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Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd. ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 225-227.

EDWARD McKINSTRY TEALL. The development of the insurance business has kept pace with the growth of other commercial enterprises and has assumed such magnitude and variety, and become so complex and at the same time so vital to life and property, that it must now be regarded as one of the important industries of the United State. The last few years have seen reductions in the rates of insurance, and corresponding advantages to property-holders, in Chicago, in consequence of the rapid development of the art of constructing fire-proof buildings and the great improvement in the facilities for checking arid extinguishing fires. These important changes, which are still in progress, require prompt attention and action by the companies "doing business here, for competition is just as fierce in this line of business as in any other. In fact, the sharp, but honorable, rivalry among insurance men has developed a number of experts in the business, men with sufficient mental penetration to foresee the result of changed conditions, and sufficient executive ability to carry out such methods as are most likely to secure favorable results.

Among the most successful and systematic manipulators of this art is the gentleman whose name heads this notice. His birth occurred at Albany, New York, July 27, 1839, his parents being Edward McKinstry Teall and Eliza Perry. The founder of the family in America was Oliver Teall, who came from England and settled at New Haven, Connecticut, about 1723. His father had been Apothecary General to the British army, serving under the Duke of Marlborough during the reigns of William I. and Queen Anne. Prudence, the wife of Oliver Teall, who came with him to America, died at Killingsworth, Connecticut, June 24, 1780. Oliver Teall, second son of this couple, married Ruth Hurd and settled at Killingsworth. He served as a Surgeon in the British Army during the French and Indian War, and also during the War of the American Revolution, maintaining his loyalty to the crown throughout his life. Five of his sons, Timothy, Titus, Oliver, Joseph and Nathan, served in the Continental army. Father and sons were mutually antagonized by their loyalty to their respective causes, and never became reconciled. Another son, named Benjamin, having lost an eye during his childhood, was thus incapacitated for military service and did not participate in the conflict.

Oliver Teall (third) was born in Middletown, Connecticut, January 1, 1759. When only sixteen years old he enlisted under General Putnam, Captain Gale's company, and afterward served in Captain Hyde's company, which was successively stationed at Fort Trumbull and at Providence, Rhode Island. He was subsequently assigned to Colonel Sommers' command at Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was one of the devoted band which endured the historic hardships of Valley Forge, where his brother Titus died of smallpox. Later in the war he was stationed at West Point and on the Highlands. He acted as guard to General Washington and his family while they attended church. After peace came he married Susan, daughter of Col. Brinton Paine, of Dutchess County, New York. They settled at Upper Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York, where he became a prosperous farmer. They were the parents of twelve children. His death occurred at Albany on the 18th of September, 1842, aged eighty-two years.

Col. Brinton Paine, who was an officer of the Continental army, was a descendant of Stephen Paine, who came to Massachusetts in 1638, and became one of the leading citizens of the colony, He was one of the chief contributors to the prosecution of the Indian wars. His son Stephen was present at the great swamp fight in which King Philip's band was exterminated.

Edward M. Teall, Sr., was a son of Oliver Teall, third. He became a prominent merchant of Albany, and was also proprietor of one of the first lines of boats on the Erie Canal. He did a general forwarding business, and the Chicago American of April 9, 1839, the first issue of a daily paper in this city, contained his business advertisement. He was for many years influential in New York politics. Eliza Perry was born at Lenox, Massachusetts. Her father, Frederick Perry, who was a son of a clergyman, was a native of Connecticut. He was a graduate of Williams College, and became a cotton manufacturer at Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

The subject of this biography received his primary education in private schools, and afterward became a student in the academy of Albany. In the spring of 1857 he came to Chicago and soon after secured employment as a clerk in the insurance office of Higginson & James. This line of business was then in its infancy, and the most sanguine enthusiasm could not have foreseen the extent to which that industry would be developed. He went to work with a will, and his fidelity, thoroughness and aptitude soon won the confidence and good-will of his employers. In 1863 he became one of the partners of the firm of Alfred James & Company, which continued to transact business for about three years. Their place of business was at the southeast corner of South Water and Clark Streets, which location was the center of the insurance business at that time. He afterward formed a partnership with Frederick P. Fisher, a relation which continued for ten years, during one of the most important eras of the insurance business in the West. At the end of that period the present firm of Edward M. Teall & Company was formed, Cyrus A. Hardy, a trusted clerk of the former firm, being the junior member. Mr. Teall is one of the Directors of the Westchester Fire Insurance Company of New York, and in addition to serving the local interests of that corporation the firm represents several leading insurance companies of other cities. The business in its charge is conservatively and honorably conducted, and the firm enjoys the confidence of the public and of underwriters to a remarkable degree. Mr. Teall is President of the Chicago Fire Underwriters' Association, and has been for a number of years.

On the 11th of June, 1862, Mr. Teall was married to Miss Katherine Mead, of New York City, daughter of Isaac H. Mead and Rachel Van Voorhees Demorest. Mrs. Teall's maternal grandfather was also a native of New York City, being a scion of a very old and well-known family of that municipality. Mr. Teall has been for many years a member of the Third Presbyterian Church of Chicago, in which he officiates as Trustee and Elder. He is a member of the Illinois Club, and Deputy Governor of the Society of Colonial Wars of the State of Illinois, which he helped to organize. He is also a member of the Illinois Society of Sons of the American Revolution, and still preserves the Teall coat-of-arms granted to the family by George I. in 1723. He has been often urged to enter the arena of politics, has been tendered important nominations by the Republican party, of which he is an active and distinguished member, but prefers to devote himself to his business, home and social duties. For recreation, he and his wife have always spent the summer at their beautiful farm and summer home in the Berkshire Hills, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

– Submitted by Sherri Hessick on May 18, 2008.


DISCLAIMER:  The submitter is not related to the subject of this biography nor is she related to anyone mentioned in the biography.