Friday, July 25, 2014


Last April when I was photographing the tombstone of Henry Boltwood at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago I noticed another tombstone of interest.  Not too far from the Boltwood tombstone is one erected to Thomas H. Jewell and his wife Jemima.  What makes the Jewell monument interesting is what is inscribed along the bottom:  "Erected by His Former Employees".   

I'm sure that some of my former employees would be willing to contribute for a tombstone for me, but only if I was going to use it right away.

Let's see what we can "dig up" about Thomas H. Jewell.

Thomas Henry Jewell was born March 8, 1842 in St. Stephens Parish, Cornwall, England.  The first record of him that we have in the United States was his arrival on March 16, 1858 when he had just turned sixteen.  In 1863 Jewell married Miss Jemima Imerson (1841-1927).  Thomas and Jemima were blessed with nine children, six of whom lived to adulthood.  They are:

Edward J. (1863-????)
Sarah Anna Rebecca (1865-c1935)
Nellie (1866-c1951)
Thomas (1869-????)
William (1870-????)
Charles (1871-1937)
Fanny Louise (1875-1898) Twin
Harry L. (1875-????) Twin
Ella (1879-1919)

The 1870 US Census found the Jewell family living in Wyandotte, Michigan where Thomas listed his occupation as "Worker in a Rolling Mill".

The 1880 US Census has the Jewell family now living in Chicago at 919 Ashland Avenue (now 1820 N. Ashland).  That spot is now under the Kennedy Expressway.  Thomas Jewell now listed his occupation as "Foreman in Steel Works"

The 1890 US Census for Illinois is lost, but by 1900 Thomas and Jemima Jewell were living at 3535 S. Hamilton Avenue where Thomas listed his occupation as "Superintendent".

3535 S. Hamilton, Chicago

The 1900 Chicago City Directory lists him as Assistant Superintendent at the Illinois Steel Company.

Illinois Steel Company

The 1910 US Census shows sixty-eight year old Thomas Jewell still working - as a "Superintendent in a Rolling Mill."  He and Jemima (now called "Jennie") are living at 6948 S. Vincennes in Chicago.  There is a new high rise building on that spot today.  Fanny Jewell Edmonds' fifteen year old son Ralph Edmonds was living with them.

After I originally wrote this article, I was contacted by Paul Jewell, the great-grandson of Thomas and Jemima Jewell.  He told me that Thomas Jewell had been featured in an advertisement for the International Correspondence School in Popular Mechanics magazine from December, 1910.  So here, thanks to Google Books, is that ad:

Thomas Henry Jewell died on March 4, 1913 in Chicago from angina pectoris complicated by a bout with "la grippe" (the flu).  

According to his death certificate, when he died he was Superintendent at the Wisconsin Steel Company.

Wisconsin Steel Company

Here is his Death Notice from the Chicago Daily Tribune of March 5, 1913:

He was buried in Rosehill Cemetery under that beautiful monument that originally caught my attention:

I don't know what prompted his former employees to purchase this monument for their former boss, but a monument of this size and quality would not have been cheap.  And over 100 years later, their testimonial to their former boss still stands over his grave.

Thomas H. Jewell - loved and admired by his employees - may he rest in peace.     

1 comment:

  1. I am Thomas and Jemima Jewell's great grandson. Thank you for posting this information. I was aware of the family history but had never seen his gravestone and did not know his employees paid for it. From all accounts, he must have been a very interesting man. His father died when he was 8 years old and living in Cornwall, England with his mother. His mother, Sarah Jewell, brought him to Troy, New York but she and his brother died from cholera soon after they landed.

    He was featured in an advertisement for International Correspondence School in Popular Mechanics in December 1910. You can see it on Google Books.