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Clark. Eight children were born of their union,
six sons and two daughters. Ella, now deceased,
was the wife of J. Deville Dennis. William P.
married Miss Temperance Hayward, daughter of
Ambrose D. and Martha (Wiley) Hayward, the
former a native of Maine, and the latter of Mass-
achusetts. They have two children, William P.
and Martha Abigail. William P. Keeler has
since April, 1872, held the responsible position of
City Cashier in the wholesale house of Marshall
Field & Co. He and his wife are members of the
Englewood Christian Church. On the nth of
May, 1864, while yet a boy, he enlisted in the
War of the Rebellion, joining the one hundred
day men and becoming a member of Company A,
One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Illinois Infan-
try, U. S. A., continuing in the service until the
25th of October. Frederick S. and Isaac Ward
were the next younger, but are now deceased, as
also Frank, twin brother of Fannie. The latter
is the wife of Walter Colby, of Chicago, and
they have two children, Otis Keeler and Abigail



Stuart. Susan C. and Charles L. have also passed
away, and the mother of this family, who was a
devoted member of the Christian Church, died
May 17, 1889, in her sixty-seventh year.

In 1852, William O. Keeler went to California
in search of gold, and after a two-years stay re-
turned to Danbury, Conn., remaining thereuntil
the fall of 1854. He then came to Chicago and
opened the first hat, cap and fur store on Randolph
Street, under the old Matteson House, occupying
this stand for a number of years. He afterward
removed to a new block on the opposite side of
the street, conducting the business until 1861.
He then accepted a clerkship with a hat house
on Clark Street, near Lake, and later at No. 77
Lake Street, in the Tremont Block, remaining
there until 1866. In that year he went upon the
road as a traveling salesman, which calling he
pursued for a limited time only. His later years
have been mostly spent in the manufacture of
dress hats, but in the spring of 1894, after pass-
ing his seventy-fifth milestone, the infirmities of
age compelled him to give up work. Father and
son have never been separated in their lives ex-
cept for comparatively brief intervals, the home
of the one having always been the home of the
other.



ALBERT WILSON KELSO.



G| LBERT WILSON KELSO, of Chicago, oc-

J I cupies the responsible position of chief clerk
| I in the office of the Assistant General Manager
of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad.
The record of his life is as follows: A native of
Shippensburgh, Pa., he was born on the 22d of
October, 1859, and is a son of James W. and
Anna B (Shade) Kelso. His father was also a
native of Shippensburgh, and died in that town
when the son was only six months old. By trade



he was a painter and decorator, and did a good
business along that line. After the death of her
first husband, Mrs. Kelso married Henry High,
and is now residing in Wilson, Kan.

Mr. Kelso whose name heads this record at-
tended the public schools until fourteen years of
age, thus becoming familiar with the common
English branches of learning. His knowledge
has since been greatly supplemented by reading,
experience and observation, and he has thus be-



WALES TOBEY.



163



come a well-informed man. At the age of eigh-
teen he emigrated westward, removing with the
family to Wilson, Kan. From the age of eight
years he had been accustomed to work in a brick-
yard, and also engaged in other labor, thus con-
tributing to his own support. He is a self-made
man, and whatever success he has achieved in
life is due entirely to his own efforts.

While living in Wilson, Kan., Mr. Kelso sought
and obtained a position as night clerk in a hotel.
Later he removed to Russell, Kan., where he was
emplo}'ed in the same capacity. In May, 1880,
he entered the service of the Union Pacific Rail-
road Company and removed to Wallace, Kan.
For seven years he continued his connection with
that road, becoming chief clerk in the Division
Superintendent's office at Wallace, his merit and
ability winning him a promotion to which he was
justly entitled. Later he was in the office of the
Superintendent of Bridges and Buildings of the
Union Pacific Railroad Company at Omaha, and
on the 27th of April, 1887, he engaged with the
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad at To-
peka, Kan., occupying a position as clerk in the
office of the Superintendent of Roadways. In
August, 1890, he came to Chicago as chief clerk



in the office of the Assistant General Manager,
which position he now holds. He discharges his
duties with promptness and fidelity, and wins the
respect of all with whom he is brought in contact.

Turning from the public to the private life of
Mr. Kelso, it is noted that in June, 1883, was
celebrated his marriage with Miss Elizabeth Spahr,
daughter of John and Mary Spahr, who were
residents of Carlisle, Pa. The family circle now
includes four children, a son and three daughters:
Mary, Edith, Newton and Nora.

Socially, Mr. Kelso is a member of the Masonic
fraternity, and has taken high rank in the order,
belonging to Topeka Commandery and Medinah
Temple of the Mystic Shrine. From his boyhood
he has been an advocate of Republican principles,
and since attaining his majority he has cast his
vote for the men and measures of that party.
He is an accurate and reliable scribe, who has
won his way to his present responsible position
by his own unaided efforts. His integrity, indus-
trious habits and systematic business methods in-
spire the confidence of his superior officers, and
his many admirable social qualities have gained
him numerous personal friends.



WALES TOBEY



|ALES TOBEY, a leading citizen of Worth
Township, claims New York as the State
of his nativity, his birth having occurred
near Plattsburg, on the 28th of September, 1831.
His parents were Jesse and Statira (DeKalb) To-
bey. The father, who was born in Champlain,
N. Y. , was an attorney by profession and became a
large land-owner and iron-founder. He traveled
extensively through the West, and in the commu-
nity where he lived was recognized as one of its
most prominent business men. His death oc-



curred in Plattsburg, N. Y., in July, 1873, at the
age of seventy-three years. The Tobey family was
of English origin. Jesse Tobey, Sr. , the grand-
father of Wales, was one of four brothers who in
an early day came to America. The others set-
tled in Connecticut, Vermont and Ohio, respec-
tively. Mrs. Statira Tobey was a native of the
Empire State, but her parents were born in Penn-
sylvania, and were of German descent. Her
death occurred in 1841.

Wales Tobey spent his boyhood days upon a



1 64



HIRAM P. CRAWFORD.



farm in Jay Township, Essex County, N. Y.,
and attended the public schools and an academy.
Thus he acquired a good English education, which
well fitted him for the practical duties of life. At
the age of nineteen he left home and entered upon
his business career as book-keeper and salesman
in a mercantile establishment in Newport, Mich.,
where he was employed for three years. He be-
lieved it would be to his advantage to begin bus-
iness in the West, and his judgment was not at
fault, as the years have shown. He worked for
the firm of E. B. & S. Ward, relatives of his
grandmother. When the three years had passed,
he went to Grand Haven, Mich., where he began
business on his own account as a dealer in wood,
furnishing steamboats on the lake. In 1851 he
became a resident of Milwaukee, and thence went
to Strong's Landing, Wis. The following spring
he came to Cook County, 111., settling in Worth
Township.

In 1856, Mr. Tobey purchased his present farm
near Worth Station. It was then a tract of wild
land, but he at once began to clear and cultivate
it, and now has a finely improved farm, supplied
with all modern accessories and conveniences.
He has bought and sold considerable real estate,
and this branch of his business has also proved
to him a good source of income. For ten years
after locating on his farm, his nearest postoffice
was Blue Island, a distance of nine miles, but
through his efforts offices were established at
Worth, South Mount Forest and Grosskopf.
For a year after this result was attained the mail



was brought from Blue Island by private enter-
prise, for the Government had not then estab-
lished a mail route. Mr. Tobey, in connection
with two other men, supported the mail route by
subscription.

On the 8th of January, 1858, Mr. Tobey was
united in marriage with Elizabeth Van Horn,
daughter of A. C. Van Horn, of Homer, 111. They
had three children: John Dillon, a dealer in hay,
grain and ice, in Chicago; Emma, wife of F.
Hepperley, of Norfolk, Neb.; and Marion, wife
of John Elliott, of Winside, Neb. The mother
of this family passed away February 14, 1870, at
the age of thirty years. She was a member of
the Methodist Church.

Mr. Tobey was married to his second wife,
Elizabeth M. Burt, daughter of Alvin Burt, of
Westport, N. Y., January 8, 1874. She was the
mother of one child, Charles Clifford Tobey.
She passed away June 14, 1892, at the age of
forty-seven years.

Mr. Tobey attends the services of the Meth-
odist Church at Worth, which was built upon
land contributed by him. In earlier years he
was a Republican, but since the formation of
the Prohibition party has been identified with that
movement. He has never sought, nor would he
accept, public office. He has witnessed the mar-
velous development of Chicago and Cook County
for more than forty years, and has borne no small
part therein, ever striving to promote the moral
and intellectual growth of the community as well
as its material prosperity.



HIRAM PRATT CRAWFORD



HIRAM PRATT CRAWFORD, a real-estate
dealer of Crawford's Station, Chicago, is a
native of the Empire State, his birth having
occurred in Buffalo on the 3d of January, 1831.



He is a son of Peter Crawford, whose biography
will be found elsewhere in this work. He at-
tended the public schools of Buffalo and Chicago.
At the age of nineteen, he was established by his






FRANK H. NOVAK.



165



father in a lumber-yard in Marengo; and when the
railroad was extended to Belvidere, he removed to
that place, whence he afterward went to Rock-
ford, 111. In 1855, he became a resident of Gales-
burg, where he carried on business for two years.
Since 1857, he has resided at the old homestead,
where he is engaged in looking after his exten-
sive real-estate interests. The original farm pur-
chased by his father has constantly increased in
value, and now includes some of the most valuable
suburban property adjacent to the city.

In 1870, Mr. Crawford married Miss Sarah A.
Launt, daughter of Lewis Launt, of Hamden,
Delaware County, N. Y., the birthplace of Mrs.



Crawford. Three children graced this union,
namely: Sadie B., wife of M. D. Broadway, of
Chicago; Nettie S., and Jessie L., deceased. The
parents and their children hold membership with
the Baptist Church. In his political views, Mr.
Crawford is a Republican, and stanchly advocates
the principles of that party. He has filled vari-
ous positions of trust, having been Assessor, Tax
Collector and Superintendent of Public Works in
Cicero Township. Mr. Crawford is a gentleman
of rare physical strength for one of his years. He
is kindly in manner, hospitable, and deeply in-
terested in the growth and progress of Chicago.



FRANK H. NOVAK.



[""RANK H. NOVAK, a leading attorney of
r3 West Pullman, was born near Iowa City,
I Johnson County, Iowa, on the i6th of No-
vember, 1862, and is a son of Frank and Barbara
Novak, who are still living on a farm near Iowa
City. The former is a native of Vienna, Austria.
He crossed the Atlantic to America in 1858, and
became one of the pioneer settlers of Johnson
County, Iowa. He is now one of its most ex-
tensive farmers and representative citizens. His
wife, who was born near Praug, Austria, is a
daughter of Frank and Mary Hiek, early settlers
of Lynn County, Iowa, who emigrated to America
from Praug, Austria, in 1855.

In taking up the personal history of our sub-
ject, we present to our readers the life record of
one who is both widely and favorably known in
this section of Cook County. After attending
the common schools, he entered the Iowa City
Commercial College, from which he was graduated
in the Class of '85. He then engaged in teach-



ing for several terms, and met with good success
in that line of work. He afterward became a
student in the Iowa State University, of Iowa
City, and, on the completion of the collegiate
course, entered the law department, having de-
termined to become a member of the legal pro-
fession. He received his diploma in 1889, and
was thereby entitled to admission to the Bar and
to practice in the federal courts.

Immediately after completing his law studies,
Mr. Novak opened an office in Iowa City, and
was there engaged in business until August,
1893, when he crossed the Mississippi into Illi-
nois and located at West Pullman, where he has
since made his home, becoming the leading at-
torney of that growing suburb, and doing business
as a lawyer and loan and collection agent. He
is also interested in real-estate and in live-stock
investments near Iowa City, where the breeding
of English Shire horses and Red Polled cattle is
made a specialty.



1 66



JOHN J. LEAHY.



On the 28th of March, 1890, Mr. Novak was
united in marriage with Miss Nellie M. Burke,
daughter of Thomas Burke, a resident of Oxford,
Iowa. The lady is a native of Ottawa, Illinois.
Their union has been blessed with one child, Marie
Barbara.

The parents both attend the Catholic Church.
Mr. Novak is a member of the Knights of Pythias
fraternity, the Knights of the Maccabees and the
Order of Red Men. In politics, he is a Democrat,



and warmly advocates the principles of that party.
He has held a number of public offices, was Town-
ship Clerk both in Lucas and Monroe Townships
of Johnson County, Iowa, was Assessor of Mon-
roe Township, and filled other positions of public
trust. Mr. Novak is a gentleman of pleasing
address, good business judgment and marked pro-
fessional ability, making friends of all with whom
he comes in contact in either business or social
relations.



JOHN J. LEAHY, M. D.



(TOHN J. LEAHY, M. D., who is successfully
I engaged in the practice of medicine in Le-
G) mont, was born in April, 1863, and is a na-
tive of County Limerick, Ireland. His father,
Thomas Leahy, was a native of Tipperary, and
his mother, Margaret Leahy, of Kitteely. The
Doctor acquired his primary education in the na-
tional schools of the Emerald Isle, and then began
the study of medicine in the College of Surgeons
in Dublin, where he remained for three years.
In 1883, he emigrated from Ireland, and in Sep-
tember of that year reached Chicago.where he be-
came a student in Rush Medical College. He
there spent two years, and still another year in the
Cook County Hospital.

In April, 1885, Dr. Leahy acted upon the ad-
vice given to the young men of America by the
sage of Chappaqua and went West, settling at
Delmar Junction, Clinton County, Iowa. At-
tracted by the inducements offered at Lemont,
however, he, in the autumn of the year 1885
settled in this place, where he has enjoyed a large
and constantly increasing practice. Much of the



time Dr. Leahy has been employed by corpora-
tions working large forces of men. From 1886 to
1891, he was surgeon for the Santa Fe Railroad
Company, and during the year 1892 he was
physician and surgeon for the firm of Frazier &
Chalmers, manufacturers of mining machinery at
Chicago.where he was busily engaged, having in
charge a thousand men and their families. Since
the beginning of 1894, he has been physician and
surgeon to the Illinois Stone Company, and also
to Section 5 of the Drainage Canal at Lemont, in
addition to his general practice.

In 1887, Dr. Leahy married Miss Margaret
Reardon, of Lemont, daughter of Thomas and
Helen Reardon, whose sketch appears elsewhere
in this volume. Three bright and beautiful chil-
dren, two girls and a boy, have blessed this un-
ion. They are Clara Louise, John J. and Mar-
ion. Dr. Leahy's cheerful disposition makes him
many friends, professionally and otherwise, and
he enjoys a large and lucrative practice. He has
one brother in this country, Rev. Patrick Leahy,
of Lyons, Iowa.



<RV
" THE
UNIVERSI ' OF ILl!




C










CYRUS H. McCORMICK.



187



CYRUS HALL McCORMICK.



EYRUS HALL McCORMICK, measured by
his achievements and their influence upon
mankind, must rank as one of the greatest
benefactors of modern times. This statement is,
perhaps, a comprehensive one, but it is not un-
warranted by facts, and indeed was given an au-
thoritative stamp when, in the latter years of Mr.
McCormick's life, he was chosen a corresponding
member of the French Academy of Sciences, on
the ground of his having done more for the cause
of agriculture than any other living man. Why
this broad and generous tribute ? Why is the
name of Cyrus Hall McCormick remembered and
honored, and why will his memory hold a sacred
niche in Fame's enduring temple throughout all
coming time ? To answer queries of this nature
we must give a brief sketch of the life, the influ-
ences, and the labors of him concerning whom
they are asked.

The McCormick family lived in Rockbridge
County, Virginia. They were descendants of an
early settler in that portion of the State, who had
been invited thither by the fertile fields lying in
the broad valley between the Shenandoah and
Blue Ridge mountain ranges. It was here that
Cyrus Hall McCormick was born on the isth of
February, 1809. His parents were Robert and
Mary Ann (Hall) McCormick, and their circum-
stances, while perhaps not warranting luxurious
living, were, nevertheless, conducive to comfort
and the peaceful enjoyments common to that pe-
riod. It was an era when modern frivolities and
diversions were comparatively unknown, and
when the hearts of men and women found their
sweetest solace in the regularly recurring services
held in the little church. Light literature was there
unknown, and books of travel, history and biog-



raphy were almost equally scarce. As a conse-
quence, the Bible was much read in the homes of
the people, and its precepts were more carefully
instilled into the minds of its students than is com-
mon in this push-and-hurry age of ours. The
parents of young McCormick were recognized by
their neighbors as the possessors of marked abil-
ity and integrity of character, and their lives and
actions were shaped in conformity with the best
ideals of Christianity.

It was amid surroundings such as these that
the subject of this sketch acquired those traits
which mark the career of the successful man,
and to which men of all times and of all nations
have paid the tribute of their admiration and
their praise. This schooling of his character
at home was supplemented by young McCor-
mick's attendance upon the "Old Field " school,
where the rudiments of book knowledge were
acquired, and this was further enhanced by an
evident desire for knowledge not found in books,
a knowledge of the practical, of the common things
about him. Genius is rarely an accidental trait,
and it will be seen that the natural environments
in which young Cyrus lived were shaping his
destiny. His father was a man of more than or-
dinary ability, himself a student throughout all the
years of his life, with an inclination toward in-
vention, and indeed an inventor in fact, as sever-
al useful devices are accredited to his ingenuity
in this line. He was extensively engaged in
farming, and had upon his premises both black-
smith and wood-working shops for the prompt re-
pairing of the various farm implements, as occa-
sion demanded. He appears to have been fond
of the workshop, and it was but natural that he
should give considerable time and attention to the



168



CYRUS H. McCORMICK.



construction of experimental devices as they sug-
gested themselves to him. Among some of the
improvements resulting from his experiments were
a hemp-breaking machine, a threshing-machine,
and a blacksmith's bellows. As early as 1809,
he conceived the idea of a grain-cutting mechan-
ism, and in the summer of 1810 his conception
had assumed a tangible form and was taken into
the field for practical test. The cutting device
consisted of a system of rotary saws, revolving past
the edges of stationary knives, so as to cut like
shears. A witness who saw its performance in
the grain field described it as " a somewhat fright-
ful looking piece of machinery when moving."
It failed to meet the expectations of its inventor
and was laid aside, though the idea of the reaper
kept possession of him for several years thereafter,
and he in fact made one or two subsequent at-
tempts to perfect the machine, but without success.
To his father's experiments and failures young
Cyrus paid much attention, and it is not un-
likely that at an early age he brought himself to
believe that he would some time bring order out
of the chaos which had marked the elder's reap-
er-inventing career. He had a natural liking for
mechanical inventions, and spent a goodly portion
of his time in his father's workshops, becoming
quite an adept in the use of the various tools. At
the age of fifteen he made a grain cradle, by the
use of which he was enabled to go into the har-
vest field and keep pace with the older laborers.
A little later he constructed a hill-side plow, a
practical and useful invention, which threw alter-
nate furrows either right or left. This was pat-
ented, but was in turn superseded by his horizon-
tal self-sharpening plow. It was at the age of
twenty-two that he determined to devote his en-
ergies to the reaper; and with his father's fail-
ures before him plainly showing what was im-
practicable, and perhaps offering vague suggest-
ions as to what the practicable machine must be,
he dreamed, bethought, and he worked. He first
convinced himself that the principle adopted by
his father was fundamental'y wrong, he believing
that the cutting device should give way to a hori-
zontal reciprocating blade, which should operate
upon the grain in mass. Deciding upon the de-



tails of such a machine, he set to work with his
own hands to combine them in wood and iron.
He became so deeply absorbed in his work that his
father, remembering his own futile attempts in the
same line, sought to discourage the boy, telling
him that he was wasting both his time and talents.
Happily, however, Cyrus saw deeper, and with
that persistence which was an inborn trait of his
character, continued on in his work, and in the
summer of 1831 went into a field of grain with the
first successful reaper that was ever built. The
distinguishing features of that machine were the
reciprocating blade, operating in fixed fingers; the
platform for receiving the falling grain; the reel
to draw the grain back to the knives; and the
divider, to separate the grain to be cut from that
left standing. These features and their combina-
tion must be credited to the genius and skill of
Cyrus Hall McCormick. They are found in all
grain-cutting machines now extant, of whatso-
ever name or nature, and to dispense with them
' ' would be to wipe every reaper out of existence. ' '
The words quoted are from " Knight's New Me-
chanical Dictionary," compiled and edited by Ed-
ward H. Knight, A. M., 1,1,. D., in charge of
the classifications and publications of the United
States Patent Office.

When the field experiment had demonstrated
the practical utility of his invention, it was tem-
porarily relegated to a secondary place in the
mind of its inventor. To enter at once upon the
work of building machines for general use would
involve an expenditure and obligation which, at
that time, it was felt, could not be assumed; and
therefor, more perhaps as a stepping-stone than
otherwise, Mr. McCormick entered into a partner-
ship for the smelting of iron ore, a business which
appears to have moved along smoothly and with
some degree of success until the panic of 1837,
when it went down in the general crash which
carried with it so many older and more preten-
tious enterprises. Looking out upon the wreck,
Cyrus McCormick saw all material interests reced-
ing from him; looking within, he saw a sturdy
young manhood, and felt the red blood of ambi-
tion coursing through his veins. Little time was
spent in repining. The first thing lo be done



Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 25 of 111)