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Album of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) online

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was lost during this trying time in our city's

She finally decided to apply for admission to the
Bar and to practice law. She had been permitted
to work side by side with her husband as a most
successful teacher, why not as a lawyer ?

In 1869 she passed a most creditable examina-
tion for the Bar, but was denied admission by the
Supreme Court of Illinois, upon the ground that
she was a married woman, her married state be-
ing considered a disability. She knew that the
real reason had not been given. She filed an ad-
ditional brief which combated the position of the
court with great force, and compelled the court
to give the true reason. In due time the court,
by Mr. Chief Justice Lawrence, delivered an elab-
orate opinion, in which it was said, upon mature
deliberation, the court had concluded to refuse to
admit Mrs. Bradwell upon the sole ground that
she was a woman. She sued out a writ of error
against the State of Illinois in the Supreme Court
of the United States. Her case in that tribunal
was argued in 1871 by Senator Matt Carpenter.
In May, 1873, the judgment of the lower court
was affirmed by the United States Supreme
Court. Mr. Chief Justice Chase, who never failed
to give his powerful testimony to aid in lifting
woman from dependence and helplessness to
strength and freedom, true to his principles, dis-
sented. As has been well said, "the discussion
of the Myra Bradwell case had the inevitable ef-
fect of letting sunlight through many cobwebbed
windows. It is not so much by abstract reason-
ing as by visible examples that reformations
come, and Mrs. Bradwell offered herself as a living
example of the injustice of the law. A woman of
learning, genius, industry and high character,
editor of the first law journal in the West, forbid-
den by law to practice law, was too much for the

public conscience, tough as that conscience is. "
Although Mrs. Bradwell, with Miss Hulett,
was instrumental in securing the passage of a
law in Illinois granting to all persons, irrespec-
tive of sex, freedom in the selection of an occu-
pation, profession or employment, she never re-
newed her application for admission to the Bar.
Twenty years after, the judges of the Supreme
Court of Illinois, on their own motion, performed
a noble act of justice and directed license to prac-
tice law to be issued to her, and March 28, 1892,
upon motion of Attorney- General Miller, Mrs.
Bradwell was admitted to practice before the Su-
preme Court of the United States.

A pioneer in opening the legal profession for
women, Myra Bradwell's signal service to her
sex has been in the field of law reform. Finding
women and children without adequate protection
in the law, she devoted herself with the zeal of
an enthusiast to secure such protection. One of
the most wonderful phases of her character was
the power which she exerted in securing these
changes in the law.

It is interesting in this connection to note that
she was the only married woman who was ever
given her own earnings by special act of the
Legislature. She drafted the bill giving a mar-
ried woman a right to her own earnings. A case
in point, so monstrous in its injustice, gave an
added impetus to her zeal. A drunkard, who
owed a saloon-keeper for his whisky, had a wife
who earned her own living as a scrubwoman,
and the saloon-keeper garnisheed the people who
owed her and levied on her earnings to pay her
husband's liquor bill. It needed but an applica-
tion like this for her to succeed in her efforts to
pass the bill. She also secured the passage of
the law giving to a widow her award in all cases.
Believing thoroughly in the principle enunciated
by John Stuart Mill, "of perfect equality, admit-
ting no privilege on the one side nor disabil-
ity on the other, ' ' she was an enthusiastic sup-
porter of the bill granting to a husband the
same interest in a wife's estate that the wife had
in the husband's. While holding most advanced
views upon the woman question, she recognized
that the prejudice of years cannot be overcome in



a day, and that the work must be done by de-

She therefore never missed an opportunity to
try to secure any change in the law which would
enlarge the sphere of woman. With this purpose
in view, she applied to the Governor to be ap-
pointed Notary Public. Finding her womanhood
a bar to even this humble office, she induced her
husband, who was in the Legislature, to intro-
duce a bill making women eligible to the office of
Notary Public, which bill became a law. The
bill drafted by her husband permitting women to
act as school officers, and which was passed while
he was in the legislature, received her hearty sup-
port. In all the reforms which Mrs. Bradwell se-
cured, she was not acting as the representative of
any organization, but they were secured through
her personal influence. Twice Mrs. Bradwell
was honored by special appointment of the Gov-
ernor, being appointed a delegate to the Prison
Reform Congress at St. Louis; and it was mainly
by her efforts that women, after a severe contest,
were allowed a representation on the list of officers,
she declining to accept any office herself; subse-
quently she was appointed by the Governor as
one of the Illinois Centennial Association to repre-
sent Illinois in the Centennial Exhibition of 1876.
Mrs. Bradwell circulated the call for the first
Woman Suffrage Convention held in Chicago,
in 1869, and was one of its Vice-Presidents. She
was one of the active workers in the suffrage
convention held in Springfield in 1869, and for a
number of years one of the executive committee
of the Illinois Woman Suffrage Association. She
also took an active part in the convention at
Cleveland which formed the American Woman's
Suffrage Association. Once only was she per-
mitted to exercise the right of suffrage. Under
the recent school law in Illinois she cast her bal-
lot for the first and last time, her death occurring
on the fourteenth day of February, 1894.

A thorough Chicagoan, in the life, progress
and best interests of her city she had a citizen's
interest and a patriot's pride. She was untiring
in her efforts to secure the World's Fair for Chi-
cago, accompanied the commission to Washing-

ton, and rendered valuable services there in ob-
taining the location of the Exposition in Chicago.
She was appointed one of the Board of Lady
Managers, and was Chairman of the Committee
on Law Reform of its auxiliary congress. It is
interesting to note that the woman who labored
so courageously, persistently and effectively to
secure for women their rights was herself a rep-
resentative in the first national legislature of
women to be authorized by any Government.

Mrs. Bradwell was the first woman who be-
came a member of the Illinois State Bar Associa-
tion and the Illinois Press Association; was a
charter member of the Soldiers' Home Board,
the Illinois Industrial School for Girls, the Wash-
ingtonian Home, and the first Masonic chapter
organized for women in Illinois, over which she
presided; was a member of the Chicago Women's
Club, the daughters of the American Revolution,
the Grand Army Relief Corps, the National Press
League and the Woman's Press Association.

A gentle and noiseless woman, her tenderness
and refinement making the firmness of her char-
acter all the more effective, Mrs. Bradwell was
one of those who live their creed instead of preach-
ing it. Essentially a woman of deeds, not words,
she did not spend her days proclaiming on the
rostrum the rights of women, but quietly, none
the less effectively, set to work to clear away the

A noble refutation of the oftimes expressed be-
lief that the entrance of women in public life
tends to lessen their distinctively womanly char-
acter, she was a most devoted wife and mother,
her home being ideal in its love and. harmony.
She was the mother of four children, two of whom
survive her, Thomas and Bessie, both lawyers,
and the latter the wife of a lawyer, Frank A.
Helmer, of the Chicago Bar.

Of this gifted and honored lady it has been
truthfully said: "No more powerful and convinc-
ing argument in favor of the admission of women
to a participation in the administration of the
Government was ever made than may be found
in Myra Bradwell's character, conduct and




FRINK, who was probably as well
known as any man in the United States, out-
side of National public life, was a leader in
the operation of transportation lines before the
days of railroads, as well as in railroad building
and operation. He was born at Ashford, Con-
necticut, October 17, 1797, and died in Chicago
May 21, 1858. He represented the seventh gen-
eration of his family in America, being descended
from John Frink, who settled at New London,
Connecticut, previous to 1650. The last-named
took part in King Philip's War, as a Colonial sol-
dier, and for his services in that conflict was
awarded by the General Court of Connecticut a
grant of two hundred acres of land and permis-
sion to retain his arms.

John Frink, the father of the subject of this
notice, removed about 1810 from Ashford, Con-
necticut, to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, becoming
the proprietor of the Stockbridge Inn, a noted
hostelry, which is still kept there. He afterward
kept taverns at Northampton and Palmer, Mass-
achusetts. His death occurred at the latter place
in 1847, at the age of sixty years.

While a young man, John Frink, whose name
heads this article, started out in the operation of
a stage line. One of his first ventures was the
establishment of a stage line between Boston and
Albany, by way of Stockbridge. His partner in
this enterprise was Chester W. Chapin, of Spring-
field, Massachusetts, afterward conspicuous in
railroad operations. A branch to New York City
was soon added, and the undertaking was entire-
ly successful, becoming a prosperous medium of
travel. Mr. Frink was subsequently instrument-
al in the establishment of a stage line between
Montreal and New York, an undertaking of con-
siderable magnitude in those days.

About 1830 he made a trip, by way of Pitts-
burgh, to New Orleans, and was so favorably im-
pressed with the development and progress of the

West that he determined to transfer the field of
his operations to a new territory. Accordingly,
in 1836, he came to Chicago, and soon after his
arrival purchased the stage line in operation be-
tween Chicago and Ottawa, Illinois. He soon
afterward established a connecting line of steam-
boats on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, be-
tween the latter point and St. Louis, and the
route thus completed immediately became a pop-
ular thoroughfare. Another stage line was short-
ly afterwards put into operation between Galena
and Chicago, by way of Freeport. Galena was
then the metropolis of the Northwest, and this
line of stages became the most important over-
land route of travel in that region. Another ex-
tensive undertaking was the establishment of
stages between Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin.
The business was conducted at the outset by the
firm of John Frink & Company, later known as
Frink & Walker. This became one of the most
powerful business concerns in the Northwest, and
its operations eventually extended to Des Moines,
Iowa, and Fort Snelling, Minnesota. All compe-
tition was driven out of the way, even though
business was sometimes conducted for a season at
a loss, in order to maintain their supremacy. An
immense number of men and horses was em-
ployed. The stage sheds were located at the
northwest corner of Wabash Avenue and Ran-
dolph Street, with extensive repair shops adja-
cent; and the principal stage office was on the
southwest corner of Dearborn and Lake Streets,
opposite the Tremont House, then the principal
hotel of Chicago.

One of the most important features of the busi-
ness was the carriage of the United States mails,
and the securing and care of the contracts for the
same kept Mr. Frink in Washington a large por-
tion of the time, and brought him in contact and
intimate acquaintance with the leading politicians
and public men of the nation. These contracts,



which involved large sums of money, were faith-
fully carried out, a fact which enabled him to
hold them in spite of aggressive competition. He
was a man of rare executive ability, excelling the
various partners with whom he was associated in
that respect to such a degree that he was kept
constantly on the move to regulate the adminis-
tration of business. He was a man of fine phys-
ical make-up and of most unusual colloquial and
conversational abilities, which made him popular
in any circle where he chanced to be. He was
extremely fastidious in dress and the care of his
personal appearance, and required the most scru-
pulous care and thrift in all his employes. No
man who failed to keep matters under his charge
in first-class order could remain a day in his em-

When the steam locomotive became a practical
success, Mr. Frink at once saw that it would su-
persede the horse as a means of propelling pas-
senger vehicles. He accordingly began to close
out his interests in the stage business, transfer-
ring his capital and energy to railroad building
and operation. He was one of the prime movers
in the construction of the Chicago & Galena Un-
ion Railroad, and also the Peoria & Oquawka,
now a part of the great Burlington System, and
in the Peoria & Bureau Valley Railroad, at pres-
ent a branch of the Rock Island System. He
did not live to witness the ultimate completion
of these lines, but their success vindicated his
foresight and judgment.

Mr. Frink was first married to Martha R.

Marcy, who died in Chicago in 1839, leaving
three children: John, Harvey and Helen. The
last-named became the wife of Warren T. Hecox,
one of the original members of the Chicago Board
of Trade, and all are now deceased. For his
second wife he chose Miss Harriet Farnsworth,
who was born in Woodstock, Vermont, July 2,
1810, and died at Wheaton, Illinois, March 7,
1884. Her father, Stephen Farnsworth, was a
descendant of Matthias Farnsworth, an early set-
tler of Groton, Massachusetts. The descendants
of the last-named, in direct line, were Samuel,
who was born at Groton, October 8, 1669; Steph-
en, bornin 1714, died at Charleston, New Hamp-
shire, and who took part in the French and Indian
War, in which two of his brothers were killed.
Stephen, Jr., father of Mrs. Frink, was born in
Charleston, New Hampshire, June 20, 1764. He
moved to South Woodstock, Vermont, where he
became a prominent farmer and miller. He
served as a member of the Vermont Legislature,
and was a Justice of the Peace for a great many

Mrs. Harriet Frink was one of the earliest
members of St. James' Episcopal Church of Chi-
cago, and when Trinity Church was formed on
the South Side she joined that society. She aft-
erwards became a member of Christ Church, and
continued to be a communicant thereof until her
death, both she and her husband being buried
from that church. Their children are George,
Henry F., and Eva, Mrs John W. Bennett, all of
whom reside at Austin, Illinois.



subject of this sketch was born at Cones-
ville, Schoharie County, New York, Febru-
ary 18, 1821, and was the elder of two children

springing from the marriage of George W. Phelps
with Zerviah Potter. His mother dying when
Othniel was only two years of age, his father
married Mary Chapman in the year 1824,



wherefrom it will be seen that his step-mother
was the only maternal parent of whom he ever
had a memory. From this second union eight
children came into being, the eldest of whom was
William Wallace Phelps, a sketch of whom will
be found upon other pages in this work; in con-
nection with which will also be found a succinct
account of the Phelps genealogy, which, for ob-
vious reasons, is not reprinted at this place.

His early life was spent upon a farm (it seems
as if the farms of that generation did the raising
of all the brains, as well as vegetables, etcetera,
of the country), and his erudition, save the self-
learned, was limited to the common school. At
a very youthful age, he went to Catskill, New
York, as clerk in the mercantile house of Joshua
Fiero, and, being one of unusual energy and self-
reliance, after a few years he started a mercantile
business for himself at Windham, Greene County,
New York, to which place he removed, and in
which occupation he was engaged for the next
succeeding six years.

Selling out at the end of that period at an ad-
vantage, he removed to Williamstown, New York,
where he engaged in the tanning business, be-
coming the possessor of one of the finest proper-
ties in that part of the country at that time ( es-
pecially notable in one of so few years) . He was
estimated to be worth an estate of $80,000, which,
however, was entirely swept away by the panic
of 1857.

Almost directly with the disappearance of his
household gods, he set his face towards the then
far West to retrieve, as fortune should favor him,
his lost accumulations. Chicago was the fortun-
ate end of his journey, which was not then, as
might be now, wooed into a longer continuance
than necessary by luxurious conveniences for
treveling. He bought a house on West Madison
Street; but within a few years found the spot
henceforth to be most dear to him on earth, pur-
chasing again, at Number 2427 Indiana Avenue.
The large brick mansion, standing to-day nearly as
he found it, was one of the finest places in the
city at that time, and a veritable landmark in this
generation; for in the early sixties and for
long after this was well out on the edge of the

town, viewing to the westward, as far as Michi-
gan Avenue, a thrifty cornfield in summer time.
His business relations from the start were with
our prince of citizens, Potter Palmer, for whom
he acted as confidential adviser and credit man,
with power of attorney (a position of great re-
sponsibilities) up to the time of the Big Fire in
1871. From this time, although in the very mer-
idian of life, hale and hearty, having re-made a
conspicuous estate, he lived the retired life of a
gentleman of leisure.

Politically he was a Republican, and for sever-
al years he acted as a prominent City Alderman,
closing his record thus in 1882, because of the
results of an outspoken nature, which would nev-
er quietly allow public wrongs to be attempted.

He was a keen lover of finely bred dogs and
horses, of which he owned many in his time,
finding in this about his only real extravagance.
Most pleasant days found him on the boulevards
behind as fine a pair of gentleman's drivers as
our city could boast; and when a better pair passed
him on the road, he quietly remarked to himself,
"That is the team I want." From this trait, it
has been said, those who knew this proud weak-
ness often realized exceptional prices for horses
from one who, they knew, would have them, if he
had set his mind that way, regardless of cost. In
this connection it should not be forgotten that he
was a charter member of the famous Washington
Park Club, now for long years one of the most
distinguished places for race meetings in the

Not what would be called a pious man, he was
none the less a fair-minded, public-spirited citi-
zen, who was a great credit to our city (more so,
perhaps, than some who are prominent in mat-
ters ecclesiastical) , and a regular attendant at Dr.
Scudder's Congregational Church. Between Dr.
Scudder and Mr. Phelps there was a deep and
wholesome regard, and this pastor officiated with
much feeling at the final obsequies, after which
the remains were borne to Graceland Cemetery,
where they lie at the foot of a sightly monument.
Physically, he was a portly man; facially, he
had a physiognomy in which all could read a grim
determination that whatsoever was undertaken

I 4 2


would, the Heavens permitting, be put through;
yet, he was kind and generous; though blunt,
warm-hearted indeed. His health was uniformly
good, save for the vital lurkings of the insidious
heart disease, which suddenly took him hence on
the seventh day of February, 1891.

Mr. Phelps was twice married. First, to Miss
Emerette Steele of Windham, New York, about
the year 1846. She died, without issue, in the
year 1880, and was buried at Graceland. Second,
to Mrs. Sarah Van Buren, the widow of Aaroii
R. Van Buren, of Catskill, New York, in Decem-
ber, 1882. Her first husband was of the family
of the so-called "Kinderhook" (New York) Van-
Burens, which has produced a number of illus-
trious men, chief among them being our eighth
National Chief Magistrate, Martin Van Buren.

Mrs. Sarah (Van Buren) Phelps survives her
husband, in good health, and without children.
Mrs. Phelps' parents were Franklin and Hannah
(Groom) Graham, of Catskill, New York, her fa-
ther being a son of Samuel and Martha (French)
Graham, of Windham, New York. Her grand-
mother French was of French parentage, and
from Montreal, Canada. It is needless to remark
that the Grahams are of Scotch antecedents.
From Beers' "History of Greene County, New
York" (p. 402), we learn that the said Samuel
Graham went from Con way, Massachusetts, about
the year 1800 to Windham, New York, where, in
the village, he bought of one Constant A. Andrews
a property (at present known as the Matthews
Place, and owned by N. D. Hill), whereon the
first tannery of the place, a large one for the
times, was constructed prior to 1805 by said
Samuel Graham. The latter passed into a son's
hands, and continued to be operated up to 1832.
Samuel died there in 1830, aged seventy years.

The Massachusetts Grahams are undoubtedly
descended from old Connecticut stock, which has
been very prolific in numbers and emigrating
members to other of the United States, not a few
of whom have made prominent names for them-
selves. From Cothren's "History of Ancient
Woodbury, Connecticut" (pp. 545 et seq.}, we

glean the following of both the trans-Atlantic and
native tree:

The family arms are: Or, on a chief sable three
escalops of the field; crest, an eagle, wings hover-
ing or, perched upon a heron lying upon its back,
proper beaked and membered gules; motto, Ne

The family is of great antiquity, tracing its de-
scent from Sir David Graeme, who held a grant
from King William the Lion of Scotland from
1163 to 1214. His descendant, Patrick Graham,
was made a Lord in Parliament about 1445, and
his grandson, William, Lord Graham, was, in
1504, by James IV., created Earl of Montrose.
His son William was second earl, succeeded in
turn by John, John ( Junior) and James, fifth earl,
a very distinguished character in history. He was
born in 1612, and joined the Covenanters against
Charles I. , but later became loyal to his sovereign,
who created him Marquis of Montrose. He had
a varied career, which ended by his execution in
1645 by the axe on the scaffold, as did that of so
many contemporaries. He was succeeded by
James, James, and James, fourth Marquis, who
was made Lord High Admiral of Scotland in
1705, and in 1707 Duke of Montrose. Then
came David, Earl and Baron Graham, succeeded
by William (his brother), James, James, the
fourth Duke of Montrose, etc., who was a Com-
missioner of India Affairs, Knight of the Thistle,
Lord Justice-General of Scotland, Chancellor of
Scotland, etc.

The Rev. John Graham, A. M., a second son
of a Marqnis of Montrose, was born in Edinburgh
in 1691; he graduated at the University of Glas-
gow, and studied theology at his native Edin-
burgh; came to Boston in 1718, where he married
Abigail, a daughter of the very celebrated Dr.
Chatmcey, of Harvard College. Later Rev. Mr.
Graham removed to Exeter, New Hampshire, but
in 1722 to Stafford, Connecticut, and in 1732 to
Woodbury, Connecticut, where he lived until his
death, in December, 1774. He was an eminent man
and left a family of five sons and four daughters,
from whom are descended a numerous progeny.




(7)ILAS BOWMAN COBB. In the entire his-
?\ tory of the world it has been vouchsafed to
QjjJ but few men to witness the growth of a mu-
nicipality from a few dozen in population to a
million and a quarter souls. No story of Chicago's
development can be written without cognizance of
Silas B. Cobb as one of its initial forces. It was

Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 21 of 111)