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

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CYRUS H. McCORMICK.



169



or at least to be provided for was the payment
of every obligation which the firm had assumed,
and to this end Mr. McCormick sacrificed all his
possessions, including the farm which his father
had given him. Then, with his face turned toward
the light, with faith in himself and the reaper,
he cast about him for ways and means for the
further improvement of his machine, its manu-
facture and sale. Like most stories of great suc-
cesses, this is the story of small beginnings, many
vicissitudes and perplexities, and some anxiety;
but over all the rainbow of hope. The shops of
the old Virginia farm were utilized as ' ' factories ' '
during the first few years, and, as may be imag-
ined, the annual output of machines was insig-
nificant until the year 1845, when it was decided
to start a plant at Cincinnati, Ohio. Arrange-
ments were also made at this time with a firm at
Brockport, New York, for building the reaper on
a royalty. It was thought that from these two
points the East and West could be supplied, but
the popularity of the grain cutter outran the ex-
pectations of its inventor, and, to accelerate the de-
velopment of the regions farther west, a demand
for it sprang up and became so general that it
was decided to again enlarge the plant, increase
the facilities, and locate near the great and grow-
ing market of the West. Accordingly, in 1 847 , the
McCormick Reaper Works became one of the
great industries of the young city of Chicago. In
1848 seven hundred machines were built and sold,
and from that time to this the business has shown
a steady growth, until its proportions are well
nigh amazing. The present capacity of the Mc-
Cormick Reaper Works exceeds 150,000 machines
every year; and, with the possible exception of
India, there is no grain and grass growing coun-
try beneath the sun where the McCormick ma-
chines are not employed in garnering the crop.

After the assured success of the reaper at home,
Mr. McCormick took measures to bring it to the
attention of the agriculturists of the Old World.
As an initial step in this direction, the machine
was placed on exhibition at the first World's Fair,
held in London in 1851. It was at a time when
English eyes were given to the casting of unfriend-
ly glances toward whatever emanated from Yan-



keedom, and the McCormick reaper was not al-
lowed to escape the ridicule of the press, the
London Times characterizing it as "a cross
between an Astley chariot and a wheelbarrow."
Before the Exposition season closed, however,
the reaper completely conquered prejudice and
the Times made the amende honorable by stating
editorially that it was ' ' alone worth the entire ex-
pense of the Exhibition, ' ' and the Great Council
Medal was awarded to Mr. McCormick on the
ground of the originality and value of his inven-
tion. From this moment fame and fortune were
assured, and there were no fields either at home
or abroad in which McCormick was not conquer-
or. At the UniversalExposition at Paris, in 1855,
he was awarded the Grand Prize. Again at Paris in
1867 he gained the Grand Prize and decoration by
the Emperor with the Cross of the Legion of Hon-
or. It was at this time that M. Eugene Tisseraud,
Director-General of the Imperial Domains, said:
' ' The man who has labored most in the general
distribution, perfection and discovery of the first
practical reaper is assuredly Mr. McCormick, of
Illinois. Equally as a benefactor of humanity
and as a skillful mechanician, Mr. McCormick
has been adjudged worthy of the highest distinc-
tion of the Exposition." A third triumph was
secured at Paris in 1878, when the Grand Prize
was once more bestowed upon Mr. McCormick,
and he was also honored by the French Academy
of Sciences, as was referred to in the opening
paragraph of this sketch. Many personal trib-
utes might be given illustrating the high regard
in which Mr. McCormick was held, and showing
the recognition of the value of his invention.
During his life-time honors came to him thick and
fast, and it is not untimely to add here that since
his death the business which he founded, and the
harvesting machines which still bear his name,
stand first and foremost in the business and agri-
cultural world. Honors have continued to come
to the McCormick, not the least of which were
those secured at the World's Columbian Exposi-
tion of 1893.

Cyrus Hall McCormick encountered obstacles
which only a matchleas energy and ability could
have overcome. At the beginning of his career,



170



JOHN B. TURNER.



and for a long time afterwards, he was inconveni-
enced by a lack of capital and by his isolation
from centres of communication and trade. He
was forced to overcome the opposition originally
brought to bear against all labor-saving machines.
Congress refused to give him just patent protec-
tion, for the reason that his invention was so val-
uable that all should be allowed to make it !
But against all these odds he came out conqueror.
Steadily he overcame every obstacle and estab-
lished his claim to be a benefactor of the indus-
trial world.

Man's better nature, his human side, his kind-
lier, gentler self, cannot be always seen to advan-
tage in the hurly-burly of an active business ca-
reer, and it is pleasant to recall the memory of
Cyrus Hall McCormick as he appeared to those
who knew him in social life, in his home, in his
church relations, and in all those varied walks
that lead away from business and touch the strings
of human hearts. Mr. McCormick had this gen-
tler nature, and, while it is not our purpose here
to rehearse the many ways in which this charac-
teristic evinced itself, still a sketch of his life
should contain a brief mention of those more con-
spicuous acts wherein are shown the trend of his
benevolence and the munificence of his philanthro-
py. In 1859, at the General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church held at Indianapolis, he
made a proposition to endow the professorships of
the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of the
Northwest, on condition that it be located at Chi-



cago. The conditions were accepted, and the
seminary, which, in addition to the original en-
dowment, received from Mr. McCormick numer-
ous other magnificent donations, is to-day a proud
monument to his liberality and nobility of heart.
On the educational and religious lines of his work
was also his purchase of the Interior, a news-
paper established in Chicago to represent the Pres-
byterian Church. In the hour of its financial
struggles he purchased it, placed it upon a sound
financial basis, and it is to-day one of the most
able and influential religious journals published.
He was also a liberal contributor to various schools
and colleges in different parts of the country,
those of his native Virginia coming in for gener-
ous recognition at his hands.

In 1858 Mr. McCormick married Miss Nettie
Fowler, daughter of Melzar Fowler, Esq., of Jeff-
erson County, New York. Four sons and three
daughters were born to them, two of whom, a son
and a daughter, died in infancy. The surviving
children are: Cyrus Hall McCormick, now Presi-
dent of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Com-
pany; Mary Virginia; Anita, widow of the late
Emmons Elaine; Harold and Stanley.

Mr. Me Cormick died on the 1 3th of May, 1884.
His life was rounded out by something more than
the three-score and ten years of scriptural allot-
ment; but we live in deeds, not years, and, meas-
ured by this standard, the life of Cyrus Hall Mc-
Cormick was long, and ever longer groweth.



JOHN BICE TURNER.



(lOHN BICE TURNER, founder of the great of great financial and other difficulties. Thepio-



I railway system now known as the Chicago
(2) & Northwestern, will ever deserve the grat-
itude of Chicago for his public spirit and perse-
verance in carrying out his enterprises in the face



neers of Chicago, whose number is rapidly grow-
ing small, speak of him in the most kindly and ap-
proving terms. Probably but a very small percent-
age of the thousands who daily ride to and from



JOHN B. TURNER.



171



the city on the "Northwestern" suburban trains
ever consider the hardships endured by those who
first undertook to construct a railway to the West
from the struggling young city by the lake. It
had no double track at first, and no "parlor" or
"palace sleeping" cars followed its strap rails.
The generation which found a modern-equipped
line ready for its accommodation can little under-
stand the conditions that obtained when John B.
Turner laid the first "T" rails in Illinois.

The subject of this biography was born in Col-
chester, Delaware County, N. Y., on the I4th of
January, 1799, less than a decade after the estab-
lishment of the present United States Government.
His father, Elisha Turner, died when he was but
two years old, and his mother when he was four-
teen. Her maiden name was Patience Coville, and
she was of Dutch origin. The Turners are of Eng-
lish lineage. Soon after his father's death, J. B.
Turner was adopted by David Powers, and passed
his youth on a farm and about a tanyard operated
by his foster-father, in the mean time receiving such
instruction as the country schools of the time af-
forded. In 1819, he married Miss Martha Volun-
tine, and settled down at farming. Five years
later, he sold out his interest in the farm and pur-
chased a mill and store, and built a distillery at
Maltaville, in Saratoga County, which he oper-
ated six years. Financial reverses caused him to
abandon these interests, and his attention was first
turned to railroad construction in 1835, when he
took a contract to build seven miles of the Ran-
som & Saratoga Railroad. After its completion,
Mr. Turner was placed in charge of this road,
most of whose trains were hauled by horses, of
which the company owned thirty head, and he
constructed barns every ten miles for the accom-
modation of the motive power. It was on this
line, under Mr. Turner's management, that the
' 'Champlain, ' ' an engine of five tons' weight, was
placed in commission, being the second of its kind
in use.

In November, 1835, Mr. Turner, with a part-
ner, broke ground on the Delaware Division of
the New York & Erie Railroad, but was forced to
suspend operations when the financial disasters of
April, 1837, crippled the owners, and the capital



of the contractors appeared to be swallowed up.
The subsequent resumption of the company re-
stored to Mr. Turner the $16,000 which he re-
garded as lost, and with a brother-in-law, John
Vernam, he engaged in building the Genesee Val-
ley Canal. The suspension of operations by the
State on the canal in 1840 again caused a heavy
loss to Mr. Turner, but on the resumption of con-
struction this was, in part, restored to him. By
the spring of 1843, he had completed a section of
the Troy &Schenectady Railroad with profit, and
he turned his attention toward the growing West
as the most desirable field for the investment of his
capital. With his wife, he made a trip as far
West as the Mississippi River, and decided to lo-
cate at Chicago, returning East at once for his
family.

The 1 5th of October, 1843, found him again in
Chicago, and he took up quarters at the old Tre-
mont House. His active mind readily grasped
the opportunities for investment, and one of his
first moves was the purchase of one thousand
acres of land near Blue Island, on which he placed
a herd of sheep, brought from Ohio in the spring.
An attempt at railroad building had been made
as early as 1837, and a few miles of strap rails
had been laid, terminating on the prairie not far
from the present western limits of the city of Chi-
cago. In 1847, Mr. Turner and William B. Og-
den, the first mayor of Chicago, organized a com-
pany to construct a road westward from Chicago,
and on the 5th of April in that year, Mr. Ogden
was elected President, and Mr. Turner Acting
Director of the Chicago & Galena Union Railroad,
the objective point being Galena a town little
less than Chicago in size and importance at that
time. Both the gentlemen above named were en-
thusiastic in the interest of the enterprise, and by
their untiring labor in soliciting subscriptions to
stock and securing right of way from the people
most benefited by its construction, said construc-
tion was made possible. At the election of officers
in December, 1850, when Mr. Turner was made
President, the track was completed beyond Elgin
and reached Freeport, where it connected with the
Illinois Central in September, 1852.

By this time, it had been demonstrated that the



172



E. F. L. GAUSS.



western prairies were destined to support an im-
mense population, and attention was turned to the
construction of the "Dixon Air -Line," from
Turner Junction west to the Mississippi River.
This was rapidly completed under Mr. Turner's
active and able management, and a portion of the
line across the State of Iowa was also completed
under his presidency, before he resigned in 1858.
He continued an active director of the road, and
in the Chicago & Northwestern, after the consol-
idation of the different lines, until his death. In
1853, he organized the Beloit & Madison Railroad
Company, which became a part of the same sys-
tem, being now a part of the Madison Division,
and on the consolidation, in June, 1864, of these
various lines, he was chairman of the committee
having the arrangements in charge, and was af-
terward a member of the Executive Committee of
the Chicago & Northwestern. Mr. Turner was
also a director of the North Side Street Railroad,
incorporated in February, 1859, and continued to
hold stock during his life.



In 1853, Mr. Turner was called upon to mourn
the death of the wife who had shared in his early
toils and successes, and in 1855 he married Miss
Adeline Williams, of Columbus, Ga. Three sons
and three daughters were given to him. He was
vigorous and active to the day of his death, which
was the 26th of February, 1871, more than sev-
enty-two years of life having been his allotted
time. The end came peacefully and quietly, and
on that day Chicago lost one of her most valued
and upright citizens, who did what he could to
benefit his fellows. On the day of his funeral,
the offices of the Chicago & Northwestern Rail-
way were closed out of respect for the "judicious
and faithful counselor, genial companion, consider-
ate friend and Christian gentleman. His devo-
tion to the material interests of the country was
exceeded only by the patriotism which never lost
sight of the highest duties of citizenship. His
great works live after him, and will keep his
memory green forever."



E. F. L. GAUSS.



IT F. L. GAUSS is First Assistant Librarian in
r) the Chicago Public Library, and the responsi-
I ble position which he occupies finds in him a
capable incumbent. He is also a patron of literature
and music, and indeed is a friend to all those arts
which are calculated to elevate and benefit man-
kind. He claims Germany as the land of his
birth, which occurred in Stuttgart in 1842. He
came of one of the old aristocratic families of that
country, and was reared accordingly. The father
died in 1848, and the mother was called to her
final rest in 1845.

Mr. Gauss whose name heads this record at-
tended school in his native land for a number of
years, and in 1859, at the age of seventeen, he



crossed the Atlantic to America, settling in New
York City. When the war for the Union broke
out, and President Lincoln called for volunteers
to aid in crushing the rebellion which threatened
to destroy the nation, he at once enlisted, joining
the boys in blue of Company K, First New York
Infantry. After two years of valiant service he
was honorably discharged, in 1863.

Mr. Gauss on leaving the army went to Mis-
souri, where he studied theology in the Missouri
Evangelical School, and later he pursued his
studies in an Episcopal academy in Ohio. In
1871, in St. Louis, he was ordained as a minister,
and was given charge of the church in Bunker
Hill, 111., where, as there were many German



ROBERT S. HILL.



settlers in that locality, his services were con-
ducted in his native tongue. In 1874 he went to
Europe in order to complete his studies, and from
1875 until 1878 was a minister in the State
Church of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland. In
the latter year he again crossed the Atlantic to
America, and took up his residence in Galena,
111., being called to the pastorate of the church at
that place, of which he continued in charge for
two years. In 1880 he came to Chicago, and en-
gaged in literary work while in the employ of
the Government, in which employ he continued
until 1885. In 1887 he entered the Chicago Pub-
lic Library. He was afterward made First As-
sistant Librarian, and still fills that position. He
also continues his ministerial work to a limited
extent, although he accepts no pastorates.

In 1867 Mr. Gauss was united in marriage
with Miss Henrietta Stehlin, and to them has



been born a family of five children. The parents
and their children are all members of the Con-
gregational Church, and take a most active in-
terest in church work, doing all in their power
for its promotion and success.

Mr. Gauss has won a high reputation as a pub-
lic speaker, and at one time delivered many ad-
dresses in support of the Republican party, the
principles of which he warmly advocates. He
has, however, never aspired to public office. He
has also won note as a metrical translater. He
is a man of most liberal education, and during
the famous Anarchists' trial served as official in-
terpreter. Socially, he is connected with the
Schiller Club, of which he is Secretary, and also
belongs to the Royal Arcanum, the National
Union and the German Press Club, which latter
he is now serving as Treasurer. He is also Pres-
ident of the Chicago Library Club.



ROBERT S. HILL.



ROBERT S. HILL, who is successfully en-
gaged in the practice of law in Chicago, was
born in Buxton, York County, Maine, on
the 3ist of August, 1851. His ancestors on his
father's side came from England. Three brothers
of the name of Hill crossed the Atlantic with the
early English colonists and settled in Massachu-
setts. One of them afterwards removed to the
district of Maine, and from this branch of the Hill
family the subject of this sketch is directly de-
scended. The members of the family were prom-
inent land-owners and business men, and often
bore an important part in the events which went
to make up the history of colonial days. Mr.



Hill's great-grandfather was the owner of the
property in Buxton, Maine, now occupied by his
father. The grandfather was a resident of Bux-
ton, and took part in the War of 1812, during
which he was commissioned as an officer by the
Governor of the Pine Tree State. Another of the
ancestors of the subject of this sketch was an offi-
cer in the Revolution, and was numbered among
the heroes of the battle of Bunker Hill. Another
was captured by the English and taken to Can-
ada, where he was forced to live among the Indi-
ans for an entire winter, during which time he was
subjected to great hardships and suffering. He
finally escaped aiid returned to his home in Maine,



174



ROBERT S. HILL.



much to the surprise and pleasure of his wife and
family, who supposed him dead.

On his mother's side Mr. Hill traces his ances-
try back to the " Mayflower, " being descended
from Moses Fletcher, who crossed the Atlantic
in the vessel which brought the Pilgrim Fathers to
the shores of the New World. The latter was a
member of the Council of Plymouth, and now lies
buried at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, where
his name appears on the monument erected in
memory of those old heroes.

Mr. Hill's father, now retired from business
with a competency, was an active lumberman and
farmer in Buxton, Maine. He has always taken
a keen interest in the religious, educational and po-
litical matters pertaining to his town, state and
country. He was a great admirer and a warm
friend of the late Hon. James G. Elaine.

The boyhood days of R. S. Hill were pleasant-
ly passed in his native town, and he was given
good educational advantages by his father. After
leaving the common schools in Buxton, he at-
tended Limington and Gorham Academies, both
of Maine, and his first effort in life after leaving
the latter institution was to engage in school
teaching in his native state, being then twenty
years of age. After a brief and successful experi-
ence as a school teacher, he came to the West with
his uncle, and entered Michigan State University
at Ann Arbor, being graduated from the law de-
partment of that institution in the Class of '74.
He then returned to New England, and for one
year studied law in the office of an attorney in Bos-
ton. The year 1876 witnessed his return to the
West and saw him located in Chicago. He im-
mediately embarked in practice, which he has car-
ried on continuously since. He makes corpor-
ation law a specialty, and has been very success-
ful, winning many important cases. At the pres-
ent time he is employed as attorney for a number
of corporations.

On the 26th of January, 1877, Mr. Hill was
married in Buxton, Maine, to Miss Fannie S.
Owen. Her ancestors came from England and
aided the colonies in their struggle for indepen-



ence, taking a leading part in the War of the Rev-
olution. One of the number was captured by the
British in 1807, taken on board a man-of-war, and
forced to serve as a part of the crew. After a few
weeks' service, while the ship was cruising off the
coast of Massachusetts, he took advantage of a
favorable opportunity, jumped overboard, swam
safely ashore and returned home. To Mr. and
Mrs. Hill have been born five children, as fol-
lows: Harry Robert, who died of diphtheria in
1882 ; Owen T. , now a student of the Fuller School,
Hyde Park; Helen M. and Alice, who attend the
same school; and Robert S., a little lad of three
and a-half years.

Mr. Hill is a great admirer and firm supporter
of the Hon. Thomas B. Reed, who is his
choice for the presidency. He has known Mr.
Reid all his life, and on account of a knowledge of
his character, ability and political proclivities, he
supports him as a presidential candidate. Mr.
Hill takes a very warm interest in political affairs,
and labors earnestly to promote the growth and
insure the success of his party. He is recognized
as a good parliamentarian and, because of his
knowledge of the rules of parliamentary usage,
has often been called upon to preside over politi-
cal meetings where trouble and turbulence were
anticipated, and as such presiding officer has been
able, even in very exciting meetings, to maintain
order and discipline where one less skilled would
have failed.

Mr. Hill is a member of the Sons of Maine. He
contributes liberally to benevolent institutions,
yet makes no display of his charity. In his tastes
he is domestic and enjoys the companionship of his
family much more than that of general society.
In his religious belief he is liberal, broad minded
and charitable, believes in his children attending
church and Sunday-school and having instilled
into their minds the principles of Christianity. In
both business and social circles he is well known
as an honorable, upright man, and is held in the
highest regard by his many acquaintances and
friends.



I 4 .RV

THE
UNIVERSI.. OF ILll >,<;



JESSE SPALDING.



JESSE SPALDING



(T ESSE SPALDING is a descendant of one of

I the oldest American families. The environ-
G/ ment of the New England fathers was calcu-
lated to bring out and develop all that was
sturdy and vigorous in both mind and body, and
their descendants continue to manifest the traits
of character which enabled them to survive the
hardships which they were compelled to endure,
and which rendered prosperity possible in the
face of the most forbidding conditions.

The town and family of Spalding are known
to have existed in Lincolnshire, England, in the
twelfth century. Between 1630 and 1633, Edward
Spalding left that town and settled in Braintree,
in the then infant colony of Massachusetts. From
him the line of descent is traced through Joseph,
Nathaniel, Joseph, Joseph and John to Jesse.

The Spalding family first settled in southern
Connecticut, early in the seventeenth century.
Its members shared in the work of subduing the
wilderness, as well as defending their homes from
the aboriginal savages. Some of them achieved
distinction in the heroic defense of Fort Groton,



Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 26 of 111)