Copyright
Frederick Marryat.

Chicago's first half century, 1833-1883 : the city as it was fifty years ago, and as it is today : the trade, commerce, manufactories, railroads, banks, wholesale and retail houses, theaters, hotels, churches, and school online

. (page 27 of 43)
Online LibraryFrederick MarryatChicago's first half century, 1833-1883 : the city as it was fifty years ago, and as it is today : the trade, commerce, manufactories, railroads, banks, wholesale and retail houses, theaters, hotels, churches, and school → online text (page 27 of 43)
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516,949
890.684
750,499


75,939

75,442
79.691
70,700
41,361
35,876
32,870
50.268
61,423
77.925
69,613
78,626


May
June.. ..


Jnlv


August
September . .
October
November...
December...


Total....
1882


1,878,944 30,223
1,582,530 24,965


5.040.625
5,817,504


749,734
628,887


15,143
13,856



SHIPMENTS.



MONTHS.


Cattle.


Calv's.


Hogs.


Sheep.

40,304
44.623
55,677
4.V270
17,562
11,620
6,955
17,845
27,271
32.098
31,385
42,151


H'rs's.

696
1,425
3,335
1,608
1,294
1,398
944
1.027
1,281
1,194
898
499


January
I'Vbrnary
March
April


87,967
68,493
80,341
69.034
74,937
76,581
74.723
90,617
82,990

80.792
77,886


245
148
304
1.078
1,3 8
183
119
654
3,530
1,961
1,945
1,146


90,230
112,639
130,807
95,136
64,662
85.735
106,841
94,3o8
134,822
1B4.H47
108,997
130,568


May .


June
July


August
September..
October
November...
December...


Total 966,75RU2,K7l!l.319,192 ':>72,761 14,599
1882 : 921,009 ,10,229 1.747.722,314,200,12,788



BED LETTER DATS.

The largest day's receipts on record at
the Union Stock yards were as follows:

Cattle, Nov. 15, 1882 12,076

Calves. Sept. 28, 1881 1,428

Hoes, Nov. 25, 1879 64,643

Sheep, Dec. 5,1883 7,982

Horses, March 21, 18S1 369

The largest weekly receipts were as fol-
lows:

Cattle, week ending Oct. 20. 1883 52,192

Calves, week ending Aug. 27, 1881 3.366

Hogs, week ending Nov. 20. 1880 300 488

Sheep, weekending Dec. 21, 1883 26,O40

Horses, week ending March 26, 1881 1,125



The largest monthly receipts were as fol-
lows:

Cattle, October, 1882 217791

Calves, August, 1881 11,'604

Hogs, November, 1880 1111997

Sheep, March, 1883 '". 79,691

Horses, March, 1881 2' 564

The largest yearly receipts ' were as 'fol-
lows:

Cattle, 1883 :. 1,878,944

Calves, 1881 48498

Hogs, 1880 .7,059,365

Sheep, 1883 749,734

Horses, 1873... 20,289

CATTLE.

THE BANNEB TEAS.

The vast and unprecedented receipts of
cattle for the year show that the last was a
busy one in this branch of the live stock
trade. The simple figures, showing an ag-
gregate of nearly 1,900,000 head of cattle,
tell a wonderful story, but figures have such
a hard, matter-of-fact way of expression
that we can seldom realize what they mean
from the surface; we must study back of
them. You see figures representing nearly
1,900,000 cattle, and are not particularly
struck with their significance, because in
this we deal so extensively with huge
figures tnat we cannot appreciate the value
of ficrures standing for a few millions only.
Familiarity breeds something of contempt
for large figures, but if we stop to think
what a herd the last year's receipts of cattle
would make altogether; how far they would
reach if placed in single file ; how many men
and millions of money were required to han-
dle them, then we get some idea of what the
figures represent.

The year 1882 was a remarkable one in the
matter of heavy receipts, but it was eclipsed
inevery respect by its successor. Last year
stands as the banner year, and also records
the banner days, weeks, and months.

HIGH AND LOW PBICES.

The highest prices for the year occurred in
March and December. The lowest wore re-
corded in June and July. Early in the year
there was considerable excitement in the
trade, and it looked for a time in March as if
people expected a cattle famine.

The Advanced rates brought unprecedented
receipts of good cattle, and in fact all Kinds
of cattle, and the boom was followed by a
serious reaction. Country shippers went
wild in February, March, and April, and made
contracts at current prices for June delivery,
which entailed the heaviest general losses
that were ever known. Vast numbers of
cattle sold for $2 per hundred less than they
cost in the country. Instead of fat cattle be-
ing scarce in the summer months they were
more than usually abundant, and the calcu-
lations of a great many went away on that
account

The general demand for cattle was strong-
throughout, and the most wonderful thing in
connection with the very neavy receipts was
the manner in which they were disposed of.
It was not an uncommon thing for the mar-
ket to be strong and active throughout with
45,000 head per week on sale.

A YEAB OF SURPRISES.

Such a strong general demand was never
before known, and on that account the prog-
nostications of the most experienced dealers







CHICAGO; FIRST HALF CENTUEY.



133



were more frequently wrong 1 than otherwise.
It was indeed a year of surprises, especially
as there were many who, as loner ago as 1881,
confidently expressed the opinion thac the
maximum of Chicago's cattle trade had been
reached.

In years gone by the supplies of fine, thor-
oughly mature beeves were drawn almost
exclusively from nearby sections, where a
few breeders and feeders had established rep-
utations for prime stock, but this year
there have been hardly any sectional
limits Nebraska, Kansas, and other
Western States contributing beeves sa
remarkable in quality as those for
which our best Illinois" breeders are re-
nowned. It is not very long since it was
possible for cattle men of experience to
reckon just how many prime beeves were
fattening for market, so limited was the
number of men who made a practice of put-
ting a thorough fiuish on their stock before
consigning to the butcher. But that day is
forever past. Then it was thought that fine
stock, improved methods, and, in short,
"book-farming," as it was called, was only
for country gentlemen who raised stock and
cultivated farms because they fancied it, and
had no other way in which they preferred to
spend their surplus. But now it is being very
generally understood that the poorer the
man the more he is in need of using only the
best methods; that none but the wealthy can
afford the questionable luxury of scrub stock.

CHICAGO FAT STOCK SHOW.

Never was there a year when there was so
much activity in the fine-stock markets as
during the past The great Chicago Fat
Stock Show that has now been held in the
Exposition Building for six years has done
much to incite breeders and feeders to better
methods. Even yet, however, the common
cattle are those that are rough and unfin-
ished, but at the present rate of improve-
ment it is evident that it cannot be very long
before the cattle that are now called extra
will be more common than those that are so
called now.

Never was the canning and dressed-beef
trade so strong and reliable. Cows and
mixed stock have sold well at all times, ex-
cept when in competition with Texans.

Receipts of Texas cattle were about 100,-
000 head less than in 1882, which fact makes
all the more remarkable the enormous gen-
eral gain in receipts. Bange cattle were two
months later than usual in coming to market.
In the Southwest the drought was the cause,
and in the Northwest the unprecedented
rainfall made grass so rank that catt le did
not fat solidly. Thus it is shown that the
ranchmen must not have either too much or
too little water. The high prices of the pre-
ceding year drained the herds more closely
than usual, and ranchmen were not willing
to part with their verv young stock at the
prices. Indeed, about 80,000 head of young
stock cattle were sent from "the States"
to Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado,
and Montana. This is something
previously unknown. The result of the ex-
periment " is awaited with much interest.
Banchmen are rather confident as to the
prospects for next year, and many thousand
beeves that were ready to come this year,
had prices been satisfactory, are being carried
over for the spring market.

DISTILLEKY CATTLE.

A large business was done in distillery cat-
tle, but the trade was more concentrated:
that is, the enormous profits of 1882 induced



the heavy cattle feeders to go into the trade
so extensively that the room for placing cat-
tle in distilleries was soon exhausted at ad-
vanced rates, and the small fry were rather
crowded out.

Distillery cattle realized handsome profits,
selling at $4. 50(3)6. 50, the bulk going at [email protected]
6: but the same tind of cattle sold in 1882 at
[email protected] 90, and made much more for the f eed-
ers. It is only within a year or two that it
has been considered that slop-fed cattle of
like weight and quality dress as much beef as
corn-fed stock. Distillery bulls sold at
[email protected], against [email protected] in 1882.

The trade in Eastern dairy calves was very
light, but during the year a goodly number
sold at about $10 to $18 per head to goto
Western feeders. Several thousand went be-
yond the Missouri to ranchmen.

BANGE OF PBICES.

The extreme range of prices for shipping
cattle during the past twelve months are
given below, with current quotations for
1879, 1880, 1881. and 1882:

Steers av. Steers av. Steers av.
1,500 to2,200 l,350tol,500 l,200tol,350
$4.80(36.10 $4.55(36.00
5.00(36.25 4.70(36.00
5.35(37.05 5.15(37.00
5.80(36.90 5.50(36.75
5.75(36.65 [email protected]
5.40(36.30 5.10(36.30
5.25(36.35 4.65(36.25
[email protected] [email protected]
5.15(36.50 4.10(36.15
5.10(37.00 4.35(37.00
5.15(36.55 4.25(36.30
[email protected] 4.55(36.75
4.80(37.12 4.10(37.00
4.70(39.00 4.25(39.00
4.40(37.25 3.80(37.00
4.30(36.00 3.50(35.50
3.90(35.50 [email protected]

DISTILLERY CATTLE, STOCKEBS, AND FEEDEBS.

The following will be found t&e range of
prices on distillery cattle, stockers, and feed-
ers for the past twelve months:

Monti

Jan..

Feb. .

Marcl

April.

May.

June

July.

Aug .

Sept.

Oct.,

Nov .

Dec

Distillery cattle ranged d~iiriiag 1883. . .4.50(36.50

Distillery cattle ranged during 1SS2. . .5.00(38.90

Distillery bulls ranced during 1883. ...3.50(35.40

Distillery bulls ranged during 1882. . .4.50(36.00

TEXANS AKD FAB-WEST CATTLE.

The table given below shows the range of
prices for the past season on grass Texans,
wintered Texans. and Western natives:

Grass Tex- Witntered Far- West



Jan


.$5.35(36.50


Feb....


. 5.90(37.00


March .


. . [email protected]


April . .


. [email protected]


May...


. 5.90(36.75


June . .


5.75(36,30


July. . .


. 5.55(36.40


Aug. . . .


.. [email protected]


Sept.


. 5.90(36.50


Oct....


[email protected]


Nov....


. [email protected]


Dec ...


[email protected]


1883..


[email protected]


1882..


[email protected]


1881..


5.30(38.00


1880..


5.00(37.00


1879..


. 4.50(36.00



a, Dis. Cattle.
.. $5.20(35.75
.. 4.70(35.60
.. [email protected]
. 5.25(36.20
. [email protected]
. [email protected]
. 5.30(36.30
. 5.50(36.10
. 5.40(36.15


Stockers.
$2.90(34.15
3.10(34.30
[email protected]
[email protected]
3.00(34.90
2.90(34.60
3.00(34.30
[email protected]
2.70(34.05
2.50(33.90


Feeders.
$3.50(34.80
3.75(35.10
4.20(35.70
4.25(35.65
4.40(35.80
4.00(35.30
3.85(34.90
[email protected]
3.85(34.60
[email protected]




[email protected]


3.40(34.50




2.50(34.30


3.80(34.75



Month.
May
June
July
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec. ...


ans.
$4.20(Si().00
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
4.00(35.10


Texans.

$3.75(35.25
3.35(35.20

3.40(34.75
[email protected]
3.50(34.65
4.00(34.75


natives.

$4.'[email protected]'65
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
4.80(35.10



The table following gives comparative fig.



134



CHICAGO'S FIRST HALF CENTURY.



Years
1883.
1882.
1881.
1880...



ures for four years past extreme range of
prices :

Grass Tex- Wintered Far- West
ans. Texans. natives.

[email protected] $3 [email protected] [email protected]

;.SO [email protected] 3.7>
_'.-:. -'.VOO [email protected] o.'_T)^5. U)
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected]
Below will be found receipts of grass Tex-
ans and far- West cattle for the past four
years:

Grass Far-west

Year Texans. cattle.

1883 256,340 176,680

1882 . 346,300 220,700

1881 143,380 190,500

1880 88,000 109,500

Prices for range cattle were higher than in
1881, but lower than in 1882. It was a no-
table fact that through grass Texans sold as
high or higher than wintered and double-
wintered Texans from the Northwest This,
together with wire fences and railway facili-
ties, will tend to curtail the annual drive of
young Texans to the North to be wintered.

COMPAKATITE RECEIPTS AND SHIPMENTS.

The receipts and shipments of cattle at
Chicago during the past ten years have been
as follows:
Tear. Received No. Shipped No.

1874 843,966 622,929

1875 920,843 696,534

1876 . 1,096,745 797,724

1877... 1,033.151 703,402

1878... 1,083,068 699,108

1879 .... 1-215732 726,903

1880 1,382,477 886,614

1881... 1,498,550 938,712

1882 1,582,472 920,453

1883 1,878,944 966,758

It will be seen that from 1877 there has
been a steady and marked increase In the
volume of receipts. The arrivals for 1883
were double the receipts of 1875.

DRESSED BEEF.

PBEPABING MEAT FOB EASTEBW BKSTAUBANTS.

The most remarkable growth in the cattle
trade has been the advancement of the
dressed beef business. Some idea of the
growth and magnitude of the canninsr and
dressed beef business may be obtained from
the fact that fully half of the total receipts of
cattle for the year went into cans and re-
frigerator cars at Chicago to be distributed
to the consumers of the East.

The following shows the principle purchases
of that kind of stock:

Swift Bros. <fe Co .~ 331,550

G. H. .Hammond* Co 140,000

Libby. McNeill & Libby 113,987

Armour A Co 253,000

Fairbank Canning Co 120,000

Total , , 958,537

The increase in the number of cattle
slaughtered here for that purpose was about
300,000 head, or just about the amount of
the gain in receipts of cattle. The dressed
beef business is expanding with remarkable
rapidity, and much greater strides have been
made in this trade than are generally real-
ized.

FOB EASTEBN CITIES.

A new feature, and a very important one,
has been developed during the year. In
former years it has been the custom for the
most fastidious restaurants and hotels in
New York. Boston, and other cities to have
their cattle bought here, shipped East on
foot, and slaughtered, but this year the bulk



of the finest cattle that have come to market
have been slaughtered here and forwarded in
refrigerator cars to the aristocratic con-
sumers of Eastern cities. Of course the meat
reaches its destination in vastly better con-
dition than if sent on the hoof.

When the dressed beef men invaded New
York City witti their, trains of dressed beef
every day there was a good deal of commo-
tion in the live-stock trade. The beef on
hand in the refrigerators often interfered
with the sale of live stock when supplies
were liberal, arid as the dressed beef could
be sold at a profit for considerable less than
the cattle shipped on the hoof, the former
had decidedly the upper hand in the fight

The railroads endeavored to make consid-
erable advances in freight charges TM the
East on dressed beef, and there was quite a
lively wrangle for a time, but the shippers
had to submit to a little advance. How-
ever, they can afford it, because
they ship thirty-three carcasses in a car,
while only about eighteen are shipped
in live stock cars. Then, too, the railroads
object to the refrigerator cars because they
have to be hauled back empty. At the same
time the railroads realize that it is useless to
ignore the demands of this growing interest.

DAILY TBATNS OF DBESSBD BKEF.

Regular trains are sent to the seaboard
and intermediate points laden with Cuicago
dressed beef every day. Shipments have
been made to considerable extent to the
South, and a couple of car-loads of dressed
beef per week were sent to St. Paul and Min-
neapolis this summer. This seems a little
like carrying coals to Newcastle, but was
profitable.

A year ago the talk about starting dressed
beef establishments beyond the Mississippi
was speculation and was regarded as a very
long shadow of the coming event, but the
talk nas taken tangible shape, and meat
preserving institutions on the plains are a
reality. The first venture was the Conti-
nental Meat Company at Victoria, Texas. A
company has been formed at Dallas, one at
San Antonio, and the Fort Worth (Texas)
Meat Company has its buildings and ma-
chinery thoroughly equipped for dressing and
shipping meat An establishment has been
located at Cheyenne, Wyoming, and it may
truly be said that a great resolution is tak-
ing place in the manner of transporting
stock from the producer to the consumer.

During the year just closed there were
fully twice the amount of cattle slaughtered
here for the dressed beef trade that were
used in the preceding year. This shows how
rapid has been the growth.

SUCCESS ASSURED.

That the dressed meat business is growing
in popularity and has come to stay, is evi-
denced by the enormous investments that
are being made by shrewd business men.
There can be no possible doubt as to the
feasibility of the scheme, as operated
here, but the success on the
plains will hardly be so swift and
sure as it has been here, though there is no
good reason why the same care and attention
to details may not be given to the business
on the frontier that obtains here. At any
rate there seems to be no lack of men who
are willing to try their luck in the business
out West.

The refrigerator men are by no means con-
fining their attention to beef, but are hand-
ling increasing numbers of sheep. Some of
the most extensive operators in the trade



CHICAGO'S FIRST HALF CENTUBY.



135



have been dressing some of the best sheep
that hare come to market, and up to the
present time the demand for good sheep for
that purpose has only been limited by the
supply. There has been no lack in quantity
of sheep, but the average quality of the of-
ferings has been indeed miserable.

COMPETITION WITH LIVE.

When toe dressed meat business first came
into notice it was met with such general
favor and received such a boom that it was
thought the days of shipping ]ive stock were
surely numbered, but those who thought
such to be the case evidently did not realize
the magnitude and importance of the live
stock shipping trade. It is certainly a note-
worthy fact that while the growth of the
dressed beef interest has been great, it has
not been so much at the expense
of the live stock business as many
suppose. The increase of the refrig-
erator car business during the year is
just about equal to the increase in the total
receipts of cattle, which shows that what has
been the gain of one has not necessarily been
the loss of the other. At the same time the
new way is steadily encroaching upon the
ground of the old, and despite the vast
amount of capital arrayed against it, there
must be steady, strong growth in the dressed
meat trade. The live stock shippers have not
gone out of the business during the past year,
and there is no prospect that they contem-
plate any such move durinsr the year to come,
or the year after, but it is patent to all that
the refrigerator business must steadily grow
in favor.

THE HOG MARKET.

CONDITION OF TBADE.

The hog trade of the year 1883 was pe-
culiar in many respects. The receipts were
larger in volume than many anticipated, and
the excellent quality of the offerings was a
matter of surprise to alL During the early
part of the year the receipts fell far behind
the corresponding periods of the preceding
year, but on the last half the tide turned,
and the increase was so strong that about
two more weeks would have made good the
deficiency. On the whole the shortage was
remarkably small.

During the middle months of the year the
weight of the hogs ran from ten to twenty-
five pounds heavier than last year, and it was
the first year in the history of the
trade that thin, immature pigs outsold
prime 300-pound porkers. What in ordi-
nary times axe called "skips" in many
cases sold higher than prime mixed hogs.
There was a raging demand for light meats,
principally on foreign account, and the un-
commonly large proportion of prime heavy
hogs appeared to be most untimely. It is
always more or less demoralizing to put a
premium on half-done work, and largely
owing to the discrimination in favor of unfed
hogs, the average weight in November de-
clined and was one pound less than the cor-
responding month in 1882. Ab >ut that time,
however, the demand for light meats fell off,
and prime hogs, when they were beginning 1



to get scarce, took their proper relative posi-
tion at the

HEAD OF THB MBT

on the range of value* Under light receipts
and strong demand prices in the early spring
were unreasonably high, but from March,
which was the highest month, there was a
steady downward movement till the 1st of
November, since when the tendency has been
upward.

Many hogs were sold here in November
which could have been sold in the country
six months before for $2 per 100 Ibs. more.
All the time the reports were coming from
the country that the supplies were getting
short, but receipts were increasing here and
the quality of the stock indicated anything
but the last scrapings of a short crop.

The advance in prices during the last two
months was rattier unusual and unlocked
for, as the first two months of the packing
season are generally the lowest Packers
had to grin and bear it, however. They had
their choice of paying the prices or allowing
their contracts to go unfilled. For a time
many of them stubbornly held off on the
ground that prices were too high; but it was
not very long, and for a month after the
middle of November every packer was in the
trade.

There has probably never been a year when
the operators were so completely non-
plussed, when they were so entirely in the
dark as to the best policy to pursue. It is
said that some of them always know how
things are going, but this year the best of the
packers did not seem able to tell which way
the feline would bound.

BANGE OP PBICBS.

The extreme range of prices for hogs dur-
ing the past twelve months is given below,
with current quotations for 1879, 1880,
1881. and 1882:

Heavy pack-
ing and

shipping.
$6.05(37.10

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

4.40<8.15

[email protected]

[email protected]

4.30(<36.90



Rough


Months, packing.


Jan...


[email protected]


Feb...


[email protected]


March.


[email protected]


April


[email protected]


May.


[email protected]


June


[email protected]


July.


[email protected]


Aug.


[email protected]


Sept.


[email protected]


Oct..


[email protected]


Nov...


[email protected]


Dec ..


[email protected]


1883..


[email protected]


1882..


[email protected]


1881..


[email protected]


1880. .


[email protected]


1879..


[email protected]



[email protected]



Light bacon
[email protected]
[email protected]
6.10O7.75
6.9[email protected]
[email protected]
5.70O7.0O
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
4.10(95.30
[email protected],05



BECEIPTS AND SHIPMENTS COMPABED.

The receipts and shipments of hogs at Chi-
cago during the past ten years were as
follows:

Year. Received, No. Shipped, No.

1874 4,258,370 2,330,361

1875 3,912,110 1,582,643

1876 4,190,006 1,131,635

1877. 4.025,970 951,221

1878 6,339,654 1,266.906

1879. i... 6,448,330 1,692,361

1880 7,059,355 1,364,990

1881 6,474,844 1,289,679

1882 5,817,504 1,746,555

1883 5,640,625 1,319,192

There has been a general growth in vol-
ume of receipts from the opening of the
yards, but 1880 was the heaviest year on
record, and it will be seen that current re-
ceipts are smaller than 1878. There is one



136



CHICAGO'S FIRST HALF CENTURY.



point in which the arrivals of 1882 exceeded
all others, however, and that was early ma-
turity and quality.

SHEEP.

MUTTON EATING ON THE INCREASE.

That mutton eating is on the increase is no
longer a matter of doubt There is an in-
creasing demand for good mutton, and it is
also becoming easier for the lover of "leg o'
mutton" and - 'lamb chops" to have his taste
gratified. The time was, and not very long
ago, when if a person could find mutton on
the bill of fare in the average restaurant he
would hardly be able to tell that he was not
trying to masticate a chunk of succulent sole
leather, but for the said bill of fare which
described it as mutton.

Receipts of sheep at Chicago were the
heaviest on record, and on the whole it was
the most satisfactory year's business that has
been done in the sheep market

Floods of Texas and Western stock of in-
ferior quality kept aver/ wide range between
good and common sheep, but the average
quality of the receipts was not to be com-
plained of when all things were taken into
account It is only lately that the shep-
herds of the West have deemed it necessary
to pay any attention to anything but wool,



Online LibraryFrederick MarryatChicago's first half century, 1833-1883 : the city as it was fifty years ago, and as it is today : the trade, commerce, manufactories, railroads, banks, wholesale and retail houses, theaters, hotels, churches, and school → online text (page 27 of 43)