FRANKLIN NEWHALL was born September 28, 1823, in Conway, Franklin County, Massachusetts. The genealogy of his family goes back to Birmingham, England. His ancestors came to New England about 1660, and located on the Massachusetts shore, south of Plymouth. They were tillers of the soil, and their descendants are scattered throughout the States. Many of them settled in Conway, where, at one time, a considerable proportion of the inhabitants were named Newhall. Grandfather Daniel Newhall resided in the western part of Massachusetts, where he was well known as a prosperous farmer and exemplary citizen. He died in Conway, aged over seventy years. He married Mary Baker, also a native of New England, who likewise attained the venerable age of seventy years. She was a devoted Christian, and the mother of seven children, namely: Orrin, Daniel, Sarah, Elisheba, Polly, Lorinda and Lovina. Of these, Orrin and Lorinda went West at an early day. The other five children settled in and near Conway. Polly married Hosmer Bement; Sarah married Frank Stowe; Lovina married Joseph Hendrick; Elisheba married Parson Hendrick; and Lorinda married David Grover. Daniel was born July 26, 1791, in Conway, Massachusetts, and died at Lockport, New York. He was married, June 16, 1816, to Harriet Whitney, who was born at Conway, January 20, 1794, and also died at Lockport.
The last-named couple were the parents of nine children, as follows: Harrison, Harriet, Daniel, Franklin, Frederick W., Elbridge G., Lucy E., Sarah L. and Edward E. Of this family, Elbridge G. and Edward E. are now deceased.
Franklin Newhall received his education in Conway, Massachusetts, and Lockport, New York. Up to the age of twenty-one years he worked faithfully on his father's farm, beginning at about the age of five years among the hills of Conway, afterwards at Lockport, New York. Being fond of outdoor work, while tilling the soil he no doubt laid the foundation of his remarkable vitality.
In November, 1844, he came to Chicago, whither his brother Harrison had preceded him. The latter was the pioneer fruit merchant of the city, and Franklin joined him in this enterprise. He has conducted the same line of business ever since, becoming eminently successful therein. In 1894 he celebrated his fiftieth anniversary as a Chicago business man, and is now practically retired, leaving the management of the enterprise to his sons Benjamin and Sylvan, who are still guided and influenced by their father's advice and counsel. Their present place of business is No. 101 South Water Street, and is one of the leading establishments in the West.
A few years after coming to Chicago Mr. Newhall began business for himself, and has always been a well-known figure on the streets of this city, and a landmark, so to speak, among its pioneers. He is now the oldest fruit dealer in the city. He began business on a small scale, but Chicago at that time was the place for small beginnings, which grew to gigantic proportions. At first he was the proprietor, bookkeeper and salesman, keeping only a man to watch the store in his absence; but such was his devotion to business, that the dinner hour was often forgotten and not thought of till evening.
Harrison Newhall brought the first cargo of winter apples from Lockport, by way of Buffalo, to Chicago in 1842. Previously apples had been brought to Chicago in immense wagons, called "prairie schooners," most of them coming from Indiana and southern Illinois. The Great Fire found Mr. Newhall's warehouses with a greater stock of fruits and broom corn than he had ever carried before, and swept up all, leaving only the small sum which he realized from insurance with which to continue the business. He opened a store on West Randolph Street, while the ruins of his former store were still smoking. His energy and determination were approved by his friends and creditors, and success was his from this time onward. He has accumulated a competency, which now, in his ripe age, he fully enjoys. His life and health are no doubt preserved by his outdoor exercise, which he continues without intermission.
In his political affiliations Mr. Newhall is a Republican. He was an active participant in the stirring scenes during the Abolition days, and assisted in the freeing of many a slave, some of them being actually under the jurisdiction and protection of the court. Allan Pinkerton was an active operator of the "underground railroad," also the elder Blodgett family, including Judge Henry W. Blodgett, and other noted families of the vicinity. The work of liberation was always laborious, and often perilous, but its results are an everlasting monument to freedom and America.
Mr. Newhall was married, November 12, 1850, to Miss Emma L., a daughter of William L. Whiting, a well-known character on the Chicago Board of Trade. Mrs. Newhall was liberally educated at Montreal and in northern New York. She was a remarkable conversationalist, and was admired by the best men and women of her day. Horace Greeley was often a guest in her father's and her own family, and very much enjoyed her society. She died March 24, 1861, aged thirty-nine years. She was a member of the Sweden-borgian Church, in whose labors she was active. She was full of that beautiful sympathy which manifested itself in a desire to be of use to all around her. Her four children were named, respectively, Simeon Frank, Emma Beata, Benjamin and Sylvan.
Mr. Newhall has retired with his daughter to the beautiful suburb of Glencoe, on the North Shore, where also his three sons have beautiful homes on or near the famed Sheridan Road. He has been an active promoter of this drive from its incipiency, and, in connection with Melville E. Stone, on the north built on that drive the first fine macadam and gravel road within the village, a mile in extent, including two bridges over the ravine. His ardent love of nature is especially manifest in his marking the line of this drive through his property in North Glencoebending around the hills and meandering through the valleys and ravines. This is his special pride, but he finds it a warfare to prevent village governments and straight-line engineers from spoiling it.
Submitted by Sherri Hessick on January 27, 2002
DISCLAIMER: The submitter is not related to the subject of this biography nor is she related to anyone mentioned in the biography.