Family:Whitney, Hugh Monticello (1851-1920)

From WRG
Jump to navigationJump to search


Hugh M. Whitney

Hugh Monticello9 Whitney (Melvin8, Erastus7, Ezra6, Ezra5, John4, Isaiah3, Thomas2, John1), son of Melvin8 and Ann Eliza (Hooker) Whitney, was born 23 Nov 1851, Canaseraga, Allegany Co, NY, and died 12 Aug 1920, St. Louis, MO.

He married, 7 Jan 1879, Kill Creek, Osborne Co, KS, Mathilda Caroline Heberlein, daughter of Valentinus Fridericus "Fred V." and Luise Wilhelmina Frederike Ernstina "Louisa" (Rothe) Heberlein. She was born 29 Mar 1860, possibly Columbia Co., WI, and died 12 Apr 1934, St. Louis, MO.

He was a farmer, miller, inventor of milling machines, and a promoter of mines. Hugh Whitney grew up in upstate New York, attending school, helping his father on his farm, and learning the milling trade from his father. Sometime about 1878 he moved to Kansas and by 1879 was residing in Bulls City (now Alton), Osborne County. It was there that he met his future wife, Mathilda Heberlein, who resided with her parents in nearby Kill Creek. They were married in Kill Creek in 1879, most likely at the Kill Creek Presbyterian Church. In 1880 they were living in Sumner Township, Osborne County, where Hugh was working as a mill upright. Hugh and Mathilda moved fairly frequently in their early years together - by 1884 they resided in Burlington, Coffey County, KS, from 1888 to 1889 they were in Glasco, Cloud County, KS, where either he or his wife was the teacher of the Prebyterian Sunday School. In 1890 they were in Liberty, Clay County, MO.


On 30 Jun 1887, "Hugh M. Whitney... residing in Avenue City, Andrew County, Missouri" filed for a patent, issued 21 Aug 1888 as Patent number 388164, for an "Automatic Feed-Gate for Roller Mills, &c."

By 1890, he had a company named H. M. Whitney & Co., Manufacturers and Proprietors of the Whitney Automatic Feeders.

Whitney's Automatic Feeder.jpg

From about 1892 to 1893 they resided in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN. It was at this time that he supposedly worked with the famous Mr. Pillsbury where they perfected the first flour making machine together.

On 1 May 1893, he contracted to purchase six lots in Winona, MN by 15 May for $350, but on that date declined to finalize the agreement. The seller sued him for the $100 default value as was listed in the contract, but on 1 Aug 1893 he won the lawsuit.

By 1898 he and his family had settled in the St. Louis area. In 1900, he was listed as the inventor of flour mill machine. In 1907, he, Mathilda, and their son "Tip" took a cross-country trip to see the country and far-flung relatives. Their son Tip was an amateur photographer and a photo album of this trip survives. In 1910 the family was residing in Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis, where Hugh was listed as a promoter of mines.


In 1919, Hugh filed a another patent, this time for the Process and Apparatus for Reducing Middlings. In 1920, he was listed in Webster Groves as the Vice President, Milling Machine Company. He contracted encephalitis and fell into a coma 25 Jan 1920 and died 12 Aug 1920, after having been taken to the Barnes Hospital in St. Louis where doctors tried in vain to save him. His obituaries read as follows:


Hugh M. Whitney succumbs to mysterious disease after sleeping since January 25th.

Physicians are baffled

Said he would not die happy until he had completel [sic] invention for milling flour. Patents come after it is too late.

Hugh M. Whitney of 624 Clark aveenue, Webster Groves, died at Barnes Hospital Thursday, after having been asleep since January 25th. Up to the time he went into the drowse, according to his wife, he had been enjoying perfect health, and had seldom been sick during his life. Dr. Marshall Baker was called and putting forth every effort was able to keep Mr. Whitney alive through a series of experimental treatments. Later Doctor Nolkemper and several physicians including Dr. Schmid of South Broadway and Dr. Frey of St. Louis, who are specialists in nervous and cerebral diseases were called in. About five weeks ago they removed the patient to Barnes Hospital where he continued to sink.

Dr. Baker stated that Whitney appeared to be conscious of his surroundings until February 15, then he was able to mumble answers to questions. After that no words left his lips. He was fed liquids at short intervals during his sickness, and for a short time was able to swallow.

According to Dr. Baker the disease which has been called lethargic encepalitis which term is meant to express sleeping sickness due to inflamation of membranes is a rarity and baffling to specialists all over the world. Dr. Baker says the disease is not of the class usually termed sleeping sickness which was first known in Africa and with which paralysis sets in.

Specialists are all baffled with the disease, have found no cause that [copy of newspaper article in possession of writer does not include the remainder of the obituary, but it appears that the article is much longer. A note dates the article to 'Aug 17 1920 paper'.]


Whitney was a member of a family of millers, his father and brother being at one time in the flour business in Minneapolis, from where he came to St. Louis 30 years ago. He spent his whole life in inventing milling machinery, and with Mr. Pillsbury, who organized the Pillsubyr [sic] Milling Company in Minneapolis, perfected the first flour maker there. Twenty years ago, he invented a milling machine on which the patent already expired. As soon as the invention was perfected, he began working on improvements, and often told his wife that he could not die happy until he had made a machine which would mill flour less expensively than those now in use.

Certain parts of the mechanism were finished before his sickness and while in his dormant condition, letters of patent came from Washington together with telegrams of congratulations which he never became conscious to read.

Mrs. Whitney is the only one who knows anything of Mr. Whitney's investion [sic]. She stated to a representative of the Sentinel that with her little knowledge of machinery, she feared her husband's life work would be left unfinished, as she did not understand it thoroughly

Hugh's granddaughter Grace (Hayward) Lantz said of her grandfather "He was a poor provider. He was always running off to silver mines in the Southwest or in Mexico" and that her father had to help her grandmother pay the mortgage because Hugh was 'never there'. Other family members have not remembered this impression of him, however.

Children of Hugh Monticello9 and Mathilda Caroline (Heberlein) Whitney:

i. Mable Clare Whitney, b. 11 Mar 1880, Sumner Township, Osborne Co, KS; d. 4 Jul 1890 of scarlet fever.
ii. Grace May Whitney, b. 12 Aug 1882; m. Thomas Hayward and had two daughters.
iii. Raymond Melvin Whitney, b. 19 Mar 1884, Burlington, Coffey Co, KS; m. Anita Hildenbrand and had two children.
iv. Frederick Clifford "Tip" Whitney, b. 7 Apr 1887, Liberty, Clay Co, MO; m. Kathryn Williams and had three children.
v. Earl Whitney, b. 17 Feb 1892, Minneapolis, Hennepin Co, MN; d. 10 Mar 1892.
vi. Lloyd Coleman Whitney, b. 3 May 1893, Minneapolis, Hennepin Co, MN; m. Ann Schottlander and had one daughter.
vii. Lela Earle Whitney, b. 26 Oct 1898, St. Louis, MO; m. Harold Koop and had two children.


He was involved in a lawsuit. See Minnesota Reports and The Northwestern Reporter.


  • 1875 Kansas State Census, Sumner Township, Osborne Co., KS:

2 2 H A Cook 53 M W Miller 3,000 230 NY M A Cook 28 F W " J W Cook 17 M W " E Cook 10 F W " G Aldrich 1 M W " H M Whitney 24 M W 1,000 " E Whitney 22 M W Farmer 300 60 "

116 122 Whitney, Hugh W M 28 Head mar Mill Wright New York NY NY -----, Matilda W F 20 Wife mar Keeping House Wisconsin Prussia Prussia -----, Mabel W F 6M Jan Dau sgl Kansas NY Wis.

  • 1895 Minnesota State Census, 8th Precinct, Minneapolis, Hennepin Co., MN:

3301 Harriet 59 Whitney Hugh M. 44 M W N.Y. 5 2 3 1 Machinist 12 no no no 60 Whitney Matilda C. 35 F W Wis yes yes no 61 Whitney Grace 12 F W Kansas no no no 62 Whitney Raymond 10 M W Kansas no no no 63 Whitney Clifford 7 M W Mo no no no 64 Whitney Lloyd 2 M W Minn no no no

267 358 Whitney Hugh M. Head W M Nov 1850 49 mar 20 New York New York New York Inventor of Flour Mill Machine -----, Matilda C. Wife W F Mar 1860 40 mar 20 7ch 6liv Wisconsin Germany Germany -----, Grace M. Dau W F Aug 1882 17 sgl Kansas New York Wisconsin Stenographer -----, Raymond M. Son W M Mar 1884 16 sgl Kansas New York Wisconsin Aprentice-Machinist -----, Clifford F. Son W M Apr 1887 13 sgl Missouri New York Wisconsin Messenger boy Star office -----, Lloyd C. Son W M May 1893 7 sgl Minnesota New York Wisconsin -----, Lela E. Dau W F Oct 1898 1 sgl Missouri New York Wisconsin

  • 1910 U.S. Census, Ward 4, ED 120, Webster Groves, Central Township, St. Louis Co., MO, p. 56

624 Clark Avenue

1056 1076 Whitney Hugh M Head M W 59 M1 31 New York New York New York Promoter, Mines -- Matilda C Wife F W 50 M1 31 7 5 Wisconsin Germany Germany None -- Raymond M Son M W 26 S Kansas New York Wisconsin Machinist, Machine Shop -- Clifford Son M W 23 S Missouri New York Wisconsin Draughtsman, Machine Shop -- Lloyd Son M W 17 S Minn New York Wisconsin None school -- Lela Dau F W 12 S Missouri New York Wisconsin None school

  • 1920 U.S. Census, ED 138, Webster Groves City, St. Louis Co., MO, p. 19A (285 stamped)

624 Clark

409 417 Whitney Hugh M Head M W 68 M New York New York New York Vice President, Milling Machine Co -- Matilda Wife F W 58 M Wisconsin Germany Germany None -- Lela Dau F W 20 S Missouri New York Wisconsin Stenographer, Government Med_____ -- Raymond M Son M W 35 M Kansas New York Wisconsin Superintendant, Motor Co -- Anita DinL F W 28 M Missouri Missouri Missouri None -- Raymond L GrSon M W 4&6M Missouri Kansas Missouri None

  • 1930 U.S. Census, Matilda Whitney (68) - missing - Webster Groves, St. Louis Co., MO?


  • Census records.



The Hugh Whitney Family, about 1887
Frederick Clifford 'Tip' Whitney (baby), Mathilda Caroline (Heberlein) Whitney, Hugh Monticello Whitney, Mabel Clare Whitney, Grace May Whitney, Raymond Melvin Whitney. Taken in Kansas, circa 1887.
Children of Hugh Whitney, about 1895
Ray, "Tip", Lloyd, Grace. Taken at Tuxedo Blvd., Webster Groves, Missouri
The Hugh Whitney Family, about 1903
Raymond Melvin Whitney, Thomas E. Hayward, Grace May (Whitney) Hayward, Mathilda Caroline (Heberlein) Whitney, Frederick Clifford "Tip" Whitney, Lela Earle Whitney, Hugh Monticello Whitney, Lloyd Coleman "Fa Fa" Whitney (my great grandfather). Taken in Tuxedo Park, Missouri, circa 1903.

Copyright © 2006, 2010, 2011, Tim Doyle, Robert L. Ward, and the Whitney Research Group.