Scammon, Jonathan Y.

Born: 1812-07-27 Whitefield, Maine

Died: 1890-03-17 Chicago, Illinois

Flourished: Chicago, Illinois

Normally addressed as "J. Young," Scammon was educated at the Maine Wesleyan Seminary, the Lincoln Academy, and Waterville College, where he earned a law degree. He studied law and gained admission to the bar in Maine in 1835. In 1836, he settled in Chicago, Illinois, where he became a deputy clerk in the Cook County Circuit Court. He had several law partners, including Buckner S. Morris. Scammon was also a member of the Chicago school board and was a banker. From 1839 to 1845, he compiled and published the opinions of the Illinois Supreme Court. Interested in newspaper publishing, he launched the Chicago Journal in 1844 and the Chicago Republican in 1865. Sometime around 1845, Scammon formed a law partnership with Norman B. Judd that lasted until 1847. In 1847, he and William B. Ogden supported the development of the Galena & Chicago Railroad. He established the Marine Bank of Chicago in 1851, the Mechanics National Bank in 1864, and the Chicago Fire and Marine Insurance Company, for all of which he served as president. In that same year, he was a partner in the law firm of Scammon, McCagg & Fuller with Ezra B. McCagg and Samuel W. Fuller. He was a Whig and a Republican, and he supported Lincoln's election to the Presidency. He won election to the state senate in 1861 and was a delegate to the 1864 Republican national convention. Scammon also helped to found many societies and charities including the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Academy of Sciences, Hahnemann Hospital and Medical College, and the original University of Chicago, for which he was elected as a trustee in 1860.

The United States Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men: Illinois Volume (Chicago: American Biographical, 1876), 767-68; Chicago Daily News, 17 March 1890, 1:4-5; Chicago Daily Tribune, 18 March 1890, 3:4; Fred Carstensen, "Scammon, Jonathan Young," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 19:344-45; George B. Utley, "Scammon, Jonathan Young," Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964), 8:2:407-8; John M. Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis, 1899), 1:73-76, 2:619. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.