Reminiscences of Early Chicago and Vicinity

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Read Books, 2007 - 496 pages
REMINISCITMJES OF EARLY CHICAGO AND VICINITY EDWIN 0. GALE ILLUSTRATED BY W. E. S. TROWBRIDGE Chicago New York Toronto Fleming H. Eevell Company London, Edinburgh MCMII TO MY SIX SONS, WHO HAVE ALWAYS TAKEN SO MUCH INTEREST IN MY STORIES OF EARLY CHICAGO, THESE REMINISCENCES ARE MOST AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED PREFACE Youth, like softened wax, with ease will take Those images that first impressions make. The evolution of Chicago from an insignificant trading post to what it is to-day, occurring, as it has, during the continuous residence within its borders of a person who, as Holmes would say, is but 68 years young, seems more like a fairy story than an historical reality. I shall not endeavor to make an exact chronological statement of the incidents of our remarkable develop ment, but rather to view the ground in its primal state and speak of the early toilers who planted the seeds which have produced the results so marvelous in themselves and of such interest to us and posterity. My purpose is to draw the curtain every day be coming more difficult to do, which conceals the slowly fading past from the rapidly changing present, that the reader may acquire, as I did, some knowledge of the characteristics of the men who planted the orchard whose fruit is now the wonder and admiration of every land. It was at an early age that I began to make mental record of events connected with our growth, and but a few years later, when I commenced to jot down at my fathers dictation, or in reply to the questions I asked him, many of the facts which I shall now at 6 PREFACE tempt to combine into a plain, though truthful nar rative of the early days of our city and vicinity. And possibly, as the shuttle of thought plays through the loom of memory, weaving the present with the past, the fabric, upon completion, may resemble one of those crazy quilts of our dear old grandmothers, which represented a vast amount of painstaking, conscien tious labor, for which we alway give them credit, though their handiwork may not appeal to a culti vated taste as particularly artistic. It has long been the earnest wish of my children and the desire of some personal friends that I should do something of this kind and being now released in a great measure from the cares of an intensely active business life, and having reached a quiet and unsolici tous age, I have no excuse for longer delaying a task, delightful to me, and that I think will be of inter est to others. As one who near the close of day Shall pause upon some lofty knoll, Thence turn to trace the winding way By which hes reached his present goal, May see behind him opening wide The vistas dim of shaded wood, While still beyond on every side Lie crumbling trunks where monarchs stood So I, in turning now to view The paths long years my feet have pressed, Would look beyond all objects new, On early scenes my eyes would rest. I would not walk the present shade, But where the sun with golden rays The tapestry of God displayed, Would talk with you of early days. E. 0-G, INTRODUCTION As a few historical facts concerning Chicago and vicinity at and before the time when these reminis cences begin, will be valuable to the reader in the pages that follow, I shall endeavor to give an idea of conditions as they were throughout these parts, and to briefly describe the most important events that pre ceded those which came under my personal notice. I have before me a wall map published by Phelps in 1832, from the best authors 7 from which we can probably obtain a more comprehensive and concise idea of our surroundings at that time than from any other source...

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