Skokie Historical Society

John Emerson

Benjamin Emerson, the father of John Emerson, of this city, and the man who laid out Emerson Street for whom the street was afterward named, died Tuesday at his home in Niles, four miles west of Evanston.  The funeral was held at the Gross Point Church yesterday, Rev. Father Neidstretter officiating.  The pallbearers were Timothy OíConnell, James Carney, Melville Rohrer, George Scully, Bernard Tullman and Henry Soils.  The interment was at Grosse Point. 

Mr. Emerson was born in New York State, March 27, 1810.  In his infancy his parents removed to New London, Conn., from where, in 1835, he came to Chicago.  In his journey to the West he came part way on foot.  It was Nov 10th that he reached Chicago, & he often described the city as being but little better than a mudhole, at that time.  He immediately went into the milk business & was always proud of the fact that he was the father of a Chicago milkman.

In 1839 Mr. E. married Miss Ellen Kelly.  From this union there survives three children, 19 grandchildren and fourteen great-grand children.

(Balance exactly like other obituary). 

.. . . . .  One-half mile West.  Soon after settling at Niles Center, he walked there from there to Stanwood, Michigan where he pre-empted 840 acres of government land, which he retained in his possession until a few yearís ago.

In 1849 when the gold-fever seized hundreds, this man, with the rugged blood of a revolutionary ancestor flowing his veins, started for California by the overland route, and after four-months of hard travel, reached the gold fields.  At the end of two years he had saved $4,000.00, which he had hidden under a stump.  He decided to return home, but when he went to get his money he found that somebody had stolen it.  Cast down, but undismayed, he went back to his work and it was another two years before he retraced his steps Eastward.

Mr. Emerson than returned to Niles Center and laid out one of Evanstonís best-known streets, which to this day is called Emerson Street.

He had been a vigorous man all his life and for some years had been able to read without glasses, enjoying what he was pleased to call his second sight.  He never drank a drop of liquor in his life, nor did he ever smoke.  His three surviving children are John Emerson of Evanston, Mrs. Wm. Savage of Chicago, and Mrs. John Happ of Northfield.

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