Copyright
J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

Chicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.1) online

. (page 49 of 59)
Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.1) → online text (page 49 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


makes a mistake is the man who never does anything."

Mr. Field was little inclined to talk about his affairs, and preferred to maintain
a discreet silence in everything regarding himself. He was averse to any appearance
in public, personally or through the press, confining himself to the usual channels
of business advertising. The public have naturally always taken a deep interest
in his personality, but his well known diffidence and reserve was seldom penetrated.
On one occasion, however, he was moved to write a letter in answer to the request
of a clergyman, who had written him asking his views on what he regarded as the
essential elements of true success. He wrote as follows : "Replying to your favor
of November 20th, [1893], would say that I regard honesty, truthfulness, temper-
ance, thrift, purity of character, faithfulness, perseverance, and thoroughness in
whatever a person undertakes as the most essential elements of true success.

"It is too often the case in the present day that boys starting out in life rely too
much on what they call chance to bring them success, and the haste to become rich
by whatever method is becoming so prevalent that too much emphasis cannot be
placed upon the importance of their starting in life with the one idea of winning
success through patient and earnest endeavor to discharge faithfully and honestly
every duty that may devolve upon them, be it ever so small. It is too often the
custom to do little things in a careless manner because they are little, and that, as a
rule, determines the character of the person doing it. If a matter is worth doing
at all it is worth doing well, and by this I mean that they should be thorough in
everything.



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 349

"The element of thrift is sadly neglected by young men of the present day, and
the tendency to live beyond their income brings disaster to thousands continually.
A young man should cultivate the habit of always saving something, however small
the income ; be particular in his choice of friends ; have the courage to say no and
mean it, when tempted to do what he knows to be wrong; aim to earn a character
for candor, veracity, and strict integrity that will win the respect and confidence of
all with whom he may have any dealings.

"Any young man in this country who carries out the foregoing ideas cannot fail,
in my opinion, of attaining success to a greater or less degree, if possessed of good
health, and while he may not become rich he is, I believe, reasonably certain of
gaining a comfortable livelihood.

"I will close by giving an extract from an article recently published in the Bal-
timore American touching upon this subject, and which I heartily endorse: 'It is
simply the question of the man himself. In this country he has the opportunity. If
he uses it well, if he employs his purpose to high ends, if he determines that each
day shall be to him an increase in knowledge or means, and that he will work hon-
orably for success in life, he will succeed. There is no limit to the possibilities of
honest sustained effort in a good cause.' "

On January 16, 1906, Marshall Field died. He had become the greatest dry
goods merchant in the world, one of the richest men in the world, and seemed still
in the prime of his life, though in his seventy-first year.

After his death the estate of Marshall Field was found to be the largest of any
other resident of Chicago. Such of his property as was scheduled in this state
amounted to upwards of seventy-nine millions of dollars. As he possessed a large
amount of property in New York his total wealth has been estimated to be consid-
jerably in excess of one hundred millions of dollars. The inheritance tax paid into
the state treasury of Illinois by the Field estate, with that of other estates, is men-
tioned elsewhere in this work.

THE PROVISION FOR THE MUSEUM BY MARSHALL FIELD

The will of Marshall Field is dated September 5th, 1905. The provisions for
the Museum occupy the whole of Section Seventeen in that document. In its printed
form the will covers sixty-two pages, comprising twenty-three sections. As a matter
of fact the main body of the will was executed on the 25th day of February, 1904,
and a "First Codicil" was added June 14th of the same year. This codicil, however,
did not change or modify the provision for the Museum, which indeed was not men-
tioned in it. A further and final addition to the will was made on the 5th of Sep-
tember, 1905, making a provision for Mr. Field's second wife, to whom he had been
married subsequent to the making of the will on February 25th, 1904. It may also
be mentioned that the official name of the Museum at that time was the "Field Col-
umbian Museum." This name was changed in November, 1905, to the "Field Mu-
seum of Natural History."

The section making provision for the Museum is as follows: "Seventeenth. Sub-
ject to the condition hereinafter expressed, I give, devise and bequeath to the Field
Columbian Museum, a corporation of the State of Illinois, Eight Million (8,000,000)
Dollars to be held and applied by the Trustees thereof for the uses and purposes
of that institution, as hereinafter provided ; but any sums of money that I may here-



350



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS



after m my hfetime, but subsequent to the date of the execution of this instrument

g.ve to the Trustees of said corporation or pay for the use and on account of said

corporation, shall be taken and deemed by my Executors as advancements on account

his bequest, and the amount of this bequest shall be paid by my Executors to

trustees of said Museum lessened and reduced by the amount of each and all of

such advancements: Each advancement shall be charged up against the particular

nd, that is, endowment fund or building fund, to which it may have been made.

"It is my will and I direct that the lands, tenements and hereditaments hemn-
tfter described and devised to said Field Columbian Museum shall be taken and
toned as a part of said devise and bequest to the amount and valuation of Three
Hion, Two Hundred Thousand (3,200,000) Dollars. To that end and as a part
f said devise and bequest I hereby give, devise and bequeath to said Field Colum-
bian Museum all and singular the lands, tenements and hereditaments situated in
Chicago known and described as follows: [Here follows the legal de-
:npt,on of the property at the southeast corner of State and Madison streets, in
,ity of Gh.cago, consisting of a number of lots with the improvements thereon]
I give, devise and bequeath to said Field Columbian Museum with the lands tene-
ments and hereditaments aforesaid, the said several leases and all of my interests
erem and ,n the covenants therein contained and in the rents to accrue thereunder
and also the reversions in fee in the lands above described. It is my will that all
the capital of this portion of the entire devise and bequest, and the further sum of
Eight Hundred Thousand (800,000) Dollars, or so much of said further sum as
ihall be received from my estate by said Trustees of the Museum after any advance-
nent hereafter made by me in my lifetime shall be deducted as hereinbefore pro-
wled shall be kept intact as an endowment fund, and that the net income thereof
be applied to the maintenance and extension of the collections of the Museum
and to the expenses of its administration.

"In the event of my death before the first day of July, 1905, upon which date I
a net annual rental of One Hundred and Twelve Thousand (112,000) Dollars will
begin to accrue under the lease last mentioned, covering the entire premises above
lescribed, it is my will and I direct that my Executors shall from my general es-
tate pay over in convenient installments to the Trustees of said Museum," such amount
as shall equal the difference between the aggregate rental reserved by said present
leases and a rental at the rate of One Hundred and Twelve Thousand (112,000)
Dollars per annum, for the period from the date of my death until said first dav of
uly, 1905, which amount, in such event, I give and bequeath to the Museum, to be
received and applied by its said Trustees as income from said endowment fund A
:t annual income of One Hundred and Twelve Thousand (112,000) Dollars to-
r with the further income to be expected from said Eight Hundred Thousand
00,00 Dollars forming a part of the entire endowment fund, ought, in my judg-
ment, for some years at least, to be sufficient for the administration, maintenance
reasonable extension of the Museum, but if the net income from the entire en-
lowment fund shall be found insufficient for said purpose in any year by said Trust-
es then said Trustees shall be authorized in their discretion to use in that year for
said purpose so much of the net income of the remaining Four Million (1.000,000)
Dollars, hereinafter mentioned, as they shall find necessary and available."




MARSHALL FIELD AND JOHN G. SHEDD
Taken at time of teamsters' strike, May, 1905



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 351

THE BUILDING FUND

"Out of the said devise and bequest it is my will and I direct that the sum
or fund of Four Million (4,000,000) Dollars, or so much thereof as shall be re-
ceived from my estate by said Trustees of the Museum after any advancements
hereafter made by me in my lifetime shall be deducted as hereinafter provided,
shall be set aside, held and used by said Trustees so far as practicable as a build-
ing fund for the erection, either at one time or at different times as said '
shall think best, of a building or buildings to serve as a permanent home for the
Museum. Said Trustees shall have full powers of management, control, invest-
ment and disposition of said building fund according to the charter and the by-
laws of the Museum, except as herein otherwise expressly provided, and they may
in accordance with the authorization above expressed hold and use, i
discretion they shall think it necessary so to do, a portion of said building fund
as an addition to the above mentioned endowment fund. In making investments
of any part of said building fund, it is my desire that said Trustees shall have
special regard to the security of the capital, and that preference be given to
mortgages being a first lien upon improved and income yielding freehold real es-
tate in the City of Chicago.

"It is my purpose and desire, in making the aggregate devise and bequest
in this Article of my Will contained, to provide the said Museum with a build-
ing or buildings suitable and adequate for its permanent home, and with an en-
dowment fund whose net income shall be sufficient for its proper administration,
maintenance and extension; accordingly I direct that said building fund shall
not be so exhausted or reduced by building operations at any time as to prevent
or embarrass the accomplishment of my said purpose and desire in the reason-
ably near future, and that a part or the whole of the net annual income of said
building fund shall in the discretion of said Trustees be allowed to accumulate for
a time, and be added to the capital, or to the unused portion of the capital, as
and to the extent judged by said Trustees to be necessary for the ultimate and ef-
fectual carrying out of my said purpose and desire.

"The entire devise and bequest herein made is, however, upon the express
condition that within six years from the date of my decease there shall be pro-
vided for said Museum and shall be given to it or devoted to its permanent use,
without cost to it, lands and premises, which shall be acceptable and satisfac-
tory to its said Trustees as a location and site for the building or buildings to be
erected as its permanent home; and in the event that such lands and premises ac-
ceptable and satisfactory to its said Trustees shall not be given to it, or be de-
voted to its permanent use within said period, and without cost to it, then the en-
tire capital of said devise and bequest, together with any accumulated and un-
expended income thereon, shall upon the expiration of six years from the date of
my decease, revert to and become a part of my residuary estate, and be con-
veyed, transferred and delivered by said Trustees of the Museum to my residuary
Trustees."

Mr. Field's death occurred on the 16th of January, 1906, but a few months
after the date of his will. The period of "six years from the date of my de-



352 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

cease," as specified in the will, will expire therefore on the 16tK day of January,
1912.

The site most suitable for the location of the Museum seemed to be in some
portion of Grant Park, and the Park Commissioners gave consent for such a loca-
tion opposite Congress Street. The press and the public seemed to be unanimous
in approval of thus placing the proposed building. A plan of the structure was
prepared, modeled closely upon the Art Building at the World's Fair which had
become the temporary home of the Museum while it was awaiting the final settle-
ment of the location.

However, it was necessary before placing any structures in Grant Park that the
consent of abutting property owners should be obtained, and this was readily
accomplished except in the case of one property owner, Mr. Montgomery Ward,
who would not give his consent. Condemnation proceedings were instituted, and,
after considerable litigation, the question finally came before the State Supreme
Court which decided that the easement of the property owners on Michigan Ave-
nue could not be condemned. It thus became necessary to look for another location.

In these circumstances the South Park Commissioners set apart a space suffi-
cient for a site for the Museum at the north end of Jackson Park, though it was
realized that this site was too far away from the greater portion of the city to be
available for its largest use by the people in general. It seemed the best that
could be done, however, as the space required for a site was not to be obtained
elsewhere at that time.

On the llth of December, 1911, the people of Chicago were surprised and
gratified to learn that through an arrangement entered into between the South
Park Commissioners and the Illinois Central Railroad Company, a site for the
Museum had been provided at a spot more convenient for its purposes than the one
in Jackson Park. By virtue of an agreement between the above parties the public
came into possession of the lake shore from Park Row to Fifty-first street, and the
necessary space for the Museum site is to be provided at the foot of Twelfth and
Thirteenth Streets on the lake shore. This involves the razing of the present
terminal station of the Illinois Central, a new terminal on Twelfth Street being
planned to take its place.



CHAPTER XVIII

RIVER AND HARBOR CONVENTION NEWSPAPERS, ETC.

ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN 1847 NEEDS OF THE CHICAGO HARBOR NATIONAL CON-
DITIONS ENGINEERING DIFFICULTIES COMMERCE OP CHICAGO IN THE FORTIES

FIRST STEPS IN PROMOTING THE CONVENTION ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORT GAINED

PRESIDENT POLKAS ACTION CONDEMNED EDITORIAL VIEWS CONVENTION DETAILS

PLANNED THE ADDRESS TO THE PUBLIC ASSEMBLING OF THE CONVENTION

HORACE GREELEY'S SPIRITED ACCOUNT CONVENTION IN SESSION THREE DAYS-
DEMANDS FORMULATED DANIEL WEBSTER'S LETTER MR. LINCOLN'S FIRST VISIT

TO CHICAGO GREELEY'S REFERENCE TO LINCOLN RESULTS OF THE CONVENTION

FLOOD OF 1849 ICE AND WRECKAGE IN THE RIVER SCENES OF DESTRUCTION

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS ALL BRIDGES SWEPT AWAY BEGINNING OF THE

CHICAGO TRIBUNE THE DEMOCRATIC PRESS THE PRESS AND TRIBUNE AN OLDER

PAPER OF THAT NAME LATER HISTORY OF THE TRIBUNE STORY OF DAVID KEN-

NISON LOSSING'S ACCOUNT MEMBER OF THE BOSTON "TEA PARTY" FOUGHT AT

BUNKER HILL COMES TO CHICAGO IN 1842, THEN OVER A HUNDRED YEARS OLO

A HERO OF THE FIRST AND SECOND WARS OF INDEPENDENCE.

THE RIVER AND HARBOR CONVENTION

HE River and Harbor Convention," says William Bross in his "His-
tory of Chicago," "which commenced its sessions in this city on the
5th day of July, 1847, gave the second great and permanent impulse
to Chicago," the first great impulse being the inauguration of work on
the Illinois and Michigan canal in 1886. After the disastrous specu-
lating mania of 1836 and 1837, the population and prosperity of Chicago suffered
a marked decline until 1842, when the lowest point was reached, and business
began once more to revive. In 1847 the business of Chicago merchants was con-
fined mainly to retail trade. "The produce that was shipped from this port," says
Bross, "was all brought to the city by teams; some of them would come a hun-
dred and fifty miles. Farmers would bring in a load of grain and take back sup-
plies for themselves and their neighbors. . . . During the business sea-
son the city would be crowded with teams. We have seen Water and Lake
streets almost impassable for hours together."

When the River and Harbor Convention assembled in Chicago, beneath a
spacious awning upon the Court House Square, it was attended by delegates
from nineteen states and by a large number of the prominent and able men of
the nation. James K. Polk was then president of the United States, Augustus C.
French was governor of Illinois, John Wentworth was a member of Congress

Vol. 123

353




354 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

from this district, and James Curtiss was mayor of Chicago. The proceedings
of the convention were reported by Horace Greeley for the New York Tribune,
and by Thurlow Weed for the Albany Evening Journal.

NEEDS OF THE CHICAGO HARBOR

The origin of the movement which resulted in the calling of the River and
Harbor Convention is related in the Fergus Historical Series, Number Eighteen,
published in 1882, in which is also given a complete account of its proceedings
and a list of the delegates. When, after years of waiting, no adequate provision
for the needs of the Chicago harbor had been made by Congress, the people of
the West decided on a course of action by which the attention of the whole coun-
try should be drawn to the needs of this, the most important port on the Great
Lakes. In the year 1846, President Polk had not approved the River and Har-
bor bill which had been passed by Congress in its closing days, and thus it failed
to become a law. Although in previous years considerable work had been done on
the Chicago harbor by the government, which had made the river accessible to lake
craft for some distance up its channel, the southern sweep of the lake currents
along the shore had gradually choked up the entrance until there was danger of an
absolute cessation of navigation in the river, and a reversion to the primitive
method of receiving and discharging cargoes by means of lighters from vessels
anchored in the open lake.

The Chicago river and its branches, with the channel between the piers at
its mouth, constitute the harbor of Chicago. In a report prepared by Jesse B.
Thomas, in 1847, he gives the following description of the conditions which ex-
isted at that time: "The main portion of the river is three- fourths of a mile in
length, sixty yards wide, and about twenty feet deep. The North and South
Branches, which unite with the river from opposite directions in the heart of the
city, are navigable, the former three, the latter five miles. The streams are,
properly speaking, bayous, having very little or no current, and being on a level
with the waters of the lake. . . . The principal difficulty in constructing
harbors on the western shore of Lake Michigan proceeds from the deposition of
sand at the entrances thereto. A strong and almost constant current . .
passes along the shore of the lake, from the north towards the south, carrying
with it large quantities of sand which it deposits, forming bars wherever an ob-
stacle, in the shape of a river, or piers, or any object of sufficient force to change,
in any degree, the attraction of this current, is met with. The effect of this is
observable in all the streams discharging into Lake Michigan on the west. The
current along the shore coming in contact with the rivers passing out, the latter
are diverted from a direct passage, and take a new direction for a longer or shorter
distance along the shore, until the influence of the current ceases to operate,
when they discharge, generally in a southwestern direction; and a long bar or
peninsula of sand, beginning at the diverging point and terminating at the new
point of entrance, is invariably formed between the lake and the river.

"Such was the Chicago river before the construction of the piers. It dis-
charged half a mile below the present harbor. The harbor was commenced by
cutting through this bar, and forcing the river straight through into the lake. No



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 355

sooner was the north pier projected into the lake than the effect of the current
coming in contact with it became apparent. It deposited sand along the shore
of the lake north of the pier, extending the same farther and farther into the lake,
and, passing around the end of the pier, formed a bar extending in a southwestern
direction across the mouth of the harbor."

ENGINEERING DIFFICULTIES

This difficulty was met by extending the pier farther into the lake, but the
next season, after the bars had formed again at the end of the later extension it
was seen that this method of meeting the difficulty was ineffectual, and the gov-
ernment resorted to dredging which, however, gave only partial relief. The
engineers eventually abandoned further attempts to maintain the requisite depth
of water for navigation purposes, and removed the dredging machines to other
ports. "Such a state of things," continues the report, "demands a prompt and
effectual remedy, particularly at a time when our canal is on the eve of com-
pletion, and a consequently great augmentation of our commercial interests about
to take place. The completion' of the canal will divert a large share of the car-
rying trade of the West in this direction, and a safe and commodious harbor at
this place in 1848, will be a matter of most urgent necessity." The report closes
with the statement: "Should the accumulation of sand in our harbor the com-
ing winter equal the last, it is susceptible of the clearest demonstration that the
spring of 1848 will find our harbor entirely closed, and Chicago cut off, entirely
barred, from the general commerce of the country."

Chicago was made a port of entry by the act of July 16, 1846, and soon
afterwards William B. Snowhook was appointed collector of the port. Before this
time no accurate figures of imports and exports were kept, and such statistics as
are obtainable were derived from inquiry among merchants by those engaged in
making up reports, such as that from which we have quoted. The commerce of
Chicago, from 1840 to 1847, inclusive, is embodied in Thomas' report, and is as
follows :

COMMERCE OF CHICAGO FROM 1840 TO 1847

Exports Imports Total

1840 228,635 562,106 790,741

1841 348,862 564,347 913,209

1842 659,305 664,347 1,323,652

1843 682,210 971,849 1,654,059

1844 785,504 1,686,416 2,471,920

1845 1,543,519 2,043,445 8,586,964

1846 1,813,468 2,027,150 3,840,618

1847 2,296,299 2,641,842 4,938,151

EARLY STEPS IN PROMOTING THE CONVENTION

The first steps towards bringing about the great River and Harbor Convention
were taken by William Mosley Hall. In a letter written from Connecticut, in 1881,
to Robert Fergus, Mr. Hall says: "From 1845 to 1848, the writer was the agent,
in the South and West, with headquarters at St. Louis, of the Lake Steamboat As-



356 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

sociation, running lines of steamers between Buffalo and Chicago. Connection was
made by Frink & Walker's stage line, and subsequently by packets on the Illinois
and Michigan canal with Illinois river steamers to St. Louis."

Mr. Hall, finding that the press of St. Louis were taking a lively interest in
the commerce of the Great Lakes, gave a dinner to the editors of a number of the
leading papers. "During the repast," he continues, "the subject of river and harbor
improvements was broached, and the convention previously held at Memphis, where
Mr. Calhoun sought to make the Mississippi river an arm of the sea up to that place,
was discussed; until finally Colonel Chambers [of the Missouri Republican] re-
marked that although the Democracy of the country was generally opposed to im-
provements of the kind desired in the West, he thought that if a properly directed
effort was made, irrespective of politics, it would receive the endorsement of the
press generally throughout the country, which would arouse Congress to favorable



Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.1) → online text (page 49 of 59)