Friday, December 28, 2012

REQUIEM FOR A HOUSE - 301 Asbury Avenue, Evanston, Illinois

As the day drew to a close on December 11, 2012, Evanston, Illinois became a different place, but few took notice.  December 12th would be the first day since 1883 that there was not a house standing at 301 Asbury Avenue.  It was torn down by order of the City of Evanston because it had become a hazard to the safety of its citizens.

301 Asbury, 2007

When the house at 301 Asbury was built in 1883, buildings in Evanston were not even numbered - in fact 301 was not in the City of Evanston at all - it was built in the Village of South Evanston, and did not become part of Evanston itself until South Evanston was annexed in 1892.

When the house at 301 was built, the streets of this part of South Evanston had not even been laid out.  Asbury Avenue was there, but it was an unpaved dirt road this far south.  Major Edward Harris Mulford, the original owner of the 160 acre estate “Oakton” that reached from Howard to Oakton and Asbury to Custer (called Rinn Street back then) had only been dead for four years.  Mulford’s granddaughter Anna Mulford Brown was just beginning to subdivide the estate and sell it off piece by piece.

When I was a boy, Major Mulford’s house on the northwest corner of Ridge and Harvard Terrace was still standing.  The last piece of the original estate, it was sold and razed in 1963 so the first condominium in Evanston could be built.


In 1883 the Village of South Evanston was populated with immigrants from Germany and France and Luxembourg - people with names like Muno and Leider and Schaul.

301 Asbury, the two story frame house with the barn out in back, provided a home to many of these early settlers as well - distant relatives but part of my own family:  The house was originally built by John N. Didier (Jean-Nicholas Didier), a gardener, and various members of the Didier and Faber family lived there until the mid 1950s.

Here is a photo of John N. Didier with his second wife Elizabeth (nee Reding) and his eleven children:


Over the years many of the Didiers lived at 301 Asbury.  Here are the listings from the South Evanston, then the Evanston City Directory:

1883 - (Referred to as Asbury av. cor Mulford)
John N. Didier (Gardener)

1888
H.N. Didier (Farmer)
John Didier,
J.N. Didier (Farmer)
Peter Didier (Farmer)

1890
Henry N. Didier
J.N. Didier (Farmer)
John Didier (Farmer)
John Didier, Jr. (Farmer)
Peter Didier (Farmer)

1891
Frank J. Didier (Student)
Henry N. Didier (Gardener)
John N. Didier (Farmer)
Nicholas Didier (Farmer)          

1892
Frank J. Didier (Student, Canisius College, Buffalo, N.Y.)
Henry N. Didier (Gardener)
John N. Didier [Elizabeth, wife], (Farmer)

On August 9, 1892, Henry N. Didier was married to Barbara Schiltz at St. Nicholas Church ("The German church") by the beloved  founding pastor, Fr. Otto Groenebaum:


The newlyweds took up permanent residence at 301 Asbury.

More entries from the Evanston Directories for the Didiers at 301 Asbury:

1893
Alex Didier (Student, St. Nicholas Academy)
Frank J. Didier (Student, Chicago Medical College)
Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Farmer)
Mrs. J.N. Didier
Miss Margaret Didier
Miss Susan Didier

1894 - Now referred to as 301 Asbury Avenue
Frank J., Didier, Student
H.N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)
Mrs. J.N. Didier, widow
Miss Margaret Didier
Miss Susan Didier

1895
Mrs. Elizabeth Didier
Emil Didier (Laborer)
Frank J. Didier (Market Gardener)
Margaret Didier
Susan Didier

1896
Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)
Susie Didier

1897
Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)

1898
Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)
M.J. Faber [Susan, wife] (Buyer, Lyon & Healy, Chicago)

1899
Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)
M.J. Faber [Susan, wife] (with Lyon & Healy, Chicago)

By 1901 the Fabers had moved to their own home and Henry Didier and his family were the only Didiers still living at 301.

In 1907 Henry Didier decided to build a frame barn out behind the house at a cost of $875.00:





It had stalls for horses on the ground floor and a hay loft above.

In this 1924 photo of the Asbury Station of the North Shore Line the barn can be seen in the background on the upper left:


By 1927 the area had become too built up for horses, and Henry Didier decided to convert the barn into a three car garage:


In September of 1929, 301 Asbury was host to a sad occasion - the death of one of its residents. Francis Didier, the 20 year old son of Henry and Barbara Didier died at nearby St. Francis Hospital but his wake was held at home.


Here's his obituary from the Chicago Daily Tribune of September 16, 1929:

 

As it says in his obituary, Francis Didier is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Techny, Illinois:


In 1931, Henry Didier decided to close in the rear stairway:



In October of 1933 sadness again covered 301 Asbury.  This time it was the death of Henry N. Didier, who was involved with 301 since the house was built in 1883 - when Henry was a young man of twenty years old.  Henry Didier had lived at 301 Asbury for fifty years!


The doctor who filled out Henry's death certificate made an interesting observation.  In the section that asks, "Was disease in any related to the occupation of deceased?" the doctor wrote "Yes.  Long years of hard work."  And they used to tell us "Hard work will never kill you..."

Henry N. Didier was buried next to his son Francis at St. Mary's Cemetery in Techny:



The 1940 Census finds the widow Barbara Didier still living at 301 along with her twenty-three son Henry Didier, Jr. and Henry's twenty-one year old wife Vera.  They were renting part of the house to the Henry Hermes family (for $40.00 per month).  Henry Hermes' wife was Mary Didier, one of the daughters of Barbara and Henry Didier, Sr.

In October of 1945 (even though the tombstone says 1946), Barbara Didier died.  She was seventy-one years old.


(A special thank-you to the angel who got the Didier death certificates for me)

Here's Barbara Didier's obituary from the Chicago Daily Tribune of October 31, 1945:


She was buried next to her husband and son at Techny:


Henry and Barbara Didier were the loving parents of fourteen (!!!) children.  301 Asbury was a house built to be filled with children.

Henry Didier, Jr. and his wife Vera and the Hermes family (Mary Didier) stayed at 301 Asbury Avenue after Barbara's death, but finally in 1954 the decision was made by the heirs of Henry Sr. and Barbara Didier to sell.  On December 31, 1954 the property was sold to Wladyslawa (Lottie) Jencz and her husband John.  Although title passed on December 31, 1954, it was not until mid-1955 that all the many heirs of Henry Sr. and Barbara Didier had quit-claimed their interests to the Jencz family.  By the end of 1955, for the first time in seventy-two years, 301 Asbury was not owned by any member of the Didier famly.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Friday, December 21, 2012

IN HOPE OF OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM - Frances Jane Robinson and Frances Maria Whitelaw

NOTE:  Back on December 21, 2012 I wrote the story of Frances Jane Robinson and Frances Maria Whitelaw for this blog.  I wrote the story based on information that I pulled from a variety of sources on the internet.  Subsequent to that, their family contacted me with corrections and clarifications.  So, the story presented below has been re-written to relate it as it actually happened.  Although sad in many ways, it tells the story of a remarkable family.  I hope you enjoy it:

For this week's selection we are going to stay in Section S of Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  As I have mentioned before, Rosehill is a cemetery where you can find interesting stories wherever you look.

On a recent Find a Grave photo expedition I came upon this Celtic Cross:


The top part is inscribed:


To The Cherished
Memory of
Frances Jane
(Fanny)
Widow of the Late
J.H. Robinson
of London, England
And Dau. of
The Late Colonel
Bowland Moffatt
(British Army)
Passed Away at
Glencoe, Ill.
Sept 17, 1906

The bottom part is inscribed:


Frances Maria
Daughter of
Geo. & Ethel Whitelaw
Grand Daughter of the Above
Sept. 25, 1906 - Jan. 18, 1907
In Hope of Our Gathering
Together Unto Him
                                        F.C.R. - E.C.W.

What can we find out about the grandmother and granddaughter interred here?  Let's take a look.

The stone mentions Colonel Bowland Moffat (1813-1890).  According to The New Annual Army List With an Index (1840) Colonel Moffat was with the 54th (or the West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot Soldiers - Serving in the East Indies.  Colonel Moffat was a career military man at a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.  He served in India which the British called the "East Indies".

Bowland Moffat

Frances Jane Moffat was born in Madras, India on December 4, 1837 to Bowland Moffat and Frances Maria Garrard (1818-1891).

Frances Maria Garrard Moffat

Frances Jane was the oldest of five children born to the couple.  After Frances Jane came Emily Augusta (1839-1917), Bowland Garrard (1842-1924), Reginald William (1844-????) and Eustace William Douglas (1845-1892).    

In about 1850 Bowland Moffat was transferred to the Channel Islands. The 1851 Census shows thirteen-year-old Frances Jane living with her parents, siblings, a governess and two servants.    
  
On May 30, 1859 the Moffats were back in Calcutta, India for twenty-one year old Frances Jane to marry James Hamilton Robinson  (1837-1900).  Seven children were born to Frances and James Robinson: Frances Campbell (b 1860), Hamilton Moffat (b 1862), George Eustace McNeil (b 1864), Emily Willan (b 1865), Alan Forsyth (b 1867),  Ella Stuart (b 1872), and Ethel Campbell (b 1880).

James Hamilton Robinson was born June 10, 1837 in Kilbourn Priory, Essex, England, the son of George Brown Robinson (1804-1859) and Jane Campbell Hamilton (1819-1896).  Contrary to popular belief James' family was not related to the famous Robertson Scottish marmalade family.  The Robertson Marmelade Company was founded in the 1850s whereas the family of James Hamilton Robinson had changed their family name and left Scotland for England sometime in the 1740s or so.
 
Records indicate that James was an East India Trader living in Calcutta, not with the British East India Company as some have related, but as a partner in an independent company called Balfour and Robinson as an exporter of jute and other merchandise.
 
Frances and James seemed to have a very nice upper to upper middle class life in Calcutta and in England until around 1867 when two events occurred.  One, James declared bankruptcy which naturally destroyed their finances and apparently made James a bitter man.  The other was that James found another woman, whose name was Mary Cole.  James started a bigamous lifestyle having ten children with Mary.
 
In 1885 James and Mary and their children moved to Manitoba, Canada.  Naturally Frances did not join them.  In that era, James' very open lifestyle must have been humiliating to Frances as a woman of her station.  However with no money, nor a husband, she had to stay somewhere.  She moved to Wapella NWT (now Saskatchewan) to live with her son.  Life must have been terrible - she lived in a one room cabin with her son and two of her daughters (Ethel and Frances).  Eventually broken in marriage, finances and by the harsh prairie weather, she returned with Ethel to England.
 
On April 26, 1893, James Hamilton Robinson married Mary G. Cole In Winnipeg.  It is not known whether he first got a divorce from Frances.
 
On December 26, 1900, James Hamilton Robinson died in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was sixty-three.
 
In 1904 Frances returned to North America with Ethel to come to Chicago to live with her son Hamilton.  One reason for her return was to see her son George before he died.  George died about two weeks after her arrival.
 
The family tells me that the last two years of Frances' life in Chicago with her son Hamilton (called Tooney in the family) and his wife Ida were happy ones.
 
We will leave Frances for a moment so we can look at the person buried in the same plot as she, Frances Maria Whitelaw.  Frances Maria was the daughter of Frances' Robinson's daughter Ethel. 

Ethel Campbell Robinson was born October 6, 1880 in Reigate, Surrey, England.   As mentioned above, she was the last child to be born to Frances Jane Moffat and James Hamilton Robinson.  She moved with her mother to Canada, back to England, and then finally ended up in Glencoe, Illinois where on October 14, 1905 she married George Whitelaw:

  
1906 finds Frances Robinson living with her daughter Ethel and Ethel's husband George Whitelaw in Glencoe, Illinois.   Ethel is pregnant with her first child and is due at the end of September.  Sadly, Frances Jane Moffat Robinson died September 17, 1906 of tuberculosis:


Eight days later, September 25, 1906, George and Ethel's daughter was born, and they decided to name her after her deceased grandmother.  The baby was named Frances Maria Whitelaw - a living legacy.


Sadly, this special child was not to live to see adulthood.  On January 18, 1907, Frances Maria Whitelaw died of colitis with convulsions as a contributing factor.  She was just under four months old.


The decision was made to bury Frances Maria in the same plot at Rosehill Cemetery as her grandmother Frances Jane:


The story of two women named Frances.  One, a world traveller - from England to India to the Channel Islands to Canada, to Glencoe, Illinois.  A life full of sadness and starting over.  The second never ventured far from her birthplace of Glencoe, Illinois.  Both lie together in Section S of Rosehill Cemetery under a celtic cross.

"In Hope of Our Gathering Together Unto Him."

Frances Jane Moffat Robinson and Frances Maria Whitelaw - May they rest in peace.

Friday, December 14, 2012

MORRIS S. STEINBERG: He Died by Accident

Here's another one from Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in suburban Forest Park:

BOYS WHO JUMP ON CARS ARE DEAD

Edward Larson and Morris Steinberg, two boys who were injured in jumping on (street)cars died yesterday. The former was injured trying to jump on a car at Clark and Indiana streets on Sept. 29, and Steinberg was hurt on Wednesday at State and Washington streets.
Chicago Daily Tribune, October 13, 1899

I don't know where Edward Larson is buried, but Morris Steinberg is at Gate 25 - Anshe Knesses Israel #2.  May he rest in peace.


Morris S. Steinberg

Morris S. Steinberg
"Died By Accident"

Morris S. Steinberg

THE FIRST BURIAL AT ROSEHILL CEMETERY - Dr. Jacob Watson Ludlam

One day a while back I was chatting with one of the groundskeepers at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  I mentioned to him how interested I was in all the history of the cemetery and its occupants and he asked me "Have you ever seen the grave of the first person to be buried at Rosehill?"  Not only had I never seen the grave, I had no idea who had been the first person buried there.  He told me to follow him, and we stopped at Section F, one of the oldest sections at Rosehill and the same section where Major Edward Harris Mulford was buried (see previous post).  He led me through the tombstones and we stopped at a tall, white column:


The incised letters had almost worn off, but at the bottom I could see "LUDLAM".  The Rosehill worker explained to me that this was the final resting place of Dr. Jacob Watson Ludlam and his family.  He told me that Dr. Ludlam had been a noted physician in Evanston, and that when he was buried on Tuesday July 12, 1859 he became the first person to take up permanent residence at Rosehill.  As a matter of fact, Rosehill Cemetery had not even been officially dedicated yet - the dedication was set for Thursday July 28, 1859, two weeks after Dr. Ludlam's interment.


After seeing the grave and hearing the story, I decided to find out what I could about the subject of Rosehill's first burial.

Jacob Watson Ludlam was born November 28, 1807 in Camden, New Jersey to Reuben Ludlam (1788-1832) and Hannah (nee Watson).  At a young age Jacob decided that medicine was to be his chosen profession and he received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania circa 1831.  At that time, the University of Pennsylvania medical school was the oldest and most renowned medical school in the entire country.  After graduation the new Dr. Ludlam returned to his native Camden, New Jersey to begin his practice.  Sometime during the time he lived in New Jersey, Jacob Ludlam met Edward Harris Mulford, another New Jersey native who was born in 1794.  Jacob Ludlam and Edward Mulford became fast friends - a friendship that would last for the rest of their lives and would change Ludlam's life dramatically. 

On June 3, 1830 Jacob Ludlam married Mary Dennis who had been born in Philadelphia in 1808.  During his time at the University he met, courted and married Mary, and after graduation she returned with him to Camden.  

Eight children were born to this union:  Reuben in 1831, James Dennis in 1833, Jacob Watson Jr. in 1835, Elizabeth Dennis in 1837, Edward Mulford in 1839, Hannah Watson in 1841, Mary Newkirk in 1842, and John Lawson in 1844. 

In those days the doctor came to the patient, not the other way around. At first Dr. Ludlam made his rounds alone, but as soon as young Reuben expressed an interest, he began to accompany his father.  In later years after Reuben graduated from the same medical school as his father, he said he could not remember a time when he had not wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. 

In 1835 Jacob Ludlam's friend Edward Mulford left New Jersey to settle in Chicago.  In 1839 Major Mulford moved to his 160 acre estate in Evanston called "Oakton".  From the first, Mulford tried to convince Ludlam to relocate to Evanston as well.  Finally in 1845 Dr. Ludlam made the trip to Evanston and within a short time he was hooked. Without wasting a moment, Ludlam returned to gather up his family and relocated them all to beautiful Evanston, Illinois which would remain Jacob Ludlam's home for the rest of his life.  

Frances Willard, in her book "A Classic Town: The Story of Evanston" (1891) said that Ludlam and Mulford "were of similar character and presence: Tall, portly and dignified in form and bearing, with dark eyes, handsome and expressive countenances, strong intellects, sturdy common sense and great geniality of tone and manner.  These two friends and comrades were among the best specimens of what she was wont to call "Gentlemen of the old school" and were of character and conduct models worthy of study by those who aspire to the fine distinction of becoming gentlemen of the new".
   
After practicing medicine in Evanston for a little over ten years, Dr. Jacob Watson Ludlam died early in the morning of Monday July 11, 1859 from typhoid.  His body was brought by train from the Village of Evanston to Rosehill later that same day.  Services were held on Tuesday July 12, 1859 at 10 o'clock in the morning.  Dr. Ludlam was 51 years, 7 months and 14 days old when he died.

At the dedication of Rosehill Cemetery two weeks later, Dr. Blaney, the president of the Rosehill Cemetery Company said the following: "Rosehill has already one tenant.  On the eleventh day of the current month, the first funeral train entered its gates.  A single mound, in all the future city of the dead, marks the last resting place of  J.W. Ludlam, M.D.  Treat with respect that first memorial, for beneath that sod lies all the remains of earth of a most noble and exemplary man.  Though unprepared for interments, circumstances demanded that the body of Dr. Ludlam should be received.  But a few weeks since, previous to his leaving his home in the adjacent Village of Evanston, for a journey eastward, the lot of land upon which his mortal remains now repose was purchased of him by the Cemetery Company.  In accordance with his own request, he was interred upon the lot so recently his own while in life, and purchased by him for a far different purpose.  Truly, in the midst of life we are in death.  Though a man of high professional endowment, and universally respected and esteemed, he was simple in his tastes and unobtrusive in deportment.  His request to be buried there was doubtless prompted by feelings akin to those expressed in these beautiful lines:

"Oh!  Lay me not within the grave
Which bricks and stones enclose,
O'er which no shadowy branches wave
To guard my last repose.
Oh!  Lay me 'neath some ancient tree
That spreads its shade afar;
Where my lone grave may smiled on be
By many a silent star.
Where flow'rets deck the emerald sod
And with their fragrant breath
Whisper sweet tales of peace and God,
And life and love and death."

Dr. Jacob Watson Ludlam, eminent physician, father of another eminent physician, friend of Edward Mulford, transplant to Evanston, and first burial at Rosehill Cemetery - may he rest in peace.


JACOB LUDLAM
Nov 28, 1807
July 11, 1859

MARY, His Wife
Dec 16, 1808
Mar 24, 1896

Friday, December 7, 2012

"I HAVE NO PERSONAL ENEMIES" - Dr. W.E.J. Michelet

For this week's story, we'll be staying in Section S of Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  Along the road stands an imposing monument:


Carved into the stone under a cross with palms and lilies is "In Memoriam - Dr. W.E.J. Michelet."  In front of the large monument is a flat stone set into the earth:


"Dr. William E. J. Michelet, April 19, 1922."  Although it is a large plot of at least ten graves, only Dr. Michelet lies there.  What can we find out about Dr. Michelet and why did he say "I have no personal enemies"? Let's take a look.
 
The first surprise to me is that the man with the French sounding surname was actually Norwegian.  Wilhelm (William) Emil Julian Michelet was born January 9, 1846 in Lillehammer, Norway to Jacob Post Michelet and Gregine Grythe Olsdatter Michelet.  Some accounts have him born in La Crosse, Wisconsin but the evidence seems to point instead to Norway.  William was the fourth of seven children born to Jacob and Gregine.  The family emigrated to Coon Prairie, Wisconsin in 1851. After his confirmation and a preparatory school attendance at Sparta, he studied at Northwestern University and Rush Medical College in Chicago.  He graduated from Rush and became a doctor of medicine in 1879.  By all accounts Dr. Michelet had a thriving practice.  His office was at 509 (now 1252) W. 12th Street in Chicago.
 
On a personal level, Dr. Michelet married Paulina Conts (Coats?) in 1883.  They had three daughters:  Edith W.E., born April 17, 1884; Lillian G.E., born in June of 1886, and Winifred P., born in June of 1889.  By the 1900 Census, Dr. Michelet and his wife were divorced, and all three of their daughters were living with him.  Their home was at 1016 Sheridan Road in Wilmette.  A newer house stands on that lot today.     
 
Dr. Michelet was a frequent contributor to medical journals: "The Medicus", "The Denver Medical Times", "The Toronto Medical and Surgical Record", "The Medical Bulletin", and  "The Medical Review". A quick Google search of "Dr. W.E.J. Michelet" brings up countless articles and letters of Dr. Michelet that are still consulted today, more than ninety years after his death.

The Chicago Daily Tribune of May 9, 1916 carried an interesting article about happenings at the office of Dr. Michelet:

BYSTANDERS HIT AS DOCTOR AND BANDITS BATTLE
Woman Caught Between Fires Is Dangerously Wounded and Man Is Shot.

Stray bullets, guided by the malaprop genie which officiates at most bandit battles, yesterday struck down a man and a woman on the shabby stairway which leads to Dr. W. E. J. Michelet's office  at 1252 West Twelfth Street.  Both were victims of two holdup men, who, after an unsuccessful attempt to rob Dr. Michelet, were covering their retreat with a brisk fire.

The injured are:

Mrs. Dora Krackow, mother of five and wife of Max Krackow, a merchant of 1500 West Twelfth Street, shot in the breast, condition serious.

Joseph Romanski, a barber, of 1302 West Nineteenth Street, shot between the shoulderblades, condition seriious.

Had Expected Holdup.

Dr. Michelet, who lives at 4143 Sheridan Road, and is reputed to be wealthy, complained last October of suspicious loiterers about his office entrance, and a policeman had been stationed there each afternoon from 5 to 7 o'clock to take care of any trouble.  The attack on Dr. Michelet's office occurred shortly before the time for the officer to take his post.

Romanski was sitting in the physician's office when Dr. Michelet opened the door to let a woman out.  From the glooom of the unlighted vestibule the two waiting bandits jumped forward and thrust their revolvers into the physician's face, ordering him to throw up his hands.  Instead of complying, Dr. Michelet slammed the door and ran back into his office to get his revolver.  He returned and opened fire, the roibbers retreating to the stairway, shooting back.  Several bullets struck the woodwork of the door, and one glanced, hitting Romanski, who had not moved from his chair.

Hit By First Shot.

Mrs. Krackow was coming up the stairs to visit a dentist in the same building when the holdup men brushed past her.  When Dr. Michelet held his fire for fear of hitting the woman, they opened up, and Mrs. Krackow fell at the first shot.

The robbers gained the street, separated, and made their escape through the fast gathering crowd.  Dr. Michelet gave up the pursuit after a short run, and with the aid of several men from the crowd carried Mrs. Krackow to his office.  He gave Romanski and Mrs. Krackow first aid treatment, while a call was being sent in to the Maxwell Street police station.

A patrol wagon full of policemen was sent to the scene and a search for the robbers was begun.

Mrs. Krackow was taken to the Michael Reese hospital.  She said the bullet which struck her was fired by one of the bandits.  Romanski was taken to the County Hospital.

That was not the end of the story - and Dr. Michalet felt it was time that his version of the story was heard:

MYSTERIOUS MAN IN GRAY NAMED BY DR. MICHELET
Says He Had No Revolver In Office Battle and Did Not Know Men, As Charged.
Patient, Shot, Tells Story.

Joseph Romanski, a barber at 1802 W. Nineteenth Street, who was accidentally shot in a battle between three unidentified men and Dr. W.E.J. Michelet, at 1252 West Twelfth Street, injected mystery into the affair yesterday by a statement to Capt. Barney Baer of the Maxwell Street station that the physician knew at least two of his assailants.

Dr. Michelet, on the other hand, said he had never seen any of the three men before.  He insisted they were robbers.  He said he had no revolver.

Makes Statement to Police.

"The police arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting in the afternoon," said Capt. Baer, "But Dr. Michelet had disappeared and we could not get in touch with him until this morning.  In response to my request he came to Maxwell Street station and made a statement.  He did not say the men were robbers.  He did not seem to suspect they were.  he said two came into his inner office and pointed revolvers at him and choked and beat him.  he resisted, and they ran.  He pursued them into the street.

"A third man in the hallway dressed in gray shot behind the doctor.  Whether he fired at the physician or at the fugitives the doctor said he did not know.  Joseph Romanski was shot probably by one of the three strangers while sitting in the doctor's outer office.  Mrs. Dora Krackow was shot while descending the stairway.  Both, according to their physicians, will recover.

Here's Romanski's Story.

"I had my men interview Romanski.  he said he was in the outer office when two men entered.  He said they paced up and down the room and cursed the doctor for stringing them along.  He said Dr. Michelet knew both men, but was withholding their names.

"I do not believe the affair was an attempted holdup.  Dr. Michelet has figure in two other mysterious affairs of much the same kind in the last eighteen months.  He was assaulted on both occasions by men he said were robbers, but in each instance he succeeded in frightening them off.  Since the last assault in October, we have kept a policeman at his office from 5 to 7 p.m.

"Dr. Michelet has had his office in the ghetto for thirty-six years and has a large practice which has made him rich.  He lives in a fine residence at 4143 Sheridan Road."

Dr. Michelet's Story.

Dr. Michelet talked about the affair with apparent frankness.

"I cannot understand why Romanski should have said I knew two of the men.  "I never saw them before.  They did not curse me in the outer office.  One sat with a paper before his face as if to avoid observation. When I summoned them into my office they sat down.  Then, when I was off guard, one of them sprang for me and said something to me in an undertone which I did not understand and finished with 'or I will blow your brains out.'  I believed him to be a robber.  His companion drew a revolver and also pointed it at my head.  I struggled with them and shouted for help.  They ran when I pursued, but I had no revolver.

"No Personal Enemies."

"As I ran through the hall a third man in gray fired a shot.  I do not know whether he aimed at me.  I did not get a good look at him and when I returned from the street he was gone.

"I have no personal enemies.  I own the building in which my office is located.  I am known throughout the district.  I come and go without fear.  I have never sent a bill to any one I have treated.  I have thousands of dollars outstanding.  If people are too poor to pay I do not ask payment.  I have never 'strung along' any patient.  I have enough money to practice legitimately, and have never had any inclination to do otherwise.

"If I knew any of the three men I should turn them over to the police without hesitation.  There is no mystery to this affair.  There was never any mystery about the other two similar affairs.  They were all merely attempts to rob me.  I am known to have money.  That is the reason I have been selected so often as a possible victim by holdup men."

I wish I could tell you that there was more to the story, but there is not. Dr. Michelet's name does not show up in the press again until his obituary in the Chicago Daily Tribune on April 20, 1922:

OBITUARY.

DR. WILLIAM E.J. MICHELET of 4143 Sheridan Road, died yesterday noon after a short illness caused by streptococci infection of the throat. Dr. Michelet was born in La Crosse, Wis.  He was graduated from Rush Medical College in 1879 and engaged in the general practice of medicine in Chicago for more than forty years.  He is survived by three daughters, a sister, and a brother.


MICHELET - Dr. William E.J. Michelet, April 19, 1922, father of Mrs. Edith Michelet Potter, Lillian Michelet and Mrs. Winifred Michelet Hetzler.  Notice of funeral later.

For those of you who read Norwegian, here is Dr. Michelet's obituary from "Coon Prairie" by Hjalmar R. Holand (1927): 


So, that's the story of the man with the imposing monument.  What was the real reason for the robbery attempts?  Did Dr. Michelet know his attackers?  We may never know.  But the fact is that for over forty years Dr. W.E.J. Michelet traveled from his home in Wilmette to his office in the ethnic ghetto to care for the poor.  By his own account, he never refused treatment if the patient could not pay.  For that alone, he deserves to be remembered.

May he rest in peace.

Friday, November 30, 2012

THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM - Waldo Deagan

I have mentioned before that I have relatives in Section S of Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  When I visit their graves I often wander around the area to look at the other tombstones nearby.  One of the wonderful things about Rosehill is that you can find something interesting and historic wherever you look.  On a recent trip to their graves I saw a very unusual tombstone:


Certainly unique, the tombstone for Waldo Deagan was carved out of a massive boulder.  It was carved to look like a mountain and along the bottom of the stone is carved "Nature-Science-Music".  What can we find out about Waldo Deagan who died in 1912 at the age of seventeen?  From the looks of his tombstone he was an explorer, or a mountain climber or a conservationist.  Actually, the opposite seems to be the case.  According to his death certificate, Waldo Deagan was a bookkeeper (not that there's anything wrong with that).  


Waldo Frederick Deagan was born in San Francisco, California on November 30, 1894, the second son of John Calhoun Deagan and Sophie (nee Funke).  He joined his brother Jefferson Claude Deagan, who was born in 1886.  We can conclude that the Deagan family moved around quite a bit because Jefferson was born in Missouri, Waldo in San Francisco and by 1900 the Deagans were living in Chicago, at 459 S. State Street.  There had been another son, Michael Roy Deagan, who died in infancy.  A skyscraper now occupies the block that used to contain 459 S. State Street.  

The 1910 Census found the J.C. Deagan family living at 1234 W. Grace in Chicago.  

1234 W. Grace, Chicago

Fifteen year old Waldo was working at the factory his father owned in Chicago that made bells.  A sister to Waldo, named Marion Vita, came along in 1902.  

J.C. Deagan, Inc. was a noted manufacturer of bells and other musical instruments including the carillon bells in the Tribune Tower.  Here is an ad from 1912:


Nothing more about Waldo Deagan until the sad news from the Chicago Daily Tribune of April 26, 1912:

DEAGAN - Waldo Deagan, April 25, at the age of 17 years, dearly beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Deagan; fond brother of Claude, Vita, and Ella Deagan.  Services at Rosehill chapel, Sunday, April 28, at 2:30 p.m.  (Ella was the wife of Claude Deagan).

That's all we know about the short life of Waldo Deagan.  Did he die in Africa on a scientific expedition?  Did he die attempting to climb Mt. Everest?  Did he die in the Amazon jungles?  No, he died at home, 4120 N. Paulina in Chicago, of pneumonia and uremia.

4120 N. Paulina, Chicago

Why was "Nature, Science, Music" inscribed on Waldo Deagan's tombstone?  Why does his tombstone look like a mountain peak?  We may never know.  We do know, however, that seventeen-year-old Waldo Deagan died too soon to achieve his potential, whatever that may have been.

May he rest in peace.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ONE OF CHICAGO'S FALLEN HEROES - Officer Henry McDowell

I was wandering around historic Rosehill Cemetery one beautiful autumn day when I happened upon a flat tombstone:


HENRY McDOWELL
Chicago Police Department
Killed in the Line of Duty
Sept. 7, 1892
                       Star 1609

I remembered reading that there was an effort to make sure that every grave of a Chicago police officer who was killed in the line of duty had a tombstone.  Since the object of this blog is to make sure that people are not forgotten, let's look at the circumstances 120 years ago that caused Officer Henry McDowell to make the supreme sacrifice.  The story starts in the Chicago Daily Tribune from September 7, 1892:

DEATH AT GARFIELD
Officer John Powell and Capt. James M. Brown Shot.
Henry M'Dowell Dying.
The Texan Brings Down Two Raiding Chicago Policemen.
He Tries to Avoid Arrest.
But After An Ugly Battle He Bites the Dust Himself.
Opinions Upon the Affray.

Racing at Garfield was stopped again by the police yesterday.

But it was undone at the sacrifice of two and probably three lives.

The policeman, John Powell, was shot and killed instantly while another was wounded mortally by Capt. James M. Brown, a Texan of wide renown who had a large stable of runners at the track.  Brown in turn was shot down and killed almost instantly by Officer Henry L. McDowell, who had just received what will probably prove his death wound.

Following is a lost of the dead and fatally wounded:

The Killed.

BROWN, JAMES M., race-horse owner of San Saba, Tex., shot by Officer Henry L. McDowell.
POWELL, JOHN, police officer of the Maxwell Street Station, residence No. 358 Center Avenue, 32 years of age, shot by James M. Brown.

Fatally Wounded.

McDOWELL, HENRY L., police officer of the Des Plaines Street station, residence No. 321 West Van Buren Street, 30 years of age, shot by James M. Brown.  Recovery regarded as improbable.

This tragic episode in the attempt of the city authorities to suppress the resort of the defiant Garfield Park  club was not unexpected, but no one looked for such sudden and exciting events as those of yesterday.  the Police had invaded the park in much the same way as they had on the preceding day, and had loaded their patrol wagons with park employees, bookmakers, and patrons of the resort.  The action of the police on the preceding day had the effect of scaring people away from the track, and the entire attendance yesterday did not exceed 1,500 persons, of whom a large percentage were in the custody of the police within five minutes after the bluecoats had entered the park, which was at 4 o'clock, and just after the third race of the day had been ruin.  Everybody wanted around the grandstand had been corralled and fifty policemen were chasing frightened sports through the inner field and returning with them to the patrol wagons, which were located behind the grand stand.  Squads of policemen chased along the stables, picking up hostelers and rubbers, while Inspector Lewis and Capt. Mahoney and other officers were arranging for the transportation of the prisoners to the Des Plaines Street Station.  A great crowd of bookmakers and hangers-on about the track had gathered outside the park on Crawford avenue, and found some pleasure in jeering the police, but the bluecoats seemed to recognize that they had by far the better part of the game and took the chaff in good-naturedly enough.

A Shot Is Heard.

As the wagons were ready to depart with the prisoners the shrill noise of the police whistle was heard coming from the direction of the southwest portion of the park.  Then a shot was heard.  There was more blowing of whistles and then more firing, and Inspector Lewis ordered his men, most of whom had returned to the wagons, to hurry to the scene of the alarm. The bluecoats sped away readily.  They knew there was mischief in the air, for they had heard threats that their efforts to arrest James M. Brown, whose stables were located near re southwest gate. would be met with force.  They knew that Brown had a record earned as Sheriff in Texas, of twelve notches on his gun,and it was known that he had boasted within twenty-four hours that he would shoot down any officer who attempted to arrest him, to enter his stables, or to take away any of his employees.  As 200 police started away frm the grandstand a bookmaker who was in captivity, cried out from one of the wagons: "That sounds like Jim Brown's gun."  

Frightened stable boys, hostlers, and hangers-on came running from the south, seeking the protection of the police and announcing that a fearful fight was on on the prairie outside the southern wall of the racing park.  Half way down the gate the police heard the firing as it became more rapid as they bent and knocked men out of their was as the went to the rescue.  They raced along on top of the stables, climbed the high fences, and went straight after three or four officers who were pursuing a little man in a grey suit.  It was Capt. Jim Brown trying to add to his reputed desperate Texas record.  Other fugitives had scattered  to the east and west along the prairies, and officers started after them, while a score continued in the chase of Brown.  At Flournoy street Brown halted, took deliberate aim at the closest of his pursuers, fired, and then turned and ran again, and disappeared behind a little group of houses near Jan Huss avenue and Flournoy street.

He Answers With His Gun.

A policeman in the lead cried out to Brown to put up his gun and quit shooting, and several more policemen fired into the air, thinking to cower Brown, and at the same time keep back the crowd of citizens which had joined in the pursuit.

Brown's only answer, as he came out from the shelter of the little houses, was to fire again at his pursuers, after which he started on a run towards Lexington Avenue, where he continued his flight through a narrow opening between the high board fence surrounding houses on the corner of the avenue and Jan Huss Avenue and a new house in the course of erection.  Carpenters and plasterers working on the house saw Brown coming with his gin, and they dropped into the basement of the place to save their own skins.  In the meanwhile, the police had deployed, some going to the west of the new house and others toward Jan Huss Avenue to head off the man who had grown so desperate in the chase.  The policemen were now firing at the man and were gaining on him rapidly.  Officer John Powell reached the sidewalk west of the house almost at the same time that Brown emerged from a little lane at the end of it.  Brown raised his pistol, and before the officer could climb upon the sidewalk, Brown fired, and the bullet struck the officer on the arm.  An instant later another ball from Brown's weapon had passed through the officer's left hand and lodged in his abdomen.  

Brown Shoots His Victim Again.

Powell fell back on the prairie.  He had received his death wound.  But the man who gave it was not content.  Brown rushed up to his victim, looked into the dying eyes, placed his pistol against the man's chin, and sent another bullet crashing through his head.

By this time the officers were coming towards the scene on a lively run, and from all directions.  It was Brown's evident intention to escape by way of the open prairie to the southwest, but he saw his escape in that direction blocked by the police, and, leaping over the body of his victim, he started towards the north, the bullets of the officers who had seen their brother fall and then brutally shot again, whizzing past his head. As Brown reached the little alley near the new house, officer Henry L. McDowell of the Des Plaines Street Station turned into Lexington Avenue from Jan Huss Avenue and cried out to Brown:  "Don't shoot any more!  Put up your gun! I will not shoot!"

"But I will," Brown yelled as he lifted his weapon and pulled the trigger.

The gun missed fire.  Brown looked at the weapon coolly and critically, and finding another cartridge in it determined to do and die right there.  McDowell carried his revolver in his hand, and as Brown who was not more than thirty feet away, lifted his gun for a final shot, McDowell raised his weapon.  Both men fired at the same time, and then both fell.  A hundred officers had surrounded brown by this time, and more were coming up after.  Several shots had been fired at him from different directions during the minute of his encounter with McDowell, but the bullet under the force of which he fell evidently came from the weapon of the officer into whose right side Brown had sent home his last shot.

Brown's Awful Death Struggle.

McDowell fell on the sidewalk, but quickly rose again and ran around the corner of Jan Huss Avenue, where he half tumbled into the gutter. Other officers who came up cared for him in every possible way, while


a hundred bluecoats surrounded Brown, every one of them with the gleam of the desire for vengeance in his eyes.  Other officers had cared for and placed in a comfortable position on the sidewalk poor Powell, in whose throat the death rattle was already heard.  He was unconscious and died almost before the smoke of the revolver that had been in such active play on the prairie had vanished.  Several of his companions stood guard over his body, while others joined the throng which surrounded the Texan who was making as strong a struggle for life as any man could whose heart had been grazed by a bullet.  His pale face was turned toward the sky and his little frame, for the man only weighed 135 pounds, quivered with the agony he was undergoing.  He had fallen right in his tracks and his slouch hat was still half fastened om his head.  Drops of blood were coming through a little hole in his shirt right above his heart, and in one of his spasms he half spat out a quantity of blood, some of which trickled over his face.  He was conscious when he first fell, but only for an instant, and he tried to speak, probably some word of defiance and hatred for his enemies, the police, for there was a bitter glare in his eyes as he rolled them from one side to another as if attempting the recognition of someone in the crowd.

The pistol with which he had killed Powell and wounded McDowell was lying by his right hand.  It was a great 44-caliber, self-acting weapon with pearl handle, and of the kind that helped to fill the earlier graveyards of Texas.  All its chambers were empty, but it was just as well, for the man who had used it gave one great struggle and passed away.  He died with his "boots on", but as one of his friends said afterwards: "I believe if he had had his choice of the manner of death he would have taken it just as it came, and we must at least give him credit for the game fight he made against great odds."

McDowell Taken To The Hospital.

Before Brown died the patrol wagon had called at the scene and hurried away towards the County Hospital, its crew offering tender duties to McDowell, who was failing rapidly.  Another patrol wagon came along and six officers lifted into it the body of Powell, which was taken home.

The officers who crowded around brown sought to secure no services of a physician for him.  His head was allowed to rest on the hard ground.  There were no words of pity for him, for the resentment the bluecoats felt over the slaughter of one of their number in so merciless a way was strong in their hearts.  The first policemen to arrive were actually as fierce as lions that have just tasted blood, and only the coolness of some few of them saved a repetition of the cruel thing that Brown had done to Powell after that officer had fallen fatally wounded.  Two officers were forced to restrain one brother officer who insisted that Brown should be treated just as he had treated Powell.

"I saw him myself," said the angry officer, "run up after Powell was dead, stoop over him like a wild beast, put that big gun of his in his mouth, and fire.  You can go and see for yourselves.  He nearly burned the face off him with the powder, which sent the bullet through Powell's head."

"It is true," said another officer.  "I saw him do it, too.  He hadn't a bit of mercy on him and he doesn't deserve any mercy from us.  He never had any mercy on anybody.  I knew him.  He killed a dozen men in Texas."

And the big bluecoat stooped as if it would be great satisfaction to him to throttle the man who just at that moment gave a convulsive shudder and died.

When The People Learned The News.

There was some delay in securing another petrol-wagon, and during it hundreds of the men who had been driven out of Garfield Park by the police began coming across the prairie confident that all danger was over and anxious to hear the results of the battle to which they had listened from afar.  

The patrol-wagon was just carrying Powell's body away as the advance guard  of the contingent came tramping over the prairie.  One of the number made sneering remarks about the dead officer.  He was sorry for it a minute later, for he was seized by a dozen angry officers and beaten and handled in rather a rough manner.  Others came along and crowded through the ranks of the policemen to look at Brown's body, and several of them heaped condemnation on the police that they had brought the horseman, which seemed to have been popular in life, to so untimely an end.  It was more than the police, with whom the memory of Brown's treatment  of the dying Powell still lingered bitterly, could stand, and they charged with overhasty will into all groups of citizens who had sympathy for any others than the police.  They used their club and their fists, and arrested a dozen of the more obstreperous sympathizers with the dead Texan.   One man got out on the prairie, and when he thought he was at a safe distance from the officers of the law he began rating them in round terms. Three or four of them started for him, and, after a lively chase, brought him back to the main group of officers, a dozen of whom jumped on him and pounded him in a cruel manner until he bawled and cried for mercy.  Citizens kept a respectful distance from the police after that, and, if they had sentiments on the situation that wer adverse to the actions of the police, they kept them wisely unuttered.

All the while the sun beat down on the dead, upturned face of the man who had made such a desperate fight against Chicago's officers of the peace, and had lost his own life only after shedding much blood, an enterprise, it appears, in which he had often been engaged before he came to his own violent doom.  At 5 o'clock a patrol wagon backed up in front of the little alley where Capt. Brown had made his stand for life and liberty.  Two policemen easily put the body into the wagon, which rattled away with it, in the direction of the morgue.

The Chicago Daily Tribune of September 8, 1892 carried the news that had been expected, but dreaded nonetheless:

DEATH OF OFFICER McDOWELL
He Expires In Great Agony at the County Hospital - The Inquests.

Officer Henry McDowell died at the County Hospital at 6:10 o'clock last night from the effect of the shot fired by James M. Brown at Garfield Park Tuesday afternoon.

At his bedside were his wife, sister, and brother, Drs. Wine and Kirch, and Officer Blume of the Des Plaines Street Station.  Late in the afternoon the wounded officer began to grow weaker and the physicians were summoned to his side.  His wife, who lives at No. 220 Oak Street, was also summoned.  They had not lived together for three years, but Mrs. McDowell hastened to her husband's bedside.

He was conscious until an hour before death, but was too weak from loss of blood and pain to talk.  When spoken to he would indicate that he understood and occasionally would make an effort to respond.  He recognized his sister and brother, but could not distinguish his wife.  The officer's death struggles were violent and attended with great agony.  His wife stepped to his side and asked if he recognized her.

"No," the officer was heard to whisper as he shook his head.  A moment later he was dead.

Mrs. McDowell has an 8-year-old daughter, Bessie, who is now visiting friends at Waukegan.

McDowell made no statement regarding the shooting after the ante-mortem statement of Tuesday afternoon.

The funeral services of Officer John Powell will be held tomorrow morning at his home, No. 358 Center Avenue.  He left a widow and two children.  Capt. Blettner will send a detail of officers to accompany the remains to the grave.  The inquest in the cases of both Brown and Powell are set for 10 o'clock this morning.  After the inquest the remains of Capt. Brown will be turned over to Jordan, the undertaker.

And finally, from the Chicago Daily Tribune of September 10, 1892:

McDOWELL'S FUNERAL THIS MORNING.

A fitting tribute to the memory of one of the most courageous policemen ever sworn in rested at the Des Plaines Street Station last night.  It was the token of regard from Henry McDowell's brother officers, and will occupy a prominent place in the funeral today of the last victim of Turfman Brown's deadly revolver.  The offering consists of a huge pillow of white roses, in the middle of which, formed of blue flowers, appears the inscription, "Comrade".  At either end of the word springs a tiger lily.  Above it is a huge star, also of white roses, with the dead patrolman's number, "1609" in flowers.  The funeral has been set for 10 o'clock a.m. today, and Capt. Mahoney has detailed a large squad of policemen to accompany the remains to Rose Hill. 


I have acknowledged in this blog several times the debt of gratitude we owe to all police officers and fire fighters.  They put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis.  No matter what they are paid, it could never be enough to compensate them for risking their lives each and every day to serve and protect us.  When Officer Henry McDowell went to work on the morning of September 7, 1892 he did not know that that day he would be called upon to forfeit his life.  And yet, off to work he went, like he had every day since he joined the Force.

The next time you see a police officer or fire fighter take a minute to thank them for what they do for us.  They need to know how much they are appreciated.  I do it often - and once they realize I am serious - their faces always break into a grin and they end up thanking me.  Officer McDowell is one of over 550 Chicago police officers who have been killed in the line of duty.  The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation (http://www.cpdmemorial.org) sums it up:

"It is not how these officers died that makes them heroes, it's how they lived.  They will never be forgotten."   

May Officer Henry McDowell, and all deceased Chicago Police Officers, rest in peace.

Friday, November 16, 2012

THE GOLFER'S CREED - David R. Forgan

On a recent Find a Grave photo request trip to Rosehill Cemetery I found myself in front of a large stone slab:


Carved into the stone was a name "David R. Forgan" and a quote: "We Have Loved, We Love, We Shall Love Again".  Buried beneath the stone are David R. Forgan (Apr. 16, 1856 - Dec. 28, 1931) and Agnes Kerr Forgan (Dec. 6, 1863 - Aug. 27, 1943).  I figured that there was probably an interesting story under that stone, and I was right.

David R. Forgan was an internationally renowned banker, a world-class golfer, and a master storyteller.  What can we learn about this fascinating person?  Let's find out.

David Robertson Forgan, it was said, was born with a golf club in his hand.  First of all, he was born in the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews, Scotland on April 16, 1862.  His father was Robert Forgan a master golf club manufacturer; his mother was Elizabeth, nee Berwick.  Robert Forgan (1824-1900) was founder and owner of the Forgan Golf Club Company at St. Andrews, Scotland.  

In 1877 when David was fifteen years old, he applied for a job as messenger at the Clydesdale Bank in St. Andrews on the recommendation of his Sunday-school teacher who was an officer of the bank.  He stayed with the Clydesdale bank for three years, after which he left Scotland for North America.  Once he got started in banking his rise through the ranks was meteoric.  He went first to Nova Scotia where he was hired by the Bank of Nova Scotia.  He held several positions with the Bank of Nova Scotia, first at Halifax, then at Winnipeg, and finally at Fredericton, New Brunswick.  

On June 9, 1885, David Forgan married Agnes (Aggie) Kerr in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  In 1888, the Forgans moved to the United States, where David took a position as Assistant Cashier of the American Exchange Bank in Duluth, Minnesota.  In May of 1886 their first son, Robert, was born.  He was followed by Marion (December, 1887), Ethel (June, 1889), David Jr. (October, 1891), and James (March, 1900).   

In 1890 Forgan joined the Northwestern National Bank in Minneapolis. In 1896 he came to Chicago as a vice president of the Union National Bank and was made its president two years later.  In 1900 the Union National Bank merged with the First National Bank where his brother, James B. Forgan was president.  David Forgan became its president from 1907 to 1925 when it merged with the National Bank of the Republic where he became Vice Chairman and continued after it merged with the Central Trust to become the Central Republic Bank and Trust where Forgan served with James E. Otis as co-chairmen of the board of directors.

When the Forgan family came to Chicago in 1896 they settled in Evanston.  They lived in a beautiful house that still stands at 1112 Greenwood:

1112 Greenwood, Evanston, Illinois
As well known as David R. Forgan was as a banker, he was equally well known as a golfer.  As mentioned above, he was born at St. Andrews, Scotland and his family owned the Forgan Golf Club Company.  Growing up in that atmosphere David Forgan took his golf seriously and did not neglect it during his rise in the banking profession. In 1899 he won the first annual western amateur golf championship at the Glenview Country Club.  

David R. Forgan is best remembered today as the author of "The Golfer's Creed" which was part of a speech he gave in 1899:

The Golfer's Creed

GOLF is a science, 
the study of a lifetime in which you may
 exhaust yourself but never your subject.
It is a contest, a duel or a melee, 
calling for courage, skill, strategy and self-control.
It is a test of temper, a trial of honor, and a revealer of character.
It affords a chance to play the man and act the gentleman.
It means going into God’s out-of-door, getting close to nature,
 fresh air, exercise, a sweeping away of mental cobwebs,
genuine recreation of tired tissues.
It is a cure for care, an antidote to worry.
It includes companionship with friends, social intercourse,
 opportunities for courtesy, kindliness and generosity to an opponent.
It promotes not only physical health but moral force.

David Robertson Forgan died on December 26, 1931 at the age of 69 at his home in Evanston after a three week illness.  A gall-bladder complaint led to pleurisy which brought about a heart attack early in the day of the 26th.  He succumbed at 1:15 p.m.


Joseph E. Otis said of David Forgan upon hearing of his death: "He always strove for those things that were to the best interest of all, and was beloved by all who knew him."


David Robertson Forgan - banker, golfer, storyteller.  May he rest in peace.