Uplift a thousand voices full and sweet,
In this wide hall with earth's inventions stored,
And praise the invisible, universal Lord,
Who lets once more in peace the nations meet,
Where Science, Art, and Labor have outpour'd
Their myriad horns of plenty at our feet.
O silent father of our Kings to be
Mourn'd in this golden hour of jubilee,
For this, for all, we weep our thanks to thee!
The world-compelling plan was thine,
And, lo! the long laborious miles.
Of Palace; lo! the giant aisles,
Rich in model and design;
Harvest-tool and husbandry,
Loom and wheel and enginery.
Secrets of the sullen mine,
Steel and gold, and corn, and wine,
Fabric rough, or fairy fine,
Sunny tokens of the Line.
Polar marvels, and a feast
Of wonder, out of West and East,
And shapes and hues of Art divine!
All of beauty, all of use,
That one fair planet can produce,
Brought from under every star,
Blown from over every main,
And mixed, as life is mixed with pain.
The works of peace with works of war.
Is the goal so far away?
Far, how far no tongue can say,
Let us dream our dream today.
O ye, the wise who think, the wise who reign,
From growing commerce loose her latest chain,
And let the fair white-wing'd peacemaker fly
To happy havens under all the sky,
And mix the seasons and the golden hours;
Till each man find his own in all men's good,
And all men work in noble brotherhood,
Breaking their mailed fleets and armed towers,
And ruling by obeying Nature’s powers,
And gathering all the fruits of earth and crown’d with all her flowers?
It is but a brief century since the region round the great lakes was a primeval wilderness. There were present possibilities, the wealth of savagism, but there was no wealth of civilization, none of that wealth which educates and refines, which enlightens and ennobles. The flat, fertile, well-watered soil, with forest and open prairie interspersed, gave forth abundance of native fruits, supporting myriads of wild animals and wild men, all glorifying their creator by preying on each other to their full content and happiness. Bordering Lake Superior were the Hurons and Chippewas; around Lake Michigan the Winnebagoes, Illinois, and Otta was, while the Delawares roamed about the Ohio River and its northern tributaries. The land is now subdued and occupied by humanity of the highest advancement, having farms, towns, and cities, any of them ranking among the foremost in the world.
The Sacs lived on the Detroit River and Saginaw bay, later with the Foxes settling near Green bay. They took sides with the French and fought the Sioux and Iroquois. The most noted chief of the Sacs was Black Hawk, who sought to recover lands which had been unjustly taken from his people. On the Wisconsin River the French found the Kickapoos, who killed one of La Salles priests. Later they drifted over to Rock River, in Illinois. They enjoyed the honor of having opposed to them in war three great men of the nation, Scott, general-in-chief, and two later presidents, Harrison and Taylor. Allies of the Illinois, and friends of the French, were the Missouris, who occupied the river to which they gave their name, and where Marquette first heard of them in 1673. The Miamis held lands in Indiana, and in 1846 were removed west, which they ceded to the government,
Some few of such remnants of the native nations as were not obliterated by civilization became comparatively wealthy. The Wyandots, once on Lake Huron, but later living in Ohio, upon the division of their lands among themselves received each forty acres,—perhaps one acre in a thousand of what they had of their own before the whites came—forty acres returned out of forty thousand stolen.
But forty acres is wealth as against absolutely nothing. Some were much better off than that, however, their acres and their dollars amounting up into the thousands. When the Winnebagoes left Lake Michigan, where they kept themselves for the most part to the Wisconsin side, and went to live in Nebraska, they secured for themselves farms, on which they built comfortable houses and raised live stock. On the northwest shore of the Michigan peninsula were the Ottawas, whose sometime chief was the great Pontiac. The Ojibways, or Chippewas, on lakes Huron and Superior, cared less for wealth than for war, their hereditary foes being the Sioux, Foxes, and Iroquois. Branches of this nation, however, secured considerable property, the Ojibways of the Mississippi and elsewhere saving for themselves land in the aggregate amounting to 5,000,000 acres, and United States government obligations to the extent of $1,000,000. The Illinois fought their neighbors and espoused the cause of the French, meeting their missionaries at Chegoimego, on Lake Superior, in 1667. The Shawnees of Ohio, among whose chiefs Tecumseh was conspicuous, became scattered, one band being in Pennsylvania when ceded to Penn, another posing as friends of the Spaniards in Florida, and yet another dividing 1,600,000 acres of land in Kansas among the last remaining 900 of their number.
Michigan, from Chippewa signifying ‘great lake,’ and Wisconsin, 'wild rushing river,’ were early visited by French missionaries and fur hunters; where Detroit now stands in 1610, and Saulte Sainte Marie in 1641, Marquette establishing a mission there in 1668. Detroit was founded by an expedition under Cadillac in 1701, possession falling to Great Britain in 1763. Pontiac then headed a conspiracy to exterminate the whites; Detroit was besieged and the garrison at Michilimackinac, now Mackinaw, butchered. Michigan was at first included in the territory northwest of the Ohio, and later formed part of Indiana. Wisconsin was taken from the territory of Michigan in 1836, and included what are now Iowa, Minnesota, and part of Dakota. Detroit was thus the historic chief city of Michigan, and once the capital of the state. Fort Pontchartrain was built when Cadillac came in 1701; Fort Le Moult was erected by the British in 1778, when the place consisted of 60 log houses and 300 inhabitants. After the war of 1812, during which it was surrendered by Hale to the British, Fort Shelby was built, and remained standing until 1827. The town was burned in 1805, and in 1807 the present city was laid out. It was in 1673 that Marquette set out from Mackinaw, and proceeding by way of the Wisconsin River to the Mississippi, descended that stream to the mouth of the Arkansas, whence he returned by way of the Illinois to Green bay. La Salle in his explorations about the lakes visited many native peoples, the Senecas and Iroquois among the first. Building a ship, he sailed through lakes Erie. He descended the St. Clair, Huron, and Michigan to Green bay, rivers Ohio and Illinois. He established the trading post of Fort Miami, formed an alliance with the Illinois, and shipped furs to Montreal. In 1680 he built Fort Crevecoeur near where is now Peoria, and the following year started from Fort Miami, ascended the Chicago River, and crossing to the Illinois, passed down that stream and down the Mississippi to its mouth. He explored the three channels, and taking possession for France returned and established Fort St. Louis, at Starved Rock on the Illinois; also Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and other towns. After a visit to France he found himself again on the Mississippi, there to meet his death at the hands of his ruffian followers. As a type of the American Indian proper, probably these about the great lakes, from Superior to Erie, were the fittest. The conditions here were such as to stimulate and develop the highest order of native manhood, physically at all events, and while intellectually they may have been the equal of the Aztecs and Peruvians, they certainly were not so in culture for the occupants of the tropical American tablelands were civilized peoples, or partially so, with rules of government and literature, with arts, science, and advanced industrialism, while the Indians of the north were simply savages. But they were of an order very superior to those of any other parts of the two Americas, those bordering on the ocean, or occupying the sandy plains of the interior, being the lowest of all.
While the Canadian voyageurs and coureurs de bois were infesting the great lakes and rivers and forests of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois, another route was opened by the Frenchmen from Montreal to the Mississippi by way of lakes Ontario and Erie, and the Miami, Wabash, and Ohio rivers. Trading posts were established where now are Vincennes and Lafayette, and in the Ohio valley.
Here disputes regarding conflicting claims arose between the French and English, leading to the war in which Braddock met his famous defeat. Marietta was settled in 1788, and in 1803 Ohio was made a state, with the seat of government first at Chillicothe, then at Zanesville, and finally at Columbus. Anthony Wayne found a French trading post on the spot now occupied by Fort Wayne, and established himself there in 1794. A century later this wilderness outpost is an important canal and railroad center with advanced educational and industrial facilities, $16,000,000 worth of property, and very superior electrical works.
The spot where stands Chicago was an Indian rendezvous when first seen by the white man. Marquette was there in 1673, and found the place occupied by the Tamaroas, a warlike people, and a branch of the Illini nation, whose name was given to the state. Joliet visited the place; also Hennepin and La Salle. These or other Frenchmen was erected there a fort. On a map made in Quebec in 1683 the place is designated as Fort Checagou. It was abandoned in 1763 when England came into possession of the country. Fort Dearborn, built by the United States in 1804 and abandoned in 1812, was on the south bank of the river, near its mouth. It was rebuilt in 1816, again abandoned in 1837, and demolished in 1856, one of the outbuildings remaining until burned in 1871. The Illinois settlements were quite content under French rule. When they passed to English domination they seemed less satisfied, but became quite prosperous when, in 1787, they fell to the United States, the country north of the Ohio being called the Northwest Territory, with a population in 1800 of 50,000. In that year Ohio was erected into a separate territory; in 1805, Michigan; and in 1809, Indiana; Illinois territory being what is now Illinois, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota, and containing 12,000 inhabitants in 1810.
Upon its hills and terraces of blue limestone, overlooking the beautiful Ohio River, with Kentucky opposite, Cincinnati presents a most picturesque appearance. An Indian town occupied the spot before the white man came, the many relics showing the sometime presence of the prehistoric mound-builders. A white settlement was made here in 1788, called first Losantiville, that is to say, Town-opposite-the-mouth-of-the-Licking-River. It received its present name from Arthur St. Clair in honor of the society of the Cincinnati, instituted in 1783 by the continental army officers on the Hudson River. Incorporated in 1814, a steamboat was built two years later; in 1830 the Miami canal was made, and in 1840 the first railroad. Intelligent, energetic, far-sighted men were ere this at the front, so taking advantage of their magnificent resources and possibilities as to gain for their city the title Queen of the West. Wharves and docks now line the bank of the Ohio for a distance of two miles, whence there is direct river communication of 2,100 miles, up to Pittsburgh and down to New Orleans; and this without including the navigable tributaries of the Ohio and Mississippi, which increase the distance fourfold. Here are scores of banks and large mercantile houses and here concentrate many lines of railways, telegraphs, and river and canal navigation. Malt and distilled liquors and tobacco are among the leading manufactures, the internal revenue tax paid in this district reaching from ten to fifteen millions of dollars annually. During the winter of 1882-1883 425,000 hogs were packed in 173 establishments. When a city like Cincinnati, with a population of half a million, can point to an increase of annual manufacturing products of from $25,000,000 to $250,000,000 within half a century, to an increase of laborers from 2,500 to 120,000 within quarter of a century, and to $300,000,000 imports, with exports exceeding that amount, it may well be proud of its people and its progress. In one decade, from 1880 to 1890, the arrival and departure of railway trains increased from 310 to 416 daily. In 1892, 57,000,000 bushels of coal were consumed in manufacturing, and for other purposes, the fuel so vitalizing to wealth being easily and economically obtained by rail from the adjacent coal fields of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Virginias.
Seeking extensions of trade in the south, the men of Cincinnati built the Southern railroad. Every financial convulsion has been safely weathered, while bank clearings increased from $522,000,000 in 1888 to $721,000,000 in 1892. Schools, colleges, the University, the Art Museum, and the Rockwood Pottery may well be pointed to with pride; also institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce. Mechanics Institute, Board of Trade and Transportation, Commercial and Manufactures clubs, and Zoological Garden, with prominence in such industries as lumber, textile fabrics, jewels and diamonds, furniture, pig iron and veneer mills, shoes, clothing, leather productions, cooperage, iron pipe, billiard tables, breweries, carriages, playing cards, labels, lithographic printing, wood-working, tanning, and others. By the steamers of the Chesapeake and Ohio railway, Cincinnati has direct communication with Europe. When the Nicaragua canal is completed, her vessels will find their way to every port of the Pacific, Asiatic and American. This city is a natural center of population, a center of supply and demand, of both natural products and manufactured articles. And best of all, Cincinnati works with her own capital, builds and owns her own railroads and manufacturing and other industries.
Cleveland was settled by the Connecticut Land Company in 1796. Owing to the canal, the railways, the advantages taken of its position on the lake, and the vast extent of rich lands tributary, Cleveland has become the second city in the state. The water facilities for bringing iron ore and copper from Detroit and Lake Superior to this point, where they are met by cheap coal from the Mahoning valley and elsewhere, give Cleveland great advantages in manufacturing. Columbus, owing to its central position, was made state capital in 1812, and the legislative buildings and business, together with the asylums, hospital, arsenal, penitentiary, university, and colleges, have been sufficient to give the city a steady and prosperous growth.
Indianapolis is the largest city in the United States situated on non-navigable waters. Being thus entirely dependent on railways, it has been called the railroad city, arrivals and departures being very frequent. The first train to this point was in 1847. So great became the traffic that in 1877 tracks were laid so that through freight trains may pass around the city instead of through it.
Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is pleasantly situated on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Milwaukee River, where the Kinnikinnic and the Menomonee likewise come together. Four great railway systems center here, which, with the transportation facilities afforded by the lake, and the fertility of the surrounding country, give the place every advantage for large and continuous growth. Besides extensive woolen factories, pork-packing establishments, and rolling and flouring mills, there are several great breweries, chief among which is that of Pabst.
All wealth springs from the earth, plants and animals upon the surface, minerals and metals below.
Among the world’s men of mark is Philip D. Armour, born at Stockbridge, New York, in 1832, and after a trip to California when twenty years of age he made his home Stock at Chicago and began gathering in the possibilities. Stock and grain were the great staples throughout an area of a thousand miles west and south, and it was in turning his attention to these at the outset that Mr. Armour was enabled to accomplish what he has accomplished. It was thus early in life that the chief characteristic of the man appeared, the power of penetration, of distinguishing great things from small, and firmly grasping important issues as they marched before him. There is no chance about it; superiority commands, it does not simply woo success. In a community composed of able men, the ablest perhaps in the world, no one could have attained the wealth and position of Mr. Armour without a genius for affairs, and that of the highest order. He has done nothing less than to centralize at Chicago the great cattle industry of North America, having directly or indirectly subordinate to the business an industrial army of 60,000 men, at an annual aggregate wage of $8,000,000, The Armour Institute of Technology, which cost $1,500,000, is by no means the only benefaction conferred on Chicago by Mr. Armour, his private charities and the mission work supported by the Armour Flats, absorbing large sums annually.
As above indicated, Mr. Armour made his money in reducing the handling and slaughtering of stock to a science, and in speculating in grain. It is characteristic of many of these large mid-continent cities that they have become great, and made wealthy many of their inhabitants who possessed the ability to enlarge and extend into apparently impossible proportions some ordinarily small and not specially intellectual or refined business. In looking upon the extensive stockyards, and packing houses of the Armour establishment, the reflective mind naturally turns to consider the size and style of slaughter-house from which all this was evolved. And so it is with many other branches of business which have arisen from low degree, making famous the men who developed them. Indeed, the greatest fortunes are often made in small things, or rather in making small things great. The most profitable patent rights are frequently those which apply to some small article of domestic use, like putting the eye in the point of the needle. Agricultural machinery, which has saved to the world hundreds of millions of dollars during the last half century, are for the most part but a revised and enlarged rake, plow, or hoe. Mr. Pullman's inventions, which have made his name a household word the world over, and gave rise to a large town with factories, churches, schools, and libraries, all involving the outlay of many millions of money are simply to the end, that travelers by railways may sleep better at night, with increased comforts by day. The telephone is another great invention for the accomplishment of a simple end, that of enabling persons at a distance to converse and hear as if near to each other. All these and other modern inventions seem much simpler than those of gunpowder and printing made several centuries ago, or even electric telegraphy, which is little more than half a century old, and whose lines span every continent, and ocean, and every important island, and extend to the remotest corners of the earth, making all the world one, and bringing into daily and hourly contact half of the inhabitants of the globe.
The names of Walter L. Newberry and John Crerar will be held in grateful remembrance by the people of Chicago as long as any Chicago remains. For what greater or better thing can a man do in this world than to give his fellowmen books? Mr. Newberry was a native of Connecticut, moving to Chicago in 1834, and leaving to the Newberry Library two and a half millions of dollars. Mr. Crerar was born in New York City, of Scotch parentage. After making a fortune in iron in Chicago, with J. McGregor Adams as a partner, he made numerous large and small bequests, and died in 1889 leaving $3,000,000 to found a library.
It is still worthy of remark, among the many wonderful things conceived and brought forth in Chicago, that the two great industrial developments of the age claim this midcontinent city as their home. The McCormick reaper wrought a revolution in agriculture, its influence extending to all parts of the earth, especially throughout those immense plains of America and Asia which are taking upon themselves to feed the inhabitants of the earth. Thus by the increased harvesting facilities food is cheapened; those now eat bread who never ate bread before; the whole world thus partaking of the blessings of this invention. Likewise millions of money were saved, which means that millions of money were made, one statesman declaring that the McCormick reaper was worth to the United States $55,000,000 a year. In like manner all the world partakes of the blessings of the Pullman sleeping car, not only a luxury, reducing the discomforts of travel to the minimum, but for the most part a necessity, and to the strong as well as the weak, enabling the former to utilize the nights without absorbing the vigor necessary for the duties of the day, and giving to millions of the latter the delights of moving about the world who otherwise must needs stay at home.
Cyrus H. McCormick was a native of Virginia, born of Scotch-Irish stock at Walnut Grove in 1809. His father, Robert McCormick, to aid him in his farm work built a thresher, and a hemp breaker, and made improvements in mill machinery and smelting furnaces, of which abilities and experience the son derived early and substantial benefit. At the age of fifteen the boy McCormick reaper of today invented for himself a harvesting cradle, which enabled him to keep up with the men. In 1831 he patented a plow, and began work on a reaper, which appeared in 1840, and in the improvement of which he spent the greater portion of his life. Removing west in 1846. Chicago thereafter became his home, and the center of his operations, which continued to expand until they filled the earth, the McCormick devices assuming supremacy wherever wheat grew in any large quantity. Upon the death of the great inventor, his work was worthily continued by Cyrus H. McCormick the younger, whose charities have been boundless though unostentatious, and whose great business is itself benefaction. There is no happier blending of philanthropy and business presented to the world than that shown in the everyday life of this corporation. A few years ago when labor, acting under the inspiration of unprincipled demagogues, demanded in reality the direction of its affairs, the present president agreed to accede to every just demand, but held firmly to his rights as an employer, saying to the men that he would control as long as he should employ labor, that he would pay for labor a fair price—all it was worth, but that no body of men should compel him to hire the lazy vagabond in preference to the sober, honest, and industrious mechanic or laborer.
This was logic expressed so forcibly it could not be misunderstood. A miserable strike, based on imaginary wrongs, came to an end when this line of reasoning penetrated to the brains of the strikers. The employers magnanimously forgot the crime of the employees, and restored the greater number of them to their former positions in the factory.
To originate and evolve from one's own inherent apprehension of an external and popular necessity an achievement like this of Mr. Pullman's, whereupon towns spring into existence and a thousand hotels on wheels, giving accommodation and comfort to tens of thousands of patrons speeding continuously day and night hither and thither to the ends of the earth, is like the creation of an empire or the founding of a dynasty, an empire and dynasty greater, nobler, and more enduring than those of any Alexander or Rameses, based as it is upon benefits to man and with all the world as subjects. George M. Pullman was born at Brockton New York in 1831 and died at Chicago in 1897. He learned cabinet making, earned some money, and moving to Chicago in 1859, engaged in raising buildings to the new street grade. Then his mind turned to the discomforts of night travel by rail, and he made himself the efficient instrument of their amelioration. A sleeping car was built, the Pioneer, costing $18,000, as against $5,000 for the most expensive car hitherto constructed; the next one made cost $24,000, both being immediately successful. Then in 1867 the Pullman Palace Car company was organized with a capital of $1,000,000, later increased to $36,000,000, market value $60,000,000, operating 3,000 cars over 125,000 miles of road with 15,000 employees. Requiring more room for offices and manufactories than could be obtained in Chicago at a moderate price, 3,500 acres of land was purchased near Calumet Lake, fourteen miles distant, and the town of Pullman projected and built. An industrial dream; how many there are in fancy, how few realized! Pullman became a model little city, with clean streets, park, and water vistas; schools, churches, libraries, and all the adjuncts of civilization and refinement. What an example to American youth, the life and labors of Mr. Pullman! Beginning with nothing, save his native ability and energy, he managed, while acquiring immense wealth for himself and his family, to confer comfort and pleasure upon millions of his fellow men. How different such achievement as this from that of the manipulator of other men's money, the speculator, the financial gambler. Were every man a creator of wealth, like Mr. Pullman, instead of merely an accumulator, the progress of civilization would be many times more rapid than it now is. He who creates nothing, who produces nothing, who manufactures nothing, or exchanges the products of one country with those of another, like the merchant, fails in accomplishing the highest purposes of progressive man, no matter how much of wealth he gathers into his particular personal heap. It is not leaving the world better than we find it, to enrich ourselves at the expense of others, but rather while improving our own condition, improve likewise that of others.
Mr. Pullman took great pride in his achievement, and justly so. Said he to me one day, “There is my life work," pointing to the wall of his office, where hung the picture of a car of the pattern of 1845 beside one of a beautiful Pullman palace car. “I found the great traveling world cooped up at night in a box like this, and I provided them, even while on a journey, many of the comforts and luxuries of home, not to speak of greater safety of life."
Though all-dominating, air and sunshine are not wealth, being free to all and with no exchangeable values. Soil is bought and sold because it has a limit, and is precious and necessary to life, though why one man born into this world should be entitled to more of it than another, or why the first comers have rights to existence over later comers, are questions we will leave to the philosophers. Suffice it to say here that what we designate as the Central Lake States, for the purposes of this chapter, that is to say, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio, comprise a patch of earth of exceeding richness and value. Search the world over and we find no area of equal extent uniting so many advantages. Configuration; it was at the first as laid out by nature in all its fresh wildness and beauty, a garden. Soil; rich and productive and uniformly good, beyond that of any other section. Climate; it is the kind of air and sunshine that makes men. Resources; surrounded and intersected by lakes and rivers affording the most perfect facilities for transportation and interchange of commodities, the ease with which railways can be built and operated over the flat surface, and the abundance everywhere of the most precious minerals and metals, more precious than silver and gold,—man could scarcely ask more of his maker. Nor do those now occupying this favored spot ask more, but with a will they work to make the best of themselves and their opportunities.
A fine black humus mould underlain by clay but without stone or sand, covers hundreds of miles of these prairies, where a luxuriant native grass has for ages sustained herds of deer, antelope, and buffalo. In this soil will grow any except tropical plants, and the fertility and endurance of the land seem inexhaustible. From the rich river bottoms of Indiana, which are at once absorbing and developing wealth and population in a remarkable degree, great quantities of grain and live stock come forth to feed less fortunate sections. The leading industry of Ohio is agriculture, in which more than half the people are directly interested or engaged, the production of cereals reaching nearly 200,000,000 bushels annually. The production is large, likewise, of wool, flax, fruits, and maple sugar. Manufactories also abound, conspicuous being iron furnaces at Cleveland, where likewise the Standard Oil company has works employing 3,000 men. There are extensive agricultural implement factories at Springfield, Canton, and Akron; glass works at Findlay and East Liverpool; rolling mills and carriage factories at Columbus; and in Cincinnati many large industrial establishments, conspicuous among which is pork-packing. There were in 1890, over 7,000 manufactories in Ohio, with a capital of over $200,000,000, products $400,000,000 and employing 240,000 men women and children. Natural gas, developed at Findlay and elsewhere since 1884, has stimulated many interests.
Michigan holds preeminence as the largest lumber state in the union, not often falling behind that point. The output in 1892 was about 3,700,000,000 feet, and 1,800,000,000 shingles. Bituminous coal is found in almost all parts of Illinois, three-fourths of the surface area being underlain by coal beds. Lead mines have long been worked near the prosperous city of Galena. Indiana has 7,000 square miles of coal beds, with unlimited fire clay, potters clay, kaolin, and lime. In Wisconsin are lead and iron in abundance with some copper and zinc. Around the coal field of Michigan, which is open to Lake Huron by Saginaw bay, and comprises 12,000 acres, are limestone, gypseous shales, and plaster of Paris; also slates and sandstone . Except in Chili, the copper mines of Michigan are the most productive in the world, the returns in 1885 being 36,000 tons. The output of the Lake Superior iron mines was in value in 1882, $26,000,000, and in 1884, $14,000,000; salt in 1885, 3,300,000 barrels. Wisconsin produces iron, lead, zinc, stone, and peat. First of mineral products in Ohio is coal, with a plentiful supply of iron, cement, lime, petroleum, gypsum, clays, salt, marl, peat, and building stone.
The true greatness of the cities of the lakes, and of the men of those cities, the world at large does not realize. Michigan alone has a longer shore line fronting on navigable waters than Holland, Germany, and Austria combined. More tonnage passes in and out of Lake Superior through the St. Mary Falls canal, than goes through the Suez canal.
And this is but one of a series of canals by which the men of the lakes propose to establish a commercial water way from Duluth to the Atlantic Ocean, of sufficient breadth for all purposes, and not less than twenty feet deep, thus making in effect fifty large inland cities ocean ports. Wheat can then be shipped from Minnesota, the Dakotas, Manitoba, and half a dozen other sections to Liverpool, or any other port in the world without breaking bulk. The Nicaragua canal, over which congress agonizes and does nothing, session after session, looks small besides such stupendous ideas as these, yet not seemingly stupendous to minds accustomed to large ideas. Public works and improvements to aid development are but just begun in the United States. The drainage canal from the south branch of the Chicago River to Lockport, the flow through thence continued down the Desplaines river to Joliet, is one of the greatest works of any age or nation, many miles of solid rock being cut through and many millions of dollars expended.
Samuel M. Nickerson, president of the First National Bank, that he was made so in 1899 was gratifying to all those in any way interested in the bank. Until within the last six years he had been president. During the interim the position was occupied by Lyman J. Gage, who took a place in Mr. McKinley's cabinet as secretary of the treasury. Mr. Nickerson's painstaking conservatism during the twenty-five years of his occupancy previous to Gage’s term was generally conceded. He was connected with the First National Bank since its organization in 1863. It started with a capital of $100,000, Nickerson being its first vice-president. At the end of four years he was elected its president, and continued in the office until 1891. The brilliant record of the bank under his management was a demonstration of his ability as a financier. Born at Chatham, Massachusetts, in 1830, he was educated in the public schools of Chatham, and came to Chicago in 1858. He was the organizer of the Union Stock Yards Bank, later known as the National Live Stock Bank, and for a number of years was its president. He was president of the Chicago City railway from 1864 until 1871, and has been extensively interested in many financial deals and enterprises. He has traveled extensively over this country, and at the time of his giving up his position as president of the First National Bank he took a trip around the world, returning much benefited and improved in health after his long-needed recreation.
To come to the lake region as early as the fifties and attach one's self to the embryo interests of iron manufacture and transportation, with an ability to not only keep pace with, but lead their development, shows genius. Given Chicago as a great manufacturing and distributing center at one end of the lakes, the Lake Superior iron mines at the other, and the rise of machinery and railways, the men who arise to grasp, unite, and develop them only need time to become kings of industry. The story of the rise of Orrin W. Potter to the chairmanship of the great Illinois Steel company is a tale of interest and instruction. In the year 1864, when but twenty-eight years of age, he became secretary and manager to the newly organized Chicago Rolling Mill company. With about $250,000 invested in the original plant, the daily capacity 100 tons of iron rails, and a force of 200 employees, another mill of increased capacity was erected at the reorganization in 1864, and the new capitalization placed at $500,000. Two years later the original plant was burned, but at once rebuilt on such a scale that the whole business was reorganized in 1869 as the North Chicago Rolling Mill company, with a capital of $1,000,000. The year 1871 Mr. Potter took the presidency of the organization. The second year he added the Bessemer steel plant at a cost of $250,000. After nearly twenty years, the entire system was reorganized as the great Illinois Steel company, with a capital of $25,000,000 and employing over 11,000 people. Mr. Potter remained with the new company as chairman of the board of directors until April 1890.
The phenomenal out-spreading attending the growth of Chicago is due to the genius and foresight of the city's builders. Physical conditions, it is true, have greatly aided in this, for instead of being surrounded by a broad prairie, had operations here been limited to an island or narrow peninsula, as in the case of New York, the present results could never have been attained. Men like Samuel E. Gross saw this and acted on the inspiration from the first. There was an unlimited room for the city's growth in every direction except on the lake side; how make it available for the crowds of people coming here for homes? This question can best be answered by giving something of the experience of Mr. Gross in connection with the parks and boulevards, the suburbs and surroundings of Chicago.
Mr. Gross was not quite twenty-two years of age when he came to Chicago in 1865, having been born in Pennsylvania, on the banks of the Susquehanna, in 1843, and having served in the Union forces throughout the Civil War, rising to the rank of captain in the 20th Pennsylvania cavalry at the age of twenty. On his father’s side his colonial ancestry was of French-Huguenot and Holland-Dutch stock; and his great-grandfather John Gross was a captain in the patriot army during the revolution. S. E. Gross graduated at the Union college of law. Chicago, and was admitted to the bar in 1866. During his law course he had invested some means in desirable real estate, which he began to build upon in 1867 and to dispose of. So profitable were his investments in this direction that he gradually engaged in real estate operations to the exclusion of other interests. Not unmindful of public affairs while pushing his private business, he interested himself in the establishment of the park and boulevard system for beautifying the city, and was influential in effecting its completion. When the great Chicago fire of 1871 swept over the city, he secured as many as possible of his valuable books and papers, and rowing out with them in a small boat, stowed them temporarily upon a tug. At the subsidence of the conflagration, he established himself as best he could among the smoking debris and resumed business with an energy that marked him as one of the coolest headed men of that epoch of devastation and excitement.
Continuing along the same business lines he had followed prior to this disaster, Mr. Gross, about the year 1879, formulated those great operations which have since signalized him as the foremost sub- divider of real estate in the world. Entering upon the work of subdividing vacant tracts, he sold thousands of business and residence lots during the three years following, and in 1882 began on a large scale the building of homes for the multitude. With unlimited faith in Chicago's future, he purchased and rapidly built up large districts immediately encircling the city; properties that if left to individual building would have remained long undeveloped, but which he transformed rapidly into a score of beautiful villages, and which are now solidly built up portions of the city itself.
Prominent among his extended transactions may be noted "New City,” lying to the south-west, which is now very nearly the geographical center of Chicago; Gross Park on the north, where he changed that locality in a single decade from a vegetable garden to a flourishing center of over five thousand inhabitants; Brookdale on the south, laid out in 1886, and now five miles inside the city's limits; "Under the Linden," to the north-west, opened the same year, a large suburban venture; Calumet Heights and Dauphin Park to the south-east and south, the latter now the very center of the city's great manufacturing district; a large city subdivision on Ashland avenue; still a larger one at Humboldt Park; and the building of several hundred houses at Archer avenue and Thirty-ninth street; Grossdale, located in 1889, where a prairie farm of five hundred acres has been transformed into a beautiful city of fine residences, churches, schools, theater, and other public buildings; East Grossdale, lying between the two branches of the Desplaines river and surrounded on all sides by grove and stream; and the model suburban center West Grossdale, with its costly and beautiful improvements of all descriptions, where scores of delightful homes, with depots and a beautiful opera house, form the nucleus for Chicago's most charming suburb.
In the past eighteen years he has established twenty-one suburban towns, nearly all now within the city’s limits, over one hundred other Chicago subdivisions, has sold over forty thousand building lots and has built and sold upwards of eight thousand houses. Many are the unsolicited testimonials, received by him from those whom he has enabled, by his liberal dealing, to acquire what is so dear to the heart of every true American, a home of his own.
During the years of his business activity, Mr. Gross has been a close student of books as well as of men and affairs, and is the possessor of one of the finest libraries in the West. His successes have not all been along commercial lines, for he has given considerable attention to literature, and has written much verse of a high order, abounding in striking metaphor and poetic imagery. A comedy, of which he is the author, "The Merchant Prince of Cornville," from the University press of Cambridge, has received high encomiums from journalistic sources, and from those whose opinions carry great weight in the literary world. He is a member of all the leading clubs of Chicago and to Chicago art institute many patriotic and military organizations, is captain of the Chicago continental guard, secretary-general of the National society of the Sons of the American revolution, and commander of the Illinois commandery of the military order of foreign wars of the United States. .
Former associate of William M. Evarts was Frederick Hampden Winston, born in Georgia, in 1830, moving first to New York City, and then to Chicago, where he entered into the practice of his profession. He first formed a partnership with Norman B. Judd, which continued up to the time of the latter's appointment by President Lincoln as minister to Berlin. He was afterward associated as partner with H. W. Blodgett until the latter's appointment by Grant as United States district judge. He continued his labors in Chicago until his own appointment by President Cleveland as minister to Persia, in 1885, and then retired from active practice, and gave his entire time to the care of his property, of which he accumulated his full share, and in the care as director in many important companies of the property of others. Mr. Winston was always considered by his compeers to be a thoroughly read lawyer, gifted with deep penetration, rare powers of logic and an attractive style, both in the form and utterance of speech. He was a leading practitioner of that branch of law which relates to the rights, privileges, and responsibility of railroads and corporations. In this branch he achieved great success, both in reputation and fortune. He is largely interested in real estate and improvements, having been for nearly twenty years connected with the Lincoln Park as commissioner, and a large part of that time as president of the board. He is a gentleman cultivated in his tastes and courteous to all with whom he is brought in contact.
Among the multitudes that came from far and near to the gathering of the nations in Jackson park, there was a universal feeling of regret that its palaces, stored with the garnered treasures of the world, were not destined to endure; that all too soon must be ended the great object lesson which embodied in material form some of the greatest achievements of which mankind is capable. Hence, the desire to perpetuate, so far as was practicable, that which was best worth securing in the ephemeral city of the Fair, assuming definite shape toward the close of the term in a project for the creation of a public museum, in which to preserve as much as possible of the material gathered for the great Exposition. Public interest was aroused, and the measure earnestly advocated, not only in Chicago, but among visitors, exhibitors, and officials from all the participating states and nations,—that is to say, from the entire civilized world.
As the result of several meetings held in August, 1893, committees were appointed for obtaining funds, selecting a building, and gathering exhibits for the proposed museum. Before the Exposition closed, a special act of legislature was passed permitting its establishment in Jackson park; the museum had been incorporated; the South Park commissioners had consented to the occupation of the Fine Arts building; an organization of officials connected with the Fair had secured an enormous quantity of material contributed by exhibitors, and sufficient funds had been subscribed to pay the preliminary expenses. But the amount of these subscriptions was entirely insufficient even for the storage and preservation of the collections thus secured, to say nothing of further accretions, and without a large additional sum, no advantage could be taken of so splendid an opportunity. At this juncture it was that an endowment of $1,000,000 from Marshall Field, supplemented by the donations of a few intimate friends, dispelled all doubt of success. A working staff was appointed; the task of gathering material, whether by purchase or contribution, was vigorously prosecuted, as also was that of installation, and on the 2nd of June, 1894, the Field Columbian museum was dedicated and opened with appropriate ceremonies.
Such was the origin of an institution which, though usually identified with the Exposition, is far from being a mere memorial; for although, as yet, almost in its infancy, its scope already covers the entire domain of science, its collections so utilized, arranged, and classified under the manipulation of professors skilled in their several departments, that what enters the building as so much matter, becomes under their touch, as though inspired with the breath of life.
The museum is divided into four principal departments; Geology, Botany, Zoology, and Anthropology, each with several subdivisions, in addition to which there are special or monographic collections, including Textile and Ceramic industries, Gems and Jewels, Transportation, Columbiana, and others. From the beginning the work of the institution has been upon strictly scientific lines, ambitious and progressive. All the modern and most efficacious methods have been adopted, and in a number of instances marked advances may be noticed in manner and process, in detail and technique. One of the strongest features in the policy of the museum has been its individual field work, expeditions for research and collection having been dispatched as far northward as Alaska and as far southward as central Africa.
A series of publications based upon observations, investigation, and description of work in the field or in the museum has added twenty-five contributions to scientific literature, and discourses delivered in one of the large halls of the institution have attracted appreciative audiences to nearly one hundred illustrated lectures. A reference library containing 14,000 books and pamphlets, and a reading room, both accessible to the public, adjoin the lecture-hall.
The building in which the Field museum is now established, while not constructed for such occupation is well adapted for its present use, and as to its merits as an architectural composition it need only be said that it was universally regarded as the gem of the Exposition. Built largely of brick and iron, its ground floor alone, that of a dome-covered main building, with connecting annexes extended on the same artistic lines, covers an area of nearly seven acres, a wide gallery surrounding four great courts whence there is access to eighty exhibition halls.
To state that this immense floor and mural space is already covered with collections installed and arranged by men of science on scientific principles, embracing but not completing the entire scope of the institution, may suggest a general, but by no means adequate idea of the progress of the museum during the brief period of its existence. Yet it is less the collections themselves than the high character and purpose associated with them that give to this noble institution its broadest emphasis and to its mission a special dignity. Of Marshall Field, not only as the founder of the museum which bears his name but as one of the most able business men in a metropolis famed for the ability and enterprise of its merchant princes, as one who in all measures tending to the public weal has ever at heart the welfare of his adopted city, some further mention is here in place. His career, though straight and narrow is the path which led to prosperity, may serve as an example to those who are struggling for success. Moreover, it is by such men that Chicago has been exalted from a frontier village into one of the leading centers of the world's commerce and industries.
The son of a New England farmer, his early training differed not from that of other children descended from the stout old Puritan stock of Massachusetts, the place of his birth being Conway, in Franklin County, and the date, August, 1835. His education completed in public school and academy, at seventeen he entered upon his business apprenticeship in the town of Pittsfield, serving for four years as clerk in a dry-goods store, and mastering so far as could be mastered in this limited sphere of action, all the details of his trade. Removing thence to Chicago in 1856, when the metropolis of the west, though containing less than 60,000 inhabitants, already gave promise of its future greatness, he secured employment in a similar capacity with one of its pioneer establishments, his ability and zeal ere long obtaining for him a partnership. After some changes of membership, which need not here be mentioned, he became in 1881, the head of the firm known, since that date as Marshall Field and company.
The conflagration that destroyed in a night the city reared in well-nigh half a century, caused a loss to the firm of $3,500,000, about seventy percent of which, after much delay and difficulty, was recovered from insurance companies. Its building, which shared in the common ruin was then replaced by one which has since been used entirely for retail trade, and with later additions covers more than half a block in the heart of the business center. It is a stately edifice, though in architectural features surpassed by the structure completed in 1887 for wholesale department. The latter, which is of granite, simple and massive in outline, but elegant in its simplicity, is from the plans of Henry H. Richardson, and in truth is a model of business architecture, one whose design has been freely imitated in Chicago and other cities of metropolitan rank.
From $12,000,000 a year before the great catastrophe of 1871, the sales of the firm increased to nearly $40,000,000 in 1897; to say nothing of those of branch establishments in England, France, Switzerland and Germany. But this increase in sales gives no adequate idea of the increase in business when change in values between the two periods is considered. Thus it will be seen that the fire, which wrought no permanent injury to Chicago, did not greatly impair the business of Marshall Field and company.
And how have such results been accomplished? Simply by close application to business and by common sense business methods; by purchasing for cash goods of superior quality, and selling them, either for cash or on short credits, to responsible customers, who are as careful in meeting their obligations as they are cautious in contracting them. Thus is secured in one department the business of honest and successful merchants; in the other the choicest and most desirable of retail trade. Add to this a strict attention to details, and a firm but kindly supervision over an army of employees; securing through prompt recognition of merit, and through kindness and consideration for all, their loyal and faithful service, and the secret of Marshall Field’s success is sufficiently explained.
But of the fortune accumulated during a career of nearly two-score years as partner or head of an establishment, which is now among the foremost in the United States, a portion only and that probably not the larger portion, has come from the proceeds of his business; for a firm whose transactions are on such a gigantic scale must sell at a narrow margin of profit. None know better than does Marshall Field the truth of the maxim that it is easier to make money than it is to keep it, and in choosing his investments he is no less careful than in his vocation proper. His purchases of real estate have been as fortunate as they were judicious, and so with his purchases of bonds and stocks, of which at times he has been one of the largest holders in the west. Yet he never speculated; never bought on margin; never mortgaged his property, and never placed his name on a promissory note. He who mil lay these lessons to heart and profit by them, has already his passport to success.
While responding liberally to the calls of charity and to all just demands on his purse, the founder of the museum that bears his name, is by no means an indiscriminate giver; for he alone gives well who gives wisely On himself and his home he spends but little,—in proportion that is to his fortune—yet that home is always the abode of elegance and refinement, but never of ostentation. He is a member of several clubs, but does not waste his time on fashionable society, and those whom he meets, whatever their condition, he treats as equals, for he does not belong to the large class of mankind to whom that which is best in human nature is reflected in the looking-glass, and that which is worst is embodied in the persons of their fellow-creatures. Though averse to all notoriety, as is apt to be the case with men who think not highly of themselves, there is in his career a message which the world will be glad to receive and will not readily forget.
Among those who contributed funds for the Field Columbian museum, in addition to Marshall Field himself, whose subscription, as I have said, was $1,000,000, were Harlow N. Higinbotham and George M. Pullman, each of whom subscribed $100.000, other donations including one of $50,000, from Mary D. Sturges, together with Exposition stock to the value of nearly $1,500,000, on which a small dividend was paid. The director, Frederick J. V. Skiff, when taking charge of the museum, was in truth confronted with a herculean task, and how well he has accomplished it can only be judged from a personal visit to this young and yet wonderful institution, which of its kind is already one of the finest in the world. In his address on the opening day, after mentioning some of the principal additions acquired since the close of the Fair, he thus described the task of gathering and installing the contributions from the various departments of the Exposition:
"And now began the tremendous task of gathering the vast amount of material from every part and corner and stretch and recess of these vast grounds; from all of the buildings, large and small; from the Midway Plaisance and from Wooded island; from the Forestry building to the Fisheries building. Hundreds and hundreds of tons of exhibits, collections, and objects of every describable character were transported to this building in which we are assembled. Then the selection, alteration, arrangement and rearrangement and elaboration began. Gradually hall by hall was emptied and as the objects of art left the building, a mass of material poured in, heterogeneous and appalling in extent. And the beautiful products of the artists brush and the sculptors chisel,—ours for only a summer—were supplanted by what we see in these halls today; a sequential and systematic exposition of the wonderful and instructive things of the world we live in, began to grow. Through the same door streamed boxes and bales from the Transportation, Mining, Forestry, Electricity, Manufactures, Liberal Arts, and state buildings, from government buildings and from Plaisance; objects from the remotest lands and the most diversified climes!"
And thus did Edward G. Mason, president of the Chicago Historical Society, conclude his oration:
"With such associations, and characteristics, and possibilities the Field Columbian museum is opened to the people. They are the beneficiaries. For them and their children and their children's children it is to fulfill its destiny. The first museum, from which the name has been handed down through the centuries established, by the old Egyptian king in the once proud city of Alexandria, was set apart for the use of one privileged class alone; but this museum knows no distinction of class or condition of men; it holds for all its wealth of opportunities for instruction and for research, and its treasures are to be had for the asking. No man can measure the amount of pure and elevated pleasure, of real and lasting benefit which will be derived from it by the multitudes who will throng its halls from this time henceforth. Nor can we lightly estimate the continuing tribute of thankfulness which they will gladly pay to its benefactors, and especially to those whom we honor as its founders. To them it is not easy to render a fitting need of praise; but they already have a reward in that consciousness of a grand deed grandly done of which nothing can deprive them. This great creation is due to a munificence far more than princely. A prince can only give his people's money; these donors have given of their very own freely, lavishly, for the good of their city and of their own race. As we enter into their labors there enter with us the rejoicing shades of the philanthropists of all time to welcome this latest exemplification of the spirit of those who love their fellow-men, and in their shining list will forevermore appear the names of the founders of the Field Columbian museum."
In July 1836 came to Chicago from Vermont, by way of New York, Mark Skinner, son of the governor. He was admitted to the bar immediately on his arrival, and in 1839-40 was elected city attorney. He was master in chancery for Cook County for many years, but his first purely political appointment was by President Tyler to succeed Justice Butterfield as United States district attorney the district then embracing the entire state. In 1846 Mr. Skinner was elected a member of the Illinois legislature and was made chairman of the finance committee at that time the most important body in the house. As chairman of this committee he drew up and procured the passage of a bill for refunding the state debt which brought order out of financial chaos and placed the credit of the state upon a firm foundation. In 1851 he was elected judge of the Cook County court of common pleas, now the superior court of Cook County, but declined a reelection in 1853 on account of ill health. The labors of the bench at that time were very great, and Judge Skinner was the sole judge of a court where all the criminal and nine-tenths of the civil business of the county was transacted, which imposed an enormous burden of care and responsibility. So severe a strain greatly impaired his health, and he was obliged to abandon the practice of his profession, but as the financial agent of moneyed men and corporations of the east, he invested large amounts of money in Chicago real estate and the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance company paid a high tribute to his integrity and honor in a memorial drawn up after his death. The material interests of Chicago had his care and he was a director in the Galena and other railroads, the State Insurance Company, the Chicago Marine and Fire Insurance Company, and the Chicago Gas Light and Coke Company.
To one trust Judge Skinner gave his best thought, and perhaps no other work of his will have a more lasting influence than what he did as executor and trustee under the will of the late Walter Loomis Newberry. He was Mr. Newberry's intimate friend for many years. He drew his will; and how much we are indebted to him for the munificent bequest which, in the establishment of the Newberry Library was duly executed may never be known. From the first years of his residence in Chicago he was the earnest friend of the common school. In 1842 he was elected one of the seven school inspectors, and the Skinner school was in 1859 named after him. He was one of the organizers of the Young Men’s Association of Chicago, afterward changed to the Library Association, the predecessor of the present Public Library. And he was also a member of the Chicago Lyceum, which in those early years was a prominent institution in the city.
One of the few eminently successful bicycle manufacturers is Alfred Featherstone, who by his own efforts accumulated a fortune amounting to several million dollars in this industry. He is one of Chicago's representative merchants and resides in a suite of luxurious apartments at the Auditorium hotel in that city. Like thousands of other successful business men Mr. Featherstone was born on a farm. New York is his native state. He went to Chicago in 1882 and three years later entered the business of making bicycles, velocipedes, and baby carriages. Under Some idea his able guidance and aggressiveness the industry assumed large proportions of the volume of business transacted by his firm may be obtained from the fact that the books show in twelve years an increase of business from $70,000 in 1885 to $3,000,000 in 1897. In 1890 Mr. Featherstone discontinued all manufacturing except bicycles. That part of the business needed and received thereafter his sole attention, with the result that the production of bicycles from that year has amounted to more than 70,000 wheels annually. One year, 1896, the firm marketed 78,000 bicycles. The factory is an imposing five story edifice, with a total of 175,000 square feet of floor space. The factory is equipped with hundreds of automatic machines, which a force of 1,100 men operate. In 1889 Mr. Featherstone introduced the first pneumatic tire for bicycles in America. During the two years following his firm manufactured and marketed that device in this country with profitable results. A new type of chainless bicycle was introduced which it is anticipated will prove popular. Mr. Featherstone is a man of excellent attainments. He has travelled extensively, is well read, is a lover of art and literature and knows what constitutes the thoroughbred in a horse.
An eminent scholar and medical practitioner of Chicago was N. S. Davis, native of the state of New York, where he was born in 1817. Although for many years burdened with a large medical practice, he found time to endear himself to the hearts of his fellow-citizens by numerous acts of generosity and philanthropy which were no small draft upon his purse as well as his time and energy. In 1850 he gave a series of public lectures in the old State street market of Chicago, for the purpose of creating public interest in sanitation, especially in the introduction of a general system of sewerage, and an abundant water supply, and the raising of money for the establishment of a public hospital, there being no institution of this sort at that time in Chicago, then a city of only 27,000 inhabitants. A sufficient amount of money was raised to establish twelve beds, which constituted the beginning of Mercy hospital, the oldest and now one of the most important hospitals in the city, having accommodation for more than 450 patients. Doctor Davis was also one of the founders of the Northwestern University, of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the Chicago Historical society, the Illinois State Microscopical society, the Union college of law, in which he is a professor of medical jurisprudence, and of the Washingtonian home for the reformation of inebriates. He was associated with Stephen Higginson, Charles Walker, and other citizens in the organization of the first association for the systematic relief of the destitute.
William Deering, creator and president of the Deering Harvester Company, is one of the many remarkable men who have grown to manhood among the hills of the pine tree state. His ancestors came from England to Massachusetts in 1634, and his parents. James and Eliza Moore Deering, began their long and happy married life in South Paris, Maine, in 1822. This remarkable couple were vigorous in body and strong in mind. From them their only son, who was born April 25, 1826, inherited a constitution of great endurance and energy, together with an intellect of piercing quickness and steady power. His wise and pious mother trained him with unfaltering care and tender discretion; his enterprising father stirred within him the genius for business that was afterward to make him eminent. The eager lad received such education as the district school, the neighboring academies, and the Maine Wesleyan seminary could furnish. And for a brief period he taught school.
His thoughts turned to medicine; he had, in fact, begun his studies with a neighboring physician when an exigency in his father's affairs recalled him to South Paris. Laying aside his books and his ambitions, he became assistant, and. afterward in 1849 the manager of the South Pans Woolen Manufacturing company.
Here he learned to handle men and machinery on a small scale. But the merchant in him soon swallowed up the manufacturer. He opened a country store in South Paris and conducted it with great success. In 1849 he married Miss Abby Barbour, a woman of rare loveliness and nobility of soul. Her only child, Charles Deering, born in 1852, is now the secretary of the Deering Harvester company. His mother died when he was hardly four years old. In 1861 Mr. Deering, who had meanwhile married Miss Clara Hamilton of Maine, removed to Portland and began the manufacture of clothing for the union army, and there also he founded in 1865 the well-known house of Deering, Milliken and company, whose business quickly extended to Boston and New York.
In 1870 Mr. Deering was already wealthy according to the standards then prevailing, and he began to think of retirement and of leisure. Entering his office one day he challenged his partner to buy him out. “I will make you an offer in the morning," responded Milliken. The morning brought a proposition. "Agreed," said Mr. Deering promptly, and the future president of the Deering Harvester company had retired from active business. How little he imagined that South Paris and Portland had only prepared him for his real career! But so it proved to be. It came about in this wise. The west had early cast a spell upon him. He had ridden frequently on horseback across the prairies and through the swollen streams of Illinois and Iowa. The regions of the great lakes and the Mississippi fascinated him with forecasts of vast populations and unbounded prosperity. Moreover, his friend, the Reverend E. H. Gammon, who had gone west in search of health, was engaged in making reapers at Piano, Illinois. To him Mr. Deering advanced large sums for the extension of his business. The Marsh harvester, which was destined to revolutionize the gathering of grain, attracted Mr. Gammon's attention in 1865, when he bought an interest in the patents of this great invention. But his health failing he urged Mr. Deering, the retired merchant, to come to his assistance. The call received prompt answer, Mr. Deering came to Illinois immediately, and the vast works at Chicago are the visible result of his arrival. For the story of the Deering harvester is singular and none too well known.
Obed Hussey made the first successful reaper in the United States. This was patented in 1833, and had no competitor of much practical value until 1845, when Cyrus H. McCormick obtained his second patent, and placed his first successful machines upon the market. The Marsh harvester, which has now supplanted every other form of reaping machine, was built first in 1858, and this is the machine that owes its perfection in such great degree to William Deering’s energy, sagacity, and daring. For directly he took hold of Mr. Gammons business, the firm becoming Gammon and Deering, he saw the importance of an automatic binding device to make this harvester complete. Owing to his untiring efforts wire-binders were placed upon the market in 1874, and in 1875 large quantities of these were sold. Wire, though, was expensive. Bits of wire mixed in with the straw made unhealthy fodder for the cattle; the millers too complained because their bolting cloths were torn by bits of wire in the wheat. Could twine be used instead of wire? Mr. Gammon was conservative and cautious. He had no belief in the practicability of a twine binding harvester. So in 1878 Mr. Deering bought him out, becoming the sole proprietor of the Marsh patents, and of the manufacturing plant at Piano. He now began in earnest the study of an automatic twine-binder. John F. Appleby had invented one. Mr. Deering, to whom it was offered saw it, examined it, and approved it. He agreed to employ Mr. Appleby to help perfect it. In 1880 three thousand of the new machines were made. A crisis intervened before they could be marketed successfully. The twine in use proved to be seriously defective. Every rope factory in the United States was visited by Mr. Deering; every rope-maker returned him the same answer. "A cheap twine, sufficiently uniform and smooth for the knotting devices of your automatic binder, is an impossibility.” There was one exception only. Edwin H. Fitler, afterward mayor of Philadelphia. Yielding to Mr. Deering s urgent offers, this intelligent manufacturer began a series of experiments. And at last a strand of twine was produced that seemed to meet all requirements. This, when tested in the field, proved to be the very thing, and the Deering harvester stood complete in every detail. Complete, but not yet in its most perfected condition.
Mr. Deering now removed his plant to Chicago, partly to obtain better facilities for shipping the enormous product, partly to extend his works. He had determined to manufacture every part of the harvester under his own supervision. He determined too that the frame should be of steel. Size and weight should be reduced to a minimum, and friction must be diminished by roller and ball-bearings. The Deering harvester must sell itself; its manifest advantages must create a never-failing demand. Then too he would himself supply the twine; and thus the business grew around the one central thought, a harvester complete and perfect as the wit of man can make it.
He found it wise also to manufacture rakes and mowers. And a machine for cutting and husking corn began to occupy his mind. Thousands of dollars have been expended upon inventors in order to develop this and other implements for gathering in the waving products of God’s bounty and the farmer's industry.
The works at Deering constitute a wonder of industrial intelligence; the company employs 6,000 mechanics, often working night and day, to say nothing of clerks and selling agents. In the twine mills, one-third of all the binder-twine now made is manufactured. The resources of Yucatan and Manila are taxed to supply the fibrous raw material.
Mr. Deering has found rivals and competitors at every turn. His rights have been invaded and assailed. But he has fought his way quietly and resolutely to the foremost place, until one-third of the enormous demand for harvesters, mowers, rakes, corn-cutters, and reapers, is supplied by the company that he controls. His relations with his subordinates and with his work-people have been almost unruffled for a quarter of a century, and his dealings with the farmers during their period of distress were invariably kind and considerate. And yet Mr. Deering has never given his whole mind much less his whole heart to business. When at work he concentrates his entire energy upon the problem before him. But he delights in nature and in books. He thinks earnestly and steadily upon the mysteries of life and society. From his thirteenth year he has been a member of the Methodist church, and he has three times been a member of its general conference. He clings to the old songs and the old gospel, although reflection and experience have invested them, for him, with deeper and richer meaning. The traditions of his childhood have been verified by his observation of the world. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
He began to give early and he has given often and largely. In Portland, he helped school and hospital and church with cheerful readiness. Since he came to Chicago his generosity has been munificent, reaching hundreds of thousands. This is especially true of his gifts in Evanston, to the Northwestern University, to the Garrett Biblical institute, and to the Young Men's Christian association. Yet these have not excluded other charities. He is a thoughtful and a conscientious benefactor, subscribing liberally to many causes, and listening patiently to many appeals. To the institutions of Evanston he has sacrificed his leisure and devoted no little of his great ability. He is now President of both boards of trustees, retained there stubbornly by his colleagues, in spite of his wish to retire.
He has accepted public office once only in his life; for a brief period he was a member of the governor's council in his native state. Yet he has been an ardent republican since the formation of the party; he believes in freedom and in the stable monetary system and in pure administration for the city and for the nation. He is a patriot, not a partisan.
In appearance he is striking and attractive. A certain shyness in his bearing gives a touch of gentleness to his tall and powerful frame. His features are strong and handsome, tinged in repose with traces of indomitable will and earnest thought, but lighting up quickly in conversation with intelligence and feeling. He is affable and approachable, but he loves seclusion. His attachments are deep and strong; his fireside is his chief delight. His conversation reveals a powerful mind, enriched with continual reading of the best books. He writes with the precision of one who thinks clearly and steadily, and with the beauty that comes from a seeing eye and a generous heart.
Besides his son Charles, already mentioned, he has two children, James, the treasurer of the Harvester Company, and Abby Deering, the wife of Richard Howe of Chicago. Since 1873 he has resided at Evanston, the most beautiful of western suburban towns, where he and Mrs. Deering now spend the summer months in the quiet of their charming home. In the winter they migrate to the south, where Mr. Deering seeks rest from the trying labors of the spring and summer in sailing. The thousands dependent upon his sagacity and energy may well pray that time may touch him gently, and spare his strength for many fruitful years.
A representative man and physician is Nicholas Senn, a native of Switzerland, who came early to America and made Chicago his home. Few men have been more honored by the profession, or have brought more honor to it. He was a voluminous writer on medical topics, especially on surgery, and all his works are standard text-books on their respective subjects. He received the degree of Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin, on returning from his second trip to Europe. Besides being professor of surgery in Rush medical college, attending surgeon to the Presbyterian and St. Joseph's hospital, professor of surgery in the Chicago policlinic and consulting surgeon of the central free dispensary, he became a fellow of the American Surgical association, honorary fellow of the college of physicians of Pennsylvania, and many other honors and titles from learned bodies in both Europe and America. During a residence in Milwaukee subsequent to 1874, he was appointed attending surgeon at the Milwaukee hospital, and elected president of the Wisconsin state medical society. He perfected the hospital facilities of Milwaukee; and, continuing his original investigations and operations in surgery, became noted on two continents for his bold and successful surgical achievements.
One whose long life and wide experience belongs to history is David Ward, land proprietor, and for the past sixty-two years a resident of Michigan. Think of it, of this region and what it was sixty-two years ago! Little better than primeval wilderness, and what is it now? A garden of the foremost civilization; the heart of a nation whose wealth, power and culture, extend in their influence to the ends of the earth. Mr. Ward was born in Vermont, in 1822, his father, Nathan Ward, being also a native of that state, where he acted as land agent from 1820 to 1837, and was surveyor for Peter Smith, father of Garret Smith, the famous abolitionist. When, in 1836 David arrived in Michigan, by way of the Erie Canal, after four years of service with his father surveying and exploring in the Adirondack mountain region, he taught school for several years, meanwhile graduating as surgeon and physician at the Michigan University, though never practicing his profession. Since that time he has accomplished many things. He surveyed many leagues of land in various parts between Lake Michigan, Puget Sound, and the Gulf of Mexico. He purchased large tracts of timber land, and built and owned one hundred miles of railway over his own property. He always lived temperately and seldom indulged in debt.
In common with agriculture and manufactures the mining industry continues to grow, but unlike the others it cannot always continue to grow, unless there is more of mineral wealth in the depths of the earth than on the surface. A miner's life is often one of vicissitudes, but it would be difficult to find in the experiences of any one man a wider variety than in those of J. R. de la Mar. Born in Holland, in 1848, in six years he was an orphan; at seven he ran away to sea, hiding himself on an East India trader until out of sight of land, when he was made cabin boy and cooks assistant; in sixteen years he was captain of a vessel. Then he went into the business of diving after sunken vessels along the coast of the United States, and succeeded in raising forty-three hulks. Next he loaded a vessel with flour, tobacco, beef, salt, calicoes, copper, and guns and ammunition, and sailed for the coast of Africa, where he traded with the Negroes for ivory, gum copal, palm oil, bees wax, and hides. The traffic was profitable, but the climate was deadly, and after three years de la Mar abandoned the sea and made his way to Colorado, studied mining there and in Chicago, and then bought the Terrible lead mine in Custer county, Colorado, for $3,500, worked it profitably until 1886, and sold the mine to the Omaha Smelting company for a fair profit. Two years of travel among the mining camps resulting finally in locating on a mountain, six miles west of Silver City, Idaho, where he bought a group of claims for a small sum. By filing a number of other claims, he came into control of a property a mile long by three-fourths of a mile wide, covering the whole mountain. Many large veins of gold and silver were discovered on this property by means of tunnels driven through the mountain, and the owner sold half his interest in 1891, after he had taken about $1,500,000 from the mines, to the de la Mar mining company of England for $2,000,000.
The great brewing industry of Chicago is ably and honorably represented in the person of Charles H. Wacker, who was born in Chicago in 1856. In 1872 he entered into the employ of a grain commission firm on the board of trade. In 1875 he left the firm and travelled extensively throughout the United States, and in Europe, attending a commercial college and the conservatory of music, in Stuttgart. In 1880 he joined his father in establishing the malting firm of Frederick Wacker and Son. Two years later the Wacker and Birk Brewing Company was organized with his father as president and C. H. Wacker as secretary and treasurer. He became also president of the McAvoy Brewing Company, director in the Corn Exchange national bank, Chicago Title and Trust company, Western Stone Company, and president of the Chicago Heights Land association. He was a director of the World's Columbian Exposition, and served on the ways and means, ceremonies, foreign affairs, and electricity and machinery committees.
As regards growth, as in many other things, Chicago is without a parallel in any age or nation. Small communities may sometimes increase rapidly, but whoever before heard of an urban population of 500,000 becoming 1,100,000 in ten years, as was the case with Chicago from 1880 to 1890? Still greater then will be the marvel if in 1900 the city population numbers 2,200,000 or thereabout, as it is sure to do. And here we may as well pause, for should the population in 1910 be 4,000,000; in 1920, 8,000,000; and in 1930, 16,000,000, there would scarcely be room for greater surprise than over what has already come to pass. It is obviously impossible, when population is increasing at such a rate, that commerce and manufactures should not to some extent keep pace with it. The fire of 1871 has not its counterpart in history. It began on the 8th of October, and raged for three days laying in ashes the best built portion of the city, covering an area of 2,100 acres or over three and a fourth square miles. There were 17,450 buildings destroyed, rendering houseless 98,500 persons, killing 200, and destroying property to the value of $192,000,000, only $44,000,000 of which the insurance companies could pay, 57 companies suspending. In vain we search the annals of nations for anything like it. The fire of Paris, by the commune in 1871, the year of the Chicago fire, caused a loss of $160,000,000; Boston loss, 1872, $75,000,000; Moscow, 1812, $150,000,000; London, 1666, $53,000,000; Hamburg, 1842, $35,000,000; Constantinople, 1848, $15,000,000, 1870 $26,000,000; St. Johns, 1877, $12,000,000; Seattle, 1889, $20,000,000; Portland, Maine, 1866, $11,000,000; St. Thomas, 1805, $30,000,000; New York, 1835, $15,000,000; Pittsburgh, 1845, $10,000,000; St. Louis, 1851, $11,000,000; San Francisco, 1851, $10,000,000.
With the $60,000,000 borrowed by Chicago in the east to rebuild the burned district, came a large accretion of brain and muscle to share in the resulting activity. All comers of that quality were warmly welcomed, and a new era began, one of unprecedented prosperity for the city-builders of Lake Michigan. Since the costly lesson of 1871, iron in building has largely taken the place of stone, which crumbled beneath the heat in both the Chicago and Boston fires.
New impetus was given to the city by the Illinois and Michigan canal, 96 miles in length, connecting the south branch of the Chicago River with the Illinois River at La Salle, and giving continuous water communication between the lakes and the Mississippi river. Some such work was the Tequixquiac tunnel draining the valley of Mexico, over which viceroys and presidents wrestled with opposing forces for four hundred years; or it may be the Panama canal, which has failed thus far, bringing financial disruption to France, and ruin and death to thousands,—though the former is about one-third and the latter one-half the length of the Chicago canal. While the wiseacres at Washington are contemplating with profound sagacity the question of the Nicaragua canal, and devising the best means how not to do it themselves nor allow anyone else to do it, the men of Chicago take up and execute a work almost as great without fuss, without friction, without clamor as to financial aid, or calling the attention of the world to the great things they had done, or were doing, or even considering that they had done anything great at all. Yet it is a great work, and well done, and an achievement modestly regarded by men accustomed to great achievements and little talk about them. The project was first discussed in 1814; in 1823 a board of canal commissioners was appointed, ground broken in 1836, and in 1848 the original canal work completed at a cost of $6,500,000. This, however, was but an ordinary horse-boat canal, its highest point being 12 feet above the level of the lake. In 1880 it was deepened so that the highest point was 8 feet below the surface of the lake. So great were the advantages derived from this change of depth, which dispensed with locks and secured a current of a mile an hour, keeping clean the channel and carrying off the sewerage of the city, that again it was determined to deepen and enlarge, cutting through 30 miles of earth and solid rock, and make of it a ship canal of the first class, good for all time and for all purposes, at a total cost of some $40,000,000, It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the boldest schemes ever conceived or executed by man. Ten miles of it is through solid rock, with a depth of 36 feet, width 160 feet, and sides cut perpendicular. Other ten miles of it plow through bed rock underlying tough boulder clay, and yet another portion of it through river muck and glacial drift, in some places to the depth of 38 feet. By means of this immense ditch the level of all the lakes is changed, international relations disturbed, cities and harbors improved or injured, and 300,000 cubic feet of water a minute taken from Niagara Falls and turned into the Gulf of Mexico. Other questions yet to arise will have to be solved, as the effect of this floodgate upon the Mississippi river, its banks, its cities, and its periodic overflows.
Mighty, indeed, is the power of mind, when a handful of men on the northern border of this great commonwealth thus give a hundred inland cities seaport facilities, and by pressing the button cause to dance, either for weal or woe, millions of people all along the entire length and breadth of the land, a thousand miles and more to the east, and a thousand miles and more to the south. Well may the cities of the seaboard look to their laurels, and to their trade, when this Midland Queen by her magic arts can beckon to her side from over the ocean the world's commerce, with the world's admiration and tribute; for already the annual tonnage entering this port is greater than that of any other in the two Americas, be they inland or maritime.
There are other physical advantages tending to the development of a large city centering in Chicago, but of the true cause I will speak later. For a wide region round there is flat fertile land, as before mentioned, easily covered by a network of railways; with a large portion of this wide area Chicago has water communication, the lakes alone having some 3,000 miles of coast line. By the Welland canal vessels may go from Lake Michigan to Montreal, and there connect with ocean steamers for Europe, or may proceed to the several ports of Europe direct and discharge their cargoes there, though it is found advantageous to transfer at Montreal. By other canals and waterways Chicago boats may reach New York and the interior of New England. Further facilities for extending and enlarging the commerce of this young giant metropolis are in constant agitation and progress. The railroad traffic is large and remunerative; beginning with a line toward Galena in 1842, thirty years thereafter there were 10,000 miles of road tributary to Chicago, with 350 trains coming and the same number departing daily; gross receipts $100,000,000 and $40,000,000 annual profits. In 1880 the receipts of 46 railways were $138,659,155; working expenses $73,089,185; net income $61,093,612. Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio are covered with railways, which, owing to the uniformity of the flat and rolling surfaces, the absence of any considerable mountains or hills, and the presence of coal and iron, are everywhere easily constructed and at comparatively small cost.
The commerce of Chicago, which in 1852 was $20,000,000, at the time of the fire, less than twenty years later, had reached the amount of $400,000,000, and has increased many fold since then, the leading articles of traffic being bread stuffs, live stock, dry-goods, groceries, wool, hides, lumber, and leather. It was admitted as early as 1854 that Chicago was the greatest grain depot in the world. So in meat-packing, agricultural implements, and many other industries, this city is without an equal. The iron and steel industry of Illinois is very large; Rock Island has a government arsenal for the manufacture of ordnance. The Lake Superior iron and copper mines with cheap transportation, cheap fuel, and abundance of food, stimulate manufactures. Wisconsin and Michigan do a large business in sawed lumber, furniture, agricultural implements, flour, leather, tobacco, carriages, malt liquors, machinery, and woolen goods. Of Chicago manufactured products, which in 1890 amounted to $664,000,000, there were from slaughtering and meat-packing $194,000,000; agricultural implements $12,000,000; foundry and machine shop products $30,000,000; iron and steel $24,000,000; furniture $13,000,000; steam and street cars $21,000,000; lumber $17,000,000; distilled and malt liquors $12,000,000; soap and candles $10,000,000, Other great present industries are boots and shoes, pianos and organs, bicycles, drugs and patent medicines, grain and produce, dry goods and clothing, electrical supplies, cigars, coffee, carriages, and hardware. The north, west, and south divisions of the city are connected by bridges and tunnels. Vast sums have been spent on the water front and harbor; on docks, wharves, slips, and breakwaters; on parks and boulevards; on street railways, elevated and surface, which intersect the vast plain over which the city spreads, the growth and extension of the latter of late years having been greatly stimulated by the application of electric power. The water system calls forth universal admiration, the city being supplied through a brick tunnel extending two miles out into the lake, into which the water enters through a grated cylinder, and is pumped up into a stone tower at the shore end.
But the half has not been told, the true spring of action has hardly yet been touched. What then, is the cause of Chicago’s greatness? What are the requisite characteristics of the builders of a great city? These are questions oftener asked than answered, or answered in a way that gives no enlightenment. First of all it was unquestionably the men; and secondly, and thirdly, the men. Most favorable, indeed, are the conditions, and great the possibilities; but there are conditions as favorable and possibilities as great in other places where there are now no cities of two millions population. If there is one all-determining tide in the affairs of men, there are several such tides in the destinies of cities. If at any one of the critical periods of progress there had not been present men of intelligence and nerve, of inflexible will and iron endurance, the city's growth would then and there have been retarded or wrecked.
A niggardly policy on the part of the first man, or the second, or the third, who came into the possession of any considerable tract of land adjacent to Fort Dearborn, might have sent enterprise elsewhere. So with regard to the drainage canal, transportation policy, municipal government, and social, intellectual or evil-minded men! Where has ever been seen such recuperative force and bold action and consummate wisdom and skill as were manifested by those who were in a moment hurled from their proud prosperity by the fire of 1871? Where has ever been found or where ever will be found again, men with the ability, money, and inclination united, to plan and execute that most exquisite vision of the ages, the White City of 1893? Higinbotham, Palmer, Davis,—these are they who wrought this miracle. In Chicago, the wonder-city of the century, this fairest of scenes the sun ever shone upon was conceived and brought forth. And all the world came and drank their fill of the glorious beauties, and went their way, their hearts and voices filled with praise.
And so upon every issue affecting the welfare of the city from first to last; men of enterprise, integrity, and indomitable energy have come to the front, conferred, and then pressed forward as one man. To conceive was to determine, and to determine was to do. No wonder that prophecies as to further accomplishment regarding the upbuilding of the city seemed tame to those who had already performed so many miracles. It was no idle boast which said in a variety of words and ways, great as we are now, we shall be tenfold greater; for when the tenfold greatness came, behold it was twenty fold! And all in one short century; the most of it, indeed, done in half a century; within the term of a single ordinary life. How old are European cities of two millions and more inhabitants? Two thousand years; three thousand years. And seventy years ago Chicago was little more than a hamlet.
Men did this; and never were greater men or greater achievement. Caesar and Napoleon could destroy, but were they able to create? The Pharaohs built the pyramids; but with all their enslaved Egypt, all of the Pharaohs combined could not have built Chicago. Babylon was beautiful, and Thebes, and Palmyra; but all the beauties of all the ancient cities combined would not equal the display in Jackson Park in 1893. Money? None of them ever said they did not care for money, property, wealth. But money, though it may have been to some extent an end was primarily a means. There were all the time, all through this incubation, many things more highly to be prized than money; among them the true welfare of the city, progress, improvement, achievement. The citizen was not rated wholly at what he possessed; but what has he done? What has he given? These were the questions which determined fair fame, and made the men of this city clasp hands as brothers.
Sitting enthroned at the head of Lake Michigan, this Midcontinent Queen commands the fields and forests, the mines and manufactures of the north and west, dominating likewise in no small degree the commercial destinies of the south and east. From every quarter come pouring in upon her the wealth of raw material, which under her magic manipulation is transformed and sent forth largely increased in value. Nature has done much for her, but her own sons have done more. Nature was not alone in determining the exact spot on which should be wrought out this wonder of civilization,—instance the Illinois and Michigan canal, before mentioned, begun early in the city's life, which showed at once the quality of enterprise inherent in her citizens that might be depended upon for the future, and which proved an important and direct factor in the development of the city's best interests. That is to say, had every dollar spent on that great ditch been ten dollars, and were the canal of no value whatever to anyone, the money would have been by no means thrown away; for it was all this time educating these men, teaching them how to unite and overcome difficulties, how to trust each other, how to dare and to do. Nor were these early lessons ever forgotten. And that is why such grand things could be done in Chicago as were subsequently done. like planning and bringing to successful issue the Columbian Exposition, which cost $38,000,000. And would one of the men who helped to make up these millions wipe out the glory of the achievement for twice the cost?
Already the greatest railroad center in the world, Chicago is fast becoming the world's financial center, and center of population. Trains over twenty-two roads run constantly in and out of the city over their own rails; which roads, with their auxiliaries, make tributary 100,000 miles of track, and lay under contribution the resources and wealth of twenty-four sovereign states. All this is directly due far more to the energy business, enterprise, acumen, and dash of the leading citizens, who were quick to see and strong to strike, than to the natural site and natural surroundings, which latter, however, are by no means to be underestimated. While the less aggressive minds of milder municipalities were longing and considering, the I WILL spirit of Chicago was aflame and active. From the first this Midcontinent Queen has been fortunate in possessing in her foremost people those in whom united a love of their city, amounting to an intense civic pride in all matters affecting the welfare of the municipality, with a remarkable harmony of purpose and action in the consummations of their determinations. This can be no better illustrated than by again referring to that marvel of modern achievements, the Columbian Exposition. There had been world's fairs before, some of them very creditable ones. What more could be attempted? What new features introduced? What notable results accomplished which had not already been evolved from the others? It had become by this time a confirmed habit of Chicago to do things better than they had ever been done; else why do them at all? It would be no easy matter to excel the last Paris Exposition, conceived and carried out to perfection, it would seem, in the world's pleasure metropolis, the center of art and refinement, by a people able and accustomed to manipulate great shows, and whose business it had long been to please.
To do this must be found united in one person or place, greater ability, greater energy and enthusiasm, and a willingness to spend more money than ever London, Paris, Berlin, or New York had spent or would care to spend on any international display. In no other place, in no other city or community on earth could these essential and united qualities and conditions have been found.
But what should be the new features which, added to the old, should draw to the shore of Lake Michigan all the world? Hitherto, for the most part, the world's material side only had been present at these displays. There were the intellectual, the moral, and the aesthetical aspects of humanity; might not these also be brought together in convention? But how? And how were the nations of the earth, civilized and barbaric, to be brought to believe in and to patronize it? How about art and education, and religion, and all those sentimental and ideal properties of mankind, as real in their unreality as things of sense and form substantial? These were questions difficult of solution; but if not difficult they were nothing to Chicago. The time had long since passed when matters were made attractive by reason of the ease of their accomplishment. In the proposed display the immaterial should be united with the material, while the latter should be enlarged and glorified, and set in such surroundings as the world had not yet dreamed of.
And it was done. And from near and far came the world's foremost and best to meet the foremost and best found there; the men and women of genius and refinement, for woman was given her place; the specialists in all the various branches of theory and practice, of art and literature and learning, of education and religion; and these great minds met and held converse, and through the friction of new and noble thoughts thus brought in contact were generated other new and yet nobler thoughts. A shrine was here set up, greater, more inspiring, and infinitely nobler than that of any Mecca; a shrine to which millions resorted and went away wondering and asking themselves. Will the like of it ever again be?
And then the beauty of it all, the splendor of the temples devoted to science art and industry, and the radiance of their surroundings! Search the cities of Assyria, of Egypt and of India, of ancient Greece or modern Italy, and no such examples of art and architecture can be found. Instance the artistic mingling of land and water, of architecture and statuary, of fountains boats and people; the Court of Honor, and Wooded Island; Asia and Europe at play in the Midway Plaisance; the several palaces devoted specially to the fine arts, to woman, to electricity, to the useful arts, to agriculture, mining, manufactures, and the rest. The canal and gondolas,—medieval Italy brought to Michigan Lake; the street of state buildings,—and never before such a street, every house the home of an empire; long vistas of palaces, idealized scenes silvered by the summer's sun like pieces out of a celestial city, the genius of art and architecture captured and brought to bay by these men of Chicago. What fairy land ever equaled the White City by moonlight? And all these of which I speak were but the setting and the shell; the contents of the many buildings comprising the specimens and contrivances of civilization, the concentrated achievements of man from first to last the results of labor in all ages, nations,—I cannot even speak of them here. If ever man may be justly called great, then are those great who with their minds conceived, and with their hands executed, those marvels of utility and beauty, pouring out their money like water in proof of their opinions, good faith, and integrity, apparently with supreme indifference whether any of it were ever returned to them or not.
And yet the pilgrims thither, on returning to the city at night, or being brought to observe it by day, were wont to exclaim, —"After all, the greatest wonder of the Chicago Fair is Chicago.”
Ohio is still sending forth her full quota of men who make their mark in the various occupations of life. A native of that state was Calvin S. Brice, whose ancestors were of Maryland and Pennsylvania stock. Beginning with nothing, Mr. Brice obtained a college education, studied law, practiced in the courts, went to congress, and acquired a fortune in railways. The man who has done this does not need to have his qualities and characteristics cataloged; they will forever speak in his works. He gained a clear insight into the working of railways in the United States while acting as attorney for several large corporations. Quick of perception and equally quick of execution, he proceeded to put into operation some of his advanced ideas as to the development of railroad properties. He recognized that the extension of systems, and the opening of new territory would enhance the value of property. This idea developed and resulted in the construction of the New York, Chicago and St. Louis railroad, generally known as the Nickel Plate, a name given to the road in jest, by Mr. Brice. This line was constructed on a parallel with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad and was built because the latter road had refused to enter into a satisfactory joint traffic arrangement with the Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company. The Nickel Plate was built from Chicago to Buffalo, and from the time of the inception of the plan until its completion few, other than the promoters themselves, believed that anything but financial disaster would result, or that the proposed line would ever be completed. The Lake Shore management waited patiently for the new company to collapse, anticipating that the abandonment of the enterprise was only a question of time. The syndicate, headed by Mr. Brice, continued the rapid construction of the road and owing to his skilful financial management, the necessary means for its completion were assured. The Lake Shore company found its road paralleled by a dangerous competitor for traffic between Buffalo and Chicago, and intermediate points. In order to overcome this competition the Lake Shore people were compelled to, and did purchase, the Nickel Plate from Mr. Brice and his associates at such an advance over the cost of construction that the profits which accrued represented large fortunes. The consummation of this gigantic transaction placed Mr. Brice in the front rank of railroad operators. It dispelled the delusion, previously accepted as a fact, that only eastern men, with eastern capital, could successfully organize and operate large railroad systems.
The name of Ohio C. Barber is one that needs no introduction in these pages, since, for more than the lifetime of a generation, he has been identified with many of the most important industries of the west. Akron, Ohio, is his native place, and his natal day, the 20th of April, 1841. While not a college graduate, he is a well educated man, a worldwide traveler and a thorough student, though less of books than of men, of nations and their affairs, a close if reticent observer, to which faculty is largely due perhaps his success in life. To the public Mr. Barber is best known as president of the Diamond Match Company; but this is by no means the only or indeed the principal reason for according to him more than passing recognition. It is mainly through his efforts that the company supplies almost the entire home consumption and in part the European demand, driving out of the field, by perfected inventions and machinery, factories where, as in Italy, ten cents a day was more than an average wage. Few indeed are aware of the magnitude of the industries concentrated in this company, whose methods, both as to manufacture and distribution, have been brought under such economic conditions as to permit the use of matches for kindling-wood, without perceptibly increasing household expenditure. But our mention of its operations must be of the briefest. The consumption of matches in the United States is computed at five per day per capita of the population, or a total of about 140,000,000 a year, sufficient, if placed side by side, to compass the earth with a belt fifteen inches in width. Of these at least three-fourths are made by the Diamond Match Company, to say nothing of the foreign demand. Among the materials annually consumed are 50,000,000 square feet of pine, 10,000 tons of straw-board and paper for wrapping and boxing, 2,500 tons of brimstone and paraffin, and 4,000 tons of chemical compounds for the heads and for saturating the ends of the sticks. As delivered to the consumer, their value exceeds $10,000,000; yet, through the aid of automatic machinery and labor-saving appliances, almost as perfect as anything human can be, the cost of matches, since the organization of the company in 1881, has been reduced by 75 percent, and this with a large attendant increase in the company’s revenues, due to the enormous growth in consumption. Such are the estimates of Mr. Barber, whose statements, after some forty-five years' experience in the business, as the guiding spirit, almost from its inception and throughout its wondrous development, may be accepted as from one who speaks with authority. Of its many factories the largest, with a capacity of 1 ,140,000 matches a day , is at Barberton, Ohio, the site of which, seven years ago, was a cluster of farms, and is now covered with a town of 45,000 people, most of them supported, directly or indirectly, by this, the largest establishment of its kind in the world. At Liverpool, England, is a factory second only in size to the one at Barberton, and in Germany, Switzerland, Chili, Peru, South Africa, and elsewhere, others have been or are being constructed all using the company’s patents, which are now of almost worldwide adoption. Before such results could be achieved, several millions of dollars were expended on mills, lumber, and other articles, all produced on an enormous scale and by the most economic methods; for it was the first aim of the management to render the company self-supporting, and self-supplying. During the eighteen months ending with April, 1895, or example, there were cut at an expense of $600,000, nearly 200,000,000 feet of lumber, requiring the services of 6,000 men and 1,200 horses, all at one time in the woods. While as we have seen, the Diamond Match Company has largely concentrated the business, it is not as a monopoly, but, only in the sense that a group of mines, for instance, might be concentrated under a single management, with mutual advantage to all concerned. Instead of a monopoly, as has been often alleged, it is rather a cooperative company, in which every prominent member, and many who are not prominent, is an owner of the stock.
Those who are not possessed of means are aided to its ownership, thus enabling the directors to secure men of superior ability and character in every department and in every store and factory. In a word it is, as the president states, "a company largely owned by operatives, who carry on the business for their own benefit, the result being economies whereby the public is greatly benefited.”
In connection with the manufacture of matches Mr. Barber's attention was directed to the production of boxes, and it was through his efforts that, in 1889, twenty-six large mills were consolidated into the greatest and best straw-board factory in the world. Here, with automatic processes, and with the aid of less than a hundred operatives, are made several million, straw-board or paper boxes a day. To fashion them by hand as was done a quarter of a century ago, and is still done at starvation wages in European cities, would require the services of two or three thousand workmen. Moreover, the boxes are lighter and stronger, while there has been a great saving in the materials used for pasting, labeling and other purposes. The company is still in existence, but not in such prosperous condition as when Mr. Barber was at its head.
In these undertakings it would appear that there was sufficient occupation to satisfy even a man so brimful of energy as Ohio C. Barber; but of many other enterprises he is and long has been the chief promoter. He is president of the largest sewer pipe company in existence, producing at the rate of 150 tons a day, and holds the same office in the Tube Company of Warren, Ohio, with a capital of $500,000 and a daily output of twenty car-loads of gas and water piping. Still another organization over which he presides is the Sterling Boiler company, whose water-tube boilers find a ready market, not only in the United States, but in Mexico, South America, Africa, and even in England. Marine boilers are also among its products, the Barberton branch having orders on hand for the supply of several battleships. But here we cannot further describe the many associations that owe to him their origin and prosperity.
Of the social life of Mr. Barber little need here be said; for he has ever been a man of affairs, trained to business from early boyhood, and with interests of such magnitude as to leave but scant leisure for the recreations that are to his taste. In 1866 he was married to Miss Sarah L. Brown, a most amiable and accomplished lady, whose decease occurred after some thirty years of happy wedded life. Of their two children the names are Anna L. and Charles Hiram.
Akron is still his home, if it can be said that he has a home, for most of his time is spent in the east and in Europe, where matters of importance constantly demand his attention. Throughout the old and new world he is known, not only for his ability and his marvelous capacity for work, but for his sterling integrity, as one whose promise is more binding than the most stringent of contracts. He is a man of striking appearance, more than six feet in height, and with regular clear-cut features; in manner he is extremely quiet, but combining, in large measure, the fortiter in re with the suaviter in modo. He is noted, moreover, for his charitable deeds, never made public but never withheld, where the cause is worthy. That he is also a public-spirited man is shown, among other instances, by his providing Akron, partly at his own expense, with the neatest and most sightly city hall in all the wide and wealthy state of Ohio.
Clark J. Whitney is one of the strong and able men of Detroit; honest and upright in every relation of life; a business man in high standing; a leader in the commercial world where the worth of his character commands a respect equal to that demanded by his persevering enterprise. As a merchant and a director of amusements he has well earned the reputation in which he is held, and no where is he held in greater respect than in the city where his daily life is spent. For over thirty-five years he has occupied an exalted position among the residents of Detroit and the west, having made a mark upon the formative period of Detroit that entitles him to a prominent place in the history of the city.