J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

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troit river he came to Chicago, arriving here in October, 1836. The appearance of



the place might have discouraged a less hopeful spirit, but the young man from the
Green Mountain state possessed great faith in the possibilities that he saw lying dor-
mant in northern Illinois and after traveling as far west as Joliet looking over the
country, he returned to Chicago and purchased seventy acres of land on the lake
front, about four miles south of the river, upon which was a two-story house which
had been kept as a tavern. The land he purchased cost him about five hundred dol-
lars and is now bounded on the north by Twenty-sixth street, on the east by Lake
Michigan, on the west by South Park avenue, and on the south by Thirty-first street.
In 1837 he revisited his old home in Vermont and returned to Chicago in a buggy
with a single horse, the return trip requiring thirty-five days. From that time he
was permanently a resident of this city.

After his marriage Mr. Myrick entered the hotel business in his little home which
was known as the Myrick House and for fifteen years it was the headquarters for
drovers and dealers in cattle who were attracted by the growing Chicago market.
It was the forerunner of the Transit House, now at the stockyards. Mr. Myrick
established the first stockyards of the city and they remained upon the spot which
he selected until their removal to their present location. When he began in the hotel
business the country north and west of his home was open prairie. The nearest
house northward was that of Henry B. Clark, a mile and a half distant, between
Sixteenth and Eighteenth streets, on what is now known as Michigan avenue. The
nearest neighbor southward was half a mile distant and on the west there were no
houses east of Bridgeport. It was not uncommon for persons starting from the vil-
lage of Chicago on dark nights to get lost on the prairie. On such nights Mrs. My-
rick, when her husband happened to be out, would put a light in an upper window
to direct his steps homeward. All travel in those days was by stage, wagon or on
horseback, and many interesting meetings took place at the little frontier hotel, the
principals of which have long since passed to their reward. When Mr. Myrick gave
up hotel-keeping the house passed into the hands of John B. Sherman who became
one of the wealthy men of the city and at this hostelry Nelson Morris, the future
packer, started in his career with a shoe brush and a box of blacking. Game was
abundant in the early days and Mr. Myrick often went out with his gun and killed
enough game for breakfast within eighty rods of his hotel. In 1854 he built a home-
stead at the corner of Thirtieth street and Vernon avenue and there he passed the
remainder of his days, living retired upon a liberal income for nearly forty years.

On the 10th of July, 1839, Mr. Myrick was married to Miss Jane A. Hill, who
was also a native of Vermont. He died January 27, 1889, being then in the eight-
ieth year of his age. His beloved wife and companion was called away June 9, 1895.
Both were buried in Oakwoods cemetery. They were the parents of one child, Mary
E., who was married October 15, 1868, to George F. Bacon, of this city, who died
in 1872. Two daughters were born to this union, Lillian Myrick and 'Jennie Gil-
bert, the latter of whom was married August 4, 1896, to Charles A. Ford, a mem-
ber of the firm of Whitney & Ford, dealers in plumbers' supplies, and they have one
child, Marjorie Bacon. On February 24, 1876, Mrs. Bacon was married to D wight
W. Jackson, a well known attorney of Chicago, who died January 2, 1896. Two
daughters were born to this union: Anna Durand, who married Captain Charles F.
Crain of the United States Army and has one daughter, Elizabeth; and Mary War-


riner, who married Richard C. Crawford, of the Crawford-TCarratt Company, Chi-
cago, and has two children, Faith and Janeth.

In politics Mr. Myrick gave his support to the republican party. He was a warm
admirer of Abraham Lincoln and was an active worker in behalf of the soldiers dur-
ing and after the Civil war. He was a man of charitable disposition and his gen-
erosity sometimes seriously endangered his private affairs. He was always consid-
erate of the rights of others but was candid in his dislikes and sometimes expressed
them very plainly. Open and sincere in his own nature, he had a profound contempt
for trickery and meanness in others. He was a pronounced lover of children and
his grandchildren were to him a source of the greatest satisfaction and pleasure.
He and his wife were noted for their kindly acts. He was vice president of the Chi-
cago Orphan Asylum and she was a member of the board of directors and also of
the Soldiers' Home board.

Mrs. Myrick was prominent in social, religious and philanthropic circles of the
city. She was one of the mainstays of the Orphan Asylum and the old soldiers had
no better friend than this noble-hearted woman. Although her family was small
food would be cooked every day for twenty or thirty persons and a procession of
decrepit men and women and poorly clad children could be seen passing around to
te rear of the Myrick mansion to receive good nourishing food. In many other ways
she demonstrated her spirit of helpfulness. It is fitting that the site of this home of
culture, hospitality and genuine philanthropy should be occupied as it is today by
the Baptist Missionary Training School, one of the most worthy institutions of the
city. Mr. and Mrs. Myrick have departed but the influence of their kindly acts con-
tinues and their names will ever be remembered with the deepest veneration by all
who came within the circle of their influence.


Dr. Ashley M. Hewett, a well known dentist of the west side, was born in
Peoria, Illinois, on the 9th of December, 1872, and is a son of Dr. Nelson T. and
Maria L. (Spur) Hewett. The father, one of the early dentists of Chicago, was
born in this city on the 26th of March, 1836, and here he passed away on the 1st of
January, 1897. The mother, a native of Xenia, Ohio, died in Denver, Colorado, on
the 3d of January, 1894. Of the union of Dr. and Mrs. Hewett there were born
two children, of whom the son Ashley M. is the elder. The other, Nelson E., was
born on the 30th of June, 1892, and died on the 23d of August, 1900.

The early education of Dr. Ashley M. Hewett was obtained in the public schools
of Hiawatha, Kansas, which he continued to attend until he was graduated from the
high school. Desiring to go farther west in 1888, after leaving school, he went to
southwestern Kansas, where he remained for a time, removing to Oklahoma, and
thence to Denver, where he remained until 1892. In common with the majority of
his father's family he decided to become a dentist and with this object in view
studied under his father for several years, following which he practiced for a time.
In 1 893 he entered the Chicago College of Dental Surgery from which he was grad-
uated with the degree of D. D. S. with the class of 1896. Immediately thereafter


he established an office at the southeast corner of West Madison street and Hoyne
avenue, where he has ever since been located. He is well qualified by nature for
the profession he has elected to follow, possessing unusual mechanical skill and being
of a studious disposition. His discoveries and inventions have been of great benefit
to his fellow practitioners, the most useful in all probability being the Hewett &
Smith electric dental furnace.

Dr. Hewett, who is unmarried is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, being a
member of Garden City Lodge, No. 141, A. F. & A. M.; York Chapter, No. 148,
R. A. M.; Tyrian Council, No. 78, R. & S. M.; and St. Bernard Commandery, K. T.
He maintains relations with his fellow practitioners through his affiliation with the
Chicago Dental Society and the Illinois State Dental Association. In addition to
which he also belongs to the Alumni of the Chicago College of Dental Surgery. His
political support he gives to the candidates of the republican party. His mother's
brother, Albert S. Spur, of Hiawatha, Kansas, was quite a prominent man in the
political life of the Sunflower state, and held many public offices among them that
of state senator from his district. He is now a resident of South Dakota. Dr.
Hewett is very fond of motor boating and hunting, and indulges in these amuse-
ments in moderation at such times as it is possible for him to leave his practice.


Alonzo M. Parker, M. D., who engages in the practice of his profession on the
west side, Chicago, was born in Manteno, Illinois, on the 1st of April, 1874, being
a son of John T. and Mary E. Parker. The father was a native of Leeds, England,
his birth having occurred in 1824 and he died in 1898, at the age of seventy- four. He
was a well known resident of Kankakee county, where for many years he was suc-
cessfully engaged in agricultural pursuits. The mother, who was born in Louisiana
in 1836, survived for several years the demise of her husband, her death occurring
in 1907. Of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Parker there were born nine children,
the order of birth being as follows: Daniel W., who is engaged in the practice of
law in Chicago; John I., a dentist, also a resident of Chicago; James S., a farmer
of Arkansas, who is married and has one child; A. Hayes, a teacher, living in
Chicago; Charles M., who is deceased; Carrie J., the wife of Frank Smith, of
Little Rock, Arkansas, and the mother of one child; Alonzo M., our subject; Mrs.
Anna B. Robinson; and Arthur S., who is living in Philadelphia.

Reared on a farm, when he had attained the age of six years Alonzo M. Parker
entered the district schools in the vicinity of his home, of which he was a student
until he was seventeen. In 1897 he graduated from the high school at Manteno,
and then went to Valparaiso, Indiana, where he studied pharmacy for four years,
also taking up music, being graduated from the former department in 1900. He
came to Chicago very soon thereafter and for two years worked in a drug store,
and then kept books for a year. Returning home at the expiration of that period
he remained on the farm for two years, subsequently coming to Chicago to take
up the study of medicine. He matriculated at the Chicago College of Medicine &
Surgery from which institution he was graduated with the degree of Doctor of


Medicine with the class of 1909. He immediately opened an office at 922 West
Madison street, where he has ever since engaged in the general practice of medicine
and surgery. Dr. Parker has met with good success during the brief period of his
identification with the profession and has recently purchased a large tract of land
in Texas. He is well qualified for the work he has undertaken, possessing the per-
sonality, keen mental powers and reasoning faculties so essentia.l for success in this

Dr. Parker resides at 5300 Washington Boulevard. He affiliates with the
Presbyterian church and in matters politic is a republican, while he maintains rela-
tions with his fellow practitioners through the medium of his membership in the
Chicago Medical Society and the American Medical Association.


Dr. Benedict F. Shanahan, engaged in the practice of medicine in Chicago since
1 897, has at all times been actuated in his chosen life work by the high purpose
of making his service of the utmost value to his fellowmen, and to this end he has
constantly read and studied until he is today recognized as one of the best informed
physicians on the west side, having his residence at No. 404 Ashland boulevard
and his office at No. 1605 West Van Buren street. His parents, Jeremiah J. and
Bridget (Bergen) Shanahan, were both natives of Ireland, their families coming
to the United States in 1857 and settling in Indiana. In 1860 the young couple
were married and removed to Chicago, where for many years Jeremiah Shanahan
figured prominently as a prosperous hardware and machinery merchant and also
conducted important farming interests. At the time of the Civil war, however,
all business and personal considerations were put aside that he might aid his
adopted country in the preservation of the Union. He became a member of the
Thirty-fifth Indiana Volunteer Infantry and in this connection rendered valuable
service to the cause. He was also identified with Minnesota polities for thirty-
seven years, was chairman of local committees and was not unknown in national
affairs. Unto him and his wife were born seven children, all of whom are yet
living. The father died in 1906 but is still survived by his widow, who spends
her time with her children and at her summer home near Minneapolis, Minnesota..
In his boyhood days Dr. Shanahan attended the country schools near his
father's home and afterward pursued his studies at Shakopee and Mankato, Minne-
sota, until he had attained his majority. He then entered the University of
Minnesota, at Minneapolis, and was graduated therefrom with the class of 1891.
thus acquiring a liberal literary education. He came to Chicago in 1892 and here
matriculated in the Bennett Medical College, in which he completed his course
with the class of 1896. Broad practical experience came to him as interne in
Cook County Hospital and after post-graduate work he received a diploma, on
the 8th of July, 1897. He then entered upon the private practice of medicine in
this city and has since devoted his attention to his chosen life work, his labors
being attended with excellent results. He is now accorded a liberal practice and
his many patrons have marked faith in his knowledge and ability. He not only



possesses the keen intellect which has enabled him to master scientific principles
but also the ready sympathy which promotes understanding with his patients and
their needs.

On the 14th of October, 1903, occurred the marriage of Dr. Shanahan and
Miss Elizabeth A. Dutch, a daughter of George Dutch, a prominent business man
of Niles, Michigan. Dr. and Mrs. Shanahan now have one daughter, Helen, who
was born July 24, 1904. In his political views the Doctor is a republican and is
conversant with the vital questions of the day. His religious faith is that of the
Catholic church and his social relations are with the Illinois Club. He belongs
also to the Chicago Medical Society and the American Medical Association, and
the proceedings of those organizations keep him in touch with what is being
done by the medical profession, while from individual research and experience
he has also learned many valuable lessons.


Lawyer, railroad promoter, banker, philanthropist, an earnest friend of educa-
tion and the supporter of all worthy movements which had their root in unselfish
devotion to the best interests of the city, William H. Brown left his impress indel-
ibly upon the history of Chicago and his memory should be revered through all
the ages by those who rejoice in that substantial progress and advancement which
contributes toward a higher and broader civilization.

William H. Brown was born in Colchester, Connecticut, November 8, 1796, a
son of William and Alice (Deming) Brown. The father was a graduate of Yale ,
College of the class of 1789. He afterward studied theology with the Rev. Dr.
Edwards of New Haven and in 1792 was called to the Congregational church in
Glastonbury, Connecticut. On account of failing health in 1796 he requested a
dismission from that charge and soon afterward removed to the state of New York,
where he studied law. From 1802 until 1811 he engaged in law practice in Cat-
skill and thence removed to Auburn, New York then the "far west." He died in
Brooklyn, New York, in 1854. He was a man of fervent Christian faith and deeply
interested in the leading public measures of his day, especially in temperance, the
abolition of slavery, Sabbath observance and the spread of education.

In an environment that stimulated the latent forces of manhood and high prin-
ciple in him, William H. Brown spent his youthful years under the parental roof
and took up the study of law under the direction of his father, with whom he also
practiced for a short time. In the latter part of 1818, in company with the late
Judge Samuel D. Lockwood and six or seven others, lie left Auburn on horseback,
the attendants of the men leading their pack horses. They purchased a flatboat at
Olean Point, as it was then called, on the Allegheny river, and about the 20th of
December reached Shawneetown, Illinois, where they debarked. After a short delay
Mr. Brown and Mr. Lockwood started for Kaskaskia, then the capital of the state,
where they arrived on the 26th of December. On Christmas day they fell in with
two other men who afterward became prominent in the history of the state, and the
journey was completed in their company. These were Thomas Mather, later a


leading business man of Kaskaskia and Springfield, and Sidney Breese, who was
afterward United States senator and supreme court justice. In January, 1819, only
a few weeks after his arrival, Mr. Brown was appointed clerk of the United States
district court by Judge Nathaniel Pope, who had just been given his judicial posi-
tion by President Monroe and held it until his death in 1850. In 1820, Vandalia
having become the state capital, Mr. Brown's official duties required his removal to
that place, where he resided until 1835. While there he became half owner, and
editor of the Illinois Intelligencer, the oldest paper of the state, originally started
at Kaskaskia. In 1823, when the controversy over the attempt to revise the state
constitution in the interest of slavery was being waged, Mr. Brown, who had taken
a strong position against the measure, disagreed with his partner, William Berry, a
pro-slavery member of the legislature, with the result that he sold his interest in
the firm. Those were times which tested the mettle of men and an incident in con-
nection with this controversy indicated clearly the character of Mr. Brown. Ma-
jority members of the house having taken offense at his vigorous criticism of their
acts, he was cited to appear before that body to answer for his course, but he re-
fused to do so, justly maintaining his rights on the ground of freedom of the press.
He was one of the men who were instrumental in freeing Illinois from slavery.

In the latter part of 1835 Mr. Brown was appointed cashier of the branch of the
state bank to be established at Chicago and in October removed to that city, taking
part in the bank organization on the 5th of December. John H. Kinzie was a strong
candidate for the presidency of the bank and the directors were G. S. Hubbard,
Peter Pruyne, E. K. Hubbard, R. J. Hamilton, Walter Kimball, H. B. Clarke, G. W.
Dole and E. D. Taylor. About ten days later the bank opened its doors for busi-
ness in one of the rooms in a four-story brick building that stood at the corner
of La Salle and South Water streets and was the property of Garrett, Brown &
Brother. Mr. Brown also served as .president of the Manufacturers National Bank
and as vice president of the First National Bank in Chicago, and was always spoken
of as "Cashier William H. Brown." The state bank issued an immense amount of
credit currency and its efforts were directed toward maintaining the circulation of
a money that depended for its value to a great extent on the speculative enterprises
and the state internal improvements of the time. The panic of 1837 made it impos-
sible for state bonds, bank notes or any kind of "scrip currency" to be maintained at
a fair approximate to parity, and the state bank was soon at the end of its useful-
ness. The legislature put the bank in liquidation by an act of 1813 and from that
time until the passage of the general banking law in 1851 there existed no char-
tered bank with full powers in Chicago.

In 1836 Mr. Brown, at the northwest corner of Pine and Illinois streets, erected
the finest residence in Chicago. In February, 1840, the city council elected him to
the position of school agent for Chicago at his own request, upon his stipulation
that he should receive no compensation for his service. Colonel R. J. Hamilton,
commissioner of school lands for the county, turned over to him thirty-eight thou-
sand, six hundred and twenty-five dollars and forty-seven cents, which had accrued
from the sale of the Chicago school section in October, 1833. The fund continued
in the hands of Mr. Brown for thirteen years and so successful was his manage-
ment that not a dollar was lost from bad loans and in February, 1853. after he had
resigned his position, he was enabled to turn over to his successor the sum of forty-


one thousand, one hundred and twenty-three dollars and twenty cents in cash, real-
estate of great value and secured loans. For many years he was president of the
school board and on his retirement received the cordial thanks of the public in a
series of resolutions adopted by the city council which are now on file in the records
of the Chicago Historical Society. The William H. Brown school was named in
his honor and is a fitting reminder of his services in behalf of education.

In 18-16 Mr. Brown became a member of a syndicate which bought the charter
of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad from the estate of E. K. Hubbard. He
was a large subscriber to the stock of the old Galena & Chicago Railroad and was a
director and vice president for many years. In 1857 at a cost of thirty thousand
dollars he erected a residence on Michigan avenue, which was one of the finest on
that popular thoroughfare, its site being that now occupied by the splendid structure
erected by the Peoples Gas, Light & Coke Company.

Mr. Brown was a stalwart republican and a warm friend and supporter of Abra-
ham Lincoln. In 1860 he was chosen to represent Cook county in the general as-
sembly with J. Y. Scamrnon as his colleague, while W. B. Ogden and Hon. Henry W.
Blodgett, of the United States district court, were members of the senate. During
the Civil war Mr. Brown earnestly supported measures to sustain the government
and support the troops in the field, and at its close he retired from active life.

Mr. Brown served as president of the Chicago Historical Society from 1856 to
1863, and enriched the archives of that society with several addresses, the most
valuable being one upon "The Early Movement in Illinois for the Legalization of
Slavery," being a history of the attempt to secure a revision of the constitution and
to plant slavery in Illinois in 1823-4. He also delivered an instructive lecture before
the Chicago Lyceum, December 8, 1840, on "The Early History of Illinois" and an-
other, January 20, 1842, on "The Social and Legal Rights of Women."

In December, 1822, Mr. Brown was united in marriage to Harriet C. Seward,
a daughter of Colonel John Seward, of Montgomery county, Illinois. To this union
nine children were born, five of whom grew to maturity, namely: S. Lockwood, of
Chicago; Mary, the widow of Romeyne Tyler, of Chicago; and Charles, Theodore
and Frederick, all of whom are deceased. The grandchildren are: Carolyn Tyler;
Bessie, who married Charles De Villers Hoard, son of Charles De Villers Hoard,
an early citizen of Chicago; Grace, who married Malcolm C. Mitchell; and James.
Harriet S. Brown Wright, Harold B., Francis H., Carrol, Frederick, George H. and
Seward. The great-grandchildren are Clarence, Francis H. and Dorothy.

In 1866 Mr. Brown accompanied by his wife made a visit to Europe. While at
Amsterdam the following summer he was attacked by small-pox and had passed
through the crisis of the disease when he was stricken with paralysis, dying June 9,
1867. Mrs. Brown died in this city in September, 1883, at the age of seventy-eight.
She and her husband were early members of the First Presbyterian church and with
others organized the Second Presbyterian church in this city in 1843, of which he
became an elder also. She was noted for her generosity and hospitality and for
many years was foremost in benevolent work in Chicago. She was head of the com-
mittee which decorated the wigwam in which Abraham Lincoln was first nominated
for the presidency, and immediately after the nomination Mr. and Mrs. Brown held

Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.5) → online text (page 51 of 74)