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How Touhy Avenue got its name


Touhy Avenue cuts through the heart of Chicago and Cook County and is one of the best known, longest and busiest streets in the American Midwest. Like the town of Touhy, Nebraska, Touhy Avenue took its name from a railroad man named P. L. Touhy.


Tuohy was part of the Rogers Park Land Company, a group of wealthy investors who had investment sin railroads and purchased the lands surrounding key rial and trolly stops. The group, headed by Touhy, also planned and incorporated the town of Rogers Park.

The principal section line street was named after Touhy since his fifty acre estate took up most of the frontage. The other east and west streets were named after Touhy's associate subdividers, who contributed money for the needed additions and improvements



Chicago Tribune - October 18, 1911, Founder of Rogers Park Found Dead in His Bed, Patrick Touhy, 72 Years Old, Was Chum of Elder Harrison, Widow is Worth $1,000,000 - Patrick Touhy, 72 years old, founder of Rogers Park, was found dead in his home, 7051 N. Clark St, yesterday. A coroner's jury decided the cause was heart disease. Touhy and his wife separated fifteen years ago by mutual agreement. Mrs. Touhy has been at the residence of S. Rogers Touhy. Her husband was living alone.

The widow owns $1,000,000 worth of property. "Touhy was one of the best known men in Chicago," said Addison Blakely, counsel for the Rogers-Touhy estate (note: husband of Maybell Rogers Touhy Blakely, the oldest Touhy daughter).

"He was a chum of the older Carter Harrison and was with him on the day he was assassinated." S. Rogers Touhy, a son, lives at 7101 N. Clark St. and is in the real estate business at 118 N. LaSalle Street. A daughter is the wife of Archibald A. McKinley. Other children are Mrs. Addison Blakely, Mrs. Catherine Cullen, Joseph W. Touhy (is this Patrick J)? and Miss Grace C. Touhy. The funeral will be held at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning from St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Church.

(Press Release for P. L. Touhy Obit) Founder of Rogers Park Passes Away Monday - Patrick Leonard Touhy Dies Suddenly of Heart Disease - One of Chicago's Early Pioneers - Was Well Known Among the Old-Time Settlers and Entertained Liberally in the Early Days of Rogers Park - Patrick Leonard Touhy, one of our most widely known citizens died of heart disease Monday night.


The funeral was held from the family residence, 7339 North Clark Street. High mass was celebrated at St Jerome's Church, conducted by the Rev. Father Coghlan, assisted by the Rev. Fathers McLaughlin, O'Leary (Fr. David Philip O'Leary, cousin of Catherine Rogers Touhy) and O'Brien (could be a relative), and by Miss Eva Horne, as soloist, after which he was buried in the family lot in Calvary Cemetery. Patrick L. Touhy, like Philip Rogers, the founder of the family estate of over 1600 acres purchased from the United States Government, and after whom Rogers Park in the early seventies with unusually wide avenues and deep lots, and lined the streets, with a profusion of shade trees. We are only now beginning to realize the benefits of these broad avenues affording an unobstructed view of Lake Michigan from points beyond Ridge Boulevard.

Captain Touhy, as he was familiarly known by his friends, came to America from Ireland just prior to the war between the states, and served in the Federal Army, being taken prisoner and confined in Andersonville prison. He escaped from the prison with the assistance of a southern guard who had been a schoolmate of his in Ireland. He then went to New York and engaged in the carpet business, later coming to Chicago where he became acquainted with Miss Catherine Camilla Rogers, the only daughter of Phillip Rogers, whom he married. (Note: Nothing has been found to substantiate the Andersonville story).

Mr. and Mrs. Touhy then built the historic old homestead on North Clark Street, then known as Green Bay Road, under which hospitable roof has been entertained many people well known on two continents. Among whom will be recalled: General Phil Sheridan, General Mulligan, General William T Sherman, Charles Stewart Parnell, T P O'Connor, now member of Parliament, John Fitzgerald, builder of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Mayor Carter H Harrison, Senior, Bishop DeKoven, Bishop Feehan, Reginald DeKoven, Washington Hesing, Governor John W Palmer, and many others equally well known.

After the Chicago Fire had left the Court House in ruins, one of the corner stones that ornamented the old building was placed in front of the Academy of Sciences in Lincoln Park and another was presented to Captain Touhy and today stands on the grounds of the Touhy homestead. Mr. Touhy always took a leading part in the public affairs of the Park. He was for a number of years member of the Board of Trustees of Rogers Park. When the Park was subdivided he provided for the protection of this territory as a residence district by establishing restrictions precluding the establishment of saloons in Rogers Park, and on several occasions when attempts were made to pass bills through the Legislature to abolish the "Four Mile Liquor Law", he went to Springfield and with others succeeded in preserving this Law which now means so much to the North Shore.

Mr. Touhy was a Catholic and joined with his wife and Mrs Philip Rogers in planning and building the first Catholic Church of Rogers Park, a deed of which was presented to the Bishop of Chicago. This edifice was subsequently burned down. He also contributed to the building of the first Methodist Church on Greenleaf Avenue. When Rogers Park was considering annexation to the City of Chicago, Mr Touhy was one of the prime factors in the movement.

Mr Touhy was a member of the Touhy family of County Clare, Ireland, the family which had contributed so many men of letters to the world, among whom are: Father Touhy of St Louis, Rev. James Touhy recent dean of the Peoria Diocese, Father O'Brien of Chicago, all well known in this Country. Mr Touhy was the father of a large family of children, six of whom are still living. The oldest son Edmund Rogers Touhy, a well known lawyer, died some years ago. The second son S. Rogers Touhy, now has charge of the large family estate. The other children are Mrs. Addison Blakely, Mrs Catherine C Cullen, Mrs Archibald Alexander McKinley, Joseph W Touhy and Miss Grace C Touhy. Mr Touhy is the last survivor of the group of men who originally subdivided Rogers Park and after whom the streets were named, being John V Farwell, C H Morse, Stephen P Lunt, Luther L Greenleaf, Andrew B Jackson and P L Touhy. Touhy Avenue was the section line and this roadway is known as Touhy Avenue for many miles to the west beyond the City limits.

As one of the notable pioneers of Chicago, Mr. Arthur Feudel, the famous American Portrait painter, painted a remarkable life likeness of P L Touhy and placed the painting on exhibition in the Art Institute of Chicago, and from which painting the photograph presented herewith is taken.



                                                     Photo of the Touhy estate
1916-01-19 - Chicago Tribune (IL) - TOUHY - Edition: Chicago Tribune - Mrs. Catherine Rogers Touhy, aged 72 years, at her residence in Rogers Park, Jan. 18, 1916, widow of P. L. Touhy; mother of Edmund Rogers Touhy [deceased], Mrs. Addison Blakely, S. Rogers Touhy, Mrs. Catherine Cullen, Mrs. Archibald A. McKinley, Joseph W., John Rogers [deceased], and Mrs. Casper Linn. Funeral notice later.


The North Shore Leader-Chicago, Friday, January 21, 1916 - Mrs Catherine Touhy is Dead, Rogers Park Pioneer Succumbs after a Three Weeks' Illness. Homestead Rich in Tradition. Early Lore of This Section is Inseparably Linked with the Touhy Family Manse. Mrs. Catherine Rogers Touhy, 7339 North Clark Street, died Tuesday morning at eleven o'clock after an illness of three weeks of grip, followed by pneumonia. Surrounded by her children, she peacefully fell asleep, aged 71 years. The funeral was held Thursday morning in St Jerome's church, Rev Father Shippey celebrated Requiem Mass assisted by Rev. Thomas Farrell of St Jerome's church, Rev Smythe of Evanston, Rev O'Brien, Rev. Eagen, and Rev. (David Philip) O'Leary, a cousin of Mrs Touhy. The interment being in the family lot in Calvary.

The pallbearers were all old friends and old residents of Rogers Park: James Sharp, Peter Phillip, John Ure, Nicholas Kartheuser and two cousins Patrick and James Touhy. A Daughter of Philip Rogers. Mrs Touhy was a daughter of Philip Rogers, a pioneer of Cook County, who was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1812.

He came to America when a child with his parents, James and Catherine (McGregor) Rogers (Watertown, Jefferson County, NY) and located in Illinois in 1835. He staked a claim in the Lake View Township of timber and prairie land and purchased many acres, farming 1600 acres. In 1841 he married Mary Ward Masterson Hickey, daughter of Thomas Breen Masterson, Esq. of Wicklow, Ireland, who was born in 1802 in Blossom terrace, London. She came to America in a sailing vessel arriving July 4, 1831.

Her two children were Philip, who died many years ago, and Catherine (Mrs. P L Touhy). They (Mary and Philip) built a log cabin where Indian Boundary Line (Rogers Avenue) and Ridge avenue meet; the old relic was destroyed about 15 years ago. First White Child Born Here. Mrs. Touhy was the first white child born on the North Shore and the boundary line of their farm was made the Indian Boundary Line by the Federal Government dividing the lands of the Indians and the whites. She was educated in the St Xavier Academy of Chicago and was the belle of the pioneers.

She married P. L. Touhy in 1865. Ten children were born of this marriage. Mabel, Edmund Rogers, Stephen Rogers, Alice Beatrice, Grace A. and two infants who died. Edmund Rogers, the eldest son, was a graduate of the Chicago Law Institute, class of 1891, died in 1894. Rogers Park was laid out by Mrs. Touhy and her husband P. L. Touhy, who died a few years ago. The first Catholic Church of Rogers Park was built by Mrs. Touhy and her mother, Mary Rogers and presented to the Bishop of Chicago in 1875 and was dedicated by Bishop Foley as St Catherine's Church. When the Church burned, St. Jerome's church was built in its place. Distinguished Guests Feted.

The large family residence on Clark Street, built about 40 years ago was for many years pointed out as the most beautiful home on the North Shore and was the scene of many brilliant social gatherings. Carter H Harrison I was a frequent guest; being a magnificent horseman he would ride out and visit informally. Other well known guests frequently entertained were Charles Stewart Parnell, the Irish leader, Thomas O'Connor, General Phil Sheridan, John Fitzgerald, William T Sherman and Colonel Mulligan. The Requiem. Mrs. Touhy had recovered from an attack of grip which was followed by pneumonia, and in her advanced age was unable to recuperate. Mrs. Touhy was 71 years of age when she died but her hair was the same beautiful golden brown without a grey hair. Her features remained youthful and as she lay in the beautiful old homestead among the great oak trees, it seemed as though she was not dead but sleeping. She knew she had reached the turning of the ways and in prayer bowed her head and peacefully passed beyond.


(Another newspaper account) Mrs. Touhy's Death That of a Pioneer - Daughter of the Founder of Rogers Park and Lived There Always - In the death of Catherine Rogers Touhy at noon yesterday in the family home in Rogers Park the north side lost one of its pioneer residents. She was born in Rogers Park in 1843, her father being Philip Rogers, who gave the name to that locality. At the time of her marriage to P. L. Touhy of Evanston her father owned more land in Cook county than any other one man, the tract of sixteen hundred acres, extending from Devon avenue north to the O'Leary property at Calvary.


The family still has extensive holdings there, surrounding the family home on Clark street, built just after the great Chicago fire. Mrs. Touhy has recovered from an attach of pneumonia, but was at a too advanced age to recuperate and death really resulted from old age. She was first taken ill before Christmas, but her real decline dated to two years ago when her husband died. Rev. David O'Leary was one of her childhood friends and knew her intimately (note: he was also her first cousin, the son of her mother Mary Masterson Rogers' sister Margaret Masterson O'Leary).

She had one brother Philip, who died in 1863 at the age of 21 (probably wrong as we have obit for Phil that ran in 1869) as the result of wounds received in the civil war. Mrs. Touhy was educated at St. Xavier's academy in Chicago and spent her whole life in Rogers Park. She was the mother of ten children, a woman of strong character, who always took good care of herself and kept her youth in the most surprising way, not having a gray hair at her death.

Her father built the first St. Jerome church in Rogers Park and gave it to the parish. When it was destroyed by fire the Tuohys contributed largely to the building of the present St. Jerome church, as well as to the new church just being completed. The first services held in the new church will be the funeral of Mrs. Touhy tomorrow. The services will be conducted by Father Ferrell, assisted by several priests, and high mass will be sung. It is hoped to have Father D. P. O'Leary there and participating. The interment will be in Calvary cemetery. Surviving are six of the sons and daughters, S. Rogers Touhy and J. W. Touhy of Rogers Park, Mrs. Edison (really Addison) Blakeley of Birchwood, Mrs. E. W. Collins (really Cullen) of Chicago, Miss Grace Touhy of Rogers Park and Mrs. A. A. McKinley of Evanston.



(Chicago Dailey Tribune article Jan 21, 1916) Mrs. C. Rogers Touhy Dies - In the death of Mrs. Catherine Rogers Touhy of Rogers Park passes the last surviving child of Philip McGregor Rogers, the north shore pioneer of the 1830s. It is on her extensive farm lands, left to her by Philip and Mary Rogers, that Rogers Park and Birchwood are now situated. In the early Fort Dearborn days Philip Rogers was friendly with the Indians and the federal government made the north boundary of his farm the Indian boundary line, dividing the lands of the Indians and the whites.

The present site of Rogers Park was laid out in 1870 by Mrs. Touhy and her husband, P. L. Touhy, who died a few years ago. Mrs. Touhy was the first white girl born on the upper north shore. The first Catholic church of Rogers Park was built by Mrs. Touhy and her mother, Mary Rogers, and presented to the bishop of Chicago in 1875, and was dedicated as St. Catherine's church by Bishop Foley.





(obituary probably from a Chicago area paper Jan 21, 1916) Prominent Woman Dies of Pneumonia - Mrs. Catherine Touhy Passes Away After Illness Covering Extended Period - Leaves Valuable Property - Rogers Park Received Its Name After Father of Deceased Woman - In the death of Mrs. Catherine Rogers Touhy at her late home, 7339 North Clark street, Rogers Park loses one of its pioneer residents. Mrs. Touhy passed quietly away at the hour of 11:15 o'clock in the morning of Tuesday, after having passed through an illness covering a short period, he ailment having been diagnosed as the grippe.

She was first taken ill the 26th day of December. The deceased was born in Rogers Park in the year 1843, her father being Philip Rogers after whom Rogers Park received its name. At the time of her marriage to Patrick L. Touhy of Evanston it is said her father owned more land in Cook County that any other man residing within its confines. Included in these holdings was tract of sixteen hundred acres, expending from Devon Avenue north to the O'Leary property at Calvary. This property of course has since changed hands many times, however, the family still has extensive holdings in Rogers Park.

The deceased had one brother Philip who died in 1863 at the age of 21. She was educated at St Xavier's Academy in Chicago and her whole life was spent in Rogers Park. Her father erected the first church ever built in Rogers Park which was named St Catherine's and was located at the northeast corner of what was then known as Kenilworth avenue and Central street which not long afterward burned to the ground. She also contributed liberally to the building of the present handsome edifice known as St Jerome's church located at the corner of Lunt avenue and Paulina street in which building it was thought at first the services of the deceased would be performed. However this was found to be impossible owing to its uncompleted state.

The mother of ten children who must be looked after, clothed and educated, Mrs Touhy showed her most excellent character, bearing all household burdens with the greatest fortitude and she lived to see her greatest ambitions fulfilled, the successful rearing of those whom she loved and cherished. She was kind of heart and possessed of a charitable nature and her death will be an irreparable loss to the community in which she resided. Those left to mourn are S. Rogers Touhy and Joseph W. Touhy of Rogers Park, Mrs. Addison (Maybelle) Blakely of Birchwood, Mrs. E. W. (Kitty) Cullen of Chicago, Mrs. Casper (Grace) Linn of Rogers Park and Mrs. A. A. (Alice) McKinley of Evanston. The services which were held at St. Jerome's Church at 9:30 o'clock Thursday were well attended. Rev. David P. O'Leary (her first cousin) and other members of the priesthood prominent in Chicago were present, while the Rev. Father Farrell officiated. High mass was sung. Interment took place in Calvary Cemetery.