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

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years, always in every way satisfactory in his
discharge of onerous trusts.

In 1865 Mr. Phelps went for himself into the
wholesale and retail carpet business with a part-
ner, under the style of Hollister & Phelps, hav-
ing purchased the interest of the former partner,
Mr. Wilkins. He sold out his interest in this



paying establishment the June preceding the his-
torical fire of 1871. Thereafter for some six
months he enjoyed the delights of old Europe,
with the keen intellectual appreciation so charac-
teristic of him, combining business with health-
ful recreation, as he did considerable buying for
Mr. Palmer, who was furnishing the Palmer
House, recently built at that time.

Returning to the United States in good condi-
tion, he lived the easy life of an "old-school"
gentleman for a period of eight years. But act-
ive life extended too great temptations to one
of his temperament; so it is not surprising, when
Mr. Palmer made him a flattering offer, that he
found it impossible to resist, and so it is chronicled
that the last twelve years of his life were spent
as confidential financial manager of that great
hostelry, one of the grandest and best known in
the wide world, the Palmer House. In him Mr.
Palmer had full and explicit trust and confidence.
He said: "I can goto California; I maybe gone
six months; and when I return, I feel I shall
hear everything has gone on just the same."

Alas, all must pay the sad debt of nature. Mr.
Phelps died May 18, 1891, of Bright's Disease,
and was interred in the family lot at Graceland,
where a fine monument marks his beautiful final
resting-place. For many years he was an at-
tendant at the Plymouth Congregational Church,
where he held a pew. Bishop Cheney, a warm
friend, officiated at the funeral obsequies at his
magnificent mansion house, No. 2518 Prairie

Mr. Phelps married, first, Lydia Palmer, sister
of Potter Palmer, in the fall of 1867. She died
on the very day of the Fire of 1871 , without issue.
September 9, 1873, he wedded Miss Cornelia
Austina Hubbard, of Spring Prairie, Wisconsin.
In good health, she continues to survive her
lamented husband, whose memory is sacred in
her heart and whose worth she delights to exalt
and honor. How strong under such circumstances
does the merit of this undertaking appear ! They
who make for themselves honorable names, but
are barred by fate against leaving children, must
herein find their most lasting and fitting monu-
ment in this record of their good deeds.

Cornelia A. (Hubbard) Phelps is a daughter of
Alfred Hubbard and Hannah Steele, of Wind-
ham, Greene County, New York, being the
youngest of eight children. Alfred Hubbard was
a son of Timothy Hubbard and Dorothy Raleigh,
of Connecticut. Hannah Steele was a daughter
of Stephen Steele and Hannah Simonds, also of

Mr. Phelps was a stanch Republican, a con- "
scientious Christian, a gentleman and a lover of
home. Tall and straight of stature, his pale
blonde face, handsome, yet full of kindly charac-
ter, firm mouth, prominent eyes, heavy eyebrows
and massive forehead well denoted the strength he
possessed. He and Mr. Palmer might have been
taken for brothers. Their names are indelibly
associated, and those who, in coming years, when
the flowers are blossoming over ancient graves,
shall read the records of the two lives, will un-
derstand more deeply and solemnly than words
can depict what this age and this city owe to men
like Potter Palmer and William Wallace Phelps.

It is fitting that this work shall record the fol-
lowing quite full and satisfactory genealogical

Ichabod Phelps, who was a merchant in Eng-
land, married Betsy Bristol, and, coming to this
country, in company with three brothers, settled
at Salisbury, in Litchfield County, Connecticut.
Later he removed to Wyoming, Pennsylvania,
where he continued to reside until the historical
massacre there by the Indians under the notorious
Brant, upon which event he took a fresh depart-
ure for Broome, Schoharie County, New York,
where he built and conducted a general store.
His son, Othniel Phelps, born in 1777, died in
1856. He was twice married; first, to Polly Fiero,
and secondly to Hannah Frost, who lived to the
remarkable age of ninety-two years, dying in

The eldest son by the first marriage was
George W. Phelps, who was born in 1798, at
Conesville, Schoharie County, New York, and-
died July 3, 1866. He was twice married; first,
about the year 1820, to Zerviah Potter, who died
three years later, leaving two sons, Othniel B.
and Samuel P. (for a sketch of Othniel B. vide



other pages herein); second, he married, about
1824, Mary Chapman, who was born February
25, 1801, and died January 28, 1879. She was
a daughter of Samuel Chapman (born January
13, 1773, died November 30, 1858) and Rhoda
Cowles, his wife (born September 3, 1775, and

died in 1801). By this second marriage there
were eight children: Helen M., John M., Mary
Z., Catherine, Lucinda M. , George C., Abbie
A. and William Wallace Phelps, the subject of
this sketch.


the city of Chicago June 12, 1858. His fa-
ther, Otis Piper, well and favorably known
to the pioneer business men of Chicago, was of
English extraction, and traced his descent di-
rectly to ancestors who arrived in America and
settled at the town of New Salem in 1782. His
mother, Margaret (McGrory) Piper, of Scotch-
Irish lineage, was a native of Prescott, province
of Ontario, Canada, whither her father removed
in 1824.

Otis Piper, with his family, came to Chicago in
1851, at a time when the struggling town was
barely beginning to give promise of future impor-
tance, and cast in his lot with the few fervent-
spirited citizens whose eyes of faith saw, above the
alternating sand dunes and swamps of that early
period, something of the glory of the present me-
tropolis. Amid the surroundings common to the
pioneer outposts of civilization in our country,
Charles Edward Piper, the subject of this sketch,
first saw the light of day. The foundation of his
education was laid in the public schools of the
city, and in the face of many trials and vicissi-
tudes was, nevertheless, so firmly planted in the
mind of the young boy that an unquenchable
thirst for knowledge, and an indomitable deter-
mination to obtain it, impelled him to successively
graduate from the high school in 1876, the North-

western University in 1882, and the Union College
of Law in 1889, earning, in the mean time, his
own livelihood and the means to meet his stu-
dent's expenses.

After completing his law course, he entered
upon practice with Mr. Wilbert J. Andrews, un-
der the firm name of Andrews & Piper, a firm
which is recognized as one of the leading real-es-
tate law firms in Chicago. The business of buy-
ing and selling real estate has naturally grown up
with the practice of real-estate law, and the sub-
urban town of Berwyn was founded by and is to-
day, to a considerable extent, the property of Mr.
Piper and his associates. Socially Mr. Piper is a
genial, warm-hearted gentleman, easy in his man-
ners and a favorite in several social organizations
with which he is connected, notably the Prairie
Club, of Oak Park, and the Lincoln Club, of
West Chicago. In religious matters he is a fol-
lower of Wesley, and a consistent member of the
Methodist Church. He is President of the State
Epworth League and Treasurer of the National
Epworth League. Politically he is a Republican,
"dyed in the wool," is President of the town of
Cicero, and has held the office of Supervisor of
the town of South Chicago, as well as that of
member of the Board of Education of the town
of Cicero.

August 15, 1882, he married Carrie L. Gregory,



daughter of Edwin and Anna S. Gregory, of
Nauvoo, Illinois, and granddaughter of Robert
Lane, partner of John Morris, of Philadelphia, of
Revolutionary fame. The three living children
of Mr. and Mrs. Piper are: Carrie E., born May
29, 1884; Lulu L.; and Robert G., December 6,

Mr. Piper vividly recalls the burning of Chi-
cago on the fatal October 8, 1871, but at that
time, fortunately, was residing outside of the burnt
district, and escaped any serious personal dam-
ages or loss. He is the President of the Method-

ist Forward Movement of Chicago, and takes
deep interest in the building of the Epworth
House, at Number 229 Halsted Street, now in
process of erection. This house, like its prototype,
Hull House, is designed to serve as an oasis in
the desert of poverty and iniquity, and will aid
greatly in the regeneration of that benighted re-
gion. He was one of the founders, and is now an
officer, of the Epworth Children's Home, and is
at the present time President of the Chicago Meth-
odist Social Union.


[~~ RANCIS WARNER, a quiet, worthy citizen
rft of Chicago, is a descendant of very early
| English and German yeomanry. He was
born at Watertown, Massachusetts, January 26,
1819. His parents, George Warner and Mary
Salisbury, were natives, respectively, of Pack-
ington and Ashby de la Zouche, in Leicestershire,
near the border of Nottinghamshire, England.
The family name was originally Werner, and was
brought to England from Germany, after the Re-
formation of Martin Luther. England had just
become a Protestant country, and the founder of
this family on English soil received a grant of
land near the Welsh border. He had a coat-of-
arms, the principal objects on which were a castle
surmounted by a squirrel, with a motto signify-
ing, " Not for ourselves alone, but for others."
Mary Salisbury was a lineal descendant of a man-
at-arms who flourished long before the first
Werner came to England, and was granted a
' ' hide ' ' of land (being all that he could surround
with an ox's hide cut into strips) by the lord of
the manor, whose life he had saved in battle.

Members of the Warner family came to America
in the early Colonial days, and it is a tradition
that one settled in each of the colonies of Massa-
chusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

George Warner and Mary Salisbury were mar-
ried in England in 1806, and removed four years
later to Massachusetts, where eight of their eleven
children were born. Mr. Warner was a lace
weaver, and was employed at his trade in and
about Watertown, Massachusetts, until 1837,
when he came to Illinois. He engaged in farm-
ing in Northfield Township, La Salle County, for
over twenty years, and then went to Iowa, and
settled on the Soldier River, near the present site
of Ida Grove. After he retired from farming he
returned to Massachusetts and died at Ipswich,
in that State, in 1874, at the age of eighty-nine
years. Both he and his wife were born in 1785.
The latter died in Illinois in 1851, age sixty-six.

All of their seven sons and two of their daugh-
ters grew to adult life. Samuel, born in England,
and an upholsterer by occupation, passed most of
his life in Massachusetts, and died, as the result



of an accident, in St. Louis, Missouri. George,
born in Massachusetts, was a farmer; he died in
La Salle County, Illinois, in 1882, from the ef-
fects of a fall. Mary, Mrs. Sanford Peatfield,
resides in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Alfred is a
resident of Michigan, and John died in Newton,
Massachusetts, in 1892, at the age of seventy-
three. The subject of this sketch is the sixth.
Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of William
Powell, a farmer in La Salle County, Illinois.
Thomas died in California from the effects of
drinking alkali water; and William is engaged in
mining in Utah.

Francis Warner was reared in Newton, Massa-
chusetts, and was taught to read by his mother.
His only attendance at a public school was one
half-day, at which time the teacher was absent.
At the age of fifteen years he was apprenticed to
a cabinet-maker, and his articles of indenture
stipulated that he was to receive $50 per year
and his board. During this apprenticeship he
made the most of his opportunities for material
and mental advancement. He joined several
others in a plan to secure instruction, and they
were taught four nights each week, for which the
teacher received fifty cents per night. So faith-
ful and diligent was young Warner, that he be-
came a journeyman at the age of nineteen. He
immediately went to Boston, where he continued
to ply his trade until 1843, when he came to Illi-
nois and took up farming on Somomauk Creek,
in La Salle County.

In the spring of 1861 Mr. Warner responded
to the call for troops to defend the Union. He
first went out in the three-months service, under
General McClellan, who was a personal acquaint-
ance, in West Virginia. He was a participator
in the battle of Rich Mountain, and was one of
the detail which accompanied the body of the
Confederate General, Garnett, to Washington, en
route to his home in Virginia.

In 1862 Mr. Warner again joined the Federal
forces, being attached to the Provost- Marshal's
department, with the pay and rank of Captain,
and was chiefly employed in the charge and hand-
ling of prisoners of war, with headquarters in
Washington. After the surrender of New Or-

leans, he joined Colonel Wood's command, the
First United States Regiment, with which he con-
tinued until May, 1865, when he was honorably

While a resident of La Salle County, Mr. War-
ner was twice elected to the office of Sheriff, and
demonstrated such superior ability in the capture
of oifenders, that his services were sought by de-
tective agencies throughout the country. Soon
after leaving the army he took charge of Allen
Pinkerton's New York detective agency, where
he continued a year, removing thence to Chicago,
where he occupied a similar position until his
health failed, in 1879, and he was compelled to
resign. After spending three months at the sea
shore, on the advice of his physician, he returned
to Chicago, very much improved in health and
strength, and at once, in 1880, took charge of the
detective service of the American Express Com-
pany at Chicago. This was his last active em-
ployment, in which he still holds an honorary po-
sition. Though now in his seventy -seventh year,
Mr. Warner exhibits plenty of mental and physi-
cal vigor, and is still a useful member of society.

Mr. Warner is a Royal Arch Mason, and was
for many years active in the order. He is a mem-
ber of the Congregational Church, and a con-
sistent and stanch Republican in principle, being
one of the founders of that political organization.
In 1840 he married Miss Juliette Back, who was
born in Burlington, Vermont, August 17, 1819,
and is a daughter of Jasper and Sally (Harring-
ton) Back. Mr. Back was one of the minute-
men who served at the battle of Plattsburgh,
during the last war with Great Britain. Four of
Mr. Warner's eight children are now living.
Francis Armstrong Warner, the eldest, is a resi-
dent of Chicago. Alice, the second, died while
the wife of Albert Forbes, leaving an infant
daughter, who was reared by Mr. Warner. Juli-
ette died at the age of eighteen months, and Isabel
is the wife of Dr. Edward J. Lewis, of Sauk Cen-
ter, Wisconsin. Ernest died at three years of
age, Charles at fourteen, and Gray resides at
Denver, Colorado. Nellie is the wife of Henry
B. Gates and resides in Wilmette.






I YMAN JUDSON GAGE, President of the
I C First National Bank of Chicago, is widely
\ J known as the leading financier of the
West, as well as an active power in political and
other movements. As a promoter and active Di-
rector of the World's Columbian Exposition, he
earned and received the good-will of every citi-
zen of Chicago, as well as of most of the world be-

Eli A. Gage and Mary Judson, parents of the
subject of this biography, were natives of New
York, of English descent, their ancestors being
numbered among the early settlers of New Eng-
land. The student of American history cannot
fail to note that much of the energy and good
sense which gave direction to the development of
the entire northern half of the United States was
contributed by the New England blood.

Lyman J. Gage was born at De Ruyter, Madi-
son County, N. Y., June 28, 1836, and passed
the first ten years of his life in that village. On
the removal of the family to Rome, N. Y., in
1846, he entered the local academy, but left school
to engage in business life at the age of fourteen.
For a year, he was employed as clerk in the Rome
postoffice, and was detailed by the Postmaster as
mail-route agent on the Rome & Watertown Rail-
road at the age of fifteen. In 1854 he became
junior clerk in the Oneida Central Bank at Rome,
at a salary of $100 per annum. His duties in
that position were somewhat varied, and involved
the sweeping of the bank, as well as many other
duties which are fulfilled by a janitor in larger
institutions. The ambitious soul of the youth
who was destined by fate to control in time great
financial enterprises, could not always be content
in this position, and after a year and a-half of

service, with no immediate prospect of advance-
ment in position or salary, he resolved to try his
fortune in the growing West.

On the 3d of October, 1855, young Gage,
being then a little past the completion of his nine-
teenth year, arrived in Chicago with a capital
consisting of brains and energy. He shortly
found employment in the lumber-yard of Nathan
Cobb, a part of the time in keeping books, and
often in loading lumber. He continued in this
employment until the business changed hands in
1858. The financial depression of that period
made many changes, and, rather than remain idle,
Mr. Gage accepted the position of night-watch-
man at the same place. At the end of six weeks
in this service, in August, 1858, he was offered
and accepted the position of book-keeper in the
Merchants' Savings, Loan & Trust Company, at
an annual salary of $500. Here he found field
for the exercise of his abilities, and his advance-
ment was rapid. On the ist of January follow-
ing, he was promoted to the position of paying
teller, with the accompanying salary of $1,200
per year. In September, 1860, he became As-
sistant Cashier at $2,000 per annum, and a year
later was made Cashier. In August, 1868, he
resigned this position to accept a similar one in
the First National Bank. On the re-organiza-
tion of this institution, at the expiration of its
charter in 1882, Mr. Gage was elected Vice- Pres-
ident and General Manager, and became Presi-
dent January 24, 1891. Thus are briefly related
the steps of his progress, but they were not the
result of accident. Back of them were the quali-
ities which inspired the confidence of his fellows,
and the ability to make intelligent use of his op-



Mr. Gage was one of the organizers of the Amer-
ican Bankers' Association at Philadelphia, in Oc-
tober, 1876, and was made President of that body
in 1882, and twice successfully re-elected, a com-
pliment both to Chicago and the man. He is a
member of two social clubs of the city, the Chi-
cago and the Union, an ex-President of the Com-
mercial Club (an organization limited to sixty
members) , and a Director and Treasurer of the Art
Institute. Mr. Gage takes a warm interest in
all matters affecting the public welfare, and has
been quite active as a member of the Republican
organization, because he considers the Republi-
can party the best exponent of his ideas on the
conservation of human liberty and general pros-
perity. While somewhat active in promulgating
his principles, he is by no means a narrow parti-
san, and will not tolerate anything which his
judgment or conscience does not approve, because
it bears the endorsement of his party. He has
been frequently urged to accept a nomination for
some public position, as the spontaneous choice
of the public urged, but his business interests
could not be set aside sufficiently to permit. At the
last regular municipal election he could have been
almost unanimously elected mayor, had he per-
mitted the use of his name. In spite of the cares
of his responsible position, he gave much of his
energy to the promotion of the World's Fair en-
terprise, and was made President of the Board of
Directors at its organization in April, 1890. This
he resigned on his accession to the bank presi-
dency, nearly a year later, but continued as an
active member of the Board. It is no injustice to

his contemporaries to say that the final success of
the scheme was in a large measure due to the
influence and efforts of Mr. Gage. When the
hostility of New York seemed likely to take the
location away from Chicago, Mr. Gage was one
of four local capitalists to guarantee the comple-
tion of the ten-million-dollar guaranty fund re-
quired by Congress from Chicago. It was while
on his way to attend a banquet in New York in
honor of this event, that Mr. Gage was stricken
with a serious illness, which it required a dan-
gerous operation to overcome, and the whole na-
tion rejoiced when it was announced that he would

Mr. Gage is a student of rare discrimination,
and his public speeches show a cultivated taste in
literature, as well as a mind well stored with use-
ful knowledge. He has a happy faculty of im-
parting information to others, and his occasional
addresses on financial, political and other topics
are greeted with wide and careful attention. In
private life, he is a most companionable gentle-
man, and gives ear as readily to the request of
the humble individual as the large investor. He
has been twice married. In 1864 he espoused
Miss Sarah Etheridge, daughter of Dr. Francis
Etheridge, of Little Falls, N. Y. She died in
1874, and he was married to his present wife, Mrs.
Cornelia Gage, of Denver, Colo., in 1887. Their
home is on North State Street, near beautiful Lin-
coln Park, and here Mr. Gage spends most of his
evenings, ever gathering something from his well-
selected library.


| RLAND P. BASSETT, of the Pictorial Print-
ing House, of Chicago, and the owner of large
greenhouses in Hinsdale, where he makes
his home, was born March 31, 1835, in Towanda,
Pa. His father, John W. Bassett, was a wheel-

wright of the Keystone State, and in 1872 became
to Illinois, spending his last days in Chicago at
the home of his son, where he died at the age of
eighty-four years. He was a member of the Pres-
byterian Church. His wife bore the maiden name



of Angelina Crocker, and passed away several
years previous to the death of her husband. Their
family numbered nine children, of whom four are
yet living: Henry, John, Orland and Chauncy.

Mr. Bassett whose name heads this record was
reared in his native State, and remained with his
parents until he had attained his majority. The
greater part of his education was acquired in a
printing-office. In 1854 he began the printing
business, which he has followed up to the present
time, and step by step he has worked his way up-
ward until now he is President of the Pictorial
Printing Company, of Chicago. He owned the
entire business until about four years ago, when
he sold the controlling interest. It was in March,
1857, that he came to the West and located in
Sycamore, 111. , where he published a paper, the
Sycamore True Republican, for nine years. He
then sold out and removed to Chicago, where he
carried on a job printing-office until 1874, when
he bought out the establishment of the Pictorial
Printing Company, as before stated.

On the 5th of April, 1858, Mr. Bassett was
united in marriage with Miss Betsey M. Shelton.

One child has been born to them, Kate B., wife
of Charles L. Washburn, of Hinsdale. They
have one son, Edgar B.

For many years Mr. Bassett was a supporter of
the Republican party, but is now independent in
his political views. In 1887 he removed to Hins-
dale, where he makes his home, but still does
business in Chicago. He also has in Hinsdale
the largest greenhouses to be found in the West,
does an extensive business in this line, and em-
ploys a large number of men. When he began
business in Sycamore he had no capital and bought
his outfit on credit, but he has steadily worked
his way upward, and the business of the Chicago
Pictorial Printing Company has at times amounted
to $1,000 per day. The company is well known
throughout the United States and Canada, and

Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 41 of 111)