J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

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1840-3, 1845-8 and 1851-2. He was a leading member of the volunteer fire depart-


ment and only his fearless expression of his temperance principles kept him from
the mayor's chair. His vote was cast with the democratic party. He stood always
as an advocate of higher education and his labors were of far reaching benefit in
that field. Moreover, he was instrumental as member of the school board in origin-
ating the book fund for children of poor parents and was one of the founders of the
old Chicago University, subscribing forty thousand dollars toward its establish-
ment. In recognition of his generosity and practical assistance the trustees named
the south wing of the university Jones Hall, and one of the early school buildings
of the city, Jones school on Harrison street, was named in his honor. He served
on the university board of trustees until his death and for many years was president
of its executive committee. That in his character was the leaven of deep sympathy
and charity is indicated in the fact that he aided in founding the Chicago Orphan
Asylum and acted as president of its board of trustees for a number of years. He
died January 18, 1865, leaving his impress for good upon the substantial develop-
ment and public progress of Chicago. His wife passed away February 15. 1854.

While pursuing his early education in Buffalo, Fernando Jones was a pupil of
Millard Fillmore, afterward president of the United States, and in Fredonia Acad-
emy he was a fellow student of Reuben E. Fenton, afterward governor of New
York. While a student in Canandaigua he became a warm personal friend of
Stephen A. Douglas, then studying law there a friendship that was terminated
only in the death of "the little giant." His studies were not pursued continuously,
however, for in the meantime he had accompanied his parents to Chicago and as-
sisted his father in the conduct of the hardware store, from 1835 until 1837, when
he returned to the east to complete his education. The Indians were frequent vis-
itors in the embryo city and Fernando Jones soon picked up their language, learning
to converse with both the Pottawottomies and Chippewas. Frequently his services
as interpreter were sought and his knowledge of the Indian tongues later secured
him a clerkship with the United States disbursing officer. He was but sixteen years
of age when he was occupying clerkships in the United States land office and in
the office of the Illinois and Michigan canal trustees. From his return to Chicago
in 1839 until his retirement from business life he was associated with one phase
or another of real-estate interests. He joined his father, who had already become
a heavy investor in property, the son giving his attention largely to examining of
titles and furnishing abstracts. Impaired health caused him to spend several years
in the south and also three years in Jackson, Michigan, during which time he en-
gaged in literary work, editing monthly publications devoted to temperance, educa-
tion and agriculture. These were published by Wilbur F. Storey, afterward editor
of the Chicago Times and a lifelong friend of Mr. Jones.

Returning to Chicago, Mr. Jones remained but a short time and then went to
Rock Island. Illinois, his attention being given to the management of the real-estate
interests which he had there acquired until 1853. Again he became a factor in the
business circles of Chicago, taking up the task of completing a set of abstract books
founded on the system of tract indexes. In this he was associated with John D.
Brown, who on withdrawing from the business was succeeded by Robert A. Smith
and in 1862 Alfred H. Sellers, who had for some time occupied a clerkship in the
business, was admitted to share in the profits. In 1864 he became a partner and
the firm of Jones & Sellers operated until the great fire of 1871, when their set of


records was one of the three plants relied upon by experts to maintain the titles
to real estate in Chicago. Thus Mr. Jones became one of the originators of the
real-estate abstract system, which has been generally adopted throughout this coun-
try and introduced into many foreign countries. Following the fire the three abstract
firms of Chase Brothers, Shortall & Hoard and Jones & Sellers consolidated, the
business being continued under the style of Handy, Simmons & Company and after
intermediate changes became a portion of the consolidated plant of the Chicago
Title & Trust Company. Mr. Jones at that time retired from business and yet
his counsel and opinions were frequently sought as that of one of the highest ex-
perts on real-estate titles and values in the city.

The attractive home life of Fernando Jones had its inception in his marriage,
July 7, 1853, to Miss Jane Grahame, of Henry county, Illinois, who died in 1906.
Their only daughter, Genevieve, became the wife of George R. Grant, a lawyer,
and both are now deceased. Their son, Grahame a graduate of the Chicago Law
School, is a successful practitioner at the Chicago bar. Mr. and Mrs. Jones were
closely associated in many activities resulting beneficially to the city and to the
individual as factors in the community life. Mrs. Jones believed firmly in higher
and more liberal education for women and was prominently connected with the man-
agement of the Chicago Medical College for Women, while with associates and the
assistance of her husband and other public-spirited men she secured the adoption
6f the policy that made the Chicago University a coeducational institution. After
his retirement from business Mr. and Mrs. Jones and their children traveled largely
abroad, the son and daughter being educated in Florence, Paris, Venice, Rome and
Mentone, their combined residence in these different cities covering eight years.
Their sojourn abroad brought to Mr. and Mrs. Jones that broad, liberal culture
which is only gained from travel and they embraced their opportunity of securing
for their own home many valuable pictures and art treasures, which still adorn the
Jones home on Prairie avenue.

A complete account of the life Work of Fernando Jones must touch upon his
public activities, for from the beginning of his residence in Chicago, when as a
boy he filled positions in the early public offices, he was closely associated with move-
ments and projects which were directly beneficial to the city and especially pro-
moted its intellectual and moral progress and its charitable work. Like his father,
he represented the third ward in the city council when to fill such an office was an
honor rather than a reflection upon political integrity. He acted as supervisor of
the town of South Chicago during the period of the Civil war and was one of the
founders of Camp Douglas. Later he became one of the founders of the old Chi-
cago University, established on the site of the camp, and his influence and efforts were
a potent factor in the erection of the Douglas monument. He was ever deeply
interested in the work of the Chicago Historical Society and the Chicago Pioneer
Society and was president of the latter. His name was enrolled among the hon-
ored members of the Calumet and Press Clubs and from early manhood he was a
generous supporter and a loyal member of the Methodist church. His beneficent
spirit sought activity in the field of charity and he served as a trustee of the Chi-
coga Orphan Asylum and of the State Asylum for the Insane at Jacksonville. At
the time of his death Fernando Jones was n nonagenarian and stood in the front
rank of the columns which have advanced the civilization of the west, leading the


way to the substantial development, progress and upbuilding of what is today the
second American city. The story of his life and work will perhaps never be ade-
quately told, yet no name stood more truly as a synonym of honor in the western
metropolis than that of Fernando Jones.


Peter A. Newton became one of Chicago's pioneer residents and while he never
sought to become prominently connected with public interests in this city he was
known to a large circle of acquaintances as a reliable and enterprising business
man, worthy of high regard which was everywhere tendered him. He was born in
Templeton, Massachusetts, May 10, 1831, a son of George and Maria T. (Brig-
ham) Newton. The former was a farmer by occupation and lived retired during
the latter years of his life. He lived to the age of eighty-four years, his death
occurring at the home of his son Peter in Chicago.

In the public schools of Templeton and of Barry, Massachusetts, Peter A. New-
ton pursued his education, spending several years of his youthful period in the
latter place. He was reared to farm life, but thinking to find other pursuits more
congenial and profitable he abandoned the plow and went to Worcester, Massachu-
setts, becoming a clerk in the old American House which was noted in its day as>
a temperance hotel. The 21st of February, 1856, witnessed his arrival in Chicago
and his capital consisted of only a few hundred dollars, which he had saved from
his earnings. However, he regarded the growing western city as an advantageous
location and entered the employ of a Mr. Higgins, one of the pioneer milk men.
About a year later he started in business on his own account but the first venture
proved unfortunate from the fact that it was launched at that period when wild
cat currency was in circulation and the irresponsibility of banks, any of which
could issue bank notes, resulted in the widespread financial panic of 1857. Mr.
Newton had placed all of his money in a bank which failed, so that he lost what he
had previously saved. His remaining assets were his faith in Chicago as a business
center and a cheerful disposition and optimistic nature. Accordingly he at once
set to work to retrieve his lost possessions and was soon again engaged in business
for himself on a small scale. It required some time, however, to establish a good
trade. The fluctuation in money values still made business an uncertainty but Mr.
Newton worked along conservative lines and in time had built up a big trade, con-
tinuing in the milk business until his death. In 1873 he admitted his brother, Ed-
ward F. Newton, to a partnership under the firm style of P. A. Newton & Brother,
which name is still continued by Andrew Sell and Mr. Newton's son, Ralph H.

In 1857 Mr. Newton was united in marriage to Miss Charlotte Castle, a native
of Vermont, who died in 1868, leaving two children, a son and daughter: Leslie C.,
who married Miss Elizabeth Stafford and passed away in January, 1902, leaving
two daughters, Grace J., who became Mrs. Dennis Nolan, and Ethel B., who mar-
ried Stewart Garner; and Mrs. Agnes N. Vallins, of Rockland, Idaho, who has a
son, Henry N. Vallins. Mr. Newton afterward married Jennette Castle, a sister of
his first wife. The marriage was celebrated on October 27, 1870, and to them were


born three children. Charlotte E. is the wife of Tim H. Ingwersen and they have
six children: Henry Newton, born July 19, 1896; Jennette, born April 30, 1898;
Phillip A., born November 16, 1899; Richard C., born August 10, 1902; Charlotte,
born January 20, 1907; and Timothy B., born August 17, 1908. Peter A., a gradu-
ate of Cornell University '94, is now assistant superintendent, of the Chicago Steel
Works at South Chicago and married Miss Clara E. Calmer, of Joliet, Illinois. The
third of the children is Ralph H. Mrs. Newton holds membership in the First
Unitarian church, to which Mr. Newton also belonged. He was very fond of his
home and considered no sacrifice on his part too great if it would promote the hap-
piness and welfare of his family. He enjoyed travel and engaged in it to some
extent but was never actively identified with lodges or clubs. He died November
18, 1905, at the age of seventy- four years, after spending almost a half century
in Chicago. He lived to see noticeable changes in this city, its rapid growth making
it one of the wonders of the world. He was always much interested in its progress
and upbuilding and as far as his time and opportunities permitted cooperated in
movements for the general good. While he lived a quiet and unassuming life his
sterling traits of character were recognized by all with whom he came in contact
and he had many warm friends.


Daniel Hudson Burnham, who without invidious distinction may be termed Chi-
cago's foremost architect, who was architect in chief and director of works of the
World's Columbian Exposition and is at the head of the Chicago Plan, an organized
movement for the adornment of the city, is a native of Henderson, Jefferson county,
New York. His natal day was September 4, 1846. His parents, Edwin and Eliza-
beth Burnham, were both natives of Vermont but were married in New York about
1841. One of the great-grandfathers of Daniel H. Burnham served as an officer
in the Revolutionary war and in the maternal line through various generations the
family was represented by clergymen. His mother was a cousin of the late Mark
Hopkins, of California. It was about the year 1855 that Edwin Burnham came with
his family to Chicago, where he engaged in business as a wholesale merchant until
his death in 1874. His general activity contributed much to the business development
of the city and he was honored by the presidency of the old Merchants Exchange.

In his boyhood days Daniel H. Burnham pursued his education in a private
school conducted by Professor Snow on the present site of The Fair, at Adams and
State streets, and later continued his studies in the old Jones school and the Chicago
high school. He was likewise for two years under private instruction at Waltham,
Massachusetts, and for one year was the sole pupil at Bridgewater, Massachusetts,
of Professor T. B. Hayward, previously at Harvard University.

In the fall of 1867 Mr. Burnham returned to Chicago and spent a year and a
half in the office of Loring & Jenney, architects. He was afterward engaged in
mining for a year in Nevada and then again came to Chicago, spending a year and
a half in the office of L. G. Laurean, an architect. Immediately after the disastrous
fire of October, 1871, he entered the office of Messrs. Carter, Drake & Wight and


while there formed the acquaintance of John W. Root, with whom he entered into
partnership in the spring of 1873. The firm of Root & Burnham was maintained
until the death of the former in January, 1891, and since that time the business
has been conducted under the style of D. H. Burnham & Company, of which he is
still the active head. Investigation into the history of building operations in the
business center of Chicago at once establishes Mr. Burnham's position as a foremost
architect of this city. He planned and constructed The Rookery, the Masonic
Temple, the Railway Exchange, The Temple, the Illinois Trust Bank, the Great
Northern Hotel, the First National Bank, the Continental & Commercial National
Bank, Marshall Field's retail store, the Field Museum and many other buildings in
Chicago and elsewhere, including the Mills building, of San Francisco; Elliott's
Square, at Buffalo; Society for Savings and the First National Bank buildings of
Cleveland ; the Third and Fourth National Banks, of Cincinnati ; the Land Title
building, of Philadelphia; the new Wanamaker stores, of Philadelphia and New'
York; the Flatiron or Fisher building, of New York; and the Union Station, Wash-
ington, D. C.

In October, 1890, Mr. Burnham was appointed by the directory of the World's
Columbian Exposition architect in chief. He made all of the drawings and contracts,
supervised the artistic and working construction and also made the disbursements
for the buildings, which surpassed anything heretofore attempted in the magnifi-
cence of their designs and equipment. He had charge of and managed the exposi-
tion from start to finish. In 1901 he was appointed chairman of the national com-
mission for beautifying the city of Washington and also of a like commission at
Cleveland, Ohio. He has made comprehensive plans for the future development
of the cities of Manila, Bagnio, San Francisco and Chicago. In 1910 he was ap-
pointed by President Taft chairman of the government commission of fine arts,
created by congress on the 17th of May, of that year. Recently he has seen the
first decisive and tangible step toward the execution of his Chicago Plan, which
includes the extension of its park and boulevard system and the grouping of its
buildings into a harmonious whole. He was a director of the Bankers National
Bank until its consolidation with the Commercial National Bank, and is now a
director of the Continental & Commercial National Bank and many other companies.

On the 20th of January, 1876, Mr. Burnham was united in marriage to Miss
Margaret S. Sherman, daughter of J. B. Sherman, one of the prominent pioneers
of this city. They have five children: Ethel, now the wife of A. B. Wells, of
Southbridge, Massachusetts; Margaret, the wife of George T. Kelly, a Chicago
lawyer; John, president of the firm of John Burnham & Company, dealers in stocks
and bonds in Chicago; Hubert, an architect associated with his father; and Daniel.
Mr. Burnham has for many years been a resident of Evanston where he takes an
active interest in local affairs. In recognition of his advancement in the science of
his profession various degrees have been conferred upon him by the leading institu-
tions of the country. He received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from
Harvard and from Yale on the same day, in 1893; that of Doctor of Science from
Northwestern University, in 1895; and that of Doctor of Laws from the University
of Illinois, in 1905. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, of
which he was president in 1894 and 1895 and is a member of the Chicago Union
League, University, Chicago Literary, Cliff Dwellers, Caxton, Little Room, Glen


View and Evanston Country Clubs; the Century and Lawyers Clubs, of New York;
the Duquesne Club, of Pittsburg; the Pacific Union Club, of San Francisco; and
others. In all of his life he has been actuated by high ideals whether in profes-
sional lines or in social relations. He has ever recognized the duties and obliga-
tions as well as the privileges of citizenship and has given much time and thought
to public service in his efforts to benefit, beautify and adorn the city which through-
out the greater part of his life has been his home.


Robert J. Bennett was born at Pulaski, Oswego county, New York, February
'9, 1839. His father, Reuben J. Bennett, came of a Scotch-Irish family which set-
tled in Connecticut between the years 1650 and 1660, as nearly as known. On his
mother's side he was removed but three generations from Ireland. The mother,
Alta (Haskins) Bennett, was a direct descendant and the sixth in line from Captain
Miles Standish of Pilgrim fame. Vermont was her native state. These parents
were intelligent, earnest anl honest people, of the middle ranks, ready to do their
part in the world's work and content with what they earned of worldly goods and
honors. Any one might well be proud of such ancestry. In the winter and spring
of 1844 they came west the second time, having settled at Roscoe near Rockford,
Illinois, in 1836. However, as no titles to land could then be obtained, the land
being not yet in market, they returned east. In 1844 Reuben J. Bennett again
journeyed westward, being accompanied by his wife, three sons and two daughters.
For a short time they lived in the light keeper's house which stood on the site of the
"Borge office" at the south end of Rush street bridge. Soon afterward the family
removed to Lake county, obtaining two hundred and forty acres (mostly of the
government) near Diamond Lake, where our subject grew in age and strength for
sixteen years. These were years of hard work and constant industry. Schools were
few, often held in a vacant chamber or granary before harvest time. Of such ad-
vantages Robert J. Bennett availed himself to the utmost. At the age of eight he
began to do n man's work, caring for a span of horses, harnessing them and plowing
two acres or harrowing ten per day, besides milking cows, feeding pigs and calves.
His father often made the declaration: "Robert is as good as a hired man." His
school privileges were meager. At seventeen he began to teach country schools, fol-
lowing that profession during the winter seasons and later in the summer also. He
was thus identified with educational interests until twenty-four years of age, earning
a good name among teachers of that period. His last school was at Wheeling, Cook

On the 9th of April, 1862, Mr. Bennett married Electa M. Hoyt and a year
later came to Chicago as bookkeeper and cashier for W. M. Hoyt, then a dealer in
fruits and fancy groceries at 15 Dearborn street. Two years later, in February,
1865, A. M. Fuller, a former pupil at Deerfield, joined Mr. Bennett in buying Mr.
Hoyt's business, going into heavy groceries on a wholesale scale. They began the
business with practically no capital but worked strenuously and untiringly and pros-
pered in a moderate way. In the great fire on the 9th of October, 1871, they lost


their entire stock of goods. Available country accounts were equal to about seventy
per cent of their liabilities. Mr. Bennett asked for time, promising to pay in full
some time. Creditors said the firm could not do it and voluntarily agreed to take
fifty per cent on the same terms asked. By 1875 they had paid one hundred cents
on each dollar and six per cent interest for all the time creditors waited beyond the
time named at purchase. This gave them credit far beyond that warranted by their
means and again proved 'the value of a good name. On the 1st of August, 1874,
the firms of Bennett Fuller and W. M. Hoyt & Company united under the name
of the latter and have occupied the building at the corner of Michigan avenue and
River street to the present date. Mr. Bennett took the financial management of
the business, others attending to buying and selling. Through all the years of war
and inflation, of later contractions, of panics and fire, the company and its mem-
bers have not failed to pay one hundred cents on the dollar. Surely the Lord has
been good to them and prospered them.

Two sons, Arthur G. and William Hoyt, and one daughter, now Mrs. Maude B.
Vail, of Dixon, Illinois, came to Mr. and Mrs. Bennett. The parents have been
active in the work of the Congregational church. Mr. Bennett has been a director
in two banks and vice president in one. He is a trustee of Wheaton College and
also one of the trustees of the Young Men's Christian Association, being interested
in the promotion of the Wilson avenue branch. To the interests of the Illinois Chil-
dren's Home and Aid Society and the Chicago City Missionary Society a helping
hand has been extended. In person Mr. Bennett is five feet nine inches in height,
weighing about one hundred and seventy pounds. He is a gentleman of light com-
plexion and is now white haired. His habits are simple and regular and he is a
plain liver. He does not know the taste of beer or any kind of liquor and has never
used tobacco, also abstaining from tea and coffee. Through a simple life he has
passed three score years and ten in good health and cheer, answering well the prayer
of Hagar: "Give me neither poverty nor riches;" and illustrating this, if anything,
that of an honest walk along the. middle lines of life one need not be ashamed.


Dr. Amelia L. Whipple Taylor, engaged in practice in Evanston, is a native of
Pennsylvania, her birth having occurred in Bradford county, July 20, 1856. Her
ancestry can be traced back to colonial days. Her great-grandfather, William
Whipple, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the well
known Bishop Whipple was a cousin of her grandfather, William Whipple, Jr.
Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Myron T. Whipple. Her father was born April
22, 1832, and died in April, 1874, at the comparatively early age of forty-two years,
after devoting his life to the dry-goods business. The mother, who was a native of
Pennsylvania, was born March 1, 1838, and is now living in Wilkes-Barre, that

Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.5) → online text (page 11 of 74)