LAWRENCE H. W. SPEIDEL was my father.
Born May 2, 1858 in Salem, Ohio, the oldest of thirteen children. He had 8 brothers and 4 sisters. Incidentally, I was one of 32 first cousins.
His boyhood, youth and early adult years were spent on his father’s farm near the village of Hanoverton, Ohio, a beautiful hilly area. The farmhouse was on the top of a hill with a gorgeous view of the surrounding countryside. His education was in small country schools. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 18, 1884.
Following the disastrous Haymarket Riot in 1886, a group of leading Chicago business men recognized the need of an Army post closer to the City. They offered to buy approximately 1,000 acres of land on the lake to the north and give it to the Government if a Fort was established there. The gift was accepted.
On November 8, 1887, two companies of infantry arrived, transferred from Laramie, Wyoming. My father was a member of Co. K 6th U.S. Infantry. The place was first called “Camp Highwood”. The name was changed later to Fort Sheridan. The troops pitched their tents on what is still the open parade area and lived in them until more permanent barracks were built. My father had the distinction of raising the first flag over Camp Highwood. His memorabilia is now on display at the Fort Sheridan Museum.
His honorable discharge came on May 4, 1889. Meantime, he had met and fallen in love with a beautiful young Highland Park girl – Lillie Richards – my mother. They were married on May 21, 1889.
It was their decision to locate in Lake Forest where he found a job in the Post Office until he went into business for himself – the oil and gasoline business – before filling stations were even heard of. This business he continued until 1912 or 1913.
On February 13, 1893, he acquired a 52’ piece of business property on Western Avenue, extending 264’ to the alley (now Bank Lane). On that property was a one