Monday, May 17, 2010

Scottish Lawyer, Died From Abuse - Buried in an Unmarked Grave

Maxwell Edgar was born in 1871 in Mount Florida, Glasgow, Scotland. Mount Florida is in the southeast corner of the city of Glasgow. (The origin of the name is unclear.) He was the son of John Edgar and Eliza (Curr) Edgar. Educated in Scotland and England, he came to America in 1893. In Chicago, he attended Chicago-Kent College of Law and was admitted to practice in 1900. That same year, he married Jeanne Weil.

He was employed by the Stuyvesant Fish company, the I.C.R.R., and then became special assistant Corporation Counsel, City of Chicago. He was in charge of taxation, 1905-1907. President of the Illinois Democratic League, 1909-10; and the Illinois Tax Reform Association, 1908-1910. His recreation was golf and he lived in the Mont Claire section of the Chicago.

Maxwell Edgar became the secretary of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society, but things did not go well. He came to believe that the funds were being wasted, especially with the Crearer Fund, which Mr. Edgar believed was a restricted fund. Land became available on Ogden Avenue, (8-10) and the president of the Society and others decided to purchase that land for the Scottish Old People’s Home. The cost was $8,000.00 but Mr. Edgar in his lawsuit said it was only worth $5,000. The purchase was being made through Jacob Magill, the brother-in-law of president Daniel Bogle. Named in the injunction were Daniel R. Cameron, John C. Harper, John F. Homes, Joseph Cormack and Daniel Bogle, president of the Society. The lawsuit was later dismissed.

By 1917, the mental and physical health of Maxwell Edgar had become quite severe. A letter from Thomas Innes, Chairman of the Board of Almoners, to James B. Forgan, is asking for help. Doctors had concluded that “considerable benefit might result to Mr. Edgar from a brief period of treatment in a private sanitarium.” A total of $200 was needed for the treatment and would be raised among the members of the Saint Andrew Society. The money was raised, despite the previous history, and Mr. Edgar was sent to the Wauwatosa Sanitarium near Milwaukee.

The treatment failed and by April 1917, Maxwell Edgar was committed to the “Elgin State Hospital for the Insane” in Elgin, Illinois. He died April 29 under unusual circumstances. A Senate committee later concluded that he had died of abuse and that an effort was made to hide his case. The two individuals listed as the perpetrators escaped prosecution by moving out of state.

The newspaper says he was survived by his wife, Mrs. Jeanne Edgar, 1160 Grace St., Chicago. Maxwell Edgar is buried in an unmarked grave in the Bluff City Cemetery, Elgin, Illinois. He is buried in a single grave owned by Maude Curr, who may have been a relative of his mother. His grave location is Section 15, #78 at the back of the cemetery. I have visited twice.

Contact with any family members, especially in Scotland, would be appreciated.

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