John Morley.

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

. (page 23 of 111)
Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 23 of 111)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


[TDSON KEITH, one of Chicago's self-made
1^ men, is numbered among the most energet-
I ic, honorable, progressive and broad-minded
residents of the city. He was born at Barre, Ver-
mont, January 28, 1833, and is a son of Martin
Keith, a prominent farmer and builder of that
place, who afterward became a resident of Chicago.
The Keith family in America are all descend-
ants of Rev. James Keith, of Bridgewater, Mass-
achusetts, who emigrated from Scotland about
1660. Though but sixteen years of age at that
time, he was a graduate of Aberdeen College, and
became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church at
Bridgewater. It is said that his first sermon was
delivered from a rock in "Mill Pasture," so-
called, near the river. He married Susannah,
daughter of Deacon Samuel Edson, and they had
nine children: James, Joseph, Samuel, Timothy,
John, Jariah, Margaret, Mary and Susannah.
Unto James (second) were born eight children:

James, Mary, Gensham, Israel, Faithful, Esther,
Jane and Simeon. The children of James (third)
were: Noah, Comfort, James and Abigail. One
of the children of Comfort Keith was Abijah, born
June 20, 1770. He was born in Uxbridge,
Worcester County, Massachusetts, and was one
of the early settlers of Barre, Washington Coun-
ty, Vermont.

Martin Keith was the second son of Abijah,
and was born in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, Feb-
ruary 23, 1800, and came with his father's family
to Barre, Vermont, in 1804. He was married to
Miss Betsey French, and had seven children:
Damon, Judith, Osborn R., Edson, Byron and
Elbridge Gerry.

Betsey French was one of the fourteen children
of Bartholomew and Susannah French, who came
to Barre from Alstead, New Hampshire, in 1791.
Bartholomew French, who was one of the earliest
settlers of Barre, built the first mill in that place.


He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and
was born in Sutton, Massachusetts. A historian
of the town of Barre says: "To this energetic
man and his descendants much of the prosperity
of the town, from the time of his arrival until the
present day, is due." Twelve of his seventeen
children lived until the youngest was past sixty
years of age. At least two of his sons served in
the War of 1812, and one of them, named Bar-
tholomew, commanded a company of Vermont
troops, and served as a Captain of militia for many
years afterward.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin Keith removed to Chica-
go in 1859. The former died herein 1876, at the
age of nearly seventy-seven years, and the latter
in 1868, aged about seventy years. They were
worthy representatives of the pioneer families of
New England, and cherished the same love of hon-
or and truth for which their ancestors were con-
spicuous, while practicing that rigid adherence to
principle which has distinguished their posterity.

Edson Keith passed his childhood upon the
homestead farm and in attendance at the public
school. At the age of seventeen years he went
to Montpelier, where the next four years were
spent. In 1854 he came to Chicago, beginning
his mercantile career in this city as clerk in a re-
tail dry-goods store. Two years later he became
a salesman and collector for a wholesale house,
dealing in hats, caps and furs. In 1860 he be-
came a member of the firm of Keith, Faxon &
Company, jobbers of hats, caps, furs and milli-
nery. Since that time he has been continuously
associated with that line of business, though the
Style of the firm has undergone a number of
changes and transformations, and the volume of
its transactions has been repeatedly multiplied.
He is now senior member of the wholesale fancy
dry-goods and millinery establishment of Edson
Keith & Company, on Wabash Avenue, and
President of the firm of Keith Brothers & Com-
pany, wholesale dealers in hats, caps, etc., whose
place of business is on Adams Street. In addition
to these, he is proprietor of Keith & Company,
grain warehousemen, and is a stockholder and
Director of the Metropolitan National Bank.

He has ever taken a keen interest in the growth
and progress of Chicago, maintaining perfect con-
fidence in its future greatness, and has at differ-
ent times managed some extensive real-estate
transactions, which not only have contributed to
his personal gain, but have been important fac-
tors in the financial prosperity of the commun-

But a few years had elapsed after casting in his
lot with the growing metropolis before he had es-
tablished a reputation for integrity of character
and honorable dealing which has ever been con-
sistently maintained, and he enjoys the esteem
and confidence of his colleagues and coadjutors to
a degree attained by few men in the West.

In 1860 Mr. Keith was happily married to
Miss Woodruff, of Chicago. This union has been
blessed with two sons: Edson, Jr., a graduate of
Yale College and later of Columbia Law School,
New York City; and Walter W., a graduate of

Though a sympathizer with Republican princi-
ples, Mr. Keith is not a strict partisan, but sup-
ports such men for public office as he deems most
worthy of his confidence. And, while he does
not hold membership with any religious organiz-
ation, he isa liberal supporter of institutions tend-
ing to upbuild the moral and intellectual senti-
ment of the people. He is a patron of art and
literature, and was for several terms a Vice-Presi-
dent of the Art Institute of Chicago. He served
for three years as President of the Citizens' Asso-
ciation, in the inception of which he was one of
the foremost movers, and which did a great work
in the reform of municipal and state affairs. He
was three years President of the Calumet Club,
and is identified with numerous other leading
clubs of Chicago and New York City. His hon-
orable and successful career stands out on the
horizon of Chicago's history, a fitting example
to its rising generations of the rewards which
await persistent and intelligent application, when
accompanied by straightforward dealing, but-
tressed with regular habits and unswerving integ-
rity of character.




I child of Abraham and Esther Eberhart (nee
(2/ Amend), was born January 21, 1829, at
Hickory, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, his early
years being busily spent upon his father's farm,
situated in the then new-settlement region.

In 1837 he moved with his parents to Big Bend
(on the Allegheny), in Venango County, Penn-
sylvania, still occupying himself with agricultural
pursuits, save in winter, which time was given
over to district schools. At sixteen he left school,
becoming himself a country pedagogue, his first
charge being located at the mouth of Oil Creek
(near Franklin), Pennsylvania, where, after the
manner so eloquently depicted by Eggleston
in "The Hoosier Schoolmaster," he "boarded
"round" and received his few dollars per month
for ' 'teaching the young idea how to shoot. ' '

The following year he took advanced tuition in
drawing, writing and flourishing, afterward teach-
ing these accomplishments to others. After some
further schoolteaching, and having himself com-
pleted the curriculum of the Cottage Hill Acad-
emy at Ellsworth, Ohio, he entered Allegheny
College, in 1849, whence he graduated July 2,
1853, having, like many another contemporary
who has since "made his mark," worked his way
through college by teaching and working upon
farms. He always took a leading part in his
classes, as well as in many field sports, outlifting,
outjumping and outrunning all his several hun-
dred classmates. Perhaps we may allow this to
speak as a prophecy of later superior achieve-
ments. In oratory he was proficient, as is suffi-
ciently attested by the plaudits of the several
thousand auditors who attended his Fourth of
July oration near his old home at Rockland, Pa. ,
two days after his graduation.

The succeeding fall he assumed the duties of
Principal of the Albright Seminary at Berlin,
Somerset County, Pennsylvania. This first in-
stitution of letters founded by the Evangelical As-
sociation developed and prospered under his fos-
tering care. And here a digression is briefly
made in order to call attention to the fact that the
Rev. H. W. Thomas, now pastor of the People's
Church, Chicago, was a pupil of his at this time.

The first serious disappointment in his life
work, as Mr. Eberhart had first planned it, oc-
curred after two years' confinement over school
duties, at which juncture several consulting doc-
tors of medicine prognosticated a growing con-
sumption, which he could not outlive beyond a
few months at the furthest. Packing up his pos-
sessions, he set his face toward the great West,
a country destined to give him that abundant
measure of renewed life which he has since spent
in the interest of others as well as himself. April
15, 1855, was the date of his first coming to Chi-
cago, at which time in the then "Muddy City"
he remained only a short interval, on his way to
Dixon, Illinois, where for a time he edited and
published an early newspaper, called the Dixon
Transcript. About this time he also prepared and
delivered lectures upon chemistry, natural philos-
ophy, meteorology and astronomy, they being
among the first popular lectures to be illustrated
by practical apparatus. He also at this period
traveled for New York publishing houses, and was
largely instrumental in establishing district-school
libraries in the state. But, best of all, in this in-
vigorating climate, with its changes of diversified
labors, attended by abundance of outdoor sports
and healthy exercises, he regained and fortified
that healthful virility which through more than
three and a-half decades has amply sufficed to



keep him well engaged in honorable pursuits;
until at this writing, through untiring self-efforts,
he stands prominent and time-honored among the
early educators of Illinois and the West.

On locating in Chicago, he purchased and for
three years edited and published, ' 'The North-
western Home and School Journal," interspers-
ing such labors by lecturing before and conduct-
ing teachers' institutes, not only in Illinois, but
also in other western states, coming thus into
personal contact with the leading educators of the
day, such as Elihu Burritt, Henry Barnard and
Horace Mann.

He was elected Superintendent of Schools of
Cook County in the fall of 1859. This office he
uninterruptedly held for ten years, during which
time he earnestly labored to arouse a unanimity
of interest and enthusiasm of which our local
school history affords no parallel. Our free
schools in the county up to this time had never
been under proper supervision, and were when
he assumed the duties in a neglected condition.
But he began a thorough systematic visitation of
schools, conferring with teachers and directors,
organizing institutes, etc. ; until, finding it im-
possible to secure otherwise the services of ade-
quately qualified teachers, he began his agitation
for a county normal school, and with such suc-
cess, that in 1867 a school was opened at Blue
Island, through provisions made by the Board of
Supervisors. This school, since removed to Nor-
mal, has grown to be a power in the land, being
sought by many pupils coming from long distan-
ces, and always having a large attendance roll.
Among other noteworthy acts we may call to
mind the following: Mr. Eberhart was among
the organizers of the Illinois State Teachers' As-
sociation, the first seventeen consecutive sessions
of which he attended; he assisted in establishing
the State Normal University, and in making many
valuable changes in the state school law, includ-
ing the original act authorizing counties to estab-
lish normal schools, and was the principal mover
in forming the State Association of County Super-
intendents, which chose him for its first President.
As President of the County Board of Education,
he was the means of introducing the ' 'kindergar-

ten" into the Cook County Normal School, and
also aided in establishing the system of free kin-
dergartens in the city. During all this time he
was a member of the American Institute of In-
struction, as well as one of the first life members
of the National Teachers' Association . Mr. Eb-
erhart received many overtures to accept profes-
sorships and presidents' chairs in some of our
leading institutions of learning, but he always
declined, principally because he did not again
wish to risk his health and life in such work.

Always imbued with a liking for travel and
outings, and with generous tastes for a liberal,
rational enjoyment and improvement of life and
its grand possibilities, after a quarter of a century
spent as before briefly indicated, he set about ac-
cumulating a fortune out of real estate. At the
time of the panic of 1873 he was esteemed one of
the millionaires of the city. However, through
joint interests with others, which he had to settle,
he lost his possessions, but is now again a wealthy
man, and is content in making a wise use of his
powers and gifts, being a liberal parent and hus-
band, and munificent in charity donations.

Personally Mr. Eberhart is rather slender, but
well proportioned, six feet in stature, of affable
manners, positive in opinion, Republican in poli-
tics and of deeply religious convictions.

Christmas Day, 1864, the subject of this sketch
was married to Miss Matilda Charity Miller, a
daughter of Joseph C. and Mercie H. Miller, of
this city. This most estimable lady was born in
Toronto, Canada, but in infancy was brought to
the United States, where, prior to her marriage,
she became a prized teacher. She has become
the tenderest of mothers, and full of thoughtful
kindnesses toward unfortunates in life. Six chil-
dren have blessed their union, namely: Maude
Winifred, born November i, 1866, and who died
February n, 1873; John Joseph, born September
8, 1870; Frank Nathaniel, December 17, 1872;
Mary Evangeline, April 3, 1875; Grace Josephine,
June 4, 1877; and Wilfred, June 12, 1881, and
who died December 26, 1882.

A brief genealogy of the family is here added:

The name has been variously spelled, Everhart,
Everhard, Eberhardt, Eberhard and Eberhart



being the most common forms. Such changes of
patronymic spelling are by no means unusual in
German descendants living upon American soil;
but Eberhart is believed to be the most general,
as well as correct, English orthography, and is
used by the branch which is the subject of this

This family, which from 1280 to 1723 (a period
of four hundred and forty-three years) gave birth
to counts and dukes reigning over the province of
Wurtemberg, is of Swabian (Bavarian) German
origin. Through the middle ages its numerous
descendants have figured very conspicuously in
the history of that country and the advancement
of civilization. As a generation they have lived
ahead of their respective years; have been a mar-
tial, well-educated, honorable and religious branch
of the human race.

One Eberhart rendered invaluable assistance to
Martin Luther, hero of the Reformation, since
which era most of the families have belonged to
the Lutheran Church. Of its many men of let-
ters, space permits a reference only to Johannes
August Eberhardt, friend of Frederick the Great,
Privy Councilor to the King of Prussia, mem-
ber of the Berlin Academy, one of the greatest
scholars of the eighteenth century, who composed
many able treatises, some of them authority to
this day.

Of the sovereigns of this family, whose deeds
and virtues are celebrated in prose and verse (the
lyric king of German song, the immortal Schil-
ler, pausing in Parnassian flights to do them
homage), we must chronicle how "Duke Eber-
hard the Noble," "Duke Eberhard the.Groaner"
(or "Rushing Beard"), "Duke Eberhard the
Mild," "Duke Eberhard with the Beard," "Duke
Eberhard the Younger," "Prince Eberhard" and
"Duke Leopold Eberhard" were some of the
most noted rulers springing from the loins of this
famous race.

The first above was the founder of the royal
line, being the most daring warrior Wurtemberg
has ever produced, of whom it is written:

"Then spoke Eberhard the Great,

Wurtemberg's beloved lord,
'No great cities boast my state,

Nay, nor hills with silver stored.

" 'But one treasure makes me blest,
Though the days are fierce and dread;

On each subject's loyal breast
I can safely lay my head.'

" 'Eberhard !' cried one and all,

And meekly before him bowed,
'Thou art richest of us all! '

And their praise rang long and loud.'

The grandson of ' 'The Noble' ' was ' 'The Rush-
ing Beard," whose episode connected with the
fatal conduct of his son Ulrich is famed in art,
compositions thereupon being hung in the Cor-
coran Gallery at Washington (District of Colum-
bia), in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and two
canvases in the Museum of Rotterdam; while in
Wurtemberg's capital is a life-size statue in mar-
ble of "The Rushing Beard," which is among
the first objects of interest to attract the attention
of the visitor.

Intermarriages were made with such leading
families as the Ulrichs, Rudolphs, Henrys, Fred-
ericks, Hartmans and Ludwigs, whose names are
occasionally found in the line of rulers, when a
male heir was wanting to the Eberharts; or, per-
chance, a female sovereign for a time appears, as
in the case of the Duchess Henrietta, widow of
' ' Eberhard the Younger. ' '

With the death of Charles VI, Emperor of Ger-
many, in 1740, passed away the glories of the
House of Hapsburg. At this era the Eberhardts
also ceased to reign in Wurtemberg, being de-
throned partly by their own injudicious counsels
and conduct, but more especially by the then
growing ascendancy of the Catholics. This was
the time of self-expatriation of many of their line
in quest of better fortunes, together with the civil
and religious freedom of the New World.

In 1727 three brothers, Michael, Peter and
Joseph, came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Of
these, Michael Eberhart came from Germany in
the ship "Friendship, John Davis master, land-
ing in the City of Brotherly Love October 16,
1727. He had a son Paul, born during the voy-
age to America, who lived in Northampton Coun-
ty, Pennsylvania, until 1773, when he removed
to the "Manor Settlement" near Greensburg,
Pennsylvania. He had a third son, Christian,
who married Anna Maria Snyder, of his native



place, where he died in 1849, at the advanced age
of seventy -seven. He had a second son, Abra-
ham, who was born December 28, 1797, and who
married, August 22, 1820, Esther Armend, of
New Salem, Pennsylvania. At twenty-five he
removed into the wilderness of Mercer County,
Pennsylvania, where he cleared a farm and erect-
ed a sawmill on the Little Neshannock. He

afterward lived in Illinois and Iowa, and was the
first to take up residence in the suburb of Chi-
cago Lawn, October 2, 1877. He died August 7,
1880, and was interred in Rose Hill Cemetery.
He was a man of great good sense and stanchest
probity. From him descended a fifth child, John
Frederick Eberhart, the subject of the foregoing


member of the Chicago Bar, and formerly
Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of
Arizona, is descended from one of the early Colo-
nial families of Connecticut. His grandfather,
Peter Pinney, was a native of the ' 'Land of Steady
Habits," and his parents, Martin and Nancy
(Johnson) Pinney, were born in Vermont. Mar-
tin Pinney was reared in Franklin County, Ver-
mont, and settled in Western New York about
1830. He was a carpenter and builder, and
erected many of the early buildings of Orleans
County, New York, where he died in 1869, at
the age of seventy years. His widow is still liv-
ing there, in the ninety-second year of her age.
The subject of this notice is the seventh of their
nine children.

Daniel H. Pinney was born in Albion, the seat
of Orleans County, New York, June 2, 1837. He
received the benefit of the common schools of his
native town, and when still a young man joined
the engineering corps employed in the enlarge-
ment of the Erie Canal, continuing in that work
two years and gaining a practical knowledge
which ever after proved of advantage to him.
He was possessed of energy, and a worthy ambi-
tion to rise in the world, and resolved to try his
fortune in the new West.

The year 1856 found him in Chicago, looking

for any honorable employment. For about two
years he worked as a clerk and in various occu-
pations, and in the mean time set his mind on the
study of law. Going to Michigan City, Indiana,
he entered the office of J. A. Thornton, a leading
attorney of that place. When business called
him to Joliet, Illinois, he continued his studies in
the office of Snapp & Breckenridge, and applied
himself with such industry and aptitude that he
was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of
the United States in the fall of 1861.

His first experience as a practical lawyer was
obtained in the town of Wilmington, Will Coun-
ty, this State, where he practiced two years with
moderate success. At the end of this period he
returned to Joliet and continued his way into
the confidence and esteem of the public. This is
shown by the fact that he was five times elected
City Attorney of Joliet, and in 1876 he was the
successful candidate, as an Independent, for a seat
in the General Assembly. He espoused the cause
of Judge David Davis as candidate for the United
States Senate, and as an active and aggressive
worker, was largely instrumental in the success
of that candidacy. He continued his law prac-
tice in Joliet until 1882, when he was appointed
by President Arthur to a position on the Supreme
Bench of Arizona, which he filled with credit to
all concerned for four years.


After spending a year in California, Judge Pin-
ney returned to Illinois, settling in Chicago, where
he has continued in practice since. He is an
exceptionally able trial lawyer, and has handled
a wide range of cases, many of them taking him
to the Supreme Courts of adjoining and distant
States. He is, withal, a very modest man, and
gets no more credit than he is entitled to. He is
a member of the Chicago Bar Association and of
the Sons of New York. Being an independent
thinker, he has not allied himself with any organ-
izations other than social ones. In religious faith
he is a Universalist, and attended the Englewood
church of that denomination as long as he dwelt
near it. He was an original Lincoln Republican,

and was for many years an active campaigner,
but retains his independence of party lines, and
acts in elections according to his faith in respec-
tive candidates.

In 1865, at Albion, New York, Mr. Pinney
was married to Miss Mary, daughter of John B.
Lee, a prominent citizen of that town, which was
Mrs. Pinney 's birthplace. She died in 1872, leav-
ing a son, William Lee Pinney, now in business
at Phoenix, Arizona. In 1874 Mr. Pinney mar-
ried Miss Mary E. Bowman, of Shawneetown,
Illinois, a native of Kentucky, who has borne him
three children, Harry Bowman, Sidney Breese
and Nannie E. Pinney, aged, respectively, nine-
teen, seventeen and nine years.


ry To what extent the character of an individ-
| ual is molded by the circumstances and con-
ditions which surround him is a problem that ad-
mits of almost unlimited discussion. But no stu-
dent of human nature will attempt to deny that
the environments of childhood exert a powerful
influence upon the life of the future man or wo-
man. A thorough business training, begun at
an early age, and vigorously adhered to in ma-
ture years, while it may dwarf some of the finer
sensibilities and smother many of the noblest at-
tributes of a man's nature, seldom fails to develop
a capable, systematic and successful business man.
Mr. Jones was born at Chelsea, Washtenaw
County, Michigan, January 18, 1860, and is a son
of Aaron C. Jones and Carrie R. Clarke. A. C.
Jones was born in New York, and came, during
his childhood, with his parents to Michigan.
They settled near Adrian, where his father, Ab-
ner Jones, became a prominent farmer. The lat-
ter was a native of New York. Aaron C. Jones

was a master marble-cutter, but being troubled
with weakness of the lungs, which was aggra-
vated by the pursuit of this calling, he abandoned
it. In 1868 he came to Chicago and engaged in

Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 23 of 111)