Mayor Walter S. Gurnee Biography

Mayor of Chicago, 1851-1853

  • Democratic Party (without formal party nomination)
  • Elected 14th mayor of Chicago March 4, 1851; defeated James Curtiss, Edward K. Rogers and Eli B. Williams (Democrats without party nomination)
  • Elected to second term March 2, 1852; defeated James Curtiss and Peter Page (Democrats without formal party nomination), and Amos G. Throop (Temperance)
  • Inauguration to first term: March 11, 1851
  • Inauguration to second term: March 9, 1852


  • Born March 9, 1813 in Haverstraw, N.Y.
  • Lived in Chicago from 1836 until 1863, after which he returned to New York.
  • Established what was then the largest tannery in the west
  • One of the original directors of the Board of Trade and one of the founders of Winnetka, Ill.
  • President of the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad
  • Died April 17, 1903 in New York, N.Y. Survived by four children.
  • Buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown, N.Y.


  • Andreas, A.T. History of Chicago: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time. A.T. Andreas, 1884–86.
  • "Early Day Mayor Dead." Chicago Daily Tribune, April 19, 1903, p. 7.
  • Grossman, James R., Ann Durkin Keating and Janice L. Reiff, editors. Encyclopedia of Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 2004.
  • "Obituary 1 -- No Title." Chicago Daily Tribune, September 17, 1893, p. 5.
  • "Obituary 1 -- No Title." New York Times, April 20, 1903, p. 7.
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