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Charles Frederick Gunther. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society (IChi-10584).


Gunther, Charles Frederick (06 March 1837–10 February 1920), Chicago confectioner, politician, and antiquarian collector, was born Carl Friedrich Guenther in Wildberg, Wurttemberg, Germany, the son of Marie and Johann Martin Guenther, a candle and soap maker. The family immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1842, and at age ten Gunther began work as a government mail carrier, traveling forty miles daily by horseback. In 1850 they resettled in Peru, Illinois, an important ice harvesting center on the canal linking Chicago with the Mississippi watershed. Gunther found work as a cashier in a bank, where he came in contact with many of the merchants who shipped 100,000 tons of ice down the southern rivers during prosperous years....


Pillsbury, John Sargent (29 July 1827–18 October 1901), businessman, politician, and "father" of the University of Minnesota, businessman, politician, and “father” of the University of Minnesota, was born in Sutton, New Hampshire, the son of John Pillsbury and Susan Wadleigh. He grew up in Sutton, where his father had a small manufacturing business. There he attended primary school and became an apprentice printer. In 1853 he moved to Warner, New Hampshire, where he worked as a store clerk for his brother and later went into business as a tailor and cloth merchant. It was there he met Mahala Fisk, whom he married in 1856; they had three children and adopted a fourth. In 1853, like many from the East, he traveled to the West Coast in search of greater opportunity and passed through Minnesota. He returned in 1855 and settled in St. Anthony, later incorporated into Minneapolis, and opened a hardware store that he operated for the next two decades. His business was almost wiped out during the panic of 1857 and by a disastrous fire the same year that burned his store to the ground. By living in near poverty for the next several years he paid his debts, restored his business, and eventually prospered....