Samuel Waters Allerton, Jr. | Inducted by 1920
Farmer, investor and one of the founders of the Union Stock Yards - "hog butcher for the world".
1828-1914 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Experiences growing up on a bankrupt family farm in Amenia, New York, propelled Samuel Waters Allerton, Jr., into the workforce at age twelve. He and a brother rented farmland and reinvested profits, and soon he was making aggressive and risky livestock purchases in the New York and Chicago markets.
This self-made man began investing in farmland, eventually accumulating 80,000 acres in several states, mostly in the Midwest. When he first traded cattle in Chicago, no bank existed, so his purchasing power was limited. As soon as the National Bank Act passed in 1863, he rallied investors to found the First National Bank of Chicago.
Allerton worked with John B. Sherman (another bank shareholder and a stockyard operator) to bring together Chicago’s three independent stockyards, forming the Union Stock Yards in 1866. He invested in many businesses and projects, including the Chicago City Railway and the World’s Columbian Exposition, and he directed much of his vast accumulated wealth toward philanthropy, supporting schools, colleges, hospitals, and other public institutions.
Did You Know?
In 1863, after having borrowed money to buy up almost every hog in Chicago to sell to the Union Army, Samuel found himself on the road to riches. That same year, Pamilla gave birth to their first child, Katherine (Kate) Reinette Allerton. On March 20, 1873, their only son, Robert Henry Allerton, was born. During the ten years between his children’s births, Sam plunged even deeper into the livestock industry and also added banking to his list of ventures. While amassing a total of 78,000 acres of land between New Jersey and Nebraska, he helped organize the Chicago Union Stockyards and the First National Bank of Chicago (now known as Chase Bank).
By the turn of the twentieth century, Allerton was among Chicago's wealthiest men. At one point, Allerton was ranked by the Chicago Tribune as the third-wealthiest man in Chicago, behind only Marshall Field and J. Ogden Armour.
Union Stock Yards Gate in Chicago.
Courtesy of AngusTV. In this "I Am Angus" segment, Richard Lindberg shares the history of the Chicago Union Stockyards and why the rise of the meatpacking industry continues to resonate today. 2011