Monday, April 22, 2019

The Biography of Overachiever, Colonel Rosell M. Hough (1819-1892).

In 1836 Elijah Hough (pronounced Huff) and his wife Electa, his daughter Cornelia, and two sons, Oramel and sixteen-year-old Rosell (spelled without an "e" on the end), moved into the Roselle and Bloomingdale area from Massachusetts.

Rosell worked as a butcher and supervisor in the Chicago meat packing business until 1850, when he and his brother, Oramel, opened their own meat packing plant on Halsted Street and Orange Avenue (79th Avenue). At the London Exposition of 1852, their beef won first prize for quality of "imported meat products," thus receiving a large contract for supplying beef to the English troops fighting in the Crimean War (1853-1856).

He was later a partner in the firm of Hough, Hills and Co., soap and candle manufacturers which, believe it or not, used the by-products from their meat packing company.

Rosell was elected and served as a Chicago alderman for the 2nd district from 1855 thru 1856. 

Rosell joined the Union Army on Septem­ber 10, 1861, with the rank of major. He served in Missouri, where he was wounded. He reenlisted June 13, 1862, with the rank of colonel. In 1864 Colonel Hough was active in recruiting volunteers for the army. With his help 6,000 men were recruited. 
Colonel Rosell M. Hough is seated in the middle.
After the Civil War, Colonel Hough was elected the first president of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce in 1864, and serving as a founder of the Chicago Union Stockyards and supervised its construction until opened in June of 1865. Roselle retired from the meat packing business.

When President Lincoln's funeral train arrived in Chicago on the way to Springfield, Rosell led the funeral procession on May 1, 1865, marching on Michigan Boulevard. It was estimated that 37,000 people marched and 150,000 lined route.
President Lincoln’s Funeral Procession in Chicago on May 1, 1865.
Harper’s Weekly Magazine.
Rosell was founder and president of the "Chicago and Pacific Railroad Company" which was organize in 1865 by a special act of the Legislature of Illinois.  

In 1868 when Rosell returned to the Roselle and Bloomingdale area, he found things changing. Cotton production in the South had all but stopped as an aftermath of the Civil War. There was a demand for cloth that could be produced from flax. Roselle began growing this crop on land he had bought from his father, Elijah, before his death in 1851.
Photograph claimed to be the Hough house in on Prospect Street in Roselle/Bloomingdale. Year unknown.
Rosell established the "Illinois Linen Company" which manufactured linen and rope. The factory was located in Bloomingdale on the northwest corner of Chicago and Elgin Road (in 1891 the name changed to Elgin Avenue, then later to Irving Park Road) and Roselle Road, across the road from Henry Holstein's Grist Mill.
Vacant Illinois Linen Factory. Circa 1908.
Vacant Illinois Linen Factory. Circa 1908.
As President of the Chicago and Pacific Railroad, Col. Hough was able to influence the route. He saw future growth for his linen factory if the train would come through Wood Dale, Itasca, Medinah, and Roselle instead of Addison and Bloomingdale. It is rumored that he paid $10,000 to have the survey changed so the train line would go through Roselle, Illinois.

Rosell hired ex-convicts and ruffians from Chicago as laborers and built boarding houses near the factory to accommodate the factory workers. Their notorious drinking and fighting earned the town the nickname “Raise Hell.” One boarding house was nicknamed "The Beehive” because of the number of people living there and the amount of in-and-out foot traffic.
"The Beehive” so named due to the number of people who lived there. Inside was kitchen, a parlor, and bedrooms with two and three-tiered bunk beds in them. The residence, located at about 25 South Roselle Road was built in the 1870's by Rosell Hough as an Inn/Boarding House for workers in his flax factory. The house was razed in 1973.
The village was first platted and offically named Roselle in 1875 and incorporated on October 7, 1922.

Colonel Hough stayed in Roselle until 1880, at which time he sold his business interests in this area Hough then settled in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he had a cattle company and land holdings. In declining health, the Colonel returned to Chicago in 1890, where he died March 8, 1892. Rosell had no children.

In 1895 the flax factory was shut down. Cotton was once again king in the South; moreover the Roselle soil had become exhausted after its many years of growing flax. These two reasons rendered the flax factory useless.

The building was converted to a tile and brick company by Chicago businessmen who had purchased the property. By 1900 the clay that had been found in the area also gave out, and the brick and tile company was closed. The building sat vacant until it was razed sometime in the 1920's.
Vacant Brickyard Company Factory. Photograph Circa 1908.
Rosell M. Hough and Wife are entombed at the Old Union Cemetery in Lincoln, Illinois.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ is rated PG-13. Please comment accordingly. Comments not on the article's topic will be deleted, along with advertisements.