John Wentworth (Illinois)

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John Wentworth
John Wentworth of Chicago.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st district
In office
1865–1867
Preceded by Isaac N. Arnold
Succeeded by Norman B. Judd
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 2nd district
In office
1853–1855
Preceded by Willis Allen
Succeeded by James H. Woodworth
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 4th district
In office
1843–1851
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Richard S. Molony
19th Mayor of Chicago
In office
1857–1858
Preceded by Thomas Dyer
Succeeded by John Charles Haines
21st Mayor of Chicago
In office
1860–1861
Preceded by John Charles Haines
Succeeded by Julian Sidney Rumsey
Personal details
Born (1815-03-05)March 5, 1815
Sandwich, New Hampshire, U.S.
Died October 16, 1888(1888-10-16) (aged 73)
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Democratic (1843–1855)
Republican (1857)
Spouse(s) Roxanna Marie Loomis
Residence Chicago, Illinois

John Wentworth (nicknamed "Long John") (March 5, 1815 – October 16, 1888) was the editor of the Chicago Democrat, publisher of an extensive Wentworth family genealogy, a two-term mayor of Chicago, and a six-term member of the United States House of Representatives, both before and after his service as mayor.

After growing up in New Hampshire, he joined the migration west and moved to the developing city of Chicago in 1836, where he made his adult life. Wentworth was affiliated with the Democratic Party until 1855; then he changed to the Republican Party. After retiring from politics, he wrote a three-volume genealogy of the Wentworth family in the United States.

Early life and education[edit]

John Wentworth was born in Sandwich, New Hampshire. He was educated at the New Hampton Literary Institute[1] and at the academy of Dudley Leavitt.[2] He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1836.

Migration west and career[edit]

Later that year, Wentworth joined a migration west and moved to Chicago, arriving in the city on October 25, 1836. He became managing editor of Chicago's first newspaper, the Chicago Democrat, eventually becoming its owner and publisher.

He started a law practice and entered politics. He was a business partner of Illinois financier Jacob Bunn, and the two men were two of the incorporators of the Chicago Secure Depository Company.

Marriage and family[edit]

In 1844 he married Roxanna Marie Loomis.

In later years, his nephew Moses J. Wentworth handles his business affairs, and would eventually manage his estate as well.

Political career[edit]

After becoming active with the Democrats, Wentworth was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served for a total of six terms, five of them as a Democrat: (March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1851 and March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855.

He returned to Chicago and affiliated with the Republican Party. Wentworth was elected as mayor of Chicago for two terms, 1857–1858 and 1860–1861. Wentworth instituted the use of chain gangs of prisoners in the city as laborers.

In his effort to clean up the city's morals, he hired spies to determine who was frequenting Chicago's brothels. In 1857, Wentworth led a raid on "the Sands," Chicago's red-light district, which resulted in the burning of the area.[citation needed]

In 1864 Wentworth ran again for Congress, as a Republican, and was elected for his last term, serving March 4, 1865 – March 3, 1867. While he was in the House, there was a controversial vote to settle a boundary issue between Wisconsin and Illinois, with Wisconsin claiming land as far as the tip of Lake Michigan. Wentworth was promised that if he voted to give the land including Chicago to Wisconsin, he would be appointed to the US Senate. Wentworth declined the offer.[3]

After retiring from Congress, from 1868 Wentworth lived at his country estate at 5441 South Harlem Avenue in Chicago. He owned about 5,000 acres (20 km2) of land in what is today part of the Chicago neighborhood of Garfield Ridge and suburban Summit.

When an author left a manuscript of a history of Chicago with Wentworth for his suggestions, he reportedly removed what did not refer to him and returned the manuscript to its author with the note, "Here is your expurgated and correct history of Chicago."[4]

Family historian[edit]

He researched and wrote The Wentworth Genealogy – English and American - twice, which he published privately. The first two-volume edition, also known as the "private edition", published in 1871, was followed by a second, corrected, edition in 1878, which was published in three volumes, for a total of 2241 pages. The total reported cost for both editions was $40,000.[5] The first [6] of the 1878 volumes chronicles the ancestry of Elder William Wentworth, the first of this family in New England, and his first five generations of New World descendants. The second [7] and third [8] volumes discuss the "Elder's" many descendants and others of the name.[9] John was a fourth great grandson of William.[10]

Decease[edit]

Wentworth died at his estate in 1888, aged 73. He was buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Merrill, Gowan et al., A Small Gore of Land, 1977
  2. ^ The Wentworth Genealogy, John Wentworth, Vol. 2, A. Mudge & Son, 1870. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  3. ^ Fehrenbacher, Don E. (1957). Chicago Giant: A Biography of "Long John" Wentworth. Madison, WI: American History Research Center. pp. 36–7. 
  4. ^ Gale, Edwin O. (1902). Reminiscences of Early Chicago and Vicinity. Chicago: Revell. p. 388. 
  5. ^ The literary world - Google Books. Books.google.ca. 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  6. ^ The Wentworth Genealogy: English and ... - Google Books. Books.google.ca. 2007-01-22. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  7. ^ "Family History Archive : Compound Object Viewer". Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  8. ^ http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/FH10&CISOPTR=58611&REC=17[dead link]
  9. ^ Fehrenbacher, Don E. (1957). Chicago Giant: A Biography of "Long John" Wentworth. Madison, WI: American History Research Center. pp. viii, 278. 
  10. ^ John Wentworth, Wentworth Genealogy: English and American, vol. 1, p. 140 accessed 6 April 2013

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 4th congressional district

1843–1851
Succeeded by
Richard S. Molony
Preceded by
Willis Allen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 2nd congressional district

1853–1855
Succeeded by
James H. Woodworth
Preceded by
Isaac N. Arnold
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st congressional district

1865–1867
Succeeded by
Norman B. Judd