A blacksmith shop. Five public one-room schools. Two private Lutheran schools. Two Lutheran churches and one Methodist church. Two stores. Four cheese factories.

Other than farms, this is what comprised Schaumburg Township in 1888 according to The History of Cook County Illinois by A.T. Andreas.

In the same volume, Mr. Andreas wrote substantial paragraphs on three of the leaders of the township at the time: John Fasse, Mrs. Lavina T. Williams (wife of Horace Williams), and William Freise.

By the time this book was published, Mr. Freise was 60 years old and had been living in the United States since 1847 when the future Schaumburg Township was being sold by the government at a cheap rate to those who were willing to homestead.

If we back up though, it is stated in his obituary that Friedrich Wilhelm (William) Freise was born on August 7, 1828 to Ludwig “Louis” and Sophia Freise in Reinsdorf, in the jurisdiction of Rodenberg, in the county of Schaumburg in the electorate of Hessia, Germany.

At the young age of 18, he and his sister Caroline emigrated to America and made their way to Chicago. They didn’t linger long in the city but made their way to Hanover Township where he worked as a farming laborer for a few years. According to the 1886 Cook County history, his father Louis joined his children in 1851.

On April 25,1852 William married Caroline Vette at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg Township and moved permanently to our township. Caroline’s parents were Ludwig “Louis” and Johanne “Hanna” (Redeker) Vette who had immigrated to Schaumburg Township in 1846.













Over the next couple of decades, William began to accumulate properties in multiple sections of the township. He and Caroline lived in Hanover Township into the 1850s and eventually moved onto a farm that he purchased in the 1850s on the east side of Meacham Road, north of Higgins. The house that he had built is pictured below. By the 1870 census his real estate was valued at $12,000.

The couple also became the parents of three children: William, Henry and Herman. William was born in 1853, a year after his parents married. Sadly, he died at the age of three, having been kicked in the head by a horse. Henry was born in 1855 in Hanover Township, two years after his brother, and Herman was born in 1859–probably in Schaumburg Township. Both of the two younger sons continued in William’s footsteps by farming and marrying within the other local German Lutheran families.

Sometime in the 1860s local politics caught his attention. He served as Township Supervisor from 1865 to 1877, as Township Commissioner of Highways and as a school director.

In 1874 he took it up another level and was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives from the 7th district. He served a 2-year term in the 29th General Assembly in Springfield as a member of the Opposition Party. The term was a contentious one between the parties and, according to Illinois Historical and Statistical by John Moses, “fewer laws were passed during this session than any session since the 1830s; amounting to only 118 pages.” Possibly as a result of the ongoing disputes, one term was enough for Mr. Freise and he returned to the township to farm.

By the time the 1886 L.M Snyder plat map of Cook County was published, William owned plots in sections 4, 9, 10, 12 and 13 that amounted to 800 acres. The acreage was centered around the Meacham and Golf Roads intersection. He was clearly a prosperous man.

On September 30, 1910 he passed away at the age of 82 with Caroline, his sons, 13 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren and his sister, Mrs. Louis Oltendorf, surviving him. Other siblings in Germany and Illinois both predeceased and survived him.

He would be pleased to know that over the years his grandsons farmed the acres he had acquired, eventually selling much of it for places you may know today. Do the names Motorola and Woodfield ring a bell?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Photos of William and Caroline Freise are courtesy of Lori Freise, a great, great, great granddaughter to the Freises. 

Photo of the Freise farm is courtesy of Norman Freise.


  1. Tom Rogers Says:

    Are there any streets or other landmarks (parks, buildings, etc) named after Freise?

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Tom,

      To the best of my knowledge, there is not anything named for Mr. Freise.

      Thank you for reading the post!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  2. ldrewitz Says:

    Thank you Jane. You are always informative and I ALWAYS look forward to reading your blog! Thanks for all of your hard work,
    Leslie Drewitz

    • jrozek Says:

      Thank YOU Leslie. I appreciate the kind words. It is always neat to uncover the history and share it my readers!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

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