John Morley.

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

. (page 60 of 111)
Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 60 of 111)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

At an early age, he went to the Isthmus of
Panama, to take charge of the machine depart-
ment of the Panama Railroad, at Aspinwall. He
was one of the very few non-residents who escaped
the Chagres fever, and at the end of his one year's
engagement, he resigned and returned to New
York. Thence, in March, 1854, he came toChi T
cago and soon after accepted a position as en-
gineer on the Great Western Railroad now a



part of the Wabash system his headquarters be-
ing at Springfield, Illinois. On the loth day of
January, 1855, he entered the employ of the
Chicago & Alton Railroad, with which he has
been since continuously engaged. He was pro-
moted from engineer to freight conductor, and
soon afterward became a passenger conductor.
In 1858, he was made general baggage agent with
offiee on the site of the present Chicago Union
Passenger Station. His appointment was made
by a receiver, in whose hands the affairs of the
company were then placed, and as the duties of
the office were comparatively light, he continued
to run a passenger train between Chicago and St.
Louis until 1865, employing only one assistant in
his office at Chicago. These statements show a
vast difference between the passenger traffic of
those days and the present. When he first en-
tered the service of this road, the eastern terminus
was at Joliet, whence all freight for Chicago was
transferred to the canal, the .passenger trains
reaching this city by way of the Chicago & Rock
Island tracks. The southern terminus was at
Alton, where all passengers and freight for St.
Louis were transferred to Mississippi steamboats.

In 1857, Mr. Huntington took a prominent
part in a strike on the part of employees of this
line, which suspended all business thereon for
eighteen days. This strike was caused by arrear-
age of salaries, ranging from three to eighteen
months. Mr. Huntington was a member of a
committee which settled the matter with ex-Gov.
Joel A. Matteson, who was lessee of the road, the
trouble being compromised by payment of part of
the arrearages at once and the promise of double
payments each month until all were paid up in

The scarcity of currency at that time is illus-
trated by the fact that the conductor rarely col-
lected sufficient cash on a trip to pay the board
bills of his crew for the same time. The rude
appliances and equipments of railroads in those
days made railroad operation a very difficult mat-
ter. Many cars were without sufficient brakes,
and a ' 'down grade' ' had terrors for the men on a
heavy train . It was often necessary to set out cars
with defective brakes or, as was not infrequent,

with no brake at all, to avoid disaster. On one
occasion, while approaching Alton on a steep
down grade, Conductor Huntington was horrified
by the discovery that there was not a working
brake on the train. The labors of the reversed
engine, however, attracted the attention of the
Alton station agent, who ran out and so placed
the switches that they passed the station without
doing any damage and were able to bring the
train to a stop after running a mile beyond their

In his domestic affairs, Mr. Huntington has
been sorely afflicted. In July, 1845, he was mar-
ried to Miss Amelia, daughter of Harvey Tomlin-
son, of Geneva, New York. In 1856, he was
called upon to mourn her death. Of their three
children, but one survives Mary Isabella, who is
now the wife of Edward L. Higgins, ex-Adjutant
of Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Higgins have four chil-
dren, and reside at Springfield, Illinois. Mr.
Huntington's two sons, Edwin and William, died
in childhood, of scarlet fever. He was again mar-
ried, in 1866, to Mary Goodrich, of Chicago, whose
death occurred on the i6th of April, 1890, at the
age of sixty years. The death of his sons and of
his first wife occurred during his absence from
home, and was more trying on this account.

Mr. Huntington has been for many years a mem-
ber of the Masonic order, being connected with
Bloomington Lodge. He is Secretary and Treas-
urer of the Conductors' Mutual Aid Association,
which he helped to organize in 1874. In early
life, he was a Whig, and supported the candidacy
of William H. Harrison in 1840, though not old
enough to vote at that time. Since 1860 he has
been a Republican. Before leaving New York,
he served as Deputy Sheriff of Yates County, and
the State still owes him for a tedious trip which
he made in securing a requisition from the gov-
ernor of New Yoik and serving the same on the
governor of Pennsylvania, in securing and bring-
ing to justice a notorious thief. While a boy,
he visited Baltimore and witnessed the operation
of the first telegraph line in the world, which
had just been completed. He is now the oldest
employee of the Chicago & Alton Railroad, in
point of service.




resentative business man and exemplary citi-
zeu f Chicago, a scion of the old Puritan
stock, was born in New Hartford, Litchfield
County, Connecticut, and is a son of James F.
Henderson and Sabrina (Marsh) Henderson, both
natives of the "Land of Steady Habits." His
paternal grandmother, in maidenhood, bore the
name of Mather, being a lineal descendant of Cot-
ton Mather, the noted Puritan divine and author,
of Massachusetts colony. His maternal grand-
father, Roswell Marsh, was a Revolutionary sol-
dier and witnessed the execution of the unfortu-
nate Major Andre.

The first fifteen years of C. M. Henderson's
life were passed in the usual manner of urban
New England boys of that period, during which
time he was a pupil in the district school of his
native village. After attending the Baptist School
at SufEeld one year, he went out, at the age of
sixteen years, to teach a district school, in which
undertaking he acquitted himself with credit, re-
turning at the end of one term to his studies at
Suffield, where he continued another year. His
tastes and ambition pointed to a commercial career,
and when, in 1853, an uncle in Chicago offered
him a position in the wholesale boot and shoe
house of C. N. Henderson & Co., he promptly
accepted. He was then eighteen years of age,
and was installed as general clerk and salesman.
Applying himself diligently in both store an.d of-
fice, wherever his services were most needed, he
rapidly acquired a general knowledge of the busi-
ness, and shortly became very useful to his em-
ployers. So rapid was his advancement that in
less than four years after entering the establish-
ment he became a partner in it, in which connec-
tion he continued until the death of his uncle in

Mr. Henderson immediately organized a new
firm, under the name of C. M. Henderson & Co.,
his partner being Mr. Elisha Wadsworth, for-
merly the head of the great dry goods house of
Wadsworth, Farwell & Co. Mr. Wadsworth was
virtually a silent partner, as the entire manage-
ment of the business was left to Mr. Henderson,
who carried it on so successfully that, at the end
of two or three years, he was enabled to purchase
the interest of his partner. He now associated
with himself his brother, Wilbur S. Henderson,
who had been several years in his employ as clerk,
and also gave an interest to his bookkeeper, Ed-
mund Burke, who sold his share to Mr. Hender-
son some years later.

The firm continued to do a jobbing business
Until 1865, when a small factory was established
for the production of the heavy goods demanded
by the western trade. This was the nucleus of
what has become one of the largest establishments
of its kind in the United States. The original
factory is still in operation, surrounded by im-
mense modern buildings, equipped with all that
genius has supplied for the saving of labor and the
improvement of the quality of finished products.
In 1880 a building was constructed, devoted to the
production of ladies' fine wear, and recently an-
other immense structure has risen, whose mission
is the construction of gentlemen's fine shoes.
These factories are located at Dixon, Illinois, and
the offices and shops employ over one thousand
people daily. In 1888 the firm was incorporated
under the laws of Illinois, the name remaining
unchanged, and several of the old and faithful
employes became stockholders.

The business has occupied many locations in
the city, the first being on South Water Street.
Subsequently three different stores on Lake Street
were used in succession, and in 1868 the building



and stock at the corner of that thoroughfare and
Michigan Avenue were swept away by fire. The
great fire of 1871 found the business located at
Nos. 58 and 60 Wabash Avenue, and in common
with thousands of others it was annihilated. No
time was wasted in repining, and inside of three
weeks after this disaster business was resumed in
a one-story board shanty on Michigan Avenue.
In four months after the loss, the firm was estab-
lished in a new brick building on Wabash Avenue,
the plastering being completed after its occupancy.
In the fall of 1872, another removal was made, to
the corner of Madison and Franklin Streets, and
five years later it was moved to the corner of
Monroe Street, one block south, where it con-
tinued until the firm was able to occupy its own
fine building. This is located at the northeast
corner of Adams and Market Streets, and was
built in 1884. It covers a ground space 170x120
feet, is six stories high, and is devoted exclusively
to the purposes of an office and distributing depot.
The development of this immense and successful
business is the result of Mr. Henderson's execu-
tive ability, industry and well-known integrity.
As a business man, he commands high standing
among Chicago's enterprising and superlatively
aggressive business circles, while he enjoys the
respect and friendship of a wide acquaintance as
a man and gentleman.

Mr. Henderson is somewhat socially inclined,
and holds membership in several clubs, among
which are the Union League, Chicago, Calumet
and Commercial. Of strong religious nature, he
early adopted the Christian religion as his rule of

practice, and has been a communicant of the First
Presbyterian Church of Chicago since 1868. He
has been active and useful in church and mission
work, was two years President of the Young
Men's Christian Association and for ten years,
until failing health compelled him to resign some
of his work, acted as Superintendent of the Rail-
road Chapel Mission.

In political sentiment, he is a Republican from
principle, and has always been active in every ef-
fort to promote good government for the city. In
the reform movement of 1874, which secured a
re-organization of the fire department and numer-
ous other changes among them a new city char-
ter, the present one he was especially active,
contributing liberally in money to carry on the
work, and giving of his time and counsel. In
many other ways he has shown his disposition to
discharge his whole duty and shirk no responsi-
bility as a citizen. He seeks the best and right
thing in government, regardless of partisan preju-
dices or advantage. As a part of his duty to the
public, he is now acting as Trustee of the Home
for Incurables and the Lake Forest University.
He is devoted to his home and family, and when
duty does not call him away, he is found, out of
business hours, at his pleasant home on Prairie
Avenue. In 1858 he was married to Miss Emily,
daughter of James Hollingsworth, of Chicago.
A son, who died in infancy, and three daughters
have been given him. Amid kind friends and
many other surroundings that conduce to peace
and happiness, he is enjoying the fruits of a busy
and useful life.


LEXANDER BEAUBIEN enjoys the dis-
/ 1 tinction of being the oldest individual born
/ I in Cook County. The date of his birth was
January 28, 1822, and the place is on the east
side of Michigan Avenue, between Randolph and

Washington Streets. The house in which he
was born had been built a few years earlier by
John Dean, and was one of five or six buildings,
including Fort Dearborn, which then stood upon
the site of Chicago.



Alexander is one of twelve children born to
John B. and Rosette (La Frambois) Beaubien.
The father was born at Detroit, Michigan, during
the closing days of the American Revolution.
His father, Antoine Beaubien, and his grand-
father, who also bore the name of Antoine,
were among the earliest settlers of Detroit, and
carried on an extensive farm at that place. An-
toine Beaubien, Sr., was a native of France, and
doubtless came to America before the French and
Indian War.

John B. Beaubien first visited Fort Dearborn in
1809. His purpose in coming hither was to
trade with the Indians, and in the pursuit of that
object he was quite successful, remaining in the
vicinity for some time. At the time of the mas-
sacre, in 1812, he had gone to Mackinaw, but
the following year he returned as agent of
John Jacob Astor and built a trading-post near
the site of the old fort. Branch posts were also
established at Milwaukee, Pecatonica, Hennepin
and Danville, goods being transported on pack-
horses between these points and the main store-
house at Chicago. Mr. Beaubien had the super-
vision of all these posts, and remained in charge
of them for some years. He made a pre-emption
claim to the land between State Street and the
lake, extending as far south as Madison Street,
and including about one acre on the north side
of the river; but, owing to some technicality, the
government refused to give him a title to the
same. About 1840 he settled on a half-section
of land near the Desplaines Eiver, in Leyden
Township, with his family, improving the same
until it became a desirable farm. He died at
Naperville, Illinois, in 1864, at the age of eighty-
four years. Had all white men manifested the
spirit of justice and fairness exhibited by him in
dealing with the Indians, much trouble and mis-
ery might have been averted.

Mrs. Rosette Beaubien was born in Michigan.
Her father, Joseph La Frambois, was a French-
man, and her mother was a member of the Potta-
watomie tribe. In 1804, while still a young girl,
Mrs. Beaubien came to Chicago, accompanying
the party in command of Major Whistler, which
originally built Fort Dearborn. She was living

with the Kinzie family when the fort was aban-
doned in 1812, and with her Mr. and Mrs. Kin-
zie, and one or two other persons, started in a
canoe to follow the troops. They were near
shore and in plain sight of the massacre which
took place near the foot of Eighteenth Street, and
Mrs. Beaubien often described the scene to her
children in later years. After the battle was
over, Mr. Kinzie and party continued the journey
in safety to St. Joseph and thence to Detroit.
Mrs. Beaubien died at River Park, Illinois, in
1845. Following are the names of her children:
George, who died at the age of fourteen years;
Susan and Monique, twins; Julia; Henry and
Philip, twins; Alexander; Ellen Maria, wife of
Joseph Robeson; William S.; Margaret (Mrs.
De Witt Robinson) ; Louise (Mrs. N. D. Wood);
and Caroline (Mrs. Stephen Fields). Alexander
and the four last mentioned are the only members
of this family now living, but they probably know
more of the early history of Chicago than any
other family in existence.

The circumstances attending his youth gave
Mr. Beaubien little opportunity for education save
that gained in the school of experience, but ex-
tensive reading and observation have given him
a well-stored mind. He was eighteen years old
when the family removed from Chicago to Ley-
den Township, where he became one of the leading
farmers, and filled all the township offices except
that of Justice of the Peace, which he declined.
In 1862 he returned to Chicago, which has since
been his home. During the most of this time he
has been connected with the police force of the
city, and for seven years past has been in charge
of the lock-up at the Harrison Street Station,
discharging the duties of that position in a man-
ner which meets the approval of all his superior
officers, though the administration of the city
government has several times changed during this

He readily recalls the time when every house
in the then village of Chicago could be counted
from the roof of his father's home. He saw the
first frame house built by his uncle, Mark Beau-
bien. The latter also built the first brick resi-
dence, a one and one-half story structure, on the



north side of Lake Street, about fifty feet west of
Fifth Avenue. Mr. Beaubien witnessed the first
public execution in Cook County, when John
Stone was hung for murder. This took place on
the prairie, about where Thirty-first Street now
is, and one-quarter of a mile west of the lake.

Mr. Beaubien was married, in 1850, to Miss
Susan Miles, a daughter of Stephen Miles of Can -
andaigua, New York. Five children have blessed
their union, as follows: Julia Caroline, wife of
Eugene Wait; Ida E. (Mrs. Albert H. Moulton,
of Alexander, Genesee County, New York) ;
Fannie G., wife of Richard S. Beaubien; William
S., Jr.; and Harry Miles; all except Mrs. Moul-
ton living in Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Beaubien
also have five grandchildren, in whose company
they find great comfort and delight.

Mr. Beaubien was the first child baptised by a
Catholic priest in Chicago, although the rite was
not performed until he was six years of age,
when Father Badden chanced to visit this place.
It is needless to add that Mr. Beaubien has con-
sistently retained that faith to the present time.
Since 1882 he has been a member of the Police-
men's Benevolent Association. He is independ-
ent in political action, supporting such men and
measures as he deems best suited to the public
interests, irrespective of party allegiance. He
leads a quiet, unassuming life, and takes great
pleasure in discussing events connected with the
pioneer days of Cook County, the most important
of which either came under his own observation
or that of his parents.


(TAMES SMITH TOPPAN, a man of broad
I business experience, has been an extensive
Q) traveler and has resided and been engaged
in business in nearly every quarter of the globe.
He was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts,
October 7, 1830, of good old New England stock,
as is shown by the following resume of his gene-

The name Toppan was originally Topham,
taken from the name of a place in Yorkshire,
England, meaning upper hamlet or village. The
pedigree, as far back as it has been traced, com-
mences with Robert Topham, who resided at
Linton, near Pately Bridge, which is supposed to
have been in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He
made his will in 1550. His second son, Thomas
Topham, was of Arneclifie, near L,inton. He
died in 1589, and was buried in the church at
Arneclifie. Edward Topham, alias Toppan, eld-
est son of Thomas Topham, was of Aiglethorpe,
near Linton, and has his pedigree recorded in the

College of Arms, with armorial bearings. Will-
iam Toppan, fourth son of Edward Toppan, of
Aiglethorpe, lived for some time at Calbridge,
where his son Abraham was baptised April 10,

The family still exists in England, and is
now of Middleham, in the northwest part ot
Yorkshire, on the river Ouse. The crest is a
Maltese cross (croix patee) with entwined ser-
pents. As early as 1637 Abraham Toppan re-
sided at Yarmouth. His wife was Susanna Taylor.

In the first volume of the fourth series of the
publications of the Massachusetts Historical So-
ciety, pp. 98-99, is the following:

' 'A Register of the names of such persons who
are 21 years and upward and have license to
passe into forraigne parts from March, 1637, to
29th of September, by virtu of a Commission of
Mr. Thomas May hew, Gentleman."

Among these persons are the following:

"Abraham Toppan, cooper, aged 31, Susanna,



his wife, aged 31, with their children Peter and
Elizabeth, and one mayd servant, Anne Goodin,
aged 18 years, sailed from Yarmouth, 10 May,
1637, in the ship 'Rose,' of Yarmouth, Wm.
Andrews, Master."

In October, 1637, Abraham Toppan was in
Newbury, Massachusetts, as appears by the fol-
lowing extract from the town records:

"Abraham Toppan being licensed by John En-
dicott Esqr. to live in this jurisdiction, was re-
ceived into the town of Newberry as an inhabi-
tant thereof, and has promised under his hand to
be subject to any lawful order that shall be made
by the towne.

"Oct. 1637. ABRAHAM TOPPAN."

The genealogy from this time on is as follows:

Jacob (son of the above) , b. 1645, m. Hannah
Sewall 24th August, 1670.

Abraham, b. 2gth June, 1684, m. Esther
Sewall 24th October, 1713.

Edward, b. 7th September, 1715, m. Sarah
Bailey 7th September, 1743.

Enoch, b. 7th May, 1759, m. Mary Coffin
2nd February, 1794.

Edward, b. 7th April, 1796, m. Susan L,.
Smith, 22nd January, 1821.

James S., b. yth October, 1830, m. Juliet A.
Lunt, 1 3th August, 1861.

The old homestead upon Toppan Street, in
Newburyport, was built by Jacob Toppan in 1670,
and was first occupied by himself and his bride.
The house has been lived in almost continually
since, and is still in the possession of the fam-
ily, being, even now, in a remarkably well-pre-
served condition.

Edward Toppan, the father of the subject of
this sketch, spent his entire life as a farmer in the
neighborhood of his native town, and was the fa-
ther of the following children: EdwardS., Charles,
Hannah, James S., Margaret, Susan L., Serena
D. and Roland W.

James S. left school at twelve years of age,
and remained at home upon the farm until he was
fifteen, when he entered a stationery store in his
native town.

In May, 1849, when less than nineteen years
of age, he left Boston for California in the barque

"Helen Augusta." A stop of seven days was made
at St. Catherines, Brazil, where, on the day after
their arrival, six of the crew deserted, and as no
others could be had to fill their places, four pas-
sengers, including Mr. Toppan, volunteered to
fill them, and did sailors' duties for the remainder
of the voyage. After rounding Cape Horn, they
spent one day on the island of Juan Fernandez,
made famous as the home of Robinson Crusoe.
Another stop of a week's duration was made at
the Gallapagos Islands for the purpose of secur-
ing supplies of water, terrapin and fish, and on
the ist of October they arrived in San Francisco.

Mr. Toppan's first work here was to build
a fence around some lots on the Sand Hills for a
Mr. David Murphy, and also to cloth and paper
two houses for the same person. When this was
completed, he, in company with another young
man, bought a whale-boat, which they ran as a
ferry-boat between San Francisco and what is
now Oakland.

Shortly afterwards this was sold out at a good
profit, and, in company with two others, Mr.
Toppan laid claim to one hundred and sixty acres
of mission land, supposing it to be public property.
A redwood tree, measuring eight feet in diameter
at the butt, was cut down, and from one length of
the trunk they built a house some thirty by eigh-
teen or twenty feet in size. Two yoke of oxen
and an old prairie wagon were purchased for
$1,200, and the land was cleared, plowed and

While waiting for their crops to mature they
employed their leisure time in cutting wild hay
and building a lever press a young sycamore
tree serving as the lever. Strips of green raw-
hide were used in binding the bales, and in this
manner six tons of hay were baled. They then
loaded it on old overland wagons, two of which
were borrowed, drawn by oxen, and started for
San Francisco, a distance of forty-eight miles.

Upon arriving at -the Dolores Mission, they
found a large number of persons waiting to pur-
chase the hay, and in less than an hour they had
disposed of their loads for $2,400. This was the
first large quantity of hay that had ever reached
San Francisco.



On their return they gathered their crops and
purchased a sloop, with which to take them to
market at San Francisco. Potatoes brought eigh-
ty-five cents per pound, and other products were
proportionately high. After remaining in this
business for a year, Mr. Toppan was prostrated
with fever and ague, and was obliged to sell out
and return to San Francisco. Having remained
there three months and experienced no improve-

Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 60 of 111)