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taken to erect a new and larger edifice in its place, which became the pride of the
village for many years. It was located on the block bounded by Chicago and
Sherman avenues, and Lake street and Greenwood boulevard, facing toward the
east. The second building was completed on the first of October, 1856, but dur-
ing the interval school work was not suspended. Classes were regularly con-
ducted, first in rooms furnished by the Northwestern University, and afterwards
in the house on Ridge avenue known as the "Buckeye Hotel," which building is
still standing.

President Jones left the College in September, 1862, to accept an appoint-
ment by President Lincoln as consul to China, and remained away until 1 868.
During a part of the time of President Jones' absence the direction of affairs
was placed in the charge of Lucius H. Bugbee. After President Jones had
resumed his former relations with the College, he associated Mr. A. F. Night-
ingale with himself in the direction of the school, an arrangement that continued
until 1871. In January, 1871, the College was transferred to an organization
known as the "Evanston College for Ladies," with Miss Frances E. Willard as
president. The Evanston College for Ladies at once entered into negotiations
with the trustees of the Northwestern University for a union of the two insti-
tutions, but the Chicago fire occurred in that year and the general dislocation of
financial affairs greatly embarrassed both institutions, consequently delaying the
consummation of such a plan for nearly two years.

A new building was begun in 1871, on the block bounded by University place,
Sherman avenue, Clark street, and Orrington avenue. The union with the North-
western University was at length completed on June 25, 1873, and henceforth
the Evanston College for Ladies became known as the "Woman's College of



336 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

the Northwestern University." Frances E. Willard was appointed "Dean" and
continued in this position until her resignation in 1874. The building which
was at first called the Woman's College received later the name of Willard Hall,
in honor of the first dean.

THE "LADY ELGIN" DISASTER

In 1860 occurred a most appalling steamer disaster off the shore opposite
Highland Park, resulting in the loss of some three hundred lives. The steamer
"Lady Elgin," a large side-wheel steamer, and the finest one on the lakes, left
Chicago late on the evening of September 7th, with nearly four hundred pas-
sengers, most of whom were bound for Milwaukee. While proceeding on her
course, about three hours later that is, about 2 o'clock on the morning of Sep-
tember 8th- the steamer came into collision with the schooner "Augusta," bound
for Chicago. Immediately after the collision the captain of the schooner shouted
to the people on the steamer, inquiring if they had suffered any damage, or
whether help was needed, but receiving an answer that no assistance was needed,
the schooner proceeded on her course. On its arrival in Chicago harbor next
morning the captain learned from the papers that the steamer had gone down
in half an hour after the collision, and a large number of lives were lost.

When the ill-fated steamer sank she was three miles from the shore and a
gale was blowing from the northeast. Three boats had been lowered immedi-
ately after the collision, manned by sailors provided with mattresses and sail-
cloth for the purpose of stopping the hole in her side ; but the oars were broken
in the attempt and the boats drifted away, eventually arriving on the neighboring
shore with their occupants in safety.

PERISH WHILE ESCAPING ON RAFT

Large quantities of wreckage were loosened as the steamer went down, and
the passengers seized upon any object that would keep them afloat. In the cargo
was a drove of cattle and the struggling animals were precipitated into the water
among the passengers. Many found a precarious hold on their backs. A large
piece of the hurricane deck became detached at the moment when the steamer
went down, and on this the heroic Captain Jack Wilson (who himself lost his
life) gathered more than fifty people and navigated the improvised raft towards
the shore at Winnetka. The raft ran on a sandbar at some distance from the
shore and went to pieces, and most of those who had so nearly reached a place
of safety were lost in the boiling waves.

The wreckage from the scene of the disaster drifted ashore in great quanti-
ties at a point near where the Winnetka water tower now stands, and was scat-
tered along the beach for miles to the south. The bluffs at Winnetka are twenty
or thirty feet in height, and below them is a narrow beach, in some places com-
pletely submerged by the surf. When in the gray of the morning the survivors
neared the shore the residents of the neighborhood came to the edge of the bluffs
in great numbers, ready to assist in the work of rescue.

"The unfortunate passengers seemed to come safely to the point where the
waves broke on the shore," relates an eyewitness of the scene, "but unless as-




Courtesy of Northwestern University



ORRINGTON LUNT LIBRARY AND GARRETT BIBLICAL INSTITUTE,
NORTHWESTERN BUILDING Uwx^t" O\t




Courtesy of Northwestern University



COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY



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CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 337

sistance was then at hand they were carried back by the undertow. The only
persons I saw rescued were saved by someone from the shore running out into
the surf with long branches hastily cut from trees near at hand. These branches
would be grasped by the ones in distress, and, once over the critical spot, they were
safe."

EVANSTON STUDENTS ASSIST IN RESCUE

All that day portions of the wreck, with the unfortunate survivors clinging
to them, continued to come into view of the hundreds of spectators who lined
the bluffs. Often a survivor was seen holding to some support which was torn
from his grasp in the surf, and he would be immediately swept back and drowned.
At some places the waves beat directly against the face of the bluffs, and the
survivors could be seen helplessly drifting to almost certain death. It was at
such points that some of the brave rescuers would let themselves down by ropes
held by those above, and when possible seize a person as he came within reach,
too often in vain. Many of the students from the Northwestern University and
Garrett Biblical Institute at Evanston joined in the work of rescue. One of
them, Edward W. Spencer, was successful in saving the lives of seventeen men
and women. Others among the students and townspeople performed heroic deeds
in this rescue work.

SPENCER WRECKS HEALTH IN SAVING LIVES

For days floating debris and bodies from the wreck continued to be washed
up on the beach, and such of the latter as were not claimed by friends were given
decent burial. Out of three hundred and ninety-three passengers who left Chi-
cago the night before only about one-fourth of the whole number were saved. Mr.
Spencer, whose daring deeds of rescue attracted the attention of the whole coun-
try at the time, is still living in California in broken health, never having recovered
from the terrible strain of that day's work. That was before the days when
medals for life saving were given by the government, and Mr. Spencer received
no other recognition than the applause of his friends and neighbors. But lately
a movement has been started by Evanston people having for its object the passage
of an act of congress to bestow a medal, even at this late day, on Mr. Spencer for
his heroic work.

A BRONZE TABLET IN HONOR OF SPENCER

On the 3d of June, 1908, a bronze memorial tablet, commemorating the heroic
work of Edward W. Spencer, was unveiled at the Orrington Lunt Library of the
Northwestern University, for his daring deeds of rescue at the time of the ."Lady
Elgin" disaster. The inscription on the tablet, which was placed in position on
the wall of the reading room by the Northwestern "Class of 1898," was as
follows :



388 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

"TO COMMEMORATE THE HEROIC ENDEAVORS OF

EDWARD W. SPENCER

FIRST NORTHWESTERN STUDENT LIFE SAVER.

THIS TABLET IS ERECTED BY THE CLASS OF 1898

AT THE WRECK OF THE LADY ELGIN, OFF WINNETKA,

SEPTEMBER 8, 1860, SPENCER SWAM THROUGH

THE HEAVY SURF SIXTEEN TIMES,

RESCUING SEVENTEEN PERSONS IN ALL. IN THE

DELIRIUM OF EXHAUSTION WHICH FOLLOWED,

HIS OFT-REPEATED QUESTION WAS,

'DID I DO MY BEST?"'

MR. SPENCER'S ACCOUNT OF THE RESCUE

"The captain, with about fifty persons on a large piece of the wreck," said
Mr. Spencer, in a written account prepared by him in recent years, "was buffeted
by that awful storm for about eight hours before they reached the breakers, where
the raft was knocked to pieces and all were lost but five. Sad, indeed, after
hours of such struggle and suffering, when safety seemed assured, to perish right
at the shore, where thousands of willing hands were outstretched to help them!

"On the morning of the wreck a number of us students went out to the lake
shore for a walk, and were met by Henry Kidder riding down from his place
near Gross Point, who told us of the disaster. Supposing the Lady Elgin had
been blown ashore and that we might assist in rescuing those aboard, we hurried
along and came to the dead body of a woman close in, with no vessel in sight,
but plenty of wreckage. This impressed me that the disaster must have occurred
far out in the lake. I hurried ahead through an open field on the high bluff.

"Between the field and the lake was a narrow strip of thick brush and tim-
ber. Coming to an opening, I saw far out in the breakers what appeared to be
a human being. With my coat I waved to the students behind me, jumped down
to the bank and made my way out just in time. I grasped the chilled and help-
less woman just as the breakers washed her from the wreckage to which she had
clung for weary hours. Then the struggle began, the huge breakers forcing us
towards the shore, keeping us buried much of time, and the strong undertow
tending to carry us back out into the lake.

"It was a struggle indeed, and I was gaining but little when two tall, stout
biblical students, to whom I had signaled, came to our relief. With the angry
surf pounding us against the shore, we fastened a shawl, thrown down to us,
under the woman's arms, and then a rope, and as we let go her feet those on the
bank above grasped our hands and lifted her to safety. Going north about half a
mile, I saw another person a man coming in on the long swelling waves out
in the lake, into the merciless breakers. While not an expert swimmer, I was
born and reared on the bank of the Mississippi River and had learned to be at
home in the water. As I reached this man, far out from the shore, his raft hit
my head, severely hurting me, but chilled as he was, and helpless, I succeeded
in getting him ashore. Thereafter, for my own safety, I had a rope tied to me
with some one on shore to pay it out. Several times during the day I came up



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 339

through huge breakers, just missing heavy timbers and wreckage that endangered
my life. Of the lighter wreckage I carried bruises for two or three months, and
the postmaster at Evanston told me that he saw, at one time, my feet sticking
out of the top of a breaker.

"About ten o'clock in the forenoon, while standing on the bank by a fire, cov-
ered with blankets, I saw some one coming into the breakers apparently sup-
porting something partly submerged by his side, and it came to us that some one
from the wreck was trying to save a companion in distress. This was an in-
spiration to me. I rushed into the lake to the end of the rope and waited while
Dr. Bannister, who held the rope, and who had been standing with me at the
fire, tied on another, which enabled me to reach them after a tremendous struggle.

"The high bluff back from the shore was covered with a great multitude, look-
ing on with intense interest. I remember now, after nearly forty-eight years
have passed, that when the pilot of the Lady Elgin and his wife were rescued
the storm of cheers from the thousands on shore drowned the roar of the storm
raging about us."

Herbert Ingram, a member of Parliament, who was at the time traveling in
this country, accompanied by his twelve year old son, was a passenger on the
"Lady Elgin," and both were lost. Mr. Ingram was the proprietor of the London
Illustrated News, which he had founded some twenty years before. The body of
Mr. Ingram was recovered and sent to England for burial, but that of his son
was never found. There is a statue of him in the churchyard of St. Botholph's
church in Boston, England.

The Prince of Wales, afterward King Edward VII, was traveling in America
at the time, and the same storm which prevailed over a large extent of territory
when the "Lady Elgin" was lost, held him and his party storm-bound at Toronto,
Canada, for a week. It will be remembered that the Prince visited Chicago in
the latter part of the same month in which the disaster occurred.

There were two hundred and ninety-five lives lost in the "Lady Elgin" disaster,
a larger number than in that of any other disaster in the history of the Great
Lakes.

AWAKENINO OF THE WAR SPIRIT

When Fort Sumter was fired on in April, 1861, the people of Evanston, in
common with the rest of the country, were greatly stirred by the thrilling news ;
as it was now seen, after long and fearful anticipations, that the Civil War had
actually begun. "The day is fresh in my memory," says Frances Willard, in her
book on Evanston, entitled "A Classic Town," "when Julius White, on Sunday
morning after church, stood up in his pew near the altar, and made an impassioned
speech calling upon all patriots to convene in the church the next night and de-
clare what they were going to do to save the country."

A rousing meeting, one of many such meetings in those times of great popular
excitement, was held as announced in the "Meeting House," as the Methodist
church was then called, it being the only building of its kind in the village, and
the room was filled to overflowing. Dr. John Evans presided, and when a call
was made for volunteers many young men, residents of the village and students
at the University, came forward and placed their names on the muster roll.



340 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

THE WAR SPIRIT AMONG THE COMMUTERS

The Monday following the fall of Fort Sumter the trains on the Chicago &
Milwaukee Railroad, as the present Chicago & North-Western Railway was then
called, were crowded with people from towns all along the North Shore going
to the city, anxious to learn the news from the seat of government. "My train,"
writes Charles B. George, one of the old-time conductors, "was filled to its ut-
most capacity with people from all along the line going to Chicago to get the
latest news. Nor did they all return that night, but many staid in the city to
attend various meetings held to discuss the situation. ... A grand rally was
held at Metropolitan Hall, but this not being large enough to hold the throngs,
another hall was opened and a double meeting convened. Speeches were made
and resolutions passed amid the wildest enthusiasm, which reached its height
when the new song by George F. Root was sung, 'The First Gun is Fired, May
God Protect the Right!'"

And yet the sentiment was by no means unanimous in favor of the Union
cause. The observing conductor, whose volume of reminiscences we have just
quoted from, says that from the time that the slavery agitation grew in force, until
the nomination and election of "Honest Old Abe" stirred the people as nothing
had done before, his train became the scene of many an angry debate. "Party
feeling ran high," he says, "and among my passengers were some of the best
men I ever knew, who took opposite views of the presidential candidates. Bitter
words were spoken, and men who had been friends and jovial companions for
years now looked at one another askance, and groups who had smoked and played
cards together on the cars before the nomination were now divided by common
consent."

EVANSTON'S MILITARY RECORD

The glorious record made by the men of Evanston who joined the army of
the Union is one of the pages of her history in which her citizens take an espe-
cial pride. From Evanston went forth Julius White, at first as Colonel of the
Thirty-seventh Regiment of Illinois Volunteers ; later in the war he reached the
rank of Major-General, by brevet; William Gamble, at first as Lieutenant-Colonel
of the Eighth Illinois Cavalry, later reaching the rank of Brigadier-General, by
brevet; and John L. Beveridge, at first as Captain in the Eighth Illinois Cavalry,
later reaching the rank of Brigadier-General, by brevet.

In the rooms of the Evanston Historical Society, appropriately framed, are
two original commissions given to Julius White. One of these is a commission
as Brigadier-General of Volunteers, dated June 12, 1862, and signed by Abraham
Lincoln. The other is a commission as Major-General, by brevet, dated August
28, 1866, signed by Andrew Johnson, which specifies that this rank is to date
from March 13, 1865, and is conferred "for gallant and meritorious services
during the war."

REGIMENTAL AND LIXE OFFICERS

There were a number of those who joined the Union army from Evanston
who attained rank as field, staff or company officers, otherwise described as regi-
mental or line officers. Those who attained rank as general officers are men-



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 341

tioned above. The names of those who at the close of the war held com-
missions as regimental or line officers, and the regiments to which they belonged,
are as follows :

Henry M. Kidder, Lieutenant-Colonel, 5th U. S. Cavalry (Colored).

Homer A. Plimpton, Lieutenant-Colonel, 39th 111. Inf.

Elhanon J. Searle, Lieutenant-Colonel, 1st Arkansas Inf.

Edward Russell, Major, 8th 111. Cav.

James D. Ludlam, Major, 8th 111. Cav.

William H. H. Adams, Major, Artillery Service.

Charles H. Simpson, Paymaster with the rank of M'ajor.

Joseph Clapp, Captain, 8th 111. Cav.

William A. Lord, Captain, 14th 111. Inf.

Charles H. Shepley, Captain, 19th 111. Inf.

James W. Haney, Captain, 72d 111. Inf.

Alphonso C. Linn, Captain, 134th 111. Inf.

Milton C. Springer, Captain, 134th 111. Inf.

John H. Page, Captain, 3d U. S. Inf.

William A. Spencer, Chaplain, 8th 111. Cav.

Joseph C. Thomas, Chaplain, 88th 111. Inf.

Henry A. Pearsons, Lieutenant, 8th 111. Cav.

Fletcher A. Parker, Lieutenant, Artillery Service.

George E. Strobridge, Lieutenant, 134th 111. Inf.

F. Vanderpoort, Lieutenant, 134th 111. Inf.

Henry G. Meacham, Lieutenant, 88th 111. Inf.

William R. Page, Lieutenant, th Missouri Inf.

George H. Gamble, Adjutant, 8th 111. Cav.

Allen W. Gray, Adjutant, 51st 111. Inf.

ENLISTMENTS FROM EVANSTON

Those who enlisted in the Union army from Evanston, except such as after-
wards held commissions whose names are given above, were as follows:

Charles C. Bragdon, George W. Huntoon, James A. Snyder, Charles P. Wester-
field, Charles McDaniel, George H. Reed, Orrington C. Foster, Philo P. Judson,
William R. Bailey, Alfred R. Bailey, Edwin Bailey, Charles Wigglesworth, Levi
A. Sinclair, Walter J. Kennicott, Lyman K. Ayrault, Dwight Bannister, Alums
Butterfield, Edward R. Clark, Michael Finity, Thomas Frake, William Gamble
(a student of the same name as that of him who became General), Samuel A.
Gillam. Frank E. C. Hawks, George C. Kirby, Eli R. Lewis, Eugene A. Lyford,
Isaac W. McCaskey, Melvin P. Meigs, James W. Milner, George F. Neally,
Eugene F. Oatman, George W. Partlow, James Roseman, Alvah P. Searle, Charles
E. Smith, David Sterrett, Thomas R. Strobridge, J. Martin Tracy, Edgar E.
Wead, Daniel T. Wilson, Benjamin S. Winder, George Hyde, Albert W. Kelly,
Horatio D. Kelly, Samuel Keyser, Charles Pratt, Hiram Pickett, Jeremiah Pickett,
William E. Smith, George Ellis, Joseph R. Edsall, Orsemus Coe, William Mickels,
Chauncey Parker, Jacob Balls, Edward McSweeney, Edwin Steele and Charles
Woods.



342 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

Many of the names given above are those of students in the University who
were temporarily residing in Evanston at the time of their enlistment.

The officers and enlisted men from Evanston who died in the service were
Captain Alphonso C. Linn, Captain Charles H. Shepley, Alfred R. Bailey, who
died from wounds, Eugene A. Lyford, killed at the battle of Stone River, Henry
G. Meacham, James Roseman, killed in action, William E. Smith, killed in action,
Walter J. Kennicott, died from wounds, and Edgar E. Wead.

There were two men from Evanston who entered the service of the Confederacy,
for the reason, doubtless, that their homes were in the South. These two men
were William H. H. Rawleigh, from Baltimore, Maryland, a graduate of the
Northwestern University in the Class of 1860, who became a lieutenant in the
Confederate service; and Millinder Duerson, from Enola, Arkansas, a student
in the University in 1861.

FAVORITE REGIMENTS WITH EVANSTON RECRUITS

The Eighth Illinois Cavalry was a favorite regiment with the men who joined
the army from Evanston, most of whom became members of Company F in that
regiment. The regiment saw active service almost continuously from Septem-
ber 18, 1861, the date on which it was mustered in, until July 17, 1865, when
it was mustered out, covering almost the entire period of the war. The eighth
Illinois Cavalry operated in Virginia and Maryland with the Army of the Po-
tomac throughout the war, taking part in the battles of Games' Mills, Malvern
Hill, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg, besides numerous
other actions, raids and reconnoissances. Its history has been written by Dr.
Abner Hard, the Surgeon of the regiment. After the war was ended, two monu-
ments erected on the battlefield of Bull Run were dedicated by General Gamble's
brigade, of which the "Eighth" was a part.

The One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, in which
many of the students enlisted later in the war, was formed in 1864 for a service
of one hundred days. It remained in actual service, however, one hundred and
forty-eight days before it was mustered out. It was assigned to duty in holding
territory from which the Confederates had been driven, thus releasing a
large number of veterans for service at the front. Company F of this regiment
contained at least eighteen students and one professor in the University, and was
locally known as the "University Guards." Two of these, Professor Linn, Captain
of Company F, and private Wead, died during the term of their service.

Professor Atwell, in his volume entitled, "Alumni Record of the Northwestern
University," says, "Altogether we find a list of seventy-seven graduates and
thirty-five non-graduates," who entered the military service either of the Union
or the Confederacy, two individuals of the number joining the army of the latter.
"That the material going from the University into the army was of the best
sort is to be surmised from the relatively large number of men who were pro-
moted, and who proved effective leaders." If to these are added the number of
those who enlisted from among the townspeople of the village of Evanston, then
with a population of a little more than a thousand souls, it will be seen that the



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 343

contribution made by Evanston to the Union army in the Civil War was highly
creditable to its patriotism and military spirit.

Much of the information in the foregoing was obtained from Professor Charles
B. Atwell's "Alumni Record" on the part taken by the University students
in the Civil War. Professor Atwell's record, however, gives the names of those
who were connected with the University only, either as students or otherwise.
The information regarding the enlistments from among the townspeople, other
than from among the students, is mainly derived from the Report of the Adju-
tant-General of Illinois, a work published by the State in eight volumes, in which
is contained the names of all those who served in Illinois regiments during the
Civil War.



CHAPTER XXXIX

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, ETC. .

DR. HINMAN THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY HINMAN*S VALUABLE SERV-

ICES HJ g UNTIMELY DEATH HENRY S. NOYES ORRINGTON LUNT FOUNDS LI-
BRARY UNIVERSITY HALL COMPLETED IN 1869^PRESIDENCY OF DR. FOWLER

DR. CUMMINGS* SERVICE OF NINE YEARS FINANCIAL PROSPECTS OF THE UNIVER-
SITY IMPROVED DR. HENRY WADE ROGERS THE HEAD FOR TEN YEARS GREAT



Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.2) → online text (page 46 of 55)