Saturday, September 26, 2015

Quida John Chott (1863-1932)

Portrait from the "Public Officials of Chicago, 1895-1896".

   We continue our stay in Illinois for the following biography of Quida John Chott, a lawyer and two-term state representative from Cook County. A very obscure man, the origins behind Chott's exotic sounding first name are unknown at the time of this writing, and other than a brief obituary published in the Chicago Tribune in 1932, few details could be located on him. 
   A son of John F. and Rosalie Dirschmidt Chott, Quida J. Chott was born (depending on the source) in either New York City or Chicago on February 1, 1863. His family resided in Chicago when he was a child, and he would attend the public and high schools in that city. Referred to in most period sources by his initials "Q.J.", Chott married in Cook County on December 29, 1888 to Alberta "Bertha" Baumayer, with whom he would have one daughter, Winifred Chott Pretzie (died 1961).
   In the same year as his marriage, the 25-year old Chott was elected as one of Cook County's representatives to the Illinois General Assembly. Taking his seat at the start of the 1889-90 term, Chott was reelected to that body for the 1891-92 term and during that session was named to the committees on the Judiciary, Corporations, Building, Loan and Homesteading Associations, Printing and the World's Columbian Exposition.
   Following his two terms in the legislature, Chott continued his rise through the ranks of Illinois politics, serving in the administration of Chicago Mayor Hempstead Washburne as the Chief Clerk of the Law Department. Admitted to the state bar in 1889, Chott was named as a Justice of the Peace in June 1895 and in that same year was selected by then Mayor George Swift as a Police Magistrate for the city of Chicago. Chott served as a police judge for twelve years and was lauded as "an official of acknowledged efficiency" during his time on the bench.
   After leaving the position of police magistrate in the late 1900s Chott practiced law in Chicago and also remained active in Republican Party doings within Chicago, serving as the Secretary of the Republican City Central Committee. Chott was also affiliated with a number of fraternal groups within the city, including memberships in the Veteran Union League, the Bohemian Turners and for a time held the Presidency of the Bohemian Republican League.
   In 1917 Q.J. Chott was appointed as assistant state's attorney for Cook County, an office that he would fill for fifteen years. His lengthy tenure in that office saw him become acknowledged as "the habeas corpus expert in the state's attorney force", and was still serving in that post when he died at age 69 on May 10, 1932 at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. Chott was survived by his wife Alberta and daughter Winifred, with his burial taking place at the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago.

Chott's obituary from the May 11, 1932 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

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