The Scottish American History Club Newsletter
Edward Crombie, from Broxburn, Scotland, a
refrigeration engineer, came to America in 1889 to
install ice factories in the Midwest. He was
accompanied by his wife and two young sons, Edward, age
9 and William, age 7. An early job was in Spring Valley,
Illinois. The father died suddenly at the age of 39 in
Ft. Payne, Alabama, where he had been installing an
ice-making facility. The Mayor of Ft. Payne befriended
the widow with a job and community help for the family
to return home to Scotland.
When the boys became
adults, they returned to America, William in 1906 and
Edward in 1907. William sent money back to Scotland to
support his mother and Edward, trained as an machinist,
soon joined his brother. Edward came through Ellis
Island on his way to Morris, Illinois. His name is on
Panel 93 at Ellis Island. Later, he moved to Joliet and
worked in the steel mills. The boys brought their
mother, Janet, to America in 1910. All three are buried
in historic Oakwood Cemetery in Joliet.
soon bought the home and business of a dairyman and
brought his future wife, the girl he left behind in
Scotland, to America. They were married in Morris, but
made their home in Joliet. A son, Edward Harvey Crombie,
was born in 1909. By 1914, he was a widower with a five
year old son. He married again in 1919 and Robert was
born in 1920. The dairy prospered and Edward became
active in the Will County Caledonian Club. By 1921, he
was their Chief, and a photo of him wearing a kilt is on
the cover of the 20th Annual Scotch Picnic and Games.
The Games were held on Wednesday, July 20, 1921, in
The dairy continued to grow and
the two adult sons, Edward and Robert, joined the
business. After World War II, the dairy incorporated and
purchased a 1924 dairy plant in Joliet on Second Avenue
near Hickory Creek. Trucks were now used to deliver
milk, so the Joliet Limestone building was purchased for
additional space. It had been built in 1890 as the
original street car barn when horses pulled the cars.
Edward and his wife died in 1964, and the plant closed
in 1966. An arson fire destroyed the dairy barn building
in 1972 and it was then demolished. The plant building
was empty after six years and was also demolished in
The land where the plant and store stood
was given to the Park District by Robert and Dorothy
Crombie. Robert Anderson Crombie died in 1970. The 1924
dated stone of the original plant is now part of the
signage for Crombie Park. The park name honors a Scot
who became part of the fabric of Joliet.
Crombie, who is now deceased, was a life member of the
Society. His wife Dorothy B. Crombie and their children,
Robert B. and Janet are also Life members of the
Society. Robert lives in Huntington Beach, California,
and Janet lives in Chicago.
Other members of the
Crombie family who are members include: Dorothy M.,
Edward C., Timothy C., and Elizabeth Crombie Schloss.
Letter From David
Please find enclosed a check for $50
to help offset the cost of the History Club Newsletter.
Could you please add my sister to your mailing list?
I look forward to reading the quarterly newsletter
and it has made me look out for Scottish connections
each time I travel. Among the many maritime connections
Scotland has with the U.S., I recently ran across the
maritime museum at Aquatic Park (near Fisherman’s Wharf)
in San Francisco has a tall ship named Balclutha
on display. The
Balclutha was built in Glasgow in 1886. A
friend who served in the U.S. Navy recently returned
from Hawaii and told me of the
Clyde docked in Honolulu Harbor. Reputedly the
worlds only surviving 4 masted full-rigged ship, the
Falls of Clyde was built in 1878 by
Russell & Co. in Glasgow.
Another idea you might
consider for your newsletter is the many
Scottish-American connections in the music and film
business. Keep up the good work!
David Forlow is
the Associate Vice President-Investments of A.G. Edwards
& Sons, Inc. in Skokie, Illinois.
Balclutha is pictured above.
Schools were only held at irregular intervals and by
subscription. A wandering Scotch school teacher would
come into the neighborhood and get up a school. On my
grandfather’s land a tenant cabin became the school
house, and the children were paid for pro rata, that is
the first child for so much, the second for a less sum,
and so on. Free schools were to come later.”(Publication
No. 9 of the Historical Library, Illinois, 1904, page
Denver Burns Statue
1900, Denver had a Scottish population of about 1,000.
One of them, James Duff, was the most influential
foreign investor in Colorado. He brokered deals for the
English, Irish and Scottish investors. Soon the Scots
organized a Caledonian Club.
William J. Palmer
and Dr. William A. Bell of the Denver & Rio Grande
Railroad laid out North Denver’s Scottish Village, a
tiny neighborhood of short curving streets with Scottish
names at W. 32th Avenue and Zuni Streets, that is an
unusual exception to Denver’s ubiquitous street grid.
Although some Scots-Irish settled
in the area known as The Highlands, they were soon
outnumbered by the Irish, Italian, and Hispanic
residents. Like the English, the Scots assimilated into
the dominant Anglo culture and made less of their
ethnicity than most other groups. One of the few traces
left of Denver’s Scottish pioneers is a bronze statue of
Robert Burns, installed in City Park in 1904 by the
Colorado Caledonian Club. The St. Andrew Society of
Colorado was formed in 1963.
was sent to us by John Lyons.
In 1843, David Minto from Annan, Dumfriesshire,
Scotland, took possession of 120 acres of land near
Millburn, Illinois. It is said that many Scots families
settled in the area including the Thains, Smiths,
Taylors and Strangs. Millburn was a Scottish village.
The word burn is the Scottish word for stream
“The families were members of the
Millburn Congregational Church and staunchly
anti-slavery...Millburn was a hotbed of abolition.” When
the war started four young men joined the 96th Illinois
Infantry. They were Alexander and Richard Smith, Richard
Thain and David Minto. They enlisted at Rockford,
Illinois, in September, 1862. Nine months later David
Minto was discharged because of illness. The others
fought at Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain,
Atlanta, Franklin and Nashville. The regiment lost about
200 men killed in battle and another 80 were missing.
All of the Millburn boys escaped injury or capture. The
Minto letters written during the war, old photos, china
plates, clothing, a 19th century diary, linen, and old
books from Scotland have all now been donated to the
Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois.
The five boxes of letters have been read, sorted and
transcribed by Rebman Martin for the museum. They can be
read today on computer disc.
Diane Russell sent
us this newspaper article from the NewsSun,
dated October 24, 2002.
1901 philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $5.2 million
to New York City for the construction of 65 neighborhood
The first library, completed
in 1902, was the Yorkville Library, designed by
architect James Brown Lord. It is located at 222-79th
Street, between Second and Third Avenues in New
York. We have read that each Carnegie Library originally
contained a bust of Robert Burns.
do not have a Carnegie Library in Chicago, so if someone
could check for us it would be greatly appreciated.
We recently wrote of the architect Stanford White who
was influential in founding the firm of McKim, Mead and
White. All three men were apparently of Scottish
White and McKim had worked for Henry
Hobson Richardson who is also said to have had a
Scottish heritage. As I mentioned previously, Richardson
is best know in Chicago for designing
Glessner House which still exists on Prairie Avenue.
Chicago Tribune on December 29, 2002, (section
16, page 3) noted that: “...horse breeder Virginia Kraft
Payson reduced the price of her 14-acre estate in Sands
Point, with its 25-room Stanford White Georgian colonial
mansion dating to 1902 - from $50 million to $29.5
million after an unsuccessful June auction of the
property. The property is considered to be the
“architectural crown jewel” of the late Stanford White.
The mansion, known as
Lands End and located on Long Island, was built for
Herbert Bayard Swope, renowned editor and the first
recipient of the Pulitzer prize for journalism. The
unsuccessful auction was apparently held by Sheldon Good
& Company of Chicago.
We also note that one of
the properties designed by William Mundie in Chicago was
also recently on the market for almost $2 million.