Sunday, January 27, 2013

Amos Gager Throop

Throop’s bio via the Chicago Historical Society.  Hard to think of contemporary Chicagoan’s as accomplished or involved.  Gary Comer comes to my mind.

Throop’s Second Universalist Church still stands, near the Stadium, its story here.

Amos Gager Throop was a self-made businessman, social reformer, and early civic leader in Chicago, Illinois, and in Pasadena, California. Throop (pronounced "Troop") was born at De Ruyter, Madison County, New York in 1811. His mother died while Throop was a child. His father was an alcoholic who struggled to support his family. Throop settled in Michigan in 1832, became a town official in Clyde, Mich., and married Eliza Wait of Preston (N.Y.) in 1838. In 1843, the family moved to Chicago, and Throop began a lumber business in partnership with Solomon Wait and John Throop. Throop also bought and sold residential and commercial real estate, dredged and built, ran a brick yard and a coal company, and speculated in stocks.

He was a member of the Chicago Common Council, the Chicago Board of Trade, town supervisor and assessor of West Chicago, Chicago city Assessor, organizer of the Boys Reform School, a corporator of the People's Gas, Light and Coke Company, and a member of the Sanitary Commission. He joined the "Old Abolition" party when he came to Chicago and then the Republican Party when it was formed. He ran for mayor twice on the Temperance ticket and once on the Republican ticket and lost each time. He purchased and managed a temperance hotel, the Garden City House. He was a founder of the Second Universalist Church in Chicago. He also served in the Illinois House of Representatives for 1863-1864.

Amos Gager Throop's son William died in 1860 of typhoid. His son George served in the Chicago Mercantile Battery during the Civil War and was killed at Sabine Cross Roads on the Red River in Louisiana in 1864. Also in 1864. Amos Gager Throop's left eye was pierced by a steel splinter, and the eye was removed. His daughter Martha (called Mattie in some letters) was a school teacher in Chicago and married John Charles Vaughan in 1877. John Charles Vaughan founded Vaughan's Seed Store, based in Chicago with nurseries and seed stores in other parts of the country. Their children were Roger T. Vaughan, Leonard H. Vaughan, and Charles Gager Vaughan. She became an active participant and speaker at women's clubs.

In September 1880, Amos Gager Throop and his wife Eliza set out by train for a tour of the West ending in California, where they spent the winter, and he bought a farm in Los Angeles. Gradually, he spent more and more time in California, whre he bought orchards and farmland, built irrigation and drainage systems, and moved to Orange Grove Avenue in Passadena in 1887. In Passadena, he served as a member and president of the Board of City Trustees, a president of the school Board, a founder of the First Universalist Church, an advocate of anti-saloon legislation, and founder of Throop University (1891, later renamed the California Institute of Technology. He died on March 22, 1894.

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