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"Long" John Wentworth (March 5, 1815 October 16, 1888) was the editor of the Chicago Democrat, a two-term mayor of Chicagomarker, and a six-term member of the United States House of Representatives.

Born in Sandwichmarker, New Hampshiremarker, John Wentworth was a huge man, towering 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) high and weighing more than 300 pounds (136 kg). He drank at least a pint of whiskey each day and would eat from 30-40 different foods during a single meal.

Wentworth was educated at the New Hampton Literary Institutemarker, at the academy of Dudley Leavitt and at Dartmouth Collegemarker graduating from the latter in 1836. Later that year, he left for Chicago, arriving in the city on October 25. He was managing editor of Chicago's first newspaper, the Chicago Democrat, eventually becoming its owner and publisher. He started a law practice, and eventually entered politics. In 1844, he married Roxanna Marie Loomis.

He served for six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (March 4, 1843 March 3, 1851 and March 4, 1853 March 3, 1855 as a Democrat; and March 4, 1865 March 3, 1867 as a Republican). While in the House, a controversial vote arose by which Wisconsinmarker claimed land in Illinoismarker as far as the tip of Lake Michiganmarker. If Wentworth voted to give the land, including Chicago, to Wisconsin, he was promised a Senate seat. Wentworth declined the offer.

As a Republican, Wentworth served as mayor of Chicago for two terms, 1857–1858 and 1860–1861. Wentworth instituted chain gangs in the city and tried to clean up the city's morals. To do this, he hired spies to determine who was frequenting Chicago's brothels. In 1857, Wentworth led a raid on the Sands, Chicago's red-light district, which resulted in the burning of the area.

Wentworth was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln.

He authored The Wentworth Genealogy - English and American, twice. The first two volume edition was followed by a second, corrected, edition in 1878, at 3 Volumes, or 2241 pages. The total reported cost for both editions was $40,000 [6690]. The first of the 1878 volumes chronicles the ancestry of Elder William Wentworth, the first of this family in New England, and his first five generations of New World descendants. The second and third volumes discuss the "Elder's" many descendants and others of the name. When an author left a manuscript of a history of Chicago with Wentworth for his suggestions, Wentworth obliterated everything that didn't mention him and returned the manuscript to its author with the note saying "Here is your expurgated and correct history of Chicago."

From 1868, he lived at his country estate at 5441 South Harlem Avenue in Chicago where he owned about of land in what is today part of the Chicago neighborhood of Garfield Ridgemarker and suburban Summitmarker. Wentworth died at the estate in 1888, and was buried in Rosehill Cemeterymarker. The house was then sold and lived in by another family for several decades until it was torn down in 1968 to make way for a banquet hall and new single family housing as the Garfield Ridge neighborhood exploded in population.

See also


  1. A Small Gore of Land, Merrill, Gowan et al. 1977
  2. The Wentworth Genealogy, John Wentworth, Vol. 2, A. Mudge & Son, 1870]

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