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John Clark Dore 

   

The following profile is taken from a text of biographies of prominent persons that was published around 1876.

Mr. Dore was born March 22, 1822, in Ossipee, Carroll county, New Hampshire, on the paternal homestead. His parents were Ezekiel Dore and Abigail (Clark), both of whom were descendants from the original Puritans. At a very early age John manifested a strong desire to obtain a good education; but opportunities, in his native place, were very limited. He was sent from home to gain a knowledge of the rudiments of learning, and studied so earnestly that he was soon noted as a very promising pupil. At the age of seventeen he had acquired an education sufficient for the teaching of a district school, and undertook that labor, but continued his studies, being ambitious to fit himself for a more extended sphere of usefulness by taking a full collegiate course. He alternated between the roles of teacher and pupil, devoting to study the hours passed in leisure by others, till 1843, when he entered Dartmouth College. There he soon became noted for his studious habits, and especially for the uniform care which he bestowed upon every one of his studies, having no favorite branch to be prosecuted at the expense of the rest. He graduated with high honors, but no cash, in 1847. He had been obliged to meet his college expenses himself. Just before graduating he secured a situation as assistant teacher in a public school in Boston, and soon thereafter was elected principal of the Boylston School, one of the largest in the city. He taught in Boston, about seven years. About this time the school system of Chicago was in the chrysalis state. In 1853 the common council of Chicago created the office of superintendent of public schools, and the board of school inspectors instituted inquiries with the view of finding the fittest person to fill the position. Mr. Dore was recommended for the place, without his agency, or even his knowledge, and the unsought recommendations were so satisfactory that in the winter of 1854 he was unanimously elected. He accepted the trust, and almost immediately came west to undertake the responsible duties involved. He made a personal examination of the pupils, and on the results of this inquiry he based a system of classification similar to that used in the Boston schools. The value of this classification was soon shown in the increased efficiency of the teachers and the more rapid advancement of the scholars. That division into grades and assignment of studies was the foundation of the present educational system of Chicago, which has in turn been quoted and patterned after by the older communities of the East. Mr. Dore resigned his position after two years of labor; but in that short time he had effected a complete revolution. He found chaos; he left order. He came among individual, undirected, unstimulated effort; he left an enlarged, systematized, graded, competitive organization, from which errors were eliminated by constant comparison, and the great educational problem reduced to a simple equation of known qualities. Mr. Dore resigned the position to engage in mercantile pursuits, and became identified with the lumber trade. But his sympathies were still with the schools, and as a member of the board of education, for four or five years he rendered valuable aid to the cause of popular education. He was chosen president of the board for one year, and in recognition of his services one of the largest public school buildings in the city was named after him. It is known as the "Dore School." Incident to his mercantile pursuits Mr. Dore became a member of the Chicago Board of Trade, of which organization he was chosen vice president in 1865, and was elected president in 1866. For several years he was director and president of the Commercial Insurance Company, and as a member of the local Board of Underwriters was noted for the eminently practical character of his views and his ability to handle knotty questions. The value of his counsels was attested by his election to the presidency of the Board of Underwriters in 1869. He was also for several years a director and the president of the State Savings Institution, the largest savings bank in the Northwest, and universally regarded as one of the safest in the world. He was president at the time of the great fire in Oct., 1871, and his courage and coolness was the direct means of securing, beyond contingency, the payment of money due to the depositors in the bank. He obtained and carried through the flames from the vaults of the institution, to his own residence, about one million three hundred thousand dollars in cash and bonds; and the safety of that sum proved an important item in the reasons for the calmness and confidence with which the people gazed upon the burning ruins of the city and resolved at once to rebuild. He represented the Republican party in the Senate of the State of Illinois form 1868 to 1872. The laws of the State for the prevention of cruelty to animals were passed at his instigation, and as president of the Illinois Humane Society he later labored persistently to secure their observance. His efforts were rewarded by a complete reform in the manner of handling animals in the Union Stock Yards. There are very few among the prominent men of Chicago who have done so much for the city and its people as the Honorable J. C. Dore.

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