Raymond, Benjamin Wright (1801-1883). Letter, 1851 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection contains a handwritten letter sent from Benjamin Wright Raymond of Elgin, Illinois, to Anson Sperry of Marengo, Illinois.
Benjamin Wright Raymond (1801-1883) was born in Rome, New York. In 1836, Raymond moved to Chicago, Illinois, to work in real estate. Raymond was elected twice as the mayor of Chicago, once in 1839 and again in 1842. He ran as a Whig both times. During his time as mayor, he helped secure Fort Dearborn for Chicago. After he finished his second term as mayor, Raymond began a business career. He helped build the first woolen factory in Elgin, Illinois, was president of the Elgin National Watch Company, and served as the president of the Fox River Valley Railroad. He also served as a director of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad. Raymond was also a key figure in building the city of Lake Forest, Illinois, and securing the charter for Lake Forest University.
This collection contains a letter written on March 4, 1851, addressed to Anson Sperry, an attorney and magistrate of Marengo, Illinois, from Benjamin Wright Raymond. In the letter, Wright advised Sperry of the Fox River Railroad board’s decision to construct the railroad from Elgin to Belvidere, Illinois. This followed the “North Line” rather than the “South Line” that Sperry favored.
The Rare Book Room and Special Collections Library, predecessor of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, acquired this letter in 1946 from the Symmachus Trading Company. In 1967, the letter was transferred to the Illinois Historical Survey, predecessor of the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections.