Re: [multimachine] LONG: More about L.I. Yeomans
- Wonderful job Shannon!This could be important if the concrete tool idea ever takes off.
From: Shannon DeWolfe <sdewolfe@...>
Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2012 12:28 PM
Subject: [multimachine] LONG: More about L.I. Yeomans
Yesterday I had a very entertaining conversation with Mrs. Lyons,
daughter of the personal secretary of L.I. Yeomans. Well, conversation
is a bit of a stretch. Mrs. Lyons is now 80 years old and bit hard of
hearing. She talked for nearly half-an-hour, hardly taking a breath, and
then asked if I had any questions. I could not think of anything to ask!
I thanked her for sharing her time and memories. She thanked me for the
opportunity to share. All in all, it was a fantastic window into the
life of the inventor of concrete machine tools.
She did not know much about his professional life. But she did recall
his office with great detail. It was located at 205 West Wacker Drive,
Suite 2011. Her favorite room was a storeroom stacked with paper and
colored pencils that kept her entertained as a young girl. She recalled
that from the window behind her mother's desk she could see a draw
bridge on the Chicago river that would raise to allow river traffic
through. It sounded a horn when it was about to move. She would drop
whatever she was doing and run to the window to watch. She said that to
her as a child it was a marvelous thing to watch. She recalled that her
mother's desk and Mr. Yeomans desk were facing one another so they could
carry on a conversation while they worked. Following is a synopsis of
the rest of the conversation.
Mr. Yeomans was home schooled by his mother. She was a good teacher; he
could read and write Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. He never attended
college. In fact, he never attended school after age 14. As recounted
earlier, he interviewed several engineers and draftsmen over the years
for employment. He interviewed many but hired few because he expected
his hired hands to be able to recall sines, cosines, and tangents in
their heads, as he did. He had a partner for awhile, a Mr. McKracken. I
don't know anything about him. She did recall Mr. Clausen was there many
times too but could not tell me anything more about him. (Yeomans and
Clausen shared several patents together.)
Her mother worked with Mr. Yeomans for the last 23 years of his life. In
fact, the job of closing the office after his death fell to her. Mrs.
Lyons recalled that she helped her mother to empty the office. She said
that most sad was that they could not find anyone to take his library;
several hundred volumes. They ended up paying someone to haul them away.
Over the years Mr. Yeomans gave Mrs. Lyons, then a very young Miss
Cooke, several gifts of memorabilia of the Cleveland inauguration.
(Recall that L.I. Yeomans was nephew of President Grover Cleveland.) She
has still a golden clock, pencils, and dance cards that were provided to
guests at the inauguration reception, and several other pieces that she
could not recall at the moment.
As a teenager, she was enrolled in a Methodist boarding school for young
girls. She told me the full name of the school, but I don't recall it
now. During the depression the school fell on hard times. She knows for
a fact that Mr. Yeomans gave a great deal of money to the school, had a
new sign provided for the front lawn of the school, and advertised the
school in at least two national magazines for women to promote
enrollment. Her first year there, Mr. Yeomans took all the girls in the
school to dinner at the Bismark Hotel. As Mrs. Lyons explained, that was
a very expensive dinner. So, beginning the next year and every year
afterwards while she was enrolled there he took them to the local drug
store and allowed all the girls to choose any ice cream or float or milk
shake they wanted. When she went away to college Mr. Yeomans wrote to
her once a week. He warned her that if she joined a sorority he would
not write to her ever again. She did join a sorority, and he kept his
promise; he did not write to her again. Though they still shared a
strong friendship for the rest of his life.
She told me how much Mr. Yeomans loved his mother. He recalled for the
young Miss Cooke how as a child he would pick a wildflower and his
mother would wear it in her jet black hair for days on end. "He loved
her very much and thought she was the most beautiful woman in the
world." When his mother died his son from his first marriage, Lucien
Osborn Yeomans, came to the funeral without a hat on his head. Lucien
Ingraham Yeomans "disowned" him for the lack of respect for his
grandmother. Honest, that is what she said! It would seem that Mr.
Yeomans was a very rigid man. But at the same time he showed extreme
generosity, compassion, and kindness. Miss Cooke, her mother, and some
girls from college were to travel to California for some event. I didn't
understand exactly what the occasion was but it isn't important. Her
mother's car was deemed inadequate for the trip. Mr. Yeomans gave her
his brand new 1941 Cadillac to make the trip.
Mrs. Lyons said that he was the kindest, smartest, and most charismatic
man she had ever known. Granted, her perception may be colored by her
experiences as a child and young woman. Still, to live 80 years and keep
that view of him says a lot about him.
She verified for me something I had stumbled on while researching L.I.
Yeomans a couple of years ago. He was a "strike breaker". His reputation
for ending strikes, usually in the favor of management, was strong
enough that I found his name mentioned in two different references in
Machinist's Union newsletters. He was not reported favorably there.
Mr. Shannon DeWolfe
--I've taken to using Mr. because my name misleads folks on the WWW. I am a 56 year old fat man.