Leander James McCormick (1819 - 1900) MP

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Place of Burial: Chicago Ward 9, Cook, Illinois
Birthplace: Valley, Botetourt, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
Managed by: Richard Alan Welch
Last Updated:

About Leander James McCormick

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leander_J._McCormick

Leander James McCormick (February 8, 1819 - February 20, 1900) of Virginia was born to the Irish American family of Robert and Mary Anne Hall McCormick in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Leander was a farmer, manufacturer, businessman (who owned vast amounts of real estate in downtown Chicago), and philanthropist.

He was raised at the family homestead of Walnut Grove, near Raphine in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley on the western side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His father, Robert Hall McCormick, invented the mechanical reaper, for which Leander's brother Cyrus McCormick later received the patent. Leander eventually developed multiple improvements to the reaper and received patents for two of them, with the remainder being patented by his brother Cyrus.

At age 26, Leander married Henrietta Hamilton on her parents' homestead, Locust Hill, in Rockbridge County on October 22, 1845. The following year Robert McCormick died and his three living sons--Cyrus, Leander and William--established themselves in a business in Chicago run by Cyrus to manufacture the reaper and sell it across the midwest. There they created what eventually became the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company with Leander taking over management of the manufacturing department, which he controlled for the next 30 years.

By 1870, the McCormicks were one of the wealthiest families in the U.S. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed much of the Reaper Works and other buildings, as well as the Leander McCormick family residence at the corner of Rush and Ohio streets. Leander, his wife and children fled their burning home in early morning hours. They moved to the west side of the city for the next several years, but eventually returned to Rush and Ohio, where he spent the rest of his life (building the Virginia Hotel on this site in 1889).

The McCormicks, under Leander's direction, quickly rebuilt and recovered. By 1879, the business had fully recovered and was merged into a corporation. Leander stayed active in the management of the business until 1889 when he retired and sold his shares to his nephew, Cyrus H. McCormick, Jr.. After retiring from the business, Leander then invested heavily in real estate. At the time of his death, he had extensive holdings in downtown Chicago.

Leander donated funds for a refracting telescope to the University of Virginia. The telescope and building are known as McCormick Observatory and opened in 1885; the telescope was the largest in the U.S. and second largest in the world when completed.

In his later years, Leander McCormick remained in Chicago and began to research the McCormick genealogy. He eventually produced and published works on the McCormick family. His children were: Robert Hall McCormick II, Henrietta McCormick-Goodhart, Leander Hamilton McCormick. His daughter Henrietta married British barrister Frederick E. McCormick-Goodhart, and established a 540-acre (2.2 km2) estate northeast of Washington D.C. known as Langley Park.

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Leander James McCormick's Timeline

1819
February 8, 1819
Valley, Botetourt, Virginia, United States
1847
September 6, 1847
Age 28
Locust Hill, Rockbridge, Virginia, United States
1850
May 2, 1850
Age 31
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
1858
1858
Age 38
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
1859
May 27, 1859
Age 40
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
1859
Age 39
Illinois, United States
1860
1860
Age 40
Chicago Ward 9, Cook, Illinois
1860
Age 40
Chicago Ward 9, Cook, Illinois
1860
Age 40
Chicago Ward 9, Cook, Illinois
1870
1870
Age 50
Chicago Ward 20, Cook, Illinois