More of Major General Carl Schurz


        KATE CHASE (daughter of Salmond Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, 1861-1864, and Chief Justice of the United States, 1864-1873) had many of the qualities needed for activity of this kind. She was young, she was beautiful, she had an assertive, aggressive character, and, if a mind not well stocked with knowledge and culture, a quick wit, intelligent conversation, and a political sense which, in the judgment of most of her contemporaries, exceeded that of her father. In the spring of 1860, Carl Schurz, then thirty-one years old, passing through Colulnbus, Ohio, was invited to be a guest at the Chase home. Chase was then governor; the Chicago Convention, at which he hoped to be nominated, was only a few weeks ahead; naturally Schurz, leader of the Germans in Wisconsin, was a person worth cultivating at that particular time. Chase and his daughter impressed this keen observer as a remarkable pair. "More than anyone else Chase looked the great man.... His dignity of deportment never left him even in his unbending moods, for it was perfectly natural and unconscious. It really belonged to him like the majestic figure that nature had given him." Presently Kate entered the breakfast room. She "saluted me very kindly and then let herself down upon her chair with the graceful lightness of a bird that, folding its wings, perches upon the branch of a tree. She was then about eighteen years old, tall and slender and exceedingly well formed. Her features were not at all regularly beautiful according to the classic rule. Her little nose, somewhat audaciously tipped up, would perhaps not have passed muster with a severe critic, but it fitted pleasingly into her face with its large, languid, but at the same time vivacious hazel eyes, shaded by long dark lashes and arched over by proud eyebrows. The fine forehead was framed in waving, gold-brown hair. She had something imperial in the pose of the head, and all her movements possessed an exquisite natural charm. No wonder that she came to be admired as a great beauty and broke many hearts. After the usual polite commonplaces, the conversation at the breakfast table, in which Miss Kate took a lively and rernarkably intelligent part, soon turned upon politics," and the imminent national convention, Chase making no secret of his anxiety for the support of Schurz and his German following.

(Reminiscences by Carl Schurz, McClure and Company, 1907. II 169-170)

Newspaper on Carl Schurz .