Cook Co., IL Bio - Samuel G. Spaulding


Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 243-245

SAMUEL GRAY SPAULDING  The name Spalding, like other names ending in “ing,” is one of the earlier surnames borne by English-speaking people.  The Spaldings of the United States have been fortunate in having the genealogical history of the family written by Samuel J. Spalding, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, from which we learn many facts relative to its growth and progress.

John de Spalding (Burgess of Lenn) was a purchaser of lands of about the fifty-first year of the reign of Henry III. (A. D. 1267). Other records of land transfers of very ancient date occur.

Edward Spalding was the first of the family of whom we have any knowledge, and he came to America in the earliest years of the Massachusetts Colony, probably between 1630 and 1633. He first appears in Braintree, Massachusetts, where his wife, Margaret, and his daughter, Grace, died, the former in 1640, and the latter in 1643.  He was made a Freeman May 13, 1640, and was one of the settlers of Chelmsford, in the same colony, which town was incorporated in 1655.  He was a Selectman in 1654, 1656, 1660-61, and Surveyor of Highways in 1663.  In 1664 the town records made note of his fine orchard.  His family has been ably represented in every war of the Colonies and United States (see sketch of William A. Spalding).  He died February 26, 1670.

Samuel Brown Spaulding, the father of the subject of this sketch, was descended from Edward Spalding, through Andrew (2), Andrew (3), James (4), Silas (5).  He was born January 27, 1789, in Granville, New York, and later resided at Brandon, Vermont, where he was a prominent merchant.  His first wife was Anna Gray, whom he married October 2, 1814.  She was born January 2, 1790, in Rutland, Vermont, and died July 23, 1841, in Brandon.  The second wife was Lucy Lyon, the wedding occurring November 18, 1841.  She was born November 25, 1796, in Brandon. The children of Samuel B. and Anna Spaulding were four, Samuel G. being the third.  He was born October 26, 1822, at Brandon, Vermont.

After taking a course in the public schools of his native town, he learned the mercantile business.  When only about twelve years of age he became a clerk in a store in Brandon.  Some years later, while still a youth, he went to Claremont, New Hampshire, leaving home with but twenty-five cents in his pocket.  He engaged in the sale of books, and as a compensation for his services received $12 per month, out of which he paid all his expenses.

His next employment was as commercial traveler for a book house in Vermont, and in that line he did good work, obtained good wages and saved something from his earnings.  With his little capital he engaged in supplying notions to wholesale dealers in the State of Vermont.  In this business he was successful, but, on account of poor health, he was obliged to dispose of his business, and James Fisk, afterwards celebrated as a Wall Street broker, became the purchaser.  Two weeks after this sale Mr. Spaulding was on his way to the West, where he expected to find a more congenial climate and better commercial prospects.

In April, 1857, he arrived at Milwaukee, by way of the Lakes. He entered into partnership with a man who was engaged in the tobacco trade, but soon found that he had obtained some knowledge at the cost of the capital invested, the volume of profits not being what had been represented. Making the best of the situation, Mr. Spaulding became sole proprietor of the little store, and then put his energies to work to build up a trade.  In the course of time he added a wholesale feature and, becoming his own solicitor, he built up a fine wholesale business in the Northwest.  In those days the railroad ran no farther than La Crosse, and thence to St. Paul the journey was made by boat.

As Milwaukee did not afford the advantages which his growing trade required, Mr. Spaulding removed to Chicago in November, 1865, and with Mr. Levi Merrick, of Milwaukee, formed the firm of Spaulding & Merrick, and carried on the wholesale tobacco business.  Manufacturing was a prominent feature of the industry, and in a short time the business was so arranged that Mr. Spaulding traveled for the house, while Mr. Merrick had charge of the manufacture.  The volume of their transactions rapidly increased, and in 1871 the number of persons employed by the firm was between two and three hundred, but the great fire of that year swept everything the firm had out of existence.

Returning home, accompanied by Mr. Merrick, father of his partner, after spending all the fatal night of the beginning of the conflagration in observing its progress, Mr. Spaulding announced to his wife, “All I had is gone up in smoke.”  To this she bravely replied, "We have our health and our hands.”  Mr. Merrick’s comment on this reply was, “There is good cheer for you.”  The situation was discussed, and the partners resolved to start anew in business.  Friends who admired their pluck and energy offered plenty of financial assistance.  Out of $36,000 insurance, they afterwards received $13,000.  The three story factory at Nos. 9 to 15 River Street was replaced by another, and a greater number of persons employed.  The history of the firm from this on is a record of success.  Wise management and hard work built up a great business, the second largest in their line in the United States.  In 1889 Mr. Spaulding sold his interest, but the business is still conducted under the old name.

Samuel G. Spaulding was married at St. Albans, Vermont, on the twelfth day of March, 1857, to Miss Marcia Isabel Hawkins.  She was born July 17, 1828, at Reading, Vermont, and is a descendant of William Adrian Hawkins, who was born January 18, 1742, and died at Reading, Vermont, in 1817.  His grandfather was a native of Dublin, Ireland, and married an English woman.  He emigrated to Bordeaux, France, where two children, a son and a daughter, were born.  After his death his widow brought the children to America.  A son of the son, William Adrian Hawkins, became a tailor.  He went to Wilton, New Hampshire, a short time before the Revolution, and resided there until 1789, when he moved to Reading, Vermont.  He enlisted, April 23, 1775, in Captain Walker's company of Col. James Reed’s regiment New Hampshire troops.  He rose through the grades of First sergeant, ensign and lieutenant to the rank of captain.   He was made ensign for gallant conduct at the battle of Bunker Hill.  He served in the war seven years, and was paid off in the almost worthless currency of those days.  Forty bushels of rye was the most valuable part of the pay he received for his services.  He married Abigail, daughter of John and Abigail (Livermore) Keyes, who was born at Northborough, Massachusetts, in December, 1743, and died at Reading, Vermont, in 1813.  They were the parents of eight children.  William Lewis, the fourth child, was born at Northborough, Massachusetts, June 14, 1773, and died at Reading, Vermont, November 26, 1859.  He married Anna Townsend, and they were the parents of seven children.  He was a successful teacher, and taught out schools that others failed to govern.  He held town offices, and was postmaster at the time of his death, being then eighty-seven years old and in the full enjoyment of his mental faculties.

Lewis, eldest child of William L. and Anna Hawkins, was born at Reading, January 23, 1798, and died at Sherburne, Vermont, April 29, 1875.  He was a manufacturer and dealer in boots, shoes, saddles and harness, and also dealt in horses, which he sold at Boston.  He married Aliva Amsden, and they were the parents of three children, of whom Marcia is the youngest.

Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding were the parents of two children:  Mabel, the wife of Charles Foxwell, junior; and Howard Henry Spaulding, who now occupies a position with the house of Spaulding & Company, jewelers of Chicago.  Mrs. Foxwell has one child, Frances.   H. H. Spaulding married Florence Baker, and has two children, Lester and Howard, Jr.

Samuel G. Spaulding died on the fifth day of September, 1893, at the age of seventy-one years. Starting with but twenty-five cents in his pocket, he worked his way from poverty to a commanding position in the line in which he spent most of his life, and in which he took a great interest.  He attended all the conventions of the tobacco manufacturers, and his views had great influence among his associates in the trade. His geniality and scrupulous honesty and business tact were the foundation stones upon which his success was built.  Mr. W. D. Spalding, in speaking of him said:  “I knew him over thirty years.  I never met a pleasanter man than Mr. Spaulding.  He was genial, large-hearted and a true gentleman, and made friends with every one he met."

                                -- Submitted by Sherri Hessick   (