Emily Parish

Mrs. Emily D. Parish Interview*

History of Uptown, Rosehill District/Rosehill Cemetery, Document #4

Source: Informant Emily D. Parish, 1637 Cemetery Drive, secretary of the Rosehill Cemetery Company for over thirty years. Interviewed January, 1928.

I have been with the Company for over thirty years. The land just south of the Drive is owned by the Company, but since it is not used for burial purposes it is not tax free. The original idea was to keep the land and give the employees the privilege of buying it. I am the only one who has taken advantage of the proposition. I built and moved here in 1900. Before that time I went back and forth from my home in Ravenswood on the Northwestern every day.

Our charter limits us to five hundred acres of land. I think the reason this limit was made was because it was considered wise not to have more than this amount of land tax free.

Cemetery Drive is now a private drive, maintained by the Company. Two years ago it was widened and paved. The parkways and sidewalks are kept up by us too.

I think that the Company secured the Northwestern stop here, but I am not sure about that. I know that the railroad built the present station when the tracks were elevated. The old one was a country-looking station painted red. We had good service on the road during the early days, but during the war they stopped and now we have five or six trains a day. Of course they never have had the population to draw from that they have in Ravenswood. There was always the cemetery on the west of the tracks and not many people except the farmers on the east. Last year they changed the Northwestern depot at Ravenswood to Wilson Avenue. It’s a poor idea because it confuses you with the L stop of the same name.

Our post office used to be called Havelock. Now Rosehill has no post office of its own and must go to Ravenswood or Rogers Park. The tax receipts called this locality Chittendon in the early records. I think maybe there was a subdivider by that name, but I don’t really recall it definitely. One of the earliest persons living on the land now is Mr. Baxter on Clark Street. Mr. Ladenbach [John N. Ledenbach] was an old timer who lived on the south side of the Drive at Hermitage. He is living with his daughter in Wilmette. There are some Bavarians living in the two frame houses on the north side of the Drive and some Poles on Ravenswood Avenue.

The Company has tried to get East Ravenswood Park improved north of the Drive but it has never been encouraged by the residents on the street until lately. Now it looks like it might be put through. The street has always been terrible with mud holes a foot deep. I don’t think it was ever paved. The section south of the Drive was paved at the time the street was put through. The Company helped get both of these developments. They shared the expense of the street work although the land does not border on it. I imagine the Northwestern has not been interested in improving the stretch after their suburban service declined.

The residents south of the Drive did not allow the city to open up Hermitage Avenue in our section until they promised to pave it. This held it up until just the past two years. We used to have to walk from the Drive to Lawrence to get a horse car.

The engineer of the Company says that our land did go to Clark Street but he wasn’t sure when this section was sold off. It may have been before 1888. As far as I know the land was not subdivided in any sense of the word by the Cemetery. Knowing that the Hansen and Anderson corners of the Drive and Ravenswood were sold directly to them by the Company, I imagine that was the way the other part of the land was sold to individuals. At that, there weren’t many people to sell to.

* Emily Drucilla Parish (nee Preston) was born 25 January 1875 1869 in St. Ives, England, and immigrated with her parents William and Drucilla to the port of Philadelphia in 1885. In 1900 and 1910 she lived in Lake View with her father while raising her three sons and working as the corporate secretary for the Rosehill Cemetery Company. She died 29 April 1959. All three sons became wealthy executives in New York City. Her youngest son, Frank P. Parish, was called “the boy wizard of LaSalle Street” before being indicted for mail fraud in the 1934, a charge for which ultimately he was acquitted.

Cover page: Documents: History of the Uptown Community, Chicago. Prepared for the Chicago Historical Society and the Local Community Research Committee, University of Chicago. Research under the direction of Vivien M. Palmer; staff investigators Marion Lindner and Beatrice Nesbit. These documents contain data just as it was secured form old residents and from existing documents. A final check of the data will appear in the volume of the Social History of Chicago.

Format: Photocopy of a typescript without page numbers in the Chicago History Museum library; volume 2 of a 6-volume set containing documentary information on 20 Chicago community districts/areas.

Publication date: 1925-1930.