Monday, April 27, 2015

Joseph Medill

Mr. Medill is a member of the Scottish American Hall of Fame. Here is the information on his plaque.

"Commenting on his death in 1899, a competitive Chicago newspaper said of Chicago Tribune editor Joseph Medill, 'No man of his time exercised a more decisive - or on the whole - a more beneficial influence on public affairs as Mr. Medill.'

"As editor of the fledgling Chicago Tribune, Joseph Medill gave the newspaper character and set it on the path to success. He served as mayor of Chicago just after the fire of 1871, instituting the reforms that still endure. He was a confidant and adviser to Abraham Lincoln. And, as editor and delegate, he had wide influence in shaping the Illinois Constitution of 1870.

"Two Presidents offered him cabinet posts but he turned them down. He was one of the founders of the Republican party and instrumental in selecting the name. Joseph Medill was born April 6, 1823, near St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. His parents were Scots Presbyterian who emigrated from Ulster in 1819. The family moved to Ohio when Joseph was 9. He studied law and was admitted to the Ohio bar but quickly turned to journalism. He edited newspapers which he bought and sold until 1855 when he moved to Chicago to become part owner of the Chicago Tribune. From then on until his death, he was a major force in the newspaper’s growth and influence as well as the city of Chicago.

"As an abolitionist, Medill effectively rallied Midwest public opinion against slavery. Medill actively supported Lincoln during his rise to prominence, became his adviser, and urged him to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

"He worked until the day he died in a San Antonio, Texas, hotel on March 16, 1899. Editorials he had written appeared in the Tribune two days after his death."

                                                                     James C. Thompson

In coming day, I want to take some members of the Medill family and follow their lives. One branch is involved in the new National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida which I visited last week.

Lake Forest report: More than 200 people crowded into the auditorium to watch The Scots of Lake Forest on April 11, 2015. I am told the phone rang constantly on Saturday but there was no additional space. The weather was spectacular, so people had a chance to be outside and enjoy the gardens. You can only imagine how beautiful it was when the Amour’s lived in the house. Those who attended were complimentary so it appears the film exceeded expectations. No doubt there will be more opportunities to see the film, so watch for future announcements.

History Club - May 2, 2015: Join us in Heritage Hall at the Scottish Home, 28th & Des Plaines, North Riverside, IL. I will be doing the presentation continuing our discussion of the Society’s history from 1875 to 1885. We have been doing these history presentation in 10 year blocks. Bob Peterson is kind enough to bring all his expensive equipment and record the session which he then edits and places on a disc. These are available for $20.00 each.

We will also celebrate May birthdays, including mine. If you have a birthday in May come and join us for birthday cake, scones, coffee and tea. Sweet Pea, the dog, will attend, so if you have not had the opportunity to meet SP or to view the Scottish American Museum, May 2 is your day.

History Club - June 6, 2015. This is our last meeting until September and it falls on D-Day. We will concentrate our presentation on bloody Omaha Beach in honor of all our servicemen who served during World War II.

Scottish Festivals and Highland Games - June 19-20 at Hamilton Lakes in Itasca, Illinois. Click here for complete information.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois St. Andrew Society