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Fortune & Faith In Old Chicago

"This engaging biography of Augustus Garrett and Eliza Clark Garrett tells two equally compelling stories: an ambitious man's struggle to succeed and the remarkable spiritual journey of a woman attempting to overcome tragedy. By contextualizing the couple's lives within the rich social, political, business, and religious milieu of Chicago's early urbanization, author Charles H. Cosgrove fills a gap in the history of the city in the mid-nineteenth century," SIU Press says.

"The Garretts moved from the Hudson River Valley to a nascent Chicago, where Augustus made his fortune in the land boom as an auctioneer and speculator. A mayor during the city's formative period, Augustus was at the center of the first mayoral election scandal in Chicago. To save his honor, he resigned dramatically and found vindication in his reelection the following year. His story reveals much about the inner workings of Chicago politics and business in the antebellum era.

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"The couple had lost three young children to disease, and Eliza arrived in Chicago with deep emotional scars. Her journey exemplifies the struggles of sincere, pious women to come to terms with tragedy in an age when most people attributed unhappy events to divine punishment. Following Augustus's premature death, Eliza developed plans to devote her estate to founding a women's college and a school for ministerial training, and in 1853 she endowed a Methodist theological school, the Garrett Biblical Institute (now the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary), thereby becoming the first woman in North America to found an institution of higher learning."

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See also:

"Augustus Garrett (1801 - November 30, 1848) was an American politician who twice served as Mayor of Chicago (1843-1844, 1845-1846). He was a member of the Democratic Party.

"In 1842, Garrett ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Chicago. He ran again in 1843 and was elected.

"In 1844, Garrett initially won re-election, only to have the election invalidated based on charges of 'illegal proceedings and fraud.' Garrett ran in a second election that year, but lost to Alson Sherman.

"During his terms in office, Garrett pushed to have the first brick school in Chicago, Dearborn School, turned into either a warehouse or an insane asylum, believing that the building was too large for use as a school."

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"Eliza, like many earnest nineteenth-century women raised in Calvinist churches, was on a spiritual quest for signs that she was one of the elect.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on March 5, 2020


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