1890 Letters

September 16, 1890 letter to Ethan Keith from Will Clark

September 16, 1890

To: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Will Clark, Chicago, IL

Is writing to inform the family that he was discharged from his employment with the railroad for violating the rules; however, he was later given a letter to go back to work. In the meantime, he went out to the Stockyards and will go to the World’s Columbian Exposition.

Chicago Ill September 16th 1890

Dear Uncle

I will try to write you a letter to night to inform you and the rest of the folks at home that I was discharged from the employ of the N.C.S. RR Co yesterday noon for violating one of the rules of aforesaid Co. by standing on the forward platform of Car and putting on Brakes instead of Rear Platform according to orders while going through the Tunnel. My reason for going to the front was that they had just lately given orders for us to close the gates on right hand side of Car and open them on left, before we got to Randolph St to prevent passengers from stepping off onto west side tracks in front of Cars coming towards us so I went to front of my Car when we went into Tunnel so when we got to Bottom I could release the Brake change the gates there and get back to rear and make the change and be at the rear where I should be when we came out onto Randolph St to let passengers on and off. J. M. was on the train at the time but I thought I was doing perfectly right until after another trip I was taken off my Car and sent to the office and as I expected he would not listen to reason but said that the penalty for violating a rule was discharge and I would have to “take my medicine” to use his own words. I said very well and left him but had to go down again to see him again to night where I found him in a better humor. He gave me a letter to go back to work Thursday so get off with a two days and a half day off but after this I shall expect to be discharged on the slightest provocation and had it been spring instead of fall I would have turned in my Badge and ended my connection with the Rotten outfit at once but its a bad time of year to get work so I will stick to this until I disobey another of Johnnies rules. Well I am trying to enjoy myself while “taking my medicine.” I went out to the Stock yards and saw them kill Cattle, Sheep and hogs to day and tomorrow am going to take in the Exposition.[1] I have never been there yet. Now I will take you out to Jackson Park. First board a Hyde Park and Wabash avenue Car out to 22nd St, from there to Cottage Grove Ave out to 55th St, then east on 55th to South Park Station on the M.C.R.R. There the Cable line ends. Cross the RR track and you are at the entrance to Jackson Park North-West Corner. It lies south of 55th St between the MCRR track and the Lake, 586 acres, the North 84 acres being all that is improved. The rest is timber and swamp. The whole tract with Lake front Park is to be used for the Worlds Fair transportation to be provided for by land and water for 5 cents from one park to the other at one admission fee for both places. Jim received your letter to night. Was glad to hear that the Elevator[2] was coming out better than you expected. Let us hear from you again just as soon as there are any new developments or just as soon as you close the deal with these Chicago parties[3] for we dont want to be kept in suspense any longer than possible. The folks here[4] are usually well. Minnie is better. I have made one jump since I was home and now first for an afternoon off. If I dont get fired will soon have to work nights again.

Write soon.


686 Burling St Chicago Ill


[1] World’s Columbian Exposition

[2] Ethan’s Grain Carrier invention which received a patent on April 8, 1890

[3] See previous letters from the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company

[4] Will was living with Eugene & Minnie (Crooks) Crawford; Eugene was Ethan’s maternal first cousin

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