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

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first to reduce the details of that business down
to the perfect and simple system of to-day, so
that security in transferring real estate could be
guaranteed. In October, 1871, the Great Fire
swept over the city, and the county records were
entirely destroyed. The volume of the abstract
business had largely increased. At that time
there were three abstract firms in Chicago, each
of which saved a large part of its valuable records.
It was soon found that while the most valuable
portion of the abstract records were saved, not one
set was entirely complete; and as it seemed very
probable that difficulties and involvements would
in consequence arise, the three firms decided
that the public interests would be best served by
a consolidation of all the evidences of title extant.
This was done. Moneyed men relied upon the
accuracy of the books and the skill and integrity
of the owners, and, thus confident, loaned the
hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to the



rebuilding of the city. Mr. Shortall continued
with his associates in the conduct of the business
until 1873, when the property was leased to
Messrs. Handy & Company, and Mr. Shortall
retired from active participation in it, though
still retaining his holdings and interest.

On the 5th of September, 1861, Mr. Shortall
married Miss Mary Dunham Staples. They be-
came the parents of one son, John L. Mrs.
Shortall died in August, 1880. There are two
grandchildren, Katherine and Helen.

Although he retired from private business,
Mr. Shortall has been none the less active, for he
has devoted his time and energies untiringly to
matters pertaining to the welfare of the city, be-
lieving a man's duty to his fellow-citizens to be
continuous. For twenty-five years he has been
devoted to the welfare of his townsmen, doing all
in his power to aid in the promotion of the city's
welfare, and imbued with an exalted pride In its
progress. He is a constant patron of the fine arts,
and was one of the Directors of the old Philhar-
monic Society, and afterwards was President of
the Beethoven Society, during almost its entire
existence. He is also one of the honorary mem-
bers of the Amateur Musical Club of this city.
A writer of intelligence and force, he has made
valuable contributions to papers and periodicals.
His keen appreciation of the thoughts of master
minds through all ages has led him to do much
for literature. As a member of many organiza-
tions, he has sought through them to influence
public opinion in high and honorable channels.
In 1880 he was appointed by the School Board
one of the appraisers of the school property, and
in 1 886 was appointed Appraiser of School Lands
by Mayor Harrison. In the appraisement of
1880, the application of the rental value to ma-
terially aid in determining the value of realty was,
it is believed, first introduced and applied as a
system. It has since become almost universal.
In 1883 Mr. Shortall was appointed a Director
of the Chicago Public Library, served three terms
as President, and conducted negotiations on be-
half of the board which resulted in securing
Dearborn Park as the site of the public library
building and in the successful adjustment of all

opposing claims. Under his administration the
plans of the superb new library building were se-
lected under large competition, and the necessary
appropriation of moneys made by the city. He was
originally made a Director by Mayor Harrison and
re-appointed by Mayors Harrison, Cregier and
Washburn, successively, and still serves in that
position. In politics he is independent. He has
been connected with various reform movements
in the city government, and the Municipal Re-
form Club, which did such valuable service, and
the Citizens' Association attest in their records
his service and labors.

Of the Masonic fraternity, Mr. Shortall is an
old, though no longer an active, member. In re-
ligious belief he is an Episcopalian and formerly
was a member of Trinity and Grace Episcopal
Churches; but since the withdrawal of Professor
Swing from the Presbyterian Church, and his
organization of the "Central Church," he has
been a regular attendant on its services.

Along few lines of work, however, has the
name of Mr. Shortall become so widely known
as through his connection with the Illinois Hu-
mane Society. In 1869, one of its original or-
ganizers, he became one of its Directors, and in
May, 1877, was chosen President of that most
commendable organization, to which position he
has ever since been annually elected. He has
earned the recognition and gratitude of the
benevolent people of the city and State, for it is
largely through his instrumentality, his business
ability and legal acumen, as well as his industry
and devotion, that the success of what is now one
of the strongest forces of our social system was
assured. Its beneficial results cannot be over-
estimated. It was through his efforts that the
society joined the protection of children to its
work. Mr. Shortall called the American and
Canadian societies for the prevention of cruelty
together in 1877, and the American Humane As-
sociation was thereupon organized in Cleveland,
Ohio, in that year. In 1884 Mr. Shortall was
elected its President, and again in 1892 and 1893.
He is also an honorary member of the Pennsyl-
vania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals. During the World's Columbian Ex-



position, Mr. Shortall, as the Chairman of the
Men's Committee on Moral and Social Reform of
the Auxiliary Congresses, assisted in the noted
work of that committee, and organized and con-
ducted the Humane Congress in October, 1893,
which was so successful. He also arranged the
Humane exhibit of the American Humane As-
sociation in the Liberal Arts Building, for which
it obtained a reward, medal and diploma. Of
social organizations not above mentioned, Mr.
Shortall is a member of the Chicago Club, the
Chicago Literary Club and the Algonquin Club

of Boston. If asked what is the controlling ele-
ment in the life of Mr. Shortall, his many friends
would undoubtedly respond," A sense of justice
and kindness." A warm and sympathetic heart,
which reaches out in charity and love to the
worthy helpless, the suffering and the needy, has
made his name synonymous with good works,
yet it is but just to him to say that he does not
seek the admiration of the public, and, were it pos-
sible to do so, his works would be concealed from
all save himself.


one of the distinguished officers of the great
Civil War, was born November 4, 1832, in
Ashtabula, Ohio, and died December 12, 1867, in
Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Maltby family comes
from England. The great-grandfather of the
subject of this sketch settled in Ohio, being one
of three brothers who came from England, the
others settling, respectively, in New York and
Baltimore. The Ohio and New York brothers
left many descendants. David Maltby, a grand-
son of one of these, was the father of Gen. Jasper
A. Maltby.

David Maltby was an able attorney, and also
a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church
and an ardent churchman. He was a man of
considerable local prominence in Ohio. He finally
removed with a younger son to Texas, and died
in Corpus Christi, in that State, at the age of
seventy-eight years. His wife, Lucy Marsh, was
a daughter of Dr. Marsh, a prominent physician
of Ohio. She died at Plymouth, in that State,
and left three sons and two daughters, namely:

Jasper A., Elizabeth, Henry A., Matilda and
William. The last-named died in Corpus Christi,
Texas, where he had been a noted editor, and
was at one time publisher for the Emperor Maxi-
milian. He was the author of a sketch entitled
"Poor Carlotta," which was published immedi-
ately after the death of the unfortunate Maxi-
milian, and was received with much favor and
widely copied. He was a Captain of Confederate
artillery in the Civil War, and was captured dur-
ing General Banks' expedition up the Red River.
He was paroled, and a year later returned to
Texas. His brother, Henry A., also a prominent
newspaper man, now resides in Brownsville, that
State. Elizabeth Maltby married Albert Barber,
and is the mother of two sons, one of whom is a
teacher in a college at Oberlin, Ohio. Matilda
Maltby married Allen Barber, a brother of her
sister's husband, and is now deceased, having
left five children.

David Maltby and Sarepta Marsh, a sister of
the wife of the former, were among the founders of
Oberlin College, in which the latter taught many



years. Mrs. Lucy (Marsh) Maltby was also a
teacher, as was her husband. She was a woman
of rare character, and was highly reverenced by
all who knew her, especially by her husband's

Jasper A. Maltby enlisted in the Mexican War
at the age of sixteen years, and served gallantly,
receiving a wound at the battle of Chapultepec.
He came to Chicago in 1850, and a year later
went to Galena, where he at once assumed promi-
nence through his energy, ability and sterling
character. Soon after taking up his residence
there, he perfected the telescope sight for the rifle,
which made his name famous. He was an ex-
tensive dealer there in sporting goods.

He was associated with Gen. John E. Smith,
now a resident of Chicago, in raising the famous
1 ' Washburne Lead Mine Regiment' ' for the
Union army, which became the Forty-fifth Illi-
nois, and within a short time after the fall of
Fort Sumter it was in the field. Mr. Smith was
elected Colonel of the regiment, and Mr. Maltby
Lieutenant-Colonel, on the organization at Camp
Douglas, in Chicago. The first action was at
Fort Henry. At Fort Donelson, Colonel Maltby
received a bad wound, and was carried to the
hospital in the same ambulance with General
Logan, who was struck about the same time.
Immediately after the battle of Pittsburg Land-
ing, Colonel Maltby was able to rejoin his regi-
ment, which, as a part of Logan's division,
participated in the marches, engagements and
siege which led to the fall of Vicksburg.

Col. John E. Smith having been promoted for
gallant conduct in battle, he was succeeded by
Lieutenant-Colonel Maltby, who led the charge
at Fort Hill on the bloody 25th of June, 1863,
receiving three wounds before gaining the coveted
position. This was accomplished with great loss,
and temporary breastworks were immediately
thrown up to hold the ground. While Colonel
Maltby was personally adjusting a heavy piece of
timber for the protection of his sharpshooters, it
was struck by a cannon ball. The shot passed
close to his person, and the timber was shivered,
hurling splinters in every direction. Three of
these penetrated his body, making six wounds

which he suffered in that costly, but victorious,
action. For his fearless and effective bravery,
Generals Sherman and Logan sent a recommen-
dation from the field that he be made a Brigadier-
General, and President Lincoln forwarded his
commission as such at once.

When the final entry was made into Vicksburg,
the Forty-fifth Illinois led the way, with General
Maltby 's horse and trappings at its head. The
General was also at the head of his regiment, but
rode in an ambulance. The fight at Fort Hill was
hand-to-hand, and the colors of the Forty-fifth
were literally torn to tatters. General Maltby
was mustered out January 16, 1866, and was
soon thereafter made Military Mayor of Vicks-
burg. He never recovered from his wounds,
and died from their effects December 12, 1867,
while still administering the office of Mayor. He
was also operating a plantation, and kept a com-
mission store in Vicksburg. He was held in the
highest regard by the people of the conquered
city, and was the idol of the colored people.

General Maltby was married at Galena, March
25, 1852, to Miss Malvina A. James, who sur-
vives him, and now resides in Chicago. Besides
his widow, he left a son, Henry Maltby, a journal-
ist. Mrs. Maltby is a daughter of David James,
a Sergeant under General Scott, who fought at
Lundy's Lane in the War of 1812. Her mother,
Catherine Jamieson, was the daughter of an Irish-
man who was a famous distiller. He owned the
ground in Canada where Tecumseh was killed.
David James was a native of North Carolina, and
his wife of Canada.

Many of the most noted military men of the war
testified to General Maltby 's great courage and
moral worth, and the following extract from the
Vicksburg Republican shows the estimation in
which he was held by his erstwhile enemies:

"With an unfeigned regret, we announce the
death of Gen. J. A. Maltby, the recently ap-
pointed Mayor of this city. No northern man
who has cast his fortunes with our people has
commanded more respect from our citizens than
General Maltby. As an officer of the United
States army, he was humane to our people; as a
citizen of Mississippi, he was kind in his social


life and impartial in his official action. We sin-
cerely sympathize with his bereaved family, and
we believe they have the sympathy of the entire

"He met us upon the field of battle in aid of a

cause which he felt sacredj but, like a true soldier,
he recognized the valor and honor of his enemy,
and, when Peace spread her white wings over the
land, all animosity was sheathed with his sword.
Peace to the gallant soldier."


member of the Chicago Board of Trade and
a brave soldier of the Civil War, was born
at Laurel, Prince George's County, Maryland,
June 12, 1844. His father was Gen. Horace
Capron, who went to Maryland when a young
man and erected the Laurel Cotton Mills, whose
product, the famous Laurel Cotton, was shipped to
all parts of the world. His mother was Louise
Snowden daughter of General Snowden, whose
grandfather received a patent from the king for
twenty thousand acres. His estate joined that
of Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. Louise Snow-
den was born Julys, 1811, and married Horace
Capron June 5, 1834. She was a devout church-
woman, and built the Episcopal Church of Laurel,
which she gave to the people. Her life was full of
kind deeds. She died March 27, 1849, mourned by
the entire community. She left five children : Ad-
aline, Horace, junior, Albert Banfield, Elizabeth
Snowden, and Osmond Tiffany (the eldest child,
Nicholas Snowden , died in in fancy) . The planta-
tion on which their childhood was passed was
known as the "Model Farm of Maryland," it
being a pet scheme of General Capron to see to
what a state of perfection that soil could be brought.
The genealogy of the family points to Ban-
field Capron as the progenitor of those bearing
the name in America. He was born in England,
but was of French-Huguenot descent, and derived
his Christian name from Lord Banfield of Eng-
land. He came to America near the close of the
seventeenth century and settled in Attleboro,
Massachusetts, where he became the possessor of
large estates. He was a man of marked ability,

both mental and physical, having great muscular
development and wonderful powers of endurance.
He lived to the age of ninety-two years, dying in
1752. He was twice married. His first wife
was a Miss Callender, of Rehoboth, Massa-
chusetts, daughter of a former neighbor in Eng-
land. The second wife was Sarah Daggett. He
was the father of twelve children. Jonathan, sixth
child of Banfield Capron, married Rebecca Morse,
and was the ancestor of the subject of this biog-
raphy. His son, Jonathan, junior, married Alice
Alden, a great-granddaughter of John Alden, of
the Plymouth Colony. Elisha, another son of
Jonathan Capron, married Abigail Makepeace,
and they had nine children. The eldest son, Dr.
Seth Capron, grandfather of the subject of this
sketch, was born in Massachusetts, September 23,
1762, and married Eunice, daughter of Dr.
Bezaleel Mann, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, a man
of prominence as a physician and educator. Dr.
Seth Capron served in the War of the Revolution.
He enlisted March 31, 1781, and was first at-
tached to General LaFayette's corps of light in-
fantry. In 1782 he was transferred, and served
until the close of the war as aide-de-camp on Gen-
eral Washington' s staff. He was a personal friend
of General Washington, and commanded the
barge which conveyed him to Elizabethtown
Point, after he had taken leave of his army at
New York at the close of the war. Immediately
on returning home Dr. Seth Capron began the
study of medicine with Dr. Bezaleel Mann, an
eminent physician of that period. In 1806 he
settled in Whitesboro, Oneida County, New
York, where he practiced his profession.



Doctor Capron was a man of great enterprise and
industry, and was possessed of large resources
and fertility of commercial ideas. His name is
identified with the history of the manufactures
of the State of New York. He was the originator
of the enterprise which, in 1807, resulted in the
establishment of the "Oneida Factory," the first
cotton-mill erected in the State of New York,
followed shortly by the "Capron Factory," of
New Hartford. In 1809 he organized a com-
pany and established the "Oriskany Woolen
Factory," the first woolen factory ever erected in
the United States. Another enterprise of which he
was the originator was the importation from Spain
of the first Merino sheep ever introduced into
Oneida County.

In 1825 he removed to Orange County, and
with his son, Capt. Seth Capron, established
the beautiful manufacturing town of Walden, on
the Walkill, where he died September 8, 1835.
Dr. Seth Caprou had six children. Gen. Hor-
ace Capron, father of Albert B. Capron, was the
fourth son. He was born August 31, 1804,
in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and died at the Na-
tional Capital on Washington's birthday, 1885.
His death was caused by exposure at the dedica-
tion of the Washington Monument the day before,
on which occasion he and the orator of the day,
Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, were among the few
survivors of those who officiated at the laying of
the corner-stone, forty years before, when he
commanded the cavalry which took part in the

General Capron was connected with the army
many years before the outbreak of the Civil War.
For seven years he was stationed in Texas, hav-
ing charge of the Indians under the War Depart-
ment. After the removal of these Government
wards to the Indian Territory he came to his farm
in Alden, Me Henry County, Illinois, to which, a
few years previously, he had moved his family
and valuable stock from Maryland. He married
Miss Margaret Baker, of New York City, and
now settled down to the agricultural pursuits
of which he was so fond. His beautiful farm of
a thousand acres was conducted on principles so
superior to anything then dreamed of in this part

of the country, that it soon became famous, and
visitors wondered and admired. The latest inven-
tions and improvements in machinery and farm
implements were always at hand, and his noble
herds were his pride. His home was beautiful
in all its appointments and pervaded by an
atmosphere of culture and refinement. His large
library was ever at the disposal of his neighbors
and friends.

General Capron was in every sense a pro-
gressive man, and was always foremost in
advancing better methods. He was, at this time,
much interested in the State Fairs, feeling that
they should have the influence of the best agri-
culturists of the land. In 1858 he was appointed
by the United States Government as General
Superintendent of the United States Fair, which
was held in Chicago in September of that year.
The fair was at that time considered a great
event, and to this day is spoken of as a notable
success. He had on exhibition his famous herd
of forty-two Devons and a large number of his
blooded horses, many of which won first premiums.
About this time he decided to make a change of
home, and moved to another farm near Peoria,

Soon the war broke out, and his two eldest sons
quickly enlisted. Governor Yates requested Gen-
eral Capron to drill and prepare cavalry troops for
the field, as that branch of the service was much
needed. He therefore raised and drilled three
cavalry regiments, and in 1862 went out him-
self in charge of the last one, the Fourteenth
Illinois Cavalry. He was soon promoted to the
command of a brigade.

After the war General Capron was appointed
Commissioner of Agriculture by President Grant.
At this time the department was located in dark,
dingy quarters in the Interior Department. Gen-
eral Capron felt that it was a disgrace to the
great interests it represented, and spared no efforts
until he had secured appropriations for a building.
He was given full charge of plans, and in due
time the stately Agricultural Building, with its
beautiful grounds, gave to the department a home
befitting its dignity. In General Capron 's cor-
respondence is found a letter from Secretary and



Adjutant-General Dent, in which he says:
"When Sheridan met his beaten, demoralized
army near Winchester, Virginia, and turned it
right about and on to victory, he did what you
have done with the Agricultural Department of
the United States."

In April, 1871, while still at the head of this
department, he was waited upon by certain high
officials of the Japanese Government, who pre-
sented to him their plans and wishes in regard to
the development of the agricultural and mineral
resources of the island of Yesso, a very important
possession of Japan, and invited him to accept a
position as Commissioner and Adviser under their
Government. This he decided to do, and his
resignation being accepted by the President, he
sailed in September, 1871, for Japan, where he
entered upon this great work with his usual
energy and earnestness. The island of Yesso,
about two-thirds the size of the State of Illinois,
was turned over to him as the site of his ex-
perimental farms, mills and railroads. He de-
veloped the gold and coal mines, and did such re-
markable work and showed such grand results,
as to win the lasting gratitude of the Emperor
and his people. When General Capron took
leave of the Emperor at his castle in Tokio,
Japan, in 1875, the Emperor made use of the fol-
lowing language in his parting address: "In-
deed your services were valuable and deserve my
highest appreciation, and it is hardly a matter of
doubt that the future progress of the island, the
fruit of your labor, will much advance the hap-
piness of my whole empire."

A year after his return to this country the
Hon. John A. Bingham, American Minister
Plenipotentiary to Japan, in a letter to General
Capron says: "Kuroda, Kido and others of the
Ministers of State have spoken most kindly of you
and said your name would live in the grateful
remembrance of their people. Rely upon it, you
may well commit your name to the present and
future generations of Japan. Long after you
shall have joined those who have gone before
you, when Yesso shall be covered with cattle and
sheep and fields of golden wheat and corn, and
its mountains clothed to their summits with the

purple vine, will it be said of you, 'This was the
work of General Capron.' "

On January 16, 1884, General Capron was in-
formed by the Charged' Affairs that His Majesty,
the Emperor of Japan, had been pleased to confer
upon him the decoration of the Second Order of
the Rising Sun. This was the first time the
order had ever been conferred upon a foreigner.
The lacquer box in which the decoration is en-
closed is said to be eight hundred years old. By
right of inheritance his son, Col. A. B. Capron, is
now in possession of the decoration.

The latter, as purchasing agent of his father,
shipped to Japan machinery, horses, cattle, sheep
and seed-grains. He sent over a great variety of
fruit trees, and the Japanese were trained in the
art of pruning and grafting. The shipments in-
cluded the best strains of Morgan, Hambletonian,
and Kentucky thorough-bred horses and all the
choicest varieties of domestic animals. Every-
thing flourished even beyond the most sanguine

General Capron remained four and one-half
years in Japan, and then took up his residence
in Washington, where he enjoyed nearly ten years
of peaceful retirement from the activities which
had engaged him beyond the allotted years of

His son, Col. Albert B. Capron, has a military
record both unique and brilliant. The firing of
the first gun roused the patriotic blood of this

Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 69 of 111)