Contributing Factors in Moving the Cemetery: The Milliman Tract

Although the City Cemetery lot holders left the Milliman Tract story in 1867 when their unclaimed lots were extinguished, the Milliman saga continued for another ten years.

The Milliman heirs apparently sold portions of their tract when it was returned to them. The subdivided sections notated below by Lot letters and document numbers, identify various portions of land by their individual ownership.



This note from the 1890s shows some of the prices paid for portions of the Milliman Tract, designated by Lot letter, and visible at the left.

By permission and courtesy of the Chicago Park District Special Collections.

By permission and courtesy of the Chicago Park District Special Collections.

Eventually, the majority owners of the remaining Milliman Tract were David Milliman and his sister Caroline Schnell. Another sister, Catherine Netherfield, had sold her share in separate sections. When their father Jacob Milliman died in 1849, he left five orphaned children. Their mother had already died and was buried on the property. In 1853, the heirs were given two City Cemetery burial lots within the tract, where their family members were already interred. By 1863, two of the children had died and were buried in their family lot.

The Milliman's chose Graceland Cemetery for their later burials. Graceland's Milliman files indicate there were five family reinterments from the City Cemetery on May 17, 1872. There was no indication in any city records that these family graves were allowed to remain in the Tract after the 1866 lot removals were completed.

David Milliman died in 1877, at the age of thirty.
Catherine Netherfield died in 1897, at the age of sixty-one.
Caroline Schnell died in 1917, at the age of seventy-seven.

All of their graves, with their family members, are together
in Graceland Cemetery, within steps of the Entrance.

Detail of entrance area at Graceland Cemetery, reproduced
courtesy of the Chicago History Museum.

In 1866, the city officials had made the decision that the appraised value of $75,000 was too much to pay for the Milliman Tract. It was determined that it would cost no more than $30,000 to remove the dead from the grounds.

In 1869, the Lincoln Park Commissioners assumed authority of the grounds covering North Avenue, north to Fullerton Avenue, and Clark Street, east to the lake. It became the Commissioner's responsibilty to acquire the Milliman Tract to incorporated it into the Lincoln Park landscape.

The individual Lincoln Park Commissioners got involved in the land acquisitions:
May 13, 1871

By permission and courtesy of the Chicago Park District Special Collections.

December 21, 1871, Chicago Tribune: A 50 x 129 feet section of land in Block 49 had sold for $4,500.

July 20, 1874, Lincoln Park Commissioners proceedings:
A communication was received from Andrew Nelson owner of Lot P. in Comrs Partition of Blocks 48 and 49. in Canal Trustees subdivision of Section 33. Town 40. N.R. 14E. (being a part of the Milliman tract) Submitting a proposition to sell said Lot P. to the Commissioners of Lincoln Park for the sum of $19.980.00 payment to be made as follows. Cash on or before July 17, 1876 with interest at 8% per annum payable annually from date until time of payment not exceeding two years.

May 4, 1875, Lincoln Park Commissioners proceedings:
Resolved. That the proceeds of the second $100,000 of the Park Bonds sold be appropriated to the purchase of the Milliman tract, already either condemned or bargained for.

June 22, 1875, Lincoln Park Commissioners proceedings:
W.C. Goudy being present, explained the condition of the condemnation proceedings reported that Mr. Waescher owner of a part of the Milliman tract was entitled to 1,000 or 1,200 dollars more than had been allowed. On motion, Mr. Goudy was authorized to make a settlement with Waescher for the tract at best terms possible, not exceeding the sum of $17,000.

August 3, 1875, Lincoln Park Commissioners proceedings:
On motion of Comr Rehm the sum of $20,000 or so much as would cover judgment against Lot K and pt of Lot G owned by C. Schnell be paid on execution by Schnell of a Deed for same to the Commissioners of Lincoln Park; and that the sum of Six Thousand Dollars be paid to Andrew Nelson, the same to be applied on judgment agt Lot P. all in Block 49 in C.T. Subd of Sec 33.40.14.

August 17, 1875, Lincoln Park Commissioners proceedings:
The Secy report that a Deed had been executed by Caroline Schnell and her husband to the Comrs of Lot K and part of Lot G. in consideration of $21,456,52, which amount included interest from Mar 13th the date of judgment to Aug 10. 1875.

October 26, 1875, Lincoln Park Commissioners proceedings:
The Secy submitted deed from Andrew Nelson for Lot P in Comrs. Partition of Blks 48&49 in C.T. Subv. Of 33.40.14. and a receipt for $21,882.82 in full settlement of the judgment in Circuit Court in the condemnation proceedings against said Lot P.

July 31, 1876, Lincoln Park Commissioners proceedings:
…made to the Schmidt Bros owners of part of Lot F in Com’rs partition of Blds 48&49 in C.T. subv of Section 33. T 40. R14. E. under order of the Circuit Court of Cook County on the 31st day of July 1876. amounting to $13,157.14.

This 1880 map, reproduced by permission and courtesy of the Chicago Park District, shows the total purchase price of the tract for $138,000. The two arrows point to areas that may have remained unaccounted for at that time.

In a curious twist, I came across a reference to the Milliman Tract while searching for something else on the Google Book Search Web Site. In a law-related book, I found a family dispute involving Iver Lawson, that included a transcription of his last will and testament. The book, still bound by copyright laws, was not completely available online. A trip to the Northwestern University Law School revealed the entire litigation.

Iver Lawson was a member of the "Milliman Committee" in 1866, while he was an alderman. He is also credited with suggesting the change of the name Lake Park to Lincoln Park. He died in 1872. Part of his will, written in 1871, contained a sentence that said, in part: "… all of the real estate of which I may die seized, situate as what is known as the William (sic) tract in the old Chicago City Cemetery (now Lincoln Park) in the city of Chicago in Cook county in the State of Illinois and also in the same manner to sell all real estate of which I may die seized situate outside of the present limits of said city of Chicago …"

I found no other reference anywhere, of Iver Lawson owning any part of the Milliman Tract.
Pamela Bannos © 2021