McCormick family

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McCormick family
Robert McCormick Jr.
Cyrus Hall McCormick
Joseph Medill McCormick
Current regionChicago, Illinois
Place of originCounty Londonderry, Northern Ireland
FounderThomas McCormick
Connected familiesMedill, Rockefeller

The McCormick family of Chicago and Virginia is an American family of Scottish and Scotch-Irish descent that attained prominence and fortune starting with the invention of the McCormick Reaper, a machine that revolutionized agriculture and established the modern grain trade by beginning the mechanization of the harvesting of grain. Through the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and later, the International Harvester Company and other investments, the McCormicks became one of the wealthiest families in America. The name became ubiquitous in agriculture starting in the 19th century and the press dubbed the McCormicks the "Reaper Kings". Later generations expanded into media and publishing (Tribune Company), finance (William Blair & Company), and real estate (McCormick Estate). Various family members were well known as civic leaders. They are descended from an influential leader of modern agriculture, inventor Robert McCormick Jr. (1780–1846), and Mary Ann "Polly" Hall of Steeles Tavern, Virginia. The family is Presbyterian.

Family members[edit]

  • Robert McCormick Jr. (1780–1846) was an American inventor who lived in rural Virginia.[1] His maternal grandparents were Scottish immigrants, George Sanderson and Catharine (née Ross) Sanderson, and paternal grandparents were Thomas (1702–1762) and Elizabeth (née Carruth) McCormick, Presbyterian immigrants born in County Londonderry and County Antrim, Ireland respectively who married in 1728 and settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1735.[list 1]
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick Sr. (1809–1884), entrepreneur, publisher, father of modern agriculture, and founder of what became the International Harvester Company. A devout Presbyterian, he was the primary benefactor of the McCormick Theological Seminary.[4]
  • William Sanderson McCormick (1815–1865), who was an inventor and co-founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company (International Harvester). Third son of Robert Jr. and Polly. In support of his native Virginia, he was known for wearing a Confederate uniform well after the Civil if he died in 1865?
  • Leander James McCormick (1819–1900),[5] an inventor and co-founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, he owned vast tracts of land in downtown Chicago and Lake Forest, Illinois. 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. He married Henrietta Maria Hamilton (1822-1899) of Virginia, a direct descendant of the Dukes of Hamilton of Scotland, heirs to the Scottish throne.
  • Robert Hall McCormick II (1847–1917), the head of the McCormick Estate. His chief interests were horses, yachting, and art. He owned one of the finest collections of British master paintings in the United States. With Bertha Palmer, he exhibited some of his paintings at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and was a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago. 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 I. He married Sarah Lord Day (1850-1922), who was the daughter and granddaughter of founders of the law firm Lord Day & Lord.
  • Robert Sanderson McCormick (1849–1919), a diplomat who served as the U.S. Minister to Austria-Hungary 1901–1902, U.S. Ambassador to Austria-Hungary 1902, U.S. Ambassador to Russia 1902–1905, U.S. Ambassador to France 1905–1907. He built the McCormick Villa in Washington, D.C., now the Brazilian Embassy. He was the son-in-law of Chicago Mayor Joseph Medill.[6][7]
  • William Grigsby McCormick (1851-1941), a Chicago businessman who was among the founders of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at the University of Virginia.
  • 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, Leander and Frederick. 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. He had three sons: Leander James McCormick II, Edward Hamilton McCormick, and Alister Hamilton McCormick (1891–1921). Alister married Joan Tyndale Stevens, a niece of Charles Morton Astley, Lord Hastings. Leander II married the Comtesse de Fontarce et Flueries.[8]
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick Jr. (1859–1936), the head of International Harvester. He was a music lover who brought Sergei Prokofiev to the United States. In 1923, he and his mother donated McCormick Hall to Princeton University. A member of the Jekyll Island Club, a founder of the Chicago Community Trust, and a financier of the World's Columbian Exposition.[9]
  • Anita McCormick Blaine (1866-1954), who 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 family, she embraced progressive movements, such as the United Nations and the suffragist movement.
  • Harold Fowler McCormick Sr. (1872–1941) who married Edith Rockefeller, youngest daughter of John Davison Rockefeller and Laura Celestia "Cettie" Spelman. Before their divorce, Edith and Harold were the wealthiest couple in Chicago and were great patrons of the Civic Opera. They built a massive estate, Villa Turicum, in Lake Forest, Illinois and he was a pioneer in aviation, running a number of successful flights, and donated the Harold F. McCormick Collection of Aeronautica at Princeton. His promotion of his second wife's music career was partial inspiration for Charles Foster Kane in the movie Citizen Kane.[10]
  • Elizabeth Day McCormick (1873-1957), who 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.
  • Joseph Medill McCormick (1877–1925), who was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1916 and 1920, member of the Illinois Legislature, U.S. Representative from Illinois 1917–1919, and U.S. Senator from Illinois 1919–1925.[11] Ruth was a Republican National Committeewoman 1924–1928, U.S. Representative from Illinois 1929–1931, and nominee for the U.S. Senate from Illinois in 1930.[12]
  • Robert Hall McCormick III (1878-1963). Head of the McCormick Estate and Alderman for Chicago's 21st Ward, and worked as a secretary to the Brazilian Ambassador in Rio de Janeiro. Welcomed Guglielmo Marconi to the U.S. in 1914. He also was the builder of Chicago's McCormick Building and the Roanoke Building. Maintained a Roman-style sailing ship, the San Marco, in Venice, Italy, which was sunk by the Nazis during World War II. He built the Apollo Theater and was director of the Civic Opera after the death of Harold McCormick. He married Eleanor Russell Morris (1881-1970), descended from the Lords of the Manor of Morrisania, owners of the South Bronx and founders of New Jersey. His ancestors include Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Gouverneur Morris, the penman of the U.S. Constitution.[citation needed]
  • Ruth Hanna McCormick (1880-1944), the daughter of U.S. Senator Mark Hanna and Charlotte Augusta Rhodes,[13] she was the wife of Joseph Medill McCormick, and after his death, the wife of U.S. Representative Albert G. Simms[14] after Medill McCormick's death. She maintained a large farm in Byron, Illinois.
  • Robert Rutherford McCormick (1880–1955), famous publisher of the Chicago Tribune and patriarch of Chicago. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1912, 1940, 1948 and 1952. He married twice and died childless. He considered his favorite niece, Ruth "Bazy" McCormick, to be his heir.[15] Upon his death his estate became the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. McCormick Place is named for him as is the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.[4] His estate, Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois, is now a museum. (Joseph Medill Patterson (1879–1946), Illinois State Representative in 1903, was first cousin of J. Medill McCormick and Robert Rutherford McCormick through the Medill family.)
  • William McCormick Blair Sr. (1884–1982), the founder of William Blair & Co. (which specialized in financing homes in the Midwest). He married Helen Hadduck Bowen (1890-1972), daughter of Joseph Tilton Bowen and Louise deKoven.[16]
  • Chauncey Brooks McCormick (1884–1954), the president of International Harvester. He married Marion Deering, heiress of the Deering Machine Company fortune that had merged with McCormick to form International Harvester. They owned Villa Vizcaya in Miami.
  • William McCormick Blair Jr. (1916-2015), an investment banker who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark 1961–1964 and the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines 1964–1967.
  • Brooks McCormick (1917-2006), who was the last McCormick to have a senior role at International Harvester; his wife Hope Baldwin McCormick (1919-1993) served in the Illinois House of Representatives.[17]
  • Ruth "Bazy" McCormick Miller Tankersley (1921-2013), a publisher and Arabian horse breeder.[15]

Family tree[edit]

Three branches: (1) Cyrus-the McCormick Blaines and the Rockefeller McCormicks. (2) William-the Deering McCormicks, the Medill McCormicks, and the McCormick Blairs. (3) Leander-the Hall McCormicks, the McCormick-Goodharts, and the Hamilton McCormicks.[1]

  • Robert McCormick Jr. (1780–1846) ∞ 1808 Mary Ann "Polly" Hall (1780–1853).[1]
    • Cyrus Hall McCormick Sr. (1809–1884) ∞ Nancy Fowler McCormick (1835–1923)[1]
      • Cyrus Hall McCormick Jr. (1859–1936)[18] ∞ 1889 Harriet Bradley Hammond (1862–1921).
        • Cyrus Hall McCormick III (1890–1970) ∞ Florence Nicks (née Sittenham) Davey (1888–1979).
        • Elizabeth McCormick (1892–1905).
        • Gordon McCormick (b. 1894).[1]
      • Mary Virginia McCormick (1861–1941).[19]
      • Anita McCormick (1866–1954) ∞ Emmons Blaine (1857–1892).[1]
      • Harold Fowler McCormick Sr. (1872–1941) ∞ (1) 1895 (div. 1921) Edith Rockefeller.[10] ∞ (2) 1922 (div. 1931) Ganna Walska.
        • John Rockefeller McCormick (1897–1901).
        • Editha McCormick (1903–1904).
        • Harold Fowler McCormick Jr. (1898–1973) ∞ Anne Urquhart Brown (née Potter) Stillman (1879–1969).
        • Muriel McCormick (1903–1959) ∞ 1931 Elisha Dyer Hubbard (1878-1936).
        • Mathilde McCormick (1905–1947) ∞ 1923 Wilheim Max Oser (1877–1942).
      • Stanley Robert McCormick (1874-1947) ∞ 1904 Katharine Dexter (1875–1967).
    • Mary Caroline McCormick (1817–1888) ∞ 1847 Rev. James Shields IV (1812–1862).
      • James Hall Shields (1849–1916) ∞ Nellia Manville Culver (1858–1907).
    • William Sanderson McCormick (1815–1865) ∞ 1848 Mary Ann Grigsby (1828–1878).
    • Leander James McCormick (1819–1900) ∞ Henrietta Maria Hamilton (1822–1899).[5]
      • Robert Hall McCormick II (1847–1917)[24] ∞ Sarah Lord Day (1850–1922).[25]
        • Elizabeth Day McCormick (1873–1957).[26]
        • Robert Hall McCormick III (1878–1963) ∞ 1903 (div. 1944)[27] Eleanor Russell Morris (1881–1970).
      • Elizabeth Maria McCormick (1850–1853).[1]
      • Henrietta Laura McCormick-Goodhart (1857–1932) ∞ Frederick Emanuel McCormick-Goodhart (1854–1924).[28]
        • Leander McCormick-Goodhart (1884–1965) ∞ 1928 Janet Phillips.[29]
      • Leander Hamilton McCormick (1859–1934) ∞ 1884 Constance Plummer (1865–1938).[30]
        • Leander James McCormick II (1888–1964) ∞ (1) 1917 (div. 1929)[31] Alice Cudahy ∞ (2) (1933-1998) Renée de Fleurieu Fontarce, the Countess de Fleurieu.
        • Thierry Leander McCormick, (adopted) 1922–2003, Mari Bahe 1927-2019
        • Christopher Leander McCormick, 1953, Anthony D. McCormick, 1954, Matthew B. McCormick, 1960
        • Edward Hamilton McCormick (b. 1889) ∞ Phyllis Mary Samuelson.[32]
        • Alister Hamilton McCormick (1891–1981) ∞ 1923[33] Joan Tyndale Stevens (1905–2004).


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


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h McCormick, Leander James (1896). Family Record and Biography. Chicago, Illinois. ISBN 9780608317670.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  2. ^ McCormick, Leander James (1896). Family Record and Biography. L.J. McCormick. p. 15. ISBN 9780608317670.
  3. ^ Morrison, Heather S. (2015). Inventors of Food and Agriculture Technology. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC. p. 103. ISBN 9781502606648. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Mccormic to Mccormick".
  5. ^ a b "Leander J. McCormick Dead". Lexington gazette. Lexington, Virginia. February 28, 1900. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  6. ^ "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Meaghan to Meek".
  7. ^ "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Patterson".
  8. ^ McCormick, Cyrus Hall III (1931), The Century of the Reaper, Houghton Mifflin, LCCN 31009940, OCLC 559717A history monograph by Cyrus Hall McCormick III at the centennial of the reaper.{{citation}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  9. ^ McCormick 1931.
  10. ^ a b [1] Archived July 13, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "McCORMICK, Joseph Medill - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  12. ^ "McCORMICK, Ruth Hanna - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  13. ^ "HANNA, Marcus Alonzo (Mark) - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  14. ^ "SIMMS, Albert Gallatin - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  15. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (February 6, 2013). "Ruth Tankersley, Tribune scion, D.C. publisher and Arabian horse breeder, dies". Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  16. ^ Norman, Michael (April 2, 1982). "William M. Blair Dead at 97; Chicago Investment Banker". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  17. ^ 'Hope Baldwin Mccormick, Civic Leader,' Chicago Tribune, Kenan Heise, July 15, 1993
  18. ^ "MOURNING AT PRINCETON; President Dodds Pays Tribute to Cyrus H. McCormick" (PDF). The New York Times. June 3, 1936. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  19. ^ "Archival Resources in Wisconsin: Descriptive Finding Aids".
  20. ^ "Anne Blaine Harrison". The New York Times. May 13, 1977. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  21. ^ Goldsborough, Bob (September 20, 2015). "Former ambassador was 'the most devoted patriot'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  22. ^ "BOWEN BLAIR 1918-2009 -- Partner in family's William Blair & Co". Chicago Tribune. September 17, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  23. ^ "Miss Lucy Blair to Wed Howard Linn Next Week". Chicago Tribune. May 2, 1914. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  24. ^ "R. H. M'CORMICK IS DEAD -- Was Chicago Capitalist--Helped Develop McCormick Machinery". The Des Moines Register. March 15, 1917. p. 1. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  25. ^ "MRS. SARAH LORD McCORMICK". Chicago Tribune. March 18, 1922. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  26. ^ "Miss Elizabeth McCormick". Chicago Tribune. August 14, 1957. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  27. ^ "DIVORCES McCORMICK". The Decatur Daily Review. February 9, 1944. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  28. ^ "Well-Known Englishman Dies on Maryland Estate -- F. E. McCormick-Goodhart Organized Imperial Service College". The Baltimore Sun. September 28, 1924. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  29. ^ "MISS JANET PHILLIPS IS WED IN WASHINGTON; Becomes the Bride of Leander McCormick-Goodhart--British Ambassador and Staff Attend" (PDF). The New York Times. April 29, 1928. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  30. ^ "Constance Plummer McCormick". Chicago Tribune. June 29, 1938. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  31. ^ "Alice Cudahy McCormick Weds New Yorker Quietly -- New Husband Is John N. Stearns, Jr., Clubman-Golfer, Who Is in Textile Business With His Father; Honeymoon in Bermuda". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 27, 1931. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  32. ^ "RULE AGAINST $800,000 FOR ADOPTED PAIR Leander J. McCormick Plea Rebuffed". Chicago Tribune. April 29, 1960.
  33. ^ "Allister McCormick Weds Miss Joan Stevens in Paris". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. October 5, 1923. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
Bundled references

External links[edit]