Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The John Rawle Cut-Stone Contractor, Chicago, Illinois. 1872

John Rawle, cut-stone contractor (or quarryman), was born at Exford, Somersetshire, England, on May 3, 1843, and is a son of John and Mary (Poole) Rawle. He received a common school education in the vicinity of his birthplace, and then learned the trade of a stone cutter and carver, which he followed in his native country for several years; he was also a draftsman in the office of Sir Charles Fox, who was the engineer of the first London World's Exposition, in 1851, and of a number of railroads in Russia, China, Japan, and South America.

In 1868, Rawle came to America, landing at Portland, Maine, in May. He worked at his trade for a time, and subsequently removed to St. Louis, where he remained until the fall of 1868 when he came to Chicago. For a short time went to New York, and from there to England, where he remained until the spring of 1869, and then he returned to Chicago, the city he called home, with the exception of a short time that he was engaged in business at Washington, Daviess County, Indiana
In the spring of 1872, he established business as the John Rawle Cut-Stone Contractors located at 570-598 South Morgan Street (today: Morgan & 14th Place), Chicago, and has since held a prominent position with the architects, builders, and contractors. Rawle furnished cut-stone for many of the finest buildings in Chicago and throughout the United States. His building occupied 377 feet on Morgan street and 215 feet on Henry street (today: 14th Place).

Rawle, like many others, sustained heavy losses, nearly losing his all in the Panic of 1873, and it was only by his indomitable energy, perseverance, tireless industry, and the most rigid economy in the management of his business that he was able to weather the storm.

He purchased the Carbondale brownstone quarry and later the Southern Illinois brownstone quarry, both of which were located at Bosky Dell, Jackson County, Illinois.

He took an active part in the formation of the Carbondale Brown-Stone Company, of which he was president and treasurer. The product of this company was in demand around the country. Its yards occupied 468-478 Fifth Avenue. Of the sixty-five firms which started in business in 1872, there were only two other firms besides his that survived, which was due to his attention to business and the superior quality of his workmanship. In 1884, he married Miss Augusta E. Zick, a native of Bosky Dell and a daughter of Daniel and Augusta Zick. They had three children.

Rawle also invented a unicycle which experts claimed would revolutionize the world of wheels.
Click for a full-size image.

Click for a full-size image.

SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 482,100, dated September 6, 1892.
Application filed August 30, 1891. Serial No. 404,333. (No model.)

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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