The pages of American history
contain the names of men of Scottish birth and blood, whose notable
achievements have reflected credit upon the land and race of their
forebears; and, we may venture to add, have shed luster upon the cherished
country of their adoption. In almost every decade of America’s
development, subsequent to Great Britain’s entrance upon the scene of
action, are to be found records of the enterprises here of Scotland’s
Full and cheerful recognition is
accorded the varied and valuable contributions of other European peoples
to the up-building of the several Commonwealths, which, nearly a century
and a half ago, united to form our Nation. What is here asked for is a
fair consideration of the claims of Scotsmen for the services rendered by
their fellow countrymen and their descendants in this undertaking; and a
just recognition of their share in the preparation for, and the creation
and construction of the United States.
The Scot in America has ever been so
occupied in making general and local history that he has not given much,
if any, time or attention to the writing of his own history. It has come
to pass that historical data concerning the Scot, in the earlier years of
his advent to these shores, were not collected, and preserved, by those
most interested, to such an extent as we would have desired. However, we
may catch glimpses of him here and there; occasional mention; incidental
reference; until, in recent times, his personality is more clearly
revealed and his influence traced.
When the earlier Scots emigrated to
the American Colonies, they but responded to the racial instinct of
expansion, and accepted the opportunity to establish themselves as
free-holders. With them religious and civil liberty had ever been a master
passion. As "political prisoners" many were transported hitherward by
Charles I, by Cromwell, by Charles II, and by James II. As pioneers, they
became independent. As patriots, with such a heritage, they grew into
leadership. As State-builders, they had some considerable share in the
establishment of the new Republic. We may guess, that those who were able,
were also ready, to aid their less fortunate fellow-countrymen; and did
so; for, in 1657, the Scot’s Charitable Society, of Boston, was
established, and continued to do a service of untold help and hope to the
expatriated ship-loads of Scotia’s sons who were practically slaves, sent
here to work for the already settled colonists.
From Bunker Hill to Port Royal, and
from Manhattan to the Alleghenies, when the Revolutionary War began, there
was scarcely a thriving community in all that region which did not have
settlers of the Scottish race. To enumerate them would be but to repeat
the name of every important district. They readily adapted themselves to
pioneer conditions. Their native parish administration, with its larger
shire (county) system, made it an easy matter for
them to understand,
to adopt, and to put into successful operation, the New England
town-meeting, and the Virginia county organization.
It has well been pointed out by
Scottish writers, that the early emigrants from the home-land traversed
the Atlantic in two main streams. One came direct from Scotland. The other
was by way of the extreme northeast Province of Ireland, called Ulster. At
this point, Scotland and Ireland are separated from each other by channels
which are only from twelve to twenty miles or so in width. Intercourse
between the two countries has always been easy and frequent. It is not
either our province or our purpose to enter into the details of how Ulster
came to be peopled by Scotsmen. It is merely necessary to state that the
Scots who crossed over to Ulster took with them their own language,
literature, laws, religion, customs, and occupations, and maintained them
The Hon. Whitelaw Reid (quoted by
Rev. D. MacDougall, in his admirable work, "Scots and Scots’ Descendants
in America") remarks:
"If these Scottish and Presbyterian
colonists (who went from Scotland to Ulster) must be called Irish because
they had been one or two generations in the North of Ireland, then the
Pilgrim Fathers, who had been one generation or more in Holland, must by
the same reasoning be called Dutch, or at the very least ‘English-Dutch.’"
This much is said to explain the
substantial unity of the Scotch, and those whom Americans popularly
designate as the "Scotch-Irish," but who more appropriately may be called
"Ulster-Scots." It will require slight reflection, therefore, to suggest
the oneness of these peoples, and to indicate the impossibility of
separating them nationally and historically. The battles waged by these
strains of Covenanters—that is, those religious and civil reformers, who
believed in, and subscribed to, what was Scotland’s Declaration of
Independence, known as the "Solemn League and Covenant"—before, during and
after those years called "the killing time," because of its martyrdoms and
persecutions, had prepared them for the contests in America in which they
ranged themselves in the ranks of the Colonial Patriots against what were
familiar to them as royal aggressions. The blood of thousands of
Scotland’s devoted sons and daughters has dyed the heather of her glens
and bens, as witness that they determined to continue the struggle until
the dawn of the day sung in heroic verse by Robert Burns, their nation’s
"When man to man, the world
Will brithers be, for a’ that."
As our story has to do largely with
the results of the American Revolution, we may be pardoned for what may
seem to be a digression. The well-informed student of our national history
does not need to be reminded that four of Washington’s major-generals, at
the time of discharge, were Scottish: Henry Knox (Mass.); William
Alexander (N. J.); Alexander MacDougall (N. Y.; and Arthur St. Clair
(Pa.). (MacDougall’s "Scots and Scots’ Descendants").
It is also to be noted that this
race, besides its signers of the Declaration of Independence, and other
patriots, gave Washington thirty-five other generals; "three out of four
members of his cabinet; and three out of five Judges of the first Supreme
Court;" (Herbert N. Casson in "Life and Work of Cyrus Hall McCormick," p.
20); while of the British Colonial Governors, who served before, and,
under Providence, prepared the way for the Revolution, more than forty
were of Scottish birth and blood.
The history of Illinois, during the
period of early French occupation, would be incomplete were there no
reference to, and no understanding of, the relation to it of John Law,
author of the so-called "Mississippi Scheme," and its successor, the
"South Sea Bubble;" who however, never visited this country.
Law was a native of the city of
Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was born in 1671. If heredity is to be
trusted, he came naturally by his faculty of financiering, as his father
was engaged in what now would be termed "the banking business." He was
given an excellent education. His abilities are said to have been good.
After a varied career in London, Holland, and elsewhere, and after having
made a special study of banking, he devised a plan for the establishing of
a governmental financial institution, which, however, he failed to induce
either Scotland or France to adopt. Meanwhile, he had amassed a large
fortune. Then followed his introduction into some of the most powerful
court circles of France.
For years close social and political
relations had been sustained between France and Scotland. The royal house
of the Stuarts had long been the beneficiaries of the Bourbon dynasty. The
object of this policy, on the part of France, was to meet and curtail the
increasing power of England. William of Orange, warrior and statesman
though he was, never seemed to foster the northern part of his kingdom;
Scotland could not easily forgive him for the dreadful "Massacre of
Glencoe ;" nor forget his persistent and successful opposition to the
Scottish enterprise of colonizing the Isthmus of Darien, as Panama then
was designated—an undertaking conceived and promoted by William Paterson,
the son of a Dumfriesshire farmer, who had founded the great bank of
England, and whose vision of Panama and its commercial possibilities was
more than two centuries in advance of his day and generation.
In 1712, Antoine Crozat, a favorite
of Louis XIV, obtained a monopoly of the commerce and trade, with the
control, of the "Illinois Country." In 1717 this grant was surrendered.
The spectacular and extravagant reign of Louis the Grand had brought
financial confusion, if not practical bankruptcy, to France. It was then
(1717) that John Law’s project was launched. Law believed in the
"omnipotence of government." His plan was to combine foreign and domestic
finance into one all-powerful monopoly to be controlled by the Nation.
The "Company of the West" was
created by Law, with himself as its governing head. To it was given the
exclusive control of the trade and commerce of this region, as France then
claimed dominion over Canada and the Mississippi Valley. This grant
carried with it the powers of administration, and the French Government
was to receive large returns from the monopoly. The "Company of the West"
had the entire trade in tobacco, and in the mines, which the region was
supposed to contain; and, later was awarded a monopoly of commerce with
the East Indies, China, and that indefinite something denominated "the
South Sea ;" hence the organization under this grant of "the East India
These conditions and circumstances
are cited, so that we may have an understanding of several results which
affected the growth and development of the "Illinois Country."
The important effects of these were:
1. The detaching of the Mississippi Valley territory from its relation to
and its dependence upon, the French authorities in Canada; and its
transfer to New Orleans, which center was established in 1718. 2. The
creation, in the Mississippi Valley, by the French, of nine military and
civil districts, each with its own Commandant and Judge, under the
supervision of the Council at New Orleans. Thus the "Illinois Country"
became next in influence and importance to the New Orleans district.
This change of jurisdiction at once,
and for years afterward, contributed materially to the up-building of the
"Illinois Country." It had been too remote from the center of Canadian
control; while, because of river communication, it was in direct and easy
connection with the Crescent City. It led to the founding of Fort Chartres
and to the strengthening of the other posts in this region. It had a
direct relation to the, transfer, by the conquest of General Clark, of
Illinois, to the United States. It also came, in the beginning of the
nineteenth century, to have a not inconsiderable indirect influence in
furthering the negotiations which culminated in the "Louisiana Purchase"
from France by the United States, in President Jefferson’s administration;
a policy of peaceful territorial expansion of which, like Alaska, we have
had several examples.
The period of British rule in the
"Illinois Country" extended from 1765 to 1778. During that time there were
few events of historical importance with which our study has to do.
The continuous opposition of the
British General Gage, to the settlement and development of the North-West
Territory had decidedly deterrent effects. This policy was the reverse of
that of the last royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore (James Murray),
a Scot, who heartily encouraged the colonization of this region. Under the
latter’s system, pioneers from Virginia, from the Carolinas, and from
Georgia made their way to Kentucky and to Tennessee, and later removed to
Illinois. The records of the epoch show that these settlers largely were
of Scottish birth and descent. Among the best known of the leaders then of
the border of Kentucky and Tennessee were Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, and
George Rogers Clark, all of Scottish ancestry.
Regarding the Scottish settlements
in the Colonies, at the begin-fling of the Revolutionary War, MacDougall
in his "Scots and Scots’ Descendants in America" (Vol. 1, p. 28) says:
"There were nearly twenty
communities of Scots and Ulster-Scots in New England, including Maine, New
Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut; from thirty to forty in
New York; fifty to sixty in New Jersey; more than one hundred and thirty
in Pennsylvania and Delaware; more than a hundred in Virginia, Maryland,
and East Tennessee; fifty in North Carolina; about seventy in South
Carolina and Georgia; in all, about five hundred settlements (exclusive of
English Presbyterian congregations in New York and New Jersey) scattered
throughout all the American Colonies."
These were the sources from which
flowed the streams of settlers to the Northwest.
In 1758 Scottish Highland soldiers
appeared in the Ohio Country, under command of Major Grant. In 1765, when
France relinquished control of the territory, after the French and Indian
War, Captain Stirling, with troops of the 42d Highianders, the famous
"Black Watch," proceeded from Fort Pitt, down the Ohio river, and up the
Mississippi, to Fort Chartres, and took possession of that stronghold in
the name of the British Crown. Captain Stirling’s successors included
Captain Sinclair, or St. Clair, as it is also written, both having names
that suggest their ancestry, as their troops indicate their nationality.
From Kirkland’s and Moses’ "History of Chicago," (Vol.
1, p. 27-28) we learn the story of Colonel Arent Schuyler de Peyster, who,
for several years before the Revolutionary War, commanded the British
forces at Mackinac, and therefore the district of which Chicago was a
Colonel De Peyster was a New Yorker of ancient Dutch
stock. His wife was a Scotch lady. When the peace between the United
States and Great Britain was signed, in 1783, the colonel retired, and
settled in Dumfries, Scotland. There in 1813, he first published a volume
entitled "Miscellanies." This was edited by Gen. J. Watts de Peyster, of
Yonkers, and republished in 1888.
The colonel in Dumfries commanded a regiment of
militia, of which the poet Robert Burns was a member. In his
"Miscellanies" are some verses—for he wrote rhyme—entitled "Speech to the
Western Indians." This "poem" mentions Clark, and also Chicago, which is
spelled "Eschikagou," that in a foot note, he describes as "a river and
fort at the head of Lake Michigan."
It may be considered significant—and Scotch—that the
warlike colonel, who was childless, bequeathed his property to his wife’s
people, who, General De Peyster remarks, were "MacMurdos or whatever was
the name of her nephews." Perhaps this is another illustration of the
influence in Illinois, and elsewhere, of the thrifty Scot!
The acquisition by the Colonies, in 1778-9, of what
came to be designated as "The Northwest Territory," out of which were
organized Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, is a well
known story. It has furnished abundant material for historian and romancer
Gen. George Rogers Clark was the central figure in the
conquest of the country northwest of the Ohio River, as has been well said
by Hon. W. H. English of Indiana, in his exhaustive history of that great
enterprise. He (Clark) was born in Atbemarle
Virginia, November 29, 1752. Mr. English states that
the traditions of Clark’s ancestry are "meager, vague, and
unsatisfactory;" but he adds—without giving authorities therefor—that his
paternal ancestor came from England. The same author records that this
pioneer "met and fell in love with a Scotch girl who became his wile," and
that she was described as "a red-haired beauty." It is a matter of history
that John and Jonathan Clark, descendants of the "red-haired Scotch lady,"
and the forebears of Gen. George Rogers Clark, lived for some time in the
parish of Drysdale, in King and Queen County, Virginia; and also that the
light hair of their handsome ancestress was noticeable in the family of
her descendants for several generations.
Now let us read what MacDougal says (in his "Scots and
Scots’ Descendants in America," Vol. 1, p. 54) concerning Gen. Clark’s
descent: "John Clark, great-grandfather of General George Rogers Clark
(1752-1818), came to Virginia in 1630 from the southwestern part of
Scotland." This is certainly distinct and unequivocal.
A word with reference to the name "Drysdale"
may here not be out of place. It is still a not uncommon one in
southwestern Scotland, from which, MacDougall says, General Clark’s
ancestors came to America. It seems scarcely necessary to direct the
attention of the student of history to the origin of county, town and
settlement names, as this is elsewhere noted. The name "Drysdale" is as
distinctively Scottish of the Lowland, or southern, districts, as are
MacDonald, MacLeod, MacPherson, and Cameron of the Highland; and, when we
recall what MacDougall says (supra) regarding the "more than a hundred
(Scottish communities) in Virginia, Maryland, and East Tennessee," we are
not surprised to find a "Drysdale" within the bounds of these Colonies.
"George Rogers Clark," says Kirkland
and Moses (in their "History of Chicago," vol. 1, p. 24), "was a typical
pioneer, frontiersman, Indian fighter and American soldier. He embodied
the best qualities of Daniel Boone, John Todd, Simon Kenton, William
Wells, and the other hardly pioneers who made possible the New West. In
brilliancy of achievement, and permanency of results, he is head and
shoulders above them all. It is not too much to say that to Clark we owe
it, that, at the Peace of Paris, the whole upper Mississippi Valley fell
to us instead of England," meaning, of course, Great Britain, for
Americans have a habit of speaking of the Island Empire as if it were
composed only of the Southern part; quite as though we were to call the
United States after the Empire State; while Scots affirm it was not
"Great Britain" until the union of England with Scotland.
It is to be observed that the John
Todd referred to was Col. John Todd of the Kentucky family to whom Mrs.
Abraham Lincoln was related—certainly a Scottish name.
General Clark’s family were people
of substance and standing in Virginia. His younger brother, William, was
the Captain Clark of the "Lewis and Clark Expedition," sent out by
President Jefferson, in 1805, to explore, to the Pacific Coast, the
recently acquired territory of "Lousiana," and who made the memorable
journey from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River and return.
At the age of nineteen, General
Clark was on the border among the adventurous spirits of his native
Colony. He made several trips back and forth to Virginia in the interest
of the settlers of Kentucky. By his twenty-fourth year he was a recognized
leader. He had served in a campaign against the Indians, under Major Angus
McDonald—observe this name—which, quaintly remarks one of his biographers,
"developed him in military and political sagacity." He was one of two
delegates sent from Kentucky to the Virginia Legislature, to seek aid for
the settlers against the Indians, in which he was successful.
came the conception of the plan to make conquest of the
Judge John Moses (in "Illinois:
Historical and Statistical," vol 1, pp. 145 et seq.), relates how the
prominent men of Virginia, during the second year of the Revolutionary
War, had their attention directed to the "Illinois Country," then British
Before entering upon his enterprise
General Clark deemed it necessary to learn directly the conditions at
Kaskaskia, and the adjacent settlements in Illinois, and their attitude
toward the Americans, were a descent upon them to be made by Colonial
troops. Judge Moses adds:
"To confirm his views he (General
Clark) sent, in 1777, to Kaskaskia, two trusty spies, one of whom was
James Moore, afterwards a distinguished settler." His vision revealed to
him that the way to meet and master the threatened overrunning of Kentucky
by the British, and their Indian allies, was not merely to prepare for a
defense of the American settlements, but also to assume the offensive.
Mr. N. Matson (in his "Pioneers of
Illinois") tells this story of the other spy. He relates that "John Duff,
a Virginian of French descent," visited Illinois in 1777, and upon
his return east reported to General Clark what he had seen and heard; how
the French inhabitants of the "Illinois Country," who comprised by far the
largest part of the population here, were dissatisfied with the British,
and were ready to change their allegiance to the Americans. Thereupon
General Clark and John Duff laid the situation before the Governor,
Patrick Henry, of Virginia, who authorized General Clark to recruit troops
for an expedition to conquer the territory, although the ostensible object
was to protect the frontier; and Governor Henry furnished the means and
equipment to prosecute the enterprise.
Where and how Mr. Matson learned
that John Duff was of "French descent" does not appear. Let it be
borne in mind that General Clark and John Duff must have been intimate,
else he (Clark) never would have entrusted so important a mission to Moore
and Duff. The name "Duff" is not at all "French," but decidedly Scottish.
The Duffs and the MacDuffs of Virginia were directly descended from
Scottish f amilies. Then,
too, we recall the Scottish settlement
of "Drysdale," as well as General Clark’s Scottish descended associate,
Simon Kenton, and many other members of this expeditionary force who were,
as their names show clearly, Caledonian by ancestry, if not by birth.
Later Duff and Kenton both were given lands in "Clark’s Grant" in Indiana,
for their services during his campaigns. Mr. English speaks of Kenton as
standing "with Daniel Boone in the front rank of Western pioneers."
Patrick Henry (1736-99), the Governor of his native
Virginia, who made possible the expedition of General Clark to the
Northwest, was the son of a Scottish father and mother. His father was
John Henry, and his grandmother was a kinswoman of Principal Robertson,
the Scottish historian, and of the mother of Lord Brougham, the British
L. E. Jones, in "Decisive Dates in
Illinois History" (p. 96), writes that Governor Henry "was a relative of
George Rogers Clark," which confirms the statement regarding the latter’s
The years immediately following the
passage by the United States Congress of that remarkable and historic
instrument, known as the "Ordinance of 1787," by which the North-West
Territory was created, were troublous ones, both for officials and for
people. Political construction, or reconstruction, is always attended by
difficulties and dangers, even under the most favorable circumstances.
It was no small task to organize,
and no light labor to institute, the administrative agencies provided by
the Congress in the act of organization. Its initial operation would have
tested the wisdom, patience, and skill of the ablest statesman of the
The territory affected was vast. The
settlements were small, and were scattered from the Ohio River to the
Great Lakes, and from the Alleghanies to the Mississippi. Within these
bounds roamed powerful tribes of hostile Indians, led by able and warlike
chiefs, whom it took Gen. William Henry Harrison long to subdue, and then
only after several hard-fought battles. The seat of government—Marietta,
Ohio— was remote from Kaskaskia, and the adjacent communities in Illinois;
and was not accessible save by circuitous river routes, or by hazardous
Many of the members of General
Clark’s command, after the conquest, had remained in or had returned to
the North-West Territory, and had "taken up" land here. The rivers
afforded favorite settlement centers and sites.
The first Governor of the North-West
Territory was Major-General Arthur St. Clair. "His career reads like a
fiction, so varied, so romantic, and, ultimately, so
tragic" was it. When the Revolutionary War closed, he was one of the four
Major-Generals under Washington who were of Scottish birth.
General St. Clair was a native of
Thurso, Scotland, where he was born in 1734. Educated for the medical
profession in the University of Edinburgh, he forsook the healing art to
enter the British army. Coming to the Colonies, he served successively
under General Amherst in the Louisburg campaign, and with General Wolfe at
Quebec. In 1764 he settled and married in Pennsylvania. When the Colonies
began their struggles, he promptly cast in his lot with them, and became a
patriot leader. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War he was awarded a
Colonelcy. In 1776 he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General.
In 1778 he was made a Major-General,
which he retained until he became the head of the army.
In 1787 General St. Clair was chosen
President of the United States Congress. When that body created the
North-West Territory, he was appointed its first governor. In 1790 he
visited Illinois, and organized this entire territory into one county,
which he named after himself. This and others of his acts gave rise to
It is not our purpose to recount, or
even to give a resume of, his official course while he was chief executive
of this Territory. The
historians agree that, in this capacity,
his administration was open to criticism. It may be explained, in partial
extenuation, that, from the first, there were serious differences between
the executive and the judicial branches of the territorial government
which one, by taste and training a soldier, could not easily adjust.
Besides, the internal affairs were much disordered when he came, matters
which his successors took a long time to settle.
A kindly estimate of General St.
Clair is quoted from Judge Moses’ "History" (Vol. 1, p. 212)
"He was brave in battle and faithful
to his friends. He advanced large sums from his private means to sustain
the Government in the darkest hour of the Revolution, as well as to defray
the current expenses of the territorial government, which were never
repaid him. His fortune, once a large one for the times in which he lived,
had been mainly spent in the service of his Country, and he found himself
in his old age reduced from affluence to poverty, until at the age of
eighty-four years" (in 1818, that in which Illinois became a State) "he
closed his days in a log cabin in Pennsylvania, a striking illustration of
the proverbial ‘ingratitude of republics.’"
Following a period of what consists
somewhat of tradition the real history of Chicago begins with John Kinzie.
It is to be observed that Mr. Kinzie came to what grew to be Chicago the
same year in which Captain John Whistler arrived to undertake the building
of Old Fort Dearborn. Here again our Army, as in many other instances, was
a pioneer of civilization; for the Fort made this a seat of authority and
commerce, to which the tribes and traders came.
John Kinzie was the only son of his
father, whose name was John McKenzie, a Scotchman. Like many other members
of his race, he had made his way across the Atlantic, and at the time of
his son’s birth, in 1763, the family lived in Quebec. That city then was
the center of Canadian commerce with the posts and settlements of the
entire St. Lawrence basin. There the hardy trapper, traveler, and
fur-trader outfitted, and to it and from it went their expeditions. This
was the atmosphere in which John McKinzie began his life. His father died
when the son was an infant. The widow, some time afterward, married
William Forsyth, a Scotchman of devout Presbyterian stock. Several
children were born of this union, whose names appear in early Detroit and
John Kinzie dropped the "Mc" from
his name, and that of Kinzie was adopted, and has remained the family name
ever since. Why this discontinuance of the "Mc" came about, we may only
conjecture. It may have been because of the popular prejudice to anything
savoring of British origin or relationship, as the feeling of the
Americans then, and for a long time thereafter, was pronounced against
Great Britain. But this has never since existed among Americans regarding
Mrs. John H. Kinzie, the interesting
and informing author of "Wau-Bun," who was John Kinzie’s accomplished
daughter-in-law, says that he was "of an enterprising and adventurous
disposition," as well he might be with such a progenitor, and with such
surroundings as were in Quebec and Detroit. When the Forsyths lived in
Detroit, Mrs. Kinzie states, John Kinzie "entered the Indian trade, and
had establishments at Sandusky and Maumee, and afterward pushed further
west about the year 1800, to St. Joseph" (Michigan). But the lure was
still westward, and he came to Illinois in 1808 to look the ground over
with a view to settlement. In 1804 he brought here his wife and son, John
As to why he chose Chicago, instead
of remaining in the St. Joseph river region, we may reasonably make
inferences. It has already been intimated that his coming to Chicago was
nearly that of the arrival of Captain Whistler who built Old Fort
Dearborn. Captain Whistler also came from Detroit. It is not unlikely that
Mr. Kinzie was aware of the work to be undertaken by Captain Whistler for
the War Department. He certainly perceived the strategic position of the
new military post. It was on the lake; a stream was here; the portage from
Lake Michigan to the inland river and country was made at or near this
point; here several affiliated tribes made their headquarters; and from
here the red-men of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin could be
brought into trading relations. The Indians who hunted and fished in what
are now Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana were within easy reach
of the new fort, and with these he had already established friendly
At Chicago, the military post then
was everything. There were only a few log-houses outside of it. The fort
afforded some society and conveniences which an isolated Indian post
lacked. Mr. Kinzie may have had a dream of a future center, for it would
surprise none to learn how often the pioneers were also prophets. His
active mind and enterprising spirit again readily expressed themselves.
Soon he had established stations for trade among the tribes on the
Illinois, and on the Kankakee, and among the Menominee Indians in
We may obtain a picture of the life
of an Indian trader from Mrs. John H. Kinzie, who wrote:
"Each trading post had its
superintendent and its complement of engages, its train of
pack-horses, and its equipment of boats and canoes. From most of the
stations the ‘furs and peltries’ were brought to Chicago on pack-horses,
and the goods necessary for the trader were transported in return by the
same method. The vessels came in the Spring and fall (seldom more than two
or three annually) to bring the supplies and goods for the trade, and took
the furs already collected to Mackinac, the depot of the Southwest and
American Fur Companies. At other seasons they were sent to that place in
boats, coasting around the lakes."
Mr. Kinzie possessed qualities which
secured for him the friendship of many of the chiefs of the tribes
inhabiting this region. In periods of peril, as during the year 1812, that
of the "Fort Dearborn Massacre," this friendship stood him in good stead.
He could speak their language. Indeed, there is a tradition that he
prepared some books of an educational nature of the Winnebagoes, as well
as of the Wyandots or Hurons.
After the troubles of 1812, covering
an interval of three or four years, he returned to Chicago and resumed his
activities. Fort Dearborn had meanwhile been rebuilt, this time on a
larger scale. It was for years alternately abandoned and occupied on
account of the Indian troubles, its final evacuation taking place in 1836.
Mr. Kinzie died January 6, 1828. His descendants became honored and
prominent citizens of Chicago. A leading street, a public school, and a
land addition of Chicago bear his name; and, as has been said, historians
call him "the Father of Chicago," as he was its first permanent civilian
From the days of Father Marquette,
the heralds of the Cross had large part in the opening up of the
North-West. Their devotion was proverbial. No tribe was too hostile to
deter them from attempting its conversion. No journey was too dangerous to
keep them from the prosecution of their self-sacrificing task. As
explorers, they not only accompanied as spiritual advisers Joliet and La
Salle, but also often themselves were far in advance of these adventurous
When the Territory had passed beyond
the era of trapper and trader, and became the home of the permanent white
settler; the Missionaries of the Gospel ministered to the people in the
distant and isolated communities.
One of these splendid men was John
Clark. Of him, Dr. Peter Ross (in his work on "The Scot in America," pp.
"Turn to a lay preacher who did
magnificent work for the Master in his day and generation, and around
whose name many fragrant memories yet linger. This was John Clark, better
known as "Father Clark," whose only educational training was that which he
received in the school of his native parish of Petty, near Inverness
(Scotland). He was born in 1738, and in early life is said to have been a
sailor. In the course of one voyage he landed in America, and concluded to
associate his future with it. He settled for a time in South Carolina,
where he taught a backwoods log-school, and then moved to Georgia, where
he joined the Methodist Church, and became a "class-leader." In 1789 he
became an itinerant preacher in connection with the Methodist body. He was
a man of devout spirit, outspoken in his views, and ready to denounce
wrong wherever he found it, without regard to church affiliation, general
policy, or self-interest." As might be expected, he was a bitter foe to
slavery, and it is on record that he twice refused to accept his annual
salary of $60 because the money was obtained through slave labor."
"Father Clark" made his way to
Illinois. Here he taught school, and preached when opportunity arose. He
quitted the Methodist Church, and joined an anti-slavery organization,
known as the "Baptized Church of Christ, Friends of Humanity," and labored
as a traveling evangelist. It is stated of him (Judge Moses’ "History,"
vol. I, p. 235), that he was the first Protestant minister to cross the
Mississippi, and to preach to the Americans there in 1798. He died in St.
Louis in 1833.
One of the great preachers of the
Methodist Episcopal Church in modern times was the late Bishop Robert
McIntyre. His career was remarkable. By birth and ancestry Scottish, he
worked as a brick-mason until he reached man’s estate. When the call to
preach came, he was laboring with the trowel. It involved a mighty soul
struggle. Once over and settled, he threw himself into the work with a
zeal that knew no obstacles. It was as if the fires of his spirit had been
lighted at the divine altars. Here was a field for his imaginative spirit
to soar in. He became minister, preacher, evangelist, orator. In spiritual
fervor, opulence of reference, aptness and abundance of illustration,
finish of expression, and force of utterance, he was a marvel in pulpit or
on platform. Few if any of the preachers of the denomination—always noted
for its preachers—could be classed with him. The older people who heard
him were reminded of that other great Methodist Episcopal preacher, Bishop
Simpson, also a Scot. Before he was chosen a bishop Dr. McIntyre was for
years pastor of an influential and large church in Chicago-St. James: M.
E.—which has contributed four bishops to the denomination, and. has had
many other strong preachers in its pastorate.
Bishop Wm. E. McLaren, of the
Protestant Episcopal diocese of Chicago, was the son of a Scotch descended
Presbyterian minister who was well known and highly esteemed in his
denomination. The bishop was rector of a large church in Cleveland when he
elected and confirmed as bishop in succession to Bishop Whitehouse, who
was a scholar and administrator of eminence in his time. The career of
Bishop McLaren in Illinois was marked for its uniform success, the
admirable spirit which he manifested, and for the growth of the church
throughout his jurisdiction.
John Laurie was a Scotchman who came
to Illinois in the first third of the nineteenth century. He settled on a
farm in Morgan County. He had several sons, three of whom were educated in
whole or in part in Illinois College, Jacksonville, and all three became
ministers. Thomas the oldest, was born in what the Scots delight to call
"the Athens of the North"—the city of Edinburgh. He was scarcely ten years
of age when he came with his family to the United States. Graduating from
college in 1838, he resolved to devote himself to religious service in
foreign lands. The field to which he was assigned was inhabited by that
interesting people, the Nestorians, among whom he labored until his health
compelled him to relinquish what he had hoped would be a life-work. Upon
his return to the United States, and the restoration of some degree of
strength, he preached, and wrote: one of his books was entitled, "Dr.
Grant and the Mountain Nestorians" which passed through several editions.
Inglis, the second son, held pastorates in Minnesota. James completed his
literary course at Williams College, and went to Andover for his
theological training, becoming a minister of prominence in his day. There
were other Sons who were farmers, respected and useful citizens in their
President Charles M. Stuart, of
Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, the Methodist Episcopal Theological
Seminary (whose career is indicated elsewhere), is one of the Scottish
leaders of his denomination whose services in behalf of education and
ministerial training are widely known and appreciated.
Of "well-kenned" (well-known)
Scottish ministers there have been many, and of "leal-hearted" ones not a
few, who have occupied the pulpits of Illinois. As preachers, they were
counted theologically sound, but not by any means only "sound." To give
even a limited list of them would be as difficult as to condense into a
paragraph Dr. McCosh’s two volumes on "Realistic Philosophy," or to
summarize the "Shorter Catechism" into a sentence. Some of them used until
the last the "Doric," as the Scots’ language—for it is a distinct
language—is affectionately designated by the natives of the land of the
heather. But the majority adapted themselves readily to the speech of
their new country, with perhaps just a gentle flavor of their own to make
Rev. Wm. Horace Day, D. D., son of
the late Rev. Dr. Warren Day, formerly of Ottawa, Illinois, is Moderator
(1919) of the National Council of Congregational Churches of the United
States. He is the grandson on his maternal side of a Scot; "Dr. Day is now
minister of the leading Congregational Church in Bridgeport, Conn. Another
man of Scots’ birth and lineage, who was Moderator of that body
(1907-1910), is a resident of Cook County, Illinois, and was Moderator of
the Illinois State Congregational Association in 1899-1900, and has been a
State Senator. His home is in LaGrange, Illinois.
Rev. John M. Farris, some fifty odd
years ago, was one of the best known and highly esteemed ministers of the
Old School Presbyterian Church in all this territory. He served with
success and satisfaction as financial representative of the then
North-Western Presbyterian (now the McCormick) Theological Seminary. He
was an Ulster-Scot, the worthy son of stalwart ancestry. His home in the
later period of his life was at Anna, Union County, where he devoted
himself to horticulture. His son, Rev. Wm. W. Farris, a graduate of the
old Chicago University and of the North-Western Presbyterian Theological
Seminary, became a useful minister, and an author, as well as a frequent
contributor to the periodical press of his time.
Rev. George C. Lorimer, D. D., for a
number of years, was one of the most eloquent and engaging pulpit orators
of Chicago. A Scot, he was an adopted American, whose loyalty and learning
made him a power for civic betterment and moral uplift throughout his
extended pastorate of one of the leading and most influential Baptist
Churches in the Garden City. As a lecturer he was sought from far and
near. As a preacher he is remembered with Dr. O. H. Tiffany, Bishop
H. Powler, Bishop Robert McIntyre,
Dr. W. H. Ryder, Dr. Herrick Johnson, Dr. Robert Collyer, Prof. David
Swing, Dr. Robert W. Patterson, Dr. B. M. Hatfield, Dr. H. W. Thomas, Dr.
J. P. Gulliver, Dr. Brooke Herford, Bishop Chas. E. Cheney, Dr. E. P.
Goodwin, Dr. Clinton Locke, Dr. F. A. Noble, and others who in their time
were outstanding leaders in their several churches.
Among the settlers who came to
southern Illinois during the first quarter of the nineteenth century, no
group furnished more sturdy, independent, successful, religious,
law-abiding citizens that did the Reformed Presbyterians. The name by
which they were popularly known was "Covenanters." They were, to a man,
woman, and child, Scotch and Ulster-Scotch.
The Covenanter was a product of the
despotism of the House of Stuart upon a people who had an over-mastering
zeal for civil and religious liberty. This conviction followed the
Covenanter in his migration overseas. It made him the foe of slavery, and
the apostle of freedom. When the attempt was made in Governor Coles’
administration, to have slavery formally recognized by law and established
in Illinois, the Covenanters, who had made their homes in Randolph County,
at once ranged themselves among the anti-slavery people, and by voice and
vote did their full share in deciding, once for all, to make, and to keep,
Illinois a free State.
In their public worship, these
intelligent, earnest, courageous, useful, liberty-loving citizens used in
their praise service the "Psalms in Meter," and the "Paraphrases," that
is, Bible themes set forth in verse. In their public worship they stood
while prayers were offered, and they sat while they sung. They eschewed
instrumental music in their public worship and would allow no "kist of
whistles" to lead their singing. They believed in a national as well as a
personal conscience, in the existence and consequences of national as well
as personal repentance, and in personal supplications.
Some sixty years ago, or so, there
were in Cook County two Reformed Presbyterian Congregations. Though
relatively small, it is remarkable how productive they were in developing
denominational leadership. Indeed, this fact is to be noted in connection
with the little churches throughout this State. Church leaders almost as a
rule have come out of the small or rural, not the large or city churches.
Out of the church of the Covenanters
in Chicago, and that—an Old School Presbyterian Church—into which it grew,
came a group who were leaders in religious, benevolent, and educational
fields. Its minister was an Ulster-Scot. Rev. Robert Patterson, D. D., not
to be taken for Rev. Robert W. Patterson, D. D., who for many years was
minister of the Second Presbyterian Church of Chicago, and who was reared
in Bond County, Illinois, and was educated at Illinois College,
Jacksonville. Three of the young men may he named who were products of
this Covenanter and Old School Church—John C. Hill became a missionary to
Guatemala, after which he returned to the United States, and preached in
Illinois; for some time he has been in a leading church in Ohio. John
Currer and Alexander Patterson, sons of the ministers, have long since
finished their work here. Mr. Currer came from a Dumfermline, Scotland,
family; preached in Hebron, Illinois, in Girard, Kan., and in LeSuer,
Minn., Mr. Patterson devoted himself first to evangelistic service, then
became a denominational educator, and the author of several bible-text
books. Miss Lillian Horton, who was a member of the later—the Old
School—church, went to Korea as a missionary. It is worthy of note that in
this church also, in his earlier life, was the late Thomas Templeton of
Evanston, who for years was prominently connected with the Marshall Field
Company, and who left provisions in his will for the disposition of about
a million of dollars for denominational and charitable purposes. The late
James Crighton, for a third of a century a member of the Chicago Board of
Trade, another young man of this church, for more than twenty-five years
was superintendent of one of the most important city missions of the
Presbyterian denomination. This little church had in its membership a
number of well-known and successful teachers. One member became an editor
and a State Senator, and, as elsewhere intimated, Moderator of the
National Congregational Council (1907-1910).
The other church was in the town of
Bloom, Cook County, whose minister was Rev. Mr. Phillips. In this church
was reared the late State Senator William J. Campbell, of Chicago and
Riverside, who, during the administration of Governor John M. Hamilton,
was President of the State Senate, and thus was Lieutenant-Governor; was
prominent lawyer; and was a member of the National Committee from Illinois
of his party.
The interesting group of people whom
we know as Covenanters may not be passed without the recital of an
incident illustrative of the manner in which they expressed their
convictions. It is published in a pamphlet issued in 1918, by the "Sunday
School Times Company," in which is a discourse by Rev. Paul Rader, pastor
of the Moody Church, Chicago, entitled, "How Lincoln Led the Nation to Its
Knees." Mr. Bader said:
"Thank God for the little group of
men in Ohio who could see God’s ways well enough to meet for deliberation
and prayer, and for the company in Sparta, Illinois, who adopted this
pledge: ‘To labor to bring the Nation to repentance toward God, and to a
faithful administration of the Government according to the principles of
the Word of God."
Under the provisions of, and by
request of the United States Senate, expressed in resolutions introduced
by Senator James Harlan, of Iowa,
President Lincoln issued
dated March 30, 1863, setting apart April 30, 1863, "as a day of National
humiliation, fasting, and prayer," and requesting "all the people to
abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at
their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in
keeping this day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of
the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion."
These were "the darkest days" of the
Civil War. Mr. Bader adds:
"The day of prayer came April 30. In
a little more than two months the sky was flooded with decisive victory.
By the morning of the 5th of July, Lee was on his way in retreat to the
Potomac with one-quarter of his whole army gone, and seventeen miles of
wagons with the wounded. Vicksburg had fallen, and there was the victory
This is the interpretation given the
gloom and the succeeding light of 1863. In his proclamation, fixing August
6 as a day of Thanksgiving, President Lincoln said: "It has pleased
Almighty God to hearken to the supplications and prayers of an afflicted
people, and to vouchsafe to the Army and Navy of the United States
victories on land and sea so signal and effective as to furnish reasonable
grounds for augmented confidence that the Union of these states will be
maintained, their Constitution preserved, and their peace and prosperity
Rev. W. J. Smiley, of Sparta, states
of Rev. Samuel Wylie that he planted the Reformed Presbyterian Church
there. Mr. Wylie was an Ulster-Scot, having been born in Antrim, February
19, 1790. Concerning the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Mr. Smiley remarks:
"Her influence for liberty has been felt, and her testimony against
slavery, lifted up at the close of the last century, (since 1800 no
slave-holder was retained in her communion), has been vindicated."
With the "Covenanters" here, sixty
years ago, the "Communion Season" was the important semi-annual event. It
was observed in the spring and autumn. Usually the resident minister was
assisted in this sacrament by one other clergyman. The preparation was
serious and thorough. The minister and elders, who comprised the
"session," carefully examined all applicants for membership. Those who
came for the first time were well-versed in the Bible and the "Shorter
Catechism." So far as recalled, there was no "Lachlan Campbell," of
"Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush" fame, to be grand inquisitor of the young
and timorous. The week preceding the "Lord’s Supper Sabbath"—for it was
never known by the pagan name of "Sunday"—was devoted to special
preparatory services. In some parishes there was a "fast day," and it was
a real "fast." Each intending communicant was given a "token." which
entitled its holder to a seat at the Communion-table; for a table occupied
the space between the front row of pews and the pulpit. It was covered
with a spotless table-cloth. The communicants moved down from their pews
by the right-hand aisle, with slow and solemn step. The "precentor" led in
the singing of a Psalm in meter, to some impressive tune familiar to all.
At the end of the aisle two elders stood, and to them each communicant
handed the "token." The officiating minister occupied a seat in the center
of the table facing the congregation. When the seats were filled, the
minister began the service with prayer; then a short discourse; after
which the "elements" were distributed. When all were partaken of, the "precentor"
resumed the singing, the communicants arose, slowly moved out of their
places by the left-hand circle, while another group or company came down
the right-hand aisle, and took the vacated seats. These exercises made the
service a lengthened one, for it was the only worship in the church that
On such days there were no "hot
dinners" in the family. Indeed, all Sabbath preparations were always
completed on Saturday night. "Thou shalt cut neither horn nor hair on the
Sabbath-day" was faithfully observed. All bathing, changing of linen,
polishing of shoes, and making ready for Sabbath meals as far as possible,
were completed the evening before. Hence, on Sabbath morning, the Sabbath
garb was assumed without hurry, and the worshipper did not need to rush
into church on Sabbath morning "as a warrior hasting to the battle-field."
The Bible was carried to church. In
the back part of it were the "Psalms in meter" and the "Paraphrases." When
the minister read the "Scripture lesson," each member turned to the
chapter, and carefully followed the reading. There was a running
exposition of the passage. Where some difficult verse appeared, it was
critically explained, and the meanings of the original Hebrew or Greek
given. The sermon was rarely less than from a hour to an hour and a
quarter in length. It was preached without manuscript, or even "notes." It
abounded in analyses; the historical setting was given; there were from
three to five main "heads" each with as many subdivisions; it was
delivered with clearness and fervor; throughout it was scholarly; closing
with a recapitulation, and the powerful application. It contained
sufficient material to keep the congregation busy until the next "diet of
The records of the first schools in
Illinois are fragmentary. The county histories, for the most part make
only incidental mention of the early teachers. They are composed of
accounts of the methods of forming "subscription schools," as they were
called: that is, where petitions and subscription papers were circulated
by persons who desired to "take up" or to "keep schools ;" with
descriptions of the crude quarters in which the schools were held; and
with certain picturesque features which prevailed.
That was before the establishing of
free public schools. The compilers of the local annals of long ago
emphasize the popular phrase that "lickin and larnin" then invariably went
together. They relate interesting tales of the "loud schools," or, as they
used to call them in Kentucky, the "blab schools ;" that is, where the
pupils studied their lessons aloud,—a type which long preceded the "silent
schools" of our day. Several of these histories contain references to
schools which were "kept" by men who had served with Gen. George Rogers
Clark during his conquest of Illinois.
One of the pioneer teachers was Rev.
John Clark (see the section on Religion" for his sketch), a Scotchman,
who, about 1805-6, labored with much usefulness in this behalf among the
The venerable author, the late Dr.
Samuel Willard, in his "Brief History of Early Education in Illinois"
(published by State Superintendent Henry Raab in the fifteenth biennial
report, 1884, pp. XCVIIICXX), states that Randolph County, the home of
many of the Scotch Covenanters, followed close upon Monroe County in
establishing schools, in 1805-6 and in 1817. He adds, that, in 1821, a
school was taught near Sparta, a center of these Scots. In St. Clair
County, in 1811, a school was opened at Shiloh, and the Scotch settlement.
It was not however, until 1824, or
six years after the admission of Illinois into the Union, that any
definite action was taken by the State for the creation and maintenance of
free public schools. This measure was introduced into the General Assembly
by State Senator Joseph Duncan who later served three terms in the United
States Congress, and was elected Governor of Illinois.
Governor Duncan was born on February
22, 1774, in Paris, Ky. His father was Major Joseph Duncan, a native of
Virginia of Scotch ancestry. The home of the Duncans was Kirkcudbright, in
southwestern Scotland. His daughter, the late Mrs. E. P. (Julia Duncan)
Kirby, of Jacksonville, preserved among her family treasures a picture of
Kirkcudbright, which the writer has often seen, and of which that lady
frequently spoke with pride, as showing the nativity of her father’s
The Duncan Act of 1824 was for the
establishment and support of free common schools in Illinois. It became a
law. However, it was far in advance of its time, and was subsequently
repealed. It "led in 1854-55, to the passage of a bill prepared by Ninian
W. Edwards, for the system of common schools which we now have, and the
provisions of which are similar to those of the law adopted in 1824 of
which Senator Duncan was the author" (Mrs. Kirby’s "Sketch," p. 34).
Although his measure had been
nullified, Governor Duncan did not cease to advocate the advisability and
necessity of popular education. In his inaugural address as Governor he
devoted a large part to a "discussion of the benefits to be derived from
the establishment of a system of public schools, which he strongly
recommended" (Judge Moses, "History," vol. 1, p. 402).
For many years the Governor was a
trustee of Illinois College, Jacksonville, founded in 1829. To its support
he was always a liberal contributor; a deep interest which his daughter
and her husband (Judge and Mrs. E. P. Kirby) maintained to the end.
Among the pioneer-educators of Cook
County the name of Stephen Forbes holds an honored place. He was of
Scottish ancestry. Assisted by his wife, who was a true help-mate, he
opened a school in Chicago in June, 1830, near Michigan Avenue and
Randolph Street, not quite two squares south of Old Fort Dearborn. He was
engaged by Colonel Beaubien and Lieut. David Hunter, who was of Scotch
descent, and who was afterwards a general in the U. S. Army. Mr. Forbes’
school had some twenty-five pupils, children of families connected with
the Fort and of civilians residing near by.
Hon. William H. Wells, who sixty
years ago was superintendent of Chicago’s public schools, and who was a
competent authority on the subject, wrote a history of early education in
Chicago. Of Mr. Forbes’ school, Mr. Wells said: "This, no doubt, deserves
to be recognized as the first school in Chicago above the rank of a family
Scots claim a share in the honor of
the services accomplished for popular and higher education by the dean of
Illinois schoolmen, Dr. Newton Bateman. His ancestry is traced by his
biographer, Paul Selby, both to English and Scotch sources. Educated at
Illinois College, he was successively teacher, principal, county
superintendent, and professor. In 1858 he was elected State Superintendent
of Public Instruction, a position which literally he filled for fourteen
years, the longest term that office was ever held by any one. Later, Dr.
Bateman was President of Knox College, Galesburg (1875-1893), and then
became President-Emeritus. His activities included the editorship of
educational journals. He was one of three to found the National Bureau of
Education. Of his seven biennial reports as State Superintendent, it may
be recalled that, in whole or in part, they have been republished in five
different languages in Europe, and that his volume of "Common School
Decisions," issued originally by order of the Legislature, is "recognized
by the courts, and is still regarded as authority on the subject" (Paul
Selby, in "Illinois, Historical and Statistical"). It was during Dr.
Bateman’s State Superintendency that our public school establishment as it
exists, was really established and developed along the lines marked out by
State Senator Duncan. Dr. Bateman’s State reports are classics. They
contain a wealth of information, a source of inspiration, and a breadth of
view never surpassed, if ever equalled, as official publications in the
Mississippi Valley, or elsewhere, since the time of Horace Mann.
The old Chicago University was for
years one of the cherished institutions of the city. In its beginnings it
was called the Douglas University. In 1854, Senator Stephen A. Douglas,
who was of Scotch descent, donated a tract of land, along Cottage Grove
Avenue, at Thirty-third street, for an institution of learning. A
provision was attached to the gift, that $100,000 be raised to erect
buildings thereon. On July 4, 1857, the corner-stone of the main building
was laid. This was the year of the disastrous financial panic, which
seriously crippled many of its friends. Senator Douglas, in view of the
conditions, extended the time in which to secure the necessary building
funds, and subsequently deeded the land to the university without reserve.
The institution had many vicissitudes, between the panic and the Civil
War, and at last had to succumb. The idea, however, never failed, for a
few years after its close was born the present University of Chicago. The
alumni of the old university include not a few distinguished men.
A Presbyterian of Ulster-Scot
ancestry was engaged, some three-score years ago, in extending his already
large manufacturing business throughout the Middle West. He was a man
whose principle was that "there was religion in his business and business
in his religion." He was deeply impressed by "the rough immorality of the
new settlement." These places, he conceived, needed more and
better-trained ministers. It came to him as a real "call" that he should
do something to help this want. He sprung from a family and race of
earnest, intelligent, God-fearing people, and to see a spiritual or moral
need, was to find and to provide means to meet it. This was the ideal
which Cyrus Hall McCormick entertained when, in 1859, he offered
$100,000—then considered a princely sum—to establish a Presbyterian
Theological Seminary, in the city where he had made his money and his
home. It was at first called the North-Western Presbyterian Theological
Seminary. Such were Mr. McCormick’s large gifts to and interest in it,
that later it was named in his honor. The life of Mr. McCormick is
a history of industry, genius, vision, public spirit, devotion, and
generosity—an example which his widow and children have fully maintained
in their continued and large contributions to educational, religious, and
Blackburn University, at
Carlinville, was named after Rev. Dr. Gideon Blackburn, a minister of the
then New School Presbyterian denomination. Born in Virginia, August 27,
1772, his father was Robert Blackburn, and his mother was a member of a
well-known family named Richie. Both parents were Ulster-Scots, and devout
Presybterians. At the age of twenty-one he was licensed to preach. Beside
becoming a minister, all his life he was deeply interested in education,
especially in the higher branches. In the decade from 1830 to 1840,
Illinois made great advances in the building of churches, schools, and
colleges. During that period Dr. Blackburn was the financial agent of
Illinois College at Jacksonville. In 1837, he conceived the idea for an
institution of learning, which, in 1857, was formally incorporated, and
for a time had courses of study especially adapted to young men preparing
for the ministry. The curriculum later was extended so as to include
preparatory and collegiate departments. It was another instance of "one
sowing and another reaping," for Dr. Blackburn died in 1838; as well as an
illustration of that other saying of a good man’s works following him. Not
only in the institution was this true. Two of his Sons became ministers,
and a third would have been had he lived. Of Dr. Blackburn, it has been
said that of "all the men who ever lived and labored for the benefit of
Macoupin County, he stands in the foreground ;" also, that "he was a man
among men, and a man of God." His influence has been widely felt for
four-fifths of a century, and will continue while Blackburn University
lives and bears his name.
Monmouth College, at Monmouth,
Warren County, is the product of pioneer Scotch Presbyterians. Its
founders were two ministers of vision and devotion. They were Rev. J. C.
Porter, pastor of Cedar Creek, and Rev. Robert Ross, pastor of South
Henderson. In 1852, they conceived the plan of founding an educational
institution for higher scholarship on the rich prairies of Western
Illinois. In this enterprise, they had, as might be expected, the hearty
indorsement and support of their denomination of stalwart United
Presbyterians. In 1853, it was opened as an academy, and. two years later
steps were taken to raise it to the rank of a college. In 1857, it was
granted a charter. The year before Rev. David A. Wallace, D. D., LL. D.,
had been elected its President. Dr. Wallace had faithfully ministered to
Scottish churches in New England, and was one of the clergymen who were
prominent in combining several bodies which took the name of United
Presbyterian. For twenty-two years he was its executive head. His
successor was Rev. J. B. McMichael, D. D., who was president for nineteen
years. These two able educators were respectively founder and builder. The
endowment was increased under the presidency of Rev. S. R. Lyons, D. D.
The present President, Rev. R. H. McMichael, D. D., is the worthy son of
the former executive, and for more than sixteen years has with unvarying
success conducted its affairs. The college has eighteen hundred in its
alumni; many others have received their training there; forty-five per
cent of its young men have entered the ministry; a fifth of the ministers
of the United Presbyterian denomination are Monmouth College men; over
fifty have gone into foreign missionary work; and others have entered the
learned professions in forty-three of the forty-eight states, and five
hundred of its youth have been with the Colors in the recent European
conflict; while two hundred-fifty of its young men went into the Civil
War. In the list of graduates are: Maj. R. W. McClaughry, the noted
penologist; and John M. Glenn, the able secretary of the Illinois
Manufacturer’s Association, Chicago.
McKendree College, at Lebanon, is
one of the group of colleges begun in the early "30’s." The others were
Illinois College at Jacksonville, and Shurtleff College at Upper Alton.
That was an era of great intellectual activity in southwestern Illinois.
Many new settlers had come and were arriving from the East. In the latter
"30’s" financial clouds had begun to darken the State’s horizon. However,
school, college, and church building progressed rapidly. Among the
institutions founded during the decade from 1830 to 1840, was McKendree
College, which at first was named McKendreean College, The Methodists, as
is their custom, were energetic and thoroughly alive to the needs of the
situation. Of the leader for whom McKendree College was named, Bishop E.
E. Hoss thus writes in his biography of Bishop William McKendree:
"If anything at all has been
preserved concerning his (Bishop McKendree’s) progenitors, it has wholly
escaped my search. The family name, however, shows that they were of
Scotch origin, though, as was the case with thousands of others of the
same blood, they probably reached America by way of the north of Ireland.
The transplanted Scotchmen are a masterful race."
The Armour Institute, of Chicago,
ranks high in the educational world. As has been aptly expressed, "Mr.
Armour’s idea in manual training was, that all shall be taught and done so
that muscles shall not be more thoroughly trained than the moral
character, and the perception of truth and beauty." The Institute has
always had a close relation on the one side to the public school and on
the other side to the university. Its founder was the late Philip Danforth
Armour. His birthplace was Stockbridge, Madison County, N. Y., where he
was born May 16, 1832. His father was descended from James Armour. That
part of Scotland where the Armours have lived for generations is
Argyllshire. The chief city is Campbelltown, named after the powerful and
noted Duke of Argyll’s family. The channel which here separates
Argyllshire from Ulster is only twelve miles wide. The intercourse between
the two countries for centuries has been easy and constant, as elsewhere
indicated in this paper. Mr. Armour’s Ulster-Scottish ancestor came to
America during the middle of the eighteenth century, and settled in New
England; and his descendents removed to New York in 1825. Mr. Armour was
one of the most widely known of Chicago’s great business men. He was a
patron of art. His interest in higher practical education was deep and
abiding. He was one of the most generous supporters of the Scottish
organization known as the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. It was entirely
through his benefactions that the Institute which bears his name was
founded and endowed. His plans for the large ideals of the Institute have
been well carried out by his son, J. Ogden Armour.
Every one who was a student in or
acquainted with the University of Illinois during the first two score
years of its history will remember Prof. Thomas J. Burrell. As of Virgil’s
hero, it may be said of Professor Burrell that he himself was a great part
of its achievements. He was the sympathetic adviser of the undergraduate,
and to the end remained the friend of the alumni. Scots and their
brethren, the Ulster-Scots, claim him, for his ancestry was in part of
that blood. Born in the Bay State, he came with his family to Stephenson
County, Illinois, where his father was a farmer. In former times the head
of the University was called the Regent. When a vacancy came in this
office, the Trustee’s urged him to accept it, but he was fully satisfied
to continue a member of the faculty, although he was defacto President
until the election of Dr. Draper. Educated in the State Normal, at Normal,
during the "60’s", he had the good fortune, soon after graduation, to
receive an appointment as botanist in one of the expeditions of Maj.
Powell, the noted geologist and anthropologist, whose explorations of the
Colorado River and Canon form a thrilling chapter of Western history. Upon
the organization of the University of Illinois, he was elected to a
professorship, and was the first librarian of that institution. He closed
his long and honorable career as a man loved and esteemed by all who had
the privilege of knowing him.
Prof. David Kinley is one of the
leading educators of the present generation. He occupies a position of
distinction in the University of Illinois. His birthplace was Dundee,
Scotland, where he was born August 2, 1861. In 1872 he came to the United
States; was educated at Yale; pursued post-graduate studies at Johns
Hopkins; and for a time taught in several well-known institutions. He has
specialized in economics, and served on a number of international
industrial and financial commissions. He is the author of several standard
works, and has been a frequent contributor to the leading periodicals. His
services as a University Dean led to his selection (1919) as
acting-President of the University of Illinois during the year’s absence
on leave of Dr. James. Professor Kinley is a loyal American whose
affection for the homeland has made him a much-sought after speaker at
Saint Andrew Society and other Scotch anniversaries.
When Chicago was nothing more than a
straggling, struggling village, something like three-quarters of a century
ago, Lyons Township had become a well-known settlement among the
communities of Cook County. Its nearest corner to Chicago was a dozen
miles to the southwest. So important had it grown, that in 1836 there
assembled within its borders delegates to the first political convention
ever held in the county. This meeting took place on the Vial farm, south
of the present suburb of Western Springs. The meeting-place was a log
house on the farm now owned by the venerable Robert Vial, who has lived on
the identical spot for eighty-five years.
Opposite the Lyonsville
Congregational Church, on the Joliet road, was built in the early "40’s"
the first public school-house in the Township. It was of logs. One of
those who helped to "raise" it was the late Samuel Vial, an older brother
of Robert, then a young man. Its first teacher was Miss Margaret
McNaughton, a Scotch lass, who came to America with her parents from
Aberdeen. She became the wife of Samuel Vial, who died a nonagenarian, in
October, 1911. One of their sons, the late George McNaughton Vial, became
the Moderator of the Illinois State Congregational Conference, and was for
many years a leader in the National Councils of the denomination. Joseph
Vial, the other son, has been Township Treasurer for nineteen years.
In Chicago, Scots and the sons of
Scots have contributed their part to the public school establishment of
the city. This has been acknowledged by the Board of Education in the
naming of at least twenty-seven of its largest grammar schools after
distinguished Scots and descendents of Scotsmen. The services for popular
education of Daniel R. Cameron, John McLaren, Graeme Stewart, and John J.
Badenoch can scarcely be properly estimated by this generation. Mr.
McLaren was for many years a trustee of the Lewis Institute, one of
Chicago’s educational establishments.
To these annals should be added the
names of Prof. Hugh McDonald Scott and Prof. Wm. Douglas Mackenzie. Both
were Scotch, and both were members of the faculty of the Chicago
Congregational Theological Seminary, at Union Park; both were preachers,
teachers, and authors; and both were leaders in their denomination in
their city, State, and Nation. Professor Scott was killed in a street-car
accident; and Professor Mackenzie went from Chicago to become President of
Hartford Theological Seminary, Connecticut, which office he still holds.
Another Scot, whom his countrymen
delight to honor, is President Charles M. Stuart, of the Methodist
Episcopal Theological Seminary at Evanston, known as Garrett Biblical
Institute. President Stuart is a native of Glasgow; educated in its noted
High School; graduated in 1880 at Kalamazoo College, and later at Garrett
Biblical Institute; was assistant editor of the "Northwestern Christian
Advocate" from 1888 to 1896, and its editor from 1908 to 1912; was
Professor of Homiletics in Garrett Biblical Institute from 1896 to 1908;
and has been its President since 1912; a record of educational and
editorial service deserving of a large recognition in these chronicles.
The long, successful and
satisfactory labors of President Thomas McClelland, late of Knox College,
Galesburg, deserve an honored place in the college annals of Illinois. He
is one of the sons of the sturdy Ulster-Scots, who have planted the church
and the school side by side.
In Perry County, in early day, among
the teachers mentioned are Francis Thompson McMillan and Martha McMillan.
In Randolph County, at the Plum Creek settlement, we find among the
Presbyterians who came from South Carolina those who had the "energetic
traits which have marked the race in all parts of the United States." It
is related that that staunch Covenanter, Rev. Samuel Wylie, "frequently
had private students," probably preparing for the ministry. Adam Wylie, a
brother, taught in 1833-5 at Sparta. It is related by S. B. Hood, that "in
the summer of 1822 G. T. Ewing, afterwards a Covenanting minister, taught
school in Section 9, east of Eden."
In the records of the early schools
in McDonough County are to be found the names of Scots who did good
service in building up education throughout the "Military Tract." And this
is duplicated in many other counties and districts.
The story of the early publications
of Illinois is that of change in ownership, editorship, places of issue,
policies, and affiliations. The small and scattered settlements of pioneer
days, and the scarcity of money, were not conducive to their sustained and
substantial support. The news of the separated communities found among its
most efficient disseminators the traveling preachers or circuit-riders,
and the itinerant peddlers. These, with their more or less novel
narratives and unusual tales, were welcome visitors in the log-cabin and
the wayside tavern.
In those times the habit, now
practically universal, of subscribing for, and of reading, the local paper
had not been acquired. Touching authorship, as at present understood,
there was little if any in Illinois, unless we except the well written and
useful works of Morris Birkbeck and George Flower, of the English colony
of Edwards County.
The excellent sketch of Governor
Joseph Duncan ("Fergus’ Historical Series," No. 29), by his daughter, the
late Mrs. Julia Duncan Kirby, of Jacksonville, contains the following:
"Capt. Matthew Duncan" (Governor
Duncan’s brother) was educated at Yale College, and after completing his
education, and returning to his native state "(Kentucky) ," he for a time
edited a paper in Russellville, Ky., called "The Mirror." On removing to
Illinois, in 1814, he edited and published at Kaskaskia "The Illinois
Herald," the first newspaper published in Illinois. In December, 1814, he
published the first book or pamphlet that was published in the State. In
June, 1815, he published the first volume of what was known as "Pope’s
Digest." In 1817, Matthew Duncan sold his paper to Daniel P. Cook and
Robert Blackwell. He abandoned journalism and entered the army. He
resigned after four years of service, and engaged in business in
Shelbyville, Illinois, where he died January 16, 1844, only a few hours
after Governor Duncan, neither knowing of the illness of the other. "For
the Scotch ancestry of Matthew, see the sketch of Governor Duncan given
elsewhere in this paper.
Other historians state that Matthew
Duncan "brought a press and a primitive printer’s outfit from the state"
(Kentucky). Hooper Warren, who was the founder of the third paper
established in Illinois, affirms that Duncan’s press "was for years only
used for public printing." The oldest issue of "The Illinois Herald" known
to be in existence is Vol. I, No. 30, and bears date December 13, 1814. It
was a three-column paper. When Cook and Blackwell acquired it, they
changed it to "The Intelligencer," and increased it to four columns. In
1820, it followed the State Capitol from Kaskaskia to Vandalia.
Robert Goudy (writes Hon. Ensley
Moore), of Jacksonville, Illinois, in "Transactions of the Illinois State
Historical Society," 1907, pp. 315-23), was presumably born in the
neighborhood of Armagh, County Tyrone, which is in the province of Ulster,
in the north of Ireland, November 2, 1785. The Goudies were, and are to be
found in Ayrshire, next to Wigtownshire and Argyllshire, Scotland, the
nearest to that part of Ireland where the Protestant population is largest
and where lived the Ulster-Scots. The Scotch poet Robert Burns had a
friend, "John Goudie, the terror of the Whigs," to whom he addressed some
characteristic verses. In the migrations of those who bore the name, it
was variously written Goudie, Goudy, Gowdie and Gowdy. Mr. Goudy married
Miss Jane Ansley, who was of Scotch descent. The Scottish spelling of the
name was and is Ainslie. Like many others, it too was changed, as it were,
in transportation finally to Ensley. Mr. Goudy early learned the art of
printing. The family lived for a time in Indiana, and in June, 1832, came
to Illinois, settling in 1833 in Jacksonville. It is believed that he,
like Duncan, brought with him his printing plant. In 1834 he published
"The News" in Jacksonville. The same year was issued from the Goudy press
"Peck’s Gazetteer of Illinois," a book, now rare, that became an
authority, and, aside from official publications, probably the first book
printed and bound in Illinois. Then began the publication of "Goudy’s
Farmer’s Almanac," which contained much varied and valuable information.
Mr. and Mrs. Goudy had nine children, all of whom were to become noted in
their respective homes and walks of life."
Hon. Calvin Goudy, M. D., was their
second child. When Jacksonville became their home, he attended Illinois
College, and had among his associates, War-Governor Richard Yates, and
Rev. Robert W. Patterson, D. D., long the pastor of the Second
Presbyterian Church, Chicago, whose sons, Robert W., and Raymond were
prominent newspaper men, the first the editor, the other the Washington
correspondent, of the "Chicago Tribune." In conjunction with a brother,
probably Ensley T., in 1837, Calvin published the "Common School
Advocate," the first journal of its class in the west. He studied
medicine, and practiced his profession in Taylorville, Christian County.
In 1850 he was elected to the Legislature, and, as indicated elsewhere,
took an active part in educational advancement. He died March 8, 1877. His
services in promoting education and periodical literature were many and
useful. Of his distinguished brother, Hon. W. C. Goudy, mention is made in
that section of this paper entitled "Bench and Bar."
The growth of the newspaper business
in Illinois from 1830 to 1900 has been marvelous. During the first half of
this seventy-year period it is impossible now to trace the antecedents of
their founders, owners, and editors in the State at large.
As Chicago developed, there were
long connected with its press numbers of Scots whose writings in their
specialties made them noted. A few may be mentioned.
James Ballantyne, during the Civil
War decade, was an authority on financial and commercial matters. His
department on the old "Republican" was a standard.
James Chisholm, before and after the
Great Fire of 1871, was a dramatic critic of local fame. His articles in
the "Inter Ocean" were universally read by the theatrical world. The
weekly review which he prepared and published under the whimsical
pseudonym of "John Barleycorn" were inimitable, "pawky ;" delightful for
their wit, with a flavor and expression that reminded one of Charles Lamb.
E. N. Lamont, writer for the same
paper, was a man of rare attainments, retiring, with a fine, graceful
style, an essayist whose counterpart is George P. Upton, so long one of
the charming contributors to the columns of the "Tribune." Lamont’s
book-reviews were unexcelled for discrimination and taste. He had no
superior as a literary Scot in the Garden City.
time on the writing staff of the "Inter Ocean" alone there
were no fewer than five Scots and descendants of Scots. Indeed in that
journalistic group. Virgil’s well-known line was playfully paraphrased to
the "cultivating of literature on a little oat-meal."
In the circle of the religious press
of that period was Rev. E. Erskine, who edited the "North-Western
Presbyterian" an influential publication of the denomination: genial,
alert, capable, a preacher who was also an excellent editor.
Cyrus Hall McCormick, once owner of
the "Times," before Wilbur F. Storey’s advent, founded and maintained the
brilliant "Interior," whose editor, Dr. Wm. C. Gray, in his day was next
to Dr. J. A. Adams, of the Congregational "Advance," the best paragrapher
on the American religious press.
Dr. Charles M. Stuart, long
associate editor, then editor, of Methodist Episcopal "North-Western
Christian Advocate," published in Chicago, was a journalist who ranked
with Erskine, Gray, and Adams.
Gen. Daniel Cameron, who always
retained the "burr" of the "r’ in the heather-r-r, was a virile editorial
writer, who a half century ago was a political, as well as a journalistic
power in northern Illinois. His brother, A. C. Cameron, was long a
prominent local publisher of newspapers.
In these latter days the Scots in
Illinois and throughout the North-West take great pleasure in recalling
the useful and esteemed George Sutherland, of the "Western British
American ;" courteous, courageous, quiet, pure, he was beloved of all.
In a county history of 1883, appears
the following: "D. F. McMillan began the publication of the ‘Randolph
County Record’ at Sparta, May 28, 1844." It is said he went there from
Kaskaskia in 1842, and removed to Chester in 1846. He was one of the few
of the name in Illinois who were newspaper men.
The history of Illinois could not
well be written were the names of Robert Fergus and his son, George Harris
Fergus, omitted. In 1839, Robert Fergus issued the first directory of
Chicago, and other similar works in subsequent years as late as that of
1857, including reprints of the same after the Great Fire of 1871. His
son, George, was his close companion and cordial coadjutor from the early
"60’s." Robert Fergus also printed the first decisions of the Illinois
Supreme Court, known as "Scammon’s Reports."
Father and son published "The Fergus
Historical Series" which embrace some forty volumes and pamphlets bearing
on early Chicago, Illinois, and the North-West. Today "The Fergus
Historical Series" comprise collectively the most authoritative history of
pioneer days in Chicago and the State. The complete "Illinois: Historical
and Statistical," by the late Judge John Moses, is a work in two volumes
of over 1,300 pages, and was published through the sole enterprise of
Both Robert and George Harris
Fergus, all their active and useful lives, were deeply interested in civic
betterment. Although neither of them ever held public office, both—Robert
from 1839 to 1860 and George from 1860 to 1911—were up-building and
influential factors in city, State, and National affairs, and were always
on the side of good government.
Robert Fergus was born in Glasgow,
Scotland, August 4, 1815. His father was John and his mother was Margaret
Patterson (Aitken) Fergus. He was educated in the schools of his native
city, and at the age of fourteen years entered the University Printing
Office at Villafield. In those early days he "worked at the case" on Sir
Walter Scott’s "Marmion," "The Lady of the Lake," and "The Lay of the Last
Minstrel." He also took part in "setting up" Sturm’s "Reflections" and
Meadow’s French, Italian and Spanish dictionaries. His training in the
"art preservative," and in
publishing was practical and
thorough, and laid the foundation for his future career in Chicago, where
he arrived one month prior to his twenty-fourth birthday, and where he
lived for sixty years. His wife’s maiden name was Margaret Whitehead
Scott, who, too, was a native of Glasgow, and was the daughter of James
Scott, a merchant weaver and a burgess and freeman of the city. Mr. Fergus
founded in Chicago the printing and publishing house that bore his name,
and he continued actively in that business until his decease.
George Harris Fergus, their eldest
son, was born in Chicago, September 1, 1840. He was educated in the public
schools of the city, and became a partner of his father, and continued the
business until his death, November 24, 1911.
During the late "50’s" George became
a member of the famous company known as "Ellsworth’s Zouaves." When the
first call for troops was issued by President Lincoln, he was appointed
First Lieutenant of Company K, 11th New York Infantry, under Colonel
Ellsworth. This command was mustered into service at Washington, D. C.,
May 7, 1861, and was the first regiment sworn in for the Civil War.
Colonel Ellsworth, in the fall of 1860, entered the office of Mr. Lincoln
at Springfield to study law, and accompanied the President-elect to
Washington on the way to his inauguration. Lieutenant Fergus served with
his regiment in May, 1861, when it was detailed to guard President Lincoln
at the White House. He was present when Colonel Ellsworth, while
attempting to haul down a Confederate flag, in Alexandria, Va., was shot,
May 24, 1861. Mr. Fergus was married to Mary Electa Stocking on November
24, 1867. Mrs. Fergus is an honored resident of Chicago (April, 1919).
The characteristics of father and
son are revealed in all their work. Both gave their lifetime to historical
research and investigation, and their publications bear witness of their
almost faultless accuracy. Robert Fergus was thoroughly Scottish, and
George was as thoroughly American in spirit. They had much in common. Both
were intense in thought and action. Robert was a great reader of the best
literature. George was an esteemed companion to many famous men. George
was direct, forcible, retiring, but always responsive, and ever master of
himself. Both were true to their respective traditions—Scottish and
American. In their useful careers, they exemplified the ancient motto of
the Clan Fergus—"Ready, Aye Ready."
In Northern Illinois, just before
the Civil War, the abolitionists were unusually active. They were open in
their advocacy of unconditional freedom for the Slaves, and they were
daring in their efforts to aid fugitives. The "agents" and "stations" of
the "Underground Railroad" had greatly increased in numbers and efficiency
in all this section.
La Salle County had become important
as a district where the "lines" from the South converged, to be continued
from there to Chicago. In Ottawa, particularly, there was an aggressive
anti-slavery society. In 1838-9 there had been organized in that place
three churches, the Congregational, Baptist, and Methodist, whose members
were ardent in the anti-slavery cause.
No braver or bolder man in all this
region was there than John Hossack. He was a stalwart Scotchman, who was
born in Caledonia in 1806. Love of liberty has always been a notable trait
of his country men.
From an interesting paper, by Rev.
John H. Ryan, of Kankakee, entitled "A Chapter from the History of the
Underground Railroad in Illinois," published in the "Journal of the
Illinois State Historical Society," (April, 1915, vol. 8, No. 1, pp.
23-30), the following, largely, has been gathered:
John Hossack had settled in Ottawa
about 1849. It is related of him that the first fugitive slave whom he
helped to freedom was sent to him by the fearless and fertile Rev. Ichabod
Codding, a Congregational minister and anti-slavery lecturer, who had
traveled much. At that time, John Hossack was evidently a man of
The incident, in connection with
which his name has come down to our time, involved a fugutive slave named
Jim Gray, or "Nigger Jim," as slavery’s supporters called him. "Jim" had
escaped from his master, one Richard Philips, and had made his way from
Missouri to Union County, Illinois. There he was captured and put in
prison. A Mr. Root interested himself in the fugitive, and sued out a writ
of habeas corpus in the State $upreme Court. The case was taken before
Judge J. D. Caton, who sat at Ottawa, then one of the grand divisions of
John Hossack had been notified that
the slave and his captors were to arrive in Ottawa at a certain time. He
was at the station to meet them. The party who had "Jim" in charge
consisted of Phillips, his son, a constable, and three kidnappers, Jones,
Curtley, and McKinney."
The "kidnapping" of negroes had long
been practiced in the southern counties of the State. Two or three men
were usually associated together for this business. One would establish
himself at St. Louis, or at one of the other border towns, and work up a
reputation as a seller of slaves. The others would move about the Illinois
counties on the lookout for negroes—Slaves or free. The "kidnappers" never
stopped to inquire whether a colored person was free or not. The question
simply was, could he be carried off in safety? The slave-hunters seized
their victims secretly, or enticed them to accompany them under false
pretences, placed them in a wagon, and drove as rapidly as possible to the
borders of the State" (Prof. N. Dwight Harris’ "History of Negro Servitude
in Illinois," PP. 54-5). Then they were sold down South."
When John Hossack met the Phillips
party, "Jim," says Rev. Mr. Ryan, "had a trace-chain fastened to his legs,
his arms pinioned and a rope around his neck, and down between his
legs—the end held by a white man, the negro walking in front." This was
too much for John Hossack. He demanded of Jim’s guard to know of what
crime the negro had been guilty that he should be thus treated. The answer
given was so unsatisfactory that Hossack exclaimed: "No man can be taken
through the streets of Ottawa thus humiliated—not while John Hossack lives
!" This fearless, public protest led to some abatement of "Jim’s"
This exhibition of slavery’s
inhumanity caused intense excitement in the community. In deference to
public sentiment, the Phillips party took their prisoner to a hotel
instead of putting him in jail that night. In the evening church bells
rang, meetings were held, plans were made for the hearing before Judge
Caton the next day, and attorneys were retained to defend the fugitive.
On the hearing, and after evidence
was submitted and the arguments were presented, Judge Caton discharged
"Jim" from custody.
Now came the crisis. There had been
some understanding that this would be done. When, therefore, the United
States Marshal was removing his prisoner, the crowd gathered around
captors and captive. Those most instrumental in separating "Jim" and the
Marshal were John Hossack and Dr. Stout and Dr. Hopkins, and some dozen or
fifteen others. A carriage was in waiting close by. Mr. Campbell (his name
certainly sounds Scotch) had charge of the team. The rescuers quickly put
"Jim" in the carriage, and away they went. The fugitive was conveyed to a
place of safety a few miles from the present city of Streator, where he
remained concealed until he was taken by friends to Chicago. There he was
received by Phio Carpenter, and later sent to Canada and freedom.
John Hossack, with Dr. Joseph and
James Stout, and ten or fifteen others were indicted by a United States
grand jury for their participation in the rescue from the Marshal of a
prisoner. They were tried in Chicago in the United States District Court,
and convicted. John Hossack was defended by Messrs. Isaac N. Arnold,
Burton C. Cook, and E. C. Lamed, all able and distinguished lawyers, and
all personal friends of Mr. Lincoln.
In his own defense, when asked what
he had to say why sentence should not be pronounced, Hossack made an
address of which Rev. Mr. Ryan says: "It will become memorable as later
generations appreciate the heroism of our National crisis." Hossack was
sentenced to serve ten days in jail, and to pay a fine and costs amounting
It was a dearly won victory for the
pro-slavery people. "Jim" had escaped, literally Scot-free, Hossack’s
courageous course, his manly bearing during the trial, and his stirring
speech in court, were as fuel to a conflagration that spread through, and
lighted up, all of the northern part of the State. His prison became a
Mecca to which crowds flocked. The newspapers reported every incident in
connection with it in detail.
Many who had hitherto been
indifferent on the subject of slavery were now won over to the side of the
oppressed black man. His friends were greatly encouraged by the change in
public sentiment. Indeed, probably no single act, in 1859-60, in northern
Illinois had more influence in advancing the cause of the anti-slavery
people; nor did more to create a local atmosphere for the National
Convention which met in Chicago and nominated Mr. Lincoln for the
At that time Hon. John Wentworth was
Mayor of the city. He also owned and managed a newspaper published in
Chicago. In its columns the following was one of his clarion utterances
regarding the penalty visited on the sturdy Scot, John Hossack, for his
acts in behalf of Jim Gray:
"Scotchmen, patriot’s and citizens,
visit John Hossack! Remember our friends of freedom as bound with him !"
Then he added: "Let their fines and costs be paid !"
And the public response was general
and generous. The slave-hunter’s trade in Illinois was dead. John Hossack
and his brave associates had killed it.
In 1848 there died in Chicago a
Scot, whose varied adventures read like a romantic tale of Robert Louis
Stevenson or Mayne Reid. His name occurs frequently in "Astoria," that
interesting book of Washington Irving, himself the son of a native of the
Orkney Islands. If the reader would learn of the hazards and harvests of
the fur-trade of the North-West of a century ago, let him peruse the
delightful pages of Irving’s "Astoria."
Robert Stuart was born at Callander,
Scotland, which is familiar to every American tourist who has taken the
charming trip through the district made famous by Sir Walter Scott in "The
Lady of the Lake." The story of the life of Stuart (related by Dr. Peter
Ross, in his "The Scot in America," pp. 59-63), is that Robert was
a grandson of Alexander Stuart, who, as "Allan Breck" would say, had "a
King’s name." Alexander was the bitter enemy of that notorious cateran,
Robert came to America when about
twenty-one years old. As a fur-trader in Canada he had seen life; on the
coast of Labrador he had been a fisherman; with the voyageurs he had made
various expeditions into the interior. The first John Jacob Astor found in
him a trusted partner and fearless pioneer in his almost empire-visioned
enterprises in the Far North-West.
In 1819, Stuart quitted Oregon,
struck the trail for the East, and found his way to Mackinac Island. The
summer visitor to this well-known place in "The Straits" will remember the
old "Astor House." Still to be seen there are some of the hewn-log
structures of a century ago, in which the furs brought in by hunters and
traders were sorted and stored, preparatory to shipping them to the
sea-board. There, too, may be inspected the interesting records of Ramsay
Crooke, the Scotch factor, who was in charge of the post. Stuart continued
his work on the Island as a fur-trader. His knowledge of, and influence
with, the Indians led to his appointment by the Government as Commissioner
to the tribes of the region. In 1834 he removed to Detroit, and was chosen
Treasurer of the State of Michigan. The tribes with whom he had been
associated sincerely respected and trusted him, as he was a man whom by
long experience they had come to know as their friend; whose promises to
them had never been broken; a reputation by no means universal of those to
whom the Government has entrusted its Indian administration.
His son David, a leading lawyer, and
a Congressman from Michigan, came to Chicago, as attorney for the Illinois
Central Railroad; volunteered in 1861; became Colonel of the Fifty-fifth
Illinois Infantry; commanded a brigade in General Sherman’s army; was
wounded at Shiloh, and served brilliantly at Corinth and elsewhere. He was
a gallant and talented officer, and exhibited in his life and services the
loyalty of his father to the United States.
Of the one hundred and two counties
in Illinois at least twenty-five bear the names of men of either Scottish
birth or blood. As may be inferred, these names are of those distinguished
in the military and civil service of the United States, during and since
the Revolutionary War. They began with St. Clair, the first county
organized, and extend to next to the last, Douglas County, created in
In upwards of sixty counties, from
Alexander, on the extreme south, to Jo Daviess and Lake, on the north
line, there are more than a hundred cities, towns, villages, and
communities which have distinctively Scottish names.
Of the original of the names of
Elgin and Dundee, in Kane County, there need be no question. In Scotland,
however, the "g" in Elgin is given the "hard sound" and in the United
States it is given the "soft sound."
In regard to the naming of Dundee, a
local historian relates the following:
"Early in 1837, all were convinced,
from what was going on at the crossing of the Fox River, that a town would
soon grow up at that point. The people began to discuss a name for it. A
meeting was called to consider the question. Nearly every one had some
favorite that would recall some locality back at the old home. Finally a
young Scotchman named Alexander Gardiner rose, and in his rich Scotch
dialect proposed the name ‘Dundee’ after his native town. The name was
Wheatland Township, Will County,
had, in 1843-4, several additions to its settlers, who, with their
descendants, have exercised a determining influence in its development.
Among them were William and John McMicken, who came direct from Scotland.
It is recorded that in 1844 Stephen Fridley founded the "Scotch
settlement" there. In the same year Robert Clow arrived, also Mungo
Patterson. In 1847 the Scotch Church was organized, and its house of
worship, a mile north of Tamarack post office, was erected a few years
later. Robert Clow lived until 1880, when at the age of 83 he passed on; a
useful widely known and respected citizen, whose descendants have been
identified with the best interests of the community, and have contributed
their full share to its up-building.
An interesting custom was
transplanted to this "Scotch settlement" some forty-five years ago, and
found firm root there. It is the annual "plowing match" which has come to
be the most popular agricultural function in the County, and for years has
exceeded in attendance any of the old-time County fairs which once were
quite an institution. This "plowing match" anniversary owes its creation
and continuance to the late James Patterson, whose birthplace was in the
southwestern part of Scotland, celebrated for its plowmen. While yet a
young man, Mr. Patterson, who had thoroughly learned farming in his native
province, came to Will County, bought land, and became one of the widely
known, respected, and successful farmers in a district famous for masters
in that profession. He also brought with him an enthusiastic zeal for the
best customs of his Scottish forbears’, land. One of these was the
celebration, with the aid of capable workmen and under farming conditions,
of the Ayrshire, Wigtownshire, and Kirkcudbrightshire—indeed of all
agricultural Scotland—customs of yearly "plowing matches." These took
place in the autumn, when the crops were harvested, and the fields were
ready for "fall-plowing." Their objects were, to cultivate thoroughness in
soil-preparedness and treatment, speed and skill in turning the furrows,
and general interest and efficiency in all kinds of field-work. Prizes
were awarded the successful plowmen. The competition was keen. The day set
apart for the trials was an event. Then horses were employed before this
day of the tractor. The teams were selected with care. The place where the
work was done took on the appearance of a popular fair. The
farming-implement manufacturers and dealers were there in evidence with
their out-puts. This was the custom which Mr. Patterson introduced, and
until the end of his life maintained with success at the "Scotch
Settlement." The last one which the writer attended (1917) was held in the
district, and it was reported that there were lined-up around the fields
upwards of 1,200 automobiles, and about ten thousand spectators. The
visitors represented practically every County in Northern Illinois, and
considerable delegations were in attendance from the adjoining States of
Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
In McDonough County, the heart of
the Military Tract, the Scot early found a hospitable abiding place, and
was rewarded by having a township named after his native land, Scotland.
Among the early events of public
importance in the County is recorded the work of Charles Hume, son of a
Scot, who taught the first school in Hire Township; he became County
Judge, and was a gallant soldier in the Civil War. William McMillan was a
State Senator from the district in 1844-8. William Cowan, of Tennessee
Township, a prominent citizen, was of Scotch parentage. In Scotland
Township, were James Clark, John and Alexander Watson, and the Barclays—
John, James, Andrew and Robert—and Andrew Binnie, whose names tell their
ancestry. In Prairie Township were Hugh Robertson, and J. M. and C. W.
Hamilton. In Industry Township was James Allison. In Chalmers Township
(Scotch) was Wm. M. Reid. In Bushnell Township, David Robinson taught the
first school, and Martha Campbell was the first teacher in New Salem
Township. In Macomb, James M. Campbell was long a leading citizen, and
also Lewis W. Ross, William Job, and John and James Vance, and others of
Scot and Ulster-Scot lineage.
No man was better known throughout
that section, a third of a century ago, than the genial Alexander McLean.
A native of Glasgow, he and his brother John were long active in public
affairs. He (Alexander) was appointed in the first term of Governor Cullom
a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, and
served on that body, it is believed, longer than any other man. Mr. McLean
was the son of Hector and Catherine McMillan McLean, and came to the
United States in 1849. He was a Presidential elector in 1876. There was
another brother, Duncan, who became a judge in Idaho.
Adam Douglas, John McMillan, Andrew
McCandless father of the well-known family, all were of Scotch blood, and
reflected credit on their ancestry.
In Madison County we find such
familiar names as that of David Gillespie, and his sons, Mathew and
Joseph, who were Scotch, although of Ulster birth. The father came to
Illinois in 1818, and delighted to trace his ancestry to the Clan Campbell
of Argyllshire. Samuel McAlilly was also of Scotch descent, and settled
during the same period in Madison County.
In early days Winnebago County’s
settlers often were the victims of the depredations of organized bands of
outlaws, who stole, intimidated, and sometimes murdered, the peaceful
pioneers. At last the conditions became so serious, because of the
boldness and badness of these bandits, that the settlers formed companies
who were called "Regulators," to put a stop to the operations of the
high-handed thieves. John Campbell, a Scotchman, a devout Presbyterian,
and an esteemed citizen, was chosen to be the leader of the law-abiding
people. In one of their enterprises, the outlaws killed Mr. Campbell. A
desperado named Driscoll was held to be the murderer, and he was promptly
executed for the crime. The summary punishment thus dealt out to one of
their chief men rid the country of these ruffians.
Among the well-known early settlers
of Winnebago County, were Scots who were prominent in private and public
affairs. No attempt is here made to give anything like a list of them.
Those mentioned may be taken as illustrations of how the Scot has made his
way. These are named with the year of their arrival in the country! Thomas
D. Roberston, 1838; Duncan Ferguson, 1839; D. H. Ferguson, 1839; Daniel
Dow, 1841, and G. Tulloch, 1841. Mr. Robertson was an influential banker
of Rockford. Duncan Ferguson was educated at the University of Glasgow,
and was a leading citizen and official, D. H. Ferguson, who was an infant
when he came, served (1866-1870), as Collector of Internal Revenue for the
district, and was a banker.
The town of Caledonia, numerically
not large, and commercially not considerable, is one of the most
prosperous and best known in Boone County. The locality was settled in
1838; and, when the county was organized two years later, it began to show
marked growth. The officials who had the matter in hand gave it its name
upon the presentation of a petition which set forth that it had been
chosen by the residents of the locality. Like its successful and not
distant kith and kin, Argyle, its leading residents in the beginning were
from Argyllshire, Scotland. John Greenlee, whose sons became prominent and
prosperous business men in Belvidere, was from the parish of Southend. The
native Scot understands that the village of Southend. is just east of the
Mull of Cantire, and in sight of the famed ruin of Dunaverty, which stands
like a sentinel on the shore. Alexander McNair and James Montgomery were
of Argyllshire birth, and John and A. D. Ralston bore names of an
influential family in Scotland, one of whose members became distin guished
in California history.
To give in detail, within the limits
of this paper anything like a complete account of the various "Scotch
Settlements," in Illinois and their early residents, would be an
impossible task. However, enough has been intimated to suggest somewhat of
their members, locations, and the characters and lives of those who
established them. It may be said, without fear of successful
contradiction, that in no community has the Scot settled in Illinois where
he has not left an impress that did not make for its betterment in every
Northeast of Rockford, in Winnebago
County, and near the western border of Boone County, is the "Scotch
settlement," Argyle. It is the home of the Willow Creek Presbyterian
Church. From the history of this congregation, prepared and read by D. G.
Harvey, at the semi-centennial, held June 6-7, 1895, are taken many
interesting annals, as well as valuable data that are published in the
pamphlet containing the details of that celebration.
James Armour, of Ottawa, took up a
claim of prairie and timber land, afterwards, known as "Scotch Grove," on
Willow Creek. This claim came to be owned by George and John Armour, and
then by George Picken, Wm. Ralston, and Robert Armour. In 1836, John
Greenlee, "the pioneer and founder of the Argyle Settlement," located on
the line between Winnebago and Boone Counties, and in 1837 he brought his
family "to their new home, being the first Scotch family to locate in this
part of Winnebago County." Others soon followed. We find among them, the
names of Hugh Reid (1838); George Picken, Robert Howie, Andrew Giffen, and
Alexander McDonald (1839); Wm. Ferguson, James Picken, John Andrew,
Alexander Reid, Robert Armour, (1840); Gavin and David Ralston, Wm.
Harvey, John McEachran, and John Picken (1841); David Smith, James
Montgomery, Peter Caldwell, James and Alexander Reid, and Mr. McNair
(1842); and in 1843, the families of Peter and Alex. Ralston, Charles
Picken, and Lionel Henderson; thirty families who located there before the
church was organized. There were fifty-one charter members, who
represented seventeen groups of different names.
The Dukes of Argyll (written here
Argyle) were and are chiefs of the distinguished Clan Campbell. The
histories tell of the most of them as men of high character and excellent
reputation. Some of their land agents—"factors" they are called over
there—were not so favorably known. In the decade between 1830 and 1840
some of these "factors" treated the tenant-farmers of the then Duke with
great harshness. These measures became so severe that an exodus of
many of the farmers to Illinois followed.
The large settlement in Winnebago
County in which they made their homes they named Argyle after the shire in
In the early years, religious
meetings were held in the homes of the people, for the settlers did not
fail to "assemble themselves together for prayer, praise and reading of
the Scriptures." In 1842, a log-house was erected, which was used for
day-school, Sunday School, and public worship. Frontier fraternity
prevailed. The people were ministered to, when possible, by Baptist and
Methodist clergymen. In 1843, an effort was made to organize a church, but
it was not until December, 1844, that this was done. In January, 1845, the
church decided to unite with the Old School Presbyterian body. The church
was staunch in doctrine, and pronounced in its anti-slavery convictions.
In those olden days the
congregational singing was led by a "precentor," as in Scotland. The
"elders" were ordained and installed according to time-honored Scottish
custom. Those who held positions in the church as trustees, treasurer, and
clerk, were styled "office-bearers."
There was a "manse," as the Scotch
call a parsonage. When a minister was engaged to preach for a time, but
not as a settled pastor, he was known as a "supply." The custom prevailed
of having "candidates," if there was a vacancy in the pulpit. If a janitor
of the church were needed, "bids" for the place were received by the
trustees. Calls to the pastorate were "prosecuted before Presbytery ;"
that is, submitted, and Presbyterial action followed. When a minister
resigned, the "pastoral relation was dissolved." These things are familiar
to Presbyterians, and are merely mentioned here for the information of
those not members of that body.
The ministers of Willow Creek Church
included Rev. James Maclaughlan, well known two score of years ago in
Chicago as the pastor of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, and at the time
of his decease, some two years ago, one of the oldest members of Chicago
Presbytery, and minister of the Brighton Park Presbyterian Church.
A number of the ministers became
prominent in the denomination. The church in this respect has a remarkable
Among the young men who grew up in
this church, was Rev. John A. Montgomery. He was a son of Elder James
Montgomery and his wife Jane Caldwell Montgomery. Mr. Montgomery was born
in Argyllshire, Scotland, December 18, 1839, and came to the United States
with his parents when a child. He was educated in the Marengo Academy, in
Wheaton College, and in the Chicago Congregational Theological Seminary,
at Union Park. He graduated with the highest honors from college and
academy. The late venerable President Franklin W. Fisk of the latter
institution, was ever a warm personal friend of Mr. Montgomery, and
expressed his deep appreciation of him to the effect that "you (Mr.
Montgomery), have been a constant joy to me all the years since you went
from the Seminary." Mr. Montgomery served in the active ministry for
twenty-five years, in three Congregational Churches—Dwight, Morris and
LaGrange. In his pastorates, he drew about him, men like Dr. Keeley,
Edward Kemeys, the sculptor of the lions in front of the Art Institute,
Chicago; Gen. P. C. Hayes, Member of Congress; Justice Orrin N. Carter, of
the State Supreme Court; F. D. Cossit, the Founder of LaGrange; George M.
Vial, Moderator of the Illinois Congregational Conference; and Rev. J. C.
Armstrong, D. D., of the well-known Armstrong family of La Salle County,
and for more than a third of a century Superintendent of the
Congregational City Missionary Society of Chicago. Mr. Montgomery was
always a close student, an indefatigable worker, and was held in high
esteem by his ministerial brethren. He was an honored official of the
State Congregational Association, and was a delegate from Illinois to the
First National Council of Congregational Churches, in 1871.
The Argyle Church history shows that
three other young men of the parish became ministers, namely: John Giffen,
Matthew Howie, and James A. Harvey. This is another instance of the
country church being the "mother of ministers." All of them discharged
faithfully their duties as preachers and teachers, "rightly dividing the
it may here be recorded that some of
these independent former Argyllshire farmers at times seriously considered
the advisability of sending back to the hard-hearted "factors" of the Duke
a testimonial which should fittingly express their deep appreciation of
the exactions that had caused them to leave their ancestral farm-steadings.
They felt that but for the severities imposed upon them by the "factors"
they would probably never have come to America, and never have achieved
the prosperity and peace which had fallen to their lot in their adopted
country. Here they came to own their own farms. In their native land they
would always have been tenants. So they often talked of showing the
despotic "factors" what a blessing their course had been, although it was
never thus intended; and they would have rejoiced to show their gratitude
in some way to the "factor bodies" whose vigors had made them in one way
exiles, but in another way, had led to plenty. And yet, it has been
remarked by some who do not know the true nature of the Scot, that he has
no sense of humor.
The name Cantire is also written
Kintyre. It’s headland—the Mull, as it is called—is the last prominent
landmark in the Scottish coast to which the Scot sailing from Glasgow bids
farewell on leaving his native Caledonia, and the first which greets him
on his return from journeying in foreign climes. It used to be said of the
stalwart and hospitable Scots of Argyle, Winnebago County, that any chance
visitor to their neighborhood was certain of a hearty "Highland Welcome"
if he but correctly pronounced "Machrihanish" or "Southend."
Such were some of the products of
this "Scotch Settlement" at Argyle. It would be impossible to trace their
influence. Only the "book of remembrance" will reveal it. But so much of
it as we know intimates, in a fragmentary way, perhaps what a community of
God-fearing, honest, industrious, intelligent people may accomplish for
the promotion of good government, for the encouragement of education, and
for the advancement of the race.
Scots and their descendants have
never comprised any considerable part of the legal profession in Illinois.
What they have lacked in numbers, however, they have fully made up in the
character, ability, and achievements of their representatives.
From the time of Senator Stephen A.
Douglas to the diplomatic services of Hon. William J. Calhoun, the men of
the race, who have occupied official position, or have been active in the
practice, have left records to which their countrymen may now refer with
satisfaction. The brilliant career at the bar, on the bench, and as a
statesman of Senator Douglas need not here be recapitulated. His public
life belongs to the Nation, although Illinois claims him as one of her
most distinguished sons.
A great lawyer, and an able and
honored jurist, was Judge Thomas Drummond. Born in the State of Maine, his
father, James Drummond, was a farmer of direct Scottish descent, noted for
his sound sense and excellent judgment, qualities which his eminent son
possessed in a high degree.
We may infer the insignificance of
Chicago, and the importance of Galena, in 1835, when we recall that the
latter city was described, by the writers of that day, as so many miles
north of St. Louis, while no reference whatever was made to its distance
from the present metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan. The bar of
Galena even then was composed of "some of the ablest practitioners in
Illinois." Mr. Drummond soon was acknowledged as one of the leading
lawyers in that entire circuit. The characteristics for which he was noted
are epitomized by his biographers as "intense application to the solid
work of his profession; investigation of facts and precedents; cautious
and thorough analysis of the principles of law involved in the case at
bar; and ,above all, absolute integrity, sincerity, and candor.
(Kirkland’s and Moses’ "History of Chicago," vol. I, p. 161). He was
appointed at the age of 41 by President Taylor to the office of United
States District Judge for Illinois. In 1855, when the State was divided
into two districts, he became the Judge of the Northern District. In 1869,
he was promoted to the United States Circuit Court, which comprised then,
as now, the states of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. The period of his
service was one during which many important causes were decided,
especially those involving railroads. It is related that in this latter
class alone, receivers were appointed representing bonded indebtedness of
perhaps a hundred million of dollars. All this business came directly or
indirectly under Judge Drummond’s care, and his name passed through the
long ordeal unassailed by a breath of suspicion, not only of corruption
but of unfairness" (Idem, p. 161). He was a patriot in the true sense,
never a partisan. His attitude towards the bar was invariably considerate,
dignified, modest, firm. He ranks with the great judges who have adorned
the United States Courts of this country.
Hon. William C. Goudy’s name
occupies a deservedly high place among lawyers in the general practice.
The Goudie family’s members were of Ayrshire, Scotland, origin. As
elsewhere stated, the name was written in Scotland, Goudie. When the
tyranny of the time led the Scots to emigrate to the Province of Ulster,
and later to America, the orthography was changed to Goudy and Gowdy. As
those who held it removed still farther westward, they settled in western
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and then came to Illinois. As one of his
biographers (Hon. Ensley Moore, of Jacksonville, Illinois, in "A Notable
Illinois Family," "Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society"
for 1907, pp. 315-323), has well said: "He was born May 15, 1824, an era
when so many great were born, and he was destined to become, or to make
himself, the most prominent and distinguished member of the family. There
was much in common, in the early days, of the various struggles of such
men as Douglas, Lincoln, and Grant, with poverty and other adverse
circumstances, and Wm. C. Goudy belonged to that class of men."
He was successively, school teacher,
college-graduate, lawyer, State’s Attorney, and State Senator; a power in
the choosing of United States Senators; in the naming of Presidents; and
in the selection of members of the Supreme Court of the United States. It
is related of him that "in 1855 he argued his first case before the
Supreme Court of Illinois. One hundred and thirty volumes of these reports
have been issued (up to 1894), and in every one of them cases have been
reported which have been argued by Mr. Goudy. In the higher courts of
other Western States, and in the Supreme Court of the United States, he
has been almost as conspicuous a figure." In his church relationships he
was a leader, having long served on the Board of Directors of the
McCormick Theological Seminary. Like Hon. Milton Hay, of Springfield,
often he was consulted by distinguished public men, who held, his opinion
and advice in high esteem, and. were largely guided in their course by his
Hon. William J. Calhoun was born in
Pittsburgh, Pa., the son of a member of the Scottish Clan of Colquhon, as
the name is written in Scotland. The Colquhons were of ancient lineage,
and their chiefs were prominent in Dumbartonshire, and in other western
districts of Scotland. One sect of the clan removed to Ulster, where the
name came to be spelled more nearly as it was pronounced—Calhoun. The
families of this latter branch were the progenitors of the Calhouns who
have become distinguished in the United States. Mr. Calhoun’s parents were
Robert and Sarah (Knox) Calhoun. The historian, Francis Parkman, makes
frequent mention of "Knox’s Diary." This was the record kept by Capt. John
Knox, a British officer who was Mr. Calhoun’s great-grandfather. At the
age of sixteen Mr. Calhoun enlisted in an Ohio Volunteer infantry
regiment. When the Civil War ended, he removed to Illinois, worked on a
farm, taught school, studied law, and became an attorney in Danville. In
1882 he was elected to the Legislature. Two years later he was elected
State’s Attorney for Vermilion County. In 1892 he was chosen general
attorney for the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad. He had been
acquainted in Ohio in youth with President McKinley, and in 1896 was
active in bringing about his nomination. In 1897 he was appointed upon a
difficult governmental mission to Cuba, which he discharged with fidelity
and success. In 1898 he was selected as a member of the United States
Inter-State Commerce Commission. The Venezuela difference called him into
service in South America as a special commissioner, and there again he
displayed great skill. From 1907 to 1913 he served as our Minister to
China, and added to his already high reputation as a diplomat. His record
was even that of a man of marked ability and integrity. He died September
Several other names of men of Scotch
birth and ancestry will illustrate as many different types of service
Andrew Crawford, born in Ayrshire,
Scotland, in 1831, was the son of an old and respected family. The
Crawfords of that district in Scotland were eminent in the nation’s
history for centuries. Mr. Crawford’s mother was of the Hay family, also a
distinguished one. At the age of twenty-one he came to the United States;
settled Geneseo, Illinois; studied law; in 1868 was elected to the State
Senate; in 1873 made his home in Chicago; became a prominent attorney; was
a specialist in railroad law; and when he died in 1900 was reckoned one of
the wealthy and influential members of the bar.
Judge James A. Creighton, of
Springfield, was elected to the State Circuit bench for six successive
terms, a record only duplicated by the late Judge Joseph E. Gary, of
Chicago, before whom the anarchists were tried. Judge Creighton was a
native of Illinois. His biographer states:
"He was always proud of the fact
that his parents, John and Mary Creighton, were both born in Illinois, as
well as that they were direct descendants of an old Scotch family that
came early to the United States, and removed from South Carolina to
Illinois in 1817." The name in Scotland is also written Crighton and
Crichton, and one of the distinguished men who bore it will be remembered
as "The Admirable Crichton." The name of his brother, Judge Jacob B.
Creighton, of Fairfield, is well known in Southern Illinois. Judge James
A. Creighton died in Springfield in 1916. He was a highly respected
jurist, and an esteemed member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Hon. James McCartney, who was
Attorney General of Illinois from 1880 to 1884, was the son of Scotch
parents, although he himself was born in Ulster. He served as a volunteer
in the Union Army successively in the 17th and 112th Illinois Volunteer
Infantry. At the close of the war he settled in Fairfield. During his
administration, as the chief legal officer of the State, the "Lake Front
Suits" of Chicago, were instituted, which resulted, after extended
litigation, in a decision in favor of the city. He was a painstaking
lawyer, a faithful official, and a citizen who enjoyed the regard of the
Judge John M. Scott, lawyer and
jurist, born in St. Clair County, August 1, 1824, was of Ulster-Scot
ancestry. For half a century he lived in McLean County. He was County
School Commissioner (that is, Superintendent), County Judge, Circuit
Judge, Judge of the State Supreme Court. One of his notable works was his
"History of the Illinois Supreme Court." He died in Bloomington, January
21, 1898. He wrote several valuable papers on the Ulster-Scots and their
services in Nation-building.
In Illinois, as indeed the world
over, the Scot as a banker has been conspicuous. The intelligent reader
need scarcely again be reminded that the founder of the great Bank of
England was William Paterson, the son of a Dumfriesshire farmer, who
inaugurated the most comprehensive system of financiering of the last two
centuries, which has since influenced the transactions of every civilized
The most widely known financier in
the North-West, during the first half of the last century, was George
Smith. He was born in 1806 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, a district noted
for its men of affairs, ministers, scholars, military chieftains, and
scientists. Like General St. Clair, in his youth Mr. Smith studied for the
medical profession; like that soldier he came as a young man to America;
but here their similarity ends, for Mr. Smith devoted his talents.
exclusively to civil pursuits, and became and remained wealthy.
When he arrived in Illinois, in the
middle "30’s," he came to a place which was only "in the gristle," and not
far in, at that. Even then, however, he saw something of its
possibilities, because of its geography, as did Wm. B. Ogden, its first
mayor, and John Wentworth, Congressman, mayor and editor, and Isaac N.
Arnold, lawyer, legislator, and historian, and others whose names are
inseparably connected with the beginnings of the Garden City.
For several years he was engaged in
various business enterprises. He extended his interests to Milwaukee, with
whose large concerns he became closely connected. In these he was
associated with Hon. Alexander Mitchell, another Scot, who was a banker,
railroad builder, and National legislator. He was one of the early
promoters and directors of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad—now the
Northwestern system—the first line west out of Chicago. He was a charter
member of the Board of Trade of his city. In 1839-40 he established his
bank in Chicago, which became probably the most important and influential
financial institution in the North-West in its time. In 1860 he was
accounted one of the richest and most successful men of the Nation. He
strongly supported the Union in the Civil War. Upon his retirement from
active life, he returned to Great Britain. He contributed liberally to the
educational institutions of his native land, and was held to be one of the
foremost financiers of his generation.
Kirkland’s and Moses’ "History of
Chicago" (Vol. 1, 517-18) contains the following:
"From 1837 to 1840, Strachan and
Scott were bankers—an enterprising firm of Scotchmen associated with
George Smith. In 1840, the banking firm of George Smith & Co., was
established, and continued to be the leading house for about sixteen
years, when it dissolved, and the senior partner retired to his native
Scotland with an ample fortune, and a reputation of being one of the
shrewdest and most enterprising business men, who had up to that time made
Chicago their home. George Smith of Chicago and Alexander Mitchell at
Milwaukee, were two Scotchmen who enjoyed, the latter until his death, a
few years since (this was written in 1894) "a most successful career in
finance and other enterprises. Their resources were boundless, and their
energy untiring, and although many attempts were made by their rivals to
crush them, they always discomfited their opponents and carried their
enterprises to successful conclusions." Their institutions were popularly
known as "Smith’s Bank" and "Mitchell’s Bank."
In Rockford were two Scots
bankers—Thomas D. Robertson and D. H. Ferguson, who were known as leaders
far beyond their own communities.
The brothers, James B. Forgan and
David R. Forgan, are recognized as among Chicago’s prominent bankers. When
Lyman J. Gage was appointed Secretary of the Treasury in President
McKinley’s cabinet, James B. Forgan became President of the First National
Bank of Chicago, an office which he filled for nearly a quarter of a
century with signal ability, satisfaction, and success. David R. Forgan
was founder and is President of the National City Bank of Chicago.
Of John Crerar the "History of
Chicago," by Kirkland and Moses (Vol. II, pp. 730-31), thus speaks:
"Mr. Crerar never married, and left
no posterity to inherit his estate and perpetuate his memory. He made the
public his heir, and erected a monument which will endure after marble has
crumbled to dust, and the fame of mere earthly deeds shall have faded from
the memories of men. By the provisions of his carefully prepared will he
left the greater portion of his estate, amounting to two and a half
million dollars, for the founding and maintenance of a free public
library. A million dollars were bequeathed to religious, historical,
literary, and benevolent institutions, one hundred thousand dollars for
the erection of a colossal statue of Abraham Lincoln, and six hundred
thousand dollars to relatives and friends."
Mr. Crerar was born in New York
City, the son of Scotch parents. His father was a native of Crief,
Perthshire, his mother’s maiden name was Agnes Smeillie. His father died
the year of the son’s birth. In 1862 he came to Chicago, and was long the
senior member of the Crerar, Adams & Co. firm. He had large holdings in a
number of leading manufacturing and transportation corporations, banks,
and insurance companies. His benefactions embraced many charities, and
religious and other societies. He was a member of the Second Presbyterian
Church, Chicago. The only office he ever held was that of Presidential
Elector in 1888, when a Presbyterian elder was chosen Chief Magistrate of
the Nation. He was a generous supporter of the Illinois Saint Andrew
Society, the oldest chartered charitable organization in the State.
The fund which he provided for the
library has been well expended. Two of its original trustees were the late
Col. Huntington W. Jackson and the late Norman Williams, both intimate
friends. That it might in no way compete with the great Newberry Library
which is in the North Division, he provided that it should be located in
the South Side. His high ideals are seen in this statement in his will: "I
desire that books and periodicals be selected with a view to create and
sustain a healthy moral and Christian sentiment. I want the atmosphere
that of Christian refinement, and its aim and object the building up of
character." Truly the library which bears his name is a memorial of the
most enduring nature.
"The Crerar Library," says S. R.
Winchell, in his "Chicago" (1910) "is exclusively a reference library, and
aims to cover especially the field of scientific and technical literature,
in order that the scope of the leading libraries of the city may not be
Two companies of a semi-military
character, organized for, and devoting much time and attention to,
training in arms before the Civil War, won recognition in Illinois, and
made fine records during the Great Conflict. Each had a distinctive
uniform. The members of both represented some of the choicest young men of
Chicago. In the case of one, its leader met an untimely death early in the
war; in the other, the Commander served throughout the war, and returned
home in safety, after having passed through many hazardous experiences.
These companies were the Ellsworth Zouaves and the Highland Guards. In the
chapter of this paper entitled "Historical Publishers" mention is made of
the first-named troop. In this connection reference will be made to the
The Highland Guards were organized
in Chicago, on May 3, 1855. The members were Scotchmen. Their uniform was
the Highland garb— kilts. On public occasions the Guards were in constant
demand. In 1859, when the Centennial celebration of the birth of the poet,
Robert Burns, was observed, and when probably the largest and most
striking procession which Chicago had witnessed up to that time took
place, the Highland Guards were the most picturesque division of the day.
In 1859-1860, the records show these officers: Captain, John McArthur;
First Lieutenant, Alexander W. Raffen; Second Lieutenant, J. T. Young;
Third Lieutenant, Andrew Quade; Fourth Lieutenant, Robert Wilson;
Secretary, T. McFarland; Treasurer, John Wood. Capt. John T. Raffen was in
command when the Civil War began. The Guards were among the first to
answer the call of President Lincoln. They were mustered in as Company E
of the Nineteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and soon were at the front.
Thereafter their record is part of that of the splendid "Old Nineteenth."
One of this regiment’s exploits was
at the battle of Murfreesboro, otherwise called Stone River. General
Rosecrans’ gallant army there met the seasoned troops of General Bragg.
The fighting had been heavy and protracted. At a critical hour the
Confederates had made vigorous and successful inroads on the Union left.
All along that sector the peril was so great that it seriously threatened
other parts of the Federal lines.
The "Old Nineteenth," by a
magnificent charge, achieved glory on the field that day. The apparently
overwhelming tide of the opposing hosts was effectually stemmed. The
impending disaster was turned into complete victory. General Rosecrans’
army held the battle-ground. General Bragg’s forces filed away to
Chattanooga. In the rain of shot and shell, the valiant Colonel Scott.,
commander of the Nineteenth, was so severely wounded that he died soon
after. Col. Joseph R. Scott was born in 1838 in Brantlord, Canada, of
Scotch parentage, and was one of the youngest colonels in the Union
armies, having been made commander of his regiment in August, 1862, (James
Barnet’s "Martyrs and Heroes of Illinois," published in Chicago in 1865).
The Highland Guards, with high courage and dauntless deeds, maintained the
traditions of their countrymen at the relief of Lucknow; when they held
"the thin red line" at Balaclava; and in the desperate engagement at
Tel-el-Kebir ;—a reputation which the Scotch troops perpetuated in many a
sanguinary struggle during the late World War, when the kilted soldiers
came to be known and to be designated by the Germans as "the Ladies of
The contribution of this State to
the Union armies during the Civil War is told in the ringing words of Dr.
Chamberlin’s popular song:
"Not without thy wondrous story,
Can be writ the Nation’s glory,
Men of Scotch birth and blood had no
small or inconspicuous part in that history. We may but remind the student
of our National chronicles of some of those whose achievements are known
and read of all. We, therefore, need but recall the names of Grant, and
Logan, and Hawlins, and McClernand, and David Hunter, and McNulta, and
Owen and David Stuart, and McClurg, and Daniel Cameron, and Beveridge— all
Illinois men of Scotch nativity or ancestry, who served in our armies, and
whose deeds are large parts of our State’s and Country’s history.
Gen. John McArthur was the most
prominent Illinois soldier of Scottish birth who was a Civil War
Commander. He was born in the parish of Erskine, in Renfrewshire, on
February 17, 1826. At the age of twenty-three he came to the United
States, and settled in Chicago. For some years he was engaged in the
manufacturing business. Amid all the activities incident to the
establishing of his concern’s enterprises, he found time to give to the
building up of the Highland Guards. The year before the Civil War he was
chosen its Captain. When Fort Sumter was fired on, he promptly
volunteered, and was commissioned a captain in the Twelfth Illinois
Infantry. His promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel and Colonel was deserved and
rapid. For gallantry at Fort Donelson he was made a Brigadier-General. He
participated in the battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded, but
immediately upon having his injuries dressed, he returned to the fighting
When the lamented Gen. W. H. L.
Wallace fell mortally wounded, General McArthur succeeded to the command
of his division. In the operations against Vicksburg, he commanded a
division of General McPherson’s corps. At the battle of Nashville,
commanding a division, his services were so signally satisfactory that he
won a brevet Major-Generalship. Upon returning to his home city, at the
close of the war, he was for several years a member of the Board of Public
Works, in which he repeatedly gave evidence of his honesty and ability.
From 1873 to 1877, he was Postmaster at Chicago. General McArthur
delighted to wear the "Scottish bonnet" which accompanies the full-dress
Highland garb. In his residence of nearly three-score years in Chicago he
was the recipient of many honors at the hands of his fellow-citizens. When
he died on March 16, 1906, his passing was considered as a public
Col. James McArthur, a younger
brother of the General, and Maj. George Mason, a nephew, were brave
soldiers, and respected by former comrades-in-arms, as well as by a large
circle in civil life. Major Mason is a well-known and esteemed resident of
As a born Scot would say, "it’s a
far cry," that is, a long way, from the Black Hawk War of 1832 in Illinois
to the fateful field of Culloden of 1746 in Scotland. And yet, they are
"sib" which as Robert Louis Stevenson might say, in our manner of
speaking, means, related or connected by blood-ties.
Drumtossie, or, as it is generally
known in history, Culloden, is a moorland situate only a few miles from
"the rose red town" of Inverness, Scotland, also called "the Capital of
the Highlands." It was on Drumtossie, or Culloden Moor that "Bonnie Prince
Charlie," sometimes styled "the Pretender," met total defeat, on April 16,
1746, and put an end forever to the attempts of the luckless house of the
Stuarts to regain the British crown. The victorious army of King George
was commanded that day by the Duke of Cumberland.
Many of the chivalric Highland
chiefs had advised strongly against the "uprising," as the campaign of
Charles Edward was designated. Among them was the gallant Lochiel. When,
however, the Prince persisted in undertaking the enterprise, they threw
themselves into it with characteristic abandon, although they foresaw
inevitable disaster to the allied clans from the numerous and disciplined
hosts that were marshaled against them. Scottish song and story perpetuate
their loyalty and sacrifice on behalf of the scion of a dynasty that fell
far short of their Highland idealism in his later life. The clans were
decimated. The survivors became fugitives. Government offered large sums
for the apprehension of Prince, chiefs, and other participants. Some,
hunted like game, and hiding in caves and clachans, among woods and moors,
at last made their way to the Continent. Others, after numberless
hair-breadth escapes, succeeded in reaching the American Colonies. One of
these latter was the grandfather of our Gen. Winfield Scott, who settled
in Virginia. And, thus, Culloden’s calamitous field gave the Colonies, in
the Revolutionary War a gallant patriot soldier, and, subsequently, the
United States the commander-in-chief of its armies.
The student of our history may read
into this tragic incident of a decadent dynasty several strangely
Whatever may be said of the personal
qualities and of the impossible dreams of Black Hawk, the war which
bears his name was undertaken by many of the allied tribes as their final,
desperate stand for what they beelieved to be their right to their ancient
home and hunting-grounds, as against its invasion and occupancy by the
It may interest the American reader
to be reminded of the not inconsiderable contribution to Scottish
literature which grew out of the various, though futile, attempts of the
Stuarts to wrest the crown from the house of Hanover. The important fact
is, that many of the distinguished Americans of Colonial, Revolutionary,
and later times, were direct descendants of men who "came out in ‘45,"
that is, who joined "the Pretender" in that unsuccessful endeavor. The
remarkable feature is, that they followed a leader, and forfeited their
all for a cause, that represented in its extremest form "the divine right
of kings," to become in this land the champions of personal liberty, and
the founders of popular government on this side of the Atlantic.
Old Fort Dearborn occupied the site
of what is now a business block opposite the south approach to the Rush
Street Bridge, Chicago; on which business block was a tablet commemorative
of the fort. The name connected with the building of Old Fort Dearborn is
that of Capt. John Whistler. He was of Ulster-Scot blood. During the
Revolutionary War he served in America under Burgoyne at the battle of
Saratoga. After peace was declared, be entered the United States Army. In
1803-4 he was stationed at Detroit, and was detailed to the command of the
post at Chicago, and to build there three forts. He remained in charge
until 1810, when he was succeeded by Captain Heald. He became a major, and
died in 1827. His grandson was James McNeil Whistler, the brilliant etcher
Col. A. J. Nimmo, of Jonesboro,
Union County, was the son of a native of Virginia of Scotch ancestry. The
colonel was a gallant volunteer soldier in two wars—the Mexican, and the
Civil. He recruited and commanded the One Hundred and. Ninth Illinois
Volunteer Infantry in the great conflict, and made a record which was one
of high credit. He was repeatedly honored by his fellow-citizens in having
been elected to offices of trust, and discharged their duties with
fidelity and ability.
Maj. John Wood, a leading citizen of
Cairo, was a native of Scotland, having been born near Edinburgh. He came
to the United States when he was seventeen years of age (in 1850). He was
a brave and capable volunteer in the Civil War, and rose to the rank of
major. He was a member of the commissions that built the State Hospital at
Anna, and the Southern Illinois Normal at Carbondale.
The reports of State Adjutant
General Allen C. Fuller, contain a complete roster of the Civil War
Volunteers from Illinois, and. also an outline-history of each regiment
and battery engaged in the service from 1861 to 1865. From these
voluminous and valuable records some interesting facts are learned.
Thirty-one Illinois regiments, beside their numerical designations, had
distinctive names, by which they were known. The Twelfth Regiment, whose
first commander was Col. (afterwards Maj. Gen.) John McArthur, was called
the "First Scotch." Its chief used to wear the "Scotch bonnet," which
crowned a handsome and soldierly figure. The Sixty-fifth Regiment,
commanded by Col. (afterwards Brig. Gen.) Daniel Cameron, was known as the
"Second Scotch," also called the "Highlanders." The achievements of both
regiments are among the most creditable of the Prairie State’s Volunteers.
Of the officers who served in the
Illinois regiments, and who attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and
above that, we find in Adjutant General Fuller’s records upwards of sixty
who were of Scottish birth and ancestry. The officers from Major to Second
Lieutenant of Scots descent number into the hundreds. These officers
represent every arm of the service, and entered the army from practically
every district in the State. It is needless to remind the reader that
these Scots and Ulster-Scots and their descendants include the one who
became the General of the United States Army as well as the most
distinguished. Volunteer Major General of the era. It may be added, that
no instance is recorded wherein a single one of these patriot leaders was
found derelict in the discharge of his duty, or who came out of the great
conflict with a blot on his escutcheon.
The most distinguished literary man
to whom Illinois may lay claim probably was Hon. John Hay. Lawyer,
journalist, statesman, author, he was descended from John Hay, who fought
with famous Scots Brigade in the Low Countries, and whose son emigrated to
America. The family history relates that two of the sons of this soldier
served on the side of the Patriots during the Revolutionary War. Although
Indiana was the state of John Hay’s birth, his active public life was
shaped and begun in Illinois, and will always be held as a part of our
State’s heritage. Educated at Brown University, he studied law in
Springfield, and in 1861 was admitted here to the bar. He became secretary
to President Lincoln, and served in several military capacities during the
Civil War. Called to important positions in our diplomatic service, he was
successively connected with the United States Legations at Paris, Madrid,
and Vienna. For a period he was engaged in journalism, having been editor
of "The Illinois State Journal" of Springfield, and upon the staff of the
"Tribune" of New York. In 1897
he was our Ambassador to Great Britain, and from 1898
to 1905 was Secretary of State of the United States. It was during his
administration that the Panama Canal negotiations were carried to a
successful issue; the integrity of China was recognized by the United
States; also, the dispute settled with reference to Samoa, and the Alaska
gold-boundary question. In the realm of literature his works include the
well-known "Pike County Ballads," the "Castilian Days," the "Bread
Winners," and, in collaboration with John G. Nicolay, the "History of the
Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln." Several of his poetical contributions
have included notable hymns of a religious character. His early
impressions and experiences received while he lived in Illinois remained
with him to the end of his career, and afford us warrant for claiming him
for our State.
James Barnet, a half century ago,
was one of the best known printers in Chicago. He and his brother
Alexander were typical, loyal Scots, and were among those who organized
the Scotch Presbyterian Church of that city. James was a book publisher
and writer, and many pamphlets and not a few books, issued before the
Chicago Fire of 1871, were from his pen and press. Nearly all these have
disappeared. One, however, survives, and is in the writer’s library. It is
entitled "The Martyrs and Heroes of Illinois," and was edited and
published in 1865 by Mr. Barnet, who was an industrious compiler. It
contains a brief and appreciative biography of President Lincoln, and
sketches of some seventy Illinois soldiers who were killed or died of
wounds and disease during the war.
Peter Grant, born in the beautiful
valley of the Spey, one of Scotland’s largest and noted rivers, was for
years the popular Bard of the Caledonian Society of Chicago, before he
made his home in Detroit, Mich. Like so many other Scots who have the
spirit and gift of song, he began to compose while still a lad tending the
flocks and herds in his native strath. To Illinois he brought with him the
warmest recollections of the land of heather and heroes, which find
fitting expression in his varied verse. Loyalty to his adopted country is
frequently and forcefully voiced in his limpid lines. Among historical
collections, none furnishes more or better illustrations of the
versatility of his muse than "By Heath and Prairie," published in 1900.
Here we have the lyric, the ballad, the love song, the nature study, the
sturdy defense of the revered religion of his forefathers, the
championship of freedom and right as they live in the Republic; mingled
with a lighter vein that is characterized by pawky humor; and all having
the lilt that reveals the true son of song in delightful doric and in
In all of the Fifty-one General
Assemblies of the State of Illinois, since its admission into the Union,
the Scot has been a more or less prominent factor. The first chief
executive of this Commonwealth who was of Scottish extraction was Joseph
Duncan, of whom mention is made in the chapter devoted to "Education." The
other Governors to whom we may refer who were of Scotch descent have been
John L. Beveridge, John M. Hamilton, William J. Campbell (President of the
State Senate and Acting Lieutenant Governor), and Frank O. Lowden. All
served in the State or National Legislative Branch of the Government. Gov.
Richard J. Oglesby (who was elected three times chief State executive, and
also was a United States Senator, and a Major General in the Civil War)
liked to trace his ancestry to Scotland.
The Scots and the descendants of
Scots who were either Members of Congress or State Senators and members of
the Legislature number close to two hundred. They have come from some
sixty different counties of the one hundred and two in the State. In every
one of the sessions of the General Assembly from 1818 to 1919, the impress
of these Scots is seen in the framing of the session laws. Their work has
covered practically every chapter of the State Statutes. As an
illustration of the kind of legislation in which they have been prominent,
it may be noted that members like Dan McLaughlin, Wm. Mooney, and W. H.
Steen, of Will County, Wm. Scaife, of Grundy County, and David Ross, of La
Salle County, have made records of the utmost value to the coal miners of
the entire State, in providing for safety appliances and intelligent and
rigid inspection of the mines where so many men are engaged in this
hazardous occupation. The long and distinguished careers of Joseph
Gillespie, of Madison County, and John McNulta, of McLean County (later of
Chicago), are examples of the useful public services of descendants of
Sects whose memories this State delights to honor. In the several
Constitutional Conventions the Scot has had his part, as well as in such
measures as Illinois shares in the World’s Columbian Exposition, and in
the commission which drafted the bill creating the great Chicago Drainage
(Sanitary District) Canal, one of whose members, a Scot, then a State
Senator, was largely instrumental in securing the passage in 1889, of this
act which has secured to the Garden City a perpetual supply of pure water
for its millions of people.
Few if any of the stalwart citizens
of Kane County compared with Hon. John Stewart, of Elburn, commanding as
he was in stature, he was even more so in character and ability. Farmer,
lumberman, capitalist, legislator, traveler, he was a remarkable man. Born
in New Brunswick of parents both of whom were Scotch, he passed over sixty
years of his active, useful, and honorable life in Illinois. As a business
man, his word passed current wherever it was given. As a member of the
Legislature, he was incorruptible, capable, and courageous. In the
councils of his political party, he was a leader. He was a man who did
things, Alexander Stewart, represented the Wausau, Wis., district in
Congress for a number of terms. His son, Hon. Thomas Stewart, of Aurora,
has served in the State Senate. Both brother and son worthily sustained
the family reputation. Mr. Stewart was one of the famous "103" who
elected, in 1885, Gen. John A. Logan to the United States Senate, the last
time he was chosen to fill that office.
Hon. Robert A. Gray, of Macon
County, was a member of the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth General
Assemblies. He was of Ulster-Scot ancestry. He was a farmer, legislator
and poet. His career as a law-maker was one of intelligence, industry, and
honesty. He had in an unusual degree the ability of writing verse. Several
of his lyrical productions have been widely published. They found a
well-merited place in the "Readers" of the late Dr. Richard Edwards, who
for four years was State Superintendent of Public Instruction of Illinois.
One of the most pathetic and popular of these poems was entitled, from a
line it contained, "There’s But One Pair Stockings to Mend Tonight,"
tender, touching, and revealing the spirit and power of the true songster.
"Peace hath her victories
No less renowned than war."
Sir William Keith, a Scot, was
related to the "Illinois Country" during the era of French Dominion. As
far back as 1718—the time of John Law—Sir William, who was royal Governor
of Pennsylvania, sent out an agent, James Logan (also a Scot?), to explore
this region, with the object of discovering some routes to the Mississippi
which might be of use to the British. The report made by Logan is quoted
in Andreas’ voluminous and valuable "History of Chicago" (Vol. I, p. 79).
Says Logan: "From Lake Huron they (the French) pass by the Strait of
Michilimakina four leagues, being two in breadth, and of great depth, to
the Lake of Illinois (Michigan) ; thence one hundred and fifty leagues to
Fort Miami, situated at the mouth of the river, Chicago. The fort is not
regularly garrisoned." It is stated, in the same history, that "this fort
(at Chicago) was doubtless a stockade, erected by the French to facilitate
the trade between Canada, via the lakes, and their settlements at
Kaskaskia and Fort Chartres."
The introduction to Chicago of the
orchard and garden products of southern Illinois was an enterprise of
considerable value to both districts. The originator of this project was
D. Gow, who was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, February 15, 1825, and,
settling in Cobden Township, Union County, became one of the leading fruit
and vegetable growers in that region. Those of the older generation who
were acquainted with the late John B. Drake, whose name was so long
connected with the famous Grand Pacific Hotel, Chicago, may recall that it
was to him that Mr. Gow shipped his products which made that popular place
one of the best in the Garden City.
Among the well-known and successful
manufacturers, by whose enterprise the city of Cairo was built, was John
T. Rennie, born May 20, 1819, in the "Auld Town o’ Avr," the native place
of Scotland’s National Poet, Robert Burns.
Family names have undergone numerous
and radical changes in the United States, especially in the West,
including and since the days of the never one who was noted for his "much
speaking." His brother, Hon. pioneers. The historian is frequently
confused in his endeavors to trace these names to their parent-stems. The
orthography has greatly varied with localities. This has been due to the
people themselves, and to the public registrars of lands, marriages,
births, and deaths. In many frontier communities, a century or so ago,
there was little "book learning." Schools were few and far between.
Teachers were rarely able to do more than impart the rudiments of the
"three R’s." Family records generally were not kept. When it became
necessary to make record of names, the writers were often compelled to
enter them on their books "as they sounded." Therefore, it came to pass,
that a family name would be spelled one way in, say, Pennsylvania,
Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky or Ohio, and quite differently in Indiana
and Illinois. Even in adjacent settlements these variations obtained.
A few illustrations will serve to
show how these changes were brought about. It will be remembered that John
Kinzie, "the Father of Chicago," was the son of John McKenzie, a Scot. Why
John dropped the "Mc" and wrote "Kinzie" for "Kenzie" is now a matter of
conjecture. In Scotland, Sinclair, (pronounced "Sinkler" with the accent
on the first syllable) is that also written here St. Clair or Saint Clair.
In Wigtownshire, Scotland, the name Hanna (from which Mark Hanna, of Ohio,
descended), was long ago written "Hannay." MacMillan is variously written
as McMillan, M’Millan, McMillain and McMillin. Jamieson becomes Jameson
and Jamison. Stuart is also Stewart, Steuart, and Steward. Ainslie is
changed to Ainsley, Ansley, and finally Ensley. Paton is Patton, and
Patten. Tait is made Tate. Ballantyne becomes Ballantine and Ballentine.
Goudie of Ayrshire, was written Goudy in Ulster, and when it reached Ohio,
Indiana and Iowa, it was and is Gowdie and Gowdy. Mathieson of Gairloch,
Scotland, is written Matteson in Colorado. But perhaps the most remarkable
transformation is that of the Highland MacPherson, where the "Mac" was
discontinued, and the "Pherson" became Person, and at last by some is
written Farson. MacCutcheon has been so changed that Cutcheon is now
Cutchen. These are but a few instances which will show to the reader how
pioneer names, properly understood, can be traced back to their originals.
The interested reader may find in this brief remark that which will aid in
connecting present-time families with their remote ancestors, who in early
day came across the Atlantic to these then distant parts of the American
Samuel Muir was the son of a
talented Presbyterian minister, Rev. James Muir, a Scot who preached at
Alexandria, Va., from 1789 to 1820, the year of his death. The son was
born in the District of Columbia in the year of his father’s settlement at
Alexandria. He studied medicine in the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
In 1813, be became a surgeon in the United States Army. The year Illinois
was admitted into the Union (1818), he resigned his commission, and
married the daughter of the then chief of the Sac or Fox Indians. Settling
among the people of his wife, he assumed their ways, and came to be
considered as a leader. In 1829, he quitted the Indians, and went to
Galena, where he practised medicine. In 1832, the year of the Black Hawk
War, there was an epidemic of cholera among the United States Troops, and
he volunteered his services, which were accepted. Dr. Muir saved many
lives by his skill, but fell a victim to the disease within a few months
(Dr. Peter Ross in "The Scots in America," p. 160).
David McKee was the first blacksmith
in what is now Chicago of whom we find any mention in the early histories.
He was born in Virginia, in 1800, of Scottish ancestry. He married Wealthy
Scott, daughter of Stephen J. Scott, who presumably was of Scotch lineage.
It is said that he arrived at Fort Dearborn (Chicago) in 1822 or 1823. At
all events, it is of record that he paid taxes in 1825, and voted in 1826
and 1830, and his name appears on the poll-list as an elector. He was
employed for a time by the Government at his trade. He built a home and
shop at what is now the corner of Kinzie and Franklin Streets. The other
civilians’ houses, outside the Fort, were then chiefly if not all on the
north side. In 1828, he was the mail carrier between Chicago and Fort
Wayne, Ind. He rode this mail route on horseback, and it took a month to
make the round-trip—now by rail 151 miles, one way, and traversed by train
in about four hours. He could speak fluently, the Indian language
(probably the Pottawatomie). It is stated that he met at Chicago the
families of the Israel P. Blodgett party, and guided them out to their
future homes in what is now Du Page County. One of the early histories
states that he served in the Black Hawk War in 1832. He died April 8,
1881, and is buried in the Big Woods Cemetery.
Capt. Joseph Naper, for whom
Naperville, DuPage County, was named, was a prominent early citizen of the
northern part of the State, and was of Scotch descent. In the early
histories the name is spelled "Napier," that being still the recognized
orthography followed in Scotland, where the family has not a few
distinguished members. (S. Augustus Mitchell, published in Philadelphia in
John Robertson, one of the leading
men of Morgan County, and in his day probably the richest, was the son of
Alexander and Elizabeth Robertson, both of whom were Scotch. He was born
in 1823, and here became a leading banker. His Americanism was pronounced.
In the time of President Lincoln and War-Governor Yates, he was reckoned
among their most enthusiastic and capable supporters. When the Government,
in Civil War times, needed financial assistance, as those of the past few
years may well imagine, John Robertson, like Joshua Moore, and other loyal
men of the county, liberally subscribed for its bonds, and otherwise
labored to keep going the machinery of the National administration.
Two brothers, John and Samuel
McCarty, were the founders of Aurora, Kane County, and were the sons of
Charles and Mary (Scudden) McCarty, who were descended from old Protestant
families of Scotch and English extraction. Samuel donated the land in
Aurora on which was built the first Presbyterian Church. This place became
famous as the one on which the first Republican State Convention was held,
and where it received its name. [The first Republican or Anti-Nebraska
State Convention was held at Bloomington, May 29, 1856. This convention
nominated for Governor of the State William H. Bissell who was elected and
was the first Republican Governor of Illinois.] He was a generous
contributor to education, especially in building up Jennings Seminary in
In the north entrance of the Federal
Building, Chicago, which was wrecked, in 1918, by the bomb of an
anarchist, stands a bust of George Buchanan Armstrong. It was erected by
the clerks of the United States Railway Mail Service, in honor of the
founder of that branch of the Post Office Department. Mr. Armstrong, for
whom a public school in Chicago is named, was an Ulster-Scot.
Says Dr. Ross (in "The Scot in
America") of one who was an interesting figure half a century ago: "Very
considerable space might be given to the exploits of Allan Pinkerton, the
ablest detective who ever assisted justice in America. Sketches of this
man’s career are plentiful enough, and his successes and experiences have
been told in a series of volumes bearing his name." Pinkerton was born at
Glasgow, in 1819, his father being a policeman. He certainly became one of
the best-known detectives in America, and was a terror to evil-doers of
all classes. His home and headquarters were in Chicago, where he died in
1884. He performed valuable services for the United States during the
When a native of Scotland would
express his high appreciation of the ability of a youth of his
acquaintance, he "cannily" describes him as "a lad of pairts." Such
undoubtedly was Dr. Andrew Russel, the grandfather of Hon. Andrew Russel,
of Jacksonville, former State Treasurer, and now (1919) State Auditor of
Illinois. Dr. Russel was born in Scotland, in 1785, and his wife, Miss
Agnes Scott, daughter of John Scott, was a native of Glasgow. In that city
the Doctor received his literary and professional education. Upon his
coming to Illinois, he bought a large farm some ten miles south of
Jacksonville, remaining upon it until his removal to the County seat of
Morgan County in the spring of 1853. There he continued to live until his
decease in 1861. The Doctor was one of the prominent men of Morgan County.
He and his wife, who lived to be octogenarians, were deeply religious, and
were staunch Presbyterians. They left a record for loyalty, usefulness,
and goodness which their children and their grandchildren have sustained.
Auditor of State Russel is a banker of his home town, Jacksonville, and
has long been associated with M. F. Dunlap, who also is well known
throughout Illinois. Mr. Russel is one of the founders and a director of
the Illinois State Historical Society.
In the realm of reformatory work for
and among the erring, no one in Illinois occupies a more conspicuous place
than Maj. Robert W. McClaughry. A native of Hancock County. Illinois, his
ancestry was Ulster-Scotch, and Presbyterian by faith. He graduated in
1860 from Monmouth College, and when the Civil War began he volunteered,
was elected a captain, served throughout that conflict, and rose to the
rank of major. In 1874 he was appointed warden of the Joliet Penitentiary,
filling that office until 1888; was superintendent of the Reformatory at
Huntington, Pa.; was largely instrumental in framing and securing the
passing of the act creating the Illinois Reformatory at Pontiac, of which
he became Superintendent (1893-97) again warden of Joliet (1897-99); and
warden of the Federal Prison at Leavenworth, Kansas, from 1899 until his
retirement from active service. As a penologist he has been recognized
throughout the Nation.
Dr. J. D. Scouller, a native of
Ayrshire, Scotland, was for many years the Superintendent of the Reform
School for Boys at Pontiac before it became a State reformatory for older
persons, and previous to the founding of the School for Boys at St.
Charles. He had remarkable aptness for and success in this line of work.
The Illinois Saint Andrew Society is
the oldest charitable organization chartered by the State. It was
instituted in 1846 and was incorporated in 1853. Like all the other bodies
of that name the world over, its object is to aid those of Scottish birth
and ancestry who are in need. It has built, and maintains, near Riverside,
Cook County, the establishment known as the "Scottish Old People’s Home."
This is endowed amply, and furnishes a beautiful, comfortable, and
commodious retreat in their old age to nearly forty women and men. The
Scot does not take kindly to a poor-farm or work-house, and the "Home" is
a place for guests, not "Inmates." The building and endowing of this
"Home" are due to the untiring efforts of John Williamson, a Scot, who has
been President of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society, and is Vice President
of the People’s Gas Company of Chicago.
Every civilized nation was
represented at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Those
who visited it will recall the matchless "Court of Honor." It was the
center to which all naturally gravitated. The most striking feature of
that surpassing scene was the Colossal Fountain. It has been reproduced
oftener perhaps than any other one part of the entire exhibition, and with
reason, for easily it was the most beautiful. To it was and is attached
the name of the gifted artist whose inimitable creation it was. The "MacMonnies
Fountain" will live when the memories of the ornate structures which
adorned the ample grounds are forgotten. The sculptor, Frederick
MacMonnies, may here be named because of his many contributions to the
plastic arts, and on account of his lineage. He came of a Dumfrieshire,
Scotland, family, although he first saw the light in Brooklyn, N. Y. The
influence of his marvelous conception is not measurable. And we may claim
a part of this "Court of Honor" as of a son of one of Scotia’s sons.
John Finley Wallace ranks among the
great engineers of the United States. His father was Rev. Dr. David A.
Wallace, the first President of Monmouth College, which is referred to in
our chapter on "Education." Dr. Wallace’s four sons have all made records
for usefulness that are well worthy of mention. These are: John Finley,
Rev. William, Rev. Mack H., and Charles, who
has reached high
rank in the United States Signal Corps; while his daughter is the wife of
Judge Taggart, who has been Superintendent of Insurance of Ohio. John
Finley Wallace, the oldest, studied at Monmouth, and has occupied
important positions in the river and harbor work of the Mississippi, in
railroad engineering and administration, as general manager of the Panama
Railroad and Steamship Line, as engineering expert for the Chicago City
Council’s Committee on Railway Terminals, and in other important
enterprises of a similar nature. His professional standing is evidenced by
his election to the Presidency of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
His home and headquarters in recent years have been in New York, and yet
Illinois does not waive the right to hold him as one of its sons of
Malcolm McNeil and John McNeil,
brothers, Scotch of ancestry, birth, and training, for upwards of half a
century have contributed largely to the business history of Illinois. The
wholesale grocery house of McNeil and Higgins is known widely and well.
The brothers established themselves in Chicago after the Great Fire of
1871, and the firm has since then been one of the most prominent and
prosperous. Malcolm McNeil, now (1919) 87 years of age. retains his active
connection with its large interests and has his home in the North Division
of Chicago. John McNeil, whose home was in Elgin, traveled for years to
and from Chicago, covering a distance in his time of a million of miles.
He passed to the great beyond in April of this year (1919) at the age of
four score. For nearly half a century he was an honored officer in the
First Baptist Church of Elgin, and was president of the Home Trust and
Savings Bank of that city. Malcolm McNeil is one of the representative men
of Chicago, esteemed throughout the community, one in whose entire career
are illustrated the sterling qualities characteristic of the best of his
Where the Scot has cast in his
lot—and where has he gone ?—he has made a place and a name for
himself, in the city and country alike. A few only, out of a number, are
here mentioned, as time would fail, and space be utterly wanting, even to
enumerate more than a limited list of those whose contributions have gone
into the developing of Illinois. For from the days of John Kinzie—the son
of a Scot, and known in all the histories as the "Father of Chicago"—until
the present time, there has not been a decade in which Scotchmen have not
been familiar figures, and played prominent parts, in the up-building of
the city by the lake. Carlisle Mason and John McArthur had their names
linked together before the Civil War. Mr. Mason is still represented by
Maj. George Mason, who gallantly served his country during the Great
Conflict. John Clark, a manufacturer, was a stalwart Reformed Presbyterian
elder, who lost his life in the Chicago Fire of 1871. His name was
continued by his son Robert, who with John T. Raffen formed the firm of
Clark and Raffen. Robert was prominent in municipal councils, and was a
generous supporter of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. Captain Raffen
was a brave soldier who went into the Nation’s armies at the beginning of
the war with the "Highland Guards." James S. Kirk founded the company of
fine toilet soap manufacturers which carries his name. John P. Pine and
Andrew MacLeish, of the dry-goods house of Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co., are
known not only as merchants, but also as benefactors of church and
educational enterprises. George Armour was one of the "grain kings" of his
time, a loyal and liberal Presbyterian, one of whose memorials stands in
the public square in his native city of Campbelltown, Scotland, to refresh
with its cooling waters the passer-by. David B. Fraser and Thomas Chalmers
were associated in the Eagle Works, of which P. W. Gates was president,
and later they established the Fraser and Chalmers Company, whose great
shops were in Chicago as well as in Erith, near London, England, and whose
machinery has found its way into mills and camps in every civilized land.
Their sons, respectively, Norman D. Fraser and William J. Chalmers,
sustain well their forbears’ reputations. When Chicago was the world’s
great lumber market, John Oliver, John Sheriff, and John McLaren were
among the leaders in that line. John Alston was at the head of the paint
house of his name. Andrew Wallace was the successful manager here of J. H.
Bass, manufacturer and banker, of Fort Wayne, Ind. William Stewart,
wholesale grocer, of the firm of Stewart and Aldrich, was the father of
Graeme Stewart, of whom mention is elsewhere made. The extensive
ship-yards and dry-dock of Thomas E. and Brice A. Miller, brothers, on the
North Branch, were patronized by vessel men of the Great Lakes from
Buffalo and Duluth to Chicago. William McCredie, whose home was in
Hinsdale, Du Page County, was for many years an official of the Burlington
Railroad. John Crighton, a member of the Board of Trade, occupied a
leading place as Presbyterian elder and business man. Sylvester Lynd.
sixty years ago was a prominent capitalist. George MacPherson was a
pharmacist of high standing, a thorough and accomplished Gaelic scholar
and one of the founders, and long an elder, of the Scotch Presbyterian
Church. Hugh Templeton, a baker, well known, was one of the founders and
an elder of the Jefferson Park Presbyterian Church.
The Scot in Illinois, as elsewhere,
in the United States, entertains a sentiment for, and maintains a
relationship to, his adopted country akin to the homeland, which, perhaps,
cannot be more aptly described than by likening the former to the faithful
husband and the latter to the affectionate son. He holds to the Scriptural
injunction of leaving the parent, howsoever devoted, and cleaving to the
wife. Hence, he becomes the patriotic naturalized American citizen, whose
contribution to all that is best in the body politic is considerable,
conscientious, and continuing. He sees to it that his children go and do
likewise. He has never been known to pervert his nativity, nor to employ
it, to obtain political position before the electorate. He has given
America its most popular out-of-door pastime golf. In his anniversary
celebrations he always links the toast of "The Land We Left" with that of
"The Land We Live In." His countrymen are well aware that the "cottage
where our Robbie Burns was born" is the shrine to which more American
pilgrims annually travel, and is more popular, than even the home of the
"divine William" at Stratford-on-Avon. He becomes and remains an American
through and through.
The historical and biographical data
herein given are necessarily incomplete. The object of the writer has been
only to suggest somewhat of the field to be covered, and to intimate the
sources from which the information expressed and implied have been
obtained, together with the immediate and indirect influences of those who
are named upon the creation and development of our Prairie Commonwealth.
To the historian of the future must be committed the task—which here has
been in the nature of a labor of love—of preparing a fuller, more
comprehensive, accurate, and satisfactory chronicle of the Scot and his
descendants in Illinois. It is hoped that in this direction a beginning
has been made. This has become possible by the courtesy of the Illinois
State Historical Society, which already has accomplished so much in the
preservation in permanent form of our State records, without which these
annals would soon forever be lost to coming generations. Sincere thanks
are also acknowledged to the Society’s capable Secretary, Mrs. Jessie
Palmer Weber, for kindly cooperation.
NOTE.—It Is frankly admitted that,
in the foregoing paper, there has been made scarcely more than a
preliminary study of the subject, so far as known the first In Illinois.
Many State and local, as well as National, authorities have been
consulted. The writer acknowledges his indebtedness to these, and to all
who have cooperated throughout the collection of the data, and whose
suggestions have aided materially In their preparation.
Particularly are thanks due, and
hereby expressed, to these friends for cordial and valuable assistance:
Hon. Ensley Moore, Jacksonville.
J. Ritchie Patterson, Chicago Public Library.
Miss Caroline McIlvaine, Chicago Historical Society.
President Charles M. Stuart, Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston.
President McMichael, Monmouth College, Monmouth.
Hon. Millard R. Powers, LaGrange (formerly of McDonough County).
Robert Collyer Fergus, Chicago.
E. E. Gore, LaGrange (formerly of Carlinville).
A. M. Langwill, LaGrange.
William J. Thompson, Chicago (formerly of Randolph County).
James G. Wolcott, Assessor Lyons Township, Cook County.
Mrs. Geo. M. Vial and family, LaGrange.
Charles Paterson, President Paterson Institute, LaGrange.