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J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

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and his family, of whom we shall speak more fully. Other settlers joined them
in the following years, among whom were Samuel Reed, Sylvester Beckwith,
David W. Burroughs, Edward Murphy, Eli Gaffield, Philo Colvin, Oliver Jellison,
James Hartray, Otis Munn, George W. Huntoon and others. In 1836, a stage line
was opened between Chicago and Milwaukee by way of the present Milwaukee
avenue, but it was not until some years later that stages ran through this place
over the Green Bay road.



THE ARRIVAL OF ARUNAH HILL



In October, 1836, Arunah Hill and his family, to whom we have already
referred, arrived at Chicago in a small schooner called the "Dolphin," in which
it had taken them over three weeks to accomplish a voyage from Cleveland, Ohio,
the point of their departure. The family consisted of Arunah Hill, his wife and
seven children. Hill had been a captain in the army and had served under Gen-
eral Winfield Scott in the War of 1812. Among the children was Benjamin Frank-
lin Hill, then a boy of six years of age. The latter lived in Evanston the greater
part of his life and died at Llewellyn Park, just north of the Evanston city limits
in October, 1905, in his seventy-sixth year.

After landing his household goods from the schooner, Arunah Hill met Major
Mulford in Chicago, who had recently built a cabin on his land about ten miles
north of the courthouse, then as now the point from which distances were reckoned,
and arranged with him to occupy it. Hill then hired an ox team and wagon and
started late in the day, stopping for the night at a place about five miles on the
journey, kept by a man named Britton. The next day the journey was resumed
and he arrived at the Mulford cabin about noon.

The cabin stood in the woods, scarcely a tree having been felled near it. It
was fourteen by sixteen feet in size, and ten feet in height, with boards running
up and down and without "battens," with two small windows of one sash in each,
and having no chimney. The stove was set up with the pipe thrust through the
window, and the rest of the furniture was soon after installed. "Large forest
trees stood near the house," relates Mr. Hill in his "Reminiscences," "and as
soon as the sun went down the wolves, which were very numerous, would com-
mence to howl. As the darkness deepened the sounds would indicate the nearer



320 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

approach of the animals, and often in the midst of the howls of the wolves there
would be heard the piercing cries of lynx and wild cats. Owls hooted from the
trees and added to the nocturnal chorus which filled the family with fears, until
they became accustomed to these voices of the night."

Hill occupied this house for a year and then moved to a tract of land sit-
uated near where the present village of Gross Point is located, just west of Wil-
mette. On this tract Hill built a log house. This kind of a house, the old settlers
unite in saying, was far more comfortable than any kind of a frame building, a
most effective shelter from cold in winter and heat in summer. The hardships
of pioneer life had great compensations in the pleasure of living where nature
was so lavish and generous. Wildflowers and wild fruits were abundant, as well
as nuts and berries. There was plenty of game, especially deer, which were
very often seen. The great difficulty was, however, in securing them, as there
were few guns in the possession of the settlers at that time.

REIGNING VICES OF THE TIME

Whiskey drinking was the reigning vice of the time, a stock of liquors being
kept for sale in almost every road-side cabin. The cabins of the settlers often
displayed signs on which was the word "grocery," and in addition to liquors there
was often a small stock of general provisions and supplies. These places were
the frequent resort of the idle, especially during the long winter season. The
distances between one habitation and another were often considerable, and be-
lated persons were frequently frozen to death in extreme weather, especially if
in an intoxicated condition. Indeed there were more deaths from freezing than
from any other fatality. Mr. Hill reckoned up some twenty-seven deaths from
this cause, mostly among a class of transient dwellers such as discharged soldiers,
sailors out of employment for the winter, and farm hands.

ACTIVITIES OF THE SETTLERS

The activities of the times were mostly in the way of clearing up the land and
bringing it , under cultivation. The rapid growth of Chicago and its proximity
gave the settler an excellent market for anything he had to sell. Wood for fuel
and logs for sawing were produced in great quaitities. Many engaged in coop-
ering, a form of industry which at one time was very important here. Char-
coal burning was also an important industry. W r ood and logs were transported
to Chicago by lake as well as by road. Logs were made up into rafts in the lake
and floated down to the Chicago River. It was on one of these raft voyages that
one of the settlers, a man named George Pratt, previously mentioned, lost his
life. The raft had reached the entrance to the river, two men navigating it,
when the fastenings parted. Pratt was seen to disappear for a moment, but pres-
ently he called out "not to mind him." He was never again seen. Many small
schooners were engaged in carrying wood from points along the north shore to
Chicago. These schooners were called "wood-hookers." Travel upon the roads
in an early day was often very difficult, owing to the sandy soil. Such as they
were, however, the roads to Chicago were at all times thronged with ox teams haul-
ing loads of wood, and one old resident remembers seeing as many as a hundred



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 321

teams thus engaged on the road between this point and Chicago. In the early
"fifties," however, the wood had been mostly cut away and Chicago had to go
farther north for its wood supply after that. This neighborhood then gradually
became a farming country, and supplied the city with vegetables and country pro-
duce very much as it does at the present day.

In 1846, as we have already said, a postoffice was established with the name
of Gross Point, the people before that time having been obliged to depend upon
the Chicago postoffice. A postoffice, however, had previously been established at
Dutchman's Point, now Niles, which was largely made use of by the scattered
residents of Gross Point. In the records of the Evanston Historical Society
there are the names of over three hundred persons who were regular dwellers in
this neighborhood in 1854, before the railroad was opened or the Northwestern Uni-
versity had purchased land here. This is mentioned because there seems to be an
impression in some quarters that this place was devoid of inhabitants before the
University selected the site here for its permanent location.

MARRIAGES AMONG THE SETTLERS

Among the marriages may be mentioned that of Emmeline Huntoon to Alex-
ander McDaniel, of Sarah Burroughs to Charles Grain, and of another Burroughs
girl, Lucinda, to Sylvester Beckwith, who was a lake captain, Mary A. Colvin
to Nelson Haven, also a lake captain, Ruth Colvin to Joel Stebbins, Ann Marshall
to Robert Kyle, another lake captain, Betsy Ann Snyder to George Monteath, and
Marietta Jellison to John J. Foster. This list might be indefinitely extended,
but the fact that matrimony was so popular among the early residents indicates
that the settlers of Gross Point were, generally speaking, prosperous and con-
tented in this far-off outpost of civilization.

TAVERNS ALONG GREEN BAY ROAD

The road north from Chicago, instead of being lined by villages and towns,
as at present, was marked by taverns, or "hotels," as they were often rather grand-
iloquently called in those days, at intervals of a few miles. The first of these,
after leaving Chicago, was Britton's, which was situated about where the old Lake
View town hall now stands. The next was Baer's tavern at Rosehill; the next,
Traders', at Calvary. Others along the Green Bay road (which was the general
name for the road north) were Tillman's tavern, Buckeye hotel, Stebbins' tavern,
etc. These taverns were later known after the stage coaches began to run as
"Seven-mile house," "Ten-mile house," etc., according to their location. The roads
followed the low ridges which begin to rise gradually toward the north, and were
generally sandy, which is the usual characteristic of the surface on the higher un-
dulations of the land, though in the flat portions between the ridges the soil is
dark and fertile.

SITE OF CHICAGO BOTTOM OF SHALLOW BAY

In recent geologic times the waters of Lake Michigan stood some twenty feet
higher than at present and poured a flood over the divide into the Dsplaines
river valley, taking the same course through which the great Drainage Canal was



322 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

cut some years since at immense labor and expense. The present site of Chicago
was then the bottom of a shallow bay extending westward to the higher lands
some twelve or fifteen miles from the present margin of the lake, and northward
in long tongues of shallow water between the ridges which formed low promon-
tories. At that time the first land appearing above the surface of the waters was
in the neighborhood of Rosehill, and from this point northward the land rose
gradually until at Waukegan the bluffs attained a height of fifty or sixty feet
above the surface of the lake. These facts account for the sandy ridges, gravelly
sub-soil and old beach marks which are characteristic of the region. The glacial
action of a more remote period is evident in the occurrence of boulders, some of
great size. One may be seen near the railway station at Waukegan, and one on
the campus of the Northwestern university at Evanston.

MANY EARLY SETTLERS GERMANS

The settlers of the North Shore region, arriving previous to 1850, came by boat
and by overland routes from the east. Many of them were former residents of
eastern states, but German immigrants formed a large element. The descendants
of these German settlers remain today as market gardeners and flower growers on
a large scale, occupying the lands on the beautiful rolling country a few miles back
from the lake shore.

Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 and had attained a population up-
wards of 4,000 and was a ready and convenient market for everything the settlers
had to sell wood for fuel and cooperage, farm produce, etc. Thus there was a
larger measure of prosperity among the settlers than usual in pioneer communities.
They began to surround themselves with a better class of improvements, built
frame houses to replace the log cabins of the earlier period, and provided better
school facilities for the young.

COMMUNITIES CHANGE NAMES

April 26, 1850, the name of the postoffice was changed from Gross Point to
Ridgeville. At this time the places toward the north were as follows :

Miles from
Chicago

Original name, Seven-Mile House; present name, Rosehill 7.8

Original name, Ten-Mile House; present name, Calvary 10.4

Original name, Gross Point, later Ridgeville; present name, Evanston. ... 12.00

Original name, Ouilmette Reservation; present name, Wilmette 14.3

Original name, Port Clinton; present name, Highland Park 23.2

Original name, St. John; present name, Highwood 24.5

Original name, Little Fort ; present name, Waukegan 36

The northern limits of Cook county are reached some twenty-one miles north
of Chicago, the remainder of the distance along the north shore to the state line
lying in Lake county.



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 323

THE PEOPLE AND THE LAKE

The life of the people living along the North Shore, as may well be imagined,
was in an early day closely interwoven with that of Lake Michigan, with its vicis-
situdes of storm and calm, its busy commerce and attendant disasters, its naviga-
tion and its life afloat. From the shores an illimitable horizon stretched away to
the eastward, and fleets of sailing craft flecked the broad bosom of its waters.
Like the maritime population of every seacoast in the world, the residents were
connected by ties of interest and personal relationship in a large measure with
the commerce of the lakes and its personnel. Many families had one or more
members engaged in the occupation of sailing the lakes, and among the older in-
habitants are captains and sailors who, .while now retired, spent years of their
lives in lake navigation.

The last twenty years has witnessed a great diminution in the numbers of sail-
ing vessels, their places being supplied by the great steamers which carry in one
cargo as much as ten or a dozen schooners formerly did. Tales of maritime ad-
ventures could be gathered in volumes from the older inhabitants and their descend-
ants today, and many of the early settlers on this shore were attracted thither by
the bosky woodlands and pleasant uplands seen from passing vessels.

WRECK OF SCHOONER WINSLOW

Captain Sylvester Beckwith, in command of the schooner "Winslow," which he
had sailed fourteen years, was in 1841 wrecked off the shore where Winnetka is
now located, and, with his crew, found shelter at Patterson's tavern, then the
principal stopping place at that point for stages and road travel on the Green
Bay road. He abandoned life afloat and took up land near old Gross Point and
remained there the rest of his life, becoming one of our prominent and substantial
citizens. Captain Fred Canfield and Captain Robert Kyle likewise settled here after
many years of seafaring life.

Every mile of the shore has its record of wreck and loss of life, and since the
life-saving station was established at Evanston in 1877 the saving of some 400
lives during the thirty years of its existence gives some idea of the disasters and
loss of life which must have occurred in previous years, when no record was kept.
For, while the shores are not rockbound, as on many dangerous coasts, the peril
to navigators when forced on a sandy beach, especially when skirted by bluffs
approaching close to the margin of the lake, has proved to be a very serious one.
It was for this reason that the government has established at short intervals along
this shore light houses, fog horns and life-saving stations.

THE CALIFORNIA GOLD EXCITEMENT

In the year 1849 the California gold excitement broke out, and as everywhere
else produced a profound impression among the people who resided here at that
time. The telegraph having come into use in the years immediately preceding,
and Chicago having an enterprising press, the people were kept well informed
as to passing events. Ozro Grain, one of the early residents, went to California in
1849, and having seen for himself the wonderful richness of the gold mines, re-



324 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

turned later in the year with full and glowing accounts which he related to his
neighbors.

The prosperity of the settlers warranted them in undertaking the long jour-
ney across the plains fully equipped with the means of transportation. In April
of the following year, a party of thirty was made up under the leadership of Ozro
Grain, and started on the journey. Every two persons were provided with a
light wagon and a horse, and an extra horse was led behind each wagon. Those
who could not go freely loaned money to those who could, in cases where the lat-
ter were not themselves sufficiently provided. Besides their outfits, each was obliged
to be provided with ready money to buy supplies on the way and establish him-
self after arriving on the ground. The parting of the adventurers from their fam-
ilies and friends is described as an affecting one, keepsakes and locks of hair were
left with the dear ones, and many sad farewells were spoken as the party disap-
peared south along the Ridge Road, bound for the new El Dorado. A large num-
ber of "California Widows," as they were called, were left behind to carry on the
work of farm and shop during the absence of their husbands and brothers, an ab-
sence which it was supposed would very likely extend to a period of at least two
years.

Nobly the women fulfilled the trust reposed in them, the affairs of the absent
ones being looked after with faithfulness and intelligent care. The conduct of
these women affords as fine an example of constancy and devotion as can be found
in the annals of romance. Just as the Crusaders of old, rallying from every
country in Europe and following the Banner of the Cross to the far distant land
of Palestine, found on their return from an absence of years their faithful wives
true in their affections and to the trusts confided to them, so our California Argo-
nauts found on their return the warmth of heart-felt affection undiminished, and
a welcome to their homes and firesides after their long absence in the "land of
gold." And when we consider what those homes were, far on the frontier of
civilization, devoid of many of the comforts and conveniences which we deem so
necessary in the homes of this day, we can form some idea of the true-hearted
faithfulness of the women of pioneer times. It is these women who, in the pioneer
life we have attempted to depict, have maintained the honor and purity of those
homes of the early times, and to whom are due the best and most enduring ele-
ments in the institutions and life we now enjoy, elements which are among our
most precious heritages. "True hearts are more than coronets, and simple faith
than Norman blood."

THE NAMES OF THOSE IN THE PARTY

So far as we have been able to ascertain, after diligent inquiry among the
families and descendants of the pioneer settlers, the names of those who made up
the California party were as follows: Ozro Grain, the leader, Charles Grain, Ervin
Grain, Leander Grain, brothers of Ozro, Orson Grain, a cousin, Alonzo Burroughs,
William Foster and his son John, Oliver Jellison, Alexander McDaniel, Eli Gaf-
field, Sylvester Beckwith, Andrew Robinson, Benjamin Emerson, James Hartray,
Azel Patterson, Joel Stebbins, James Dennis, George Reed, Henry Pratt, Smith
Hill, James Bowman, and others whose last names only can be given, Hazzard,



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 325

Fox, Webley, Fluent, Miller, Rice, and Ackley. There were others who also
went across the plains to the same destination, but not with the party above men-
tioned. Some of these were Benjamin F. Hill, Samuel Reed, John O'Leary, and
our old friend Abraham Hathaway.

TIDINGS FROM THE ADVENTURERS

We have some interesting records of the journey. Alexander McDaniel meth-
odically kept a diary during the two years of his absence, and when possible wrote
long letters to his young wife at home. Letters from Ft. Leavenworth, Ft. Lar-
amie and Salt Lake City were received, and finally, after a journey of some two
and one-half months, the party, at least most of them, reached their destination
on the western slopes of the Sierras.

Some members of the party did not remain with their associates to the end
of the journey, preferring to return from various points on the way. Those who
at last reached the gold diggings took up claims and began work in earnest. Mc-
Daniel records in his diary the amount of "dust" taken out each day, and the
amounts varied from three or four dollars to over thirty dollars as the result of
the day's work, and on some exceptional days much larger sums. As fast as he
accumulated the precious metal in sufficient quantities to make shipments, it was
sent by Wells, Fargo Express (the same company and name we are familiar with
today) to his faithful wife at home, who cared for it safely until his return some
twenty-one months later, after gaining about three thousand dollars as the result
of his trip. The Grains also did well, generally speaking, as did many of the
other members of the party. They almost all returned within a couple of years,
either across the plains, the way they had gone, or by the Panama route. Benja-
min Emerson was robbed of four thousand dollars of his gains while on his way
home. Oliver Jellison disappeared and was never more heard of; Joel Stebbins,
Mr. Webley and Azel Patterson never returned, their fate unknown to this day.

There are to-day old estates in Evanston which either in their beginnings or
through additions are in part made up of the money brought back from the gold
mines of California.

THE INTENSE DESIRE FOR RAILROADS

Iii the early "fifties," the people everywhere were immensely interested in
railroad building. Their imaginations were all on fire when considering the fu-
ture development of the country, and the railroads proposed to be built over the
great routes of trade. In the previous decade lines had been opened in various
parts of the state, and the pioneer residents of the North Shore were anxiously
looking forward to the time when a line would be built from Chicago to the north.
Major Mulford used to stand at the door of his house, and looking towards the
flats between his house and the opposite ridge would say to his neighbors, "Some
day, my friends, you will see the iron horse following its course along this valley."
In fact the line was built precisely where he had indicated. Men's minds were
keyed up expectantly for the advent of the railroad. Few had seen a railroad
in operation, but the people longed passionately for its arrival among them. The
enthusiasm with which every project for railroad building was received by the



326 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

people is scarcely conceivable in these days when railroads, their managers and
their affairs generally are the targets for every man's abuse and criticism. Coun-
ties all over the state freely issued bonds in aid of new railroad projects, and the
national government granted to the Illinois Central railroad every alternate sec-
tion of land along its entire line from one end of the state to the other.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

EVANSTON

FOUNDING OF NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY NAMING OF, EVANSTON SUBURBS OF

CHICAGO FOUR MILE LIMIT LIQUOR TRAFFIC FORBIDDEN FINANCIAL BEGIN-
NINGS OF THE UNIVERSITY EARLY BUILDINGS OF THE UNIVERSITY FIRST AR-
RIVALS AFTER LOCATING THE UNIVERSITY EARLY CHURCHES GARRETT BIBLICAL

INSTITUTE MRS. GARRETT's WILL HECK HALL DEDICATED OTHER BUILDINGS

ADDED NORTHWESTERN FEMALE COLLEGE "LADY ELGIN" DISASTER IN 1860

EVANSTON STUDENTS IN WORK OF RESCUE EDWARD W. SPENCER THE SCENE ON

THE SHORE THREE HUNDRED LIVES LOST AWAKENING OF THE WAR SPIRIT

DIFFERENCES OF SENTIMENT AMONG THE COMMUTERS EVANSTON MILITARY

RECORD DISTINGUISHED UNION LEADERS FROM EVANSTON NAMES OF MEN EN-
LISTED FROM EVANSTON TWO MEN JOIN CONFEDERATE ARMY FROM EVANSTON

THE EIGHTH ILLINOIS CAVALRY.




THE NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

organization of the Northwestern University occurred something over
two years before its location at Evanston had been fully decided upon.
The several steps in the organization of the University and its final
location may be briefly described as follows:

On the 31st day of May, 1850, a meeting of a few gentlemen was held
in the office of Grant Goodrich in Chicago, the object of which was to take steps
towards founding a university "to be under the control and patronage of the Methodist
Episcopal Church." Among those present at the meeting were Grant Goodrich,
Rev. Zadoc Hall, Rev. Richard Haney, Rev. R. H. Blanchard, Orrington I.unt,
Dr. John Evans, J. K. Botsford, Henry W. Clarke, and Andrew J. Brown. The
result of the meeting was an application to the state legislature for a charter
which was granted in an act passed January 28th, 1851. Pursuant to this act the
Northwestern University was formally organized June 14th, 1851.



THE FIRST BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

The president of the first Board of Trustees was Dr. John Evans, a prominent
citizen of Chicago and devoted to the interests of the Methodist church. Soon
after he became president Dr. Evans on behalf of the Board of Trustees arranged
for the purchase of the block of ground in Chicago upon which now stands the
Grand Pacific Hotel and the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank. The purchase
price was eight thousand dollars. The purpose in view in making this purchase
was the building of a preparatory school upon the site, but this purpose was after-

327



328 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

wards abandoned. The land, however, was retained and is now a valuable asset
of the University. "This was the smartest thing we ever did," said Mr. Orring-
ton Lunt, one of the trustees, many years later. "There was nothing particularly
smart in the purchasing, but the smart thing was in the keeping of it, for it is



Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.2) → online text (page 44 of 55)