Thursday, July 17, 2014

He Changed Deformity into Beauty

The year is 1872 and the place is a large medical clinic in New York City. The surgeon of the day was Dr. Lewis Sayre, the leading orthopedic surgeon at the time. To this clinic came patients who suffered from all kinds of deformities, congenital and acquired. Among them was a tall, thin, poorly clad woman bearing all the evidence of extreme poverty. She held a baby in her arms and presented him to Dr. Sayre in the hope that he might be cured. “His deformity was one of the most conspicuous and distressing that ever saddened a home. The child had a double cleft lip and a complete cleft of the palate.” Dr. Sayre took the child and explained to the class the nature of the deformity. He said, "nothing can be done.” The mother left with tears streaming down her face knowing the dark future for her child.

In the clinic that day was Truman William Brophy who had just graduated from the Pennsylvania Dental College and was making a tour of clinics in the East before returning to his home in Chicago. The pale face of that mother never left him and the voice of the premier American orthopedic surgeon rang in his ears throughout his life. He became possessed to devise a method to cure those afflicted with the cleft palate.

Truman William Brophy was born in Will County, Illinois, on April 12, 1848. His grandfather had immigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1811. His father was born in Hemingford, Quebec, 1819. His mother, Amelia Cleaveland was also born in Hemingford. Truman was the second of six children. The family moved to Illinois in 1844 and the father would later make a trip to California by ox-team during the days of the gold rush.

When Truman was about 12 years old an itinerant dentist visited the home. He was fascinated by the work he saw and “the impulse of the moment strengthened into a resolved to become a dentist himself.” He was eager to help the dentist in every way he could and afterwards in referring to this incident he would say “that his first work as a dentist’s assistant was to hold his horse.”

The family moved to Blackberry, Illinois, now called Elburn, and Truman attended Elgin Academy for two years. During the winter of 1866 the family moved to Chicago and on April 1, 1867, Truman entered the office of Dr. J. O. Farnsworth to begin the study of dentistry. In 1870, he purchased the practice and moved the location to 30 Washington St. Dentists were not licensed at the time.  In October, 1871 fire destroyed the downtown section of the city including the building where Dr. Brophy had his office. Somehow his operating chair and dental library were rescued, “transported to the Illinois Central railroad a few blocks distant and loaded on the flat car on which they were found days later some 4 miles away.” With no office but with money in the bank he decided to enroll at the Pennsylvania Dental College. Upon his return to Chicago he decided that a medical education was necessary to reach his goals and so began considering Rush Medical College. However, enrollment was postponed and I will let Dr. Trophy tell why in his own words:

He was walking along the Monroe Street one day in 1872 when his eyes fell on an equipage by the curb – a Victoria drawn by a splendid pair of matched blacks. Seated in it was a dark eyed girl gowned in black velvet. “A Victoria,” said Dr. Trophy, “was made for beautiful women.” The young lady looked straight ahead and the young man strode past with great dignity and unconcerned, but neither was unaware of the other. She afterward confessed to imagining she saw a young minister, the rather formal attire of the young men of the day, including frock coats and high hats, allowing for the illusion. A little later at Martine’s Dancing Academy which was then a center of social life, he met the lovely girl of the Victoria and, as he said there, it took only a little deliberation to satisfy himself that a winters study at Martine’s was more important than a winter at Rush College. He justified his decision by marrying the beautiful girl, Miss Emma Jean Mason in May, 1873.

Here is the Scottish connection. I don’t know the heritage of Dr. Brophy. I do know that he married a Scottish girl and was surrounded by Scots named Mason and MacArthur. In fact, the Masons, McArthurs and Brophys are all buried in contiguous lots at Rosehill cemetery, Chicago, Illinois. The book, I have been reading, Truman William Brophy, A Memoir, was sent to me by Vickie Dandridge who lives in San Diego, California. She inherited much of the remaining possessions of Major George Mason and has been very kind to send me many, many items. The book was privately commissioned by the children of W. T. Brophy and published in 1936. I doubt there are many copies remaining, so we are happy to have this one. His children were: Jean Brophy Barnes, Florence Brophy Logan, Truman Brophy, Jr. And Alberta Brophy Holloway. (Any descendants who read this please call me at 630-629-4516.)

He worked until the day he died on February 4, 1928. He performed more than 10,000 surgeries and taught hundreds of others how to rebuild the cleft palate. He traveled to France at the end of WWI and rebuilt the faces of those injured in battle and for this he was made an Officer of Legion of Honor. He fought for and finally was successful in constructing a building at Wood and Congress Streets which became the Chicago College of Dental Surgery. (He once declared that the west side of Chicago would become the medical center of the world.) He wrote several books dealing with the clefts of the palate and lip. He was an international leader in organizations dealing with dentists and medical issues.

In 1913, the Chicago Dental society gave a testimonial banquet for Dr. Brophy at the Hotel LaSalle. One of the gifts was a “bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln, made from life by Volk in 1869 on behalf of the American Dental Society of Europe.” (Anyone know where that bust is today?) There were other expensive gifts and you wonder what happened to all of them. Dr. Brophy gave the initial gift which made possible the construction of a ten story Y.M.C.A. building on Wood St. for medical students. The list of his accomplishments goes on and on, but I have run out of space for this blog. There will be more later.

What a great contribution this man made to the welfare of humanity.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

NOTE: The History Club tour scheduled for this Saturday, July 17 has been canceled due to a lack of participants.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

John Crerar

One of our readers in Michigan wrote asking if the John Crerar library at the University of Chicago is connected to the same person who gave the Lincoln statue, and the answer is “yes” it’s the same person. In his will, he left $2 million for the creation of a free public library to be called The John Crerar Library. You can find the complete history on the Internet but after several locations, it is now part of the University of Chicago and contains over one million volumes. Please read the previous blog for more information.

John Crerar was a member of the Second Presbyterian church and attended services each Sunday. He read the Bible daily and his favorite chapter was Romans 8 which he had committed to memory. Somewhere, I read that you could not understand John Crerar apart from his religion.

He was a life member of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society and while most of our records have been destroyed by several fires, he must have been a regular supporter. The Society was remembered in his will, and overtime those funds were distributed to help the poor and needy. He was a member of the YMCA and left money for the American Sunday School Union and the Salvation Army. (You can find his entire will on the Internet. There were many gifts.)

The Saint Andrew Society held a special meeting at the Sherman House on November 29, 1889 and passed a resolution honoring John Crerar for his gift to the Society. Daniel Ross Cameron, John Alston and Andrew Wallace drafted the resolution. The resolution was then engraved, framed and presented to Norman Williams and Huntington Wolcott Jackson, the executors of his estate. I wonder if the library still has the framed resolution?

Although Crerar left money for a statue of Abraham Lincoln, he desired "a plain headstone" for himself. Judge B. D. Magruder took note of this: "With a modesty that bespeaks the greatness of his own soul, he orders a simple headstone to be placed at his own grave, but that a colossal statue be raised to the man who abolished slavery in the United States. The millionaire is content to lie low, but he insists that the great emancipator shall rise high." (Goodspeed’s historical sketch, 1920). This is the statue we will visit on our summer history tour.

On the Sunday before Christmas, December 23, 1889, a memorial service was held in the Central Music Hall located on the southeast corner of State and Randolph. (The great building was demolished in1900 to make room for Marshall Field & Company.) More than 2,000 men filled the music hall to overflowing and the doors were closed an hour before the service began. There were several speakers, some vocal music and Mrs. Crosby played the great pipe organ.

I think of all the speaker, Franklin MacVeagh said it best. “He began slowly and deliberately, weighing each word as it fell from his lips, his intense manner adding eloquence to his well-chosen language.”

“One who is here this afternoon to say a word cannot but be reminded that this is not an ordinary audience. You have not come to hear anyone speak in particular. And we, as speakers, have come, each burdened with some affection or sentiment toward John Crerar.”

“I am here because I knew John Crerar. There was much in his life to attract and charm us, to gain our admiration and affection. He was above all a pure man.”

“He lived and died a private citizen. He is now no longer a private citizen. What makes this change? It is not the revelation of his possession of this great wealth. We knew about that before, and he still remained a private citizen. There are others now living who have great fortunes. It is not the possession of that wealth which has made the difference. It is the use he made of that wealth. He has arisen from a private citizen to the ranks of creative men--poets, artists, philosophers, and statesmen.”

“There is a spiritual power in wealth, and John Crerar found the secret of it. He has taught us a lesson, not new, but never more beautifully taught. He has done more than that. He has set us an example of the right uses of wealth, the great uses of wealth, the permanent uses of wealth, and the final uses of wealth.”

“There are two ways of looking at property--one selfishly, as simply personal property; the other recognizing the claims of the community, the claims of the world to share at least in the surplus of wealth. He came to teach us this lesson at an opportune moment--a time when we are growing rich, when the accumulation of wealth is exceedingly pronounced, before it has been tested what will be the ultimate influence of democracy on wealth. It comes while we are still young, have still not made up our minds, when it is still possible for us to learn this lesson.”

“He did one other thing which I cannot omit. He showed a loyalty to Chicago, and the example of that was needed. Prophetic spirit! He saw this city entering upon a career that would make it metropolitan in wealth and power and appreciated its needs and responsibilities as the heart of the continent. He rose the conception of the spiritual side of wealth; he rose to the conception of the spiritual side of progress. Let us believe he did so knowingly, that his fame shall be certain and his name immortal.”

The plain headstone that marks his grave says simply “A just man, and one who feared God.”

(Quotations are from the Chicago Tribune)

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois St. Andrew’s Society

HISTORY TOUR - July 19, 2014:

Luxury bus arrives at Scottish Home at 11:00 a.m.
Bus departs Scottish Home promptly at 11:30 a.m.
1st stop - Grant Park, Logan Statue
2nd stop - “Seated” Lincoln, Grant Park
3rd stop - Millennium Park - Visit the Bean, play in the water, Military Museum
4th stop - “Standing” Lincoln in Lincoln Park
5th stop - Robert Burns statue in Garfield Park

Cost is $25 per person. Children under 10 admitted free. Box lunch and soft drinks furnished. Call 708.447.5092 or 630.629.4516 to make reservations.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The “Sitting” Lincoln

2nd stop on Our Summer History Tour:

Chicago has two great statues of Abraham Lincoln, both by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. One, often called the “Standing Lincoln,” is in Lincoln Park, just east of the Chicago Historical Society. The second one is in Grant Park and features the President in a sitting position. Both have Scottish connections and we will visit both during our July History Tour.

Our first stop, after we leave the Scottish Home, will be at the statue of General John A. Logan. The second stop will be at the Lincoln statue, just south of the Art Institute. This statue of the 16th President was made possible by a gift from John Crearer. Who was John Crerar?

The parents of John Crerar were born in Scotland. His father was born in Dull, Perthshire, and his mother, Agnes Smeallie, in Kirkiston, Scotland. She came to America independently sometime in the 1820s and probably met John Crerar at the Scotch Presbyterian Church in New York City where they both attended. Their son, John Crerar was born, March 8, 1827 and came to Chicago in the 1860s. Crerar, Adams & Co. were dealers in railroad supplies and contractors’ materials.

Mr. Crerar was an original investor in the Pullman Palace Car Company and was a member of the board of directors for twenty-two years. He was also a director of the Chicago and Alton Railway, Chicago and Joliet Railroad, and the London and Globe Insurance Company. He belonged to the Chicago Literary Club, the Chicago Historical Society, the YMCA, the American Sunday School Union, the Chicago Orphan Asylum, and the Presbyterian Hospital, holding positions of director or president in each. He was also a life-member of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. He led a very quiet personal life, never married and lived for a time at the Grand Pacific Hotel. John Crerar died in Chicago at the home of Norman Williams and was buried in Greenwood cemetery in Brooklyn, New York next to his mother. I visited his simple grave a few years ago, but don’t go unless you have a car or like to walk!

In his will, John Crerar left $100,000 for a statue of Abraham Lincoln. The bronze edifice is the last work of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens who died in 1907. The first four years of the life of the statue were spent in the basement of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The statue was then displayed in different cities of the United States while “the South Park Board fought over the right to place it in Grant Park.” It was finally brought to Chicago in 1916 and for the next ten years was “stored in a shed in Washington Park.”

Two sets of trustees died unable to erect the statue. The third group, led by William Louderback, was successful in obtaining approval to place the monument in Grant Park. Stanford White, a noted architect, designed the architectural setting for the monument. White was a member of the firm McKim, Mead & White, all of whom were Scottish Americans. Finally, on May 31, 1926, forty years after John Crerar’s bequest, the “Sitting” Lincoln statue was unveiled in Grant Park just east of Van Buren street.

“In the center of the semicircular seat, 153 feet in diameter, which forms the setting for the statue, rises a monolithic pedestal of granite supporting the bronze figure of Lincoln, which faces the south. The pedestal rests on a raised platform with granite steps leading to it.” Serious, with open arms, the statue well represents a time of great change and two great men - Abraham Lincoln and John Crerar.

Thomas C. McMillan wrote about John Crerar and said: “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 have faded from the memories of men.”

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Office 630.629.4516


Luxury bus arrives at Scottish Home, July 19, 2014, at 11 a.m.
Bus departs Scottish Home promptly at 11:30 a.m.
1st stop - Grant Park, Logan Statue
2nd stop - “Seated” Lincoln, Grant Park
3rd stop - Millennium Park - Visit the Bean, play in the water, Military Museum
4th stop - “Standing” Lincoln in Lincoln Park
5th stop - Robert Burns statue in Garfield Park

Cost is $25 per person. Children under 10 admitted free. Box lunch and soft drinks furnished. Call 708.447.5092 or 630.629.4516 to make reservations.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The flag weighs 1,200 pounds

The first stop on our July history tour will be the memorial in Grant Park to General John Alexander Logan. Who was Logan? He was the only Union Volunteer in the Civil War to successively command a regiment, a brigade, a division, a corp and finally an army. He never suffered a defeat in battle. He was wounded twice and was awarded the Congressional Medal at Vicksburg.

He was a congressman, lawyer, and a candidate for Vice President with James G. Blaine. He was one of Illinois’ most distinguished leaders. As Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (1868-1871), General Logan proposed that May 30th be designated as Memorial Day and made a National holiday. He was a member of the Senate when he died, December 26, 1886.

Like so many others the Logan’s came through Northern Ireland on their way to America. Dr. John Logan arrived in America in 1823. He settled in Jackson Co., Illinois, where John Alexander was born.

When General Logan died, Illinois made the first claim to have him buried within the state. The General Assembly appropriated $50,000 to erect a monument. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was chosen as the sculptor. He asked for four years to complete the first model. It was to be an equestrian statue. The model for the horse came from Logan’s own farm, a coal black stallion resembling one of the General's favorite horses. The pedestal dome was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead and White.

The moment portrayed is the battle of Atlanta. General McPherson has just been killed and command of the confused and almost broken line fell to Logan. With the battle flag in his hand and bullets flying everywhere Logan rallied the troops and led them to advance. “It is the Logan of this moment that the statue represents. On the big black horse, the torn battle flag in his hand, with stern determination and self-forgetful courage in his face, he is rallying the disordered ranks.” Mrs Logan chose the anniversary of this date for the dedication in Chicago.

It is the only equestrian work ever designed by Saint-Gaudens and may be the largest equestrian statute in America. From the base to Logan’s head is 15 feet, 11 inches. The horse weighs 5,126 pounds. The flag itself weighs 1,200 pounds and the entire statue weights 14,200 pounds. The base of the statue is 24 feet above Michigan avenue. Inside the mound is a crypt designed for both Mr. and Mrs. Logan. It was never used. They are buried at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Logan is one of only three individuals mentioned by name in the Illinois state song:

                                    On the record of thy years,
                                    Abraham Lincoln's name appears,
                                    Grant and Logan, and our tears,
                                    Illinois, Illinois,
                                    Grant and Logan, and our tears,
                                    Illinois, Illinois.

Some of the places named for General John Alexander Logan:

     Logan Junior High School in Princeton, IL.
     Logan County, Oklahoma (Guthrie is the county seat)
     Logan Square in Chicago
     Logan Heights in San Diego
     Logan Township, New Jersey
     Logan County in Kansas
     Logan County in North Dakota
     Logan Circle in Washington, D.C. also has a monument
     Logan Museum in Murphysboro, Illinois
     John A. Logan College

The History Tour will take place on July 19, 2014. The luxury charter bus will leave the Scottish Home at 11.30 p.m. For full details click here.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Scottish American History Tour Itinerary

Date: July 19, 2014

11:00 a.m. - Our luxury charter bus will arrive at the Scottish Home
11:30 a.m. - We will depart for downtown. (Each person will be supplied with a box lunch and a choice of drinks. You may eat whenever you like, especially during the bus ride into the City.)

  • The first stop will be the statue of General John Logan in Grant Park.
  • The second stop will be the Lincoln statue, south of the Art Institute.
  • Third stop will be Millennium Park.  You will be here 2.5 hours to do as you please.
    •  Visit Millennium Park
    •  Take pictures at Cloud Gate, better know as “The Bean.” 
    •  Cool off in the fountain
    •  Visit the Art Institute (see their website for prices)
    •  Visit the Pritzker Military Museum across the street. (Admission $5.00)
    •  Shop on State Street (2 blocks away)
    •  Find a bench and enjoy our great city
  •  Fourth stop will be the Robert Burns Statue in Garfield Park
4:00 p.m. - Return to the Scottish Home

Cost is $25.00 per person, which includes soft drinks and a box lunch. The first 10 children under the age of 12, accompanied by an adult, will be free.

To make reservations please call: 708-447-5092 and speak to Kristen or call my home office at 630-629-4516.

Wayne Rethford
President Emeritus
Scottish American History Club
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Ring of the Logans

The family of Logan lived in the Highlands of Scotland for many centuries and the chieftain of the clan was defeated at Flodden Field (1513). Before he died he gave to one of his faithful men a finger ring with the request that the man should deliver it to the chieftain’s wife. She was to keep it for his son and heir. The ring could only be worn by the Chief and had gone from one Chief to another for several hundred years. It was gold with a large Onyx setting on which was carved the family coat of arms. The coat of arms is a heart pierced by a dagger and surrounded by the words Hoc Majorum Virtus, which translated means, “This valor of my ancestors.” The ring was given to the wife and in the course of years to the son who in time gave it to his son. It was lost and stolen several times but always was returned to its rightful owner.

In the early 1840s a young Scotsman landed in New York. He was the son of a clergyman of the Presbyterian Church and was recognized as the Chief of Clan Logan because he wore the ring. He enlisted in the Northern army and fought in support of the Union during the Civil War. For gallantry on the field of battle he rose in the ranks and at the close of the war was a Lieutenant. He stayed in the Army and was sent West to fight the Indians. “In the early 1870s the Indians were troublesome along the foothills of the Rockies. Capt. Logan participated in almost every campaign...” He had many narrow escapes. In 1877 he and his troops were led into an ambush. The battle was called “Battle of the Big Hole.” Capt. Logan and all his troops died. After his death his body was mutilated and every article of wearing apparel including a 32nd degree Masonic ring and the Logan Ring were taken.

Mrs. Logan then moved with her family away from the frontier and took up land in Montana. Her daughter married Captain Comba who was a member of the regular Army and the family did everything within their power to find the Ring of the Logan’s. One day a trapper called at one of the posts on the Indian reservation in Idaho and showed the officers a 32nd degree Masonic ring. He had found it on the skeleton of an Indian in one of the canyons of the Judith Basin four hundred miles from the battle of the “Big Hole.” They bought the ring from the trapper for four dollars worth of provisions. They advertised for the owner, and Col. Comba of the fifth United States infantry saw the ad. The Captain who knew about his father-in-law’s ring visited the post and obtained the ring.

In 1898, 22 years after the death of Capt. Logan, his oldest son, William Logan, was appointed an Indian agent and stationed in Montana. For years he made a diligent search and inquired at all the Indian agencies in the Northwest hoping to find some trace of the ring which rightfully now belong to him. Finally he gave up hope and wrote to his a maternal grandfather in Scotland asking for a description of the ring and a copy of the family coat of arms because he intended to have a similar ring made here. The old gentleman declined to send it, reminding the grandson that the ring had been lost many times before and would in time be returned to the rightful owner.

One day William Logan was in his office in a small town in the Northwest when an Indian “squaw” entered. She placed her hand on the railing around his desk and there on the middle finger of her left hand was the missing ring. He quickly purchased the ring and the Indian “squaw” told him this story. The Indian who had scalped his father had taken the ring and as he was dying had given it to the Indian “squaw.” Just to be sure, William Logan sent the ring to his sister who was the wife of Captain Comba.

Captain Comba, who in 1877 made such a diligent search for the ring was now a Colonel in the Fifth Infantry and was stationed at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, with his family. He was commander of the Twelfth Infantry that captured the stone fort in the battle of El Caney, “where the real fighting in Cuba was done.” At the time this story was published in the Chicago Tribune he was in the Philippines.

The story ends here in the Tribune but if you goggle the name William Logan you will find more information about his life and the rings are mentioned. Also, if you look for Clan Logan on the Internet, you will discover that the clan does not presently have a Chief recognized by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

The question is what happened to the original “Ring of the Logans?” Perhaps some of our readers who belong to the Logan Clan can help us with an answer. It appears to be a true story.

Note: I have quoted freely from an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune, 21 April, 1901, page 46.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois St. Andrew’s Society

Upcoming Events:

June 7, 2014 - Next meeting of the Scottish American History Club. We will talk about D-Day, June 6, 1944. We will remember and honor those who died and the Flag under which they served. 

June 20-21 - Chicago Highland Games

July 19, 2014
- Annual History Tour.  Save the date and watch for details.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The General Died and Chicago Mourned

“The Clan MacArthur was the dominating clan of Scotland from A.D. 300 to 1750. This clan crowned and uncrowned the kings of Scotland for more than 1,000 years. For more than 600 years they were the keepers of the Stone of Destiny. Upon this stone, all the kings of Scotland were crowned, and since it’s removal to England in the time of James the First, every ruler of England has been crowned upon this stone. The legend is that this is the stone upon which Jacob rested his head when he saw the vision of the angels upon the ladder, ascending to and descending from heaven.” (Source unknown)

This is the heritage and background of General John McArthur. We know very little about his ancestors except that they were Highlanders. His father, John MacArthur, was a native of Islay in the Western Highlands. He was a blacksmith and a tenant of Lord Balantyre. His son, also named John, was an excellent student and his parents and the parish minister wanted him to study for the ministry. His patron offered him a full scholarship at the University of Edinburgh. John respectfully declined and began working with his father as a blacksmith.

John McArthur was a soldier at heart. His ancient heritage called him and so did America. He was attracted to this country by reading accounts of the Mexican war. “The uniform success of our soldiers filled him with admiration for the American people, and he determined to cast his life with them.” Little did he know how this would determine his future.

He came to Chicago early in its history and began manufacturing boilers. He became one of the trustees of the United Presbyterian Church. Before the Civil War he organized a militia company known as the Highland Guard. When the first call for volunteers was issued by President Lincoln, Capt. McArthur tendered his services and those of his company. He was at once elected a Col. of the 12th Illinois infantry.

The Scottish citizens of Chicago presented to McArthur and his Regiment an American flag and a smaller flag of white silk which bore the following words:

“Dinna ye hear the slogan?
Tis McArthur and his men.”

At the battle of Fort Donelson, early in the war, he had command of a brigade, and ”displayed such gallantry that he was at once made a Brig. General.” He was unschooled in the science of war but his “McArthur blood” made him skillful and brave. He was born a soldier.

We don’t have time to give all the details in the career of General McArthur. We do need to say that at the battle of Pittsburgh (Shiloh) he was severely wounded and carried from the field of battle. When he recovered he was put in command of a division of the Army of the Tennessee and remained in command until the war ended.

In 1848, at the parish of Erskine, Scotland, he married Miss Christina Cuthbertson. The marriage produced eight children. After the war, he served for a time as the Commissioner of Public Works for Chicago and in 1872, President Grant appointed him Postmaster. He was an active member of the George H. Thomas, Post No. 5, Grand Army of the Republic.

The General was president of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society in 1871 when the city was destroyed by the Great Fire. What a strong leader he must have been during this critical time.

In 1877, John McArthur was forced into bankruptcy. In my files is a copy of all the creditors listed in Document 4014. I recognize many of the names as people associated with the Society who must have come to his aid and loaned him money. The total debt was $72,446.22.

Most of the articles about his life indicate that he was a poor businessman. You decide. Here is what was written in the Memorials of Deceased Companions, page 357. “In 1872, President Grant appointed him Postmaster. In 1874, the bank which had been designated by the Secretary of the Treasury as a depository of public funds failed. General MacArthur had at the time a balance of $73,000 on deposit, and a judicial ruling held him indebted to the government for that amount. With characteristic integrity, he went to work to make good the loss, with the result that he depleted his own fortune down to the borderline of want. From this misfortune, he never fully recovered, but with the same heroism which characterized him in war, he did not surrender, but fought adversity and succeeded in securing sufficient to enable him to rear and educate his family.”

The John McArthur Clan is buried in Section 90, lot no. 155. Twenty-eight people are buried in this large lot. Gus Noble, our president and I visit this plot at least four times a year. In a line are the burial lots of Mason, McArthur and Badenoch. All important names in the history of the Scots of Chicago.

Let me quote again from The Memorials: “On the evening of May 15th, 1906, the Angel of Death came and kissed down his eyelids, and his remains were laid at rest in Rose Hill Cemetery. Thus we close the story of this sturdy life, hoping to meet him in the great beyond.” (Written by Edward A. Blodgett, George Mason and Richard S. Tuthill.)

A great man died, and Chicago declared a day of mourning.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

History Club - Next meeting, June 7, 2014. We will discuss and celebrate the sacrifices of those who fought on D-Day.