McCormick family

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Robert McCormick, Jr.
Alister Hamilton McCormick (1891–1921)

The McCormick family of Chicago and Virginia is an American dynasty of Scottish and Irish descent that attained prominence and fortune starting with the invention of the McCormick Reaper, the machine that revolutionized agriculture and established the modern grain trade. Through the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and later, the International Harvester Company, the name McCormick became synonymous with agriculture starting in the 19th century. The press dubbed the McCormicks the "Reaper Kings". Branches of the family also went into real estate (Leander J. McCormick Estate) and media and publishing (Tribune Company) and were well known as civic leaders. They are descended from the grandfather of modern agriculture, inventor Robert McCormick, Jr. (1780–1846), and Mary Ann "Polly" Hall of Steele's Tavern, Virginia.

Notable family members[edit]

Robert McCormick, Jr. (1780–1846) was an American inventor who lived in rural Virginia. In 1808 he married Mary Ann "Polly" Hall (1780–1853). They had eight children.

  • Cyrus Hall McCormick, Sr. (1809–1884) m. Nancy Fowler McCormick. Cyrus, entrepreneur, publisher, father of modern agriculture, and founder of McCormick Harvesting Machine Company (International Harvester). He was the eldest of Robert Jr and Polly's eight children. At a young age he, along with his brothers, improved and later patented his father's mechanical reaper. He and his brother and sisters moved to Chicago in 1847. He was a candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 1862. A devout Presbyterian, he was the primary benefactor of the McCormick Theological Seminary.[1]
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick, Jr. (1859–1936) Head of International Harvester. A music lover, he brought Prokofiev to the United States. In 1923, he and his mother donated McCormick Hall to Princeton University. Among many accomplishments, he was a member of the Jekyll Island Club, a founder of the Chicago Community Trust, and a financier of the World's Columbian Exposition. He lived in the area then known as "McCormickville" (now the Near North Side & North Michigan Avenue area) at 50 East Huron and later moved to the Patterson-McCormick mansion in the Gold Coast. He also maintained a large estate, Walden, in Lake Forest and a camp in Michigan. He had three children: Cyrus III, Elizabeth (who died in infancy), and Gordon. None of his children had issue.
  • Anita McCormick Blaine (1866-1954) Founded the New World Foundation and also the Francis W. Parker School and the Laboratory School at the University of Chicago. Despite coming from a conservative Republican family, she embraced progressive movements, such as the United Nations and the suffragist movement. She was the grandmother of Nancy Blaine, wife of Gilbert A. Harrison, owners of The New Republic magazine.
  • John Rockefeller McCormick (1896–1901)
  • Editha McCormick (1897–1898)
  • Harold Fowler McCormick, Jr. (1898–1973) (m.1931) Anne "Fifi" Potter (1879–1969)
  • Muriel McCormick (1902–1959) (m. 1931) Elisha Dyer Hubbard (1906)
  • Mathilde McCormick (1905–1947) (m. 1923) Max Oser (1877–1942)
  • Anita Oser Pauling (d. 2009 in Paris, France) Peter Max Oser (d. 1970 in Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Stanley Robert McCormick (m. 1904) Katherine Dexter McCormick (1875–1967). Katherine, one of the earliest female graduates of MIT, was a suffragist, worked with Margaret Sanger and funded the invention of birth control using interest earned from International Harvester dividends. Stanley, a champion tennis player at Princeton, met Katherine while motoring through Pride's Crossing, Mass. He later became a recluse and lived at Riven Rock, one of the great estates near Santa Barbara.
  • William Sanderson McCormick (1815–1865) Inventor and founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. Third son of Robert Jr and Polly. In support of his native Virginia, he was well known for wearing a confederate uniform well after the end of the Civil War.
  • Joseph Medill McCormick (1877–1925) married Ruth Hanna. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention 1916 1920, member of the Illinois Legislature, U.S. Representative from Illinois 1917–1919, U.S. Senator from Illinois 1919–1925. .[7] Ruth was a Republican National Committeewoman 1924-1928, U.S. Representative from Illinois 1929–1931, candidate for U.S. Senate from Illinois 1930. Wife of Joseph McCormick.[8] She maintained a large farm in Byron, IL.
  • Katrine McCormick
  • John Medill "Johnny" McCormick
  • Edward J. McCormick
  • Lawrence McCormick
  • John Robert McCormick II
  • William McCormick
  • Robert Rutherford "Bertie" McCormick (1880–1955), famous publisher of the Chicago Tribune and patriarch of Chicago. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention 1912 1940 1948 1952. He married twice and died childless. He considered his favorite niece, Ruth "Bazy" McCormick, to be his heir.[9] McCormick Place is named for him as is the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.[10] His estate, Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois, is now a museum.
  • Chauncey Brooks McCormick (1884–1954), president of International Harvester. Married Marion Deering, heiress of the Deering Machine Company fortune that had merged with McCormick to form International Harvester. With his wife and her sister, owned Villa Vizcaya in Miami. Also maintained St. James Farm near Wheaton, Eastpoint in Seal Harbor, Maine, and along with Col. McCormick, the Grigsby estate in VA for fox hunting.
  • Brooks McCormick (d. 2007). Last McCormick to have senior role at International Harvester.
  • Roger McCormick
  • Charles Deering McCormick
  • Anna Reubina McCormick (b. 1860) m. Edward Blair
  • William McCormick Blair, Sr. (1884–1982) Founder of William Blair & Co. Married Helen Hadduck Bowen, daughter of Joseph Tilton Bowen and Lousie deKoven
  • Leander J. McCormick (1819–1900), inventor and founder of McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, he owned vast tracts of land in downtown Chicago and Lake Forest, IL. In the 1880s, he donated the McCormick Observatory to the University of Virginia in an effort to help the South recover from the war. At the time it was the second largest telescope in the world and the largest in America. Upon his death, his vast real estate holdings became the Leander J. McCormick Estate. Leander married Henrietta Maria Hamilton of Virginia, a direct descendant of the Lords Hamilton of Scotland
  • Robert Hall McCormick II (1847–1917) m. Sarah Lord Day, head of the McCormick Estate, he built the McCormick Building and Roanoke building in downtown Chicago, among others. His chief interests were horses, yachting, and art. He owned one of the finest collections of British master paintings in the United States. He exhibited some of his paintings at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 and was a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago. Other than his home in McCormickville at 660 Rush Street in Chicago, he maintained residence in Lake Forest, Ill., and Mizzentop, at Bar Harbor, Maine. He owned two steam yachts, the Rapidan, which was wrecked in Delaware, and the Satilla, named after a river near the Jekyll Island Club and which became a naval ship during World War II. Sarah was daughter and granddaughter of founders of law firm Lord Day & Lord.
  • Elizabeth Day McCormick (d. 1957) Owned one of the finest and most complete textile and costume collections, now the Elizabeth Day McCormick Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. To the University of Chicago she donated two very important early Greek texts, the Rockefeller-McCormick Manuscript, in memory of her cousin and fellow collector, Edith Rockefeller McCormick, and later the Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse.
  • Robert Hall McCormick III Head of the McCormick Estate, Chicago Alderman for 21st Ward, and worked at the Brazilian Embassy in Rio de Janeiro. Welcomed Marconi to the US in 1914. Maintained Roman style sailing ship, the San Marco in Venice, Italy, which was sunk by Nazis during WWII. Grew up at 660 Rush Street (formerly Chez Paul restaurant) in McCormickville, and later at 25 East Erie Street, now headquarters for Driehaus Capital Management. Married Eleanor R. Morris, of the Morrises of Morrisania.
  • Henrietta Laura McCormick-Goodhart (1857–1932), one of the first American heiresses to marry an English aristocrat, she lived in England and later, at her estate, Langley Park in Maryland. By order of Queen Victoria, her last name was officially changed to encompass her husband's name, Goodhart. She had two sons, Frederick and Leander. Leander was a main figure at the British Embassy in Washington D.C.
  • Leander Hamilton McCormick (1859–1934), art collector and inventor, he is credited with the creation of the study of Characterology. His Roman style house in McCormickville is now Lawry's Prime Rib of Chicago. He had three sons: Leander James McCormick II, Edward Hamilton McCormick, and Alister Hamilton McCormick (1891–1921). Alister married Joan Tyndale Stevens, a descendant of the ancient House of Plantagenet, kings of England, and a nice of Charles Morton Astley, Lord Hastings. Leander II married the Comtesse de Fontarce et Flueries, and it was in his house in England that the last Duc de France was killed in a fire[citation needed].


The McCormicks are remembered through their philanthropy and projects named in their honor, including:


  • Walnut Grove, Raphine, Va.
  • Villa Turicum, Lake Forest, Ill.
  • Walden, Lake Forest, Ill.
  • House-in-the-Woods, Lake Forest, Ill.
  • Cantigny, Wheaton, Ill.
  • Langley Hall, Langley Park, Md.
  • Villa Vizcaya, Miami, Fla.
  • Crabtree Farm, Lake Forest, Ill.
  • Castle Hill (Virginia), Keswick, Va.
  • Clayton Lodge, Richfield Springs, N.Y.
  • Kildare, Huntsville, Ala.
  • St. James Farm, Wheaton, Ill.
  • Lotusland, Montecito, Calif.
  • Eastpoint, Seal Harbor, Maine
  • Stanwood, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • McCormick Farm, Steger, Ill.
  • Mizzentop, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Burnmouth, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Gordon Hall, Dexter, Mich.
  • Riven Rock, Santa Barbera, Calif.
  • McCormick Apartments, (Andrew Mellon Building), Washington, D.C.
  • McCormick Villa, 3000 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, D.C. (Embassy of Brazil)
  • 675 Rush St, Chicago
  • 660 Rush St, Chicago
  • 1000 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
  • 101 East Erie St, Chicago
  • 50 East Huron St, Chicago
  • 100 East Ontario St, Chicago (Lawry's Prime Rib)
  • Cable-McCormick mansion, 25 East Erie St., Chicago
  • Patterson-McCormick mansion, Astor St., Chicago
  • McCormick Ranch, Scottsdale, Ariz.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]