William Prentiss

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William Prentiss, lawyer;

Born in: Davenport, Iowa, on Tuesday, September 19, 1848;

Son of: Dr. William Prentiss and Elizabeth Prentiss, nee (Gapen); parents removed to Schuyler County, Illinois, and afterward to Fulton County, Illinois, where his father, William, died in 1854; mother, Elizabeth, in 1860.

Education: James Manley, a McDonough County, Illinois farmer, upon whose farm he lived for several years; attended public schools in winter, afterward at schools in Abingdon and Bloomington and at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, but ill health compelled him to leave before graduation;

Married: 1872, Elizabeth Helen McCaughey, of Marietta, Fulton County, Illinois;

Children: James Manley (deceased), Jackson McCaughey, William Jr..

On leaving Knox College, William went to Minnesota;

farmed, taught school, and was 3 years county superintendent of schools of Cottonwood County, Minnesota;

studied law in Minnesota;

returned to McDonough County, 1876, and continued study at Macomb University, Macomb;

admitted to Illinois bar, June, 1878, and same year was elected State's Attorney of McDonough County to fill a vacancy;

re-elected, 1880, for full 4-year term;

continued practice in that county until 1891, when he came to Chicago;

elected mayor of Macomb on Democratic ticket, 1881;

nominee for Congress in old 11th Illinois Congressional District, 1888, and made a strong race;

Democratic nominee for circuit judge of Cook County, 1893, 1898, and 1903;

delegate to Democratic National Convention, 1896, and in 1898 was chairman of the Illinois Democratic State Convention;

active in campaigns of 1896 and 1900 as Democratic orator, and was candidate for Democratic nomination for governor, 1904, but withdrew his name.

Was a prominent candidate for Mayor of Chicago, 1905, by municipal ownership advocates, but when Judge Edward Fitzsimmons Dunne was nominated by Democrats, on municipal ownership platform, withdrew and supported Dunn.

Civil Service Commissioner, 1905-7.

President of Civil Service Board during 1906; supported Republican national and state tickets in Illinois.

In 1908, because he believed Mr. Bryan had surrendered to the bad element in his party, especially in Illinois, Prentiss, also because he believed in Roosevelt's policies and admired Judge William Howard Taft; now independent in politics with Abraham Lincoln as his ideal and Lincoln's words in 1854, as his motto: "Stand with anybody that stands for Right. Stand for him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong."

As a lawyer has been identified with many important cases.

Recreation: farm and country home, Willhelen in Allegan County, Michigan.

Office: Chicago Opera House Building, southwest corner of Clark Street and Washington Street, (1905); 157 W. Adams Street (1911).

Residence: 1345 Morse Avenue (1902, 1903 1904, 1905); 1121 W. Morse Avenue, (1911); Rogers Park.

Source: Book of Chicagoans, 1905; Book of Chicagoans, 1911, page 549.


Mr. & Mrs. William Prentiss, 1345 Morse Avenue, 1902 Chicago Blue Book, page 256.

Mr. & Mrs. William Prentiss, 1345 Morse Avenue, 1903 Chicago Blue Book, page 257.

Mr. & Mrs. William Prentiss, 1345 Morse Avenue, 1904 Chicago Blue Book, page 259.