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By Peter Biggins

In 1994, Rev. John P. Minogue, 10th President of DePaul University, purchased an apartment building that had been built by my grandparents, Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins in 1925. Father Minogue and my grandmother both descend from the Dominick Foy Family, which emigrated to America from a farm in the Partry Mountains in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1848.

Sheffield Square Sign
Sheffield Square
Sheffield Square Apartments on the Lincoln Park Campus of DePaul University at 2318-26 N. Sheffield Avenue, Chicago. Built by my grandparents, Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins in 1925. They lived in the front on the top floor on the left-hand side.

In 1925, Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins and four children moved into an apartment in a new building they had built at 2318-26 N. Sheffield Avenue. It was called the University Court Apartments. The children were Kathleen, 22, Philip, 15, John Alfred, 14, and Richard, 11. An older child, Emily, had died in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. The three boys were in school: Philip at DePaul Academy, John Alfred (my farther) at the Vincentian minor seminary in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Richard at St. Vincent's grammar school

The new building was just a few blocks south of the smaller apartment building at 950 Altgeld Street where they had lived for 20 years. Emily's father John Foy remained at Altgeld Street, along with the Donahues--Emily's sister Molly and her family. Leslie and Emily's family occupied the front apartment on the 3rd (top) floor of the 2318 entrance.

The architect for the University Court Apartments on Sheffield was the same that John Foy had used on the Foy Apartments on Byron Street, two blocks north of Wrigley Field.

In 1945, Leslie and Emily Biggins sold the University Court Apartments, but they continued to live there until 1954.

The University Court Apartments are now Sheffield Square Apartments of DePaul University, having been purchased in 1994 by Rev. John P. Minogue, 1946-2019, 10th President of the University. Father Minogue and Emily both descend from the Dominick Foy Family. Dominick emigrated to America from County Mayo circa 1848. Also amongthe descendants of Dominick Foy were Dolores Tahney Minogue, 1918-2012, my sister Sarah's godmother, Daniel Minogue, my father's godson, my cousin John Foy Coverdale, Professor of Law at Seton Hall University. Father Austin Minogue, 1913-1985, DePaul golf coach, was descended from a brother of Father John P. Minogue's grandfather.

University Court Bonds
To fiinance the University Court Apartments, Leslie and Emily issued $500 bearer first mortgage gold bonds with interest at 6.25% per annum payable semi-annually to State Bank of Chicago.
Sheffield Square
Sheffield Square Apartments at DePaul University: exterior/interior photos.
John Foy, age 83, 2318 Sheffield
John Foy, age 83, living with Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins at 2318 Sheffield Avenue in 1931.

The censustaker for the University Court Apartments in 1930 was Mrs. Helen O'Grady. She recorded 92 people in 27 households: Page 1 and Page 2. Included in the Biggins household were Leslie and Emily Biggins, their four children, and Emily's father John Foy.

I remember visiting my grandparents on Sheffield as a child with my family:

  • going to the Lincold Park Zoo and getting a box of Cracker Jack before the visit
  • walking up the three flights of stairs to the third floor
  • watching tennis players at the courts between Sheffield and the el tracks (there was no building there then)
  • watching the el trains at the Fullerton station, all lit up at night
  • noticing that my grandfather put a lot of vinegar on his food
  • looking at the photographs of us that my grandmother probably put out just because we were coming
  • visiting Jim Carey who lived across the hall
  • visiting Grace kilcourse who lived on the second floor
  • going to the building next door to visit my great aunts Kate and Mayme at The Little Sisters of the Poor old people's home at Sheffield and Fullerton (now DePaul University's Sanctuary Hall)
  • hearing about my grandfather meeting with Mother Cabrini when he waterproofed Columbus Hospital
  • seeing my Aunt Molly who came over from Altgeld Street
  • visiting the DePaul Day Nursery and Settlement House, which my grandmother supported.
My grandfather John Foy died in 1936, three years before I was born. But I remember the story about how he was present at the Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869. And I remember two stories about John Foy and Indians out West. In one story, he rounded a boulder and came face to face with an Indian. They scared each other and ran in opposite directions. The other story is that John got sick and the Indians nursed him back to health.

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