John DeKoven (1833-1898)

Born in 1833, John DeKoven rose to become one of Chicago’s most prominent citizens of the nineteenth century. He married Helen Hadduck, the daughter of eminent Chicago businessman Edward H. Hadduck. During the 1860s and ‘70s, he worked as a cashier in several banks, including Union-Stockyards National Bank and Merchants’ National Bank of Chicago.

Edward H. Hadduck (1811-1881)

Edward H. Hadduck was born in Franklin, New Hampshire in 1811. After completing school, he worked for several years on his father’s farm, part of which had been sold to Daniel Webster. During this time, Hadduck became a close friend of the great statesman, who helped him throughout his life.

Edward Burling

Born in Newburg, New York in 1819, Edward Burling came to Chicago in 1843 after working as a carpenter since the age of 14. He was never formally trained as an architect, but as for so many who came here in the decades surrounding the Great Fire of 1871, this was a place of opportunity. After moving to Chicago, he became a contractor and builder. He superintended the construction of several buildings that were later destroyed by the fire, such as the Tremont House and the Marine Hospital.

Joseph Biggs

Joseph Biggs owned and ran an exclusive catering service in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He catered parties held by various social clubs and by the city’s elite families, including the Ryersons, the McCormicks, and the Fields. In addition to providing Chicago’s wealthy households with elaborate luncheons and dinners—complete with a host of waiters, when necessary—Biggs also supplied his customers with small, frequent orders of everyday groceries, like mushrooms and citrus fruits.