Page images
PDF
EPUB

sequence a limited area to be sold later, the great falling off in the business of the office is chiefly attributable to the prevalence of "hard times." This period was one which had tested the courage, the endurance and the resourcefulness of every man who had become identified with Chicago in a business way. It was a period which disheartened and discouraged, and overwhelmed with disaster weak kneed and faint hearted individuals, leaving only men of iron will, indomitable energy and more than ordinary tenacity of purpose, to continue the effort to build up a city. It was this class of men who were to be found in Chicago in 1840. Weaklings, who came prior to that time, unable to withstand the struggle with adversity, had gone elsewhere in the West, or in a greater number of cases, had returned to their old homes in the Eastern States. The "loafers." if there had ever been any in Chicago, had emigrated, and only those who were willing to work, and to work hard, were left to shoulder the task of inaugurating a new era of prosperity.

In this connection it may not be out of place to allude to the fact that the official or at least semi-official records show that there was but one loafer resident of Chicago prior to 1840. According to an old newspaper clipping, to which the attention of the writer has been called, the city census of July Ist., 1837, recorded the name of one Richard Harper, who under the head of "Occupation," was set down as a

"loafer." Harper was respectably connected in the city of Baltimore, to which place he returned after a short residence in Chicago, and his change of location must have brought about a reformation. At any rate he became in after years one of the six temperance reformers who inaugurated the famous Washingtonian movement.

Despite the adversity with which Chicago had to contend, and was still contending in 1840, one discovers in a resume of what had been accomplished up to that time, some evidences of the fact that the city was shaping itself for a metropolis. To what has been set forth in the foregoing pages of this paper, should be added the fact that two daily newspapers were in existence, if not at the beginning, before the end of the year 1840. These were the Daily American a Whig paper, established in 1839, and the Daily Democrat, established as an exponent of Democratic doctrines by John Wentworth in 1840. To say that these two papers were in existence at that time, is to state a fact, whereas, to say that the city supported two daily papers at that date, would perhaps be putting it a trifle too strong. At any rate, no longer ago than that Chicago newspapers were announcing to their patrons, that "to give every inducement for the payment of accounts and more extensive circulation of papers, butter, eggs, flour, wood and produce generally, would be received at the office at market prices."

WILLIAM H. STOW.

THE first iron foundry located in Chicago was established and operated by William H. Stow, who became identified with the town in 1834, and resided here continuously up to the date of his death, August 18th, 1881.

He was born in Log City, now known as Hamilton, New York State, in 1809. His father was Samuel Stow, who was engaged during the greater part of his life in the business of hotel keeping, with which the son had more or less to do in the earlier years of his life. At a somewhat early age he went to Syracuse, New York, where he served his apprenticeship in an iron. foundry and became a moulder by trade. From Syracuse he went to Buffalo, where he worked some time at his trade, and there heard of Chicago as a promising Western town site.

In 1834 he visted the town of which he had heard such flattering reports, secured such assistance as he needed to enable him to engage in the contemplated enterprise, and made provisions for the establishment of what was looked upon in those days as an extensive manufacturing plant.

This foundry was located on Polk street near the river, and was operated by the firm of Wm. H. Stow & Co.

The motive power was what was known as the Avery rotary engine, brought from Syracuse, and the first steam engines manufactured in Chicago were made at the Stow foundry, Wm. Avery coming on from New York to superintend their construction. Threshing machines, plows, steam drills and pumps, such as were in demand for use in the construction of the Illinois and Michigan canal, and all kinds of castings, were also manufactured at this pioneer foundry, which after being operated for several years on Polk street was removed to the corner of Randolph and Canal streets.

In this connection it is of interest to note the fact that the pioneer foundry of Chicago was also the pioneer foundry of the Pacific Coast. About the year 1845, perhaps 1846, the foundry passed into the hands of Henry M. Stow, a brother of William H. Stow,-who in 1849 put all the machinery, fixtures, tools, etc., and all the pig and wrought iron and coal in stock at the time, on board a vessel purchased and loaded by R. K. Swift, of Chicago, with provisions and supplies of various kinds, which he proposed to ship to California.

The foundry was shipped as ballast and was nearly a year reaching its destination, the vessel on which it was shipped having passed into the Atlantic ocean by way of the lakes, the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence River, and reached San Francisco after sailing out to the Azores, through the Straits of Magellan and over a long stretch of the Pacific ocean. In 1850 Henry M. Stow landed it on the beach at San Francisco, the cost of moving it a distance of six hundred feet being precisely ten times as much as the cost of shipping it from Chicago to that point. In May of that year it was removed to Sacramento, California, where it was again put in operation. The proprietors of the foundry there were H. M. Stow and H. A. Bigelow, who was elected first mayor of Sacramento. It was located at the junction of the Sacramento and American Rivers, and made the first castings manufactured in California, the price which they brought at that time being two dollars and a half per pound. The prices of castings in Chicago at the same time probably ranged from two to three cents per pound, so that the earning capacity of the old foundry cannot be said to have been diminished by its removal to the Pacific slope, although the wages paid to employes -an ounce of gold or sixteen dollars per day to each man-had a tendency to keep down the profits. This historic foundry was operated up to 1864, when the price of castings in Cali

fornia dropped to twenty-five cents per pound, and manufacturing them at this figure being considered unprofitable, the enterprise was abandoned.

While engaged in the operation of the pioneer foundry of Chicago, Wm. H. Stow also owned and managed the Western Hotel, one of the noted old time hostelries of the city. This hotel, built under Mr. Stow's supervision, is said to have been the first frame building erected in the west division of Chicago. It was located at the corner of Randolph and Canal streets, diagonally across from the foundry, and for many years was looked upon as one of the landmarks of that vicinity. It passed out of Mr. Stow's hands along with the foundry in 1846 or 1847, and he was not thereafter engaged in either of the lines of business to which he had given attention in his young manhood. During the remainder of his life he engaged to some extent in contracting and real estate operations, and, as already stated, continued to reside in Chicago up to date of his death, which occurred August 18th, 1881.

In the early years of his residence in Chicago he employed a large number of men much of the time, and no small number of these were young men who came out from the east at his solicitation to perform various kinds of skilled labor. Some of these young tradesmen have since become noted manufacturers themselves, who have contributed largely to the build

[ocr errors]

ng up of Chicago and other western industries.

Before coming to Chicago Mr. Stow was married-in 1833-to Miss Celia Robinson, who died in 1849 in Chicago. In 1853 he was married to Miss Rattray, who was born in Buffalo, New York, and came with her father to Illinois in her early childhood. She was a daughter of David Rattray, a native of Albany, New York, to which place his father, James Rattray, immigrated from Glasgow, Scotland. David Rattray married Euretta Stewart, of Hamburg, New York, and came first to Illinois in 1837. He was one

of the early settlers of Joliet, where he lived for a time, and then returned to Syracuse, New York, to look after affairs which demanded his attention. When he came back to Illinois he located in the town of St. Charles on the Fox River, where he lived up to the time that he transferred his residence to Chicago, where he died in 1849. His four daughters, Mrs. Wm. H. Stow, Mrs. George F. Pitkin, Mrs. A. F. Gregg, and Mrs. Wm. Morgan, are still residents of Chicago, and representatives of one of the pioneer families of the northwest.

HOWARD LOUIS CONARD.

CAPTAIN SAMUEL BRADY: AN HISTORIC FIGURE OF THE EARLY CAPTAIN

WEST.

FEW of the hardy pioners, who at an early day came to the relief of our western frontiers, to assist in fighting the battle of Civilization against Barbarism of Freedom against Slavery— of Free Institutions and popular liberty against Monarchy and Despotism--or who came to put a check to the barbarities and cruel outrages of the savage hordes on our western plains-I say but few who came with such high missions in view, made more of their grand opportunities than Captain Samuel Brady the courageous unflinching pioneer-the brave leader of the noble rangers-the ever faithful, relia

ble guide of the spies along the Ohio, and upon the Alleghenies.

Captain Samuel Brady was eminently useful, and invaluable as a leader of the frontiersmen in emergencies, to direct expeditions in their pursuit of the hostile Indian bands, after their visits to the white settlements for purposes of arson, rapine or murder. His splendid soldier qualities, no less than his extensive soldier-experiences eminently fitted him for such hazardous, important services. None were better adapted to life on the frontiers when the battle between Civilization and Barbarism was raging on both sides of

the Ohio river and near the western slope of the Alleghenies, than Captain Samuel Brady. None were more courageous, none were better fitted by nature and training to fight the battles of life on the borders-none could more successfully or more triumphantly or heroically meet the trials and perils there encountered.

Captain Brady was a native of Pennsylvania, born at Shippensburg, Cumberland County, in the year 1756, of a patriotic, a soldier ancestry, while yet the "pride, pomp and circumstance" of the French and Indian wars had scarcely faded from memory, in fact, while yet those wars were to a large extent impending. He was a son of Col. John Brady of the Colonial Army, who had taken an active part in the old French and Indian wars. He descended from an ancestry who were not strangers to fighting qualities and strong warlike proclivities-in short, to fight Indians was quite a natural operation for Captain Brady, especially from 1778, until near the close of the eighteenth century. In the first named year the Indians, in cold blood, murdered his brother, attended by circumstances of brutality and barbarity seldom equaled; and from the time of his brother's murder, August 9, 1778, Captain Brady became an Indian hater and an Indian killer, and he became confirmed in that habit in 1779, because in that year the perfidious savages massacred his father.

While yet Samuel Brady had scarcely reached early manhood, the family had

removed to the Susquehanna Valley, and Samuel accompanied them.

On the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, Samuel Brady joined the Revolutionary army at Boston, and there he soon reached the position of Lieutenant. He continued with the army of the Revolution until after the battle of Monmouth, when he was promoted to a captaincy, "having acted well his part" in all the principal battles thus far. His father, who now belonged to the Twelfth Pennsylvania Regiment, having been severely wounded in the battle of Brandywine, had gone home on furlough to recuperate, if possible.

Captain Brady, after getting a captain's commission, was ordered to join Col. David Brodhead's Regiment, the Eighth Pennsylvania, with headquarters then in the West, whose commander at once sent him on a delicate and hazardous mission to a certain Indian town, or perhaps several of them, to ascertain their strength, their resources, numbers, purposes and other desirable facts regarding them, and particularly as to the extent of their evil designs.

Col. Brodhead ordered two guides, Wetsel and Williamson, to accompany him on his important and perilous mission. After a hurried march, they reached the Indian town at Upper Sandusky, where various suspicious circumstances unmistakably pointed to impending dangers on every hand, rendering immediate retreat to the nearest white settlement or military

« PreviousContinue »