Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Elderly Network Loses its Angel

By Eric Zorn
April 13, 1993

(My friend Bob Carlton found this story and sent me the link. Eric Zorn writes so well about this Scottish lady named Jessie Conaughton. What I find interesting is that she and her husband worked for James E. McMillan, the Ovaltine man, and he left Jessie a small annuity from his estate. Here are the words of Eric Zorn.)

They are the people you don't often think about, and they live in apartments you almost never notice.

They are the elderly underground-a quiet, unofficial network of retired domestics, teachers, clerks and others who dwell in modest apartments above shops and businesses in downtown Winnetka.

Most of them are widows. They cook for each other, help each other with errands and housework as needed, fill out forms, keep tabs and provide much-needed company. The small group has never had a name-though every so often someone calls them "the bench ladies," after a bus stop where some of them gather in warmer weather-and now it is struggling on with a wounded heart.

On April 1, Jessie Conaughton, for decades the most visible and active member of the helping network, died at age 87 of complications following a stroke.

"I loved her dearly," said Margaret Vieth, 89, a retired nurse who lives alone above a flower shop. "She used to come by every morning to help me make my bed and wash the dishes and carry out the garbage. Then she would ask me what I needed at the store.

"She would never accept anything for it," Vieth said. "I'd thank her and she'd say, `Oh, that's nothing.' but I would say, `No it isn't. You don't know what it means to me to have someone come in with a smile and a friendly word and do these things I can no longer do.' "

"Helping others was Jessie's whole life," said Elise Gieser, 83, a former schoolteacher who drives for the other retirees when they need to go shopping or to the doctor. "I think she just didn't know anything else to do."

For nearly three decades, Conaughton was a pleasant if slightly eccentric figure around the village, a cheery, slight woman with a rich Scottish accent who walked everywhere in a determined stride and always wore tennis shoes.

But her sparkle disguised a bleak and difficult life, Gieser said. When she was a toddler, her mother died in childbirth and left her to be reared by a critical and unaffectionate father, Gieser said Conaughton told her.

She emigrated from Scotland to the United States in her teens and began her lifelong work as a domestic servant. She married Edward Conaughton, a chauffeur, who also was said to be undemonstrative, and the two ended up employed at the lakefront estate of James McMillan, president of the A. Wander Co.

Edward Conaughton died in 1963, and McMillan died two years later. Jessie Conaughton received a small annuity from McMillan's estate, and she and one of her two sons, Patrick, now 52, moved to an inexpensive, one-bedroom apartment above what is now a shoe store in downtown Winnetka.

Such apartments, like the people who live in them, are nearly invisible amid the activities and commerce of small business districts. And they are slowly vanishing in wealthy communities as building owners rehab them to attract upscale tenants or convert them into more lucrative office space, according to Jean Cleland, a program director and case manager at the North Shore Senior Center.

She took in dry cleaning for those who lived in the other apartments around town but couldn't manage it for themselves; returned library books; filled prescriptions; ran to the post office; took in newspapers; anything, everything, and never asked for or wanted payment.

"She finally let me give her an alarm clock because she didn't have one," said Katherine Hudson, 85. "We called her the angel of Elm Street."

In the last year, however, it became clear that the angel was losing her wings. Her trademark stride slowed down, she lost her hearing and she became increasingly forgetful, friends said. She died just two days after entering a Northbrook nursing home.

"No one planned any services, and I felt that wasn't right," Cleland said. "I felt we should not let such a life pass unremarked."

So Cleland organized a memorial gathering for Monday afternoon at the Winnetka community house, an event that Patrick Conaughton said would have embarrassed and surprised his mother.

Shopkeepers and store clerks who knew her from her frequent errand runs turned out, as did several members of the community who said that they had exchanged pleasantries with Jessie Conaughton on the street for years and only learned her name after her death. Speakers included several members of the informal elderly underground, of which fewer than 10 are still alive.

Retired architect Carl Sterner, 87, the only man in the seniors network, struggled to his feet near the close of the 40-minute memorial. "She was a grand lady and I miss her very much," he said. "But I'll struggle along somehow."

So will the rest of them. But it won't be as easy or as pleasant anymore.


You can find the latest news about Eric Zorn on the Internet. Thanks Eric.
Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Man from Ovaltine

James G. McMillan was born in Broughty Ferry, Scotland, on July 10, 1881 to a family of modest means. He attended Grove Academy and won many medals in sports, especially swimming. He was a member of an elite group called “Ye Amphibious Ancients” who always opened their swimming year with a dip in the Firth of Tay on New Year’s Day. He was apprenticed to chemists for a total of six years, becoming a pharmacist in 1905.

He moved to London and after a period of time became a detail man for A. Wander, Limited. During World War I, he served in the Home Guard as a second lieutenant. In the fall of 1919, he moved to the United States to manage the Wander Co. Their small factory built in 1917 was located in Villa Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. “He ably and constructively filled the position of President and General Manager until his retirement in 1951 at the age of 70.”

In 1935, a large addition was added to the Wander factory in Villa Park. Their business steadily gained in sales throughout the depression. In 1932 the company had expanded by building a one story building and now they added three more stories with a floor area of some 60,000 square feet. In 1935, the plant used 15 million pounds of grain, half a million pounds of milk per week and the eggs from 70,000 chickens. The new plant contained a bowling alley and was totally air conditioned. There was also a baseball field for the employees to use. During the Great Depression Mr. McMillan was paid $100,000 a year. I have been told it was a good place to work and that employees were well treated. Those of you who live in the area, as I do, know that the plant building has now been converted to apartments.

Not far from the plant was a modern “moving picture” theater of old English design, erected and owned by Mr. McMillan. It appears the building still exists and has recently been converted to three floors and three apartments. The Ovaltine club, carried on the social activities of the company’s employees; they also had an orchestra and three tennis courts. When the plant closed in 1985, it was a complex of 23 buildings on 15 acres with 237,000 square feet of work space. In the 1950s the factory ran at peak production and employed 300 to 400 people.

In March of 1923, James McMillan married Emily Virginia Brady. She was born in 1890 in Lucas, Ohio. Mrs. McMillan died in Passavant hospital (Chicago) on July 22, 1959. She was founder and first president of the Illinois Opera Guild and was president of the Great Lakes Hospital Music League for which she received a Navy citation. Mass was said in Holy Name Cathedral. As of this writing, I do not know her place of burial even though there has been a diligent search.

Mr. and Mrs. McMillan lived at 445 Sheridan Road in Winnetka, Illinois. It was the former home of Albert Pick and later was famous as the home of W. Clement Stone who entertained lavishly in this mansion along the lake shore. McMillan bought the house in 1931 and lived there until his death in 1965. At the time, the house contained 17 rooms and a 3-car garage. The sound of bagpipes could be heard often at 445 Sheridan Rd. Mr. & Mrs. McMillan regularly entertained their Scottish friends. You can see the house and read its history if you goggle: 445 Sheridan Rd., Winnetka, IL.

James McMillan was an active member of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. He served on the Board of Governors and was made an Honorary Governor when he retired. Under the leadership of Hughston McBain in 1964, the Scottish Home added a 14-bed health care wing to its facility. Total cost, including furnishings was $200,000.  James McMillan was the major donor and so the wing was named for him. He died shortly before the dedication. We have made a diligent search of the burial place of Mr. and Mrs. McMillian without success. If anyone reads this who can help, we would like to pay our respects.

(The last reference in the Chicago Tribune was a wedding announcement, between Suzanne Snells and Franklin Martin deBeers III of Glenview, Illinois, February 15, 1965. “His great-uncle is James G. McMillan of Winnetka.”)

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

December 14, 2014 - The annual Christmas Party and a general meeting of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society membership will take place in Heritage Hall at the Scottish Home beginning at 3:00 p.m. RSVP 708-408-5591.

January 10, 2015 - History Club Meeting. Our speaker is Ana Koval, President/CEO of the Canal Corridor Association.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Palmer House I, II and III

In the late 1860's, Potter Palmer was in the process of building two hotels in Chicago. One was called the “Potter Palmer House” and the other “The Palmer House.” The first was to be a moderately priced hotel but the one on State Street was to be luxurious. By the summer of 1870, the exterior of the Palmer House on State Street was finished and work was beginning on the interior. It contained 225 rooms. The hotel would have 7 floors and 150 apartments. The first two floors would be shops and stores. The cost was estimated at $3,500,000.

Potter Palmer now owned a mile of State street and more than 100 buildings in the downtown area. He was also in the process of making Bertha Honore’ his wife. They were married July 28, 1870. The Palmer House, located at State and Quincy, was his wedding gift and they would have an apartment in the new hotel. The honeymoon in Europe lasted six months and Potter Palmer was collecting ideas for another hotel more grand than any other. It would be located at State and Monroe.

The first Palmer House opened on September 26, 1871, but 13 days later was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire on October 8. All his buildings, more than one hundred, were lost as well. Bertha Palmer was at their country home the night of the Great Fire, alone, except for the servants. Her husband had gone to New York to attend the funeral of his sister. His arrival home was a discouraging moment and he considered retiring.

An article in the Chicago Sun-Times reported: “It was Bertha who drove a buggy to the nearest town with telegraph wires still intact and wired New York business men seeking a extension of credit for her husband. The Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company allowed him to borrow $1,700,000, the largest single loan made in the United States up to that time...”


This hotel opened on November 8, 1873 and was built of brick and iron. It was advertised as the “first wholly fireproof hotel in the United States.” The first two floors were again reserved for stores, 18 on each floor. In the center was the grand court patterned after the Louvre in Paris. Around this great lobby would be a balcony running on three sides. He copied this from Spurgeon’s church in London. “The floors of the barber shop, set with silver dollars between tiles, probably bought more fame to the hotel than any other feature.” From a well, the hotel had its own water supply.

In 1876, Potter Palmer decided to raise the roof of this hotel 30 inches in order to make “the upper rooms more lofty and attractive.”  The roof weighted 3,802 tons. It was divided into 5 sections and using 200 hydraulic jack-screws, manned by 65 men, the roof was gradually raised. At a given signal the levers were all turned at once. Every half-inch the work was stopped and measurements taken so “that there may be a perfect level at all time.” In addition he was also constructing a conservatory over the dining-room on the roof. You could enter by a passage-way on the fifth floor. “It was 45 by 78 feet and 17 feel in height, with a double glass roof, and will be heated by steam. For this special feature Mr. Palmer has purchased the rarest and most beautiful plants and exotics obtainable, which will soon be in position.” This beautiful hotel was replaced by the present building. (Pictures can be found on the Internet.)

Work on the present hotel started in 1924. The new hotel rose 23-three stories and was to be the world’s largest hotel with 2,263 rooms. The cost, including furnishings, was nearly $40 million. Palmer House II was gradually replaced without closing or losing any revenue.

The hotel that we will enjoy on November 22 has had just two owners - Potter Palmer and Conrad N. Hilton. Mr. Hilton purchased the hotel from the Palmer family for $20 million in 1945. It is the longest continually operating hotel in the United States. It was also the first Chicago hotel to have telephone service in all rooms, electric lights, air conditioning and elevators.

The gilded lobby of the present hotel is two-stories high with a formal staircase and a ceiling mural depicting Greek mythology. “The Michelangelo-esque mural was originally created in the 1920s by French muralist Louis Pierre Rigal.” The Palmer House mural contains 21 portraits. Each was a separate piece of canvas, signed by artist, Louis Pierre Rigal. They were painted in France and shipped to the United States in 1926. In 1964 restoration work was being done on the mural when Martin K. Ziegner fell 40 feet from the scaffolding and died. The murals were restored again in 1983 and 1995 by Lido Lippi, a master restorer who also worked on the Sistine Chapel. The most recent restoration took place in 2012 by Anthony and Mata Kartsonas, “who are well-known art preservationists.”

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

The Scots of Chicago will meet for the 169th time this coming Saturday night, November 22, in the grand ballroom of the Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois. Click here to register.

The entertainment is a repeat performance by the Chelsea House Orchestra. These high school students are from Chelsea, Michigan, a town of 5,000 located in the southeastern portion of that state. Jed Fritemeier started CHO in 1996 with 10 students. About 30 students will make the trip to Chicago. The program has been studied as an alternative to the typical school orchestra. I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy this group of high energy young people as they perform “Celtic with a Kick.”

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Day of Remembrance - November 11, 2014

Yesterday, marked the 100th anniversary of the beginnings of World War I. It lasted four terrible years and was declared to be “The War to End all Wars.” It was a brutal war. At the Battle of the Somme (1916) in just 20 minutes, 20,000 British troops died. America did not join the war until 1917 but still had more than 100,000 soldiers die in the fighting.

It came to an end at the 11hour of the 11day of the 11th month of 1918. Countries around the world still observe the exact moment with marked silence. Many years ago when I was in school, we observed “Armistice Day” with a minute of silence at 11 a.m. I doubt that practice continues but I don’t know for sure. In our country, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all of those who have served.

In the United Kingdom this past Sunday was celebrated as Remembrance Day. Around the Tower of London, 888,426 poppies were planed in honor of British soldiers who died in World War I. The last one will be planted on November 11, 2014. In a London factory disabled veterans are hired to assemble by hand the 45 million poppies that are sold across Britain. The poppies remind everyone of John McCrae and his poem, “In Flanders Fields.”

John McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada and was the grandson of Scottish immigrants. He was first and foremost a soldier and during the Second Boar War, he served in the artillery. By profession he was a physician. When the war started he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force although by profession and age (41) he could have joined the medical corps. He grew up believing in the duty of fighting for his country and empire.

McCrae fought in the second battle of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium, The Canadian position became the first to be attacked by chlorine gas in 1915. In spite of this, the Germans were unable to break through the Canadian line which held for more than two weeks. McCrae wrote to his mother that the battle was a “nightmare.” “For 17 days and 17 nights none of us have had our clothes off, not even our boots, except occasionally. In all that time while I was awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for 60 seconds...and behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way.” Six thousand Canadian soldiers died in the Battle of Ypres, among them Alexis Helmer, a close friend.

John McCrae was so deeply touched by the losses in France that he became a bitter and disillusioned man. For relief, he took long rides on his horse, Bonfire, perhaps accompanied by his dog, Bonneau. On January 18, 1918, he became ill and died of pneumonia and meningitis. The day of his funeral was a beautiful day as he was being buried in Wimereux Cemetery not far from the fields of Flanders.

Every evening in Ypres, France at 8 p.m. the local police stop traffic from passing underneath the gate, and the Last Post is played by buglers from the Ypres fire station. The Last Post has been played every night in this way since the 1920s save only for the duration of the German occupation during World War II.

The Kansas City Star wrote this tribute to Lieut. Col. John McCrae: “Lieut. McCrae has been laid to rest between the crosses that mark the couch of Canada’s immortal dead who have fought on foreign soil. He went out as a physician to heal the scars of war, but he sleeps as a soldier within sound of the guns, having given all that man may give for the honor and the liberty of his country... With the gallant dead he, too, listens to the guns, hears the lark bravely singing in the azure sky, and waits for the Dawn, where”

In Flanders field the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
that mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved, and were loved, and now we live
In Flanders field.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders field.
Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

November 22nd come celebrate St. Andrew’s Day and our historic organization with the Scots of Chicago at the Palmer House Hilton. Click here for details and registration.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bertha Palmer

Bertha Matilda Honoré was born in Kentucky in 1849. Her grandfather had immigrated to Maryland in 1781 and later moved to Kentucky. He married Matilda Lockwood and they had 4 children. Henry Hamilton Honoré became Bertha’s father. Her mother was Eliza Carr Honoré (Both Lockwood and Carr are Scottish names.)

Her family moved to Chicago when she was six and built a house on Ashland avenue. They later sold the house to Carter Harrison, Sr., mayor of Chicago, who was also from Kentucky. It was in this house that he was fatally shot and killed, March 3, 1879. The first people on the scene were William and Joan  (Pinkerton)  Chalmers who lived across the street. From the lunch room at Rush Presbyterian Hospital you can clearly see the old Chalmers mansion. I spent a lot of time in that lunch room but didn’t know that Bertha Palmer and her family lived across the street. The Honoré family moved to Michigan avenue after the Civil War.

Bertha attended the Covenant of the Visitation in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. She graduated in 1867 with honors in history, geography, the sciences, philosophy, literature, rhetoric and composition. She was honored for her talents in piano, harp and vocal music. After graduation, Bertha made her debut in the new family home on Michigan Avenue. She had many admirers but one uncommon man came to the front of the line. Potter Palmer, recently returned from Europe, had made up his mind. Bertha Honoré would become his wife. He was 42. She was just 21.

This story has survived the years and it may well be true. In 1862, Palmer came to the house on Ashland avenue to discuss various real estate developments that he and Henry Honoré had in progress. There, he met the very beautiful thirteen-year-old Bertha with sparkling eyes and long dark hair and graceful movements. “Finding her to be intelligent with impeccable manners and an aura of self-assurance, he was at once smitten. When Bertha came of age, he vowed, she would be an ideal wife and companion.” During the next few years, he often saw Bertha and her mother shopping in his department store. They always received his personal attention. By the age of 38, Palmer had amassed a fortune of $7 million but his health had suffered and he was lonely. It was time to find a wife but before that happened he would spend three years in Europe.

When he returned to Chicago in 1868, he built a ball field for the Chicago White Stockings (later known as the Cubs), attended the horse races and enjoyed the company of pretty women. His work now consisted in making State Street the main shopping district. “He tore down old buildings, widened avenues, and constructed stores, banks and other buildings for commercial use. It was reported that by 1870, he owned 117 properties with a gross income of two hundred thousand dollars.”

“In the intervening years, Bertha had blossomed from a lovely young girl to a poised and beautiful woman.” Palmer asked permission of the parents to begin courting and they consented. He began sending flowers and asking permission to escort her to theaters, restaurants and galas.

They were married in the Honoré home on July 28, 1870 after a courtship of only two months. The ceremony took place at five o’clock and was performed by the pastor of the First Christian Church. There were no bridesmaids, groomsman or ushers - only immediate relatives of the bride and groom. A large reception was later held at the Honoré residence, Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. Refreshments were served on two thousand pieces of silver. After the reception, they left for New York and then to Europe for their honeymoon. In Europe, he bought her “anything and everything, particularly fine jewelry, high fashion apparel, and lavish furnishings for their homes.” The lived in the finest hotels, attended the theater, toured museums and gardens, visited historical monuments and castles.” Mr. Palmer was studying architecture because he was going to build a grand hotel for his bride.

In 1873, they moved into their spacious apartment at the Palmer House. In 1874, their first child was born. In 1875, the second son was born. “These domestic years were times of contentment for Potter Palmer who took great pleasure in his home and family.” He called his young wife Cissie. There was never a scandal, though at times he was jealous of the attention she received. From all accounts Bertha was a faithful and devoted partner.

“Bertha Palmer was an exceptionally progressive, astute, and accomplished woman who possessed the charisma and grace to captivate those who knew her. She was ambitious and opportunistic. She sought the limelight. It may also be said that she chose to live a life of frivolity, over-abundant acquisition and conspicuous consumption. She did it all with grandeur and style.”

After the death of her husband, she spent much time in Europe, buying expensive homes in London and Paris. Queen Victoria died the same year and her son, the Prince of Wales, ascended the throne and became King Edward VII. Bertha Palmer was a close friend. She attended races at Ascot, went to hunting events and often played golf with the King. “She learned of his particular preferences and gave intimate dinner parties of eight in London, at Sandringham Castle or at Biarritz.” When the King died in 1910, Bertha Palmer returned to America..

“Speculation sporadically arose about romances between Bertha and various wealthy and titled widowers. In fact, there were suitors of French ancestry with whom she was frequently seen. Some of the names circulated among the gossip mongers were the Earl of Munster, the Duke of Atholl, the Prince of Monace, and the King of Serbia.”

Nevertheless, she remained Mrs. Potter Palmer.

( I have borrowed extensively for this article from the graduate thesis of Hope L. Black, University of South Florida, entitled Mounted on a Pedestal: Bertha Honoré Palmer. You can download it on the Internet.) This is just a glimpse into the life of Bertha Palmer.

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

November 1 - Next meeting of the Scottish American History Club.
Charles Gonzalez and his father will be our special guests.
They visited France for the D-day celebrations this year.
Come see how the beaches have changed.
We will listen to John LeNoble as he tells the story of our flag
Beth Brown will play the piano and lead us in singing.
We will pledge our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

NOVEMBER 22, 2014 - The Scots of Chicago will celebrate St. Andrew’s Day and our 169 years of history at the Palmer House Hilton on State Street in Chicago, Illinois. Click here for information and reservations.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Scots of Chicago and the Palmer House Hilton

The Scots of Chicago met for the first time on December 2, 1845 to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day which occurs each year on November 30. If the date fell on Sunday, the Scots met the following week.  In modern times, the date has depended on hotel schedules. This year the 169th St. Andrew’s Day Dinner will be held on November 22 at the Palmer House Hilton on State Street.

St. Andrew has been the Patron Saint of Scotland from at least the 9th century. He is said to have died bound to an X shaped cross. That shape is now reflected in the Scottish flag, known as the Saltire. This year November 30 falls on Sunday so perhaps we should wear our kilt to church. It marks the beginning of Advent that lasts until midnight on Christmas Eve. Advent Sunday is the first of the four Sundays before December 25.

That first meeting in 1845 was held at the Lake House hotel. It was Chicago’s first important hotel, a three-story brick building between Rush and Kinzie. There was nothing between it and the shore of Lake Michigan, “excepting the great cotton wood trees that had sheltered the pioneer Kinzie house,” a Scot himself. The first official meeting was held January 26, 1846. It seems likely that a constitution was adopted by 1850 and a charter was obtained from the legislature in 1853.

The preamble said: “A sacred obligation to aid the unfortunate among our countrymen, or their families, who may, in pursuit of labor of business, have come here, and having deliberated on the most effective means to promote and compass these most desirable objects, we hereby form ourselves into a society bearing the name of the Illinois St. Andrew Society of Chicago.”   

The Scots of Chicago have met every year since 1845 in the best hotels that Chicago had to offer. Every Dinner is a story in itself. Until recent times, the event was prominent in the newspapers of Chicago, especially the Chicago Tribune. Some people call the event the “Dinner” or the “Feast” and it is both - but not to a Scottish food. The evening is a tribute to our history, to the thousands of Scots who have supported the work and the mission. Men and women who have given of their time and talents to fulfill our mission and preserve Scottish heritage in Chicago and surrounding areas.

Several years ago, I was able to buy a letter written by George Anderson, dated 22 November, 1847. He was writing to Mr. Samuel Dow in Rockford, Illinois looking for a piper to play at the St. Andrew’s dinner. “So, if you engage one send him on by Monday next and the Society will pay all his expenses. Get the best one.” The letter is part of the Scottish American Museum. A pipe band now always plays for this event.

Beginning in 1926, the Anniversary Dinner moved to the Stevens Hotel on Michigan Avenue, now called the Chicago Hilton. It was the largest hotel in the world at the time and was the dream of J. W. Stevens. He suffered a stroke the same year and Ernest, and his youngest son became the manager. (Ernest Stevens is the father of John Paul Stevens, Justice of the Supreme Court.) The Stevens’ family has an interesting history and I believe they are of a Scottish heritage but can’t prove it as I write this article. The Judge would know!

From 1926 until 1941, the Dinner was held at the Stevens now the Chicago Hilton. The government bought the hotel in 1942 for six million dollars to use in the housing of troops during the war.  The 97th Anniversary Dinner was moved to the Palmer House. It was the first time the Society held the event at the Palmer House and they returned during the war for 1942 and 1943. In 1944 as the war was winding down they returned to the Chicago Hilton for the next 50 years.

In 1942 the president was Alexander G. Shennan, OBE. The Board of Governors consisted of: Robert Black, Robert Falconer, James B. Forgan, James R. Glass, William Lister, James G. McMillan, William F. G. Ross, R. Douglas Stuart, William Sutherland and Albert L. Tossell.

Six committees were in charge of the organizing the Anniversary Dinner as they called the event. George C. Buik and R. Douglas Stuart were part of the Reception Committee. One of the speakers was Robert E. Lee Hill, past president of Rotary International. I don’t know the attendance. In 1943, the Anniversary Dinner was again held at the Palmer House and the Tribune reported that 1500 were in attendance. George C. Buik was chairman and the speakers were: Dr. Franklyn B. Snyder, president of Northwestern University and Air Vice Marshal MacNeece Foster.

The Palmer House is a famous and historic hotel. Click her for details about the 2014 Anniversary Dinner.

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

November 1 - Next meeting of the Scottish American History Club.
Charles Gonzalez and his father will be our special guests.
They visited France for the D-day celebrations this year.
Come see how the beaches have changed.
We will listen to John LeNoble as he tells the story of our flag
Beth Brown will play the piano and lead us in singing.
We will pledge our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

Meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. - Museum opens at 9:00 a.m.
Coffee and scones - no charge
Reservations are helpful. Call 708-447-5092 or 630-629-4516

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chicago has Burned

October 8, 1871, the conflagration began. Churches not in the path of the fire opened their doors for prayer. They prayed for rain but it came too late to stop the flames. In fact, it was a cold rain and only added to the misery of those on the prairies. What was lost? Everything! The heat was so intense there was no smoke. “Heat like that of the most intense furnace was generated, which swept across the city, leaving nothing in its wake but here and there a blackened and tottering wall, or a chimney.”

“Among the Scottish casualties is the death of John Clark, aged 71 years, who perished in the burnt district while striving to escape from the fire. He was the father of Robert Clark, Chief of the Chicago Caledonian club, an old and much respected citizen of Chicago, a native of Forfar. The old gentleman had returned but a few weeks previously from a pleasant visit to his relatives in Scotland. William George died of his injuries a few days later.”

The Society Managers’ Report was written shortly after the fire. It was brief because “all the books, papers, reports and property of the society have been destroyed with all the banners, flags, seals, pictures, and emblems, amounting to one thousand dollars in value, entirely swept away.” Everything was stored in the court house because their quarterly meetings were held there.

Monument Plans

Those of you who have visited Edinburgh will have seen the monument to Sir Walter Scott on Princess St. In Chicago, there was a move to construct an exact replica of that monument. Dr. John D. Carr, was the president of the Scott Centenary Celebration. The monument in Edinburgh was designed by C. M. Kemp who had been paid $20,000 for his work in 1812. The descendants of Mr. Kemp owned the design and had decided that one monument could be constructed in the United States. Chicago had been offered that privilege. Dr. Carr had the plans in his possession on September 17, 1871 and they were to be on display at his office at the McVicker Theater Building. That building, along with the plans were destroyed in the fire. A statue of Robert Burns would later replace the monument to Scott.

Some of the destruction included: 17,450 houses, 104,500 homeless, 2,104 acres burned, 2,400 stores & factories lost, 121 miles of sidewalks. 8 bridges. The city waterworks, 1,642,000 bushels of grain, 2,000 lampposts, $222 million in property, 73 miles of roads, paved with wooden blocks. The death toll was placed at 300 but probably many more were actually killed.

Annual Dinner

On December 2, 1871, members of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society met for their Annual Dinner honoring St. Andrew. Our records say it was held at the Briggs House. (Some sources say the Briggs House was destroyed in the fire.) They came wearing clothes that smelled of smoke and in some cases may have been borrowed. Men once wealthy had been reduced to poverty. Prior to the dinner a business meeting was conducted and General John McArthur was elected president. Each member had a “sprig of heather imported from Scotland for the occasion.”  George Anderson was called upon to recite “Tam O’shanter.” “He declined, saying, after the great calamity he had no heart to recite a poem abounding in such tender associations. He took the occasion to present a ram’s horn, handsomely mounted, and ornamented with many Scottish devices.”  That ram’s horn can be seen today in the Scottish American Museum.

This same Annual Dinner will be held on November 22, 2014 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Click here for information.         

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

November 1 - Next meeting of History Club
  • Charles Gonzalez and his Dad talk about their visit to France on D-day, 2014 and have pictures and stories you will enjoy.
  • John LeNoble will talk about the American Flag & we will say the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Beth Brown will lead us in patriotic songs
Reservations are helpful call - 708-447-5092

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Superheated Wind from the Southwest

I am writing this on Monday, October 6, 2014.  In 1871, this would have been a Friday.  Chicago was a growing city with a population of 300,000 but was a city made of wood.  As people closed their stores and workmen made their way home, no one could have predicted the events that would soon overwhelm them.  It had been a hot and dry summer.  From July 4 to October 8 only an inch of rain had fallen. A strong wind was blowing from the southwest.  It would soon become superheated. 

The fire started around 9:00 p.m. on October 8, 1871, behind the house at 137 DeKoven Street.  It spread rapidly, forced along by the great wind from the south.  Late in the evening on Monday, it started to rain but the city was already destroyed.

Frederick Law Olmstead wrote: “Chicago had a weakness for big things and liked to think that it was outbuilding New York.  It did a great deal of commercial advertising in its house-tops.  The faults of construction as well as of art in its great showy buildings must have been numerous.  Their walls were thin, and were overweighted with gross and coarse misornamentation.”

The Reverend David Sweet was the pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian church in 1871. He wrote a dramatic account of the Great Fire and its impact on his family. Here is a part of what he wrote.  (David Sweet is buried at Rosehill in Chicago.  He is on my list of Scottish Americans.)

“It must have been ten o’clock Monday morning when the flames had come so near as to make it necessary for us to move on, and for the LaSalle avenue people to join the exodus. It was not necessary to run, or even to walk rapidly. It was necessary only to work toward the open fields outside the limits of the city. At no point was there a crowd or a panic, for the fire being in the center of the city the victims could at many points pass into the long circumference. In our line of retreat there were not more than ten thousand persons; and these were spread out through many squares (blocks), reaching out toward the west. Each wagon, each wheelbarrow, each family had plenty of room. My little family impressed an abandoned handcart into service, and with our living and inanimate plunder placed in this little two-wheeled affair we moved along in a manner more comfortable even if not more elegant. A man driving a fine team and having a great truck-load of valuable goods, looked down upon us with not a little air of better consciousness, but when we informed him that his load was ablaze in the rear of the big mountain his vanity passed away, and he hastily unhitched his horses, and left all else to become a bonfire in the street. The dresses of many women and children took fire, but there were many eyes watching, and many hands ready, so that personal injuries were rare. Late in the afternoon our group reached an open field. It had been recently plowed. It contained nothing which could be burned. It offered us the one thing most needed - rest and security. Here we encamped and sat down with faces toward a mass of smoke and fire now four or five miles in breadth.”

We still remember after 143 years, and there is much more to the story.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

November 1 - Next meeting of the Scottish American History Club.  We will honor veterans, sing patriotic songs, listen to John LeNoble and see pictures from the landing at D-Day.  Our special guests will be Charles Gonzalez, a member of our Board of Governors, and his father who visited France this past summer.  Come see how the beaches have changed in 70 years.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Killing Patton

“Killing Patton” is a new book on the market by Bill O’Reilly. I have read some of his other books and plan to read this one as well. Patton is in the Scottish American Hall of Fame located in Heritage Hall at the Scottish Home, 28th and Des Plaines, North Riverside, Illinois. The following information was written by James Thomson and is contained on the plaque honoring General Patton.

                                            GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON

George S. Patton is widely acclaimed as America’s most aggressive and resourceful field commander of World II. He liberated more territory in less time than any commander in history. General Patton was an able tactician and the leading American exponent of hard-hitting, fast-moving tank warfare. The height of his career came in 1944 when his armor slashed across France in a campaign marked with great initiative, ruthless drive, and disregard of classic military rules.

Patton was born November 11, 1885 in San Gabriel California. He was the fifth generation descendent of Robert Patton who came to Virginia from Scotland during the American Revolution. Robert Patton had a son John who served in Congress and was governor of Virginia. John had eight sons. Six thought on the side of the South in the Civil War and two were killed. One of those killed was Brig. General George Patton, the great – great – grandfather of the World War II general. Always aware of the warriors’ tradition of the family, George S. Patton early opted for a military career and was graduated from West Point in 1909. He studied the great cavalry leaders of the Civil War and became addicted to the importance of mobility and surprise. Due to his experience in World War I in which he was badly wounded, he shifted emphasis from cavalry to tanks.

He was chosen by General Dwight Eisenhower to lead the invasion of North Africa. Patton was censured at war’s end for his outspoken distrust of the Russians. He predicted World War II because he felt the World War I peace was poorly handled. He hoped to die in battle, but the end was more prosaic. He died December 21, 1945, of injuries suffered in an automobile accident in Germany.

                                                                                James Casement Thomson

“The Scots of Lake Forest” will be shown at the Scottish American History Club this coming Saturday, October 4, 2014. It is a video presentation of the Scots who settled a community, built a church, a school and finally a college. More than 2000 photographs have been collected during the three-year process led by David Forlow of Lake bluff, Illinois. He was assisted by myself, Elaine Moore and museums, historical societies and families too numerous to mention. You will see the results of our work as you view the video. This is the first public viewing of “The Scots of Lake Forest.”

The Museum will open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. The program will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the video will last an hour. Later there will be time for questions and answers. We will have coffee and scones. Reservations are not necessary but they are helpful. Please call 708.447.5092 to reserve your place. All are welcome and there is no charge.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

Friday, September 19, 2014

James S. Kirk and Company

James S. Kirk was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1818. His father was a prominent shipbuilder and engineer but they soon moved to Ottawa, Canada where James attended school and grew to manhood. Working in a nearby store was Mary Ann Dunning, 16 years old, and considered one of the bells of the Dominion. Before a year had passed they were married and moved to Utica, New York where he served one year as mayor.

The marriage would produce 11 children but only eight would survive, seven sons and one daughter. They are: James A., John B., William M., Wallace F., Arthur S., Edgar W., Charles S., and Helen Kirk.

The young couple moved to Utica, New York in 1839 where James engaged in the soap making business. They moved to Chicago in 1859 and located their plant on the site of Old Fort Dearborn. Their soap and candle factory burned in 1867 and was a total loss. Instead of rebuilding on that site they moved across the Chicago River immediately south of the Tribune Tower. They again lost everything in the Great Fire of 1871 with losses amounting to $250,000. Like most of the others, they rebuilt.

Their new plant was an imposing structure five stories high with a basement. Standing next to it was a chimney that reached 182 feet and inscribed on it were the words KIRK. (On the Internet you can find a picture of the plant and the chimney and a river full of boats and commercial traffic.) To the north of their plant was a railroad spur that connected to all the major lines running out of Chicago. They had the railroads and the river to distribute their products across the United States and to many foreign countries. It was once described as “the largest manufactory of its kind in America.”

Their advertising was somewhat unusual. Here is an example:

F stands for foolish
  Young people and old
Who often times use
   Nasty soaps that are sold.

All seven sons were connected to the James S. Kirk Company. The business prospered, and by 1925 sales amounted to $5 million annually. The plant was producing 70,000,000 pounds of soap. However, there was trouble on the horizon. The giant chimney was producing smoke, so the City Council passed several anti-smoke ordinances which were apparently difficult to enforce. The more serious problem was the expansion of Michigan Avenue across the Chicago river. Part of the Kirk plant was in the way.

The city offered to give them 150 feet of property east of the plant, build them a new building, move all the equipment and give the company $100,000. A good offer but it was rejected. The property was then condemned and a jury trial was held. The county court awarded $448,000. The Kirk family never opposed the expansion of Michigan Avenue, in fact they thought it was necessary. They only wanted a fair price for their property. A new plant was built at 1232 W. North Avenue but was sold to Proctor & Gamble in 1930.

When the Michigan Avenue plant was destroyed, the property was placed into a land trust. In one article it appeared that William Wrigley, Jr. once owned the land but I suspect it may now be owned by the Tribune Corporation. Anyone know? Not that it matters, of course, just interesting.

Walter R. Kirk, grandson of the founder, started his own company called the Kirk Soap Company. He died in 1964. Kirk soap is still being sold on the Internet. The company is located in Erlanger, Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati. Their web site says:  “In 1996, Kirk’s Natural Product Corporation acquired Kirk Coco Hard Water Soap from Proctor & Gamble and Kirk returns to its native home.” They trace their Coca Castile Soap back to 1839. I was unable to determine what happened to the Kirk Soap Company started by Walter R. Kirk unless this is the company.

Mr. James S. Kirk died in 1886. He had once been a trustee of Northwestern University. He is buried along with other family members at Rosehill in Chicago. His wife, Mary Ann Dunning Kirk, died of injuries sustained in a fire at the Windsor Hotel in New York City in 1899. She had been saved from the burning building by Helen, her only daughter. Mrs. Kirk had 25 grandchildren. She is buried beside her husband. Helen Kirk was the wife of Charles Geer Haskins. She died July 17, 1940.

On November 9, 1929, the giant smokestack was felled by dynamite and brought about the end of an era. It had stood on historic ground because the first home in Chicago was erected here opposite the old fort. It was occupied by Scotsman John Kenzie in 1804. The Lake House Hotel was somewhere in the immediate vicinity. Scottish men first gathered at the Lake House to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day in 1845. An event that will be repeated this year on November 22 at the Palmer House. (Click here for details)

Like the Badenoch family, the Kirk’s spread across the country. I saw mention of California, Indiana, Utah, Illinois and Washington, D.C. Perhaps some family member will contact us with more family information.   

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, October 4 - The History Club will view a one hour video about “The Scots of Lake Forest.” This is the culmination of a three year project led by David Forlow, myself, and the help of many others. Photography and editing is by Steve Douglass. Narrations by Jack Crombie. This project was made possible by the generosity of June Steele and the Halverson Fund.

Saturday, November 1 - Charles Gonzalez and his father visit France on D-Day.

No meeting in December

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Role of Victorian Women

When the Great Fire occurred in 1871, the Society was keeping their records in the court house of Chicago. When the court house fell, it took most of our early history. There was also an earlier fire in 1859 which I have not been able to document. Then 1871, and finally the Scottish Home fire in 1917. Because of these fires it has been difficult to know the role that women have played in our society.

We get a small glimpse from the annual report of 1870. It shows a list of nine women who were called “Lady Visitors, Assistance to Manager.” In those days, as it is today, the city was divided into three sections; North, South, and West. The Saint Andrew Society used the same division for their work of charity.

Assigned to the North division was Mrs. James Thomson, Mrs. Hugh Ritchie and Miss Dougall.

Assigned to the South division was Mrs. S. McKichan, Mrs. James Campbell and Miss Hamilton.

Assigned to the West division was Mrs. John Alston, Mrs A. M. Thomson and Miss H. Templeton.

Some of those names we recognize as being the wives of board members such as Ritchie, Campbell, Alston and Thomson. It’s interesting to note that each division had a single young lady as well. I recognize the name Dougal and Templeton.

We can assume that it would have been improper for the male managers to investigate certain situations and thus the need for “Lady visitors.” We can only speculate about the role these women played in the charitable work of the Society. The annual report for 1870 states “that all of the persons relieved have been seen personally visited at their places of residence, and their character and wants carefully investigated, so that no deserving applicant has been neglected.”

1870 was a busy year for they had a total of 282 applications for relief and all but 12 received attention. I am sure the Lady Visitors were extremely busy. It’s disappointing that we don’t have complete records.

The Columbian Exposition of 1893 was of importance to women and their search for equality. Bertha Palmer was without question the most important woman in Chicago and she became the president of the Board of Lady Managers which consisted of 115 members. The members were composed of ladies from all over the United States and they met on a regular basis in Chicago. At the urging of Mrs. Palmer the opening poem for the Exposition was written and read by Harriet Monroe. Her father was a prominent lawyer and active in Scottish events.

The Women’s Building was designed by 21 year old Miss Sophia Hayden of Spanish heritage. The building was 200 x 400' its framework covered by staff and painted a “rich old ivory color.” Above the second floor was a roof garden. Around the Gallery of Honor were the names of 75 of the most famous women known to history and art. (I have never seen this list but I’m sure it exists somewhere.) Wonder how many Scottish women were among the 75?

Mrs. Mary Fairchild MacMonnies, an American, was married to the Scottish man who designed the exquisite fountain in front of the Administration Building. She was also an artist and painted “The Primitive Woman,” a 14 x 58' mural that hung 40 feet off the floor. After the Fair it was displayed in France, St. Louis and the Art Institute. It was then stored in the basement of Mrs. Palmer’s mansion on Lake Shore drive. There is no information as to its whereabouts after 1910 and many are hoping that one day it will be found.

At least one organization for Scottish women existed before the Fair. It was the Flora McDonald Society of the Highland Association. The Highland Association was said to have been the largest Scottish organization in the United States at the time. At one of their meetings, Mrs. Robert Hill was voted the “most popular woman present” after “spirited” voting. Entertainment was the dancing of little Eddie Smith, “who danced before Queen Victoria last year.”

The Daughters of the Scotia Society of Chicago was formed on June 12, 1907 when 100 women met in the Atheneum building at 20 W. Van Buren St. The object of the organization was to be both social and benevolent. Mrs. Elizabeth Ballantine was elected president. The other officers were Mrs. Annie Crown, Mrs. Jeanette Russel, and Mrs. Catherine Fraser.

Following the social mores of their day, women held separate meetings for their organizations. It took the Burns Monument to bring both groups together. They were incorporated as the Burns Memorial and Monument Association of Illinois and at least six women were members. We have identified them as: Mrs. M. Strong, Mrs. R. MacWatt, Mrs. R Valentine, Mrs. W. A. Barclay and Miss Helen F. Lonnie.

In 1904, Mrs. Robert Valentine was elected one of the four directors of the Monument Association. The Ladies Auxiliary held their first official meeting in June, 1902 and had an official membership of 75. They held their meetings at the Patterson Shorthand Institute.

At the dedication of the Burns Monument, August 25, 1906, the statue was unveiled by Miss Barbara Evelyn Williamson. Her father may have been J. D. Williamson who was on the committee for the “entertainment of guests.” We have been unable to follow her life. The other women involved in the Burns dedication was Mrs. Kate Campbell Saunders, the famous elocutionist. Mrs. Saunders died November 25, 1936 leaving one daughter, Helen. I do not know her place of burial. Many women also participated in the Burns Memorial Choir which sang at the dedication.

We have a photograph featuring the 29 women who served on the Ladies Auxiliary Board. They are all married except a Miss Mathers. Just for the historical record, here are the names (no first names were given): Winlack, Littledale, Calder, Dick, Napier, Beattie, Kettles, Fraser, Adams, Cochran, Crowe, Bell, Wright, Nisbet, Fraser, Hutchison, Ballantine, Devar, Galbraith, Gould, Cooper, McFarlane, Donaldson, Rice, Ewing, Johnson, Purvis and Orr.

If someday, you are searching through old boxes and you find documents, pictures, books, etc, of Scottish interest - please don’t throw them away. Call me or bring them to the Scottish Home.

Thanks to all the Victorian Ladies who gave of their time and energy to advance the work of Scottish organizations in Chicago.

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

Upcoming Events:

September 6, 2014 - Our speaker is Bruce Allardice who is a Professor of History at South Suburban College. He is past president of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago and the Northern Illinois Civil War Round Table. Professor Allardice has authored or coauthored six books and numerous articles on the Civil War. He is an avid sports historian and currently heads up the “Civil War Baseball” subcommittee for the Society of American Baseball Research. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and a lifelong resident of the Chicago area. He and his wife attended the Highland Games this year and left just minutes before the great storm arrived.

Bruce will be talking about baseball in Chicago during the Civil War. Many of these amateur stars served in the 65th Illinois Infantry. Museum opens at 9 a.m. and program begins at 10 o’clock. Reservations are not necessary but helpful. Call 708-408-5591.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mark your calendar

Scottish American History Club

September 6, 2014 - Our speaker is Bruce Allardice who is a Professor of History at South Suburban College. He is past president of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago and the Northern Illinois Civil War Round Table. Professor Allardice has authored or coauthored six books and numerous articles on the Civil War. He is an avid sports historian and currently heads up the “Civil War Baseball” subcommittee for the Society of American Baseball Research. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and a lifelong resident of the Chicago area. He and his wife attended the Highland Games this year and left just minutes before the great storm arrived.

Bruce will be talking about baseball in Chicago during the Civil War. Many of these amateur stars served in the 65th Illinois Infantry. Museum opens at 9 a.m. and program begins at 10 o’clock. Reservations are helpful 708-408-5591.

October 4, 2014 - You will enjoy the showing of "The Scots of lake Forest." This is a one hour video exploring the Scottish influence of Lake Forest, Illinois. It is the culmination of three years of work by David Forlow and Wayne Rethford. Narrated by Jack Crombie, it was filmed and edited to Steve Douglass.

November 1, 2014 - Every November we honor our veterans. Charles Gonzales, a member of our Board of Governors, took his father to France for D-Day celebrations this year. He will be sharing pictures from his trip showing invasion sites and the American cemeteries. Other surprises are planned as well!


January 10, 2015 - Our speaker will be Ana Koval, President and CEO of the Canal Corridor Association. Come hear how the I&M Canal changed Illinois.

Our meetings are held in Heritage Hall at the Scottish Home, 28th & Des Plaines, North Riverside, Illinois and are open to the public. The museum opens at 9:00 a.m. and the presentation begins at 10:00 a.m. There is no charge. Coffee, tea and scones are provided. Reservations are helpful. Please call 708.408.5591. If you have questions, please call Wayne Rethford at 630.629.4516.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Annual Dinner

The Annual Dinner of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society will be held this year on November 22, 2014, in the grand ballroom of the Palmer House in Chicago. You can get complete information on their website.

The St. Andrew’s dinner started 169 years ago by a group of immigrant Scots who wanted to honor their Patron Saint and keep memories alive of their Homeland. This dinner has changed over the years and now St. Andrew is seldom mentioned. For many years the great question centered around the speaker for the evening. We no longer have speakers. When I first came to work for the Saint Andrew Society, the big questions were which entertainer would be brought over from Scotland and who would be the master of ceremonies. We seldom bring entertainers from Scotland and no longer use an outside, prominent person as the master of ceremonies.

There are always reasons why things evolve, good speakers are hard to find and the cost of entertainment has continued to rise. The world changes and we change.  (The average attention span for Americans is now down to 8 seconds, according to a speaker I heard last week.) You will, however, notice that we still use much of the same outline for our event. Our past history is important!


I’ve been reading about the St. Andrew’s day dinner which was held in 1932. As most of you know St. Andrew’s day is November 30 but if that date fell on a Sunday the Anniversary Dinner was moved to December.  Thus, in 1932 it was held on December 3rd. The Society president that year was Gilbert Alexander. The attendance was over 800. The Great Depression was at its height. David R Forgan had just died. Dr. John Timothy Stone was asked to give a tribute. He read a poem by S. H. M. Byers. (Dr. Stone was pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian church for 20 years and later president of the McCormack Theological Seminary. He was once the interim pastor at Lake Forest. Dr. Stone died in 1954.) I have a copy of the poem if anyone is interested. A standing moment of silence was given in honor of David Forgan who had been a popular figure among the Scots of Chicago.

The toastmaster was Rabbi Garson Levi, born in Glasgow, Scotland. He had been attending the Annual Dinner for four years and was a member of the Saint Andrew Society. The pipe band was led by Robert H. Sim and the dancers were provided by Prof. John F. Dewar. There was a haggis, but not for everyone, just the head table. It was not the center of attention, and apparently the Robert Burns toast was not given. The invocation was offered by the Rev. Allison McCracken. The National Anthem was sung and a telegram read from President Herbert Hoover expressing his regrets at not being able to attend. (He had just lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt.) Dorothy Marwick and Cameron McLean sang several songs. The surprise of the evening was an appearance of comedian Willie Fyfe and his wife. He was preforming at the Palace theater and had often visited the Scottish Home. He was a personal friend of the John Williamson family.

The speaker for the evening was Professor Franklin Bliss Snyder of Northwestern University. (He later became the 18th President of Northwestern following Walter Dill Scott.) A summary of his speech was later printed in the British American newspaper. Here is a summary:

For a native–born New Englander with the German name I hardly feel entitled to the invitation of this gathering, still I think I can put my foot inside, thanks to a grandmother from Skye. I owe that grandmother many things. I owe to her three hand-hammered silver teaspoons and a table that stood along her bed on which stood the lamp and the family Bible. But, I owe her much more than these material things. First of all owe to her an abiding confidence in Scotland and Scottish people. I have said many times to my students that if they could choose their ancestries, and did not choose to sprinkle a few Scotsmen there, they would be stupid beyond words. For I know no nation that has made as large a contribution to human welfare as has Scotland. Hunter in medicine, Burns, Scott and Stephenson in literature, and countless other men of renown have been Scotsmen. They have done the sort of thing that the world needs to have done.

I know no nation since this modern world of ours began which has made so large a contribution as Scotland. Another thing I owe to my grandmother is an interest in and better understanding of the man who most of us would consider greatest of all Scotsmen, Robert Burns. I know no one else who is Burns equal when it comes to the difficult task of thinking the thoughts of the wise and speaking the language of the humble. I think it is the language that Burns developed that has made him known, not merely to you and me, but known and loved wherever the Scottish dialect can be understood. It was my interest in Burns which first made me visit his birthplace. I owe that to my grandmother. The hospitality that was shown to me as I was traveling through southern Scotland will never be forgotten.

While in Scotland I made a friend of a man called James MacPherson. When I was leaving I told him I was sorry to be going and as an afterthought added we have gotten along very well together. Yes, he said, we have gotten along pretty well together and when you get to the states remembered this that so long as your people and my people get along pretty well together we need not worry no matter how black things may look, but if ever your people and my people should have a serious misunderstanding, I do not think there will be much left to live for. Now if you will do the honor of remembering anything that I have said please let it be that remark of McPherson’s. After all we are two branches of the same English speaking people and so long as we get along we need not fear.

Dr. Snyder wrote a book about Robert Burns and I was recently able to purchase on the Internet. It is available to anyone interested and will ultimately find a place in the library at the Scottish Home.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

Upcoming Events:

The September meeting of the Scottish American History Club is September 6, 2014. Our speaker is Bruce Allardice who will be talking about baseball in Chicago during the Civil War. Many of these amateur stars served in the 65th Illinois Infantry. Please mark your calendar and watch for more information. Museum opens at 9 a.m. and program begins at 10 o’clock.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Robert Black - Builder, Organizer & President

Our Saint Andrew Society has had two presidents with the identical name of Robert Black. One I knew quite well and one I never met. The subject of this blog is the Robert Black I never met.  He was born in the small village of Bladnoch, Scotland, April 9, 1881. He was a building contractor and lived at 112 North Kenilworth Avenue, Oak Park, IL with his wife Effie Barr and their two children, Robert and Agnes.

Robert Black attended public schools in Scotland and afterwards was apprenticed to the building trade rising to the level of a journeyman. When he emigrated to the United States in 1909 he brought with him a recommendation from Peter Gibson who was a “joiner, contractor and saw miller” in Kirkcowan, Scotland. “This is to certify that the above Robert Black has been in my employ for the last 4 ½ years having commenced as an apprentice and has been with me all the time. I have every confidence in recommending him and am satisfied he will give every satisfaction to his employer. He is a very steady, honest and upright young man.” (The actual letter is in our museum.)

His first Scottish connection in Chicago was with Clan MacDuff, #16, O.S.C. “which afterwards became one of the most successful and largest of the Scottish clans in the United States.” After serving two years as Chief, he directed his energy to the United Scottish Societies of Illinois and became president. At about this same time he became active in the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. He is first recorded as attending a meeting called by J. J. Badenoch in 1918. In 1925 he was elected vice president and the following year became president and was reelected to the office for three consecutive terms.

He was a general contractor with offices on Michigan ave. “His success as a contractor speaks eloquently for his genius as a builder, his knowledge of architecture and an unusual capacity for making friends. Many of the finest residences along the North Shore of Chicago from Evanston to Great Lakes were constructed by Mr. Black.” (I wish we had a list of the houses he built but at this time we have maybe two or three.)

Mr. Black was an avid golfer. He was a member of the Bartlett Hills Country club located in Bartlett Illinois. In fact, he once served as the president of the club. He also built the clubhouse at Edgewater Valley and buildings at Shoreacres. Golf was not his only interest, because as a young man he played soccer in England and South America. He was a charter member of the Midwest Athletic Club and held certificate #856. In 1930, he joined the Midwest Athletic Club.

There is no question but what Robert Black was a leader. He belonged to many organizations and always rose to the top position of leadership. He served on the Illinois Saint Andrew Society board for more than thirty years and was a member of the home committee of the Scottish Old Peoples Home for twenty-five. He was first elected president of the Society in 1926 and was reelected in 1927 and 1928. Seventeen years later in 1945, he was again elected president and led the society in celebrating its 100th anniversary. At the height of the great depression, he was chairman of the St. Andrew’s Day Diner which had a record attendance of fifteen hundred. He truly was a leader among men.

Robert black was the general chairman of Scotland Day at the 1933 world’s fair. It was estimated that 30,000 people joined in the tribute to Scotland and her people. A choir of 250 people, trained and led by Capt. George Calder sang Scottish songs. Several pipe bands were there including the Stock Yard’s Kiltie Band, led by pipe-major, Robert Sim. The Museum has a number of pictures of Scotland Day at the world’s fair.

Robert Black died on May 26, 1970. His wife, Agnes Barr died September 28, 1960. The daughter who was engaged to Lt. V.S. Courtney, died March 20, 1943. Three family members are buried in lot 38, section 28, Forest Home cemetery. The son, Robert B. Black died in 1985 but I do not know where he is buried. Early in my career at the Scottish Home, I met Helen Targe Black the wife of Robert B. Black. He may have just died but I don’t remember now. She gave me a box of documents that had belonged to her father-in-law Robert Black. As part of our museum, we have his passports, social security card, drivers license and many newspaper articles that have formed the basis of this blog. We also have a large collection of his various badges and ribbons. I will try and post some pictures on my Facebook site. I don’t know if there are family members still in the Chicago area. There was one sister, but I don’t have her married name. If there are family members, we would appreciate a contact.

Robert Black certainly left his mark on our Saint Andrew Society and the Scottish community of Chicago. We honor his legacy with this article.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus

The next meeting of the Scottish American History Club will occur on September 6, 2014. More information to follow.

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