|Ray Jerrems, Our Genealogist, Historian||
This is one of a series of articles about people who formed part of the Jerrems history. It is an account of the business career of Marquette ("Mark") Ambrose Healy, who married Annie Letitia Jerrems. Previous articles in the Jerrems Journal refer to Anne at Ogontz School (September 2008) and to Mark and Anne's personal lives (October 2008).
Briefly Anne was the sixth child of William George Jerrems l and his wife Mary. Born in Chicago, she was named after two of her mother's sisters. She married Marquette ("Mark") Ambrose Healy (born in 1884 in Illinois) in 1907 and they had 3 children.
Mark's business career revolved around the company of Lyon & Healy, founded by his father Patrick Healy. This article concentrates on the company and its founder, who passed on to Mark a legacy which ensured that Mark and his family had a secure financial future.
Origin of the name "Marquette".
Although the name Marquette has a French ring to it, there is also a town of Marquette in Wisconsin. His mother was born in Wisconsin, so perhaps he was named after the town. However, the original Marquette was a famous French explorer who was the first person to trace the Mississippi River most of the way down to the Bay of Mexico, solving the mystery of where that River went to. Our reader Marquette "Mark" Healy (Mark is one of Anne's grandsons) is not completely sure where the name came from.
Brief history of Lyon & Healy
In the 1910 Census Mark described himself as a manufacturer of pianos, for good reason. His family owned a large company (Lyon & Healy Co.) which specialised in making musical instruments.
The following extract from an article I found using Google traces the history of the company. Although Mark Healy has lent me a book about the formation of the company by his great grandfather (I will refer to the book later in more detail) the following account is concise and brings us up to the present day:
Most music enthusiasts are familiar with the Lyon & Healy name, if not the company's history.
The Chicago-based company was an outgrowth of the Oliver Ditson Company of Boston, a multi-faceted concern that published music and distributed instruments. Two of Ditson's proteges from Boston went to Chicago in 1864: George Washburn Lyon and Patrick Joseph Healy.
Despite their Boston roots, Lyon and Healy liked what they saw in what would soon be known as the Windy City and set up operations as the Lyon & Healy Co. In the 1870s, Lyon & Healy introduced new lines of high- quality guitars, mandolins, zithers, and later, banjos. They wanted a distinctive name for these top-grade instruments and chose Lyon's first and middle names: George Washburn, or simply, Washburn. The company soon became a powerhouse, eventually attaining the status of world's largest music firm. Lyon it appears was the musician and Healy the entrepreneur. In 1889 the former retired and the latter became the company's president.
Washburn instruments won a bronze medal for excellence at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition (commemorating the "discovery" of the New World) held in Chicago.
In the early years, Lyon & Healy produced primarily guitars and bowl-back mandolins, sold under the Washburn name. Sales of these instruments was bolstered by an aggressive and imaginative advertising campaign and by engaging illustrated catalogs.
Patrick J. Healy died in 1905, ending his 16-year reign as company president. His son Paul J. Healy served in that role from 1911-1915. The last family member at the helm was Marquette A. Healy, president from 1921- 1925 when many of the "Own Make" mandolins were made.
Later in the 1920s, Lyon & Healy evolved from an instrument builder to a musical wholesaler. In 1928 three different companies bought the major components of Lyon and Healy so, by the end of that year, only harps continued to be made by it - as they are to this day. The name still commands respect and most of the leading orchestras in the country have Lyon & Healy harps, which list for as much as $45,000!
Mark sold his interest in the company in 1928, a year before the stock market crash, which ushered in the Great Depression. Hopefully Mark and Annie did not invest the proceeds of the company sale in shares.
Patrick Joseph Healy
When Mark's father died in 1905 at the age of 65 a book was published about his life, which had the classic "rags to riches" theme. The book of 122 pages (which included 40 pages of tributes) was compiled as an "appreciation" by relatives and friends, and it contains many fascinating details which are beyond the scope of this article.
Patrick was born in County Cork in 1840, being the youngest of 13 children. His father was 75 when he was born and lived to the amazing age of 103. The family migrated to Boston from Ireland in 1850 and in 1854 Patrick obtained his first job as an errand boy in a company dealing with musical instruments. He worked his way up in the company, and in due course the owner (Oliver Ditson) offered to set Patrick and his fellow employee Lyon up in a city of their choice as an outlet for Ditson's company. Their company ended up completely eclipsing the parent company. As they say, "the rest is history".
At the time Mark was only 24 and Lyon was in his early 40s.
The book says about Patrick that "his ideas were many years ahead of his time", particularly in the area of advertising. In 1876 he paid the local newspaper $15000 (a huge sum for those times) on advertising for band instruments, and issued a large catalogue. The shop also had a military band.
The Great Fire of 1871 burnt down the Chicago business district, including the ornate Lyon & Healy shop, however the building was well insured and a new building was constructed. The next year Patrick's first wife (Mary Griffith), who he had married in 1863 died, leaving 4 children (James, George, Raymond and Paul). He married Frances Hannan in 1882 and they had 8 children (Mark, Mary, John, Vincent, Frances, Anita, Columbus and Augustine), of which all but one (John) survived infancy. Frances died in 1899.
Lyon retired from the company in 1889, and shortly afterwards Patrick began the construction of a huge factory to keep up with the demand for instruments. In keeping with Mark's principle of having "quality" in all things relating to the Company the factory was built in a residential area (where the land was more expensive) opposite a large park, and it had flower gardens around it. The output from this factory continued at 100,000 instruments a year, which Patrick said equated to "an instrument every other working minute", but I calculate the rate to be even higher! Although Chicago became notorious for industrial unrest, the employees of the company never became involved in strikes.
Patrick again showed his flair for publicity in the 1893 World Fair in Chicago (known as "The Columbian Exposition"), where he built a beautiful 2 storey building to house an orchestra which gave concerts every day for 6 months. A register book was kept, showing that dignitaries from all over the world had attended the concerts. At about this time he also achieved one of his ambitions, to have his representatives (who previously had regularly visited all the principal cities of Europe, United States and Canada) visit Australia, China, Japan and the countries of South America.
Patrick did not merely turn out instruments, he wanted to make his mark on the industry, exemplified by his redesign of the harp, which had not been changed for 70 years. This was a labour of love, and its success in its final form in about 1886 was demonstrated by the fact that the famous composer Wagner endorsed it and it became the recognized standard of the world.
I love harp music. If I ask Santa for a Lyon & Healy harp for Christmas I am sure he could arrange it.
Patrick assembled a famous collection of violins, which included a number of "Strads".
Patrick had a prodigious memory and was held in high regard by the business community and the music world, demonstrated by the tributes quoted in the book. Somewhat surprisingly for a man who publicised his company so energetically, he was a shy retiring man who avoided speaking in public. He was also of small physical stature and had a ruddy face. Although he applied to join the army during the Civil War he was rejected because he was too short and slight, but he was a powerful swimmer and loved rowing, particularly at Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, where he later bought a holiday house.
Mark's business career
I do not have details of Mark's business career. But I do know that his father was well known for his policy of employing senior staff who had come up through the ranks and had developed under his tutelage. It is therefore safe to assume that Mark started work at the Company at about the age of 16 (the average age boys were first employed by Patrick) and worked his way up to being a Board member and (as referred to earlier) the President of the Company in 1921.
Comparison with Nicoll the Tailor
Anne's grandfather Alexander Nicholl ("Nicoll the Tailor") was equally as famous as her father-in- law for publicising his men's clothing business. He opened stores in 42 different locations. Patrick started his business in Chicago at least 15 years before Alexander, so the similarity between their approaches was probably coincidental. Their main similarity was that their companies made a lot of money.
Instruments manufactured by the Company
Googling "Lyon,Healy" also brings up websites referring to organs, violins, banjos, side drums, saxophones, tubas, grand pianos, and standing pianos.
In the early 1900s the company made harp guitars /bass guitars (one model was advertised as a "Monster Bass Guitar"). These were so chubby that they look like shortened cellos! Enthusiasts have set up a website devoted to these peculiar L&H instruments: http://www.harpguitars.net/history/month_hg/month- hg-4-05.htm.
How to play the mandolin
The "entry point" mandolin sold for about $110, which was a lot of loot in those days! An advertisement for this instrument had that perennial optimism (in common with all advertisements for musical instruments) as to the ease with which a purchaser could learn to play it:
'Certainly you can learn to play this exquisite Instrument. Just three or four simple lessons-and you are well on the road toward a happy, life-lasting accomplishment that will make your Lyon and Healy mandolin more than ever a "pride and joy"'.
Ah, nothing has changed! In an interesting marketing approach a young woman is depicted in the advertisement holding the mandolin.
When you see a musical instrument manufactured by "Lyon & Healy" cast your mind back to Mark and Annie Healy and Mark's father who founded the company, and remember the "Jerrems connection" with the company.
Filling in Branches of the Family Tree
We have been receiving enquiries for several years from people interested in the Jerrems family history. Recently I received an email from Helen Mitchell, who is a great great grand-daughter of Robert Cane Jerrems (her great grandfather Edwin being a son of Robert). Readers may recall that Robert was one of the family who migrated to Australia in the 1850s, and that my great grandfather (Charles) and Donald's great grandfather (William George) were two of Robert's brothers.
Although we have readers related to Edwin's brother Henry Herbert, Helen is the first reader related to Edwin.
Helen has supplied me with information about Edwin, and soon we will have an article for the Journal in the "Remember Me" series, about Edwin and his descendants. What else could I have done when Helen wrote to me "Hi Ray, what a great job you are doing with the Jerrems family history"?
Helen's interest has also stirred me into action in recording the information I have assembled about Robert's other children (including Henry Herbert). I have circulated this to our readers who are descended from Henry Herbert, and we should have an article on the subject in the near future.
Robert's descendants in fact form the largest component of the Jerrems family, but this numerical size has not been reflected in the number of items in the Journal. We have had articles in previous years about some of the descendants of Robert in the Journal (notably about Carol Jerrems the photographer), but nothing of a comprehensive genealogical nature.
It is exciting that we are still taking in new readers who have important information to contribute. Perhaps surprisingly, Donald and I now have more articles ready for future Journals than ever before! To think that when we started up the Journal I wondered how long we could keep it going.
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