Full Title: Chicago Antiquities: Comprising Original Items and Relations, Letters, Extracts, and Notes, Pertaining to Early Chicago by Henry Higgins Hurlbut
Book Location: Google Books Date Published: 1881
A great primary source on early Chicago history. Filled with tales of Indians and the earliest settlers. The book is 673 pages long and does not have a “Contents” page. Thankfully there is an Index in the back. Consider this a must read – or at least browse.
FIRST THINGS IN CHICAGO
The first negro slave in Chicago, of which we have heard, was “Black Jim,” owned by John Kinzie, and brought here by him in 1804.
The first coroner’s inquest was over the body of a dead Indian.
The first civil execution among the whites, here, was that of John Stone, who was hanged July 10, 1840, for the murder of Mrs. Thompson. The place of execution was the racecourse, some three miles south from the river, near the lake shore, back of Myrick’s tavern. A portion of Col. Beaubien’s Goth Regiment was improvised as a guard for the occasion, the command of which Col. B. transferred to Lieut. Col. Seth Johnson. The return of the procession brought back the body of Stone, which was given by the sheriff to the doctors for dissection. [We will here refer to what was probably the last execution at this place of an Indian by his comrades. It occurred in the fall of 1832, or the ensuing winter, after a council, or their form of a trial. Being adjudged worthy of death, the man was taken outside, into the brush, south of
Randolph street, near where Market street is now, and executed, probably by shooting. Our informant, who was an early settler here, says such was the statement confidently told at the time, though he had no personal knowledge of the matter beyond the assurance of others.]
The first map of Chicago was by James Thompson, the surveyor employed by the State Canal Commissioners to lay out the town, or rather, village. This map bore date August 4, 1830, and the original was in the Recorder’s Offtce, and was probably burned. It is understood that the first plat of the village gave to Chicago a public levee upon the plan of the western river towns. Our levee, accordingly, was located on the south side, from South Water street to the river. But the lake vessels could not find it expedient to conform to the ways of the shallow craft of the Mississippi valley waters, and so the Chicago levee was abandoned, and the ground was sold, docked, and built upon.
The first street leading to Lake Michigan, was laid out April 25, 1832; it commenced at where was called the east end of Water street, and is described by Jedediah Wooley, surveyor, as follows: “from the east end of Water street” (at the west line of the Reservation, or State street?) “in the town of Chicago, to Lake Michigan; direction of said road is south 88 J^ degrees cast, from the street to the lake, 18 chains 50 links. Said street was laid out 50 feet wide. The viewers on this occasion also believe that said road is of public utility and a convenient passage from the town to the lake.”
THE first extended highway regularly laid out in Chicago. was “The Green Bay Road,” in 1835, under the direction of Gen. Scott, U. S. A.
The first white man’s tannery, was that of John Miller. It stood (1831) near to and on the north side of, his brother Samuel Miller’s tavern, near the Junction.
The first regularly appointed auctioneer was James Kinzie.
THE first debating Society formed here, was organized during the winter 1831-2 comprising nearly all the male
population, mostly within the Fort. Col. J. B. Beaubicn was chosen President.
THE first Druggist was Philo Carpenter, who arrived in Chicago in the month of July, 1832; his store was a small log- building, near where is now the east end of Lake Street Bridge. Mr. C. next occupied a log-building, just vacated by Geo. W. Dole, who had removed into his new store.
THE first steamboat fuel furnished by Chicago, was in 1832, when Captain Walker of the “Sheldon Thompson” bought an old log-cabin and took it on board for his return down the Lake.
The first printed list of Advertised Letters was in number seven of Mr. Calhoun’s paper, the Chicago Democrat, Jan. 7, 1834. The list comprised one letter, namely, for Erastus Bowen.
The first Fair was held by “the ladies of the Protestant Episcopal Church of this Town,” on the 18th June, 1835, and is referred to in the village newspaper, as “a novelty in Chicago.”
NOT in 1835, (as stated Dec. 5, 1875 in one of the Chicago Times articles, headed “By-Gone Days,’‘ those pleasantly told stories, even though occasionally marred with typographical, accidental, or sensational errors, which we shall notice hereafter,) but July 4, 1836, was the first spadeful of earth thrown out in the digging of the Illinois and Michigan Canal.
The first ferryman was Mark Beaubien.
THE first rock for the harbor piers was furnished by John K. Boyer.
The first dray in Chicago was shipped from the Hudson, by Philo Carpenter; we think, also, that the first specimen of that renowned pleasure-vehicle of New England, “the one- horse shay,” which appeared here, was when that gentleman and his bride rode into the village in one, in the spring of
owned by Col. J. B. Beaubien, and brought from the East. It is said that the villagers, upon its arrival, paid it distinguished honor, “turning out in procession and parading the streets.”
The first engraver on wood or metal was S. D. Childs, senr.
The first church bell was placed upon the Unitarian Church edifice, 87-93 Washington Street, January, 1845.
The first vessel larger than a “shell” built here was the “Clarissa” launched May, 1836.
The first public edifice erected by the County of Cook, was an Estray Pen.
The first “balloon” built in Chicago or elsewhere, (a popular style of spike-fastened light frame buildings, which astonished by their firmness the old-fashioned mortise and tenon builders,) was erected in the fall of 1832 by Geo. W. Snow, and stood near the Lake shore. It was but a slight affair, yet served for the while, as his place of business, and to protect his goods or freight received by vessel. The greater share of said freight, we may here add, was made up of whisky or other kinds of the ardent.
THE first steam engine built in Chicago, was made and put up by Ira Miltimore. It was used to run a saw-mill located on the north branch, near the residence of the late Archibald Clybourn.
The first suggestion we think on record (or off) by a Chi- cagoan or indeed “any other man” for the establishment, in each of our Collegiate Institutions, of a Professorship to occupy “a Chair of Integrity,” for the teaching of that ancient and important accomplishment honesty, now so rare in our public men or officials, (not to speak of others,) was contained in an address by the late Hon. Wm. B. Ogden, not long since, before the Board of Trustees of the Chicago University.
The first book printed in Chicago was consumed by fire, in the bindery, late in 1840. Scammon’s Reports, vol. I. Four incomplete copies were not in that fire.