My Heritage And The 1893 Wheel


Richard L. Hannigan, Sr.

I was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, the son of Marion Clybourn. My mother Marion Clybourn died last August at the age of 85. She was the last of the Clybourn’s of Chicago, best known for the Chicago street named after the Clybourn family. Her father, my grand father James F. Clybourn was born in 1881 in Chicago, his family ancestors are detailed below. As a young boy of 12, he was taken to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and rode the giant 265 foot tall Ferris Wheel.

He would often tell me about his memories of the great fair when I was only 10 years old. But the one memory that was most detailed in his incredible stories, was the ride on the Ferris Wheel. Imagine a young man who has never been in a tall building being slowly swept up into the air 265 ft off the ground and being able to see for miles and miles.

While the Chicago World’s Fair was overwhelming to a young boy in its size and scope, the single event that would forever be vivid in his mind was the great wheel.

To further the my “six degrees of separation” to the builder George Washington Ferris. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois, so was my step-father and his family. A town I visited many times in my youth. Mr. Ferris also lived in Nevada, where it is believed he conceived the original idea of the Ferris Wheel by observing our artisan water wheels. I have lived in Nevada for over 30 years.

Over 20 years ago I began researching my family’s history, all the while remembering my grandfather and the Great Wheel. I collected many original items for the 1893 World’s Fair and the Ferris Wheel. This collection includes original 1893 Glass Slides Photo Plates taken during the fair, including a photo of the Ferris Wheel.

Years later, I designed a replica of the 1893 Ferris Wheel to be a revolving restaurant and be positioned inside a large Las Vegas mega-resort. Unfortunately, the resort was never built, but the idea of building a great wheel someday has stayed in my mind. That original concept has evolved to the current design, known as the Voyager V2.

With this family history, I hope you can understand the passion I have to bring to Chicago the next generation of Giant Observation Wheels.
I call it the “Evolution Of Revolution”....

The Clybourne’s

Clybourne, Archibald  (Aug. 28, 1802-Aug. 23, 1872) also Clybourn; born in Giles County, VA; butcher; arrived on August 5, 1823; visited John Kinzie’s trading post during the same month, his parents (Jonas and Elizabeth McKenzie Clark Clybourne) and other family members followed him in 1824; was appointed - Chicago`s 1st - constable for the Chicago district of Peoria County on Sept. 6, 1825, by the Peoria court; became a successful stockyard owner by buying cattle in central Illinois and building - Chicago`s 1st - slaughterhouse in 1827; business skyrocketed the following year with his acquisition of the government contract to supply fresh meat to Fort Dearborn, Fort Mackinac, Fort Howard, and Fort Winnebago [thus  credited with launching Chicago as a major cattle trade center and meat market]; married Mary Galloway on June 9, 1829, Rev. Isaac Scarritt officiating (the couple would live in Jonas Clybourne`s house until 1835).
 In the same month, was authorized to keep a ferry in conjunction with Samuel Miller, on Dec. 8, 1829, appointed trustee of the School Section; served as justice of the peace (1831); early owner of Chicago real estate, the SW quarter of Section 32 in Township 40 N, including his slaughterhouse, and became active as real estate dealer during the speculative fever that gripped the town in the early 1830s; in 1830, was listed as owning lot 10 in block 28 and lots 4 and 5 in block 5 of the original town, but by 1833 the lot in block 28 belonged to Henry Church, and lot 5 in block 5 belonged to Dr. Kimberly; member of the Universalist church; in 1831 served as a justice of the peace and as the first treasurer of Cook County; occasionally advised people on legal matters but was not a trained lawyer; advertised two butcher shops, one on the north branch, the other on market square in the Chicago Democrat of Dec. 3, 1833; received $200 for a claim at the Chicago Treaty of September 1833.

In December 1834, he and Bowman C. Dobson advertised a new store in "Clybournsville" one mile S of Batavia at their mill, where Mill Creek enters the Fox River. Late in November 1835, he submitted a claim for wharfing privileges along the Chicago River; sometime earlier that year the Clybournes had moved to a small frame house on Elston Road [Elston Avenue] and in 1836, moved into a 20-room brick residence on the same lot; 1839 City Directory: farmer and cattle-dealer, 512 Elston Ave.; died in this house in 1872, was survived by his widow and 10 living children, four of them born before 1836: Sara Ann in 1830, Margaret E. in 1831, Martha Ann in 1833, and James A. in 1835, who took over his father`s business; buried at Rosehill Cemetery; Mary died in Chicago in 1904. Street name: Clybourn Avenue, a diagonal NW street.

Clybourne, Mary  (1812-1904) Galloway; arrived in 1826 with her parents, James and Jane Galloway, and younger siblings Jane, Susan, and John from Sandusky, OH. The experience of the Galloway family`s move to Chicago and temporary residence, written later by Mary and published by Andreas, gives a rare glimpse of the early settlement in the 1820s; in the spring of 1827 the Galloways moved to the Illinois River valley, where James had staked a claim [near Marseilles]; here met and married Archibald Clybourne on June 9, 1829, Rev. Isaac Scarritt officiating [Tazewell County marriage register]; until 1835, the young couple lived with Archibald`s parents at "Clybourn Place" on the north branch; their large brick home of 20 rooms on Elston Road [now Elston Avenue] was not built until 1836; died in Chicago at age 92; survived by five children, among whom were James, William, and Henry.