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that the influence which the great life insurance com-
panies of New York City had exercised upon the finan-
cial supremacy of that city would be duplicated by the
establishment in Chicago of a legal reserve company
which would command the confidence and support of
the general public. Many meetings were held by our
public spirited financiers with the view of establishing
such a company. These meetings developed the fact
that great ability, zeal, continuous effort and fidelity to
such a company if established were necessary in order
to place the company in the commanding position which
they desired, and in order that the company should have
the unquestioned confidence, the unqualified support
and the liberal patronage of the general public.

In 1900, after very careful consideration, the Federal
Life Insurance Company was organized as a legal
reserve company, untainted with any of the erroneous
ideas of assessmentism, and so carefully were its officers
and representatives selected, and so ably and faithfully
have they exercised the trusts reposed in them, that the
company from its incipiency has commanded the confi-
dence and patronage of the insurance buying public to
such an extent that its success has been almost phe-
nomenal. December 31, 1904, at the end of its fifth

year (being a little more than four and a half years of
actual operation), the company has accomplished more
than many of its larger and older competitors in from
ten to thirty years of their existence. At the date in
question it had over $8,000,000 of insurance in force,
over $700.000 of assets and a rapidly increasing surplus.
It is rapidly increasing its able representatives, and dur-
ing each month of the present year is writing approxi-
mately 200 per cent more of insurance than it wrote
during the corresponding month of last year.

The Federal never for a minute has deviated a single
iota from correct underwriting principles. It has "hewn
strictly to the line" that has been approved by time-tried
actuarial science, and as a result is stable from the bot-


torn of its foundation up. The company has made a
specialty of paying all just claims promptly and imme-
diately upon receipt of completed proofs of death. The
investments of the company have been made with great
care, and its assets are worth at least one hundred cents
on the dollar.

Senator Isaac Miller Hamilton, who was born in
Iroquois County, Illinois, and resided within four miles
of his birthplace until 1889, when he removed to this
city, is one of the best known and liked lawyers and
bankers in this state. Energetic, forceful and consider-
ate, he surrounds himself with able men and always
makes conspicuous successes of his efforts. Upon the
organization of the Federal he accepted the presidency
of the company, and has devoted his entire time and
talents to its service ever since. Associated with Presi-



dent Hamilton in the management of the company are
the following strong and able men : C. A. Atkinson,
vice-president and counsel ; George M. Bard, second
vice-president; S. H. Levy, fourth vice-president and
assistant superintendent of agencies ; R. M. Wilbur, sec-
retary; W. E. Brimstin, assistant secretary; J. L. Hamil-
ton, treasurer; E. M. Potter, assistant treasurer; Miles
M. Dawson, consulting actuary ; J. P. Mahoney, assist-
ant counsel: F. I.. B. Jenney, medical director; Jasper
E. Brady, superintendent of agencies. The manage-
ment of the company has been economical, progressive
and courageous, and the results secured are highly grat-
ifying to the policyholders, stockholders and officials.

The success of the company illustrates what the Chi-
cago "I will" spirit, combined with able, earnest, con-
tinuous effort, will accomplish. The company always
has believed in the thought that the la-
borer is worthy of his hire, and has had
no "soft snaps" anywhere for anyone.
The company's policy has been to pay
low salaries, give small commissions, in-
vite publicity and give to the policy
holder the greatest returns possible for
his investment. The company's head-
quarters always have been in the Mar-
quette building. Dearborn and Adams
streets, and there the work of the agen-
cies in the various parts of the country-
is directed. The growth of the business
has compelled the company to occupy
additional space from time to time asi
the necessary employees have in-
creased. There is no busier center in
this busy city than the home office of
the Federal Life Insurance Company.

The company has a paid-up capital
of $150.000, of which amount $100,000
is and always has been on deposit with
the State Insurance Department, as an
initial protection to its policy holders.
The officers of the Federal, who have
labored so hard for the success of the
company, feel entirely justified in assert-
ing, with a great deal of pleasure, that
there is no better company on earth,
none which issues better policy con-
tracts, none which pays its death claims
more promptly, none in which the pol-
icy holder may carry with more safety
his protection for his loved ones or his
investment for himself.

The National Life Insurance Com-
pany of the United States of America.
The growth of the National Life In-

surance Company, whose home office is in Chicago,
in the National Life building, has been surpris-
ingly rapid. The most marked progress has been made
under the present management, which dates from Feb-
ruary, 1904. The National Life was established in
1868; up to 1900 its growth w r as gradual. In 1900 its
assets were but $2,335.000, and its insurance in force
a trifle over $14,000,000. Two years later these items
had increased to $3,000,000 and $24,400,000 respect-
ively. At the close of 1903 the assets were $4,700,000
and the insurance in force $40,000,000. After the
election of P. M. Starnes as president, measures were
taken to push the company, and the following year,
while the insurance in force had only increased to
$42,000,000, the assets were $5,250,000, in round
figures. The premium income increased from $338,000


a H in




in 1900 to $1,690,000 in 1904; and the amount paid to
policy holders increased from $164.000 to $500.000 for
the same years.

The assets of the National Life are represented by
strong collateral. The aggregate outstanding first
mortgage loans, the safest form of investment and
upon which better rates of interest are paid in the
West than the East, was slightly over $1,600,000
in December, 1904, which sum was secured by
property valued at over $5,000,000. The bonds and
stocks, on the same date, had a market value of $2,480,-

000. The remaining assets, valued at $871,000, con-
sisted of cash and miscellaneous loans to policy holders.

At the beginning of the current year the company's
policy holders numbered 39,355: of this number 15,465
were in Illinois, and over n,ooo in the city of Chicago.
The premium income in Illinois alone was $471,800 for
1904, an increase of $96,000 over the previous year.
The total income from all sources during the year was
$1.968,000 for 1904, and the total disbursements only

As can be seen from the figures, the company's
growth has been healthiest since the accession of Mr.
Starnes to the presidency. Mr. Starnes is a native of
Hancock county, Illinois, where he was born January

1, 1863. He received a public, high school and business
college education, and then studied law. After practic-
ing in Kansas for nine years he entered the insurance
business, accepting an agency for one of the big eastern
companies. After becoming state manager for several
concerns, he organized the National Life & Trust Com-
pany of Des Moines, Iowa. In 1903 this was merged
with the National Life, Mr. Starnes becoming vice-
president and general manager of the united companies.
In February, 1904, he was made president. Though
one of the youngest, Mr. Starnes is recognized to be one
of the ablest, insurance men in the country.

A. M. Johnson, the vice-president and treasurer, is
a young man. He was graduated from Cornell Univer-
sity in 1895. He was associated with his father in
western railroad interests for a number of years. He
became affiliated with the National Life in 1902, when
he purchased a block of the stock. He is connected
with a number of big enterprises in Chicago. Julian
C. Harvey, the second vice-president, son of the late
Augustus Ford Harvey, the eminent actuary, was con-
nected with the Missouri insurance department, and was
assistant secretary of the Covenant Mutual Life for seven
years. He is a graduate of Washington University of
St. Louis and an actuary by profession. Robert E.
Sackett, secretary, is a native of Pittsford, New York.
He was secretary of the Iowa Life Insurance Company
from 1894 to 1900, and secretary of the National Life
since the latter date. The board of directors of the Na-

tional Life follows : Edward A. Shedd, director, Corn
Exchange bank, Chicago ; Albert M. Johnson, president.
Fidelity Safe Deposit Company, of Chicago, and director
of Broadway Savings & Trust Company, Cleveland ;
Charles B. Shedd, director, Knickerbocker Ice Com-
pany, Chicago ; George A. Gilbert, manager Employers'
Liability Assurance Corporation ; Abner Smith, former
judge of the circuit court, Chicago ; James H. Stowell,


physician, Chicago; Stewart Goodrell, ex-insurance
commissioner of Iowa ; P. M. Starnes, Julian C. Har-
vey and Robert E. Sackett.

The home of the National Life, at 159 La Salle
street, is one of the handsomest office buildings in the
United States. It is the center of the Chicago insurance
world, housing more insurance concerns than any
other building in the city. The National Life occupies
the entire ninth floor.

Joseph H. Lenehan, general agent for the Phoenix
Insurance Company of Brooklyn and a well-known
figure among the Chicago underwriters, was born at
Dubuque, Iowa, where he received his early education
in the public schools. He entered the insurance busi-
ness there in 1880 as local agent. Five years later he
was made manager of the Will County Insurance Com-
pany. From 1887 to 1892 he was Illinois state agent for
the Insurance Company of North America and the
Pennsylvania Fire. After assisting in the organization
of the Palatine's western department, with which he
was identified until 1898, he was appointed assistant
manager of the western department of the North British



and Mercantile. In July, 1899, he joined the Phoenix
as assistant general agent, becoming general agent in
May, 1900.

Mr. Lenehan was married in 1883 to Margaret I..
Littleton of Dubuque. They have three children liv-


ing, Margaret L., Francis L. and Mary Calesta Lene-
han. They reside at 4515 Greenwood avenue. Mr.
Lenehan is a member of the Chicago Athletic Associa-
tion, the Union League Club, the Washington Park
Club, the Kenwood Club and the Glenview Golf Club.

J. Elliott Jennings, president of the real estate com-
pany that bears his name, and one of the most successful
operators in Chicago, was born April 5, 1869, in the
extreme backwoods of Arkansas, in a little log house
about twelve or fourteen feet square, and worked on a
farm during his early life. At the age of seven he
plowed corn, split rails at ten, and at the age of eleven
removed with his parents to Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
There the drudgery of farm work was replaced by that
of sawing, splitting and hauling wood, for which his
earlier experience had adapted him. When he reached
the age of fourteen he sought for more lucrative
employment and started clerking in a store at Eureka

This was too commonplace for him, how r ever, and
he went with some others to Carterville, Missouri, and
worked in the mines for a time. He then returned to
Arkansas and, at the age of seventeen, entered the State
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

He came north in 1889, and engaged in various pur-

suits, finally entering the office of one of Chicago's
leading real estate firms. After having thoroughly
familiarized himself with the business, he started in the
real estate, renting and loan business on his own
account at 100 Washington street, Chicago, in 1894.
In the same year he was married to Miss Mae DaMond
at Terre Haute, Indiana. After several years of strenu-
ous work in the real estate, renting and loan business at
100 Washington street, he was selected, as one of the
most competent and versatile real estate men in Chi-
cago, to take the management of the real estate and real
estate loan department of one of Chicago's down-town
banks. Mr. Jennings consolidated his business with
that of the bank and managed the real estate loan
department on a partnership basis for several years.

In 1903, having tried out some of his theories con-
cerning real estate loans and having found them worka-
ble, he organized and incorporated the Jennings Real
Estate Loan Company, of which he is president and is
the controlling factor. The Jennings Real Estate Loan
Company is the most progressive and ably managed
institution of its kind in the West.

Mr. Jennings lives in Evanston, has one son ten
years of age, and is a member of all the Evanston clubs,


and also the Glenview Golf Club. He is an expert
golfer, a good horseman and an automobilist. He is a
good example of what can be done by forcible, energetic
and honest effort. Mr. Jennings is only thirty-six
years of age, but he has accomplished more in a busi-
ness way, perhaps, than many men have done in a life-





HE Board of Trade typifies Chi-
cago as no other institution in
the city. It has made Chicago the
food supply center of the world. It
is the main factor in fixing the
prices of grain and provisions for
the civilized nations of the earth.
Its name is synonymous with en-
ergy and progress. To the move-
ment started over half a century
ago by the founders of the Board of Trade may be
traced the commercial greatness of Chicago. As the
gateway for the flood of products from the farms and
ranges of the Mississippi Valley and the West, the city
stands as a monument to the foresight of the founders
and the energy and integrity of their followers.
Through the same gateway sweeps the flood of com-
merce that supplies the rich markets created by the
granger wealth, and makes Chicago rank even greater,
as the chief distributing point of the nation.

The Chicago Board of Trade had its beginning on
March 13, 1848, when a group of business men gathered
for the purpose of organizing an exchange by which
they would be able to control and regulate their business
affairs. From that date on, the Board of Trade has
been a distinctive feature and influence in the business
life of Chicago. The following firms signed the call for
the first meeting of fifty-five years ago : Wadsworth,
Dyer & Chapin, Geo. Steele, I. H. Burch & Co., Gurnee,
Hayden & Co., H. H. Magie & Co., Neff & Church,
John H. Kinzie, Norton, Walker & Co., DeWolf & Co.,
Thos. Richmond, Thos. Hale, Chas. Walker and Ray-
mond Gibbs & Co. As a result of the meeting resolu-
tions were drawn up and adopted, setting forth the
benefits to be derived from a Board of Trade, and the
need for such an organization. Committees were
appointed to effect the organization and a meeting was


held in April, at which resolutions and by-laws were
adopted. Officers were elected as follows : Thos. Dyer,
president : Chas. Walker and John P. Chapin, vice-
presidents; W. L. Whiting, secretary, and Isaac H.
Burch, treasurer. The first board of directors follows:
Gurdon S. Hubbard, Elisha S. Wadsworth, Thomas
Richmond, John Rogers, Horatio G. Loomis, George
F. Foster, Richard C. Bristol, John H. Dunham,
Thomas Dyer, George A. Gibbs, John H. Kinzie, Cyre-
nius Beers, Walter S. Gurney, Josiah H. Reed, Edward
K. Rogers, Isaac H. Burch, Augustus H. Burley, John
S. Read, William B. Ogden, Orrington Lunt, Thomas
Hale, Edward H. Hadduck, Isaac V. Germain, Laurin
P. Hilliard.

The roll of members for the first year contains
names that have become famous in the history of the
citv. It follows :

Beals, Joseph R.
Beers, Cyrenius
Blaikie, Andrew
Brand, Alexander
Bristol, Richard C.
Brown, S. Lockwood
Burch, Isaac H.
Burley, Augustus H.
Carpenter, James H.
Carter, Thomas B.
Case, J. R.
Chapin, John P.
Clarke, W. H.
Cobb, Zenas Jr.
DeWolf, A. V. G.
DeWolf, William F.
Dodge, John C.
Drew, George C.
Dunham, John H.
Dyer, Thomas
Foster, George F.
Foster, Jabez H.
Gage, Jared
Germain, Isaac V.
Gibbs, George A.
Gurney, Walter S.
Hadduck, Edward H.
Haines, John C.

Hale, Thomas
Hardy, Isaac
Harmon, C. L.
Harrison, H. H.
Higginson, Geo. M.
High, John Jr.
Hilliard, L. P.
Hotchkiss, J. P.
Hubbard, Gurdon S.
Humphrey, D.
King, John Jr.
Kinzie, John H.
Laflin, Matthew
Loomis, H. G.
Lunt, Orrington
Marsh, John L.
Marsh, Sylvester
Morgan, T. S.
Neely, Albert
Ogden, Wm. B.
Pardee, Theron
Parker, Thos. L.
Payson, H. R.
Pearson, John
Peck, James
Raymond, B. W.
Read, John S.

Reed, Josiah H.
Richmond, Allen
Richmond, Thomas
Robb, G. A.
Rochester, Jas. H.
Rogers, E. K.
Rogers, John
Rumsey, Julian S.
Russell, J. B. F.
Ryerson, Joseph T.
Sherman, O.
Shoemaker, Jno. W.
Smith, George
Smith, J. A.
Stearns, M. C.
Steel, George
Stockbridge, F. B.
Thompson, Thomas
Throop, Amos G.
Wadsworth, E. S.
Walker, Almond
Walker, Charles
Walter, Joel C.
Whitcomb, T.
Whitney, W. L.
Winn, James
Winslow, H. J.

Sessions of the Board were held from then on daily
in a small office about twenty feet square at 8 Dear-


born street. The trading hour was between eleven and
twelve o'clock.

There were no railroads and very little lake traffic
at that time, most of the produce and grain arriving in
the city by wagons. Trading on the new exchange was
for this reason very light, and transactions far between.
The opening of the Illinois and Michigan canal brought
a larger grain growing territory in touch with Chicago,

was far from satisfactory, and the members decided to
make an effort to increase and facilitate it by getting
telegraphic communication with eastern markets. The
trading hour was changed to nine o'clock in the morn-
ing, and new and larger quarters were secured on the
corner of Fifth avenue and South Water street. During
the next year a further advance was made by having
the Board of Trade incorporated. This temporary boom


and caused a large boom in the shipments in wheat and
corn to the city. Not long after this the Galena & Chi-
cago Union Railroad started in business, and brought
more shipments here. The first year, however, of the
Board of Trade \vas a quiet and uneventful one. At
the first annual meeting in April, 1849, a 'l tne 'd
officers were elected, excepting W. L. \Yhiting, in whose
place John C. Dodge became secretary.

The nature and the bulk of the business the first year

was, however, short-lived, and during the next year, in
1851, little interest was taken in the new exchange. In
fact, days would pass when not a single member would
attend. Various expedients were adopted to stimulate
interest. One of these was to set up a free lunch.
Liberal supplies of beer, cheese and crackers made the
exchange for a time quite popular, and the attendance
was comparatively large. Some of the present members
still recall the free lunch campaign, and have lived to see



the day when memberships of the Board are worth
$4,500, and the floor, and even the visiting galleries, are
crowded daily.

Things continued in a rather perfunctory way until
the fourth annual meeting in April, 1853. The mem-
bership roll at that time contained fifty-three names.
Another year of struggle followed, but in 1854 the
exchange came into its own. The wave of prosperity
that started at that time has continued ever since. The
railroads began to build into Chicago and the lake car-
riers rapidly grew r in number. The settlement and
cultivation of millions of acres to the west and northwest
and the geographical position of the city at the head of
the lakes have all contributed to make Chicago the
greatest grain and produce market in the world. The
first shipment of wheat in 1838 comprised 78 bushels.
In twenty years the trade had increased to 8,500,000
bushels. The first shipment brought 38 cents a bushel.
The highest price between this and 1845 was 55 cents,
while the average price for the next nine years was
close to 60 cents a bushel. The Crimean war sent the
prices for American grain soaring. In 1854, 1855 and
1856, the prices went to over $1.00 a bushel, rising as
high as $1.31 at one time.

The exchange moved its quarters in 1855 to the
corner of South Water and La Salle streets. It occupied
the entire third floor, and during the next year 167 new
members were added. The trading in futures \vas
begun, but it was hardly what might be called a specu-
lative trade. In 1859 another boom struck the wheat
trade. The Austro-Sardinian war sent the prices for
red winter wheat soaring to $1.73, and for spring
wheat to $1.30. This was the real beginning of the
boom times for the Chicago Board of Trade. ' Grain
and produce began to pour into Chicago in large and
ever-increasing quantities. The establishment of the
stockyards and packing houses added to the growth of
the Board of Trade. The city was also rapidly advancing
in population and commercial importance. About this
time the Board of Trade moved to the second floor of
the Chamber of Commerce building at La Salle and
Washington streets. Then followed the Civil war
period in which the wild speculations in gold and grains
still further increased the business of the board. The
great fire of 1871 wiped out the Chamber of Commerce
building. On the Monday following, the Board of
Trade met on Canal street, between Washington and
Madison, and passed resolutions urging the owners of
the Chamber of Commerce building to erect at once a
larger and more expensive structure. The members
also voted a large amount of money for the relief of
the destitute, and in a few days resumed its sessions
as usual, remaining in these quarters until the construc-
tion of a temporary building at Market and Washington

streets. When the Chamber of Commerce was rebuilt
the Board of Trade moved to its quarters there in 1872.
The importance and growth of the exchange continued
uninterrupted until the early 8o's, when the need of a
building of its own became more apparent, and it was
decided to build the present magnificent structure. In
1884 the final move was made to its present home, the
Board of Trade carrying with it to that section of the
city much of the grain, banking and brokerage business
of Chicago.

The Board of Trade has always taken a leading part
in the great patriotic and civic movements in Chicago.
During the war it led the patriotic sentiment that fired
the city. It fitted out the Board of Trade battery and
two regiments of infantry, and presented them fully
armed and equipped to the government. During the
war these soldiers were carefully looked after by the
Board of Trade. In addition to this the Board contrib-
uted largely to the organizations of the Mercantile bat-
tery, and did much towards supplying hospital stores
and other supplies. Captain Stokes of the Board of
Trade batter}', and a member of the exchange was
credited by General Rosecrantz with saving the day at
Stone River. The captain of Taylor's battery, another
Board of Trade member, also made an excellent record.
In fact, no military organization during that terrible
conflict acquitted themselves with more credit than did
those equipped and organized by the Chicago traders.
The history of the Board of Trade since 1854 is one of
continued prosperity. Its transactions run into the
millions of bushels daily, while its quotations dominate
the markets of the world. There have been periods of
wild and persistent speculation, but this has rather
tended to help than to still legitimate business. The
farmers of the country have profited by many millions
by the efforts to control the markets for wheat and
corn, as well as for the products of the packing houses.
Most of the corners attempted on the Board of Trade
have been disastrous failures.

Among those who have filled the office of secretary

Online LibraryChicago Inter oceanCentennial history of the city of Chicago. Its men and institutions. Biographical sketches of leading citizens → online text (page 20 of 42)