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Album of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1899) online

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legal aims, at the age of twenty-one he was ap-
pointed local editor upon the Republican, pub-
lished at Mt. Vernon, Ohio, removing in 1855 to
Zanesville, in the same State, to assume editor-
ship in chief of the Free Press. Although excep-
tionally brilliant in this sphere of occupation (a
fact amply vouched for by his rapid rise therein),
he felt that his powers were not called upon to
their fullest extent, and that he would be alto-
gether unable in any field, save the law, to find a
theme whose ringing echoes should sound the
melody of his life.

Upon the death of his dearly beloved mother
in the fall of 1856, he commenced the study of
law in the offices of Miller & Beck, of Fort Madi-
son, Iowa. The following year witnessed his
admission to the practice of the local bar of his
newly acquired home in Des Moines, Iowa, where
he first opened his office. Directly his unusual
abilities became voiced, he was sought for private
secretary by Governor Ralph P. Lowe (the first



Republican to assume the gubernatorial functions
in that State) , as also by his successor in office,
Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood. Fancy can read-
ily picture what flames were added to his aspira-
tions by such distinguished environment at the
inception of his young career. Prosperity, how-
ever, far from spoiling him, amplified both his
talents and his tact; wherefore, recognizing his
fitness for so exacting a function, the proper au-
thorities selected our modestly-laureled subject to
act as Official Reporter of the Supreme Court of
the State of Iowa; the well-digested results of his
long incumbency of such office being embodied
in some fourteen volumes of Iowa State Reports,
containing decisions upon all branches of law as
issues were made on appeals, and which, as the
decrees of the court of dernier resort, are prece-
dents in that State for future adjudication.

In 1863 the deserts of his exceedingly enthusi-
astic political services were formally acknowledged
in his elevation to the highly responsible position
of Chairman of the Iowa State Republican Com-
mittee. During this period his alert faculties
were so impressed by the necessities calling for
better means for effectual campaign work, that he
originated a new code of methods, thereupon
proven to be so superior in conception that they
have been very largely followed and patterned
after ever since. The unusual needs of these ' 'war
times' ' so enthused his impressionable mind that
he foresaw and spoke as a party prophet or law-
giver. None has left a brighter, more wholesome
memory in the political annals of that State, so
long his honored and honoring home.

In 1866 he was made local Division Attorney
for the Rock Island & Pacific Railway, his ser-
vices manifesting such activity and success that
in 1873 he was rewarded by an advancement to
the chief post of his department, under the title



T. F. WITHROW.



of General Solicitor, whereupon removal of resi-
dence was made to the situs of the general offices
of that road at Chicago. Litigation increased in
bulk to such a degree, that in after years they
found it would be expedient to select two such
solicitors, at which juncture Mr. Withrow was
installed in the newly created office of General
Counsel for the entire system, having a general
supervision over a corps of able legal subordi-
nates, in person only going into the highest
courts upon questions of weightier import. These
duties he continued with conscientious energy to
administer until the time of his decease, Febru-
ary 3, 1893, since which time the Rock Island
Railway has withheld from elevating any suc-
cessor to his so peculiarly honored seat.

On the occasion set apart by the Supreme
Court of Iowa for the delivering of eulogies upon
the life-work and character of Mr. Withrow,
among numerous eloquent tributes paid to his
superlative worth on the part of professional old
friends and associates, we find in the address par
excellence, spoken by Judge Wright, the follow-
ing passage: ' 'As a lawyer, he was industrious,
conscientious, aggressive, and of the quickest
perceptions. He had a genius for hard and ef-
fective work, all of which was done thoroughly,
slighting nothing. * He was the very

soul of fidelity to his client. * * His
greatest power was fertility of resource. * *
Generous and considerate, alas, that he must pass
away in the prime of life!"

It was this "genius for hard and effective
work" which led to his untimely, sudden death,
through heart failure. The fall previous, in the
retirement of his summer home at Lake Geneva,
he had spent several very laborious weeks in pre-
paring for hearing an extremely important case
for his corporation, from which particular over-
work, though he respited, he never fully recov-
ered. Sturdy as an oak, which under careful
cherishing outstands the violence of myriad sea-
sons, his ardent temperament recked not of the
prudences of life; with him it was always "This
is the battle! This must end in victory!" And
so into the seething flames of a too consumingly
brilliant professional life, he had cheerfully thrown



that score of years of reserved force which, along
more conservative lines, would undoubtedly have
sufficed him to meet with heroic fortitude the
slowly gathering shadows of a quite advanced
age. But who will take upon him to assert that
he was not well contented on the whole that it
befell as indeed it did? For had not the solicita-
tions of friends often cautioned him against his so
lavish expenditure of exceptional energies? Let
us take example of this ' 'faithfulness unto death, ' '
his most fitting eulogy, and rarest, pure balm of
solace to the bereaved.

By religious faith he was a Unitarian; always
in attendance upon the inspiring services of the
Rev. Dr. Robert Collyer while he so long and
efficiently filled the pulpit of Unity Church of this
city. Of later years a warm friendship had grown
up between him and the late Rev. Dr. David
Swing, who officiated so feelingly at the obsequies,
unspeakably regretful over the loss of his lawyer-
naturalist comrade; for they were boon mates
together in the woods and fields, mutually wor-
shiping the omnipresent God as they walked.

Like his father, Mr. Withrow was an exceed-
ingly devoted abolitionist, at a period when Vir-
ginia was not at all prolific of such citizenship.
Many a colored man was able through their
agency to breathe the free air of the North. In-
deed, so bitter grew the local sentiment engen-
dered by the temerity of so exceptional an
attitude, altogether hostile to southern tenets,
that it became expedient, and was the chief
cause of, the family removal to Ohio. No less
zealous in this new field, and grown to great
prominence in the dominant party, what pleasure
our friend must have experienced over that im-
mortal proclamation of President Lincoln, with
its ensuing complete practical ratification! We
sincerely believe that no happier moments than
these crowned his life, unless, possibly, the con-
templation of these signal, national transactions
in later years, while seated upon his own mag-
nificent premises overlooking Chicago Lincoln
Park, of which he was a Commissioner, being
thus in full view of the superb bronze statue of
the President himself, of the fund for erecting
which he had been a trustee.



J. M. WARREN.



337



Vivacious and sociable, a semi-public life had
found him a member of many choice clubs and
societies; but with growing domesticity necessi-
tated by maturer years, added to the drains made
by constant prefessional duties upon his vitality,
he withdrew more and more into the quiet enjoy-
ments afforded by home life, especially delighting
in belles lettres, in whose rich domain he was
during the thirty-five most busily occupied years
of professional activity, never less than an ambi-
tious student and philosophic meditator. Here
the richest verbal expressions of genius became
again his living legacy, always ready at a neces-
sitous crisis to do his eloquent bidding. At the
time of his demise he was still enrolled with the
Chicago Literary Club, as for the many years
past, as well as with the famous Grolier Club of
New York City.

Mr. Withrow was married October 27, 1859,
at Hamilton, Madison County, New York, to
Miss Jane Frances Goodwin, who survives him,
together with three children born unto them, as
follows: Henry Goodwin Withrow, born April
29, 1861, whose advanced education was com-
pleted in the University of Michigan, now being
engaged in railroading; Charles LeBaron With-
row, born in June 1866, matriculated at the Cam-
bridge (Massachusetts) Law School, but now in
journalistic labors with the Associated Press in
New York City; Bonnie Withrow, born in Au-
gust, 1867, educated at Ogontz, near Philadel-
phia, now largely devoted to philanthropic work,



especially the welfare of young women whom fate
has thrown upon their own resources.

Mrs. Withrow is a daughter of the sea captain,
LeBaron Goodwin, of Old Plymouth, Massachu-
setts, and Mary, his wife (nee Leggett), of Sarato-
ga Springs, New York. Her father removed in
mature years to De Ruyter, Madison County,
New York, where he led a retired and studious
life. The said Mary Leggett was a daughter of
Samuel and Susannah Leggett (nee Smith) ; Sam-
uel being a son of Isaac and Rebecca Leggett (nee
Starbuck), a daughter of Benjamin and Hepsibah
Starbuck (nee Bunker). The said LeBaron Good-
win was a son of William and L,ydia C. Goodwin,
(nee Sampson), the former a son of Nathaniel
and Lydia Goodwin (nee LeBaron) , a son of John
and Mary Goodwin (nee Roby), a son of Nathan-
iel (who died in 1754) and Elizabeth Goodwin.

Mrs. Withrow is related to eminent families,
as will be seen from the fact that through her pa-
ternal grandmother, Lydia C. Sampson, she traces
back to Nathaniel Gushing, born in 1588 (a son
of Peter Gushing, of Norfolk, England), an early
American colonist; also to Henry Pitcher, born
in 1586, who came early to Hingham, Massachu-
setts, in the ship "Delight;" also to Capt. Miles
Standish, famous of the "Mayflower" crew; also
to Henry Sampson, compeer of Standish, whose
grandson Isaac married L,ydia, a granddaughter
of Captain Standish, and who became in due time
grandparents of the said Lydia C. Sampson, the
grandmother of Mrs. Withrow.



JULIUS M. WARREN.



(fUUUS M. WARREN, only son of Daniel

I Warren, a pioneer settler of Du Page Coun-

G/ ty (see biography elsewhere in this volume),

was born in Fredonia, New York, June 13, 1811,

being the first white child born in Chautauqua



County. He became a member of the New York
militia, in which he attained the rank of colonel.
With the family, he came to Du Page County in
the autumn of 1833, and spent the balance of his
life there. He was a very genial and happy-dis-



338



J. M. WARREN.



positioned gentleman, and early became a favorite
in society. A recent writer in the Chicago Her-
ald speaks thus of the society of that day: ' 'The so-
ciety of all this region, including town and coun-
try, forty-five years ago, had its attractive seat
and held its principal revelries in the valley of
Fox river. 'The best people' that came out
from the eastern states to settle in this region did
not stop in Chicago, but made for the magnifi-
cent farming lands in this vicinity. Some came
from central and western New York, where they
had seen families of the aristocracy plant them-
selves and flourish on the fat lands of the Mohawk
and Genesee valleys. To clear off timber and re-
duce those great farms to productivity, had taken
half a century of time and had exhausted the lives
of three generations. This was known to the new
emigrants, and as they heard of or saw these
Illinois lands, bare of obstinate trees, but clothed
with succulent grasses, of nature's sowing; in a
climate that possessed no torridity, nor yet any
destructive rigors; all this being known before-
hand, many refined and cultivated families came
out with all their effects, and bought or entered
land and proceeded to make themselves homes,
which, they had no doubt, would be homes to
them for their natural lives."

Mr. Warren had a keen sense of humor and
was always amiable and cheerful, which made
him a favorite in all circles. Instead of disaprov-
ing the amusements of the young people, he al-
ways had a strong sympathy and interest in their
pleasures. He was the constant attendant of his
sisters, and often laughingly mentioned them as
seven reasons why he should not marry. He was
also devotedly attached to his mother who was
justly proud of her only son. Together they kept
house until her death, when he induced his nephew
to bring his family to live on the old homestead
at Warrenville, where he continued to reside.
He passed away on the first of May, 1893, his
last words being, ' 'Take me home to my mother. ' '

In speaking of Colonel Warren and the village
of Warrenville, we again quote from the Herald:
"He called in a storekeeper, a blacksmith, a coop-
er and a carpenter, and a tavernkeeper came in
good time. Naperville was a smaller village, hav-



ing but two log houses. Aurora scarcely had a
being, and St. Charles was not. But all along
on the banks of the Fox river were settlers of a
high class, who had knowledge of and corres-
pondence with the eastern portions of the United
States. Foremost among these was Judge Whip-
pie, who, acting with the Warrens, father and
son, organized and gave direction to local affairs.
They were without postal facilities of any kind,
and every family had to send a member into
Chicago for letters and papers. A letter from
Buffalo to any place on the Fox river was from
four to six weeks in coming, and to Chicago cost
fifty cents postage. Colonel Warren making use
of eastern friends, got a postoffice (the first in the
valley) established at Warrenville in 1833, and
himself appointed postmaster. He was his own
mail-carrier, making weekly trips, on foot some
times, to Chicago and out again, with letters and
papers for distribution through his office to people
in all that section. Colonel Warren held this of-
fice for fifty years, and only lost it when President
Cleveland came in the first time."

Although chiefly self-educated, Colonel Warren
was a thoroughly well-read man, and was admir-
ably fitted for a leader in politics, as well as in so-
ciety. He represented his district for three suc-
cessive terms in the State Legislature, from 1840
to 1843, but refused to longer remain in public
life, preferring the quiet joys of his home and
neighborhood to anything the capital or metropo-
lis might offer. He continued to manage the
large homestead farm until his death. He was a
loyal adherent of the Republican party, having
espoused its leading principles before its organi-
zation.

The following incident will indicate the kindly
nature of Colonel Warren and his noble mother,
as well: A young lawyer of Chicago, now known
throughout Illinois as the venerable ex- Chief Jus-
tice of the State, John Dean Caton, fell sick of
fever while staying at the log tavern in Naper-
ville, one of the two buildings of that village.
Hearing of the case, Colonel Warren went at
once to see what he could do to render the suf-
ferer comfortable, and soon decided to remove him
to his own home, where he could receive better



F. W. PECK.



339



nursing than at the little frontier tavern. This
probably saved the life of the patient, who attrib-
utes his recovery to the careful nursing of Mrs.
Warren and her daughters, with such aid as
Colonel Warren could apply. The last-named
saw the completion of his eighty-second year,



full of humor and harmless badinage to the last,
and died as the result of an attack of pneumonia,
after an illness of only two days, leaving as an
inspiration to those who come after the record of
a well-spent life.



FERDINAND W. PECK.



|"~ ERDINAND W. PECK. Among Chicago's
Yrt native sons, of whom she is justly proud,
is the subject of this sketch. He is the
youngest son of P. F. W. Peck, the pioneer
settler and merchant of the city (for biography
see another page), and was born in the family
residence, which stood on ground now covered by
the Grand Pacific hotel, July isth, 1848.

It is not often that one not stimulated by
necessity or forced to cultivate self-reliance
achieves anything worthy of note among the
active men of to-day. Without this stimulus,
Mr. Peck applied himself first to the acquirement
of an education, passing through the grades of
the city schools, graduating at the High School,
the Chicago University and the Union College of
Law. Next he took up the practice of his
chosen profession, and met with the full measure
of success vouchsafed to the young lawyer in a
field already occupied by a multitude of able and
experienced jurists and attorneys. After several
years of practice, with growing business that is
bound to come to one of his energy and ability,
he was forced to abandon the law to engage in
caring for the estate which his father had left to
the charge of his sons, at his demise. This
property consisted principally of real estate,
much of which had been stripped of its im-
provements by the great fire of 1871, and which
now required constant and careful attention.
Under the conservative management of the senior



Peck's sons, the estate has prospered, at the same
time it has conferred upon the city some of its
most valuable and permanent features.

Mr. F. W. Peck is a devotee of music and a
lover of art, and has been the means of bringing
to Chicago much of its culture in these elevating
and ennobling studies. For some years he cher-
ished the idea of providing the city with facilities
sufficiently ample and substantial to bring hither
all that was best in the line of intellectual and
refining entertainments. The Opera Festival of
1885, of which Mr. Peck was President, brought
to the city the finest musical and dramatic enter-
tainments ever offered to an American audience,
and made apparent to the citizens the need of
better facilities for such entertainments. Mr.
Peck seized upon this sentiment and organized
the Auditorium Association, of which he was
unanimously chosen President. The stock was
distributed among three hundred subscribers,
including the most prominent and wealthy
citizens, and the result is known to every denizen
of the city, in one of its most conspicuous land-
marks the Auditorium.

A recent writer says : ' ' The genius of the
world has exhausted itself in devising and
erecting architectural edifices. The Parthenon
in the age of Pericles, glorious in all the adorn-
ments of art wrought by the chisel of Phidias and
brush of Praxiteles, was a temple of heathen
worship; the mighty walls of the Coliseum were



340



F. W. PECK.



raised to furnish an arena for gladiatorial brutal-
ity. Mediaeval architects reared the clustered
columns and vaulted arches of Gothic cathedrals
to woo men to pious aspirations; the chaste lines
and sculptured walls of the " Nouvelle Opera "
were raised as a temple of music and dramatic
art; each had or has its beauties and special use;
but it remained for the genius of Chicago to con-
ceive and its enterprise to provide, by private
munificence, a structure as perfect as any in sub-
stantial utility, both as a gathering place of the
multitude and a temple of all the arts; the per-
fection of architectural genius. It is more capa-
cious than the Albert Hall of South Kensington,
more substantial than the new opera of Paris;
chaste, solid and sublime."

Mr. Peck has shown the same zeal, energy
and ability in the conduct of public business
which has been placed in his charge that mark
all his own undertakings. As chairman of the
finance committee of the World's Columbian Ex-
position he assumed a heavy responsibility, and
aided in bringing that stupendous enterprise
through successfully and paying every pecuniary
obligation. This involved the expenditure of
over $30,000,000, and was calculated to test the
capacity of the greatest financiers. Mr. Peck is
also associated in official capacity with many of
the permanent institutions of the city, including
most of those calculated to promote an aesthetic
sentiment among the people. Some of these
official positions are the presidency of the Chicago
Athenaeum, the Auditorium Association and the
Union League Club; he has been Vice-president
of the Board of Education of the city of Chicago,
and was Vice-president of the World's Columbian
Exposition, with a seat in its board of reference
and control, on its executive committee, commit-
tee on legislation and special committee on cere-
monies, in addition to the finance committee, as
above noted.

Mr. Peck's habits and manners are wholly un-
ostentatious, and he is ever affable and kind to
all who may come in contact with him. In the
midst of a busy life, full of cares and responsibil-
ities, he gives much attention to the amenities of
life and has been an extensive traveler. In sum-



mer he spends much time out of doors, and main-
tains a summer home at Oconomowoc, Wisconsin,
and enjoys the honor of being Commodore of the
Wisconsin Yacht Club. His favorite yacht is
named the "Tarpon," in honor of his good for-
tune in capturing an enormous tarpon while fish-
ing off the coast of Florida at one time. In his
handsome home on Michigan Avenue, in the
city, are found a happy and congenial wife, four
sons and two daughters. Mrs. Peck is the
daughter of the late William A. Spalding, a
sketch of whom appears on another page.

In speaking of Mr. Peck, the History of Chi-
cago says: ' 'One only slightly familiar with the
telltale disclosures of physiognomy, looking upon
his mild, refined and thoughtful features, cannot
fail to be impressed that behind them is character
of more than ordinary delicacy of sentiment and
maturity of mind, that belongs rather to the aes-
thetic than to the gross and material lines of
thought and action. While not an artist, he is
a lover of art; his mind has a constructive qual-
ity, which, with sympathy with human needs
and enthusiasm for the uplifting of the standard
of life among the masses of the people, calls him
to undertake enterprises of pith and magnitude,
for the education of the people, for inspiring them
with higher ideals of life, and leading them from
the indulgence of degrading passions, through
the ministries of the ' diviner arts, ' to higher
planes of living and enjoyment. This type of
mind is not often found amid the rush and com-
petition of life in our great cities. To its pos-
session and well-developed proportions by so
many of the well-to-do young men of Chicago,
whose names will readily occur to the observant
student of her inner life, is due in great part the
aesthetic character which Chicago has taken on,
despite her unwonted devotion to the more sordid
pursuits of her gigantic enterprises. With her
university and schools of every sort, with her art
studios and collections, with her social clubs, mu-
sical festivals and dramatic entertainments, and
especially since her magnificent triumph in con-
structing and maintaining the grandest exhi-
bition of art and industry which the world has
ever seen, Chicago easily leads all other Ameri-



J. F. STAFFORD.



can cities in aesthetic development, and stands
not far behind such old-world centers of art and
artists as Paris, Brussels and Florence. ' '

The stockholders of the Auditorium Associa-
tion have caused to be placed in the foyer of the
Auditorium a bronze bust of Mr. Peck, upon the



granite pedestal of which has been inscribed: ' 'A
tribute to the founder of this structure, from the
stockholders of the Auditorium Association, in
recognition of his services as their President, in
behalf of the citizens of Chicago. 1 889. "



CAPT. JOHN F. STAFFORD.



EAPT. JOHN FRANCIS STAFFORD, who
was for many years connected with the mer-
cantile and maritime interests of Chicago,
was born in Dublin, Ireland, August 12, 1820.
His father, John Stafford, was a provision mer-
chant, and an intimate friend of Daniel O'Connell,
the famous Irish patriot. His mother's maiden
name was Sarah Mallon.

In the year 1828 the family removed to Port
Hope, Canada West (now Ontario), where John
Stafford bought and operated a grist, saw and
fulling mill. In the following winter he was
frozen to death while on the road between Port
Hope and Toronto. The next spring his widow
moved to Rochester, New York, where, a few
years later, her son John began the study of



Online LibraryIll.) La Salle Book Company (ChicagoAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1899) → online text (page 51 of 110)