The William Cameron Family Tree
William Cameron Age 27 m. 3 July 1901 Age 20 Kathryn Sophia Marshall
b 11 Oct 1873 b. 8 April 1880
d. 21 Dec 1934 d. 29 Nov 1970
Four children of William are the children whose descendants we will follow
Allan Marshall Cameron Howard Avery Cameron William Mackie Cameron
b. 26 May 1903 b. 14 Feb 1905 b. 22 Jan 1907
d. 14 Oct 1996 d. 20 Feb 1912 d. 27 Jan 1998
m. 9 Aug 1930 to m. 1st 1 Jan 1935 Nancy Wright
1st Helen Myra Williams 2nd Martha Mary Bowey
Jean Cameron Robert Kenneth Cameron
b. 18 May 1911 b. 28 Sept 1912
d. 1992 d.
m. Clarence Kenneth Kenlay m. 6 June 1936, Helen L. Garland, Divorced May 1952
2nd Allan L Dhonau m. 27 Feb 1953 to Mary Grace DePaul, Died 1962
m. 4 June 1963 to Gerthrude M. Kuhn
To better understand the brilliant life of William Cameron and his ability to parlay his inventive mind and managerial skills into a successful life it is best to construct a financial time-line which places in context the events influencing his life all of which are later elaborated on in our narrative and pictorial display.
1. Apprentice machinist in Moir's Cannery in Aberdeen. Gaining experience and saving money to go to America.
2. Arrived in Chicago in May, 1896 and was sponsored to setup or manage three can making companies from 1897 to 1901 when he got married in Buffalo and returned to Chicago having saved money and gained a lot of experience from his positions.
3. In 1902 he joined Torris Wold & Stamping Co. as a designer of can making machinery and received a share of the company. Williams first step was to change the name of the company in 1904 to Torris Wold & Co. representing Williams interest in the company. With increasing business from Williams designs, in 1905 Torris Wold & Co. moved from their location in the Edison building to a plant at the corner of Fulton and Jefferson Street.
4. Again with expanding business, in 1909-1910 Torris Wold & Co. designed and built a 2 story plant at Fulton and Ashland Avenue occupying a one-half city block on leased land with one-half used for outside storage. William is now superintendent of Torris Wold & Co.
5. Also in 1910 William Cameron made his first large personal expenditure in buying property and building a home at 174 N. LeClaire Avenue on the edge of the city west of the new plant.
6. In 1914 World War 1 has started and William Cameron is now President of Torris Wold & Co. and the first patent of William Cameron is filed. William purchased his first automobile.
7. By 1919 William has filed 16 patents and he takes over Torris Wold & Co. and incorporates it as Cameron Can Machinery Machinery Co.
8. In 1920 the city began widening Ashland Avenue and by 1922 William has added a third floor and a six story tower to the plant with a large expenditure of money. In addition in 1922 the land on which the plant was located was purchased for $138,250.00 adding to the other expenditures.
9. In 1924 William Cameron built a new large home at 824 Bonnie Brae in River Forest west of Chicago.
!0. In late 1926 William Cameron acquired 1.300 acres of land on the Kankakee River in Indiana and by 1927-28 had built a house, garage and barn and dredged channels to create a Game Preserve returning the land to the old Kankakee river beds and marshes
10. In 1929 when the stock market crashed William Cameron was a Director in two banks and lost all the company money in one bank. A third bank, Harris Bank, gave the company all the funds they needed based on company assets.
11. In the 1930s William Cameron by setting up a Will and Trusts leaving all his assets in Trust to the four children and Mother, he again showed foresight and wisdom considering his untimely death in 1934 at the age of 60 years when he had reached the height of his career as President of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society.
To further amplify our understanding of the development of Cameron Can Machinery Co. you may read the Allan Marshall Cameron Interview sub-page under Allan Marshall Cameron. In attempting to solve the mystery of how William Cameron obtained control of Torris Wold & Co. we look further at the development of Torris Wold & Co.
The history of Torris Wold & Co. does not show any financial payments by William Cameron except his developments of patents for the can making equipment and assignment to the company as possible payment to take over the company. Several years after William Cameron joined Torris Wold & Stamping Co. his influence is shown in the direction the company was going in concentrating on developing can making machinery in that the company was
incorporated as a new company, Torris Wold & Co. on December 29th, 1904. Stockholders of record were 996 shares held by H. H. Lyche, son-in-law of Torris Wold, and Torris Wold with 3 others holding 1 share each. William Cameron did not have any financial interest in the company at that time but on April 7, 1919 William Cameron having rising to President of the company filed a change of name only to Cameron Can Machinery Co. with David Mackie signing as Secretary indicating that he had taken over the company. In succeeding years we do not have a record of stock quantity changes but Allan Marshall Cameron after his entry into the business was given one share by his father. Filings show that in 1943 prior to the sale of Cameron Can Machinery Co. to Continental Can Co. the shares were changed from 3,000 shares to 120,000 shares with the same total value. After its sale to Continental Can Co., Cameron Can Machinery Co. was dissolved on June 21st, 1954. The building was later sold as a wholesale wear house and later resold to its present owner who gutted and rebuilt it in 2009 as the modern office and store building shown in later illustrations.
William Cameron was born November 10 1873 in Charleston, Nigg outside of Aberdeen, Scotland to James(3) Cameron and Margaret Allan. His home was a building constructed by his father of large stones in an L shape that had three fire places needed to withstand the cold winds off the nearby North Sea. It was located on a farm of 137 acres called Woodside Farm which employed as many as five people at times. William was the fourth child in a family of eight children. As he grew up he worked on the farm and attended Woodside School which was only a very short distance away. It was a small school of just a few rooms but provided the incentive for his latter career. Like many Scots of humble beginnings who emigrated to America, William was a successful entrepreneur and powerful personality. His life achievements, principally his Patent for a High Speed Automatic Can Testing Machine, three times faster than any other machine and the most advanced machine at the time, led him to be included in a list of 8,000+ most prominent Scots worldwide. This is in a publication researched and to be published by Andy Patterson of Sidney, Australia. William would have gone to work starting in 1887 at the age of 14. Our photo of 1889 pictures him as a successful young laddie banishing a cane but not yet having the accouterments of his older brothers with hats and their watches. While we have no direct record we believe William may have first gone to work at Moir's of Aberdeen cannery in Scotland as an machinist where his inventive mind would have seen improvements to the simple equipment used for making cans by hand. From the names on the machines he may have corresponded with G. A. Crosby Co. a manufacturer of can making machinery in Chicago with his ideas, leading to an invitation to come to Chicago. In 1896 at the age of 22 William would leave for Chicago in May and a meeting with the G. A. Crosby Co. Allan, Williams first son, relates in an interview that his father told him that his first job was working in bicycle shop for $7 a week. Accompanying William to the States was his friend and neighbor, David Mackie. David first went to Canada to visit his Uncle George Watt who was working for the Michigan Central Railroad and on which David Mackie also got a job. David was next working on a railroad in St. Thomas and was there in 1999 but left in 1901 when he went to Buffalo for William Cameron's wedding after which he went back to Scotland. In early 1904 William, Catherine and 11 months old baby Allan went over to Scotland on the Campania for a visit. When they returned home they were accompanied by Margaret Ann Cameron, Williams sister, and David Mackie who later married Margaret in 1911. Margaret stayed with William for a while until she found employment as a servant. David was employed by William as a machinist at Torris Wold & Co.
In Chicago, Torris Wold & Stamping Co., predecessor of Torris Wold Co. was a manufacture of stamping dies and presses run by a Norwegian, Torris Wold. Torris Wold had previously worked for G. A. Crosby Co. from 1876 to 1896 as a machinist where he had charge of the die department and is the company in Chicago to which William Cameron would return to pursue his ambition to develop can making machinery after his marriage in 1901. An article published in the British American publication on Jan 13, 1934 upon William Cameron's election to President of the Illinois St. Andrew Society relates his travels and experience from his arrival in Chicago when he first contacted G. A. Crosby Co. until he returned to Chicago in late 1901.
"The British American is indebted to "The Canning Trade" the Journal of the Canning and Allied Industries published in Baltimore, Maryland, for the following story of the life of Mr. Cameron."
"An interesting character, marked strongly by virility, personality and success, stands out boldly in the machinery field. The inquiring reporter in compiling "Who is Who in the Canning Industry" will find a mine of absorbing material as he pries into the past and present of Mr. William Cameron. A Scotchman is invariably " good copy," but Mr. Cameron's determined progress through the various steps from a "youth newly arrived from the old country" to that of capitalist and proprietor of a large manufacture is the ideal story of a young man go west.
Mr Cameron should be known primarily as owner and President of the Cameron Can Machinery Company, of Chicago. His technical training in Aberdeen, Scotland, combined with a remarkable aptitude, enabled him to make rapid progress in his first connections in this country. This was with G. A. Crosby Co.and he was soon placed in charged of installing can-making machinery of their manufacture.
His path then joined those of Daniel G. Trench, later to be president of Sprague Canning Machinery Co., and of M. Jones, a large New York State cannery. This combination formed the Buffalo Can Co. under Mr. Cameron's management, and the absorption of that company by American Can Co. resulted in his transfer to the Amco's plant in Geneva, New York. The Geneva plant where he served as assistant superintendent was the finest to date. It led him through Mr. Trench's appreciation of his ability to the superintendency of the Wheeling Can Company. (Note: William Cameron probably met his future wife Catherine when he was with the Buffalo Can Co. and married her in 1901 before going to Wheeling Can Co. Here can making machinery was developed by Oliver J. Johnson, better known as Tin Can Johnson brought a full line of equipment for 4 lines to make cans. William Cameron from his past experience helped Johnson set up the lines and get them into production. At the time four lines made a production of 45,00 cans per day, each in 10 hours and 20 minutes, a total of 180,000 cans on 4 lines producing a can similar to the condensed milk can of today with a folded soldered body and soldered tops and bottoms. The accompanying 1902 photo shows the employees of the Wheeling Can Company including many young boys and girls as young as 10 years old. There were no child labor laws. After that plant was put into operation it was Mr. Cameron's ambition to get back into the manufacture of can making machinery, where his inventive genius could function freely. He was following that old charted course of Determination and Success--the drive to serve and learn and then be off on their own. His opportunity came with his association with a small machinery house known as Torris Wold Stamping Co. Getting control of this company was the inevitable and he then extended their limited line in can making machinery. Mr. Cameron soon placed a Lock Seaming Machine and other can making machines on the market".
The following biographic account relates the history of Torris Wold and how his history relates to William Cameron in the development of Cameron Can Machinery Co.
"Mr. Torris Wold started as an employ of the G. A. Crosby Co. When he left that company in 1986 he brought a half interest in the firm of Sivertsen & Jensen located in the Edison building in Chicago and changed the name to Jensen & Wold. Six years later in 1891 Mr. Wold brought out Mr. Jensen and operated under the name of Torris Wold & Stamping Co., which years later in 1901 when William Cameron came to Chicago and began working there, was changed to Torris Wold & Co. In 1905 the business left the Edison building and moved to a building at the corner of Fulton and Jefferson streets. Twenty years ago in 1885 the canning industry in this country was just beginning and naturally also can making. Mr. Wold prided himself on having made the first dies for cans used in Chicago. Since then the canning as well as the can-making industry had developed so fast that it led to a number of independent can companies to start up in the last three or four years prior to 1905. Torris Wold & Co had in a way grown up with the industry in which they were engaged, that of can-making machinery. In the beginning when cans to the great extent were made by hand, Torris Wold did a large business in dies, presses and small hand tools. Later small hand tools had to be replaces by small power machines, and these again were replaced by automatic machinery. The first two or three years, 1901-1903 (when William Cameron first arrived), the firm made it their aim to push to the front with a complete line of automatic machinery for all kinds of cans, and the motto "Everything for can makers" had been followed to the letter, until the firm now stood at the head of the industry with complete automatic machinery for everything in the line. Mr. H. H. Lyche was the secretary, treasurer and general manager for the company in 1905. He was married to Torris Wold's daughter." Mr. Wold was an enterprising and energetic business man as shown by his history of constant business improvement. He was not however an inventive person and throughout the history of the Torris Wold & Co. he never had a patent issued to him. There are no financial records which could relate how William Cameron progressed to become the owner of Torris Wold & Co. that later became the Cameron Can Machinery Co. However a close look at Williams history from when he first arrived in Chicago revels a constant progression of management positions and financial wealth. Williams management experience began in 1897 when William first arrived in Chicago with Mr. Trench's appreciation of Williams management and development ability, William worked four years, first at the Buffalo Can Co. as manager, American Can Co. as assistant superintendent and then Wheeling Can Co. as a machinery designer. With these well paying positions and there were no taxes at the time until 1913, so William would have been able to save money. This enabled William to marry Catherine and later returned to Chicago to begin work for Torris Wold & Stamping Co. He perceived Torris as a better opportunity then G. A. Crosby Co. because Crosby was an old company and Torris Wold Stamping Co. was more receptive to developing a line of can making machinery. Corporation records show that on Dec. 29th 1904 Torris Wold & Stamping Co. was reincorporated as Torris Wold & Co. and William Cameron may have received a stock subscription in exchange for developing can making machinery and use of his patents in the early years of expansion of the company. William was secure enough financially and with his position in the company to take a trip to Scotland in 1903 with Catherine and 11 months old baby Allen. The trip was to attend a wedding and made in pride to show off his family and new wealth.
By 1910 William had become Superintendent and with expanding business, plans were made to build a new plant at Ashland Ave. and Fulton, further to the west. Money may have been plentiful with no corporate taxes and business booming. William had developed a line of equipment for making the tapered corn beef can and meat packers in Chicago where buying complete lines for shipment to Argentina. World War 1 was looming and more space was needed. The new plant at first was a two story building with foundation and plans for an ultimate three story building. The land for the plant was one-half a city block with the building on one-half of that and a storage lot for castings on the other half. Auto parking was not a consideration then and William later parked his new car inside the plant. Initially the land may have been leased as the land was not purchased until March 2, 1922 when 10 lots were purchased by Cameron Can Machinery Co. for $138,250.00 from a J. Norman Pierce. When they began widening Ashland Avenue and took 15 feet off the front of the building, William built a third story and a six story tower with a clock. This last addition was made in 1922 and was paid for with funds from the city. The tower, beside encasing the water tower, also had a Board of Directors room on one floor. The clock had a chime so everyone in the area could tell the time. Emblazoned above the front door was the name CAMERON engraved in large letters that remain to this day to remind us of the proud history of the building. The building has now been completely redone by new owners. On the inside are offices and stores and the building is accessed at $1,500,000. Below is an Architectural drawing of the Cameron Can Machinery Co. building prepared for William Cameron. When built the clock was smaller and the Cameron name appears only above the entrance door.
This is how the Cameron Can building appears in 2010 with the Cameron name still above the door.
Williams influence in the company is shown in that 3 of the first four patents issued were assigned to William Cameron and not to Torris Wold & Co. Designing new machines was a lengthy process involving putting the idea on paper, building the forms for making the machine castings, processing the parts, assembling and trying out the machine plus writing up the patent with the Attorney. Filed in 1914 and issued in 1916, two of Williams first Patents were very important and issued in his own name, not Torris Wold & Co., the normal procedure when patents are developed by an employee. One was for a Double Seamer which applied the top end to the filled can and the other was an Automatic Body Maker for making the body of the can. A total of 48 Patents were issued to William Cameron before his premature death in 1934. William continued his rise in management of Torris Wold & Co. His 1917 Draft Card listed his position as President of Torris Wold & Co. By April 7th, 1919 William completed the take over of Torris Wold & Co.and filed corporation papers changing the name to Cameron Can Machinery Co. attested to by his friend David Mackie as Secretary. Torris Wold retired and in Dec. 1919 he was issued a passport for travel to Cuba, Panama Canal, Hawaii and California. The passport listed health as a reason. Thus we have the history of how William Cameron used his brilliant mind, leadership and drive to be the best, in acquiring Torris Wold & Co.
To further understand the burgeoning canning and can making industry we look at a short time line of the canning industry. While canning had previously existed as a cottage industry, where can making and canning were undertaken by the same company at the same location such as Moir's Canning of Aberdeen where William was employed, growing demand and automation technology gave rise to separate industries. The number of food processing plants grew from less than 100 in 1870 to nearly eighteen hundred at the turn of the century.
Meanwhile the can manufacturing industry for sale of cans to the food processors began its own growth. The Norton Brothers Company of Chicago for example, specialized in producing vegetable cans. In 1883 this company invented the semi-automatic body maker, which mechanically soldered seams on the side of the cans and increased production capacity to 2,500 cans per hour. A decade later it would be 6,000 per hour.
In 1901 Norton Brothers merged with 60 other firms with 123 factories to form American Can Company with their own machine shops for making the can making machinery. This is the time Torris World & Co along with William Cameron joining the plant in 1901 started their push into developing a line of can making machinery. Edward Norton became President of American Can Company with his headquarters in Chicago. In 1904 Norton left American Can to form Continental Can Company. That same year the Sanitary Can Company was formed from three New York can companies and began production on the patented sanitary can or open-top can which since the top was crimped on required no soldering.
Since the production of cans in the United States was dominated by the three large can making companies the source of business for Torris Wold & Co. lied in exporting and the large American companies producing their own cans. These companies purchased equipment from the three or four independent can making machinery manufactures remaining, each of which specialized in certain types of equipment which they had developed. Torris Wold & Co. was the only company developing a complete line of can making machines. These were punch-presses and curlers for the can ends, slitters, bodymakers and flangers for the can body, air testers for testing the can for leaks and double-seamers for applying the end to the filled can. The list of patents shows the development of these machines by William Cameron. Customers for this equipment were Libby, inventor of the tapered corned beef can with plants in South America, Borden developer of the condensed milk can, Campbell and many others a in the later developing juice can market. Ball Brothers originally from Chicago was also a customer for screw cap machinery.
Of the 48 patents issued to William Cameron, besides the first patent for the Double Seamer and the Automatic Bodymaker which gained him a foothold in Torris Wold & Co., the most important patent of all was Patent 2,013,402 for the first Rotary Can Air Testing Machine. Previously cans had been tested by filling them with air under pressure and submerging them in water on a rotary wheel with an operator watching for leaks. The new rotary air tester tested the pressurized can in a closely enveloping closed pocket. Any leak into the pocket operated an expanding bellows making electrical contact to discharge the can into a separate line. This eliminated the operator and enabled faster speeds.
This Air Tester was developed and improved to a speed of 300 cans per minute that could keep up with the speed of the balance of the line. It replaced 3 slow Air Testers in the line that required dividing the cans into separate lines for testing and bringing them back together again. This machine was the was the reason Continental Can Co. brought Cameron Can Machinery Co. in 1944 and William Cameron being listed among the 8,000 greatest Scots in the world for his invention of the Air Tester.
William Cameron was a prolific inventor. It was his custom when living in River Forest that after dinner he would retire to the living room, sitting in an easy chair in semi-darkness smoking a cigar thinking and with his dog Queenie lying at his feet. He got a box of cigars every week from Cuba. Here he probably thought out the many aspects of his inventions undisturbed by the many distractions of business. Besides being an inventor William was an acute businessman and sales person. As soon as William incorporated Cameron Can Machinery Co. he revised the
company literature and began an advertising campaign in American Exporter Magazine and exhibiting can making machines at Canning Conventions. He established a New York sales manager named Henry Myler and set up sales representatives in many foreign countries. With the passage of time, his first son Allan M. Cameron entered the business in 1926 after graduating from University of Illinois. He was in the engineering department and learning the business operation from his father. William M. Cameron, a second son, followed in 1932 and went into the sales department suited to his personalty. Robert K. Cameron upon the death of his father in 1934 left college in his Junior year and went to work in Cameron Can Machinery Co. where he was the Production Manager creating their highly successful production system and testing all machines before shipment. This equally divided the responsibility for running the plant between the three sons in accordance with their age and abilities. David Mackie was responsible for plant maintenance and crated all the machines for shipment.
Robert Cameron's influence on the development of the Air Tester Machine is shown that in checking every machine for proper function before shipping he made a vital change in the leak detecting mechanism. In the Air Tester patent it shows the leak detecting mechanism as being a vertical pendulum operated by a bellow expanding from the bubble of air from the leaking can. The pushed pendulum then made electrical contact to expel the leaking can. In Robert's job of checking the machines during assemble, one day after analyzing the operation he turned the testing mechanism on it's side which allowed a closer adjustment of the bellows and contact switch. The result was that a smaller air bubble could expand the bellow and operate the switch faster leading to speeding up the machine until it reached 300 cans per minute.
William Cameron immediately after taking control of the company in 1919 began to exhibit at conventions, advertise in the American Exporter and set up representatives world wide. The article on the left from Canning Age describes canning equipment exhibited at a convention. The ad in American Exporter list the representatives in France, England, Spain and China. representatives in France, England, Spain and China. Shown below is a Passport applied for by William Cameron for he and his friend George Kirk to make a a trip to Cuba in early 1919 after taking over Torris Wold & Co. The application states, "This is to inform you that the writer, Mr William Cameron, President of Torris Wold & Co., 240 N. Ashland Avenue, Chicago, manufactures of Meat Can Machinery together with adviser Mr. George E. Kirk proposes to take a trip to Cuba to settle some business matters in connection with the Camaguary Industrial who brought a number of our machines some time ago and want to add some additional machinery. We expect to leave about the middle of Febuary and be back about the middle of March and would appreciate it very much if you would send us passports". The passport states that he was born on the 11th day of October, 1973 and came to the United States on the Campania from Liverpool, England about May 1896 and that he resided years from 1896 to 1919 at Chicago. He was 45 years old, 5' 8" tall with blue eyes and had a mole on his left cheek. This shows William's continuing close friendship with George Kirk through all the years and was probably just going along for the trip as their many fishing trips to the south.
No Pat. No. File Date Issue Date Inventor Assignor Description
1. 1,170,798 Jan 2 1914 Feb 8 1916 W. Cameron W. Cameron Double Seaming Cans
2. 1,192,605 Aug 6 1914 Jul 25 1916 W. Cameron Torris Wold & Co. Method of Sealing Cans
3. 1,223,558 Dec 10 1914 April 19 1918 W. Cameron W. Cameron Can Soldering Machine
4. 1,242,520 Mar 16 1917 Oct 8 1917 W. Cameron W. Cameron Blank Feeding Mechanism
5. 1,261,763 Feb 21 1917 Apr 9 1918 W. Cameron Torris Wold & Co. Clutch, Bodymaker
6. 1,277,342 Aug 27 1918 Aug 27 1918 W. Cameron Torris Wold & Co. Sheet-Feeding Mechanism
7. 1,283,659 Nov 19 1917 Nov 5 1918 W. Cameron Torris Wold & Co. Blank-Feeding Mechanism
Cameron Can Machinery Co. Incorporated April 7th, 1919
8. 1,318,540 May 28 1919 Oct 4 1919 W. Cameron Cameron Can Blank-Feeding Mechanism
9. 1,321,885 Nov 27 1916 Nov 18 1919 W. Cameron Torris Wold & Co. Beading and Flanging Machine
10. 1,337,307 May 18 1918 April 20 1920 W. Cameron Torris Wold & Co. Automatic Die Press
11. 1,346,589 Oct 5 1918 July 13 1920 W. Cameron Torris Wold & Co. Blank-Positioning Mechanism
12. 1,352,578 Mar 20 1918 Sept 14 1920 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can-End Feeding Mechanism
13. 1,406,724 May 20 1916 Feb 14 1922 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can Seaming Machine
14. 1,433,673 Mar 28 1919 Oct 31 1922 W. Cameron Cameron Can Composition Applying Machine
15. 1,433,696 Mar 20 1919 Apr 9, 1928 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can-End Curling Mechanism
16. 1,477,240 Oct 13 1919 Dec 11 1923 W. Cameron Cameron Can Automatic Die Press
17. 1,499,097 April 7 1922 June 24 1924 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can-End Curling and Stacking
18. 1,529,054 Dec 1 1921 Mar 10 1925 W. Cameron Cameron Can Blank-Feeding Mechanism
19. 1,541,760 Mar 16 1920 June 9 1925 W. Cameron Cameron Can Automatic Die Press
20. 1,568,956 Nov 4 1922 Jan 12 1926 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can-Testing Machine
21. 1,600,715 May 7 1924 Sept 21 1926 W. Cameron Cameron Can Cap Selecting and Feeding
22. 1,615,325 May 14 1925 Jan 25 1927 W. Cameron Cameron Can False Wiring and Seaming
23. 1,621,580 Mar 22 1923 Mar 27 1927 W. Cameron Cameron Can Double Seaming Machine
24. 1,624,213 Oct 14 1925 April 12 1927 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can Body Making Machine
25. 1,639,367 July 23 1923 Aug 16 1927 W. Cameron Cameron Can Cap Tread Rolling Machine
26. 1,639,646 Jul 12 1924 Aug 23 1927 W. Cameron Cameron Can Machine f or Operating Upon Sheet-Metal Caps
27. 1,640,979 Sept 2 1924 Aug 30 1927 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can-End Curling and Stacking
28. 1,674,636 April 13 1925 June 26 1928 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can-Feeding Mechanism
29. 1,706,599 Mar 11 1925 Mar 26 1929 W. Cameron Cameron Can Die-Press Mechanism
30. 1,722,556 Oct 14 1925 July 30 1929 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can Body Forming Machine
31. 1,737,569 June 22 1927 Dec 3 1929 W. Cameron Cameron Can Cap-Feeding Mechanism
32. 1,747,465 Mar 23 1927 Feb 18 1930 W. Cameron Cameron Can Combined Forming and Thread-Rolling Mechanism for Caps
33. 1,765,758 Mar 24 1927 June 24 1930 W. Cameron Cameron Can Mechanism for Operating on
34. 1,792,812 Jan 9 1929 Feb 17 1931 W. Cameron Cameron Can Threading Machine
35. 1,806,890 Feb 18 1928 May 26 1931 W. Cameron Cameron Can Automatic Stop Mechanism
36. 1,819,673 Sept 15 1928 Aug 18 1931 W. Cameron Cameron Can Stop Mechanism for Presses
37. 1,883,539 Sept 24 1930 Oct 18 1032 W. Cameron Cameron Can Soldering Device for Can Machines
38. 1,912,821 Sept 23 1921 June 6 1933 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can Necking Machine
39. 1,917,359 April 28 1930 July 11 1933 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can Making Machine
40. 1,935,391 Oct 9 1929 Nov 14 1933 W. Cameron Cameron Can Blank Feeding Mechanism
41. 1,941,972 Dec 11 1931 Jan 2 1934 W. Cameron Cameron Can Hand Double Seamer
42. 1,959,854 April 4 1931 May 22 1934 W. Cameron Cameron Can Sheet Feeding Mechanism
43. 2,013,402 Jan 11 1929 Sept 3 1935 W. Cameron Cameron Can First Can Body Testing Machine
44. 2,013,403 Oct 20 1932 Sept 3 1935 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can Testing Apparatus
45. 2,020,535 Aug 9 1929 Nov 12 1935 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can Testing Machine
46. 2,062,863 Oct 7 1933 Dec 1 1936 W. Cameron Cameron Can Compound Applying Machine
47. 2,083,827 Oct 8 1932 June 15 1937 W. Cameron Cameron Can Can Tester
48. 2,119,665 May 18 1934 June 7 1938 W. Cameron Cameron Can Work Feeding Apparatus
Williams early wealth and influence in Torrts Wold & Co. is shown that in 1903 he was able to take his wife and 11 months old Allan to Scotland to visit his family. William previously had joined the Grand Lodge of Scotland which is the head of the Mason organization in Scotland and a Certificate shows he was elected to Master Mason in 1986 a year before he came to America. He joined the Medinah Temple and he later became a 32nd Degree Mason. Early in his coming to Chicago he joined year before he came to America. Early in his coming to Chicago he joined Clan Campbell No 28 O. R. C., an organization of Chicago Scots of many Clans. A letter of condolence addressed to him March 10, 1912 on the death of his son, Howard Avery Cameron, addresses William as a Past Chief. Clan Campbell attesting to Williams early rise in local statue. In later years with the success of his business he was a Director in 2 banks which failed in the stock market crash of 1929. In 1934 at the time of his death he was President of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. The photo below shows William Cameron on the far right at a Directors meeting of the Saint Andrews Society. Fourth from the left is Robert Black a very close friend of William.
A wealth of photos however shows that Williams life was not limited to local activities but he spent a great deal of time hunting and fishing. This included hunting deer and fishing in Wisconsin and traveling south to the Florida Keys and other destinations for longer fishing trips. These activities accumulated in William building his own private game preserve for duck hunting and fishing but he still hunted deer in Wisconsin. Following are an array of photos of documenting fishing and hunting trips from those early and later years and other activities.
This is one of Williams first fishing trips as shown by the early vintage cars about 1915. The group picture says Good By Muskie on the edge with William in the front center. Next is the large camp house and then William sitting on the ground by a boat. He seems to be a leader of this fishing group.
Below we have William lining up a board for an addition to the camp house and a slim William displaying what seems to be his only catch.
A second trip shows a another group with later vintage cars around 1917 with one nice muskie caught but no pictures of William who may be taking the photos
Our last fishing trip shows only William who has a guide taking pictures but now catching a lot of large fish
In addition to fishing William enjoyed hunting in Wisconsin as photos reveal the results of his prowess. An early trip shows William with a single guide and a doe or young buck without antlers early in the season on the guides shoulder. A later deer hunt about 1932 has William with more money and guides able to push the deer up to him to shoot 2 nice bucks. One of the bucks looks like a trophy buck in size. William carried these home on the front fenders of his new shinny Cadillac V8 and had his picture taken on the side street along side of Cameron Can Machinery Co. in the background.
William Cameron's other hunting and fishing activities changed in 1909 when he first became associated with a man by the name of George H. Kirk with whom he developed a very close friendship. When Torris Wold & Co. moved to Ashland Ave. to a plant designed by William Cameron with the foresight to provide for future expansion, the boilers in the plant were installed by the company of George H Kirk, Engineering and Boiler Contractor. George was born in England in 1859. He married and with his wife and son came over to the States in 1890 and settled in Chicago. With his background in the national British sport of soccer, George Kirk in 1907 established the Association Foot Ball League of Chicago with George Kirk as President and eight teams that quickly grew to ten the following year. In 1908 prior to the Torris Wold & Co. plant was being built, George developed a friendship with William Cameron and William became a Vice President of the Association. In the following year 1910, William succeeded George as President of the Association. Soccer was expanding rapidly throughout the city requiring a good deal time so by 1912 William left the Association to be replaced by a Peter J. Peel who had donated and set up the Peel Cup Challenge for the Illinois State Championship. William Cameron was then listed as an Honorary President along with notaries Mayor William Hale Thomson and others. The team photo shows Peter J. Peel, Donner of the Peel Cup for the Illinois Soccer Companionship as the 1st person in the back row. William Cameron as President is third from left in back with the Peel Cup wining soccer team. The second photo shows William and Peter posing with the Peel Cup Trophy.
Beginning in 1908 William Cameron and George Kirk with their developing association made three trips south to fish in the Florida Keys and off the coast of Mexico to fish for small fish and Tarpon. Their first trip was made to the Florida Keys in 1908 hen a post card William sent to his son William M. Cameron said they had made arrangements for a boat to take them to the ocean for three days and they would camp on the boat. In those early times, fishing was not highly developed and they only caught a few sharks, shot some birds. On the second trip to the Florida Keys they had a better boat and the fishing was more developed with better catches. They pulled in a number of craw fish which William brought back to Chicago on the train in a large horse trough filled with water. I was a very little boy but I remember seeing all the craw fish in the trough. They also went ashore and had a good time drinking coconut milk and swimming as our pictures show.
The 1st fishing Boat William & George with 2 Sharks A Raccoon & Heron William shot
William with his Craw fish William enjoying Coconuts The Beach Boys George & William
George shows off the catch on the 2nd Charter boat William with 2 small Sharks
Her William displays his prize Tarpon catch and seems very pleased with the black birds he shot.
William Cameron and George Kirk made one last trip south for fishing which William may have researched. Post cards show they flew into Panama City and then into a town south of Mexico, probably Belize, as they took a side trip into the interior to see ancient Aztec pyramid ruins which are only located in that area. The trip was very successful as they caught large Tarpon, a Stingray and shot birds.
William visiting the port The Aztec Pyramid visited on a side trip
William displays his fish A stingray and fish adorn the bow of the boat A reverse view of the catch
William shows off birds he shot George and William with prize tarpon
George Kirk had a cabin and a motor launch near Thayer Indiana and the Fogli Hotel on the Kankakee River. The Kankakee River was formerly part of the Kankakee Grand Marsh which covered the whole northern sector of Indiana. This was a noted hunting and fishing area with Presidents and notables from all over coming to hunt and fish in its bountiful confines. Market hunters sent trainloads of fowl to Chicago and it was a source of lumber for the city after the Chicago fire. As the friendship between William and George flourished, William made trips with George to the cabin developing an interest in the area. In August 1914 William purchased his first luxury automobile, a large open phaeton. This enable the whole family to make regular trips to the cabin and Fogli Hotel with many experiences. Jean and I would stay at the Fogli Hotel on vacations paddling around in a rowboat exploring the river. In the spring when the river would flood and then retreat it would leave big carp trapped in the ponds in back of the hotel and we would an exciting time wading in and catching them by hand to dump in buckets for sale in the market. Pictures of the historic Fogli Hotel below shows how the old Kankakee River before it was straighten out would flood the hotel in the spring. The second view of the hotel shows the saloon along side of it for entertaining the many duck hunters who stayed at the hotel. The saloon has since been torn down and the saloon bar is in a hew location in a building across the river. I have a picture giving me by Ben Fogli from off the wall of the saloon of a Scot waiter asking anxiously "Say When Man" as he pours a scotch drink for another Scot who is looking pleasantly up in the air as he ignores the waiters pleas. The Fogli Hotel is where we would stay as George Kirk's cabin a half mile away was too small to hold more than a few people. Roads where poor and it would take 2 1/2 hours to drive from Chicago.
George Kirk's cabin here was built high above the ground to avoid the river floods
The hotel was purchased in 1967 by Edith M. Lessie from the last of the Fogli heirs. She remodeled the Hotel into a private home shown as the beautiful structure that it is today with gardens in back.
Back in 1914 the weekend outings were simple with swimming in the river and boating. Our photo shows William holding young Allan while little Jean is also enjoying the swim.
Here William is boating on the Kankakee River waiting for George to start cranky inboard motor. In another outing William once again waits impatiently for George to start the motor while the boat loads of ladies sit patiently in their heavy dresses. Once on another trip with several ladies in the front launch and my sister Jean and I being towed behind in the rowboat we were cruising the river sightseeing and they decided to go ashore. Unfortunately they landed directly under a bee hive up in a tree and the bees came swarming down on the occupants forcing a quick retreat. Luckily Jean and I were away from the shore and did not get stung. Our picture below shows a young Allan in later years holding a big carp in front of the Fogli Hotel showing we stayed there many years until Indian Gardens was built in 1927. William was not known to play the Scottish game of golf. Once when we were staying at George Kirk's cabin did he take young Robert out to a nearby field to hit some golf balls with Robert chasing them down. Later photos from about 1922 show William and Allan out in the field practicing golf. William is holding his first dog, an Irish setter named Queen and has a golf club under his right arm. Allan ready to go off to collage demonstrates his swing. Their car in the background shows that both pictures were taken at the same time.
In 1924 William Cameron built a lovely new home in River Forest at 824 Bonnie Brae perhaps choosing the street for its Scottish name. This was a preliminary in his financial time line to developing Indian Gardens in 1926. Our photos show how the house and mature trees appear in 2011. William and Jean appear on a winter day following a snow storm with Williams second hunting dog.
As Williams interest in hunting and fishing in the area grew he may have made a trip to the Collier Hotel which was only eight miles to the East of where Indian Gardens would be later built as a game preserve. The Collier Hotel was the center of all duck hunting in the area and had been frequented by Presidents and hunters from all over the world. As was his character in wanting only the best, William probably made the decision not to join the crowd but to build his own private game preserve. The measure of planing and its accomplishment to build Indian Gardens is a tribute to William Cameron's planing acumen and perseverance. World War 1 had started in 1914 with requirements for can making machinery to preserve food for the troops leading to a booming business for Torris Wold & Co. and accumulating wealth for William Cameron. Williams first patents assigned to himself were filed in 1914 and showed that he had taken over leadership in Torris Wold & Co. He had become President of the company as listed on his 1917 Draft card. Other changes were taking place in Indiana. They had begun dredging to straighten out the Kankakee River to eliminate flooding and drain the marshes for farm land. This dredged river was called the Marble Power Ditch and was completed to the Illinois state line by 1918. The dredging threw up a high embankment on each side on the river that left the old winding river beds without an outlet. William Cameron sized upon this isolation of the river beds to conceive the plan which would later become the Indian Gardens Game Preserve.
Basic to Williams plan to create a duck hunting marsh was the fact that the Kankakee River had a drop in the water level of 11” to the mile creating a water flow of 3-4 miles per hour. Williams idea was to utilize this water drop by entering the Kankakee River at a point above his property and digging a ditch to enclose the old river bed and damming it at the bottom end so that this would create an increased water level equal to the drop in the Kankakee River of 11" to the mile. To get maximum water level William went to a point 3 1/2 miles above the Range Line Road to enter the Kankakee River. Here he installed a gate at the entrance to control water during floods and a pump for pumping water when the water level was low. He then negotiated an easement from the farmers whose land he would cross with his ditch, promising them the the right to duck hunt in his marsh once a year. He then dug a small ditch the size of a normal irrigation ditch parallel to the Kankakee River to carry the water down to the Range Line Road where the old river beds started and from there branching out the additional 1 1/2 miles with a large ditch to enclose the old Kankakee River beds. This ditch would end at the bottom end where a railroad crossed the Kankakee River with a gate and spillway to allowed release or control of the water height. This would create 4 1/2 ft of water above the Kankakee River level at the bottom end thereby flooding the old river beds, woods and some marsh area. This area became known as the Old Marsh, an area where the ducks were not hunted or disturbed normally. To create a hunting area William then tapped into the first ditch at the top of the Old Marsh and enclosed a large additional area of what was then farm land to be flooded with several feet of water. This second ditch then ran on down along the railroad into the original ditch at the bottom end. This new area was called the New Marsh were we would do our hunting as the ducks would fly out of the old Marsh to feed. Because of deeper water in the old river beds and marsh there was not much feed there for the thousands of ducks stopping there and the ducks would fly out over the New Marsh going out to feed in the corn fields or be enticed by our loud calling to visit our array of decoys. This restoration of the old river beds and marshes has been visited and featured by the Indiana Grand Kankakee Marsh Restoration Project as a model as to what can be done to restore, along with many other projects, the river areas to the old Grand Kankakee Marsh. The project was developed from a survey of the Indian Gardens Game Preserve and other locations made in 1933 by Mr. W.H. Frazier, Sanitary Engineer of the Department of Conservation in which he published a description of the marsh and old river bed restoration and that the number of visiting migratory birds had doubled in each of the four previous years since completion in 1928.
This is the final drawing made of the land layout of the India Gardens Game Preserve. It has been inverted to show true North the same as the other satellite maps shown later. It is interesting to note that the map includes the location of all the proposed duck blinds, as represented by the black dots, including those in the second pond across from the house and those in the old Marsh where the hunting was done until the New Marsh was completed in 1934. Those in the New Marsh were placed on the southwest side of the ponds to have the prevailing southwest winds at the back of the duck hunter. This shows a great deal of thought and knowledge went into the preparation of the land layout. A large pond at the south end of the New Marsh has blinds on four sides of the pond. This is where Robert and three of his friends stationed in opposite blinds killed 16 geese out of one incoming flock.
The 810 acres in Newton County which William wanted to enclose and flood to create the duck hunting marsh, extended from a railroad that crossed the Kankakee River at the bottom of the property to the Range Line on the eastern edge and enclosed by the diagonal Kankakee River. The Range Line where it crossed the river was the intersection for four counties, Newton and Porter on the south side of the river and Lake and Jasper on the north side. William purchased in total, 1,300 acres along the river in these four counties. Some of the property was forest and some farm land use to raise hay for his horses and cattle. The 150 ft strip of land purchased along the north side of the river in Lake County from the Range Line Road down to the railroad was purchased to prevent any one traversing the river from landing or trespassing according to law, illustrating William’s research into all aspects of creating the game preserve.
Robert recalls his first trip to the property when he was a young boy. His father drove along a road to the forest at the edge of a farm. They made their way through the brush to come upon a mound about 12 feet high and 150 yards diameter that was covered with towering young Black Walnut trees. This was the only high ground in the whole area. His father told him that this is where he would build the house. Delving into history we found that these type of mounds were dunes created ages ago by wind blown sand from the dunes to the north. The last occupants were the Pottawatomie Indians who were tillers of the soil and would have used the high mound for an encampment when hunting and probably planted the Black Walnut trees which are nowhere else in the area to harvest the nuts. Indian artifacts were found when digging in the area. As shown in the time line William was not able to go ahead with his plan until he was more financially stable in the late 1920s. Deeds show that William purchased the large portion of the land in Newton County where the house and game marsh were located in July 1925 when he purchased 730 acres for $27,351.25 and an additional acreage for $3,000.00 in December 1926, all from the Northern Indiana Land Co. Dredging of the 3 1/2 mile water supply ditch may have begun in 1927 and passing the house in 1928 with the large ditch and throwing sand up on the bank below the house. A drawing for the barn made by a local contractor is dated 4/12/28 establishes the year of construction. The sand thrown up was then dragged up around the house to build up the hill. Robert remembers driving a horse with a clam shovel behind to help move the sand up the hill
To complete Indian Gardens William built a grand country estate. The house perched on the hill above the frequent flood waters of the Kankakee River, consisted of four bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen and quarters for the caretaker and his wife who lived there year around. A stone road circled around past the front door of the house down the hill to a four car garage with a paved concrete parking entrance. There was a chicken house on one side near the garage. The road circled on past the garage and a big red barn and around the hill back to intersect the entering road. Two stone pillars guarded the road entrance a block from the house and where the circling road had intersected at the bottom of the hill William installed a fishpond to add to the landscape. The hill was covered with tall slender Walnut trees. These were a nuance in the fall when the ground was covered with walnuts which had to be garnered and the hulls stained your hands and the nuts were hard to crack.
Our pictures show the house still under construction in 1928 with the servants entrance on the left. In the following year of 1929 when grass has grown and we see 17 year old Robert with his dad's dog and a string of small fish which have already begun to multiply.
A year later in 1929 the house is complete with contrasting gray and white paint and blooming shrubbery. A majestic sight from the road. Pictures from 1929 show the garage glimpsed through the numerous trees with the chicken coop alongside. The garage was originally painted gray with white trim like the house and had hinged doors. The white stone road circling the house passes the front porch.
A design drawing of the barn shows it was built in 1928. It had stalls for three horses, a riding horse and two work horses. In addition there were 6 stalls for milking cows and a calf pen. A center aisle allowed feeding taken from an oats bin or pulling down hay from the loft above. William harvested his own hay and had a wooden corn crib alongside the barn for holding harvested corn on the cob to be shucked in a grinder for feeding to the ducks. In an area near the barn William raised quail and pheasant for release in the woods and hunting with his dog Queen. This was not too successful but there were a lot of rabbit and squirrel which I hunted in the woods. He also raised raccoon and kept sheep which were used to graze and keep the grass cut. To complete the game preserve William needed to raise ducks and geese. Some of the ducks would later be used as live decoys which were allowed at that time. The ducks would have a string around their necks attached to a lead weight to hold them in location. At the waters edge next to the chicken coop William fenced in an area which was used to raise geese. Over the bridge across the from the house were two old river beds which had some water year around. He fenced in the closest river bed which was visible from the house through the trees which he trimmed and raised a large number of ducks there with their wings clipped so they could not fly away. In the fall it was a great sight as we could watch from the house when the wild ducks attracted by the ducks in pond would come fluttering down to look for feed. In the second old river bed pond in back of the fenced in pond William added a convenient duck blind with decoys where we would go out and shoot ducks before breakfast, come in and eat and then go down to the new marsh for more hunting. In addition down by the barn William had pens for raising quail and peasant for release in the woods. That program did not work out very well and was later abandoned. In one of the pens 2 Fox cubs were raised, Our photos show the two cubs in the pen and Robert and Jean holding them
To reach the fenced in duck raising area across from the house William built a bridge along with a boathouse for changing into swimming suits and for boat storage. Our photo shows one of the frequent spring floods. When these occurred we would have to have a team of horses to pull our car in on the muddy Range Line road to the south
These were the years the family was growing up. Allan had completed college and was assisting his father in the business and would soon marry his college sweetheart. William was off college and Jean and Robert were in high school.
In 1929, the second year after the house was built William had a group of company employees out for a day of enjoying the outdoors. Our photos show the groups activities and the boat house and bridge. The water level was high then providing a wide stream that nourished the marshes and old river beds where the fishing was so good. Our first photo of the group show William standing with George Kirk beside his Cadillac Car which is festooned with garlands as are the other cars in the spirit of the day.
Here some watch from the bridge and boat house as William starts the motor to take a load of people for a ride down the ditch. Two men are sitting on the ends of the duck boat with a swimmer holding on. A little girl watches from the ditch bank.
Now the ladies try their hand at catching some small pan fish as the little girl climbs the railing to watch. At the same period in time we see Allan M. Cameron who has entered his fathers business is dressed in fashion in knickers on a Sunday afternoon on the freshly laid stone road dating the photo to the first year of Indian Gardens.
At the time there wasn’t a bridge across the Kankakee River on the Range Line road leading up to the river and passing by the Indian Gardens house. Driving from Chicago we had to go a long way around through DeMotte five miles to the east. After the house and duck marsh were completed and duck hunting was good William solved the problem of shorting the distance by getting a bridge built across the river at the Range Line Road. He did this by talking to and inviting all the Commissioners from the four counties to a duck dinner at Indian Gardens. This was an accomplishment in itself. Some of the Commissioners from the counties across the river came and were ferried across the river in a rowboat and walk the 1/2 mile to the house along the ditch sand embankment which was all that existed at the time. At the house a great time was had by all with the duck dinner and the liquor flowing freely. I was there and some of the inebriated guests from across the river now had to walk in the dark along the embankment and be ferried to the other side. This was a perilous undertaking considering their condition, darkness, river current and no landing place except a steep embankment. They made it and the bridge was voted on and built, a tribute to Williams talents.
This picture of the bridge 87 years later shows a one way bridge in need of repairs. After the bridge was built William never had the 1/2 mile road leading up to the bridge improved in order to eliminate traffic past the house. The road at first was only a one lane road with some stone gravel laid on top the sand embankment that was dredged up when the ditch was built. It was gradually improved until today 2 cars can scrape by. It is primarily a local road with little traffic and the bridge has deteriorated to the point that it may be closed.
Indian Gardens was a great place to be. My summers were spent fishing, help operate the farm by cultivating and hauling in hay and corn. I explored the area on horseback and in my duck boat. I learned to drive in our Model T truck and got into a lot of mischief with my friends. Our falls seasons were spent duck hunting and tramping the woods for elusive quail or in my case in addition for rabbits and shooting crow using an owl decoy. In winter my father and I never missed a weekend driving through lake effect snow in passages up to the roof top. But there was skating in the moonlight and sleigh rides to past the time before enjoying the warm fireplace. Fishing was very good with pickerel growing to 30” and bass and pan fish. I once had the Sporting Club from my high school out for a casting and fishing tournament. Muskrat where plentiful and a few beaver. A trapper trapped these in the fall along with mink and raccoon. I would catch a possum and he would curl his tail around my finger and play dead but I would watch his open jaw and teeth. When I was eighteen my Father would let me help drive home on Sunday. He would always take a half hour nap before leaving for home. We were constant companions exploring the marsh and over seeing the operation of the game preserve. He started me out with a 22 rifle which I would use for shooting turtles and squirrels. He next brought me a 410 shotgun which I remember as we sat on a bank and I tried to shoot ducks flying by. I later brought a 16 gauge competing with the others using 20 gauge guns. Our first photo shows William standing beside the Model T truck in DeMotte. He had his only accident that I know of while once while we were driving to DeMotte in his regular car. I was sitting in the middle between my father and Jean and the dog was in the backseat. As we approached DeMotte there was a narrow high bridge over a ditch. As we went over the bridge it threw the rear end of the car up with the dog and it let out a yelp. My father turned his head around to look pulling his left arm and steering wheel down and we went over into the side ditch. I flew forward against the rear view mirror causing a cut between the bridge of my nose and my eye. Fortunately we got out of the ditch and drove the short distance to town were the doctor stitched up the cut.
Below we have Robert enjoying a swim with some ladies laughing it up. Our other photo has William and Mother perhaps entertaining visiting relatives.
Here Robert displays a nice bass he caught and the 22 rifle given him by his father. He would ride in the bow of the boat has they traveled down the ditch and shoot turtles sunning on the bank and logs. Our other picture shows someone perhaps brother William displaying his no hands water skiing ability.
Showing the fast development of fish in the ditch and old river beds Robert displays a record setting pickerel he caught in Sept. 1931 weighing 10 1/4 lbs. and 36" long. Later a larger fish was landed weighing 11 1/4 lbs. and 37" long. The big fish is held for display by brother William as Robert and Dad look on.
These photos show guest with a very nice string of fish ready to take home. Robert sitting on the bridge has his picture taken before leaving for home and in the other photo he sits astride his horse waiting to take off.
Our pictures here show sister Jean posing on the horse with Robert and a friend holding the reins. When we first got the horse we did not have a saddle and Robert learned to ride bareback. He once fell off when he wanted to ride up over the hill past the house but the horse suddenly decided to take the rode around to the barn. In other pictures Robert and Jean sit on the bridge with a friend. On a special occasion Jean is shown all dressed up with a flower on her shoulder. It could be her birthday in May or a going away occasion for William and Jean's trip to Scotland in 1929. Jean's hair and appearance are the same as her picture taken in Scotland.
Autumns where devoted mostly to duck and geese hunting with family and friends with many memorial hunts. At first we used live decoys but this was eliminated and limits placed on the number of birds you could shoot. We had our brushes with Game Wardens who could hear the shots and sometimes would be waiting for us when we came out of the marsh with our ducks. Allan and I were down in the marsh one day and shot 92 ducks in the best day of hunting we ever had. We had to make several trips bringing the ducks in and spreading them out over the whole floor of the garage to cool off before taking them home to the markets to be plucked and cleaned. Another time I had three friends out hunting and spotted a flock of geese leaving a pond at the bottom of the marsh to go out to feed. We thought they would be back so we took up positions, 2 people on each side around the pond and waited for the geese to come back. They flew in late in the afternoon and as they landed we opened fire and killed 16 birds out of the flock. Unfortunately an accident happened as I was swinging my gun following the birds flying out my partner standing besides me had selected a goose straight ahead and the barrel of my gun swung in front of his as he shot and and his shot hit my barrel bending it and shocking my thumb holding the barrel. I was miserable with my sore thumb as we had to slough our way out of the marsh carrying the 16 heavy geese. At first in hunting we used live decoys but this was eliminated and limits placed on the number of birds you could shoot. We had our brushes with Game Wardens who could hear the shots and sometimes would be waiting for us when we came out of the marsh with our ducks. Allan and I were down in the marsh one day and shot 92 ducks in the best day of hunting we ever had. We had to make several trips bringing the ducks in and spreading them out over the whole floor of the garage to cool off before taking them home to the markets to be plucked and cleaned. My sister Jean and I had a hunt she always remember. We were down in the old marsh looking for ducks when we heard a goose calling in the center of the marsh. I told Jean we could maybe creep up on them so we crept through the bull rushes very quietly until we were close and could see the geese. We rose up and quickly shot the three geese as they frantically flapped their wings to fly away.
The picture below shows the happy hunter Jean and her geese. In the other photo we have a pleased William holding the results of his days hunt with Robert
We often had guests for duck hunting and here a group shows their luck. William checks his first dog as he holds the results of the days shoot.
Here William, Robert and Allan share a successful cold weather hunt. We are now wearing chest high waders replacing the earlier hip boots. The duck shelter on the back duck pond can be seen in the background
Allan and Helen are married now and William has a new hunting dog as Helen displays the fish they caught trolling while going back and forth to the hunting marsh
Here Robert along with Chuck Kenlay who is married to Jean Cameron and William display the same days hunt as at the end of the day a dashing Allan and Helen, nicknamed Willie, are ready to go home.
At the end of a successful weekend hunt everyone is ready to head home.
Two important letters from the files of Robert K. Cameron provide a great deal more insight to William Cameron as a father and a business man shortly before his tragic death at the prime of his life. They also give exact information as to the completion of Indian Garden as a game preserve which William never got to enjoy
This letter shows that the New Marsh was not created until 1934, five years after the first ditch enclosed the Old Marsh to flood the old river bed. In the meantime fish and wildlife had multiplied has shown by the 31" pickerel caught by Robert in 1931 and the report of the conservation officer in 1933 that the ducks had increased in each of the last four years. However you could not hunt the ducks in their resting area so William dug the second ditch to enclose the New Marsh as a shooting area. This New Marsh was completed in Oct. 1934 as related in Williams second letter. Robert was in college at the time with the Model A Ford and would often drive up to Indian Garden for the weekend, a distance of 120 miles. That William would take time to dictate these long letters shows his kind consideration and love as a father of all the family. The P.S. Well "Unkie" is a kidding reminder that Robert was now the new uncle to Helen Cameron and Bonnie Jean Kenley new born babies of which Dad was so proud. Unfortunately William died on Dec. 21, 1934 a month after the second letter unable to enjoy the results of his brilliant life and labor.
Again Dad takes time to write to his Sonny to kept him informed of what is going on. This second letter shows that the New Marsh is now completed and geese and ducks are beginning to use it. With reeds and cattails not yet grown up the New March was more suitable for geese then ducks. The fenced in pond across the ditch from the house where William raised 100 ducks with clipped wings so they could not fly away, attracted the migrating ducks. This provided a lot of hunting until the New Marsh matured. As a business man William took every advantage to impress others in advertising as to the size of his business. His letterhead showing the large building states that the business was formed in 1886 which was the Year Torris Wold first incorporated his original business not the 1919 when William changed the name to Cameron Can Machinery Co. As this was only a name change William was right in his statement but the impression is different. He only had a New York salesman Ernie Myler. Others were city names to impress as doing business worldwide. His mailing envelope also impresses with the picture of a canning machine.
After William Cameron died in 1934 Indian Garden was inherited by the four children with their growing families. The first change made was to incorporate the property as Indian Gardens, Inc. with equal shares and Allan M Cameron managing the property. Incorporating eliminated the problem of probate in event of the death of any of the shareholders. The next problem that developed was assigning and providing bedrooms for the four families and it was decided to redesign the house to add on one more corner bedroom for the four families. Robert and Jean kept their two bedrooms facing the ditch and Allan and Bill had rooms on the other two corners. This was accomplished by eliminating the caretakers stairway and confining them to the two rooms and bath off the kitchen. The outside of the house was changed to eliminate the front entrance porch and instead add a long two story veranda with four grand columns.The first floor was enclosed with screens and the second floor had a long railing. There was a central entrance to the dining room and on the bedroom floor. The house was also painted all white removing the contrasting gray with white trim. This was a beautiful sight when approaching the house from the road and from the outside an improvement on Williams original design. In succeeding years as the family activities and residences changed the individuals sold there shares of the property to Allan Sr. First Jean sold then William and last Robert. All continued to be welcomed at Indian Gardens and hunted in the fall. In later years as Allan Sr. resided in Florida, Allan Jr. took over management of the property. When Allan Sr. died in 1990, Allan Jr. inherited Indian Gardens. Through the years many changes occurred in management of the property. Long gone are the horses, cows and chickens with the chicken coop destroyed and the garage and barn unused. The bridge and boathouse are torn down and the duck raising area is abandoned and overgrown. The shallow 3 1/2 mile ditch to bring water from above to maintain a high water level has filled with sand from the Kankakee River and is no longer is in use. This was the only miscalculation made by William Cameron in his design of the Game Preserve. In its placed to obtain the needed water level Allan Jr. installed a pump along side the Range Line bridge to raise the water level during the duck hunting season. During the balance of the year the water level however is 3 ft. lower and stagnant covered with green alege during the summer. There no longer is any fishing as in the past. Duck hunting has declined as the number of migratory ducks has decreased and their flight path shifted to the west. The care taker no longer lives in the house but in a trailer home a short ways from the house. The house has been remodeled again to add a longer entrance way to the kitchen to accommodate the hunters entering with their wet waders and hunting jackets which are hung up in the basement to dry. Here the furnace has been removed and a gas system with a large tank outside installed for heating the house. The white stone road circles the house past the garage but now goes around the barn past a new very large metal enclosure for holding all the farming equipment accumulated by Allan Jr. for his farming operation. Today William Cameron's vision of a country estate and private game game preserve have largely disappeared. In it's place we now have a large farming operation and a private Duck Club. The Duck Club consist of a few of Alan Jr's friends in Indiana who hunt on certain days during the week and on the weekend paying a yearly fee to help cover the cost of the operation. With the decline in the duck population Allan Jr. has made attempts to improve the shooting by installing a large number of Wood Duck nest boxes and by buying baby ducks and later releasing them in the marsh and these methods have had some success. We believe however that the main problem is the lack of the 3 ft. higher year around water level which when the marshes were first created led to a natural habitat for wildlife and an increased duck population every year for four years and the abundant fishing. Allan Jr. early in his management wisely purchased some large acreage of corn land on the north side of the river. This has increased greatly in value with the current high demand for corn products and helped support the operation of Indian Gardens. A disastrous wind storm in 2011 toppled 37 of the majestic old trees on the hill around the house and in the surrounding area. In addition a large number of trees blew down across the ditch to the marsh and will have to be pulled out. On the occasion of Robert's 99th birthday he reviewed with Allan Jr. and Allan 3rd who would inherit Indian Gardens that the best solution to return the marshes to the conditions of the past would be to re-dredge the 3 1/2 mile ditch with a new small dredge available allowing high water levels year round without the high cost of pumping. This would allow the fish and wild life to propagate and make Indian Gardens a year round retreat as in the past. It was thought also to return the buildings to the colors of the past and fence in the property along the road with a gate between the pillars to prevent entry of the many sightseers who liked to drive around the house. Indian Gardens was a name taken historically for the area from the Pottawatomie Indians who planted the Black Walnut trees on the hill as the only such trees in the area. It is the cornerstone for the rebirth of the Grand Kankakee Marsh and illustrated in numerous books, reports and articles and as such needs to be preserved for generations to come.
The satellite view above shows all the interesting details of the Indian Gardens Game Preserve as it exist today in the 2011under the ownership of Allan M. Cameron Jr. In the upper right corner beginning with the County Rd 1200, the old Range Line Road where it intersects the Kankakee River, the ditch runs down alongside the road to the Y in the word County and then turns left past the house and other structures which are the small white dots in the image. Across the ditch from the house can be seen the old flooded river beds which is where William raised his ducks and we would shoot in the morning. The ditch then goes down past a large black pond created when they took out sand fill for the US65 Interstate. It is interesting to note that the highway direction was changed to bypass and preserve the Old and New Marsh flooded areas. After passing through in a tunnel under US65 which allowed the water and boats to pass through under US65 the first ditch dug to enclose the Old Marsh continues on its way way to the bottom railroad tracks in the lower left corner. The light green area is the Old Marsh where the ducks would stay. The many flooded river beds can also be seen. They were too deep for the ducks but excellent for fishing. In the winter in the moonlight we had a wonderful time skating on the smooth ice. The second ditch dug to create the New Marsh for hunting begins where the first ditch has Passed US65 and follows alongside of US65 until it veers away to run down to the railroad tracks which it follows to the bottom end. The image shows the small shallow ditches leading to the duck blinds. These were dug to bring the boats up to the blind with the decoys and hunters.
Our first views show the Pillars at the entrance. these will have a gate added and a fence along the road. to the left of the entrance is the Caretakers trailer quarters and we show how the entrance divides to circle the house on the hill
We approach the house as it appears today. Fortunately it and none of the other buildings were damaged by the giant fallen trees.
Hopefully the house will be redone in gray with white trim and the tank sunk in the ground
Fallen trees litter the grounds around the house. Hopefully some trees can be replaced and new bushes decorate the house and grounds.
In the area behind the barn is the new Equipment Shed and the old Corn Crib with a hunting boat waiting for a new season.
The sign with the wrong date which should be 1928, proclaim the story of the past but the wind blown fallen trees and the low green covered stagnant water tell another story of the present.
The new Range Line Pump lies idle outside the hunting season and sits beside the old the broken down bridge that leads to the Grand Kankakee Marsh on the other side of the river created as a result of the Indian Gardens Game Preserve being built by William Cameron. It contains old Kankakee River beds the same as the Indian Gardens Game Preserve and can be seen in the satellite view.ho
An aerial view of Indian Garden taken in the summer of 2011 by Patty Wisniewski Owner of For Goodness Sake Productions, LLC for a documentary on the revival of the Grand Kankakee Marsh during a period of flooding shows all the old river beds in the Old Marsh and the tilled fields in the New Marsh where corn and other crops where planted to entice the ducks to the decoys of the hunters but destroying the natural habitat.
When Howard Avery Cameron died at the age of seven years old on Feb. 20th 1912 of diphtheria. It was a very sad event for the family. The photo shows the grave site later in the spring with Dad, Allan or young William and Mother in the background. The Angel monument would be erected later with a grave stone for Howard. It was a long trip to the Forest Home Cemetery at the time from their home on LeClaire Avenue at the time as William did not have his first car until 1914 and they also had to walk a long distance in the cemetery. Scottish custom was usually to have a family of six children. Robert K. Cameron may owe his life to Howard dieing as he was born on Sept. 28, 1912, six mouths and eight days after Howard died. The circumstances of his birth were unusual. In those days the gender of a baby could not be determined and William and Catherine may not have been prepared with a name. Dr. E .K. Avery signed the birth certificate as Kenneth Cameron born Sept. 28, 1912. And for this reason until he graduated from high school Robert went by the name of Kenneth or Kenny. When Robert was Baptized in church on Sept. 22, 1918 he was listed as Robert Kenneth Cameron born on Sept. 23rd, 1912 which was an unusual error in the date of birth and the parents did not use the first name of Robert in conversation probably figuring to let well enough alone. Years later seeking his birth certificate, Robert could not find it under Robert Kenneth and had his mother sign a birth certificate testifying Robert K. Cameron was born on 9/28/12. However in 2011 Robert made a further search and with the help of the lady manger of the Vital Records Dept. who spent a half hour searching, she found the original Kenneth Cameron birth certificate and changed the name to Robert Kenneth Cameron for the future records. Allan Marshall, Howard Avery and William Mackie Cameron were all Baptized at home on Nov. 4th, 1911. There is no record of Jean being Baptized. The letter below sent to William Cameron from the officers of Clan Campbell expressing condolence on the death on Howard Cameron proves that William Cameron was a Past Chief of Clan Campbell and expresses the high esteem in which William Cameron was held and his accomplishments in becoming the Chief so soon after beginning life in Chicago. It is also an elegant expression for the grief of William and Catherine upon the death of Howard Cameron
The untimely death of William Cameron, a privileged person at the height of his career, changed the lives of all the family. He probably would not have died if modern hospital care had been available to him. His illness came about when on one late night in December the doorbell began ringing continuously and William got out of bed to investigate. He stood on the cold stone door step lightly glad for a while tinkering with the bell until it stopped. The next day he developed pneumonia but was cared for at home by Dr. Avery who according to Allan Cameron made the wrong diagnose of the illness. At the end he was attended by Dr. Tice, the best doctor in the city and William overcame the pneumonia. Robert had returned from college and was in the bedroom with others when after 10 days Williams stomach was swollen with gas which could not be eliminated. Dr. Tice attempted a procedure of lifting William up by the back but unfortunately it stopped his heart and William died immediately. It was a very sad sight for all in the room and one that Robert would never forget. Funeral services for William Cameron were held in the River Forest Presbyterian Church followed by burial at the Forest Home Cemetery with a bagpiper playing a mournful dirge and Masonic Services in the Chapel. Thus ended the life of a great Father, Husband and Man immortalize by the monument shown below. The Indian Gardens entrance Pillar is a tribute to Williams life work which he never got to enjoy to its fullest.
This will also be the Resting Place of Robert Kenneth Cameron author of this Cameron History and now 101 years old.