Copyright
C. Dean.

The World's fair city and her enterprising sons online

. (page 21 of 27)
Online LibraryC. DeanThe World's fair city and her enterprising sons → online text (page 21 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


has ceased to have value as a portrait.

' ' Defregger's picture represents an old
hunter reciting to a thrilled audience some
dangerous adventure in the Alps in his youth.
There are two girls, types of Tyrolean beauty,
one fair, an ideal Gretchen, the other dark as
a Provence rose, each a foil for the other's
loveliness. The most attractive listener is a
giant mountaineer whose back is to the spec-
tator, and it seems to heave with sympathy.

"Meyer von Bremen's picture is a very
famous one, so famous that it has been repro-
duced in a thousand periodicals and art
journals. It is called The Kind Sister, and
represents a little girl taking out of the bare
foot of a younger brother a troublesome thorn,



394 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

while an elder sister attempts to pacify him.
He is blubbering more than quite becomes
his sex, and his roars of anguish are much
more audible than the bells of the Angelus, if
it is not heresy to say so. The three figures
are well-drawn, and the coloring is remark-
ably pleasing and transparent, and, what is
more, of an honest character, for this picture
will preserve its freshness and naive charm
when many pretentious paintings have gone to
pieces, and have become blurs upon canvas. "
In these pieces of art Mr. Field has most
likely indulged his taste in not only design, but
in his preference for renowned artists. A man
who is so sensitive regarding his surroundings
is often misunderstood by the community, and
called proud and arrogant, when he is only
the victim of his organization. Should a
worthy person, who was clad in untidy gar-
ments, present himself to Marshall Field for
an interview, he would be at a great disad-
vantage; for that gentleman would be repelled
on account of the person's exterior appearance.
He might better call upon a man who pos-
sesses the intellectual force that always rises
above material surroundings.



MARSHALL FIELD. 395

Mr. Field has absorbed culture, as it were,
having arrived at circumstances which would
insure him the privilege of travel and access
to the society that needs wealthy men as a
means for its advancement. By his gift of
commercial ability he has raised the credit of
Chicago, and has been one of the prime
actors that has advanced her material pros-
perity. The work he has accomplished in the
world of enterprise was necessary, commend-
able and noteworthy, but it has its limit.
Another generation may see the force, that he
has manifested, without an opportunity to act.
In the wise provisions of God's laws, every
necessity seems to have formed a brain to do
its work.

Marshall Field was born in Conway, Mass-
achusetts, in 1835. His father was a farmer.
This fact may account for the sentiment Mr.
Field has exhibited in his selection of paint-
ings of rural scenery; thus reminding him
of his early life, when perhaps he little
dreamed of his future financial success. It
seems that his education did not extend be-
yond the common branches, for at the age of
seventeen he commenced service as clerk in a



396 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

dry goods establishment at Pittsfield, in his
native state, where he remained four years.

At this time he was twenty-one years old
and with the experience he possessed, of mer-
cantile business, with his natural aptitude, he
started for the city by the Lake, and was im-
mediately employed by Cooley, Wadsworth
& Company, dry goods merchants. He
proved himself attentive to business, and
showed such good judgment in matters of the
trade that in 1860 he was promoted to a mem-
bership in the firm, which was changed to
Cooley, Farwell & Company. Soon after-
ward it was known as the firm of Farwell,
Field & Company; but this partnership sub-
sequently dissolved, and in 1865 Marshall
Field and L. Z. Leiter bought shares in
Potter Palmer's store forming the firm of Field,
Leiter & Company. Two years afterward
Mr. Palmer sold his share, and the other
members continued in business until 1881,
when Mr. Leiter sold his interest to Mr. Field.
The firm is now known as Marshall Field &
Company.

At the close of the year 1890, Robert M.
Fair, general manager of the wholesale house



MARSHALL FIELD. 397

of Field & Company, reported it as the most
prosperous year in the dry goods business
that Chicago ever experienced, the volume
of business being increased fully five to ten
per cent over results of any previous year.
"Values," he says, "are about the same
as last year (1889), but will undoubtedly
rise in the spring just in proportion to
the added prices placed by the new tariff
schedule."

During the year 1 890 this firm paid $ i , 400, -
ooo customs duties to the government, and
when the McKinley bill went into effect it
was increased $800,000. Although the tax
falls upon the consumer, Mr. Field objected
to this arbitrary method of being compelled
to assist in the oppression, and appealed to
the government. When he was obliged to
pay $3,000 duty on $1,400 worth of pearl
buttons imported from Austria, he was right-
eously indignant, and was willing that Gov-
ernor Campbell, of Ohio, Representative
Springer and others should use the circum-
stance in their attack against the law,
although other members of the firm were not
of the same mind regarding the subject.



398 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

Regarding Mr. Field's benevolence, Mr.
Wright writes : ' ' Though he contributes
freely to worthy objects he has pronounced
views in the matter of giving, and is careful
not to add to the indiscriminate benevolence
that often does more harm than good. His
desire is to avoid any responsibility for blunt-
ing endeavor or for encouraging idleness."
Mr. Wright handles his subject so gently and
apparently with so much of a tone of apology
that one might be suspicious that Mr. Field
was not so liberal with his money as he
is clever in acquiring it, and the artful
writer describes a noticeable trait of Mr.
Field's character as modesty by saying, ' ' He
is of a retiring disposition, and shrinks from
newspaper notoriety. Anything like ostenta-
tion in charity he studiously avoids. "

An ugly term is that word charity, when ap-
plied to the giving of money assistance, and
Mr. Field shows distinctly good taste when
he avoids ostentation in dispensing the results
of what may be called his unearned incre-
ment.

Marshall Field gave the site for the build-
ing of the ' ' University of Chicago, " which is



CHICAGO UNIVERSITY. 399

now being organized. The ground is valued
at $100,000. This University, with President
Harper at its head, bids fair to make the
World's Fair city a great educational center,
thus enhancing its importance. Mr. Rocke-
feller, of New York, started the fund by giving
$2,600,000, one half of which is to be used for
the construction of a dormitory for the divin-
ity school. Later Mr. Field subscribed $100, -
ooo for the building provided $750,000 more
should be raised.

It is promised that the University will be
opened the first day of October, 1892. Ap-
plications from all over the country have been
made and the building must be ready to re-
ceive them.

There is a large number of men employed
in both the wholesale and retail establish-
ments, of which Marshall Field is the head.
These men represent a variety of characters,
few of which are under the direct control of
Mr. Field. But the choice of a private
secretary may give one somewhat of an in-
sight into the character of his employer. An
interview with the man the merchant prince
employs in that capacity would not make one



4OO THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

estimate, to a high degree, Mr. Field's idea of
a representative. He, the secretary, seems
to look upon interviewers as enemies of his
master, and by his insolence makes the sensi-
tive inquirer cry out :

" O monster! mixed of insolence and fear,
Thou dog in forehead, but in heart a deer!"

There is no doubt that he is a model serv-
ant who gives his best manners to his
immediate superior.

Money is not an equivalent for everything;
there are many things it cannot purchase ; but
as every man is a consumer, he ought to be
able to supply the necessities of consumption.
Very great talent, in the ordinary sense of
that term, is not necessary to success in
acquiring riches; but the development of cer-
tain qualities always improves one to cope
with existing circumstances. Marshall Field
can purchase any material he wishes for, but
he knows it is all perishable, and, outside of
the world of Trade, he has probably no
interest that gives him more happiness.

In appearance, Mr. Field is somewhat
attractive. His career as proprietor, or master,
of his business has imprinted an expression



MARSHALL FIELD. 401

upon his features of masterful repose. Mr.
Wright says that he is a Presbyterian in
his religious predilections, but is not a com-
municant. In another paragraph he says that
he is a member of most of the principal clubs,
but cannot be called a club-man. All of these
traits harmonize, and pronounce Mr. Field a
man of sensitive organization. He attracts
wealth, but lacks the power of understanding
how to administer it. Goethe said : ' ' Nobody
should be rich but those who understand it."
Emerson said: "I have never seen a rich
man. I have never seen a man as rich as all
men ought to be, or, with an adequate com-
mand of nature. The pulpit and the press
have many commonplaces denouncing the
thirst for wealth ; but if men should take these
moralists at their word, and leave off aiming
to be rich, the moralists would rush to re-
kindle at all hazards this love of power in the
people, lest civilization should be undone."
The power of riches, like the power of knowl-
edge, lies in the disposition of it; but when
the owner has not the ability, or understand-
ing, to use his power, he should not be con-
demned.

26



402 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

"Those who are esteemed umpires of taste,
are often persons who have acquired some
knowledge of admired pictures or sculptures,
and have an inclination for whatever is ele-
gant, but if you inquire whether they are
beautiful souls, and whether their own acts are
like fair pictures, you learn that they are sel-
fish and sensual. The : ." cultivation is local,
as if you should rub a log of dry wood in one
spot to produce fire, all the rest remaining
cold."

Marshall Field was married in 1 863 to Miss
Nannie Scott, daughter of Robert Scott, a
prominent iron-master of Ironton, Ohio. They
have two children, a son and daughter, both
of whom are married.




HON. CHAS. B. FARWELL.



CHAPTER XV.

HONS. CHARLES B. AND JOHN V. FARWELL.

The life of the Farwells is an interesting study. They
diverged from the start, and yet both men are millionaires, and
one is a United States Senator. Chicago Sunday Tribune,
March 23, 1890.

The daring spirit of Chicago's enterprising
sons seems unlimited. There is nothing so
high or so extensive that can daunt their in-
domitable courage, and, despite all obstruc-
tions that may lie in the way, they generally
succeed. The Farwells are among these sons,
and may claim a conspicuous place in their
history; but not so much on account of their
dollars as of their deeds.

The legislature of the State of Texas passed
an act, in 1879, appropriating three million
acres of land for the purpose of building a
State Capitol. The land lay in the counties of
Dallam, Hartley, Oldham, Deaf Smith, Far-
mer, Bailey, Lamb, Castro and Hockley;
embracing territory equal to that of the State
of Connecticut. It was to be used for farm-
ing or grazing. Hon. John V. Farwell, Senator



403



404 THE WORLDS FAIR CITY.

Charles B. Farwell and Representative Abner
Taylor secured the contract, in 1882, and,
although they were several times delayed
through a desire on the part of the State to
change its plans for the building, they suc-
ceeded in completing the structure, and in
turning it over to the State in the summer of
1889.

It is the largest capitol building of all the
States in the Union, and is the seventh largest
building in the world. It is said that promi-
nent men from New York State, who were
present at the dedication of the Texas Capitol,
remarked that they would be willing to ex-
change their capitol building at Albany for it,
and give two million dollars besides, notwith-
standing the fact that the cost of the Albany
structure approximates nearly $22,000,0x30.
Another interesting fact is that the Chicago
company did not receive one cent in money
from the state for the building.

The design of the Texas Capitol is somewhat
Grecian; its form resembling a Greek cross
with projecting center and flanks; rotunda
and dome at the intersection of the main
corridors. Besides the basement and dome,



THE TEXAS CAPITOL. 405

it is three stories in height, comprising busi-
ness and storage apartments, offices, vaults,
etc. It has all the appliances and conven-
iences generally used in a complete modern
State Capitol.

The land, which has required a vast outlay
of expense for fencing, watering and other
improvements, is used as a cattle ranch, where
one hundred and fifty thousand head of cattle
are grazing; being the means employed to
pay the interest of this remarkable invest-
ment.

John V. Farwell, two years after the con-
tract was closed, succeeded in raising the
. money in England, for the expense of the
capitol building. It is said that he secured
the services of William Sturges who assisted
him in forming what is known as the " Capitol
Freehold Land and Investment Company."
Debenture bonds to the amount of 1,000,000
sterling were issued on two million shares of
stock, on which they succeeded in raising
$5,000,000. This transaction has resulted in
a litigation, which involves $1,2 10,000 between
the Farwells and Mr. Sturges. The latter
claims that he was, by agreement with the



406 THE WORLD S FAIR CITY.

company, entitled to two-fifths of the amount
raised over $3,000,000, which was the sum
required to build the State House, conse-
quently he has begun proceedings in the courts
of this country and in England, for his com-
mission on the sale of bonds.

Colonel A. C. Babcock, another plaintiff,
has also begun a suit against J. V. Farwell &
Co., J. V. Farwell, C. B. Farwell and Abner
Taylor for $750,000, or 15,000 shares of stock
in the company which he claims for his share
of the original co-partnership under which
the contract with the state of Texas was
secured.

The parents of the Messrs. Farwells moved
to Illinois nearly sixty years ago, and with a
determination, united with strong faith, they
succeeded in adding to their stock of worldly
goods, and in repairing their abode from that
of a log-house to one of brick, in a few
years, and to the credit of ' ' the boys, "
it is said that they made the brick, cut
the stone for the sills and caps, and
made a wagon to haul them by sawing
large logs for wheels. Henry Farwell, the
father, was a bright, energetic man, who was



HON. JOHN V. FAR WELL. 407

recognized somewhat as a leader by the
neighborhood.

Hon. John V. Farwell is the most ardent
Christian of all Chicago's millionaires. Re-
garding the closing of the World's Fair on Sun-
day, he says: " When men attempt to change
the decalogue they make a grave mistake;
but they are endeavoring to alter the time-
table of heaven, which gives us the Sabbath
for rest. It was made for man, and not for
angels or devils. America today holds a
stronger place in the mind's eye of the nations
of the world than any other power on the
globe. We are rapidly becoming the most
powerful nation on earth. We sprung from
a people imbued with the spirit of Sabbath
observance.

"Old England is very much out of joint
with cutting off connection with us at that
memorable tea-party. The international ex-
position at London was not open on Sunday,
for the spirit of the English people is in favor
of keeping the Sabbath. The progress of
that country is the most wonderful of any on
earth. It is a little island, but the sun
never sets on its possessions. I believe this



408 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

prosperity is by reason of the fact that they
are a Christian and Sabbath-observing people. "

Born in 1825, John V. Farwell is fast
approaching his seventieth year. He has
lived in Chicago since 1845, and although he
entered the city with only $3. 25 he has accum-
ulated wealth, and made a reputation that, on
account of his inconsistency of conduct is not
enviable. Although the people may pronounce
those, who make long prayers, and wear a
saintly countenance upon the Sabbath day,
but are somewhat careless in their dealings,
hypocrites, their sincerity is no less a fact.
" Every excess causes a defect; every defect
an excess. " Mr. Farwell is intensely religious,
but like many other human beings, may lack
moral proportion. " If an angel should come
to chant the chorus of the moral law, he would
take liberties with private letters, or do some
precious atrocity," says an oracle.

His biographer writes: " Until the age of
sixteen Mr. Farwell lived upon his father's
farm, attending school during the winter
months. At that time, although he possessed
but limited means, he determined to have a
more complete education, and accordingly



HON. JOHN V. FAR WELL. 409

entered Mount Morris Seminary, devoting
himself earnestly to those branches essential
to success in business. He gave special at-
tention to mathematics, book-keeping and
composition, and, for the sake of economy,
boarded himself, continuing his studies until
he had acquired a good business educa-
tion. "

It may be seen that young Farwell started
out in his career well equipped for any ob :
stacle that might come in his way. When he
arrived in the city of Chicago he found em-
ployment in the City Clerk's office on a salary
of $12 per month, with the privilege of report-
ing the proceedings of the Council, for which
he received $2 per report; but it is said that,
he was not long in this position, on account of
his strict adherence to facts, the reports of
which were unpleasant to the authors of
crooked ways. But he was not long out of
employment; he engaged as clerk in a dry
goods house, at a salary of $8 a month; where
he remained one year. The next year he was
employed in the establishment of Hamlin &
Day at a salary of $280. Later he got a salary
of $600 as book-keeper with the wholesale firm



410 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

t

of Messrs. Wadsworth & Phelps. In 1851
he was a partner in the firm, which then was
conducting a large business. Nine years later
he became the head of the firm, where he has
now served over forty years.

During the history of this house it has been
destroyed by fire twice. The first occurred
on a Sunday afternoon, but before the next
Saturday night, order was restored and the
store was in full operation. The next was
the great fire of October 9, 1871, which stopped
business for about two weeks, after which,
a temporary building was occupied until a
five story structure was completed, which is
part of their present store, located on the
corner of Monroe and Market streets. It was
observed by the Chicago Tribune that this
firm was chiefly responsible for the starting
of a new business center, and for making what,
in ante-fire days, seemed destined to be an
eternally valueless portion of the city, into a
thriving business quarter. Many leading firms
soon erected buildings \vithin a few blocks of
them, thus giving great value to a formerly
undesirable location and equalizing real estate
values over a large district.



YOUNG MENS CHRISTIAN ASSOCIA TION. 4 1 I

Mr. Farwell has been closely connected with
the Young Men's Christian Association in Chi-
cago, and the success of that institution is
largely due to his efforts and his contribu-
tions. He has been active in works of charity
and always foremost in public enterprise.

During the civil war, the Chicago Young
Men's Christian Association presented to
Captain Charles W. Barker, one of the Chi-
cago Dragoons, a large blue silk flag with a silk
fringe in red, white and blue. On one side, on
a clouded background, was a mounted dragoon
in gold, and the motto: " We will pray for
you," placed above the figure and surrounded
by thirty-five stars. On the other side ap-
peared an American eagle, with the motto:
"In God is our trust." Mr. Farwell made
the presentation speech, which is given as
follows :

' ' Captain Barker, I need not tell you that
history informs us, that in all ages of the
world, emblems of nationality have com-
manded the homage, the purse, and heart's
blood if need be of every true patriot; and
in America, sir, every insult to that Magna
Charta of our blood-bought rights, brings to



412 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

its rescue men who will peril their all to
defend its honor. In every controversy, indi-
vidual or national, there is a right and a wrong
side, and ' thrice is he armed who hath his
quarrel just.'

"A heathen general once ordered his sub-
ordinates to number his army, before engaging
a very much larger force in battle. The work
being done, they reported a force of ten thou-
sand men to go out against forty thousand, and
counseled a surrender. The general said they
had made an egregious blunder in the num-
bering of his men.

"After asserting that they had numbered
them correctly, said he, ' How many did you
put me down for ? '

" 'Only one sir.'

' ' ' Bad mistake, gentlemen ; you will let me
.number them over again. Our cause is just.
You may, therefore, put me down for twenty
thousand, and for each one of my soldiers you
may count four, making in all sixty thousand
against forty thousand of the enemy, every
man of whom is not over half a man, when
fighting against the right. Now will you fight
them?'



HON. JOHN V. FAR WELL. 4 1 3

" 'Aye, sir, and whip them, too,' and they
were as good as their word.

" On behalf of the Young Men's Christian
Association, many of whose number are under
your command, I present you this flag, the
emblem of our dearly bought liberties, expect-
ing that you will trust in God while under
its folds, and be counted twenty thousand
against its enemies, and every man of your
command, a host, to follow your lead in
placing it in the record of national glory,
second to none that waves in the free air of
heaven.

' ' Your commander-in-chief, the President
of the United States, on taking leave of his
home in Springfield to assume the guardian-
ship of our National flag, said : ' I have a
greater task before me than that which en-
gaged the soul of a Washington, and without
the assistance of the God of Nations, I cannot
succeed; with it I cannot fail.'

' ' I believe, sir, that he will not fail, for I
believe that the God of Washington is Lincoln's
God, not for personal aggrandizement, but
for our national weal, and the world's redemp-
tion from tyranny. And now, sir, while I



414 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

hand you this stand of colors, permit me to
propose this sentiment:'

" Down with the traitors' serpent flag!

Death to the wretch o'er whom it waves,
And let our heaven born banner float
O'er freemen's homes and traitors' graves."

In those days Mr. Farwell was in the prime
of life, and there is no doubt that he enjoyed,
with great satisfaction, the exercise of his
religious enthusiasm.

During the rebellion he visited the seat of
war as a member of the United States Chris-
tian Commission, and, by correspondence
with the Northwestern Christian Advocate, gave
some very interesting anecdotes about the
Southern negroes. Among them are the
following, clipped from that paper:

"Thanks to the God of Justice and Abra-
nam Lincoln that the colored man's answer
to a delegate's question, ' What does U. S.
mean?' as it stands on the badge of the U. S.
Christian Commission, is prophetic of the
coming position of his countrymen said he,
' It means us.'

4 ' These breastworks, " writes Mr. Farwell,
1 ' made by colored soldiers, those muskets,
and those cannon borne and manned by



U. S. CHRISTIAN COMMISSION. 415

colored troops, and those graves filled by
colored dead, speak to us of the rights of
black men in tones that cannot be stifled by
the cry of ' Nigger worshipper ' in the ears of
the American people. They do mean us
most surely.

"On the boat we saw a very intelligent
contraband, with whom we had the following
conversation: 'What is your name?' 'Eli
Brown.' 'Any relation to John Brown?'
' No, massa; but I have heard of him in Rich-
mond. It cost Gov. Wise millions to hang


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 23 24 25 26 27

Online LibraryC. DeanThe World's fair city and her enterprising sons → online text (page 21 of 27)