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Levi Boone
17th Mayor of Chicago
In office
March 13, 1855[1] – March 11, 1856[2]
Preceded byIsaac Lawrence Milliken
Succeeded byThomas Dyer
Chicago Alderman[3]
In office
Serving with John Evans
Preceded byIsaac L. Milliken
Succeeded byThomas Allen[4]
Constituency2nd ward
In office
Serving with Isaac Speer
Preceded byN.H. Bolles/ Andrew Smith
Succeeded byEdward Manierre
Constituency2nd ward
In office
Serving with George Manierre
Preceded byThomas Church/ J. Young Scammon
Succeeded byJames H. Woodworth/ Peter L. Updike
Constituency1st ward
Personal details
Born(1808-12-06)December 6, 1808
DiedJanuary 24, 1882(1882-01-24) (aged 73)
Chicago, Illinois
Resting placeRosehill Cemetery
Political partyAmerican Party (Know-Nothings)
Spouse(s)Louise M. Smith
Residence(s)Chicago, Illinois
Alma materTransylvania University
ProfessionMedical Doctor

Levi Day Boone (December 6, 1808 – January 24, 1882) served as mayor of Chicago, Illinois (1855–1856) for the American Party (Know-Nothings).

Early life

Boone was born near Lexington, Kentucky, the seventh son of Squire and Anna Grubbs Boone. Squire Boone, Sr. was Daniel Boone's father and Levi Boone's great-grandfather, making Levi Boone Daniel Boone's great-nephew.[5][6] Young Levi lost his father at the age of 9 when Squire finally succumbed to wounds he suffered at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

Despite the poverty the family was plunged into by the death of Squire Boone, Levi graduated from the medical school of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky in 1829 at the age of 21. He moved to Illinois and eventually established a practice in Hillsboro. In 1832, he served in the Black Hawk War, first in the cavalry and then as a surgeon.[5] In 1833, Dr. Boone married Louise M. Smith, daughter of Theophilus W. Smith, Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, with whom he had 11 children.[5]

Chicago years

Arriving in Chicago in 1835, he helped organize the Cook County Medical Board and served as the organization's first secretary. Boone had a medical practice with Charles V. Dyer. He was elected the first president of the Chicago Medical Society in 1850.[7]

In 1843, he contributed to the rift in the congregation of Chicago's First Baptist Church by giving a lecture on the scriptural basis of slavery.[7]

In 1850, Boone unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of Chicago. He placed second, receiving 32.90% of the vote (losing to James Curtiss, who received 45.51% of the vote).[8]

Running a second time, Boone was elected mayor in the 1855 Chicago mayoral election. Supported by a coalition of Know Nothings and temperance advocates,[9] Boone ran for mayor on an anti-immigrant platform, along with 7 aldermen running on the same ticket.[citation needed] He defeated incumbent Isaac Lawrence Milliken with nearly 53% of the vote.[10]

During his only year in office, he reorganized the Chicago police, combining the Day Police and the Night Watch into a single police force with 3 eight-hour shifts and requiring the police, for the first time, to wear uniforms. No foreign-born police were retained in the reorganization, and all new appointments were native-born Americans.[11] He barred all immigrants from city jobs.[12][failed verification]

Boone's grave at Rosehill Cemetery
Boone's grave at Rosehill Cemetery

Though not a teetotaler, Boone was a temperance advocate and worked to prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol. Anticipating the passage by referendum of a Maine law to prohibit the sale of beverage alcohol in June 1855, he got the city council to pass an ordinance that raised the cost of liquor licenses from $50 to $300 a year, limited the term to three months, and attempted to enforce an old and disregarded ordinance to close taverns on Sundays. Many saw this as a means of attacking German immigrants, and on April 21, the move sparked the Lager Beer Riot after several tavern owners were arrested for selling beer on a Sunday. The referendum failed in June 1855, by a statewide vote of 54% to 46%.

Boone did not run for re-election in the mayoral election of 1856.

In 1862, Boone was arrested and briefly held in Camp Douglas on suspicion that he had helped a Confederate prisoner to escape.[13]

He died in Chicago on January 24, 1882, and is buried in Rosehill Cemetery.[14]


  1. ^ "Mayor Levi Day Boone Inaugural Address, 1855". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  2. ^ "Mayor Thomas Dyer Inaugural Address, 1856". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  3. ^ "Centennial List of Mayors, City Clerks, City Attorneys, City Treasurers, and Aldermen, elected by the people of the city of Chicago, from the incorporation of the city on March 4, 1837 to March 4, 1937, arranged in alphabetical order, showing the years during which each official held office". Archived from the original on September 4, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Moses, John (1895). ... History of Chicago, Illinois: Pre-historic agencies ; Rise and fall of French dominion ; First permanent settlement ; The massacre ; Rudimentary. Munsell & Company. pp. 115, 132, 133, 139, 226. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Carbutt, John (1868). Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men of Chicago. Chicago, IL: Wilson & St. Clair. pp. 273–4.
  6. ^ public. "Boone family tree". WikiTree. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Andreas, A.T. (1884), History of Chicago: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, vol. 1, Chicago, IL: A.T. Andreas, p. 466(a) 319(b)
  8. ^ "RaceID=486029". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  9. ^ Einhorn, Robin (2004). "Lager Beer Riot". Encyclopedia of Chicago. University of Chicago Press. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  10. ^ Walker, Thomas. "Chicago Mayor 1855". Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "End of Watch" Edward M. Burke and Thomas O'Gorman.
  12. ^ Mark, Norman (1979). Mayors, Madams and Madmen. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. pp. 41.
  13. ^ Levy, George (1999). To Die in Chicago: Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas, 1862-65. Evanston, IL: Pelican Publishing. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-56554-331-7.
  14. ^ "Obituary". Chicago Tribune. January 25, 1882. p. 3. Retrieved January 27, 2020 – via