While doing some research in the Daily Herald a while back, I came across an intriguing ad in the April 26, 1912 issue of the Cook County Herald. The Schaumburg Belgian Horse Co., with an address of Palatine, Illinois was offering a pure bred Belgium stallion by the name of Azor D’ Iseghem for stud purposes.
Because detailed information was listed in the ad, I contacted the Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America and they were able to tell me that the horse was chestnut-colored with a stripe on his face. He was born on April 21, 1909 to breeder, Madame Veuve Felix Deschryvere Iseghem and was registered with the American Association of Importers and Breeder of Belgian Draft Horses–the precursor to the organization listed above.
According to their records, he was imported into New York on September 5, 1911 on the ship, the Manhattan. He was delivered to his buyers, the Champlin Brothers of Clinton, Iowa. In addition, their records state that the Champlin Brothers owned the horse his entire life. So, either a transaction between the Champlin Brothers and the Schaumburg Belgian Horse Co. was never officially recorded or the Schaumburg company leased the horse in some kind of agreement from the Iowa outfit.
The stud was offered for the price of $18 at Schaumburg Center, meaning it was necessary for the owners of the mares to bring their horse to the stallion for service. The terms included $3 at the time of service and the balance of $15 was due when a colt was born.
The ad listed William Hattendorf as the President and H.W. Freise as the Secretary and Treasurer. F.E. Butt was the groomsmen. The following year, the company had another ad in the DuPage County Register looking for “a reliable man as manager to take charge of the well broke stallion, owned by the Schaumburg Belgian Stallion Company.” This time the directors were listed as W.D. Wilkening, J. Kastning and Fred Hattendorf. And in a 1916 ad of the Cook County Herald, Christ Niemeyer is listed as the groomsmen. (Would these grooms have had a full time job taking care of this locally famous horse?)
By 1915, two articles in the local papers were praising the success of the small business operation. In the January 29 issue of the Cook County Herald, the stockholders were “laying plans for the coming year” because “last year was the most successful the association has ever had.” In fact, later in the year, it was noted in a September 17 issue of the Palatine Enterprise that the company had a special meeting. Treasurer H.W. Freise “handed all stockholders a swell dividend check.”
After eight years of ownership–and a now 11-year-old horse–it was reported in the DuPage County Register in 1920 that the Schaumburg Belgian Horse Company sold their horse to Mr. Stoxen of Hampshire “who was much elated at acquiring a valuable imported animal.” This suggests that the transaction between the Champlin Brothers and the Schaumburg Belgian Horse Co. simply was not recorded.
Belgian draft horses, though, remained a valuable commodity on a Schaumburg Township farm of the early 1900s. Their size and strength allowed farmers to pull enormous weight and to more easily plow the fields in the spring. Most landowners had a working pair of the horses who were given names and treated like members of the family. In any number of instances, the oral historians from the farming contingent of Schaumburg Township have spoken in fond terms of their draft horses and readily recognize them in all family photos. Many have also commented on the personalities of their horses i.e., which was the stronger of the pair, more patient, more high strung. It was easy to understand how much of a double-edged sword it was to move to farming with a tractor. It may have been faster and easier, but the marvel of these incredibly strong animals was a difficult thing to lose.