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John Wentworth (mayor)
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John Wentworth (mayor)

"Long" John Wentworth (March 5, 1815 - October 16, 1888) was the editor of the Chicago Democrat, a two-term mayor of Chicago, and a six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Born in New Hampshire, John Wentworth was a huge man, towering 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) high and weighing more than 300 pounds (136 kg). He drank at least a pint of whiskey each day and would eat from 30-40 different foods during a single meal. He was managing editor of Chicago's first newspaper, the Chicago Democrat, then started a law practice, and eventually entered politics.

He served for 6 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (March 4, 1843 - March 3, 1851 and March 4, 1853 - March 3, 1855 as a Democrat; and March 4, 1865 - March 3, 1867 as a Republican). While in the House, a controversial vote arose by which Wisconsin claimed land in Illinois as far as the tip of Lake Michigan. If Wentworth voted to give the land, including Chicago, to Wisconsin, he was promised a Senate seat. Wentworth declined the offer.

As a Republican, Wentworth served as mayor of Chicago for two terms, 1857-1858 & 1860-1861. Wentworth instituted chain gangs in the city and tried to clean up the city's morals. To do this, he hired spies to determine who was frequenting Chicago's brothels. In 1857, Wentworth led a raid on the Sands, Chicago's Red Light District, which resulted in the burning of the area.

Wentworth was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln.

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