Doughty, William M.
Collection of Incoming Correspondence to William M. Doughty, of Chicago, Illinois, Agent for the Methodist Book Depository and real estate agent for James P. Kilbreth, of Cincinnati, Ohio, dated 1844-1858

25 letters, 40 pages, dated from September 26, 1844 to April 3, 1858, written, in ink, in a legible hand. One letter is from 1844, the rest are dated between1852-1858. Fifteen of the twenty-five letters were written to Doughty by his brother-in-law James P. Kilbreth, a partner in the Cincinnati Sugar Refinery, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and holder of several blocks of real estate lots in Chicago, Illinois.

$ 350.00 | Contact Us >
William McDowell Doughty was the brother-in-law of James P. Kilbreth. Doughty was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 1, 1824, the son of Charles Morris Doughty and Mary McDowell. Doughty's parents eventually left Pittsburgh, settling on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, at Newport. The old homestead stood on a high bluff over-looking the river. On November 16, 1843, he married Martha Guthrie, the sister of Kilbreth's wife. Martha was born on May 17, 1824, in Pittsburgh. Together they had at least eight children.

         Doughty is stated to have had a sweet tenor voice and composed a number of songs that were published by Fredric Root of Chicago, a personal friend. He was an author as well, writing many articles for publication. He was a member of the Methodist Church in Cincinnati and afterwards in Chicago; was the first general agent of the Methodist Book Concern, and the publisher of the Northwestern Christian Advocate, both of which he started in Chicago. He was one of the founders of the Methodist Church built on Wabash Avenue. He purchased for the Book Concern a piece of property on Washington Street.

      Inducements were made to Doughty to return to Cincinnati and become a partner with his brother-in-law James P. Kilbreth, in stocks and bonds, here he remained for some time, but unfortunate speculations caused the dissolution of this firm. He was offered the general agency of the Home Life Insurance in Cincinnati, which he accepted and retained the agency until his death. He died at his residence on Mt. Auburn, Cincinnati, Ohio, on January 16, 1882 and was buried at Wesleyan Cemetery.

      James Patterson Kilbreth was born about 1809 and died at the age of 88 in 1897, at his home in Clifton, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. He was early interested in railway matters, and was connected with the first railway system of the United States, which eventually merged into the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He at one time operated a small road from Annapolis, Maryland, to Fredericksburg, Virginia. The rails were of wood and the cars drawn by mules.

        Kilbreth married Mary Guthrie on August 4, 1834, she was the daughter of James Verner and Martha (Brandon) Guthrie.  Together they had at least three children:  James Truesdale Kilbreth, who became the Collector of the Port of New York; Sara P. Kilbreth; and John Williams Kilbreth. His daughter Sarah married Nathaniel H. McLean, son of William McLean, and nephew of the honorable Judge John McLean, of Ohio, late Chief Justice of the United States and Ex-Secretary of War.

      In this collection, Kilbreth writes to Doughty five times on the letterhead of the Cincinnati Sugar Refinery between the years 1856-1858. The Refinery was founded about the year 1852 and by 1855 was doing a large business (nine million pounds of raw sugar in 1854 alone). Kilbreth became a partner in this business in 1856 with William Neff and Alex. McKenzie and remained with the company until it was destroyed by fire in the early 1860s. He also operated as a lumber merchant before that.  Kilbreth appeared in the divorce case of Catharine N. Forrest and the actor Edwin Forrest. He acted as a witness, giving his assessment of the value of properties owned by Forrest in Cincinnati.

        Letters from Kilbreth to Doughty contain information on various real estate transactions, the recording of deeds, the prices of lots, etc., which the two men appear to have either owned together, or in cases where Doughty was acting on behalf of Kilbreth, as his agent in Chicago. The real estate seems to have entailed full blocks of lots in what would be prime Chicago real estate today (early patent block numbers 25, 29, 34, 35, and 47).

       The remaining ten letters are written to Doughty by various individuals including members of Doughty's wife's family, W. W. Guthrie (2) and R. B. Guthrie (1).  There are also letters from business associates such as Jon. M. Philips (2) from the Methodist Book Concern that discuss the Concern's affairs and M. Hollingshead (1) concerning Chicago real estate, with whom Doughty is working in connection with Kilbreth. Other letters concern a request for a loan (C. W. Sears), an inquiry from Leroy [Swonustedt] asking to help place his son in a business opportunity, a letter of Wm. Glenn & Sons inquiring about the whereabouts of a certain individual and one letter from T. F. Baldwin written for Jn. C. Harding, which concerns financial matters. These letters are written mostly from Cincinnati to Doughty in Chicago, but also include letters written from Pittsburgh, Bloomington, and Chicago itself.