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Thomas Chalmers


Thomas Chalmers – Born June 1817, at Dronley, near Dundee, Scotland; is a son of William and Janet Chalmers; parents both of Scotch origin; parents and grandparents were among the first to start the spinning and jute industry, which is one of the most important manufactures in Dundee. Their work, of course, was done on the hand loom; the improvements in machinery having much to do with the importance the business has of late years assumed. The family in Scotland have resided in the one house generation after generation for more than 150 years; a brother of Mr. Chalmers being the present occupant. Mr. Chalmers arrived in America in 1843 in a sailing vesselfrom Glasgow, landing at New Orleans, and from there sailed up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to Peoria, traveling by wagon from there to Chicago. His education was received at the parish school in the parish of Fowles, Scotland; began work as an apprentice to a machinist in Dundee, and afterward entered a ship-building yard on the Clyde near Glasgow. Leaving that work to come to America, he became associated as machinist with Mr. P. W. Gates, and afterwards became a partner, leaving the business in 1871 to establish an enterprise [Fraser & Chalmers Co.] for himself in connection with a former partner, David R. Fraser. The discovery of gold at Pike's Peak created a great demand for mining machinery, and the firm at once began its manufacture, an industry which it has followed ever since. The concern is now considered one of the most extensive of its kind in the country. In religion Mr. Chalmers has affiliated with the Presbyterians, and is a member of the Third Presbyterian church; his social connections are somewhat extensive, being a member of Excelsior Lodge, I. O. O. F.; Cleveland Lodge, A F. and A. M.; Washington Chapter, R.A.M.; Chicago Commandery, K .T., and the Illinois Club. Mr. Chalmers has been closely identified with Chicago and its growth, and has been connected in an engineering way with all the public improvements of importance in Chicago and the surrounding neighborhood. He had much to do with the improvements in the Illinois and Michigan canal, when that waterway was first built. He was married in Edinborough, in 1840, to Miss Janet Telfer, and his children are Mrs. Jennie Pitts, Mrs. Robert Owens, Mrs. William Dandy, William J. Chalmers, and Thomas Chalmers, Jr.; grandchildren are Deless Pitts, Ella Pitts, Grace Owens, Fred Owens, Jennie Owens, Willie Dandy, Joan Chalmers and Thos. Stuart Chalmers. 
Flinn, John J., ed. The Hand-book of Chicago Biography: A Compendium of Useful Biographical Information for Reference and Study. 1893th ed. Chicago: John Anderson Publishing Company, 1893. Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ho5QAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22Thomas%20Chalmers%22%2C%20Chicago&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false.