin of the river, so as to drive the wolves upon the ice of the lake shore.
One wolf after another made his appearance, and soon we saw the horsemen. The number of wolves was about the same as that of Samson’s foxes. The men were so eager to get the first fire at a wolf that the tramp of their horses broke the ice; and, as the wind was rather brisk, it broke away from the shore, with the wolves upon it, and drifted northeasterly, very much in the same direction as that taken by the recent unfortunate balloon. But the wolves, unlike the man in the balloon, took no reporter on board. Men, women, and children lined the bank of the lake, expecting to see the ice break in pieces and the wolves swim ashore.
But it did not do so. Our people watched the ice, and could see the wolves running from side to side, until they faded away from view. When I took my last look, they appeared about the size of mice.
About two weeks afterwards, a letter appeared in a Detroit paper containing an account of some farm settlements, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, being attacked by a large body of hungry wolves. They destroyed fowls and cattle, and for several days spread terror through the neighborhood. We always supposed that those were our wolves, but our hunters never laid any claim to them, as the news of their arrival was so long in reaching here. And as an evidence of the tardy transit of merchandise and mails, in those days, I will state that our newspapers of September, 1835, announce the arrival of a schooner, with goods, twenty days from New York City, the shortest time ever made. A newspaper of Dec. 24, 1836, announces that President Jackson’s message to Congress was only twelve days on its route from Washington. It was published here Saturday, but the editor says he would have issued it on Thursday, but for the extreme cold weather.
The first divorce suit in our city was brought in 1835.
Land speculation had become so brisk here in 1835, that from Jan. 4th to Oct. 21st of that year, the papers announce that Augustus Garrett (afterward mayor of the city) had sold land at his auction-rooms to the amount of $1,800,000. Our people had commenced litigation so much that at the commencement of Cook county circuit court in May, 1836, there were 230 cases on the civil docket, and the court sat two weeks. Litigation so increased that in May, 1837, there were 700 cases on the civil docket. The newspapers pointed to the alarming fact that over a million dollars were involved in these cases.
The West Side was the last to advance in population. Although at one time, prior to the city’s incorporation, it undoubtedly had, as it does now, the largest portion of our inhabitants, there were only 97 voters on the whole West Side at our first municipal election. These were mostly from our first families, as there were living there about that time three Indian chiefs, Sauganash, Laframboise, and Robinson, (whose Indian name was Che-che-pin-gua), with occasional visits from Shaboneh; and any number of Indians, French, and mixed breeds related to them. The West Side was the last side to have a piano, but the strains of the fiddle were always to be heard, and the war-dance was no uncommon thing. I remember attending the wedding of one of Laframboise’s daughters. She was married to a clerk in the post-office, and is now the wife of Medard B. Beaubien, heretofore alluded to in this lecture. The clerk was the one who delivered letters, and of course was well known to all our citizens, and was remarkably popular.
He went to the printing office and had 50 cards of invitation struck off. But when people went for their letters, they politely hinted that they expected a card of invitation to the wedding. So he was compelled to go to the printing office and have 50 more struck off. These did not last long, and he had 100 more. Then he said that tickets were of no use, and everybody might come; and about everyone did come. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Isaac W. Hallam, pastor of the St. James’ Episcopal church of this city. Everything was high- toned, well worthy of an Indian chiefs daughter. The house was of no particular use, as it was full and surrounded with people. This wedding made a strong impression on my mind, as it was the first time I ever saw the Indian war-dance.
Some of the guests not only had their tomahawks and scalping-knives, bows and arrows, but a few of them had real scalps which they pretended they had taken in the various Indian wars. Their faces were decorated with all the favorite pictures of the Indians. And some of our young white men and ladies played the part of the Indian so well that it was difficult to distinguish them from the real ones. It has been a wonder to me that, while our professors of music have been inventing so many different kind of dances, none of them have reproduced the Indian war-dance, which to me is much more sensible than nine-tenths of those which are now practiced at so many of our fashionable parties. I presume that the trouble is, that our ladies consider that the Indian war-paint extemporized for the occasion, would interfere with the original paint put on before they left their homes, and which they wished to remain through the evening. One of our young men claimed that, at this wedding, amid the crowd, unperceived, he had clipped a lock from the bride’s long, flowing, raven hair. Some of this hair he had put into a breast pin, and very soon thereafter, these Indian bridal breast-pins were about as thick as were the manufactures from our old court-house bell after the fire. One man who had worn one for some years was suddenly taken sick, and expected to die. He called his wife to his bedside, and told her he deemed it his duty to state to her that he had been deceiving her for years, and he could not die in peace until he had made a confession.
“I must tell you before I die, that the hair in that pin I have been wearing so deceitfully, is not the hair of that Indian chief’s daughter, but your own.”
With pitiful eyes he looked to his wife for forgiveness. “And is that all that troubles you?” said she; “what you have just revealed in your dying hour, only confirms my opinion of you. I always supposed you thought more of me than you did of a squaw!”
And now I suppose you think that that man died in peace. But he did not. He is alive now. There is occasionally an instance where a man has survived a confession to his wife. But where, oh where, is there an instance of a woman who has survived a confession to her husband?
After the marriage of this Indian chiefs daughter, several of our wealthy citizens (wealthy for those days) gave return parties. I remember attending a very elegant one given at the house of Medard B. Beaubien. I think the fashionable society of Chicago subsisted for about two months upon that wedding. Mr. Beaubien has given me several invitations, as he has others of our old settlers, to visit him at his residence among the Pottawatomies. He told me that I would be a big Pottawatomie! He gave as a reason for abandoning Chicago, where he was a merchant, that he would rather be a big Indian than a little white man. He has the reputation of being the handsomest man that was ever in this city. I met him at Washington, a few years ago, and he attracted great attention for his remarkable personal beauty.
The most of the families of wealth, education, and high social position, about the time of our incorporation, were settled on the North Side. The “Lake House” there was the first brick hotel constructed in our city, and it was as well furnished and conducted as any hotel west of New York city. Upon the South Side were most of the business houses, and hotels that were kept for the accommodation of farmers who came to Chicago with their loads of grain. Business men without families, clerks, and employes of business men, generally boarded at these hotels on the South Side, often sleeping in the stores. We could not have anything like a large party on the South Side without female domestics. The fashionable people on the North Side would invite our young men to their parties on that side; but when we had a party on the South Side, instead of coming themselves the ladies would send their domestics. And if I were, to go into details of the origin of the fashionable society of Chicago of the present day, I could satisfy our young men that whether they wanted to make money or raise healthy children, the best thing they could now do would be to imitate the example of some of our early settlers, and marry a lady who dares discharge an impudent or incompetent maid, and can do the work herself till she can get a better one.
There was considerable ill-feeling at one time between the North and South Sides in consequence of this discrimination. But politics then, as now, proved a great leveler in society. There was an elegant party given at the Lake House one evening, where one of the most fashionable men on the North Side, who was a candidate for office, thought he would throw an anchor to the windward by dancing with a South Side dressing-maid, while he supposed his wife was being entertained at the supper-table. But she entered the ball-room while the dance was going on. At once a proud heart was fired. Quicker than thought she spoke to a carriage-driver who stood at the door looking in: “Can you dance, Mike?” “It’s only for the want of a partner,” was the response. Seizing him by the hand, she said, “Come on!” and turning to the crowd she said, “This is a game that two can play at,” and immediately the dance went on, amid the applause of the whole room; the man with the South Side dressing-maid, and his wife with the South Side driver. And thus free suffrage began its work against artificial social position.
Not long after my first election to Congress, upon opening my mail at Washington, I found a letter dated in the-western part of Iowa, then far in the wilderness, reading in this way:
“MY DEAR OLD CHICAGO FRIEND: I see you have been getting up in the world, and it is so with myself, who am the sheriff’s deputy here, and I also keep hotel. I am the same one who made all the fuss dancing with the lady at the Lake House ball, and you were there; and the girl I married is the same domestic, her husband danced with. The judge of the court boards at our house, and he often dances with my wife at the big parties here, where we are considered among the first folks, and I reckon my wife Bridget would put on as many airs as the lady did at the Lake House, if she should catch me dancing with domestics. I found out that those people who made so much fuss at the Lake House were not considered much where they came from. But they emigrated to Chicago, and then set up for big folks. So I thought I would marry Bridget and start for a new country where I could be as big as anybody. And now remember your old Chicago friend, and tell the President that I am for his administration, and would like to get the post-office here.”
I remember that, during that session of Congress I boarded at the same house with Horace Greeley, and he was frequently in my room; and I think that it was from this letter he borrowed his sentiment, “Go west, young man!”
In our early times, it was customary to excommunicate members of the church as publicly as they had been admitted. Now we hear of admissions, but never of excommunications. Professor David Swing has come as near filling that bill as anyone we have heard of recently, but future historians will differ as to whether he excommunicated the church or the church him. I remember in early times here of a clergyman’s dealing, at the close of his service, with a member, one of our well-known citizens, somewhat after this fashion: “You will remember, my hearers, that some time ago Mr. Blank was proposed for admission to this church, and after he had passed a favorable examination I called upon everyone present to know if there was any objection, and no one rose and objected. It becomes my painful duty now to pronounce the sentence of excommunication upon him, and to remand him back to the world again with all his sins upon his head.” Whereupon a gentleman rose in his pew and said: “And now the world objects to receiving him!” On which bursts of laughter filled the house; and the precise status of that man was never determined, as the civil courts in those days had not begun to interfere in ecclesiastical matters. In these times the church would undoubtedly have called upon the courts to grant a mandamus upon the world to receive him, or the world would have applied for an injunction to prevent the church from excommunicating him.
In most new settlements there can always be pointed out some particular class who give tone to the early society; such as the Pilgrims and Puritans of New England, the Knickerbockers of New York, the Huguenots of South Carolina, the Creoles of New Orleans; and, in the later days, men identified with manufacturing interests, mining interests, railroad interests, or with seminaries of learning. But here in Chicago, in early times, we had not any one prevailing class or interest; nor was there any sufficient number of people from any particular locality to exercise a controlling influence in moulding public sentiment. We had people from almost every clime, and of almost every opinion. We had Jews and Christians, Protestants, Catholics, and infidels; among Protestants, there were Calvinists and Armenians. Nearly every language was represented here. Some people had seen much of the world, and some very little. Some were quite learned, and some very ignorant. We had every variety of people, and out of these we had to construct what is called society. The winters were long; no railroads, no telegraphs, no canal, and all we had to rely upon for news were our weekly newspapers. We had no libraries, no lectures, no theatres or other places of amusement. If a stranger attended a gathering of any kind, the mass of attendants were equally strangers with himself; and the gentlemen outnumbered the ladies by about four or five to one. You ask what society lived upon in those days? I answer, upon faith. But faith without works is dead. From the close to the opening of navigation, nearly six months in the year, we had nothing to do. Our faith consisted principally in the future of Chicago. Nearly every one had laid out a town, and men exchanged lots with each other, very much as boys swap jack-knives. The greatest story-teller was about as big a man: as we had. If a new story was told, it was soon passed all round town, and due credit given to the originator. If a new book appeared in our midst, that was loaned around until another new one came to take its place.
Occasionally, one of our young men would go East and get him a wife, and then we discussed her for a while. Dressmakers would invariably make her the first call, examine her dresses, and then go from door to door, like a modern census- taker or tax-collector, soliciting orders according to the latest fashions.
There was great prejudice between the emigrants from the South and those from the East. All our Eastern people were considered by the emigrants from the South as Yankees. The first contest was about the convention system in politics. Southerners denounced it vehemently as a Yankee innovation upon the old system of allowing every man to run for office who wanted to do so, and taking his chances. Their system was to solicit their friends to solicit them to run for office, and then they reluctantly consented, and placed themselves in the hands of their friends. All Yankee customs, fashions, and innovations upon their established usages were ridiculed as Yankee notions, worthy only of the peddlers of wooden clocks and pewter spoons.
Thomas Ford, born in Uniontown, Penn., in 1800, who had lived in Illinois from 1804, and whose father had been killed by the Indians, came here as Judge, and did more than any other person to mollify the prejudices of the South against the North. He early foresaw that all that the early settlers of Illinois needed, was the growth of more Yankee thrift among them; and he early told his friends that while he stayed here he was going to conform to all the Yankee notions, as fast as he could ascertain what they were, and wanted his acquaintances to inform him what he should do to prevent embarrassment by non- conformity. I met him on his way to Court one morning, and he said he had just been detained by a lady complaining that he did not attend her party on a previous evening. He told her that he was very fond of parties, and always attended them whenever he could, but that he held Court that evening until it was too late to go. But this did not satisfy her. She wanted to know, if he could not attend, why he did not send a “regret.” He did not understand the matter, and made an excuse that the Court was waiting, informing her that he would converse with her some other time. “But,” said he, “what’s that? What did she want me to do when I couldn’t go?” I informed him that the lady had some sisters visiting her from the East, and she had a pride in having them write home that among her friends were the very best people in Chicago, and among them the Judge of the Court; which in his absence, a little note from him would establish.
“Capital, capital,” said he. “Why you Yankees have a motive in all you do. You turn everything to account. The longer I live among Yankees the more I see why it is that they are getting rich and overrunning the country. Nobody shall complain of me hereafter in that respect. Ill have some note-paper in my desk, and if the lawyers detain me, I’ll send the Sheriff with one of those little billet-doux. If there is any other thing that you Yankees want me to do to testify my high appreciation of you, please let me know.” The next day the Judge called at my office with a beautiful little note, on gilt-edged paper, addressed to his wife, and reading as follows: “Judge Ford’s compliments to Mrs. Ford and the children, and regrets that he cannot be home to have the pleasure of their society on Monday next.” Below this was the following postscript: “The above is one of the Yankee notions, and when you want to go anywhere and cannot, you must always send one of these, which they call a ‘regret.’ Please tell this to the neighbors, and also tell them that when I return I shall have a great many stories to tell them about different Yankee notions.”
Not long after, I was at Oregon, Ogle County, where he resided, and where he was then holding Court. When it became time for the Sheriff to adjourn the Court, the Judge said, “Mr. Sheriff, don’t forget that party at my house to- night.” And the Sheriff exclaimed, “Hear ye! Hear ye! The Judge of this Court requests me to say, that he and his lady would be pleased to see you all at his house to-night, both citizens and strangers! Now this honorable Court stands adjourned until to-morrow morning at 9 o’clock.”
It was wonderful to notice the mixture of people who unceremoniously visited him that evening—attorneys, jurors, suitors, and citizens generally, with their wives. One person seemed as much at home as another. There was a grand welcome for all. He was the very prince of hospitality. His small house could not contain the crowd, and many stood outside and mingled in the entertainments.
The Judge passed through the assembly with a waiter on which was a decanter of Madeira wine, and wine-glasses. His wife passed around with another waiter loaded with cake. Said the Judge to some Yankee gentlemen, “This is the way we original Illinoisans give a party. We invite all; the latch-string is out; all come who can, and those who cannot come say nothing. They never write any regrets. Indeed, a great many of our prominent men at the South could not do it. I have known men in our Legislature who could not write.” Then he passed away into a group of people who were natives of the South, and told them how he got himself into trouble with a Chicago lady by not writing her a little billet-doux explaining to her why he did not go to her party, when he wanted to go more than she wanted to have him. He often uttered the sentiment that he did not wish to live in a locality where his house was not large enough to entertain his neighbors without making selections. He said he must either build him a larger house or move into a distant settlement. When I came away I expressed the wish that I might soon have the pleasure of seeing him and his neighbors in Chicago.
Whereupon the Judge jocosely observed, “We will either come and see you or send you a billet-doux.” But a Southern Illinoisan, a native of North Carolina, exclaimed, “Yes, when you Yankee peddlers are putting up wooden clocks and pewter spoons for this region, tell them to put up a little gold- edged note-paper for us, and have them to be sure that the gold isn’t bronze!”
But the people of this State settled the house question for Judge Ford. For, at the next Gubernatorial election, he was made its Chief Magistrate, and as Governor he rendered his name dear to every Illinoisan by his almost superhuman, but eminently successful, efforts to complete the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and to restore the lost credit of our State. He died not long after the expiration of his term of office, and left to his children only the proceeds of the copyright of his History of Illinois,—a book which, when once commenced, no reader will lay aside until he has finished it. In this work is the only authoritative history of the settlement of the Mormons in this State, and their final expulsion of it, with the assassination of their leader, Joseph Smith.
In his preface he says: “The author has written about small events and little men. And in all those matters in which the author has figured personally, it will be some relief to the reader to find that he has not attempted to blow himself up into, a great man.”
One of our most reliable places of entertainment was the Post-Office while the mail was being opened. The Post-Office was on the west side of Franklin street, cornering on South Water street. 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 Post-Office, and wait for the opening of the mails, which at times, were very heavy. 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 position myself.
During exciting times, our leading men would invariably go to the Post-Office themselves, instead of sending their employes. The news would be discussed by the assemblage, and oftentimes heavy bets would be made, and angry words passed. If it was election times, there would be two papers thrown out, of opposite politics, two reading stands established, two readers engaged, and the men of each party would assemble around their own reader. This condition of things would last until the mails were opened, when the gathering would adjourn until the next blowing of the driver’s horn. This gathering afforded the best opportunity for citizens to become acquainted one with another.
On one of these occasions, I was introduced to a Lieutenant in the army who had just come to take charge of the Government works in this city. He had great confidence in our future, and expressed his intention to invest all his means here. He was eventually ordered away to some other station, but kept up his interest in Chicago. His taxes became high, too high in proportion to his pay as an army officer and the support of his family. His wife had once placed the price of a new dress in a letter which was to leave by the return of a mail which brought her husband an exorbitant tax-bill. He expressed his intention of ordering, by the same mail, the sale of his Chicago property, as his means could endure his taxes no longer. His wife ordered her letter from the mail, took out the money, and, saying that she preferred the Chicago property to a new dress, insisted that he should use it to pay his Chicago taxes. The next summer he visited our city, and rented his property for enough to pay the taxes. That lady lost her dress for that year, but she gained thereby one of the largest and most celebrated (Kingsbury) estates in our city. I mention this fact to warn our ladies that they should never ask for a new dress until they find their husband’s tax-receipt in his wallet; and, at the same time, I would caution husbands not to try to carry so much real estate as to make their poorly-clad wives and children objects of charity when they make their appearance in the streets.
Our early settlers were distinguished for their liberal patronage of all religious denominations, and we had one clergyman who created as much sensation as any we have had since his day. Like all really influential sensational preachers, he was an original.
He dealt freely in pathos and in ridicule. If we cried once, we were sure to laugh once, in every sermon. Unlike clergymen now called sensational, he never quoted poetry, nor told anecdotes, nor used slang phrases, for the purpose of creating a laugh. There was nothing second-handed about him. I allude to Rev. Isaac T. Hinton, a Baptist clergyman, who was the only settled minister on the South Side when I came here in 1836. His residence was near the corner of VanBuren street and Fifth avenue, then in the outskirts of the city, and was shaded by native oaks. He was a man who never seemed so happy as when he was immersing converted sinners in our frozen river or lake. It is said of his converts that no one of them was ever known to be a backslider. If you could see the cakes of ice that were raked out to make room for baptismal purposes, you would make up your mind that no man would join a church under such circumstances unless he joined to stay. Immersions were no uncommon thing in those days. One cold day, about the first part of February, 1839, there were 17 immersed in the river at the foot of State street. A hole about 20 feet square was cut through the ice, and a platform was sunk, with one end resting upon the shore. Among the 17 was our well-known architect, John M. VanOsdell, alderman-elect, said to be now the only survivor. There are many now living who were baptized by Mr. Hinton; among them is the wife of Hon. Thomas Hoyne, mayor-elect. But recently our Baptist friends have made up their minds that our lake has enough to do to carry away all the sewerage of the city, without washing off the sins of the people. It is also claimed for Mr. Hinton that no couple he married was ever divorced. He was just as careful in marrying as he was in baptizing; he wanted nobody to fall from grace.
It was the custom in those days to give clergymen donation parties. Now, we have surprise parties, where the lady is expected to endanger her health by hard-working all day in order to prepare her house for a surprise in the evening. The only surprise about them is the magnificence of the preparations. Then the party was advertised in the newspapers, and a notice posted in the vestibule of the church.
It was customary in those days for all denominations to patronize liberally the clergymen of other denominations.
Mr. Hinton had a family of children nearly grown up, and consequently all the young people, as well as the old, would be there to have a grand frolic at his donation party. There were no religious services, and the house was completely taken possession of by the multitude. People would send just what they happened to have, and it would look at times as if Parson Hinton was going into the storage business. Cords of wood would be piled before the door; flour, salt, pork, beef, box-raisins, lemons, oranges, herring, dry-goods, anything and everything. After the donation party was over, there was always a large quantity left which he did not need, but he knew exactly where to place it— among the destitute of the city. Probably no occasions are remembered with more pleasure by the old settlers of this city than those gatherings at the hospitable mansion of the jolly English preacher, with his attractive laugh, who always enjoyed a good story, and could generally tell a better one. There are many married couples in this city who will tell you that there was where they first met.
The first Sabbath I passed in this city, my good boarding-house mistress (Mrs. John Murphy, present on this platform to-day) took me with her to his church, as was the custom of Christian ladies with strange young men in those days. He told me that godliness was profitable unto all things; and he was right. Christian men and women have not kept up this good old custom of taking young men, strangers in the city, to church with them, and using their efforts to lead them to a high social position with their religious instruction. Strange young men now in this city are told that there is a moral infirmary opened here, entirely for their benefit, where the seats are all free, and men are supported expressly to save such as they are from destruction. I never knew a young man to amount to anything if he had no respect for his social position; and that position can never be attained where young men are turned away for religious instruction, to places to visit which they would not think of inviting a young lady to leave a respectable church to accompany them. All honor to those clergymen and Christians of Chicago who have their weekly- church sociables, where young men are brought forward into respectable social intercourse, as well as moral development. The celebrated Indian chief, Black Hawk, covered the whole ground when he said to Gen. Jackson, “You are a man, and I am another!”
Not feeling able to sustain the expense of a whole pew, I engaged one in partnership with an unpretending saddle and harness maker (S. B. Cobb), who, by a life of industry, economy, and morality, has accumulated one of the largest fortunes in our city, and still walks our streets with as little pretense as when he mended the harnesses of the fanners who brought the grain to this market from our prairies. The church building in those days was considered a first-class one, and we had a first-class pew therein, and the annual expense of my half of the pew was only $12.50 more than it would have been in our Saviour’s time. People wonder at the rapid increase in the price of real estate at the west; but it bears no comparison with the increase in the price of gospel privileges. A good clergyman is well worth all that a liberal-hearted congregation may see fit to pay him. But the people ought to cry out against the reckless waste of money, steadily increasing, in the erection of extravagant church edifices. And the pride in such matters seems to eat up all other considerations. During the recent panic, a Christian lady of this city, with a large family of children, whose husband was suddenly reduced from opulence to penury, astonished me by observing, with tears in her eyes, that her most grievous affliction was that she would be compelled to give up her pew in the church, which was one of the most expensive in the city, and take one in a cheaper edifice. And yet our people sing in every church, “God is present everywhere!”
At the close of service one day, Parson Hinton said he thought Chicago people ought to know more about the devil than they did.
Therefore he would take up his history, in four lectures; first, he would give the origin of the devil; second, state what the devil has done; third, state what the devil is now doing; and fourth, prescribe how to destroy the devil. These lectures were the sensation for the next four weeks. The house could not contain the mass that flocked to hear him, and it is a wonder to me that those four lectures have not been preserved. Chicago newspaper enterprise had not then reached here. The third evening was one never to be forgotten in this city; as it would not be if one of our most eminent clergymen, with the effective manner of preaching that Mr. Hinton had, should undertake to tell us what the devil is doing in this city to-day. The drift of his discourse was to prove that everybody had a devil; that the devil was in every store, and in every bank, and he did not even except the church. He had the devil down outside and up the middle of every dance; in the ladies’ curls, and the gentlemen’s whiskers. In fact, before he finished, he proved conclusively that there were just as many devils in every pew as there were persons in it; and if it were in this our day, there would not have been swine enough in the Stock-Yards to cast them into. When the people came out of church, they would ask each other, “What is your devil?” And they would stop one another in the streets during the week, and ask, “What does Parson Hinton say your devil is?” The fourth lecture contained his prescription for destroying the devil. I remember his closing:
“Pray on, brethren and friends; pray ever. Fight as well as pray.
Pray and fight until the devil is dead!
The world, the flesh, the devil,
Will prove a fatal Snare,
Unless we do resist him,
By faith and humble prayer.”
In this grand contest with his Satanic Majesty, he, our leader, fought gloriously, but he fell early in the strife. We, his hearers, have kept up a gallant fight to this day, but, judging by our morning papers, the devil is still far from being dead. Yet we dealt him some heavy blows at the recent election!
An interesting institution was the ferry-boat between the North and South Sides. It was a general intelligence office. Business was done principally upon the South Side, while most of the dwelling-houses were upon the North Side. The ferryman knew about every person in town, and could answer any question as to who had crossed. The streets had not then been raised to their present grade, nor the river deepened or widened, and the boat was easily accessible to teams. It was pulled across by a rope, and was not used enough to kill the green rushes which grew in the river. If a lady came upon the South Side to pass an evening, she would leave word with the ferryman where her husband could find her. Bundles and letters were left with him to be delivered to persons as they passed. He was a sort of superannuated sailor, and if he had not sailed into every port in the world, he had a remarkable faculty of making people think he had. His fund of stories was inexhaustible, and he was constantly spinning his interesting yarns to those who patronized his institution. Like most sailors, he could not pull unless he sung, and to all his songs he had one refrain with a single variation. His voice was loud and sonorous. If he felt dispirited, his refrain was, “And I sigh as I pull on my boat.” If he felt jolly (and people took particular pains to make him so), his refrain was, “And I sing as I pull on my boat.” All night long this refrain was disturbing the ears of those who dwelt near the banks of the river. Song after song was composed for him, in the hope of changing his tune, but it would not be long before he would attach to it his usual refrain. One of our musical composers composed a quadrille, which our young folks used to dance in the evening on the ferry, during certain portions of which they would all join in old Jack’s refrain, and sing, “And we’ll dance as we ride on the boat.” There was a little boy who took great delight in Jack’s company, whose parents lived on the margin of the river near the ferry, and as in the last of his sickness he was burning with a violent fever, nothing would quiet him but the sound of old Jack’s voice. Old Jack had just sung, “And I sigh as I pull on my boat,” when the boy whispered his last words to his mother, “And I die while Jack pulls on his boat!” Jack heard of this, and his lungs became stronger than ever. Racking both his memory and his imagination for songs, for weeks all night long he sung, with his plaintive refrain “Charlie dies while Jack pulls on his boat.” A distinguished poetess traveling at the west about this time, was tarrying at the Lake House, and heard of the incident. She wrote for a New York magazine some beautiful lines appropriate to the last words of the child and the circumstances. These were reproduced in our Chicago papers, but I have in vain sought to find them. Some of our old scrap-books undoubtedly contain them, and I would like to be the instrument of their republication.
Old Jack went to church one Sunday, and the clergyman preached from the text, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and My words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He shall come in His own glory.” After church was over, the clergyman took Jack to task for making so much noise on his ferry-boat, and told him he was going to have him removed. “You can’t do it,” said Jack. “Why not?” said the clergyman. “Your sermon, sir, your sermon! You said we must make a practical application of it.” “How can you apply that to your position?” “In this way,” said Jack; “the Mayor appoints a ferryman. I will just tell him, he that is ashamed of me and of my boat, of him will I be ashamed when I go to the polls on the day of election!” Jack was not removed. But he went one fall to the south with the robins; but, unlike the robins, he returned no more. He probably saw the coming bridge.
It was customary during the winter to give a series of dancing-parties at central points between here and the Fox River, along the line of some of our main traveled roads, notices of which were generally given in the newspapers. We used to have much more snow than we have now, and large sleigh-loads of people would be fitted out from the city, to meet young people from different parts of the country. People in the country settlements were generally emigrants from the more cultivated portions of the east.
United States Senator Silas Wright once told me that he could enumerate a hundred families, the very flower of the agricultural interest of St. Lawrence County, who had emigrated to west of Chicago. These settlers were not always poor; they were often men of large families who came here to obtain a large quantity of contiguous land, so as to settle their children around them. The custom at these parties was to leave Chicago about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, take supper on the way out and engage breakfast for the morning; and, after dancing all night, getting back to the city about 9 or 10 o’clock.
The hotels in the country were frequently built of logs, but whether of logs or boards, were generally built in one style. Cooking-rooms, bar-room, sitting- rooms, were below, and above was one large hall, which could be used for religious services on Sunday, or public meetings on a weekday, and, by suspending blankets, could be divided into sleeping-rooms. Above was the attic, which could be used for storage when the hall was cleared, and also for dressing-rooms at parties. Ladies and gentlemen could more easily find their wearing apparel when suspended from nails driven into the beams of the building than they can now from the small dressing-rooms where the clothing is in constant danger of being mixed together, I remember one of those occasions when the country residents had begun the dance before those from the city had reached there. Country ladies were passing up and down the ladder to the dressing-room. But the city ladies would not ascend the ladder until it had been fenced around with blankets. There were always on these occasions mothers present from the country, who attended the young people to look after the care of their health, such as seeing that they were properly covered on their going home from a warm room, as physicians were very scarce in the country, and it was a great distance for many of them to send for medicines. These country matrons took it much to heart that the young ladies from the city were so particular in having the ladder fenced off, and were very free in the expression of their views on the subject to the elderly gentlemen present. During the evening a sleigh-load was driven up containing a French danseuse from Chicago, of considerable note in those days; and it was not long after she entered the hall before the floor was cleared for her to have an opportunity to show her agility as a fancy dancer. When she began to swing around upon one foot, with the other extended, one of these country matrons, with a great deal of indignation, ran across the hall to her son, and said, “I don’t think it is proper for our young folks to see any such performance as this, and now you go right down and tell the landlord that we want some more blankets,” and the boy started before the last part of the sentence was heard, “and I’ll have her fenced off by herself, as the city ladies did the ladder!” Her remarks were passed from one to another, and the company was loudly applauding them, when the applause was greatly increased by the entrance of the landlord with some blankets under his arm. The more the applause increased, the more animated became the danseuse, who took it all for herself. The fancy dance was finished, but the merriment had such an effect that one of our city young men took down the blankets around the ladder, and for the remainder of the evening the exposed ladder and the nimble French danseuse ceased to attract attention.
I have thus made you a few selections from my large casket of reminiscences of the amusements of early Chicago. But I give them as a mere appendix to my historical lecture, and do not wish them considered as any part of it, as I could have ended without them, and then have given you a lecture of ordinary length. If anyone thinks them inappropriate to this occasion, I wish to say that I respectfully concur in his views. If, however, they have served to compensate any of you for the tedium of the more historical portion of it, I will waive the question of their appropriateness, and express my gratification at having given them.
After MR. WENTWORTH’S Lecture had been published in the newspapers, he received the following information:
FROM FULTON COUNTY.
The County Commissioners’ Court met, for the first time, 3 June, 1823. July 5, 1823, John Kinzie was recommended for Justice of the Peace, at Chicago. Sept. 2, 1823, Ordered that an election be held at John Kinzie’s house, for one major and company officers in 17th Regiment of Illinois Militia; John Kinzie, Alexander Wolcott, and John Hamlin to conduct said election, upon the last Saturday in September instant.
June 3, 1823, Ordered by the Court, that Amherst C. Rausam be recommended to fill the office of Justice of the Peace, vice Samuel Fulton, resigned. He qualified before the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Fulton Co., July 2, 1823.
If he resided at Chicago, he robs John Kinzie of the honor of being our first Justice of the Peace.
July 5, 1823, Ordered that the Treasurer pay to A. C. Rausam the sum of four dollars, for taking a list of the taxable property at Chicago, in said County, and collecting the same, so soon as he (the said Rausam) shall pay the same over to the County Treasurer, in such money as he received.
Sept. 3, 1823, Ordered that Amherst C. Rouseur [Rausam?] hand over to County Treasurer amount of tax received and collected at Chicago, in same kind of money he received.
April 27, 1824, Sheriff Eads released from paying money-tax collected at Chicago by Rousseur [Rausam?]
It is so hard to decypher these French names in American manuscripts that this name may not be the correct one. There was a Eustache Roussain and also a Captain Ransom in the employ of the American Fur Company, in this region, in 1821.
It may be that he was not a defaulter, but collected his taxes in furs, local money, etc., and refused to give them up until he received his four dollars in cash. The same name appears as grand juror, October, 1823.
Among the grand jurors, in October, 1823 and April, 1824, were Elijah Wentworth, Sr. In Sept., 1824, Hiram, son of Elijah Wentworth, Sr., was added. In March and Sept., 1824, Elijah Wentworth, Jr. (our first Coroner), and John Holcomb (who married his sister), were upon the petit jury. The Wentworths were then living in what is now Fulton Co. Whence they removed to Dodgeville, Wisconsin, and did not come to Chicago until 1830.
CHICAGO MARRIAGES RECORDED IN FULTON CO.
By John Hamlin, J. P., July 20, 1823, Alexander Wolcott and Ellen M. Kinzie.
By same, October 3rd, 1823, John Ferrel and Ann Griffin.
[The Clerk sends this as a Chicago marriage; but I can learn nothing of the parties.]
It is claimed that the marriage of Dr. Wolcott, Indian agent here, in 1823, was the first in Chicago. He died in 1830, voting on the 24th July, of that year. His widow, daughter of John Kinzie, married George C. Bates, of Detroit, Mich. He is now living in Salt Lake City. Col. Thomas Owens was afterwards Indian agent, and may have succeeded him. Charles Jewett of Kentucky, was Dr. Wolcott’s predecessor, and our first Indian agent.
John Hamlin died at Peoria, in April of this year. A writer in the Peoria Transcript says, that in 1823, he accompanied William S. Hamilton to Green Bay, where he had a contract to supply Fort Howard with beef, and he arrived there July 2d, 1823. On his way back, Mr. Hamlin performed the marriage ceremony. Whilst here, he made an engagement with John Crafts to enter the service of the American Fur Company, which frequently brought him to Chicago.
NOTES UPON THE TAX PAYERS OF 1825.
1. Gen. John B. Beaubien was living at Macinac when the Fort there was surrendered to the British, in 1812. He married a sister of the Indian Chief, Joseph Laframboise, was brought here in 1819, by the American Fur Company to oppose Mr. Crafts, had several children (some of whom now live here), was one of the principal men in the employ of the American Fur Co., and his last wife with several of his children was upon the platform at the delivery of this lecture. I attended the marriage of his daughter, in early days, to N. D. Woodville.
2. Jonas Clybourne came from Pearlsburgh, Giles Co., Virginia, with sons Archibald and Henley. Archibald came in 1823 and went back to Virginia for his father’s family. His widow, who was a Miss Galloway, from the region now known as Marseilles, LaSalle Co., Illinois, was on the platform at the delivery of this lecture, and has several children. Henley Clybourne married Sarah Benedict, and has two sons living at Fort Scott, Kansas. Archibald Clybourne was Justice of the Peace in 1831.
3. John K. Clark, was half brother to Archibald Clybourne, and married Permelia, daughter of Stephen J. Scott, who now lives, his widow, at Deerfield, Lake Co., Ill., with her daughter. There was no son to live to have children.
4. John Crafts was a trader sent here by Mr. Conant, of Detroit, and had a trading house at Hardscrabble, near Bridgeport, and monopolized the trade until the American Fur Company sent John B. Beaubien here in 1819. In 1822, Mr. Crafts went into the employment of the Fur Company as superintendant, Mr. Beaubien being under him. He died here single in 1823, at Mr. Kinzie’s house, and he succeeded him. Prior to this, Mr. Kinzie was a silver-smith and made trinkets for the Indians.
5. Jeremie Claremont was employed by the American Fur Company in 1821, for the trade of the Iroquois River.
8 & 9. Claude and Joseph Laframboise were brothers. The widow of the latter was living, at last dates, with her son-in-law, Medard B. Beaubien, at Silver Lake, Shawnee Co., Kansas.
11. Peter Piche, is believed to have been the one who lived at Piche’s Grove, near Oswego, Illinois, alluded to by Mrs. Kinzie in her “Waubun.”
14. Antoine Oilmette is the person spoken of in Mrs. Kinzie’s book, “Waubun.” His daughter Elizabeth, married Jan. 23, 1827, our first Irishman, Michael Welch.
NOTES UPON THE VOTERS OF 1826.
1. Augustine Banny, said to have been a travelling cattle dealer, supplying Forts.
2. Henry Kelly, had no family here, worked for Samuel Miller.
4. Cole Weeks, American, was a discharged soldier, had no family, worked for John Kinzie. He married the divorced wife of Caldwell, brother of the first wife of Willis Scott. Caldwell had a fondness for Indian hunting and trading, and is supposed to have gone off and died with them. A man, answering his description, by the name of Caldwell, was living, not long since, at Kershena, Shawanaw Co., Wisconsin. Caldwell’s wife, who married Cole Weeks, was sister to Benjamin Hall, of Wheaton, DuPage Co., Ill., and Caldwell was cousin to Archibald Clybourne, and came from the same place in Virginia. 14. Francis Laducier, had no family, died at Archibald Clybourne’s.
21. Joseph Pothier, married Victor Miranda, a half breed, was brought up in John Kinzie’s family, was living recently at Milwaukee.
24. David McKee, lives at Aurora, Kane Co., Ill., and married 23 January, 1827, Wealthy, daughter of Stephen J. Scott. He was born on Hog Creek, Pewtown, Loudoun Co., Virginia, in 1800.
25. Joseph Anderson, had no family.
31. Martin VanSicle, was living recently near Aurora, Ill. He had a daughter, Almira. Willis Scott remembers going to Peoria for a marriage license for her.
34. Edward Ament, was living recently not far from Chicago; some say in Kankakee Co., Ill.
The most of those having French names were employes of the American Fur Company, or hunted and traded on their own responsibility; and, when Chicago was abandoned as a Fur Trading Post, they moved further into the frontier country, in pursuit of their business.
NOTES UPON THE VOTERS OF 1830.
1. Stephen J. Scott was born in Connecticut, moved to Chicago from Bennington, Wyoming Co., N.Y., lived many years at Naperville, Ill., and died there, where his son Williard now lives. His son Willis now lives in Chicago, and was upon the platform when this lecture was delivered. Several of his daughters are mentioned in these notes.
4. Barney H. Laughton, lived in his last days near what is now Riverside, on the O’Plaine River, and his wife was sister to the wife of our first Sheriff, Stephen Forbes.
5. Jesse Walker, was a Methodist preacher, finally settled at Walker’s Grove, now Plainfield, in this State.
8. James Kinzie, was natural son of John Kinzie. His mother and Archibald Clybourne’s mother were sisters. His first wife was Rev. William See’s daughter. He died at Racine, Wis., where his second wife is said to be now living. His own sister Elizabeth Kinzie married Samuel Miller, the hotel keeper.
9. Russell E. Heacock, died at Summit, Cook Co., Ill., in 1849, and he has sons in this vicinity.
12. John L. Davis, said to have been an Englishman, and a tailor.
17. Stephen Mack, son of Major Mack of Detroit, married an Indian, was clerk in the employ of the American Fur Company, and finally settled in Pickatonica, Winnebago Co., in this State.
18. Jonathan A. Bailey, was father-in-law to the Post Master, John S. C. Hogan. Mr. Hogan held the office until 1837, when Sidney Abell was appointed. Mr. Hogan died in Memphis, Tenn., in 1866. Mr. Bailey was Postmaster before Hogan.
19. Alexander Mc, is written plain enough; but whether the last part is Dollo, Dole, Donell, Dowtard, etc., it is difficult to tell, as it is written so differently in different places.
27 & 28. John Baptiste Secor and Joseph Bauskey, died of cholera in 1832. Bauskey married a daughter of Stephen J. Scott.
32. Peresh LeClerc, was an Indian interpreter, brought up by John Kinzie.
MORE RETURNS FROM PEORIA COUNTY.
The Clerk of Peoria Co. has sent me the following, which are not alluded to in the lecture:
For Justice of the Peace and Constable, at the house of James Kinzie, in the Chicago Precinct of Peoria County, State of Illinois, on Saturday, 24th day of July, 1830.
Total, John S. C. Hogan, for Justice of the Peace, 33 votes, Archibald Clybourne, 22 votes, Russell Rose, 1 vote. Total, 56.
For Constable, Horatio G. Smith, 32 votes, Russell Rose, 21 votes, John S. C. Hogan, 1 vote. Total, 54.
1 James Kinzie.
2 Jean Baptiste Beaubien. 1825, ’26
3 Alexander Wolcott. 1825
4 Augustin Bannot. [Banny?] 1826
5 Medard B. Beaubien.
6 Billy Caldwell. 1826
7 Joseph Laframboise. 1825, 1826
8 John Mann.
9 John Wellmaker.
10 Stephen J. Scott.
11 Thomas Ayers.
12 Russell Rose.
13 Lewis Ganday or Louis Gauday.
14 Michael Welch.
15 William P. Jewett.
16 John VanHorn.
17 Gabriel Acay.
18 Joseph Papan.
19 Williard Scott.
20 Peter Wycoff.
21 Stephen Mack.
22 James Galloway, [father of Mrs, Archibald Clybourne.]
23 David VanStow. [VanEaton?]
24 James Brown.
25 Samuel Littleton.
26 Jean Baptiste Laducier.
27 Joseph Thibeaut.
28 Lewis Blow.
29 Jean Baptist Secor. 1826
30 Mark Beaubien.
31 Peresh Laclerc.
32 Matthias Smith.
33 James Garow.
34 Alexander Robinson. 1825, 1826
35 Samuel Miller. [Landlord.]
36 Jonas Clybourne. 1825, 1826
37 John Joyal.
38 Peter Frique.
39 Jean Bapt. Tombien. [Toubien?]
40 John L. Davis.
41 Simon Debigie.
42 A. Foster.
43 George P. Wentworth.
44 Alex. McDowtard. [McDole?]
45 Jonathan A. Bailey.
46 David M’Kee. 1825, 1826
47 Joseph Pothier. 1826
48 Henry Kelly. 1826
49 Antoine Ouilmette. 1825, 1826
50 David Hunter. [General.]
51 James Engle.
52 John K. Clark. 1825, 1826
53 Russell E. Heacock.
54 Leon Bourassea.
55 Archibald Clybourne. 1826
56 Horatio G. Smith.
John S. C. Hogan, the successful candidate for Justice of the Peace, did not vote. Archibald Clybourne voted (for Justice) for Russell Rose, who was the candidate for Constable, voted for John S. C. Hogan, for the office of Constable.
But the two candidates for Constable came squarely up to the mark, and voted for each other.
Mr. Hogan was Postmaster in Chicago prior to the election of Martin VanBuren as President, who appointed Sidney Abell to succeed him. He built the first frame house on the South Side. It was near the north-west corner of Lake and Franklin streets.
The judges of this election were Alexander Wolcott, John B. Beaubien, and James Kinzie. The clerks were Medard B. Beaubien and Billy Caldwell, the Sauganash.
19 Williard Scott was a son of Stephen J. Scott; and now lives at Naperville, Ill.
42 There was a Lieut. —— Foster here about that time.
50 General Hunter, U. S. Army, married Maria H. Kinzie, born 1807, the only child of John Kinzie, now living.
51 There was a Lieut. Engle stationed here about that time.
For Justice of the Peace, at the house of James Kinzie, Chicago Precinct, Peoria County, State of Illinois, on Thursday, the 25th day of November, 1830.
1 Archibald Clybourne.
2 James Kinzie.
3 John Wellmaker.
4 John Mann.
5 Russell E. Heacock.
6 Peter Wycoff.
7 Billy Caldwell.
8 Jesse Walker.
9 Enoch Thompson.
10 Medard B. Beaubien.
11 David VanEaton.
12 John B. Beaubien.
13 Stephen J. Scott.
14 Matthias Smith.
15 David McKee.
16 William Jewett.
17 Horace Miner.
18 Samuel Miller.
19 Stephen Forbes.
20 William See.
21 Peter Muller.
22 Jonas Clybourne.
23 John B. Bradain.
24 John Shedaker.
25 Peter Frique.
26 John K. Clark.
Total, Stephen Forbes, 18. William See, 8.
Mr. Forbes was the first Sheriff of Cook Co., and married a sister to the wife of Barney H. Laughton. William See is mentioned in Mrs. Kinzie’s “Waubun,” and was a Methodist preacher. Mr. & Mrs. Forbes taught school here in 1831.
In this contest, each candidate voted for his opponent.
The judges at this election were James Kinzie, John B. Beaubien, and Archibald Clybourne. The clerks were Russell E. Heacock and Stephen J. Scott.
6 Peter Wycoff, was a discharged soldier, and worked for Archibald Clybourne.
9 There was a Lieut. Thompson stationed here about that time.
CHICAGO MARRIAGES, RECORDED IN PEORIA CO.
By John Kinzie. 24 April, 1826. Daniel Bourassea and Theotis Aruwaiskie.
By John Kinzie. 29 July, 1826. Samuel Miller and Elizabeth Kinzie. [Mr. Miller kept a hotel on the North Side, near the forks, and near where Kinzie street crosses the River. He moved to Michigan City, and died there. His wife was full sister to James Kinzie, and natural daughter of John Kinzie. Her mother was sister to Archibald Clybourne’s mother.]
By John Kinzie. 28 September, 1826. Alexander Robinson and Catherine Chevalier. [Che-che-pin-gua died on his reservation on the O’Plaine River, in this county, where his daughter now lives; his wife and sons being dead.]
By John B. Beaubien. 5 May, 1828. Joseph Bauskey and Widow Deborah (Scott) Watkins. [He died of cholera in 1832. His wife was daughter of Stephen J. Scott.]
By John B. Beaubien. 15 April, 1830. Samuel Watkins and Mary Ann Smith.
By John B. Beaubien. n May, 1830. Michael Welch and Elizabeth Ouilmette. [He was our first Irishman, and his wife was daughter of Antoine Ouilmette, of Ouilmette’s Reservation, in this Co.]
By John B. Beaubien. 18 May, 1830. Alvin Noyes Gardner and Julia Haley. [He moved to Blue Island.]
By Rev. William See. 3 August, 1830. John Mann and Arkash Sambli.
By Rev. William See. 1 November, 1830. Willis Scott and widow Lovisa B. Caldwell. [They have been heretofore alluded to.]
By Rev. William See. 7 November, 1830. B. H. Laughton and Sophia Bates. [They have been heretofore alluded to.]
GOV. FORD’S HOUSE.
Hon. Jas. V. Gale, an old settler of Oregon, Ogle Co., Ill., writes me: “that the house from which Thomas Ford was elected Governor, was one storied, 16 or 18 by 38, had a parlor, dining-room, and two bedrooms, with a small cooking room attached. It has been taken down some years. He settled here as early as 1836, and made a claim south of that of John Phelps. He sold it to John Fridley, who now owns it; and the same log cabin, which Judge Ford erected and occupied until he built his frame house, still stands. It is 18 feet square and 11 logs high. He was a man of small stature, careless in his dress, of good talents, put on no airs, popular with all, a good neighbor, able lawyer, congenial and sociable.”
INDEX TO “EARLY CHICAGO :”—Second Lecture,
(No. 7 of Fergus’ Historical Series.)
BY HON. JOHN WENTWORTH, LL.D.,
Delivered Sunday, May 7, 1876.
[This Index was prepared by Mr. Wentworth, August, 1881.]
Abel, Sidney, 53, 55.
Acay, Gabriel, 54.
Adams, John, 9.
Adams, John Quincy, 6, 7, 8, 17.
Ament, Edward, 16, 53.
Anderson, Joseph, 16, 53.
Aruwaiskie, Theotis, 56.
Aurora (schooner), 24.
Ayers, Thomas, 54.
Bailey, Jonathan A., 16, 53, 54.
Banny, [Barry or Bannot;] Augustine, 16, 52, 54.
Bates, George C., 51.
Bates, Sophia, 56.
Bauskey, Joseph, 17, 54, 56.
Beaubien, John B., 15, 16, 18, 22, 24, 51, 52, 54, 55, 56.
Beaubien, Mark, 17, 24, 25, 54.
Beaubien, Medore B. [Medard B.], 16, 18, 22, 33, 35, 52, 54, 55.
Benedict, Sarah, 52.
Benton, Thomas H., 8.
Black Hawk (Indian chief), 4, 10, 44.
Blow, Lewis, 54.
Bogardus, John L., 15.
Bourassea, Daniel, 16, 56.
Bourassea, Leon, 16, 54.
Bradain [Beaubien], John B., 55.
Breese, Sidney, 12, 14.
Brown, James, 16, 54.
Brown, Jesse, 19.
Brown, Thomas C., 19.
Brown, William H., 11.
Buchanan, James, 8.
Buell, E., 24.
Burr, Aaron, 9.
Caldwell, Archibald, 52, 53.
Caldwell, Billy, (Sauganash, Indian chief), 14, 16, 17, 18, 25, 33, 54, 55.
Calhoun, John, 3.
Calhoun, John C., 7, 17.
Caldwell, Lovisa B., 56.
Cass, Gen. Lewis, 8, 22.
Catie, Joseph, 16.
Chamblee (Shabonee, Indian chief), 33.
Charlevoix, Pierre Francois Xavir de, 10-13.
Chavellea, John Baptiste, 16.
Chavellie, Peter, 16.
Che-che-pin-qua (Alexander Robinson, Indian chief), 15, 16, 33, 54, 56.
Chevalier, Catherine, 56.
Chi-ka-gou (Indian chief), 12.
Clairmore [Clermont?], Jeremiah, 16.
Clark, John K., 15, 16, 17, 18, 52, 54, 55.
Clay, Henry, 7, 17.
Clermont [Clairmore?], Jeremiah, 15, 16, 52.
Clybourn, Archibald, 16, 17, 18, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56.
Clybourn, Henly, 52.
Clyboum, Jonas, 15, 16, 17, 51, 54, 55.
Cobb, Silas B., 44.
Conant, , 52.
Cook, Daniel P., 17, 25.
Coutra, Louis, 15.
Crafts, John, 15, 16, 51, 52.
Crittenden, John J., 8.
Davis, Jefferson, 7, 26.
Davis, John L., 16, 53, 54.
Dearborn, Gen. Henry, 7.
Debigie, Simon, 54.
Displattes, Basile, 16.
Dodge, Gen. Henry, 8.
Dorr, Capt. of Schooner Tracy, 8.
Eads, Abner, 15, 50.
Edwards, Gov. Ninian, 17, 25.
Engle, Lt. James, 54, 55.
Fair Play (revenue cutter), 24.
Fergus, Robert, 26.
Ferrel, John, 51.
Field, Darby, 19.
Fillmore, Millard, 7, 8.
Forbes, Stephen, 53, 55.
Forbes, Mrs. Stephen, 55.
Ford, Gov. Thomas, 38, 39, 40, 56.
Foster, Lt. Amos, 54, 55.
Fridley, John, 56.
Frique, Peter, 16, 54, 55.
Fulton, Samuel, 50.
Gage, Gen. Thomas, 11.
Gale, James V., 56.
Galloway, James, 54.
Galloway, Miss, married Archibald Clybourn, 52.
Ganday, Lewis, 17, 54.
Gardner, Alvin Noyes, 56.
Garow, James, 54.
Garrett, Augustus, 33.
Griffin, Ann, 51.
Hale, Artimas, 9.
Haley, Julia, 56.
Hall, Benjamin, 52.
Hallam, Rev. Isaac W., 33.
Hamilton, Mrs. Gen. Alexander, 9.
Hamilton, William S., 51.
Hamlin, John, 50, 51.
Harrison, Gen. William H., 8.
Heacock, Russell E., 16, 18, 53, 54, 55.
Heartless (schooner), 24.
Henry Clay (steamboat), 5.
Hinton, Rev. Isaac T., 42, 43, 45.
Hogan, John S. C, 16, 53, 54, 55.
Holcomb, John, 51.
Hoyne, Thomas, 43.
Hubbard, Gurdon S., 12.
Hull, Gen. William, 25.
Hunter, Gen. David, 54, 55.
Jackson, Gen. Andrew, 8, 17, 28, 32, 44.
Jamboe, Paul, 16.
Jefferson, Thomas, 9, 12.
Jewett, William P., 54.
Jewett, William, 55.
Johnston, Samuel, 16.
Jowett [or Jewett], Charles, 51.
Joyal, John, 54.
Junio, Peter, 16.
Kearney, Gen. Stephen W., 19.
Keating, William H., 22.
Kelley, Henry, 16, 52, 54.
Kennison, David, 9.
Kerchival, Benjamin B., 22.
Kimball, Walter, 3.
Kingsbury, Julius J. B., 42.
Kinzie, Elizabeth, 53, 56.
Kinzie, Ellen M., 51.
Kinzie, James, 16, 18, 26, 53, 54, 55, 56.
Kinzie, John, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56.
Kinzie, Mrs. Juliette A., 52, 55.
Kinzie, Maria H., 55.
Laducier, Francis, 16, 17, 53.
Laducier, John Baptiste, 54.
Lafortune, John Baptiste, 16.
Lafromboise, Claude, 15, 16, 52.
Lafromboise, Francis, sr., 16.
Lafromboise, Francis, jr., 16.
Lafromboise, Joseph, 15, 16, 17, 33, 51, 52, 54.
Larant, Alexander, 16.
Laughton, Barney H., 16, 53, 55, 56.
LeClerc, Peresh (LeClair, Peter), 17, 54.
Lincoln, Abraham, 8.
Littleton, Samuel, 54.
Long, Stephen H., 22.
Mack, Major, 53.
Mack, Stephen, 16, 53, 54.
Madison, James, 8, 9.
Madison, Mrs. James, 8, 9.
Malast, John Baptiste, 16.
Mann, John, 16, 54, 55, 56.
Martin, Laurant, 17.
Marquette, Rev. James, 13.
Maximillian, Emperor, 20.
McDole, Alexander, 16, 54.
McKee, David, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 53, 54, 55.
McNeil, John, 24.
Miller, Samuel, 53, 54, 55, 56.
Mills, Benjamin, 26.
Miner, Horace, 55.
Miranda, Victoria, 53.
Monroe, James, 8.
Muller, Peter, 55.
Murphy, John, 25, 44.
Orleans, Duchess of, 13.
Ouilmette (Willmette), Antoine, 15, 16, 52, 54, 56.
Ouilmette, Elizabeth, 52, 56.
Owen, Thomas J. V., 51.
Papan, Joseph, 54.
Pepot, Joseph, 16.
Perrot, Nicholas, 13.
Phelps, John, 56.
Piche, Peter, 15, 52.
Pierce, Franklin, 8.
Polk, James EL, 7, 8, 20.
Pothier, Joseph, 16, 23, 33, 53, 54.
Ransom, Capt., 50.
Rausom, Amherst C., 15, 50.
Reynolds, Gov. John, 17.
Robinson, Alexander, (Che-che-pin-qua, Indian chief), 15, 16, 33, 54, 56.
Rose, Russell, 54, 55.
Roussain, Eustache, 50.
Rousser (Rausam), Amherst C, 15, 50.
Russell, Benjamin, 16.
Sambli, Arkash, 56.
Sauganash (Billy Caldwell, Indian chief), 14, 16, 17, 18, 25, 33, 54, 55.
Scott, Deborah, 56.
Scott, Permelia, 52.
Scott, Stephen J., 16, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56.
Scott, Wealthy, 53.
Scott, Willard, 53, 54, 55.
Scott, Willis, 52, 53, 56.
Schuyler, Gen. Philip, 9.
Secor, Jolin Baptist, 16, 17, 54.
See, Rev. William, 16, 53, 55, 56.
Shabonee (Chamblee, Indian chief), 33.
Shedaker, John, 55.
Sheldon Thompson (steamboat), 5.
Smith, Horatio G., 54.
Smith, Joseph, 41.
Smith, Mary Ann, 56.
Smith, Matthias, 54, 55.
St. Clair, Gen. Arthur, 11.
Strode, James M., 26.
Sullivan, Jeremiah, 20.
Sullivan, Lt. , 20, 21.
Superior (steamboat), 5.
Swing, Rev. David, 37.
Tappan, Benjamin, 6.
Taylor, Augustine D., 3.
Taylor, Zachary, 8.
Tecumseh (Indian chief), 13, 14, 17.
Thibeaut, Joseph, 16, 54.
Thompson, Lt. J. L., 55.
Thompson, Enoch, 55.
Thompson, Samuel, 11, 17.
Titus, Capt.—–, 24.
Todd, John, 11.
Tombien (or Toubien), Jean Baptiste, 54.
Tracy (schooner), 8.
Tyler, John, 8.
VanBuren, Martin, 8, 55.
VanEaton, David, 16, 54, 55.
VanHorn, John, 16, 54.
VanOsdell, John M., 43.
VanSicle, Martin, 16, 53.
Van Side, Almira, 53.
VanStow, David, 54.
Vivier, Rev. Louis, 12.
Wales, Prince of, 22.
Walker, Capt. A., 5.
Walker, Rev. Jesse, 16, 18, 53, 55.
Washington, Gen. George, 6, 9.
Watkins, Deborah (Scott), 56.
Watkins, Samuel, 56.
Wayne, Gen. Anthony, 8, 12, 22.
Webster, Daniel, 8.
Weeks, Cole, 16, 52.
Welch, Michael, 17, 19, 52, 54, 56.
Wellmaker, John, 54, 55.
Wentworth, Elijah, sr., 26, 51.
Wentworth, Elijah, jr., 26, 51.
Wentworth, George P., 54.
Wentworth, Hiram, 51.
Wentworth, John, 50.
Whistler, John, 7, 8, 10.
Whistler, William, 8.
Wilkins, William, 8.
William Penn (steamboat), 5.
Wilmette [Ouilmette], Antoine, 15, 16, 52, 54, 56.
Wilmette [Ouilmette], Elizabeth, 56.
Winthrop, Gov. John, 19.
Wolcott, Alexander, 15, 18, 23, 50, 51, 54, 55.
Woodbridge, William, 8.
Woodbury, Levi, 8.
Woodville, N. D., 51.
Wright, Silas, 47.
Wycoff, Peter, 54, 55.
Young Tiger (schooner), 24.
Contributed 25 Jan 2013 by Deb Haines