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The Scottish American History Club Newsletter
April 1994


David Dunbar Buick

David Dunbar Buick was born in 1854 in Arbroath, Scotland. His father, Alexander Buick came to America when David was two years old. Alexander made a small fortune by inventing a process to heat-bind porcelain to iron to make white bathtubs.

In 1902, David Buick organized the Buick Manufacturing Company to make automobiles. Because of the Buick's advanced design, his firm soon had financial trouble and was forced to merge with another company. In doing so, David Buick lost control of his company.

Buick was a craftsman who felt that each car was a unique invention. William Durant, general manager, believed in mass production and lower assembly costs.

In 1906, at 52 years of age, Buick left the firm. A few years later, it became General Motors.

He died in Detroit in 1929, a pauper, forgotten both in America and Scotland.

Did you know that Daniel Boone was Scottish?

McVicker Avenue

A number of streets in the City of Chicago are named after Scots. McVicker Avenue is located at 6032 West and 7347 North to 6258 South. Those familiar with street numbering in Chicago will understand this designation.

James Hubert McVicker (1822-1896) was a Scotsman and a comedian. On May 2, 1848, he appeared as the "First Low Comedian" in a theater owned by James B. Rice. Rice would later become Mayor of Chicago.

McVicker worked in France and England and owned a stock company of actors in the U.S. He is best known, however, by the theaters he owned. In 1857, he built a theater on Madison Street west of State. His second theater was built in 1871 and was destroyed in the Great Fire nine weeks after opening night.

After the fire, he spent $200,000 to build the Theater Ludlow. Sarah Bernhardt on her first American tour appeared at McVicker's Theater. In 1862, John Wilkes Booth appeared in Richard III. His daughter, Mary, was a popular performer starting at the age of ten. When she was 18, she married Edwin Booth, the brother of the assassin. She died in 1881, 33 years of age and childless.

Pictured above, the theater built after the fire of 1871.  A picture of the theater before the fire is here.

Turlington Walker Harvey
*Someone You Should Know*

Turlington Walker Harvey was born in New York, May 10, 1835. His mother, Paulina Walker, was of Scottish descent and his father was English. Both parents were active members of the Presbyterian Church. He arrived in Chicago May 10, 1854, at the age of 19. In his pocket was one large copper penny.

He worked for several different firms but was finally employed by Abbott & Kingman, the largest maker of sashes and doors. Mr. Abbott drowned when the Lady Elgin went down in a storm on Lake Michigan and the firm was dissolved. The outbreak of the Civil War came shortly after this and brought a large increase in business.

The plant of Lambe & Harvey was located on the western edge of the city and was destroyed prior to the Great Fire in 1871. A new plant was constructed at 22nd and Morgan. The planing mill was considered the first fire-proof building constructed at that time. Brick and iron were the only materials used and immense suction pipes removed all flammable collections of sawdust and shavings. These were later used as fuel.

During the year 1883, the business reached the enormous figure of one hundred forty million board feet. Across the street were the receiving and distribution docks, occupying the entire frontage of Mason's Slip and Troop's Canal. A track facility was constructed to receive and unload one hundred railroad cars daily.

In 1871, Mr. Harvey invented and constructed ten steam dry-kilns. This enabled his company to prepare lumber for market in three to five days. Mr. Harvey owned lumber mills in Muskeegan, Michigan and Marionette, Wisconsin. He was the first person to use the small-gauge railroad line to reach the lumber. "His lumber camps, sawmills, logging railroad, lake freight sailing vessels and lumber yards employed thousands of men and, at its height, his extensive lumber business was conceded to be the largest in the world.

"Perhaps no one in Chicago was personally known by more individuals of every class, his large heart and cheerful interest extending to all."

In 1883, Mr. Harvey organized the T. W. Harvey Lumber Company and operated some 90 lumberyards in the west. He was a member of the Chicago Relief and Aid Society and helped distribute more than ten million dollars which was sent to Chicago after the Great Fire. It is said that for six months after the fire, he was never in his office, but worked for the Society from its headquarters at 13th and Michigan.

He was an intimate friend of Dwight L. Moody who conducted services at Camp Douglas for the southern soldiers held prisoner in the camp. "From the beginning of his citizenship in Chicago, Mr. Harvey was an aggressive spirit in religious work. Wherever he was known, he was esteemed for his manly Christian character. He was prominently connected with most of Chicago's charitable and public institutions and gave largely of his time and means." He was a member of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society.

His first wife died and he was left to raise four young boys. A second marriage produced seven children. His favorite poet was Robert Burns. The volume of his favorite poet, from which he would so often quote, was always at hand. He was also one of the first to import Aberdeen Angus cattle from Scotland.

In 1892, Mr. Harvey built the first steel cars used by the railroads. He formed a company known as the Harvey Steel Car Company Works. Around the new plant, he laid out a temperance town which was named Harvey, Illinois.

For pictures of Harvey, Illinois, click here.

Herb Graffis - Scots as Minority Models

"This year the Illinois St. Andrew Society is having its annual Feast of the Haggis November 30 at the Stevens. Once a year is about often enough for a member of any of the sissy races to eat haggis but the hardy Scots can go for it in the homeland as a staple item of diet. Haggis is compounded of sheep's stomach, oatmeal, suet, onions, brake-lining and welcome mats, seasoned to taste. Along with the man making haggis there will be, at the St. Andrew Society party, bagpipe music and the amazingly dexterous performance of the pipe band drummers. That is notable and defiant music which does not have to be fussy about acoustics.

Having spent many pleasant and informative hours with Scotch-born golf pros and other Americans of Scotch ancestry, I long ago became interested in seeing what made them click.

Beyond much doubt the Scots are the most successful minority in the world. I don't think it is haggis or bagpipe music or the peat-flavored milk from those wild cows that accounts for the Scotch genius in triumphing over adversity and tough odds. But whatever it is should be studied by other minorities.

The Scots are a superior-acting minority who apparently don't think it necessary to ballyhoo their talented ones or get all heated up when an unworthy clansman gets what's coming to him.

Some weeks back we had a cartoon showing a Scotsman in kilts greeting a fellow in customary street garb and the gag line was something about the Scot remarking that he always wore his kilt on tag day. That was a rap along traditional lines about the Scots being tight.

Now if we, or any other newspaper, had carried that tag day sort of joke about any other minority, there would have been hell to pay. How do you figure that out?

I've just looked in the Columbia Encyclopedia to check some history on Scotch persecution, of which there has been plenty, before it finally stopped. In the book there was this line: "The brawling nobles were savage and uncouth and literary cultivation was ignored." Can you imagine any American minority letting a line like that getting into a book of wide circulation and authority without making a yowl that would shatter the skies?

Have you ever heard of a Scotch-American political bloc? Yet the Scotch-Americans are cheerfully and acceptably on top.

Study and learn the secret of successful solution of the problems of a minority."

Herb Graffis was a columnist, but we are unsure as to the date of publication or the exact newspaper in which it was printed. The article has been reproduced in its entirety.

History Tour Scheduled

The first history tour for 1994 is scheduled for June 5. Only one bus will be chartered and it will leave the Scottish Home for Rosehill Cemetery at l:30 p.m. The orientation will take place on the bus as we travel.

The first 45 people who respond will be given seating on the bus. The cost of $15.00 per person will include a box lunch and a tour book. Families who do not desire to ride the bus may join the tour at Rosehill.

In the chapel at Rosehill, we will have a Kirkin' of the Tartan and a memorial service for our Scottish dead. This service will begin at 2:30 p.m. We would encourage all families who have relatives buried at Rosehill to join us for this service. As of this writing, the special speaker for this memorial has not been confirmed.

The cemetery has made a large tent available for our use during the day. It will be erected on the second burial plot, located in Section 5, purchased by the St. Andrew Society in 1871. A long-standing tradition will allow us to enjoy our picnic lunch on the grounds. Some chairs and cold drinks will be provided, but bring along your blankets if you like. Children are welcome and Scottish attire will be appreciated.

Sherryanne Robertson will conduct a walking tour of the cemetery. Those of you who took the first history tour will remember the knowledgeable tour given by Sherryanne. A large number of Scottish people are buried at Rosehill, including past Presidents and some of our Distinguished Citizens.

Anyone having relatives buried at Rosehill who would like them included in the memorial section of our booklet may call or write to the home at the address and phone below.

Editor's Note

Would you pay $10.00 a year to receive a newsletter like this? The History Club is interested in publishing such a newsletter, but they would need to pay for printing and postage. Enclosed you will find a subscription form which you can return with your check to receive the next issue in July.

The History Club is also in the process of collecting books about Chicago and various Scottish subjects. On a trip to San Diego last fall, I was able to purchase five books about Chicago at a used bookstore. They were inexpensive, different and very interesting. We encourage people who receive this newsletter to shop for us as they travel to other cities. Some of you may also have books in the attic that would be of help.

As you may already know, the Board of Governors has authorized the writing of a book to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. The book will focus on Scottish people and the major events that occurred in the founding of our country and the settlement of the west. The Scottish history of Chicago will occupy a prominent place in the writings. The manuscript will be completed by January 1995.

The soft-cover book, consisting of 255 pages will sell for $19.95. The publisher is the Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company of Iowa.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546