John Wentworth (mayor)

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"Long" John Wentworth (March 5, 1815 – October 16, 1888) was the editor of the Chicago Democrat, a two-term mayor of Chicago, and a six-term member of the United States House of Representatives.

Born in Sandwich, New Hampshire, John Wentworth was a huge man, towering 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) high and weighing more than 300 pounds (136 kg). He drank at least a pint of whiskey each day and would eat from 30-40 different foods during a single meal.

Wentworth was educated at the New Hampton Literary Institute[1], at the academy of Dudley Leavitt[2] and at Dartmouth College graduating from the latter in 1836. Later that year, he left for Chicago, arriving in the city on October 25. He was managing editor of Chicago's first newspaper, the Chicago Democrat, eventually becoming its owner and publisher. He started a law practice and entered politics. In 1844, he married Roxanna Marie Loomis. John Wentworth was a business partner of Illinois financier Jacob Bunn, and the two men were two of the incorporators of the Chicago Secure Depository Company.

He served for six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1851 and March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855 as a Democrat; and March 4, 1865 – March 3, 1867 as a Republican). While in the House, a controversial vote arose by which Wisconsin claimed land in Illinois as far as the tip of Lake Michigan. If Wentworth voted to give the land, including Chicago, to Wisconsin, he was promised a Senate seat. Wentworth declined the offer.[3]

As a Republican, Wentworth served as mayor of Chicago for two terms, 1857–1858 and 1860–1861. Wentworth instituted chain gangs in the city and tried to clean up the city's morals. To do this, he hired spies to determine who was frequenting Chicago's brothels. In 1857, Wentworth led a raid on the Sands, Chicago's red-light district, which resulted in the burning of the area.

Wentworth was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln.

He authored The Wentworth Genealogy - English and American, twice. The first two volume edition was followed by a second, corrected, edition in 1878, at 3 Volumes, or 2241 pages. The total reported cost for both editions was $40,000 [1]. The first of the 1878 volumes chronicles the ancestry of Elder William Wentworth, the first of this family in New England, and his first five generations of New World descendants. The second and third volumes discuss the "Elder's" many descendants and others of the name.[4]

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