J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

Chicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.5) online

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centrated upon his business affairs as secretary of the firm of John Mohr & Sons,
manufacturers and engineers ; to hear him discuss mining properties one could
imagine that his life had been devoted to the development of mines ; to discuss with
him music, art, literature, political or social science, one might imagine his read-
ing was confined almost exclusively to any one of these lines. All this is indicative
of the secret of his success which lies in his power to concentrate every energy
and every thought upon the things nearest at hand. In this way there have been


no waste moments, no futile effort, and he is justly accounted one of Chicago's
broad-minded citizens with whom association means expansion and elevation.

On the 27th of September, 1858, in Chicago, Louis Mohr was born, his par-
ents being John and Theresa (Meyer) Mohr. The father, a native of Nurem-
berg, Germany, came to America in 1846 and in 1848 engaged in the steel-plate
engineering business, establishing the house of which he continued as the head
until his death in 1895. His wife's birth occurred in Strassburg, Alsace, Ger-
many, and in 1849 she arrived in America, her residence here covering a period
of about forty- four years, her death occurring in 1893. In their family were eight
children and five of the sons are now associated in business under the firm style
of John Mohr & Sons.

Louis Mohr, the third of the family, passed through consecutive grades of the
public schools of Chicago until graduated from the grammar school with the class
of 1873. He remained a student of the Central high school through the three
succeeding years and was a special student in the Chicago Athenaeum from 1876
until 1 878. He then entered the University of Illinois, where he pursued the
full four-years course in mechanical engineering in three years but did not apply
for a degree. He also spent one year in the North Chicago Rolling Mills in ad-
vanced metallurgy and has since devoted his attention to the profession of con-
sulting engineer, remaining a member of the firm of John Mohr & Son from 1882
until 1893, when the business was incorporated, Louis Mohr becoming secretary
and consulting engineer of the firm of John Mohr & Sons. As steel-plate engineers
the firm occupies a prominent position, having a business scarcely second to any
in Chicago. Outside of this particular field Mr. Mohr has largely placed his in-
vestments in gold-bearing property and became one of the organizers of the
Whitlatch Mining Company of which he has continuously served as secretary. He
was also one of the promoters and the secretary of the Gould Mines Company
and the Landers Power Company. All of these are operating in Montana. He is
likewise a member of the firm of Mohr Brothers and his business interests are so
managed and conducted that success follows as the natural sequence.

Mr. Mohr has always given his political allegiance to the republican party.
His interest in benevolent work is manifest in his service as a director of the
German Hospital of Chicago. The scientific investigation and practical effort
being done in engineering and mining circles awaken his deep interest and be-
cause of this he has extended his membership to the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers, the American Institute of Mining Engineers, the American Society of
Naval Engineers and the Western Society of Engineers. His interests, however,
seem to cover all lines of investigation which are broadening knowledge and bring-
ing to light any information that bears upon the country or life of the people. He
is a member of the American Geographical Society, the National Geographical
Society, the Geographical Society of Chicago, the American Economic Association
and the American Academy of Political and Social Science. He belongs to the
Grolier Club of New York, the Bibliophile of Boston, and was one of the organizers
of the Society of Ethical Culture. He is a valued representative of the Caxton
Club of Chicago, the Industrial Club, which he has represented on the executive
committee, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, in which he has served on the
legislative committee, and the American Society for the Advancement of Science.


In more strictly social lines his membership is with the Union League, Calumet,
South Shore Country, Germania Maennerchor, Marquette and City Clubs, and of
the last named he has been a member of the legislative committee since 1908. He
is also affiliated with Arion Council of the Royal League. Every movement or
activity, every volume that brings to him a new thought, is of interest to him and
there are few men whose life is of broader range. Music, art and literature are
sources of intense pleasure to him and he has one of the finest private libraries of
the city, consisting of over five thousand volumes and covering all subjects of gen-
eral interest. His love of music has its origin in his own native talent and for
many years he was active in musical circles. For a time he was leading first bass
in the Apollo and Beethoven Society and from 1878 until 1881 was leader of the
University of Illinois Orchestra and the University Glee Club. It would be dif-
ficult to meet Mr. Mohr and not find some point of contact because of kindred
interests, owing to the breadth of his research, investigation and activity. It is
therefore an easy matter to find the secret of his popularity and his extensive


The dawning of another day would have marked the ninety-third anniversary
of the birth of William Hamilton Mitchell but on the 8th of March, 1910, he passed
away. His were the "blest accompaniments of age riches, honors, troops of
friends." Ever a man of marked individuality, he left his impress not only upon
the history of Chicago but on the state through his connection with the development
of its material resources and the promotion of its business activities. Even in his
advanced years he remained a factor in the affairs of life, his counsel and advice
constituting elements in successful business management and at his death he was
the first vice president of the Illinois Trust & Savings Bank.

His birth occurred on a farm near Wellsville, Belmont county, Ohio, March 9,
1817. He was a poor boy. whose time was largely spent in aiding in the develop-
ment of the hill farm. His parents, James and Elizabeth (McCollough) Mitchell,
were among the earliest settlers of southeastern Ohio and the family is of Scotch-
Irish lineage, established at an early day in the Pennsylvania settlement known as
Scotch Ridge. When William H. Mitchell was about twenty-two years of age he
believed that he might win success more rapidly in other lines than by devoting
his attention to the farm work and with a brother went to Wheeling, West Virginia.
Building a flatboat, they loaded it with flour and drifted down the Ohio river to
Cairo and thence by the Mississippi to New Orleans, where they disposed of their
cargo at a good profit. From that point they made their way north to Quincy, Illi-
nois and building other flat boats continued thus to convey merchandise to lower
points on the river. Two of these trips in which flour was taken from the Quincy
mills to New Orleans proved so profitable as to really constitute the basis of Mr.
Mitchell's fortune. Toward the close of 1848, associated with his brother John,
he bought the business of the Alton Manufacturing Company, which was engaged
not only in milling but also in loaning money and trading lands. However, the


new firm concentrated their energies upon the milling business which proved very
profitable but in 1849, leaving the business in care of his brother, William H.
Mitchell started for California with covered wagon and ox team, arriving at his
destination after traveling for one hundred and ten days. He made his way to the
vicinity of the sawmill, in the tail race of which gold had been discovered, and
traded his merchandise for nuggets and gold dust. He had so prospered that at
the end of two years he left California, with what was considered a good capital
for that day, returning home by way of Panama, and again engaged in the manu-
facture of flour in Alton, Illinois, and also became an active factor in the develop-
ment of transportation facilities. He became an active promoter and stockholder
in the Alton Packet Company, operating steamboats between St. Louis and Alton,
but not long after both he and his brother disposed of their interests in that enter-
prise, as well as in the Alton Manufacturing Company. They were then connected
with the construction of the Alton & St. Louis Railroad, but before the completion
of the line it was sold to the Chicago & Alton Company. In the meantime Mr.
Mitchell had become extensively interested in banking and in other local business
affairs. He was one of the promoters of the First National Bank of Alton and
was elected its second president. Fifteen years later the bank liquidated, paying
its stockholders a dollar and sixty cents on the dollar, while in the meantime good
dividends had been paid annually.

The enviable record which Mr. Mitchell had made during his connection with
banking interests in Alton was recognized by the bankers and financiers of Chi-
cago and his cooperation was eargerly welcomed, when in the spring of 1873 he
became one of the organizers of the Illinois Trust & Savings Bank. Soon after-
ward he established his home permanently in this city and in 1874 was chosen
second vice president of the bank and became first vice president on the 12th of
November, 1895, so continuing until his demise on the 8th of March, 1910. He was
a banker of the old school, conservative, yet with keen business sagacity that en-
abled him to recognize opportunity. He was seldom if ever at fault in his judg-
ment of men or moneyed affairs, a fact manifest not only in his connection with
the bank but also in the many other business interests with which he was asso-
ciated and which came in time to win him classification with Chicago's men of Mil-
lions. He never swerved from the high standard of honesty and integrity which in
early manhood he set up for himself. He did not care for wealth that must be
gained by the sacrifice of others' interests, for in the legitimate channels of busi-
ness he saw ample opportunity for the attainment of what he desired. His strong
and rugged honesty was one of the crowning features in a life that ever remained
as an open book which all might read.

In 1853 Mr. Mitchell was married to Mrs. N. Small. In 1858 he wedded a
Miss Barnes of Wellsville, Virginia, and in 1868, Mrs. Jennie L. Plaisted, of West-
port, Maine, became his wife. The surviving children of his first marriage are:
John J. Mitchell, president of the Illinois Trust & Savings Bank ; and Mrs.
Chauncey J. Blair. Of the second marriage there was a daughter, Elizabeth, now
the wife of Dr. Charles Adams, of Kenilworth, Illinois. The children of the
third marriage are Guy Hamilton, Hortense Lenore and Marguerite N. An Epis-
copalian in his religious faith, Mr. Mitchell was for many years a communicant of
Trinity church of Chicago. His political indorsement was originally given to the


whig party and following its dissolution, to the republican party. His tastes were
simple and he enjoyed the pursuits of mercantile life and simple country pleasures
rather than the associations of clubs. From the hill farm in Ohio with its lack of
advantages, to a foremost position among the millionaire business men and bankers
is a long step but it was compassed much before the life record of William H.
Mitchell was brought to a close, and the course which he pursued followed the
strict path of duty, integrity and opportunity. He passed from life March 8, 1910,
when he had almost completed ninety-three years, with physical powers but
slightly impaired and with mental faculties keen and alert to the last, so that in
the evening of life he kept in close touch with the progress of the times nor lived
solely in the memories of the past as do so many of the aged who seem, as it were,
to withdraw almost entirely from the environment and conditions of the present.
He watched with keen interest the progress of events, knowing that the activities
of today make the history of tomorrow and ever associated in spirit and interests
with the onward movement.


Various business interests successively claimed the attention of Hon. D. W.
Mills, and success attended his efforts, bringing him to a prominent position in busi-
ness circles. Many public duties were also intrusted to him and his activity in the
field of politics and his prominence in fraternal and social circles constituted a well
balanced character, to which opportunity served as the entrance way to a field in
which his efforts were forceful, resultant, influential and beneficial.

It has been said that to know an individual one must know something of his an-
cestry. D. W. Mills, who was born upon a farm near Waynesburg, Warren county,
Ohio, came of Quaker lineage and in his life of strongly marked characteristics
there was found this ancestral influence as manifested in his unassailable integrity
and his consideration for the rights of others. There came to him also as an in-
heritance from his forebears a strong constitution and an alert mind. Both of his
parents, David and Susanna (Brown) Mills, were identified with pioneer life in
Ohio. His paternal grandparents were Joseph and Lydia (Jay) Mills. His grand-
father was a native of South Carolina and came to Ohio at a very early day, taking
up congress land on the present site of Cincinnati, for which he paid one dollar and
a quarter per acre.

Our subject's father was reared upon a farm whose boundaries almost touched
the corporation limits of the city of Cincinnati. Indian raids were common enough
in those days, and while in the third year of her age Mrs. Susanna Mills was for
a time held captive by savages who roamed through the forests that skirted the
Ohio river. She was a granddaughter of Joseph Brown, one of the band of Eng-
lish Quakers who accompanied William Penn to this country in 1680. In early
womanhood she was married and after a few years was left a widow in straightened
financial circumstances.

The limited resources of the family made it imperative that D. W. Mills should
assume many of the responsibilities of manhood when but a boy in years. He



worked on different farms near the old home and the urge of necessity prevented
him from devoting much time to the acquirement of an education, although he
availed himself of every opportunity to attend school and had mastered the course
taught in the village of Raysville before he had finished his nineteenth year. In
the post-graduate school of experience, however, he learned many lessons, con-
stantly broadening his knowledge through association and contact with mankind,
through keen observation and from reading and research whereby he became ac-
quainted with the vital questions of the day. When only eighteen years of age he
accepted a position as clerk in a general store. Realizing that industry and econ-
omy are the basis of all honorable success, he carefully saved his earnings and on
attaining his majority had a sum that, with the assistance received from Oscar
Wright, a rich Quaker gentleman of Waynesburg, Ohio, he was enabled to engage
in business on his own account. Mr. Wright recognized the ability and trust-
worthiness of the young man and gladly aided him so that he found it possible to
open a general store at Corwin, Ohio. His experiences were those which usually
come to the country merchant who handles all lines of goods needed on the farm
and takes in exchange the produce which the farmer has raised. He extended the
scope of his business by engaging in pork packing and was not long in establishing
a good trade which seemed to promise success, but national interests claimed his

The difference of opinion concerning the question of slavery leading at length
to the attempt of the south to overthrow the Union found Mr. Mills on the side of
the federal government and, not hesitating to sacrifice his business interests, he
offered his aid to the Union and went to the front as a member of Company D, One
Hundred and Eightieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry with which he served until the
close of the war, his loyalty and ability winning him promotion from the ranks to
a captaincy. He participated in many important battles and the records show that
he never faltered in the performance of any military duty, inspiring and encourag-
ing his men by his own bravery and loyalty.

His officer's pay, with close economy, enabled him to save about five thousand
dollars, and with that capital Captain Mills came to Chicago in the spring of 1866.
In the intervening years to his death he was closely associated with the business
development of this city. He first turned his attention to the manufacture of candy
and built up a good trade in that connection. He was afterward engaged in lake
shipping interests and then, realizing that the real-estate field promised large returns
he engaged in the purchase and sale of property which brought to him substantial
success, his keen discernment enabling him to anticipate appreciation in values,
owing to the rapid settlement of the city, and he therefore placed his investments so
that later he reaped a handsome profit from his sales.

The duties of citizenship, notwithstanding his business grew apace, were never
neglected by Captain Mills who proved as true and loyal to his country in days of
peace as in times of war. He stood on the firing line when the weapon was the
ballot box, and never retreated an inch from the position which his judgment and
conscience sanctioned as right. His natural qualifications for leadership made
him a strong factor in the politics of the city and on a number of occasions he was
called to public office. He served as warden of the Cook County Hospital from
1877 until 1881, and was one of the best officers ever at the head of that institution.


He was twice elected to represent the old twelfth ward in the city council and
was also chosen to represent the fourth Illinois district in the fifty-fifth congress.
In the national law-making body he gave grave consideration to each question which
came up for settlement and ever placed the national welfare before partisanship.

The social qualities of Captain Mills made him a favorite wherever he was
known. He was never happier than when dispensing the hospitality of his own
home to his many friends. On the 25th of December, 1871, he wedded Miss Lucy
Morrison, a daughter of the eminent philanthropist, Orsemus Morrison, a sketch
of whom appears elsewhere in this work. It was to his home that his thoughts
oftenest turned and his satisfaction over his business success arose from the fact
that it enabled him to surround his wife with those things which add to the com-
fort and happiness of life. He held membership in the Loyal Legion and Colum-
bia Post, Grand Army of the Republic, and in Masonry gained the Knight Templar
degree of the York Rite and the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite. He
held membership in the Illinois, Menoken, Hamilton and Lincoln Clubs, and his
companionship was prized by those who knew him because of his genial nature, his
sound judgment and his kindly disposition. Coming to Chicago a young man of
twenty-eight years, he entered fully and actively into the life of the city, in its
municipal connections, its business and political interests and its social activities,
and in each line left the impress of his individuality for good.


Since the field of medical practice was first opened to women many of the
representatives of this sex have attained distinction, proving that in all require-
ments they are equal to the masculine mind and skill. Indeed, it has often been
said that to her understanding of the principles of medicine the woman physician
adds a tenderness and an intuitive perception that few men seem to possess. In the
years of her practice Dr. MacMullen has made continuous progress and is now
accorded a gratifying patronage.

She was born December 13, 1869, in Minetto, New York. Her father, John
MacMullen, was a native of Canada, his birth having occurred in Montreal on the
22d of June, 1831. Crossing the border into the United States, he made his way
westward to Chicago in the early "50s, this being about the time the Illinois Central
Railroad first placed its trains in operation. He married Ophelia Merrill, who
was born in New York, February 16, 1844, and they became the parents of ten
children, five sons and five daughters, of whom seven are yet living, five being resi-
dents of Chicago. Mrs. MacMullen's maternal grandfather, .Pliny Daggett, won
distinction in the war of 1812 and his widow, who bore the maiden name of Ruth
Orcutt, afterward received a pension. She lived to the extreme old age of ninety-
two years. Her mother was a Miss Adams, belonging to the old Massachusetts
family from which John Adams, the second president of the United States, came.
Ancestors of Dr. MacMullen also took part in the Civil War.

When a little maiden of seven summers Dr. MacMullen became a pupil in the
public schools and was graduated from the high school at the age of sixteen years.


The following year she determined upon the practice of medicine as a life work
and in 1888, at the age of eighteen years, she entered the Hahnemann Medical
College of Chicago. Illness, however, forced her to discontinue her studies for
two years so that she did not graduate until 1893. Since that time she has been
in active practice and her work has been satisfactory, producting excellent results
in checking the ravages of disease. She has been a close and discriminating student
of the profession, keeps in touch with the latest medical literature and holds mem-
bership in the After Dinner Club, a woman's club of homeopathic physicians, the
Illinois State Homeopathic Society, the Chicago Homeopathic Medical Society and
the Englewood Homeopathic Medical Society, of which she is secretary.

Dr. MacMullen belongs to the Eastern Star and to the Tribe of Ben Hur and
in the latter is medical examiner. Her religious faith is that of the Presbyterian
church and for pastime she indulges in travel. She is actuated in her work by an
earnest desire to make her labors of serviceable worth in the world and, holding to
high standards, she has been most conscientious and capable in the discharge of
her professional duties.


What the name of Marshall Field & Company is to the dry-goods trade and of
Swift and Armour to the packing industry of Chicago, so is the name of the Crane
Company to the iron trade. A gigantic enterprise, furnishing employment to sev-
eral thousand workmen, has been built up through the enterprise, business ability
and capable management of Richard Teller Crane, who for a half century or more
has been a resident of Chicago and a representative of its foundry interests.

Mr. Crane was born at Passaic Falls, Patterson, New Jersey, in 1832, a son of
Timothy B. and Marian (Ryerson) Crane. His paternal ancestors are traced to the
original May Flower colony, which settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.
His father, Timothy B. Crane, learned the carpenter's trade in Litchfield, Con-
necticut, and became a contractor and builder in New York city, when he erected
a mansion for Governor DeWitt Clinton, with whom he was intimate. He later re-
moved to Passaic Falls to engage in milling business and erected saw and flour mills
in New Jersey, He first married a Miss Teller, a descendant of the original Knick-
erbocker colony, from Amsterdam, and later married Miss Ryerson, a sister of the
late Martin Ryerson, of Chicago.

At an early age, being obliged to seek self-support, Richard T. Crane learned
various branches of mechanical work. In 1847, an uncle procured for him a situa-
tion in Brooklyn, New York, where he remained until 1851, by which time he had
acquired the trade of a brass and iron worker. He moved to New York, where he
found employment with several prominent firms, among them that of R. Hoe &

Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.5) → online text (page 68 of 74)