Mayor Francis Cornwall Sherman Biography

Mayor of Chicago, 1841-1842, 1862-1865

“The most important interest in the city is that of public education, for upon it depends, to a great extent, the security of person and property, public and private morality, and political freedom.”—Francis C. Sherman

  • Democratic Party
  • Elected fifth mayor of Chicago March 5, 1841; defeated Isaac R. Gavin (Whig)
  • Elected 23rd mayor (second term) April 15, 1862; defeated Charles N. Holden (Republican)
  • Elected to third term April 21, 1863; defeated Thomas B. Bryan (Union)
  • Inauguration to first term: March 4, 1841
  • Inauguration to second term: May 5, 1862
  • Inauguration to third term: May 4, 1863


  • Born September 18, 1805 in Newton, Conn.
  • Married Miss Electa Trowbridge of Danbury, Conn., before moving to Chicago; they had seven children together.
  • Selected as a member of the first board of trustees of the town of Chicago, of which body he was a member until the town, as a corporation, ceased to exist. He was also a member of the first board of aldermen.
  • Served as alderman of the 1st Ward before being elected as mayor, on the Board of County Commissioners and in the Illinois State Legislature
  • Worked in brick making and construction
  • Owned Sherman House, one of a handful of luxury hotels built before the Great Fire. It was rebuilt after the fire and was considered one of the "Big Four" post-fire hotels.
  • Died November 7, 1870 in Chicago
  • Buried in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago


  • Andreas, A.T. History of Chicago: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time. A.T. Andreas, 1884–86.
  • "The City Election." Chicago Tribune, April 22, 1863, p. 4.
  • "The Election Yesterday." Chicago Tribune, April 16, 1862, p. 1.
  • "Ex-Mayor Sherman." Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1870, p. 4.
  • Grossman, James R., Ann Durkin Keating and Janice L. Reiff, editors. Encyclopedia of Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 2004.
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