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Chapter 5: The Years Go By


 In 1860 the Republican National Convention came to Chicago’s newly constructed Wigwam Convention Center and nominated Abraham Lincoln to be their candidate for president. My brother and I were in attendance, excited about the potential of an abolitionist in the office of president.  His victory that November would plunge the country into civil war and inspire my brother and I to enlist.

The war was hell, as wars tend to be. We joined the 53rd Illinois infantry in ’62 and were quickly sent to join up with the Army of the Tennessee heading down to Corinth and later  Vicksburg where I was wounded trying to cross the ravine under Sherman. My brother was slain 3 days later, falling victim to the wrong end of a confederate bayonet.

Upon returning home, I found work within the Chicago police force beginning in ’66, being drawn to the idea of protecting and serving the citizens of my beloved hometown. In ’71 a fire burned 2000 acres of the city, including my precinct leaving myself and about 90,000 people homeless. The mayor immediately called in the military and declared martial law for the next few weeks. This allowed for my continued employment but I wasn’t exactly thrilled and neither were my neighbors. Little did we know the troubles the next decade would bring.

Now back in ’67 the federal government passed a law limiting a days labor to 8 hours but enforcement of this law was lacking. As a result, businesses forced their employees to sign waivers negating the law and causing civil unrest.  In 1884 the Unions called for a nationwide demonstration to begin May 1st of ’86 to proclaim the right of the 8 hour work day. This allowed them 2 years to plan, but it allowed the same for the city government.

By February ’86, law enforcement had been increased in preparation for the impending demonstrations and bad actors were being actively sought out. One of our detectives got a tip that a fellow by the name of Lingg liked to fiddle with explosives and was planning something big. I led a squad of officers to the address but as I rounded the corner I crashed head first into a young woman carrying a basket of items from the market. I helped her gather her things and she smiled and hurried down the way. By the time we reached the apartment, Lingg was gone, leaving behind only residue and a few fuses. 

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