FOUND: A LETTER FROM EDWARD KUBLANK ON SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP’S HISTORY

This letter to the Daily Herald from Edward F. Kublank originally appeared in the July 7, 1955 paper and is reprinted here courtesy of the Daily Herald.

Mr. Kublank was born in Schaumburg Township in 1881 to William and Maria (Sunderlage) Kublank. (Pictured below) The family had eight children and lived on a farm that straddled both Plum Grove Road and the border of Palatine Township. That plays into the context of the letter that he wrote after the Palatine Centennial Book was published in 1955.

He is, most likely, writing mainly from memory. I clarified some parts of the letter, and any mentions will be in a separate paragraph immediately below.

We are fortunate that Mr. Kublank did what most never do and that is write his family’s history. The beautiful part is that he included wonderful anecdotes and interesting details that come only from those who have heard the stories over and over again.

(After the Centennial Book had gone to press, the editors received the following communication from Edward F. Kublank. Since it contained material of historical merit, the letter is being reprinted here.) 

I have recollections of Schaumburg township from my parents and grandparents and have that from as far back as 1828 or 1830. While it is that far back, I would not know exactly what year or years all this came to pass, if it was 1828 or 1830. But since 1834 I have it about correct.

I will start with those years, 1830 or 1828. Those were the years when the Pottawatomie tribe of Indians departed this Indian territory for Iowa and Nebraska west of the Fox river in Illinois.  Another tribe of Indians were the Black Hawks and farther northwest, the Algonquin tribe of Indians ruled. There may still be such a tribe as Algonquin in Oklahoma or New Mexico. But the Black Hawks and Pottawatomie tribes consolidated with other tribes.

To begin the part of the history of Palatine township and village, one must consider that in 1850 and later this was not laid out in township or as the Illinois state statute states that a township or town shall be the same meaning.

[Before it was officially organized and named Palatine Township in 1850, it was, in fact, probably surveyed in the late 1830’s. http://landplats.ilsos.net/ftpofillinois.htm The map below was drawn in June of 1840. The word “Palatine” was added at a later date.]

This Schaumburg township was laid out as a town in the later 1850’s. Its name was taken from Germany. The first settlers were those that flocked from New York and other North Eastern states. My grandfather John S. Sunderlage and his friend Gerhardt Greve, came from Northern Germany in 1826. For several years they worked on the Erie Canal (helped build it) in New York state, then from there they made their long journey on a small boat over the lakes to Chicago and worked on the Illinois-Michigan call from Chicago to the south of Joliet. This canal has not been in use since 1892.

[Schaumburg Township was also organized and officially named in 1850. Johann Gerhardt Greve was born in 1817 so Mr. Kublank is most likely referring to Gerhardt’s father, Johann Wilhelm. In addition, the Erie Canal was completed in 1825. The 1892 closing date for the Illinois & Michigan Canal is a bit early. The canal’s use was largely supplanted by the opening of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in 1900. It completely closed for operations with the completion of the Illinois Waterway in 1933.]

In 1830-32 my grandfather, John S. Sunderlage (a bachelor 30 years), arrived in Illinois and as he was a land surveyor in Germany, he was one of the men to survey the northern part of Illinois, shortly before that time Indian territory. You may know from other history of Illinois that in those years 1837-40, Chicago had a population of about 40,000 people.

[In 1840, according to the U.S. Census, the population of Chicago was 4,470. It accelerated to 29,963 in the 1850 census.]

The old Indian boundary line starts south of Norwood Park and runs to Naperville, DuPage county, and then west, North of that line was Indian territory until 1830-32. It was this territory that my grandfather helped to survey out into farms.  He worked here, but was as far west as Freeport. When the surveying was in progress, one Fourth of July all the men working at surveying wanted to have a celebration. They all came together at a point in what is now Hanover township by the 3 high peaks (mountains) located just south of Higgins concrete road about half way from the Schaumburg line to Dundee. There stood three very high peaks about 125 ft. high and were all stones, boulders, etc. No horses or cattle could get up on them and I doubt if any person was up to the top of them. That is where the July 4th celebration was going on. They had eats and drinks. Some of the men drank too much and lost some of the surveying papers and then had to measure the land all over again.

[It is a bit difficult to determine just where the three high peaks are that he was referring to. At first I considered that it was the area around Villa Olivia but, because he says the peaks were just south of Higgins Road, it has to be within sight of the road. Of course, considering that most of our area is around 750-830 feet above sea level, any landform in the area that is higher is going to seem mountainous. Judging by this topographical map from 1935, could it be this multi-pronged hill, where the number “5” is? It is west of the EJ&E tracks and fits the description he gave.]

After the surveying was completed, my grandfather, John Sweetheart Sunderlage, went back to Germany and stayed 2 years. He left here because there was no work and because he was not a U.S. citizen. He could not claim 160 acres of land to settle on at $1.25 per acre. But the Easterners from the north eastern states came here as fast as leaves drop off a tree in the fall of the year to file claims on land and after they had lived on it for a few months, sold out their claims to people from Europe and the Europeans had to live on it for three more years and pay $1.25 per acre for the land.

My grandfather came from Germany 2 years later. He was still a bachelor and brought three other families along from Germany. Some of their descendants now live in Palatine. Three of these parties, including my grandfather, each bought 240 acres of land all neighbors and all related somehow, in Schaumburg township, along what is now Higgins road. At that time roads were Indian trails. Those farms lay in the northwestern part of Schaumburg township. One of the farms is owned now by a grandchild of one the original owners more than 100 years ago. His name is Benjamin Meyer, Route 3, Palatine.

[It has frequently been stated, just as Mr. Kublank says, that his grandfather, Johann Sunderlage went back to Germany and returned to the United States a couple of years later with four other families who departed from Bremen, Germany. On Ancestry.com, it lists the manifest of the Ship New York that arrived in the Port of New York on June 19, 1838. The following Schaumburg Township families are mentioned–Ottmann, Meyer, Greve and Schirding–who are known to be associated with Mr. Sunderlage. In fact, he married Catharine Greve, who came with her parents, William and Margaretha. Catherine’s obituary also repeats the story. The curious thing is that Mr. Sunderlage is not listed on the June 19, 1838 manifest. Maybe he came earlier or later on another ship? It is difficult to confirm as his name is not listed in the Immigration and Travel section of Ancestry.]

One other descendants of one of the farm owners lives around there, William Greve, and another one, Emma Steinmeyer and Edward Sunderlage on Higgins road, Route 3, Palatine.

Schaumburg became a township in the 1850’s. Schaumburg produced the first republican lieutenant governor of Illinois. Mr. Hoffman, later called Hans Bush Bauer, went to Wisconsin and bought 700 acres land for an experimental farm near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He lived here in Schaumburg township for several years, and preached in the Schaumburg church.

[Mr. Kublank is referring to Francis Hoffman, who served as the first pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church from 1847 to 1851, and as Illinois Lieutenant Governor from 1861 to 1865.]

Schaumburg produced inventors. The Maytag makers of washing machines lived as tenants on a farm later owned by the Schuenemans. They also made automobiles. Schaumburg produced the first woman attorney-at-law of Illinois who lived on a farm east of where I resided. Her name was Bradwell. Later they owned a farm west of Palatine.

[Fred L. Maytag: A Biography documents Mr. Maytag’s birthplace as Cook County. If it was Schaumburg Township, there was a William Schueneman who owned property on the west border of Schaumburg Township at the southwest corner of Schaumburg and Barrington Roads. There was also Fred Schueneman who owned a farm on Central Road. It could have been either family, but was more likely William Schueneman because he was more prosperous and had more property.

The automobile reference is something new. It is possible, as Randy Schallau said in the comments below, that it was the Maytag-Mason Automobile Company out of Waterloo, Iowa that operated from 1910-1912 and was founded by Frederick L. Maytag.

The female attorney he is referring to is Myra Colby Bradwell. You can read about her family here.]

Schaumburg produced public school teachers.  One was my sister, Rosa M. Kublank, who taught for 30 years. Palatine produced inventors. The Bradley plow had its origin on a farm now owned by Ernest Plote. It was a wooden plow, but Furst nailed saw blades on it and was therefore part steel.

[Rosa is pictured in the photo above. She taught for a number of years at the Schaumburg Township District 52 one-room school that was on Plum Grove Road, two farms south of the Kublank farm. She died in 1955, the same year this letter was written.

This is a history of the developers of the Bradley plow that he mentioned. Because it was invented in the Chicago area, it is quite possible that it was invented or experimented with in Palatine Township.]

Alexander Hamilton was the inventor of the first wooden plow nearly 400 years ago and John Deere invented the first all steel plow. This Bradley plow was made later by Furst X. Bradley, Chicago factory. In 1908 it was sold out to Sears Roebuck & Co.

The man who built the first high brick building in Palatine was a farmer in Schaumburg township, Mr. Botterman. He has two sons. He built a brick building in Palatine for one son and built a brick store building in Arlington Heights, now owned by Gieseke store in Arlington Heights. The Horstman family all came from farms in Schaumburg township nearly 100 years ago.

[It seems Mr. Kublank was confusing Batterman and Botterman. The Batterman Brick Block building in Palatine was built in 1884 by Henry C. Batterman. It was three stories tall and was the pride of Palatine. When Henry died in 1902, he left the Brick Block to his grandsons, Dr. William Abelman and Dr. Henry Abelman. The building was demolished in 1938. It had already been gone 17 years by the time Mr. Kublank was discussing it.

According to the Illinois Digital Archive, the Gieseke store in Arlington Heights was originally built by William Batterman in 1891 who operated it as a general store.  He sold it to R. L. Precht who then sold it to Fred W. Gieseke in 1907. Gieseke operated it until his death in 1947 when his son-in-law took it over and ran it until 1965.

The Horstman’s lived in the northern part of the township, very close to the Kublank farm. Amanda Horstman married Louis Schoppe from Palatine who owned Schoppe’s General Store in the same town.]

The first white child born in Palatine or Schaumburg township was Mrs. M. Huenerberg who later resided on a farm on Roselle Road and was an aunt of Amanda Schoppe, now a resident of Palatine.

[Mrs. M. Huenerberg refers to Maria Catherine (Myer/Meyer) Huenerberg who was born in Schaumburg on July 16, 1838, shortly after her parents came to the United States on June 19, 1838 on the Ship New York that is mentioned above. They were Johann Dieterich and Catherine Maria Meyer.  What is amazing is that her mother was eight months pregnant when they arrived in New York. An account from the August 26, 1933 issue of the Daily Herald also states that she was “the first white child to be born in Schaumburg Township.” Mary eventually married John Huenerberg.]

Salt Creek, the drainage creek south of Palatine, received the name this way. In Plum Grove on the west side of the woodland, was a place where the farmers drove through the creek with loads of produce. There were no bridges here at that time. One farmer returned from Chicago with a barrel of salt on his wagon. As he drove through the ditch the barrel of salt rolled off the wagon box into the ditch in four feet of water, so he put up a sign by the ditch.  “Beware of the salt in the creek.” (The barrel). So the creek kept that name.

[We’ve heard this story many times but not in so much detail. The history behind the naming of Salt Creek is definitely part of local tradition.]

Plum Grove got its name because one time there were a lot of plum trees on the west side of the woodland. But for the last 75 years very few plum trees remained.

I was the first person who graduated from a law college many years ago. One brother, Herman J. Kublank, was the first printer born in Schaumburg township and worked at the business in Chicago for many years. My grandfather Kublank and one Mr. Babcock of Palatine township had the first four wheel wagon in the community.

[Herman J. Kublank, according to “Hillside Cemetery, Palatine, Illinois” by Constance Rawa of the Palatine Historical Society, was one of the owners of the Peninsula Publishing Company at 163 Randolph Street in Chicago. I suspect that the Babcock he is referring to is William Babcock who is also prominently mentioned in the Hillside Cemetery book.]

My grandfather, John S. Sunderlage bought the first mower and reaper in this community. It was a Mannies mower and reaper raked off the grain by hand. He did custom work for the other farmers. My grandfather built the best house in Schaumburg township, hauled all lumber, sand and brick from Chicago. The house stands there yet as solid as Stonewall Jackson stood in war times. Mr. Thurston of Palatine built the house in 1856. The house is a three story house. The walls are lined with bricks on the inside.

[The Manny Combined Mower and Reaper was invented in 1853 by John Manny in Rockford, IL.

Lastly, the house that Mr. Kublank refers to is, of course, the Sunderlage House in the photo above, that is located in Hoffman Estates. The house was built by Hiram Thurston of Palatine in 1856. The house is available for tours periodically throughout the year.]

Thank you to Mr. Kublank for providing us with details that illuminated our history!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

The photo of William and Maria Kublank is courtesy of Betty (Sunderlage) Getzelman. The photo of Rosa Kublank is courtesy of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.

 

6 Responses to “FOUND: A LETTER FROM EDWARD KUBLANK ON SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP’S HISTORY”

  1. Randy Schallau Says:

    Maytag-Mason Automobile Company, 1910-1912 Waterloo Iowa?

    • jrozek Says:

      Thank you for your suggestion Randy! It is a very good possibility that you are correct. I have included it in the blog posting.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library
      jrozek@stdl.org

  2. Fred Luft Says:

    Thank You again Jane for providing this great information. I had not heard about any of this.

  3. Nelly Somerman Says:

    This was so interesting. Your commentary shows much research on your part and helped to flesh out the history Mr. Kublank wrote of.

    • jrozek Says:

      Thank you Nelly! This was a fun posting to do. I did the research bit by bit and am hoping to add more about the Maytag reference which I found very interesting. I was very surprised to see that pop up in the letter.

      His references were certainly multiple and varied!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library
      jrozek@stdl.org

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