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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. 187-188.

JOHN DILLON TOBEY, who is doing an extensive business as a dealer in hay and grain in Chicago, was born at Worth Station, Cook County, on the 3d of September, 1859, and is a son of Wales and Elizabeth Tobey, who are represented on another page of this work. He spent his early boyhood days upon his father's farm, and acquired his education in the district school of the neighborhood and in the High School of Blue Island. At the age of seventeen he left home with $2.85 in his pocket. From that time he has made his own way in the world unaided, and the success he has achieved is therefore due entirely to his own efforts. He began work as a farm hand, receiving $15 per month in compensation for his services. With his first season's wages he bought a half-interest in a threshing-machine, and the following winter started a hay press.

Fifteen months after leaving home, Mr. Tobey had accumulated $3,300, besides a hay-press, teams, etc. In connection with his other work he also did road contracting in Worth Township. For one year after coming to Chicago he was in the employ of Nelson Morris & Co., buying supplies of feed for the stock. Since 1886 he has engaged in his present business as a dealer in hay and grain at No. 309 Twenty-sixth Street. He also handles ice. His business has steadily increased in volume, until it has now assumed extensive proportions, and on the 1st of June, 1894, the J. D. Tobey Hay and Grain Company was incorporated. Of this Mr. Tobey is president and general manager. For some years he has been the best known dealer in his line on the south side and is now the largest retail dealer in the United States. He also deals in city real estate and farm property, and has invested to some extent in western lands.

On the 10th of September, 1885, Mr. Tobey was united in marriage with Miss Clara M. Burt. The lady is a native of Westport, Essex County, N. Y., and is a daughter of Alvin Burt. Their union has been blessed with one child, Gracie. They also lost two sons who died in infancy within two weeks of each other.

Mr. Tobey takes considerable interest in civic societies, and is a member of Golden Rule Lodge No. 726, A. F. & A. M.; a life member of Chicago. Commandery No. 19, K. T.; and also belongs to Medinah Temple and the Mystic Shrine; to Acacia Club; to America Lodge No. 271, K. P.; Longfellow Lodge No. 708, R. A.; George B. McClellan Council of the National Union; Chicago Heavy-Weight Base Ball Club, the Sudseite Turngemeinde, and several other social and insurance orders. He votes with the Republican party, but has never sought or desired political preferment, in fact has several times refused public office. Physically, Mr. Tobey is the picture of health and strength. He is of a social, genial nature, and is a gentleman of rare business ability, having attained success through good judgment, ready decision and energetic determination.


– Submitted by Sherri Hessick on May 27, 2007.


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