Charles B. Farwell

Charles Benjamin Farwell (July 1, 1823 September 23, 1903) was a U.S. Representative and Senator from Illinois.

Charles B. Farwell
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
January 19, 1887  March 3, 1891
Preceded byJohn A. Logan
Succeeded byJohn M. Palmer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1871  March 3, 1873
Preceded byNorman B. Judd
Succeeded byJohn Blake Rice
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1873  May 6, 1876
Preceded byHoratio C. Burchard
Succeeded byJohn V. Le Moyne
In office
March 4, 1881  March 3, 1883
Preceded byHiram Barber, Jr.
Succeeded byGeorge R. Davis
Member of the Indiana House of Representatives
Personal details
Charles Benjamin Farwell

July 1, 1823
Painted Post, New York
DiedSeptember 23, 1903 (aged 80)
Lake Forest, Illinois
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mary Eveline Smith
Alma materElmira Academy

Life and career

Farwell was born in Painted Post, New York, and attended Elmira Academy before moving to Illinois in 1838. He first tried his hand at surveying and farming before moving to Chicago in 1844, when he went into banking. From 1853-1861, he served as the Clerk of Cook County. Farwell was "one of the principal builders in [Chicago's] business district" in the last quarter of the 19th century.[1] That he was able to amass a sizeable fortune can be proven by the fact that he owned one of the finest mansions on Chicago's North Side.[2]

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives four times beginning in 1870, winning his first election to the House by a healthy margin over Chicago's "Long" John Wentworth (by some 5700 votes). Farwell went on to serve in the House of Representatives in the 42nd, 43rd, 44th and 47th Congresses . In 1876 the Democrat-controlled Congress accepted John V. Le Moyne's challenge to Farwell's election and removed Farwell from office; Farwell declined to run again at the time of the general election later on in 1876. In 1880, he was elected to another term in Congress (the 47th Congress). Upon the death of John A. Logan in 1887, Farwell was elected to serve out Logan's term in the U.S. Senate, but refused to run for re-election to a full term.[3] Significantly, in Farwell's first term as Senator, he supported the introduction of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have granted women's suffrage rights (the right to vote) - simultaneously a landmark achievement of and a setback in the long struggle for voting rights for women that would not be overcome until the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920.[4]

In 1876, at his wife's urging, Farwell underwrote the construction of College Hall, North Hall and a gymnasium at Lake Forest College. The couple also donated additional land to the college which had been struggling since the end of the Civil War.[5] Part of their philanthropy was to ensure a co-ed liberal arts college near home for their daughter, Anna, who graduated from Lake Forest College in 1880. Anna later married the composer Reginald de Koven, and became a successful socialite, novelist and amateur historian. His daughter Rose was married to Hobart Chatfield-Taylor.[6]

See also


  1. Steffes, Patrick (31 December 2011). "Bertrand Goldberg in Tower Town Part 1: Bertrand Goldberg's Commune". Forgotten Chicago. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  2. "Charles B. Farwell mansion, 120 E. Pearson St., Chicago, IL (1905)". Library of Congress, courtesy Chicago History Museum. 1905. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  3. "FARWELL, Charles Benjamin". Offices of the Historian, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives. n.d. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  4. Steffes, Patrick (31 December 2011). "Bertrand Goldberg in Tower Town Part 1: Bertrand Goldberg's Commune". Forgotten Chicago. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  5. Ebner, Michael H. (Summer 2007), "North Shore Town and Gown", Chicago History, p. 6
  6. Bluff's Edge Estate Archived June 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Norman B. Judd
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
John Blake Rice
Preceded by
Horatio C. Burchard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
John V. Le Moyne
Preceded by
Hiram Barber, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
George R. Davis
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
John A. Logan
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Illinois
Served alongside: Shelby M. Cullom
Succeeded by
John M. Palmer

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