Ledger book of a merchant and Great Lakes ship's captain who traded in early Chicago. Hiram Hugunin.
Ledger book of a merchant and Great Lakes ship's captain who traded in early Chicago
Ledger book of a merchant and Great Lakes ship's captain who traded in early Chicago
Ledger book of a merchant and Great Lakes ship's captain who traded in early Chicago

Ledger book of a merchant and Great Lakes ship's captain who traded in early Chicago

[Chicago, et al. July 25, 1836 to September 20, 1837.]. Bound ledger 8 x 10 inches; approximately 50 pages, and with many blank leaves; original paper covered boards with calf spine; spine separated, pages loose, some corners torn; ink and pencil throughout. Approximately 25 leaves contain many handwritten folk medicine receipts and various newspaper clippings. While the condition is compromised, this is nonetheless an early relic of Chicago's history. An account book interesting on several levels. Written by a New Yorker from Oswego County who was the first president of Chicago just prior to it becoming an incorporated city, Hiram Hugunin traded early in the 1830s via the lakes between New York and Chicago. The book includes accounts of commissions for the sale of lumber and other items and also contains a great number of interspersed folk medicine recipes and cures, both for humans and for cattle. He was also the first fire chief of Chicago, and in a twist of fate, burned to death in Waukegan in 1866. Accounts show the commission sale of lumber, shoes, steel traps and tools. An entry for lumber in August 8, 1836: “Rec’d from on board schooner Ceres capt. McCambre a quantity of lumber to sell on commission for Hiram Hugunin at 5 per cent commission which was sold as follows:” Then follows a list of boards and to whom sold; “Sweet, Manning, Archibald Clyburn, Pierce, etc. totaling $294.66. Archibald Clyburn (1802-1872) was born in Virginia, but was in Chicago by 1823 where he became a successful stockyard and slaughterhouse owner. A “list of notes when give & when paid” is shown in the last few pages. The first is “Note given 4th day July (probably 1836) drawn by J. P. Place & endorsed by J. C. Hugunin payable to the order of Hugunin & Peirce, in ninety days from date for this amount $308 at Chicago Bank.” There are recipes to cure “bots” in a horse, cancer and cankers, an “irritating plaster superior to McNairs,” rheumatism, rot in sheep, bluddy [sic] flux, among others. Many of the printed news scraps also contain folk recipes, including “coffee as a disinfectant.” “For scarlet fever; a poltice [sic] may be made by covering the shumuke in milk & water add a little sage & wash the inside of the throat with the thin (?) paste.” Hiram Hugunin was born in 1798 in Oswego, New York. He was in business with his brothers as Robert Hugunin, Leonard Clark Hugunin, and John C. Hugunin are also mentioned in the ledger. The Compendium of the Early History of Chicago states they “arrived in 1833 on their yacht Westward Ho after a three-month journey from Oswego; when their ship could not cross the sandbar…they paid to have oxen pull the vessel…Hiram was the captain; became a member of the first sanitary vigilante committee in 1834, was elected president of the village board in June of 1835 (His obituary says president of the then village of Chicago in 1837-the last term of office before the incorporation of the city). Hiram apparently traveled back and forth for several years, since in 1835 he advertised as agent for the Northwestern Fire and Marine Insurance Co. of Oswego. His obituary says he was an Indian agent in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and lived for a short time in Iowa. After he came to Chicago where he was one of the contractors on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. His name appears in the Chicago city directory of 1838 with his brothers. In 1846, he moved to Waukegan and in 1866 died in a fire at Little Fort, Waukegan, on Lake Michigan. His obituary also notes that he “was one of the pioneers in Onondaga County, New York, and also a resident of Oswego for many years, and one of the first individuals connected with the steam navigation of Lake Ontario” [Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, Dec 15, 1866.]. Item #53709

Price: $4,800.00

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