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Carter Henry Harrison IV (1860-1953)

Chicago, IL


Repository ID # 5161 - extensive ancestry available in our online database.


Life and Times of Carter Harrison

By Milancie Hill Adams

Carter Harrison IV was born 23rd of April 1860. He was the third child of Carter Harrison III and Sophonisba Grayson Preston.

His childhood home was 231 Ashland Boulevard Chicago, Illinois. His father was a lucrative land owner and real estate agent who served as Mayor for four terms. His father was assassinated at the beginning of his fifth term during the Chicago World's Fair.

Carter Harrison Home

From Carter Harrison's autobiography, The Stormy Years, we are given the two following glimpses into Carter's childhood. First, Carter states that he attended a school located on the westside of Sheldon Street between Randolph and Lake Streets from 1868 to 1873, run by a Mr. John A Bell, a Scottish minister. He states "It was a strange kind of school in which the master, Scotch trained, never had a rattan father than twelve inches from his right hand. A great believer in corporal punishment, no morning was complete unless the rattan was wrapped around at least one youngster's legs. We probably needed all we got and more. ... If any of the thirty-odd boys, other than Dr. Antonio Lagorio of Pastuer Institute fame, his cousin, the two Owsleys, Harry and Heaton, and myself, came to good end, he failed to advertise it. Among the boys, about the best behaved, the most studious were the two Lagorios." Secondly, another place in his book he speaks of dinner his father and John hosted given in the parlor of Carter's home which the boys were not even allowed to festivities of although they could hear the lusty singing of Good Old Yale, Drink Her Down!, Excelsior and other classics. "It was a small but joyous gathering of the Chicago Yale Club given to song, horseplay and wassail; there was a huge punchbowl into which my father had poured pitcher after pitcher of Bourbon whisky drawn from the barrell in his cellar."

In 1873 when his Mother was pregnant with her tenth child the family physician advised they should go aboard to Europe. They returned home in 1876. Carter described himself as a very bashful youth, whose German was better than his English and who "would walk blocks in a roundabout course to avoid meeting a bevy of girls".

Against his father's earnest counsel He attended St. Ignatisus and completed a degree in Philosophy. He married December 14, 1887 Edith Ogden daughter of Rober N. Ogden.

Carter followed his father's footsteps and pursued both politics and real estate.

Carter Harrison Campaign PosterAs his father was an avid horseman he was a bicyclest and was a member of the Century Road Club which had awarded him 18 pendant bars each engraved with the date of a particular run. Carter Harrison Jr. used the bicycle as his campaign gimmick to help him win election in 1897. 'Not the Champion Cyclist, but the Cyclist's champion. "Shortly after the nominations I had the Owsley brothers send a brand new wheel with the scorcher handlebars of the schorchiest type to the Morrison photograph gallery. I then betook myselfto the gallery with my riding togs to be phographed head on, body bent double over the scorcher bars, an attitude that always gave a fiendish expression even to the mildest of faces. What with the rakish cap, the old grey sweater and the string of eighteen pwndant bars, I looked a professional a picture which I knew would carry weight with the vast army of Chicago wheelmen."

Carter served five terms as mayor of Chicago. Through out his adulthood as in his childhood his closest friends were the twins Heaton and Harry Owsley.

Carter Harrison Jr terms as Mayor of Chicago



1st term: April 6, 1897 Defeated Nathaniel C. Sears (Republican), John Glambock (Socialist Labor), John Maynard Harlan (Independent Republican) & Washington Hesing (Independent Democrat)

2nd term: April 4, 1899 Defeated Zina R. Carter (Republican) & John P. Altgeld (Municipal Ownership)

3rd term: April 6, 1901 Defeated Elbridge Hanecy (Republican), Avery E. Hoyt (Prohibition), Gus Hoyt (Socialist Democrat), John R. Pepin (Socialist Labor), Thomas Rhodes (Sin. Tax) & John Collins (Socialist)

4th term: April 7, 1903 Defeated Graeme Stewart (Republican), Charles L. Breckon (Socialist), Daniel L. Cruice (Ind. Labor), Thomas L. Haines (Prohibition) & Henry Sale (Socialist-Labor)

5th term: February 28, 1911 (primary) Defeated Edward F. Dunne & Andrew J. Graham

April 4, 1911 (general) Defeated Charles Merriam (Republican), William A. Brubaker (Prohibition), A. Prince (Socialist Labor) & W. E. Rodriguez (Socialist)

Birth: April 23, 1860
Death: December 25, 1953

Sources: Assorted notes of Edna B Owsley (Heaton's daughter), The Stormy Years (autobiography of Carter Harrison Jr.), and Ronnie Bodine (President of Owsley Historical Society), The Owsley's an Illinois Family a Birthday Book.

Submitted by Milancie Adams. Visit her website Keeping the Chain Unbroken: Owsley and Hill Family History Website for additional info on this family. Note - be sure to go to her home page and follow some of the other Harrison links in her family as well.

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Last Updated: 21 February 1998
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