Farwell, Charles Benjamin
- Thomas R. Pegram
Farwell, Charles Benjamin (01 July 1823–23 September 1903), merchant and politician, was born in Painted Post, Steuben County, New York, the son of Henry Farwell and Nancy Jackson, farmers. He was educated in common schools and at Elmira Academy, where he studied surveying. In 1838 the family moved by covered wagon to Ogle County, Illinois, where Farwell spent six years surveying public lands and farming. In 1844 he moved to Chicago and embarked upon his lifelong combination of private business and government service. In the next nine years he moved from deputy to the county clerk of Cook County to clerk in a real estate office to bank clerk and teller. Using the information gained from those positions, by 1849 he had acquired large holdings in Chicago real estate. In 1852 he married Mary Eveline Smith; they had four children who survived to maturity. He was elected to two terms as clerk of Cook County, serving from 1853 to 1861. In the latter year, as younger men flocked to join the army, Farwell began to devote all of his time to his real estate business. In 1865 he joined his brother John V. Farwell’s prosperous dry goods firm. Charles Farwell had become a wealthy and powerful Chicago figure by the conclusion of the Civil War....