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he was the first Vice-President. Following the
panic of 1857, when threatened by adverse cir-
cumstances with destruction, he lent strong finan-
cial support, and was for years one of the chief
managers, until its future of honor and usefulness
was assured. In 1871 he was Chairman of the
Clearing House Association. Among the large
estates promoted under his management was that
of Allen C. Lewis, which was enhanced greatly
in value through his shrewd handling.

He was a member of the North Side Union



Club, but growing infirmity of health and life-long
devotion to home influences prevented much so-
cial dissipation. On Dearborn Avenue, at the
corner of Elm Street, in a luxurious mansion-
house, to which he removed in 1884, he spent
happy days following a most usefully busy career.

Up to the time of the great fire, he had at-
tended at the Wabash Avenue Methodist Church;
afterwards for some years at the Plymouth Con-
gregational Church, but finally became an habit-
ual attendant at David Swing's church, on the
North Side, following him to the Music Hall or-
ganization across the river, being thus long in
intimate relations with him who so feelingly offi-
ciated at the final obsequies, preceding interment
at Graceland. The time of going to the other
shore was September 4, 1894, subsequent to a
stroke of paralysis and some years of indisposi-
tion; and when his venerable form, which had
borne the trials of upwards of eighty-five years,
was laid to rest, there was not a dry eye over the
melancholy thought that the worthiest of the rem-
nant of the early pioneers had gone to his well-
merited reward. And thus the first generation
passed into that history which it is the province
of this publication to rescue from oblivion for the
edification and teaching of future times.

Said the well-known philanthropist, Dr. Pear-
son, in speaking of Mr. Adsit: "He was a thor-
oughly upright man, whom I never knew to fail
in any undertaking. He passed through the pan-
ics of 1857, 1866 and 1873, and the great fire,
not without financial loss, but without a blemish
upon his reputation, meeting every obligation
faithfully." Mr. John J. Mitchell, President of
the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, remarked
shortly after his demise: "Mr. Adsit was a man
of the very ..highest integrity, and none stood
higher than he among the business men and bank-
ers of Chicago. * * * In his death Chicago
loses not only one of her foremost citizens, but
one who helped to make the city's history, and
the success she now enjoys."

Mr. Adsit married, January 21, 1840, MissAr-
ville Chapin, of Chicago, who, herself in ad-
vanced age, survives him, waiting her message
to join on the other side him she so long, so deep-



H. M. ROBINSON.



125



ly loved. Seven children blessed their union,
namely :

Leonard D. Adsit, who was born January 29,
1841, and who died in Chicago in 1879, having
been a banker, associated with his father;

Isabella F., who married Ezra I. Wheeler, of
Chicago, a commission merchant, now deceased,
leaving her without children ;

James M. Adsit, Jr., born April 7, 1847, un-
married; a former banker with his father; now a
stock broker with office in the Stock Exchange;

Charles Chapin, who is associated with his
brother as a stock broker; born July 14, 1853;
married in October, 1890, to Mary Bowman Ash-
by, of Louisville, Kentucky, by whom one child,
Charles Chapin, Jr., was born July 3, 1892;

Caroline Jane, educated at Dearborn Seminary,
then at Miss Ogden Hoffman's private school in
New York City; unmarried;

Frank S., born September 7, 1855; died in
childhood ;

Jeanie M., educated at Dearborn Seminary;
unmarried.

Mrs. Adsit comes of an old and distinguished
New England family, of which she is a repre-
sentative of the seventh American generation.
Springfield, Massachusetts, is their leading home-
stead, where members have erected a magnificent
statue of their "Puritan divine" ancestor.

Deacon Samuel Chapin, who married a Miss



Cisily, was the progenitor from whom are de-
scended all in the United States. He came from
abroad to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1641, at
which time he took the "freeman's oath" in Bos-
ton. The following year he went to Springfield,
then one of the frontier towns, where he was for
a long time a local magistrate and one of its first
deacons.

His son Henry married Bethia Cooley, and re-
sided in Springfield. Was a Representative in
the General Court, a merchant sea-captain be-
tween London and Boston; afterwards retired to
live in Boston; then to Springfield. He had a son,

Deacon Benjamin, who married Hannah Col-
ton, and lived in Chicopee, a set-off portion of
northern Springfield, Massachusetts, where he
was one of its first deacons. He had a son

Captain Ephraim, who married Jemima Chapin,
his own cousin ; lived in Chicopee, where he was
an old-time inn-keeper. He also served in the
French and Indian Wars. He had a son

Bezaleel, who also married his own cousin,
Thankful Chapin; living at Ludlow Massachu-
setts. He had a son

Oramel, who married Suzan Rood; living in
Ludlow, Massachusetts, thence removing to Mil-
waukee, Wisconsin, later to Chicago, where he
died.

Their daughter Arville married the subject of
this sketch.



HAMILTON M. ROBINSON.



HAMILTON MOFFAT ROBINSON was
born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Eng-
land, February 12, 1862, and is the eldest
son of James Hamilton Robinson and Frances
Jane Moffat. Both the parents represent ancient
Scottish families.
James H. Robinson, who was born in London



and educated at the Edinburgh High School,
engaged in business in Manchester, England,
soon after completing his education, and later in
London, in the East India trade. He continued
in business about thirty years, dealing in jute
and export merchandise. During a portion of
this time he resided at Calcutta, in order to give



126



H. M. ROBINSON.



personal supervision to his export trade. In 1885
he retired from business and came to America,
locating at Winnipeg, Manitoba, where his chil-
dren had preceded him and where he still resides.
His father, George Brown Robinson, had suc-
ceeded his (George's) father in the East India
trade, and also resided for some years in Calcutta.
He married Jane Campbell Hamilton, like him-
self a native of Scotland. She is still living in
London, at the age of seventy-five years.

Mrs. Frances J. Robinson was a daughter
of Col. Bowland Moffat, who commanded the
Fifty-fourth Regiment of the British army, was
a veteran of the Crimean War, and was stationed
for some years at Calcutta, at which place Mr. and
Mrs. James H. Robinson were married. A num-
ber of the ancestors of Colonel Moffat were well-
to-do merchants in the West India trade, and sev-
eral members of the family served in the British
army.

Hamilton M. Robinson was but six months
old when the family moved from London and
again took up its residence in Calcutta. Seven
years subsequently he returned to Europe, and at-
tended boarding-schools at various points in
the South of England. At the age of sixteen
years he finished the course at Chatham House
College, Ramsgate, Kent. It had been his in-
tention to enter the East Indian civil service, but
owing to his father's financial embarrassments
at that time, he abandoned this purpose and en-
tered the London office of Kelly & Company,
East India merchants. He began in the capacity
of office boy, but with such vigor and intelligence
did he apply himself to business, that in the brief
space of four years he became the office manager
of the firm. He continued in that connection un-
til September, 1883, when he determined to seek
a wider field for the development of his talents
and ability, and came to America, joining his
brother in the Northwest Territory of Canada.
He homesteaded a farm in Manitoba, but a short
time sufficed to convince him that the pursuit of
agriculture was neither as profitable nor congenial
as he had anticipated. In the following May he
joined a friend who was coming to Chicage, and
has ever since made this city his home and place



of business. In the spring of 1885 he again
visited the Northwest Territory, and as a mem-
ber of Colonel Boulton's scouts, assisted in sup-
pressing the Riel rebellion.

He arrived here with neither money, friends
nor influence, and wasted no time in seeking or
waiting for a genteel position, but immediately
began work at the first employment which he
could obtain. In the mean time he was constantly
on the alert for a more lucrative occupation, and
in a few weeks secured a position as bookkeeper
with the Anglo-American Packing and Provision
Company, with which he remained for about
three years. In May, 1887, he resigned this em-
ployment and obtained a position with the firm
of Crosby & Macdonald, marine underwriters.
He continued in this connection about five years,
winning the confidence and esteem of his em-
ployers, and demonstrating his integrity and
ability for the transaction of business. In what-
ever position he has been placed he has ever been
an indefatigable worker, striving to promote the
interests of those whom he served, even at the
expense of his own health and personal comfort.
On the first of June, 1892, Mr. Robinson formed
a partnership with James B. Kellogg, under the
firm name of Kellogg & Robinson, marine average
adjusters. This is one of the leading firms of
marine adjusters upon the shores of Lake Michi-
gan, and their success has been gratifying 1'rom
the start.

Mr. Robinson is a member of the Lake Board
of Average Adjusters, and of the Association of
Average Adjusters of the United States. He has
never identified himself with any political party,
but takes an intelligent interest in questions of
public policy, and has been an American citizen
since 1891. He is heartily in sympathy with the
spirit of American institutions, and may be classed
as one of the most desirable and useful among
the foreign-born citizens of Chicago.

He was married, in 1887, to Ida T. Cleverdon,
of Toronto, province of Ontario, Canada, daugh-
ter of William Thompson Cleverdon and Name
Geech, both formerly residents of Halifax, Nova
Scotia.



LIBRARY
OF THE
JVERSITY OF ILLI



M. W. FULLER



127



MELVILLE W. FULLER.



IV/j ELVILLE WESTON FULLER. The fol-
I V I lowing sketch of Chief Justice Fuller was
101 written by the late Major Joseph Kirkland
for the "History of Chicago," published by Mun-
sell & Company, by whose permission it is here
reprinted:

Chief Justice Fuller traces his descent direct
to the ' ' Mayflower. ' ' His father was Frederick A.
Fuller, and his mother Catherine Martin Weston.
His grandfather on the mother's side was Nathan
Weston, Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme
Court; and his uncle, George Melville Weston,
was a prominent lawyer of Augusta. Melville
Weston Fuller was born February n, 1833, at
Augusta, Maine, and grew up with good educa-
tional advantages. He was prepared for college
at Augusta, and entered Bowdoin College in 1849,
where he was graduated in 1853. Thence he
went to Dane Law School (Harvard) , where so
many of our western jurists have earned their
diplomas. He is described as having been a
rather aimless youth, but in college a model
student, with a special gift for public speaking.
He began his law practice in Augusta, but find-
ing business lacking, he employed his time and
eked out his income by newspaper work; a cir-
cumstance to which is doubtless due something of
the literary facility which has always formed a
strong feature in his career.

An interesting fact connected with this journal-
istic experience is this: At a certain session of the
Legislature which Melville W. Fuller reported for
the Augusta Age (which he and his uncle, B. A.
G. Fuller, published together), James G. Elaine
was engaged as correspondent of the Kennebec



Journal. Though opposed in politics, the two
men were always personal friends, and at last, by
a curious coincidence, found themselves in Wash-
ington together; the one Chief Justice of the Su-
preme Court, and the other Secretary of State.

Mr. Fuller's success in Augusta as a lawyer
was in proportion to the law business of the place,
and so not large or satisfying. His success in
politics was in proportion to his ability, and there-
fore excellent. At twenty-three he was City At-
torney and President of the Common Council of
Augusta.

Still, it must have been unconsciously borne in
upon him that Augusta and Maine, always loved
and honored by him, were, after all, a "pent-up
Utica" to such a soul as his. He must, at least,
see the great West. In 1856 he came to Chicago,
meeting here his friend and fellow-townsman,
Mr. S. K. Dow, a practicing lawyer, who urged
him to emigrate, offering him a place in his office
and, at his choice, either a partnership in the
business or a salary of $50 per month. He chose
the latter, and worked on those terms five months,
living within his income. But scarcely a year
had passed before he began to do a fine and prof-
itable business, which went on increasing with
remarkable speed and steadiness up to the time
of his leaving the Bar for the Supreme Bench.

In politics he was a stanch Democrat, and by
friendship and sympathy a warm adherent ot
Stephen A. Douglas. At Mr. Douglas's death in
1 86 1, he delivered the funeral oration, his speech
being a masterly production. In the same year
he was elected a member of the Constitutional
Convention, and two years later we find him in



128



M. W. FULLER.



the Illinois Legislature. Here he gave the same
strenuous support to the war which was offered
by other Douglas men; he was a Unionist, but
not an anti-slavery man or Republican. The
war Democrats were in favor of the war as they
thought it should be conducted, giving their ad-
herence to the McClellan plan as being the most
certain to triumph and restore the integrity of the
country.

Here it seems well to quote from some fine
verses written by Mr. Fuller long afterward.
They are on the death of General Grant, and
show at once a loyal feeling for the great soldier's
services and a true poetic thought and diction; a
power of composition rare in the learned, prac-
ticed and successful lawyer:

Let drum to trumpet speak
The trumpet to the cannoneer without
The cannon to the heavens from each redoubt,

Each lowly valley and each lofty peak,
As to his rest the great commander goes
Into the pleasant land of earned repose.

* * * *

Not in his battles won,
Though long the well-fought fields may keep their name,

But in the wide world's sense of duty done,
The gallant soldier finds the meed of fame;
His life no struggle for ambition's prize,
Simply the duty done that next him lies.

* * * *

Earth to its kindred earth:
The spirit to the fellowship of souls!
As, slowly, Time the mighty scroll unrolls

Of waiting ages yet to have their birth,
Fame, faithful to the faithful, writes on high
His name as one that was not born to die.

Mr. Fuller was a hard worker in his profession ;
and it is said of him that in any case his stoutest
fighting is done when the day seems lost, when
he is very apt to turn defeat into victory. He is
reported to have had, during his thirty years'
practice, as many as twenty-five hundred cases at
the Chicago Bar; which, deducting his absence at
the Legislature, etc., would give him at least one
hundred cases a year; fewer, necessarily, in the
earlier part of his practice, and more afterward.
This shows a remarkable degree of activity and
grasp of business. He has never made a specialty
of any kind of law, though there are some where-
in his name scarcely appears; for instance, di-
vorce law and criminal law. Among his many
cases are Field against Leiter; the Lake Front



case; Storey against Storey's estate; Hyde Park
against Chicago; Carter against Carter, etc., and
the long ecclesiastical trial of Bishop Cheney on
the charge of heresy.

His partnership with Mr. Dow lasted until
1860. From 1862 to 1864 his firm was Fuller &
Ham, then for two years Fuller, Ham & Shep-
ard, and for two years more Fuller & Shepard.
From 1869 to 1877 he had as partner his cousin,
Joseph E. Smith, son of Governor Smith, of
Maine. Since that time he has had no partner.
His business was only such as he chose co ac-
cept; and his professional income has been esti-
mated at from $20,000 to $30,000 a year. His
property includes the Fuller Block on Dearborn
Street, and is popularly valued at $300,000.

He was a delegate to the Democratic National
Conventions of 1864, 1872, 1876 and 1880, always
taking a prominent place. Just after Mr. Cleve-
land's first election to the Presidency, Mr. Fuller
called on him in Albany, and Mr. Cleveland at
once conceived for him a very high appreciation.
On the death of Chief Justice Waite it seemed de-
sirable that the new Justice should be taken from
the West; and Mr. Fuller's liberal education, the
catholicity of his law practice, his marked indus-
try, ability and command of language all these,
joined with his devotion to the principles of his
party, made him a natural choice for nomination
to the position. High and unexpected as was the
honor, Mr. Fuller hesitated before accepting it.
If it satisfies his ambition in one direction, it
checks it in another.

The salary of the Chief Justice of the United
States is $10,500 a year; very far less than the
gains arising from general practice in the front
rank of lawyers, or from service as counsel of any
one of hundreds of great corporations. So there
comes a kind of dead-lock; if a man happens to be
born to riches, he is pretty sure never to go
through the hard work which alone gives leader-
ship in the law. If he starts poor, then, having
his fortune to make, he cannot take Federal judi-
cial office, that being a life-long position. The
only way in which the Federal Bench can be ap-
propriately filled, under the circumstances, is
when by chance a man prefers power and dignity



JOHN PRINDIVILLE.



129



to mere riches; or where his success has been so
sudden that he is able (and willing) to accept
a judgeship as a kind of honorable retirement
from the struggle and competition of practice.

Aside from these considerations, Mr. Fuller felt
a natural hesitancy in undertaking a responsibil-
ity so trying and hazardous.

As to the money obstacle, Mr. Fuller probably
felt himself, through his great and rapid success,
able to afford to accept the appointment. He ac-
cepted it, was hailed in his new dignity with
genial cordiality, and has filled the office with un-
impeachable credit and honor.

Mr. Fuller's first wife was Miss Calista O.
Reynolds. She died young, after bearing him
two children. He married a second time, taking



to wife Mary Ellen, daughter of the distinguished
banker, William F. Coolbaugh. His family now
consists of eight daughters and one son; and
his domestic and social relations are as happy as
it is possible to imagine, the young ladies being
full of gaiety and loveliness in all its styles and
types. He himself is never so well content as in
his own household, making merry with all. It is
even whispered that should his resignation not
throw his own party out of the tenancy of the
office to which it chose him, he might give up the
irksome and confining dignity and the forced
residence in a strange city, and return to the
West, to the city of his choice, to the home of
his heart.



CAPT. JOHN PRINDIVILLE.



EAPT. JOHN PRINDIVILLE, whose name is
a synonym for honesty, courage and gener-
osity among the early residents of Chicago,
was born in Ireland, September 7, 1826. The
names of his parents were Maurice Prindivilleand
Catharine Morris. While a boy at school Maur-
ice Prindiville ran away from home and went to
sea, making a voyage to India, thereby gratifying
his thirst for adventure and forfeiting the oppor-
tunity to enter Trinity College at Dublin. Re-
turning to his native land, he there married Miss
Morris, and in 1 835 came with his family to Amer-
ica. After spending a year at Detroit, he came to
Chicago, where he was for several years in charge
of Newbury & Dole's grain warehouse. With his
family, he took up his residence in a log house on
Chicago Avenue, at the northern terminus of Wol-
cott (now North State) Street, which was subse-
quently extended. The locality was long known
as "the Prindiville Patch." The nearest house
was Judge Brown's residence, on the west side of
Wolcott Street, between Ontario and Ohio Streets,



the only one between Prindiville' s and River
Street, the intervening territory being covered
with thick woods. Indians and wild beasts were
numerous in the vicinity at that time, and John
Prindiville became quite familiar with the Indians
and learned to speak several of their dialects.
His father and he were firm friends of Chief Wau-
bansee and others, and always espoused their
cause in resisting the encroachments of the whites
upon their rights and domains.

As a boy John was noted for his dare-devil
pranks, though always popular with his comrades,
whom he often led into difficulties, out of which he
usually succeeded in bringing them without seri-
ous results. He was one of the first students at
St. Mary's College, which was located at tbe cor-
ner of Wabash Avenue and Madison Street. Upon
one occasion, he led a number of students upon a
floating cake of ice near the shore of the lake.
The wind suddenly changed, and, before they
were aware of their condition, floated their preca-
rious barge out into the lake. Upon discovering



1 3 o



JOHN PRINDIVILLE.



the danger, John promptly led the way back to
shore by wading through water breast deep. This
prompt action, aided by his reputation for honesty
and truthfulness, saved him from punishment at
the hands of the college authorities. He always
had a great desire to live upon the water, and at
the age of eleven years he gratified this tendency
by shipping as a cook on a lake schooner. Two
of the first vessels upon which he sailed were the
"Hiram Pearson" and "Constitution." His
menial position made him the butt of the sailors,
but he took so readily to the life of a mariner and
performed his duties so thoroughly and capably,
that he rapidly won promotion to more respon-
sible posts, and when but nineteen years of age
became the master of the schooner "Liberty,"
engaged in the lumber trade between Chicago and
other Lake Michigan ports. For about ten years
he was the skipper of sailing-vessels, abandoning
the last of these in 1855, after which he com-
manded several steamers, although that was never
so much to his taste as sailing. In 1860 he for-
sook marine life, though he has been ever since
interested in the operation of lake craft. From
1855 to 1865 he and his brother, Redmond Prin-
diville, operated a line of tugs upon the Chicago.
River. During this time, in August, 1862, he
had a narrow escape from instant death by the
explosion of the boiler of the tug "Union."
Though not regularly in command of the vessel,
he chanced to be on board at that time, and had
just left the wheel, going aft to hail another tug,
when the accident occurred. Captain Daly, who
took his place at the wheel, and several others
were instantly killed.

As a skipper, Capt. John Prindiville was noted
for quick trips, always managing to out-distance
any competing vessels, though he made wreck of
many spars and timbers by crowding on canvas.
One of his standing orders was that sail should
not be shortened without instructions, though it
was allowable to increase it at any time deemed
desirable. He was ever on the alert and always
took good care of the lives of his crew and pass-
engers. He was a strict disciplinarian, but was
always popular with his men, who considered it
a special honor to be able to sail with him, and



were ever ready to brave any danger to serve
him. These included a number of those who had
been accustomed to curse him when he first began
his marine career in the capacity of cook.

In 1850 Captain Prindiville commanded the
brigantine "Minnesota" (which was built in Chi-
cago, below Rush Street Bridge) , the first Amer-
ican vessel to traverse the St. Lawrence River.
Her cargo consisted of copper from the Bruce
Mines on Georgian Bay, and her destination was
Swansea, Wales. Owing to the stupidity and in-
capacity of the pilot, she ran upon the rocks in
Lachine Canal and was obliged to unload. This
was a disappointment to the youthful captain, who
was ambitious to be the first lake skipper to cross



Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 19 of 111)