Bassett Family Association Database

Frank Bassett Tobey

Male 1833 - Deceased

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  • Name Frank Bassett Tobey 
    Born 15 Sep 1833  Dennis, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Deceased 
    • Prominent Men of the Great West
      Frank Bassett Tobey, Chicago, Illinois

      Frank Bassett Tobey, president of the Tobey Furniture Company of
      Chicago, was born at Dennis, Cape Cod, Mass., September 15, 1833. It has been
      remarked that many of Chicago's prominent business men came from Cape Cod.
      Besides the Tobey brothers, Charles and Frank, the Nickersons, the Swifts, the
      Underwoods, the Ryders, the Lombards, the Crosbys, the Matthews, and a host of
      others, claim this sandy peninsula as their birthplace. The father of Frank
      Tobey owned and occupied the farm that had been in the possession of the Tobey
      family for more than two hundred years. Tradition says that his land was
      deeded to Captain Thomas Tobey, about the year 1674, for services rendered in
      organizing a company and assisting Plymouth Colony in King Phillip's wa
      Frank's mother was Rachel Bassett, whose ancestors came to America in t
      next ship following the Mayflower.
      Young Tobey worked on the farm summers and attended school winters
      until he was eighteen. For the next five years he held a position as clerk in
      the village store and post-office. The proprietor, Howes Chapman, was a man of
      superior intelligence, and was singularly upright in character and motives,
      and had great influence in molding the character of his young assistant, to
      whom he gave up largely the management of the business.
      At an early age Frank took great interest in philosophical and
      political subjects, always reasoning from the humanitarian stand-point. When
      only twelve years old, he took issue with his father on the question of the
      Mexican War, claiming that its object was the extension of slave territory and
      therefore unjust. He soon became identified with the anti-slavery movement. He
      wrote the call and served as secretary for the first Republican convention
      ever held in his native town. At that time the Republicans were represented by
      a small minority, but nine years later every vote in the town was cast for
      Abraham Lincoln. When barely twenty-one, he was nominated as delegate to the
      first Republican State convention but declined the honor because he could not
      afford the expense.
      In 1857 he came to Chicago, where, a year before, his brother Charles
      had started a furniture business on State street, south of Van Buren, in a
      small store, twenty by sixty feet. The first year Frank worked on a salary.
      The next year the co-partnership of Charles Tobey & Brother was formed, and
      their room doubled by the addition of the adjoining store. At this time the
      young men did all their work, and by close attention made the business
      prosperous. Their conservative and economical methods enabled them to weather
      the panic of 1857 to 1860, when so many older concerns went down. The large
      increase of business in 1859 required larger accommodations, which they found
      at 72 State street. They afterward removed to Lake street, and in 1866 to a
      new building erected specially for them at 77-79 State street, being business
      pioneers on that thoroughfare. In 1870, the Tobey Brothers, in connection with
      F. Porter Thayer, organized the Thayer & Tobey Furniture Company. The great
      fire of 1871 destroyed their building and stock, and in common with most
      Chicago firms, they suffered severe loss. With characteristic energy th
      improvised a salesroom at their West Side factory, which had escaped, a
      before the fire had ceased it ravages, they had taken an order to furnish the
      Sherman House, now the Gault, which order was completed in seven days. In 1873
      they occupied the Clark building, corner of State and Adams streets. In 1875, the
      Tobey Brothers bought out Mr. Thayer's interest, and the name of the company
      was changed to the Tobey Furniture Company, Charles being president, and Frank
      vice-president and manager. In March, 1888, the company occupied the Drake
      building, corner Wabash avenue and Washington street. The same year they
      started a factory for the manufacture of high-class furniture for their own
      trade. This feature of the business has grown beyond anticipation, the quality
      of the goods produced being equal to anything in the world. In Septembe
      1886, Chas. Tobey died, and Frank became president. In 1890, they doubled the
      capacity of their warerooms by renting the adjoining building known as "My
      Block". Mr. Tobey has thus seen the firm, beginning in a little store of 1,220
      square feet in 1957, grow to the present proportions of the Tobey Furniture
      Company, requiring for its business more than four acres of floor space, its
      trade extending to every State and Territory in the Union, with occasional
      foreign shipments. In fact, it is without doubt the largest and most widely
      known retail furniture house in the country, if not in the worl
      Outside his business, Mr. Tobey has taken lively interest in and has
      contributed liberally to philanthropic and charitable movements. In religion
      he might be called a disciple of Theodore Parker, believing in the deed,
      rather than the creed. He helped organize the Society for Ethical Culture in
      Chicago, and has generously devoted time and money to its suppor
      His politics may perhaps be best described by quoting his own remark
      that, "Statesmanship found its highest ideal in Charles Sumner, who labored
      always for righteousness and absolute justice."
      He has been an active promoter of the economic conferences in Chicago,
      which brought the laborer and capitalist together and led to a better
      understanding between them. The distinguishing qualities in Mr. Tobey's
      character, and with which his name is always associated, are integrity,
      charitableness and a high sense of justice.
    Person ID I05692  1A William Bassett of Plymouth
    Last Modified 23 Sep 2011 

    Father Jonathan Howes Tobey,   b. 1794, Dennis, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1872, Dennis, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Rachel Bassett,   b. Abt 1807, Dennis, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jul 1849, Dennis, Barnstable County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 42 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 1823  West Barnstable, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F01258  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart