Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mrs. Philip D. Armour, Jr. a young widow with 2 children in 1900.

Mary Armour was now a widow with 2 small children.  Her husband, the son of Philip Armour, died suddenly in January, 1900.  They had been married eleven years. His estate was valued at $8,000,000.  The will left everything to the widow and her children.  The real estate which included the great house at 37th and Michigan and 400 acres of property at Oconomowoc, WI. was valued at $1,200,000.  The rest of the estate consisted chiefly of stock in the Armour Co. of Chicago.  All of the household effects, horses and carriages were given to the widow. Mary E. Armour.

The executors of the will were: J. Ogden Armour, Mrs. Mary E. Armour, and P. Anderson Valentine. They acted without surety.  Each child was given $10,000 a year until they reached the age of 21.The date of the will was April 5, 1890.  P.A. Valentine appears to have taken over the task of helping Mrs. Armour handle her funds because his office was normally in New York City.

It appears that Mary Armour moved almost immediately to New York City and made her home at the Hotel Netherland.  When she returned to Chicago, she normally stayed with her mother-in-law on Prairie ave.  I could find no evidence that she ever stayed at the great house again.

A diligent search of the Chicago Tribune does not reveal the fate of the home at 37th and Michigan.

(NOTE:  As wills were probated, they were published in the local newspaper.  When Philip Armour, Sr., died his estate was valued at $15,000,000.  At the time the estate was the largest ever probated in Cook county.  Neither a charity or a friend was mentioned in the will, but Mr. Armour had given away during his lifetime something like $35,000,000.  Of this, $8,000,000 went to educational and charitable institutions.  The Illinois St. Andrew Society was one of his charities but sadly the records are gone.  However we are grateful.)

The History Club has visited the Armour plot in Graceland cemetery several times.

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