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beautiful poem entitled "Bingen on the Rhine."
He is the eldest son of John and Sophie (Schmuck)
Kussel, natives of that section of Germany. By
occupation his father was a tiller of the soil and
a baker. As he grew up he received a good pri-
mary education in the place of his nativity, after-
ward supplementing this by a commercial course,
and completing this at a comparatively early age.
When about fifteen years of age he entered an
apprenticeship in the mercantile business at Bin-
gen and served four years. He remained a year
after the term of his apprenticeship had expired,
filling the position of clerk and receiving a salary.

During the troublous period of 1848, when a
national revolution was attempted, he found it
difficult to procure a satisfactory position, and
thinking the opportunities for promotion, or to
rise through his own individual efforts, were not



good, he determined to cast his lot with the
people of the New World. Accordingly, he took
passage June 9 of that year on a sailing vessel
at Havre, bound for the United States, and
thirty days later arrived in New York, where,
according to previous arrangement, he was to
meet a friend coming over in another vessel from
the Old Country. Although his friend set sail
at the same time, he was a month later in finish-
ing the voyage. After his arrival they remained
in New York City about four weeks, hoping to
find employment there, but failed. The friend,
in despair, abandoned the hope of finding a posi-
tion as clerk and decided to learn the baker's
trade, while Mr. Kussel remained, still deter-
mined to search longer for a position in the mer-
cantile line or return to Germany, having brought
money with him for that emergency.

At length he too was about to succumb to de-
spair, when he was advised by the German so-
ciety to go farther west. Accordingly he started,
with the intention of locating in Cleveland, Ohio.
On his way he stopped a few days in Albany and
also in Rochester, New York, and on his arrival
in Buffalo, in August, he was so favorably im-
pressed with the appearance of that place and
with its business outlook that he decided to
locate there. He spent two months in that city,
devoting most of his time to the study of the
English language, under the instruction of a
private tutor, and in this time his progress was



54



PHILIP KUSSEL.



so great that lie could converse in English to
some extent. He obtained a position as clerk in
a small grocery store and attended night school
for a period of two months, after which he con-
tinued in the same position and in the evenings
instructed his employer's children in the German
language.

After seven months he obtained a more satis-
factory position in a larger store on Main Street
and was employed there for fifteen months. On
the expiration of this time he secured a position
in a grocery and general store as bookkeeper and
confidential clerk. Desiring to see more of the
country, he decided to go farther west, but as
there were no railroads west of Buffalo at that
time, the trip had to be made by steamboat, and
as navigation was not yet open, he was detained
in the city, during which time he was employed
in assisting to compile the city directory. The
work was being done by the publishing house of
Jewett, Thomas & Company, who were also pub-
lishers of the Commercial Advertiser and were
wholesale dealers in stationery and printers' sup-
plies. On completion of the directory work the
firm gave him a position as salesman in their
stationery and printers' material department.

In 1852, when he desired to see the west, the
firm suggested that he carry their samples and
solicit orders for them, and should he fail in find-
ing a suitable place to locate, he should continue
in their employ. Remaining in the service of
the company he returned to Buffalo. The next
year he again went west to Chicago, with the
same understanding as on the former trip. On
his arrival in the city he was more favorably im-
pressed with the place, and decided to remain.
Here he was employed for six months by Allan
Vane & Company, a commission firm on South
Water Street. Meanwhile he became acquainted
with Gage & Haines on South Water Street, who
afterward did him a favor by recommending him
as worthy of credit. While in the employ of
Allan Vane & Company he made the acquaint-
ance of Fred Fischer, of the. firm ofSatterley,
Cook & Company, wholesale grocers, and fre-
quently spent his evenings in their office. These
associations doubtless assisted him to decide as



to his future avocation. Having informed Mr.
Fischer of his intention of starting a grocery
business, that gentleman gave him every encour-
agement and sold him his first bill of goods. He
had saved up a few hundred dollars with which,
through the recommendation of Allan Vane &
Company and Gage & Haines, he was enabled to
buy a well-assorted stock of goods.

About this time he was joined by his brother,
Christian, and they ojened a grocery store on
West Madison Street, under the firm name of
Kussel Brothers. From the start the business
prospered even beyond their expectations and
they made money rapidly. Two years later they
opened another store, at the corner of Randolph
and Clinton Streets, and conducted the two stores
one year. They then rented a store building at
No. 236 East Randolph Street and began a
jobbing trade. Christian Kussel conducted the
store at the corner of Clinton Street, while Philip
Kussel attended to that on East Randolph Street.
The business grew so rapidly that two years later
they removed to No. 208 East Randolph Street.
At this time they were carrying a stock of about
sixty thousand dollars. The next year they re-
moved to No. 191 South Water Street, and con-
fined their operations to the wholesale trade.

June 9, 1866, the store was consumed by fire
and they suffered a total loss. They wound up
their business, intending to resume operations
again in the same building. Rebuilding was con-
siderably delayed and the next autumn they
bought out Bennett & Gregory, wholesale gro-
cers, at No. 58 South Water Street; but in one
year they found their business had outgrown the
capacity of their space accommodations and
bought out Boynton & Leek, at the northeast
corner of South Water Street and Michigan Ave-
nue, where they had a very large establishment
for that day, in fact one of the most complete of
the kind in the city. They continued business
at this location until Ma}-, 1871, when they re-
moved to No. 97 South Water Street, but while en-
gaged here, in October following, the great con-
flagration caused them a heavy loss. Immedi-
ately after that fire they opened temporarily on
Canal Street.



R. M. JOHNSON.



55



Purchasing a lot at No. 135-137 South Water
Street, they built the house which now stands
there, and in October, 1872, moved into it. They
continued there until May, 1887, when, owing
to the failing health of the senior partner, they
closed business and rented the store; and since
that time both brothers have lived retired.

In his political views, Philip Kussel was in
early life a Whig and since the dissolution of
that party he has been steadily a Republican,
and has always kept himself well informed on
the questions of the day. His taste, as well as
the nature of his business, has always forbidden
a position in public office. Since retiring from
trade he has spent nearly two years in his native
land and has also traveled extensively in the
United States.

In September, 1855, Mr. Kussel visited Ger-
many, remaining until March, 1856, and while



there persuaded his father to sell out and emi-
grate to the United States. In October, 1856,
he again went to Germany, and on his return was
accompanied by his parents and sister. They
arrived at New York December 31, 1856. His
father died here in 1886, aged ninety-one years,
and his mother in 1881, at the age of seventy-
eight years. His eldest sister, Mary, also died
in Chicago, in December, 1866. In the year
1857 h- e built the residence on Madison Street,
which he sold in 1872. In 1870 he purchased a
residence on Michigan Avenue near Fourteenth
Street and made that his home for seventeen
years.

Knowing how to enjoy life, Mr. Kussel im-
proves the opportunity before it is too late, as is
the case with many business men, and he well
merits the rest he is now taking in the evening of
life. He has never married.



RICHARD M. JOHNSON.






RICHARD MARION JOHNSON, who is
chief engineer of the Chicago City Railway
Company, and has charge of the power
house of that company at the corner of Fifty-sec-
ond and State Streets, has had many and varied
experiences in railroad life. Born May 13, 1840,
he is a son of Alfred Wells and Dezire (Howe)
Johnson. For further mention of the ancestry of
R. M. Johnson note the biography of Francis M.
Johnson, on another page of this work.

Richard M. Johnson lived with his parents
until he reached the age of thirteen years and
then was taken for a time by his grandfather
Howe, but returned to his father's roof when he
was nineteen years old. He learned the carpen-
ter's trade, being with his father three years at the
same. During the Civil War he was in the army
one year, entering in 1862. The next year he



returned to Chicago and in the winter of 1863
went to Clinton, Iowa, and was employed on a
bridge which was being made by the American
Bridge Company. He then went to Quincy,
Illinois, where he was fireman on an engine on
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Com-
pany. After one year with that company he be-
came hostler from Brookfield, Missouri, on the
Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad. He held this po-
sition one year, subsequent to which time he was
engineer for that concern eleven years, and from
1867 to 1877; during this time, he was on a pas-
senger engine. He returned to Chicago at the
end of this time, and until the spring of 1880 was
engineer for the Michigan Central Railroad Com-
pany.

Entering the service of the Chicago City Rail-
way Company, he was engineer on one of the



WILLIAM BAGNALL.



dummies that ran from Thirty-ninth Street, on
Cottage Grove Avenue, into the city proper.
Since 1887 he has had charge of the power house
and has been chief engineer.

R. M. Johnson was married January i, 1868,
to Harriett Leslie, daughter of Thomas Fisher
and Frances (Lewis) Barker. Mrs. Johnson was
born May 13, 1848, at Walkersville, Missouri.
Their one child is an adopted one, and her name



is Lottie May. Mr. Johnson is a member of the
Masonic order, being identified with Cameron
Chapter No. 67, and Vincil Lodge No. 63. He
is a member of Robert Fulton Association No.
28, National Association of Stationary Engineers.
Though never active in politics, he does not miss
an opportunity to vote in favor of the Democratic
party and is strong in his arguments for the up-
holding of the party.



WILLIAM BAGNALL



BAGNALL was born in 1831,
in New Castle-Upon-Tyne, England. He
was reared in his native town, obtaining a
common-school education. He early learned
the trade of carpenter and builder, serving an
apprenticeship of six years.

In this he was engaged until nearly nineteen
years of age and, in 1850, with two companions,
he ran away from home, with a trip to Australia
in view. Owing to financial straits incurred by
the spending of too much money while in the
city of Liverpool, they decided on emigrating to
America. They took passage for New York on
the sailing vessel, "Mary & John," and after a
tempestuous voyage of seven weeks, the ship
landed this small party in the American harbor.
Mr. Bagnall was employed by one man for two
years, at his trade, while in the city of New
York. He was married about this time, while
in this city, to Miss Hannah Tynd, in the early
part of the year 1853. He removed shortly after,
with his wife, to the city of Chicago, where he
took up his trade on his own responsibility for
some time.

This business not proving profitable, owing to
the failure of a man for whom he erected a build-
ing, he sought work at his trade in Iowa, but not



finding a satisfactory location, he returned to
Chicago. Eventually he took a trip to New
York, from thence to Jersey City, and here es-
stablished a business for himself, remaining until
1862. During this time he erected buildings for
the Marion Building Association, in Marion,
New Jersey.

In October, 1862, Mr. Bagnall was actively in-
strumental in the organization of a company of
men numbering one hundred and ten, succeeding
in getting them together in three and one-
half days, for the Civil War, which was then in
progress. He marched with the company to
Trenton, New Jersey, from which city they pro-
ceeded to Washington, District of Columbia.
This body of men was given the name of Com-
pany B, Twenty-first New Jersey Infantry. Al-
though he was tendered a captain's commission,
Mr. Bagnall declined, owing to his lack of knowl-
edge regarding military matters, and went into
the ranks. The company went from Washing-
ton to Frederick, Maryland, and became incor-
porated in the Army of the Potomac at Baker-
ville. It was affixed to the Sixth Army Corps,
Third Brigade of the Second Division, and par-
ticipated in many hard-fought engagements,
among which a few are mentioned: Two days



WILLIAM BAGNALL.



57



battle at Antietam and three days battle of
Fredericksburg, under Burnside, after which
came the event known to all soldiers who par-
ticipated in the same as "Burnside'sMad March."
This company then fought in the battle of
Chancellorsville, the corps taking Mary 's'Heights,
and in the fight of three days' length, Colonel
Van Houten was killed, and Captain Kendall of
the company lost a leg. Orderly Sergeant
Hathaway was one of the number of men who
were lost in this battle.

The next battle participated in by this company
was at Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, in which
many were killed, Mr. Bagnall receiving a severe
wound through a musket ball entering his left
leg. At Chancellorsville he was wounded by a
saber, in the hands of a rebel soldier, thrust into
his right shoulder, at his third refusal to sur-
render. Three comrades and himself were sepa-
rated from the command and one was killed, but
only eight of the assailants escaped, however.
After the siege at Gettysburg, Mr. Bagnall was
in hospital from the results of the bullet wound
in his leg, and at his return to duty was assigned
a position on private duty as assistant, serving
as such during the remainder of the war. At
'Boonesborough Mr. Bagnall fell ill and upon
asking for food at a farm house, was given the
same and was not allowed to pay anything for
it. The farmer told him that General Lee
had mustered four of his sons into service,
and if Mr. Bagnall was to come across any of
them and do them a favor, the debt would be
considered cancelled. At Fredericksburg, Mary-
land, he saw a young man that resembled the
farmer in feature, and when he called him by the
same name (Redding), he found him to be the
only living one of the sons, the rest having been
killed. Mr. Bagnall suggested a plan for the re-
lease of the young man, and before his return
home from the war he received a letter from Mr.
Redding, senior, which contained the thanks of
the father and a cordial invitation to Mr. Bagnall
to make them an extended visit to their home.

At Fredericksburg a rebel sharpshooter was
lodged in a tree, dealing death in the shape of
sure-aimed bullets to the Union soldiers, and Mr.



Bagnall was requested by his division com-
mander, General Howe, to station himself in a
position to shoot the rebel. He received fire
three times, one shot clipping a lock of his
hair. He then caught a glimpse of the man,
and after one shot from his weapon, quiet reigned
in the vicinity of the said tree. He was an ex-
pert shot and at Fredericksburg, when his corps
was about to storm Mary's Heights, he saw a
rebel sharpshooter aiming and making ready to
fire on General Howe. Not having time to secure
his gun, he called sharply to the general, causing
the latter to start suddenly, thereby changing
his position and the bullet whizzed past, the
life of the general having been saved by Mr.
Bagnall's prompt action.

Mr. Bagnall was discharged at the close of the
war at Trenton, New Jersey, after serving three
years and nine months in the cause of the right.
He returned to his business as carpenter and
builder at Jersey City, following the same until the
year 1872, when he removed to Chicago and en-
tered the commission business on South Water
Street. He was successfully engaged in the same
for a period of eighteen years, and in 1890 he
established a business, with his son, William,
in the manufacture of cigars, continuing in the
business up to the present date and making a
financial success. The name of the firm was
originally Bagnall & Company, but was later
changed to Bagnall, Diaz & Company. A very
extensive business is conducted in the city and
the same is represented in other cities by travel-
ing salesmen. Previous to the insurrection in
Cuba, the firm purchased largely of Cuban
tobacco, and has made a specialty in high-grade
work on choice brands of tobacco.

Mr. Bagnall is a member of General George
A. Custer Post, Grand Army of the Republic, in
which he is post surgeon, which position he has
filled for many years. To Mr. Bagnall were
born three children: William J.; Annie, now
Mrs. Frederick Wetherel, of Memphis, Ten-
nessee; and one daughter who died in New Jer-
sey, aged eight years. Mr. Bagnall is a son of
James and Abigail (Hughes) Bagnall, the former
a native of England and the latter of Irish de-



PHILIP KROECK.



scent. The remotest of the ancestors which can
be traced of the family of Mr. Bagnall came from
Normandy to England, with William the Con-
queror. Sir William Bagnall, a member of the
English peerage, was a direct descendant of that
noted general.

James Bagnall was a son of James Bagnall,
senior, and Belle Bagnall. James Bagnall,
junior, was a traveling buyer for a dry-goods
house and died at the age of forty years, when
his son, William, was ten years of age. Mrs.
James Bagnall, mother of the man whose name



heads this article, immigrated to America and
died in Jersey City. The family of Hughes was
from the northern part of England, and the men
were tillers of the soil.

William Bagnall has proven himself a stanch
Republican and has, since his majority was
reached, taken a vast interest in the principles of
the party and of all public matters. In Jersey
City he was judge of election seven terms. He
has acted the part of a just man at the polls and
is recognized as a worthy and highly honored
citizen.



PHILIP KROECK.



P KROECK, an old soldier and pio-
yr neer of Chicago, is a native of Guesen,
[3 Hessen-Darmsdat, Germany. He was born
May 10, 1837, and is a son of John and Kathe-
rine Elizabeth (Rinu) Kroeck. John Kroeck
was a tiller of the soil and the father of Jacob,
Louis and Philip Kroeck. In 1861, on April
14, John Kroeck, with his family, sailed for the
United States on the steamer "Brahmen," and
landed in New York May i . On the sixth the
family arrived at Chicago and John Kroeck died
here May 18, 1863, and Mrs. Kroeck, his beloved
wife, died March 12, 1889. January 24, 1867,
Louis, the second son of John Kroeck, died also.
Philip Kroeck, the man whose name heads
this article, was educated in the common schools
of his native land and after leaving school learned
the trade of a cigar-maker, serving a three years'
apprenticeship. At the age of twenty-one years
he joined the Second Regiment of Infantry of
Hesseu-Darmsdat, and served three years. After
coming to Chicago he worked at his trade in the
employ of Beck & Worth, who were located at
No. 14 South Clark Street. He was thus em-



ployed until August 8, 1862. On the event of
Lincoln's second call for troops he enlisted
August 8, 1862, in Scripps Guard and participated
in many engagements. After the fall of Gettys-
burg they spent much time looking after guerril-
las. He was under General McPherson for some
time, and after his death he was under General
Howard. Mr. Kroeck never flinched in the time
of danger and was valued as a well-trained
soldier and a man with a cool head. He was
never wounded nor taken prisoner and was mus-
tered out at Washington, May 18, 1865.

After leaving the army Mr. Kroeck returned
to Chicago and accepted a position with Beck &
Worth, who were then located at No. 95 Water
Street. He continued in the service of this con-
cern until they went out of the cigar business.
He subsequently became employed by Heller &
Mower, on Madison Street, and after one year
occupied thus, he started in business for himself
at No. 401 North Clark Street, where he built up
a profitable trade. He was burned out by the
great fire of 1871, losing all his possessions or, to
use one of Mr. Kroeck's expressions on the sub-



J. F. JOHNSON.



59



ject, "Everything was burned except my debts."
After the fire he continued his former business on
the West Side, locating at No. 360 West Twelfth
street, and remained there until May, 1872, when
he returned to the North Side.

He opened at No. 753 Wells Street and was lo-
cated at this number for some years. In 1876 he
started a saloon at the corner of Wells Street and
Lincoln Avenue and continued a profitable busi-
ness until 1884, when he built his present busi-
ness block and continued his former business until
1890 and since that time has lived in comparative
retirement. Mr. Kroeck voted for Lincoln while
he was in Georgia and has since that time sup-
ported the Republican party. He is a member of



the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and also
the Knights of Pythias.

February 4, 1866, Mr. Kroeck was married to
Miss Marie Tiegler, who was born in Germany.
Their children are: Katherine, who is the wife
of Henry Wagner; Carl and Marie. Mr. and
Mrs. Kroeck were married by that old and vener-
able member of the ministry, Dr. Hartman,
and has attended the church wherein this worthy
man preached, since the date of his marriage.
Mrs. Kroeck passed out of this life July 16,
1896. She was mourned by many friendsas well
as doubly missed by her relatives. Her memory
is held in deepest respect by all who came in
contact with her genial nature.



JOHN F. JOHNSON.



(JOHN FREDERICK JOHNSON, who was
I one of the first men connected with the Chi-
G) cago City Railway Company, rose from a
mere clerical position to the one of great respon-
sibility which he now holds. He has succeeded
through his own energies and merits this and
much more. He was born December 17, 1838,
in Niles, Michigan. For ancestry, see biography
of F. M. Johnson, on another page of this volume.
Mr. Johnson was educated in Niles, Michigan,
attending school until he reached the age of six-
teen years. October i, 1854, he obtained a posi-
tion in the Michigan Central Railroad freight
office, remaining until 1862. For a short time
subsequently he was employed with John Berry,
and in 1863 he entered the freight office of the
Michigan Southern Railroad Company, changing
later to the service of the Merchants' Union Ex-
press Company until 1868, when he was employed
by the American Express Company. December



of the year 1869 he became clerk for the Chicago
City Railway Company, and after seven years in
that capacity was six years treasurer and secre-
tary. Since 1881 he has been in the president's
office as assistant auditor and fills the position to
the complete satisfaction of all interested.

He has proven in all circumstances a compe-
tent, energetic and trustworthy man and has
gained the admiration of all who have come in
contact with his fresh, genial mind, whether in
one surrounding or another.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are the parents of two
children, who have done credit to the rear-
ing they received and to the family name, which
has never known a tarnish. Frank Rollo was
born December 2, 1862, in Harris Township,
Elkhart County, Indiana. More extended no-
tice of him appears elsewhere in this volume.
Ernest Mortimer was born March 23, 1866, and
has also space on another page of this volume.



6o



HENRY ACKHOFF.



Though never an office seeker, Mr. Johnson is
interested very deeply in the welfare of the Dem-
ocratic party, in whose interest he casts a vote at
all favorable opportunities. He is a member of
the Royal Arcanum.

Mr. Johnson erected a residence at No. 5817



Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 8 of 111)