Dodge, John C. Letter, 1845 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection contains a letter written by John C. Dodge of Chicago to his cousin, Samuel Johnson of Salem, Massachusetts, on July 16, 1845. In the letter, Dodge provides Johnson with genealogical information on their family and offers his impressions of the newly settled West.
John Crowninshield Dodge (1809-1889) was born in Salem, Massachusetts. A Chicago merchant and businessman, Dodge moved to the young city in 1837. He served as the first secretary of the Chicago Board of Trade (1849-1853), became a Chicago alderman in 1851, and directed the land department of the Illinois Central Railroad in the 1850s.
Samuel Johnson (1822-1882) was born in Salem, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1842 and Harvard Divinity School in 1846. A known non-sectarian, Johnson founded Free Church in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1853. Johnson took a special interest in the politics of transcendentalist and abolitionist Theodore Parker (1810-1860), composing a lecture on his work and philosophy that would be published posthumously.
This collection consists of one letter from John C. Dodge to his cousin, Samuel Johnson, in Salem, Massachusetts. In the letter, Dodge provided genealogical findings, offered his impressions of Illinois, and requested updates on Johnson's well-being and prospects. He noted the promise of the West, speculating that "new States will be granaries for those on the Sea board." He described the incredible growth of Chicago's population, as well as the lush environment of Geneva, Illinois, and suggested that Johnson would enjoy visiting. Dodge also offered his opinions on Theodore Parker after reading some of his works.
The Library purchased this item in 2022 with support from the Bruce C. Creamer Fund.