William Butler Ogden was born in upstate New York in 1805. His family was in the real estate business. He became active in Democratic politics and was elected to the New York legislature in 1834.
A year later he made a trip west to look over some land his family had bought. The location was a new town named Chicago. Though Ogden didn’t think much of the grubby little village at first, he quickly sold off part of the property at a nice profit.
That got Will Ogden interested. He decided to stay in Chicago as a real estate trader. The economy was booming and he got rich. He became one of the town’s leading citizens.
Chicago was formally incorporated as a city on March 4, 1837. Now there would be an election for a mayor and city council. The local Democrats named Ogden as their mayoral candidate. The Whig Party picked John Harris Kinzie. Though Kinzie came from a popular pioneer family, Ogden easily won, 489-217.
Ogden served a term of ten months. He appointed a board of health, held an election for school inspectors, and ordered the city’s first c