Archive for the ‘Families’ Category


July 5, 2020


Many of those who grew up in Schaumburg Township during the early years of development fondly remember a bucolic combination of farms and subdivisions. It was nice to live in a modern house with all of the conveniences, yet also live in an area with a rural feel to it.

Even into the 1980s there were still a number of farms and fields sprinkled around the area. Some were large working farms run by gentleman farmers who had bought into the area during the 1930s and 40s. Others were still owned by the German Lutheran families who had come to Schaumburg Township in the 1800s and had continued to reside there as development happened around them. They were reluctant to leave their land and their tradition.

One of these was the family led by Heinrich and Mary (Hasemann) Hartmann who married in 1863 and established a farm on the northwest corner of Wise (Wiese) and Rodenburg Roads. It was a large, prosperous farm and, according to the First One Hundred Years At St. John Lutheran Church written by Larry Nerge, Heinrich divided his 1200 acres in 1915 when he retired. Six of his children received 160 acres and the youngest received the remaining eighty.

Fred, or “Fritz” as he was called, was the oldest son and lived on the family farm with his wife, Caroline “Lena” (Kruse) Hartmann. According to Mr. Nerge’s document, they had eight children, one of whom was a young man named Albert. When Albert married his wife, Mabel Berlin, on January 30, 1937 in the parsonage at St. John Lutheran Church, they moved to Elgin where they lived for a year.

The following year, in 1938, they moved to this home near the southeast corner of Wise (Wiese) and Rodenburg Roads, diagonal from the farm where Albert’s parents lived. It was a parcel of 13 1/2 acres with a house, barn, chicken house and garden. There they raised three daughters and, subsequently, named it the Be-Ba-Bo Farm after those same daughters.

Albert, shown here at his home, worked for 27 years at the Roselle Farmer’s Lumber Company where he eventually served as their president. In 1953 he sought office as the Schaumburg Township Collector. From an article in the April 2, 1953 issue of the Daily Herald, he noted that “It is due to my present inability to engage in heavy work that I have decided to seek the job. I will appreciate the support of voters assuring them that I will have the the time to give the office the attention that it  may need.”Mr. Hartmann won the election and set up office on the porch of his home, hidden behind the windows in this photo. He performed this duty for 16 years.

In an article after his death in 1994, this statement was made by Schaumburg Township Republican Committeeman Donald L. Totten. “He was very active in the Republican party and served as one of my precinct captains…. At the time he was active in politics, he was considerably older than his counterparts, so he would spin tales about what had gone on here before it was named Schaumburg.”

Sharon Kimble, director of administrative services of Schaumburg Township, also said in the article that he was so actively involved in the village of Schaumburg for so many years, that the Campanelli Brothers who developed the Weathersfield subdivision, named Hartmann Drive for his family.

Hartmann Drive is located off Braintree Drive. According to Beverly Graham, Albert’s daughter, Braintree was originally the driveway for the original Hartmann farm.

Albert and Mabel’s home faced west on Rodenburg Road.

They were also north and west of the Centex Industrial Park that was essentially developed in their own backyard. You can see the Village of Schaumburg water tower in the industrial park on the other side of their small acreage.

The Hartmanns sold their home in 1987 to Town and Country, the developers, who erected a townhouse community called Wellington Court in its place in 1989.

This view, though, looking east beyond the garden of the Hartmann home, is exemplary of the wonderful meshing of rural and suburban life that so many grew up with in the early days of development in Schaumburg Township. Between the gardens, the fields and the two-lane rural roads, it gave the residents a lovely touch of days gone by.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Many thanks to John Graham who reached out and passed on these photos of the home where his grandparents, Albert and Mabel Hartmann, raised his mother and her sisters. It has been a delight to discover more about the Hartmann family and share these family photos.


September 29, 2019

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.


January 20, 2019

In December 1959 the first Campanelli home was finished in the “W” section of Weathersfield and Ray and Carmella (Carm) McArthur moved in. They were the first in a long line of Weathersfield owners that extended into the late 1980s.

Ray was employed by Motorola, initially at their Franklin Park campus, and later in Schaumburg where the corporation established their headquarters. The couple didn’t let any grass grow under their feet and proceeded to get involved in the brand new village of Schaumburg.

Carmella worked at both the Ben Franklin store and W.T. Grant store in Hoffman Estates. Later, in 1965, the couple opened Carmen’s Colonial Restaurant in the brand new Weathersfield Commons at Springinsguth and Schaumburg Road. A Daily Herald ad for Carmen’s from June 4 of the same year mentions their specialty in Italian and American food for Dine In or Carry Out. The restaurant was in business until 1967. You can see portions of the menu below. It was quite extensive and reasonable–complete with a soda fountain, no less!

Ray served on Schaumburg’s Plan Commission for more than 12 years under Mayor Bob Atcher. In addition, Ray and Carm were also actively involved in St. Marcelline Catholic Church. Ray was head usher and a deacon, and Carm was one of the volunteers responsible for counting donations on Sundays and holidays.

Their son, Richard, moved with them to Schaumburg and built his own house in Weathersfield with his new wife, Mary Ann. They opened McArthur Realty in 1971 and had offices at 1635 W. Wise Road and 1407 W. Schaumburg Road. It was an active, busy realty company that served the greater Schaumburg Township area. To promote their company, they ran radio ads on some of Chicago’s major radio stations. Thanks to the McArthur family, you can listen to one of those ads here.

The radio spot advertised McArthur Realty’s involvement in the Weathersfield Lake Quad Row Homes in Schaumburg that were being developed by Campanelli.  It came complete with membership in the Nantucket Club which gave owners access to the clubhouse, gameroom and swimming pool.

The realty office closed after Richard passed away in 1976.

Before Richard’s death however, he and Mary Ann were also very involved in community affairs. Richard was one of the first Schaumburg Jaycees and Mary Ann was a Jayceette. They helped put together The Shindig which was a predecessor of Septemberfest. Richard also served on the Schaumburg Kings board.

Mary Ann was busy with the Camp Fire Girls, Nathan Hale Elementary School and St. Marcelline Church. She served on several committees of the Nathan Hale PTA and in 1975-1976 was President. She said, “To celebrate our country’s 200th birthday, our PTA had a carnival and it was amazing the number of people who attended, and more amazing was the number of volunteers we had including fathers of the students who helped build booths and supplied the hard labor.  The number of donations we received from business owners was overwhelming…from lumber and nails to build the booths, food, beverages, to prizes for the games!”

Another branch of the McArthur family was also instrumental in the development of Schaumburg. Ray’s step-brother, Wayne, and his wife, Carol, moved to Schaumburg with the intent of establishing a Methodist church. Campanelli became aware of this situation and donated a house on Springinsguth Road to serve as both a temporary church and house for the McArthurs.

When their house on Sharon was finished, the congregation then began meeting in the Jennings house and, later, in The Barn. Our Redeemer’s United Methodist Church formally opened its doors in 1970 on the northwest corner of Schaumburg and Springinsguth Roads. The church remains there nearly 50 years later.

The beginnings of Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates were busy times. The many young families who moved to the area immediately got involved establishing businesses, organizations and churches. Multi-generational families such as the McArthurs were definitely unusual in the early days. Schaumburg Township benefited all the more because of the passion of Ray and Carmella, the younger Richard and Mary Ann, as well as Wayne and Carol. In fact, to this day, members of the McArthur family still call Schaumburg Township home. They have all been instrumental in raising Schaumburg into the village it would become.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Mary Ann Russell and her son, Scott McArthur, for contributing photos and information about the early days of Schaumburg. They came to talk to me in 2014 with their photos in hand and, about a month ago, passed on the radio ad and the restaurant menu. They had mentioned these items in their earlier visit and, the fact that they remembered four years later, is amazing.

Justin Teschner, who is a grandson of Wayne and Carol, also stepped in and contributed wonderful details about their family’s contributions. The McArthur family hasn’t stopped giving and it is appreciated!

















July 1, 2018

A few years after moving to Schaumburg Township, M.A. Kern learned the two farms south of his acreage on Meacham Road were for sale.  Having dived into the local horse racing world, he and his brother, L.D. must have been immediately interested in the adjoining property.  The Herman Fasse estate had recently sold the parcels to Mansell F. Grimes in December 1935 and March 1936.  A month later, on April 23, 1936, in an advantageous transaction, Mr. Grimes sold the two farms comprising 420 acres, to L.D. and his wife, Dorothy.

L.D. was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1890.  By World War I, he was living in Watseka, IL with his parents and brother.  He was a lawyer and was employed as an assistant state’s attorney for Iroquois County and as the attorney for the city of Watseka.  During the war he served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

After his service, he returned to Watseka where he met his wife, Dorothy.  They married in the 1920s and during that decade moved to Chicago, where he was part owner of Alliance Life Insurance with his brother.  By the 1930 census they were living in Lake Shore Towers with their one-year old son, Joe.   When they purchased the Schaumburg Township farms five years later, they were living in Highland Park and had three more sons, Jack, Jim and Jerry.  

Shortly after the purchase, L.D. and Dorothy enlisted the services of Paul Schweikher, a young, up and coming architect from Chicago, to give them some ideas about the farmhouse on their new property.  This was the farm due south of M.A. Kern’s Lexington Saddle Farm, on the southeast corner of Meacham and Higgins Road.

Though we are not sure how the Kerns knew Schweikher, it is the guess of their son, Jerry, that it could have been a referral from a friend or acquaintance.  As the story goes, Schweikher walked through the house shown above, stepped outside and took in the immense barn that was nearby.  Quite likely intrigued at the prospect, he agreed to transform the barn into a large house and garage for the Kerns.

Working in tandem with Emil Sporleder, a local contractor who also built M.A. Kern’s house, they began the process of stabilizing the barn so that it could accomodate the structure of a house.  This 12×12 oak beam, tapered peg apparatus was put together, separate from the barn and then moved into the barn.  (Notice in the photo below that the structure sits on runners.  Was it pulled into the barn?)  Jerry Kern says his father called it the “super structure” that held the barn/house together.

When finished, the house looked like the rendering at the top of this blog posting.  It had a ground level which the family used as both a basement and three-car garage.  (This was formerly where the Fasses used to milk their cows.)  The first floor was the main living floor and consisted of the kitchen, laundry area, living room, dining room and two bedrooms, as well as a large porch on the back of the house.  The second floor was the family’s personal floor with six bedrooms and another porch that was often used as a sleeping porch in the summer.  The third floor had one bedroom and a storage area.  There were also six bathrooms scattered throughout the house.

The house was not directly visible from graveled Meacham Road because it was situated at the end of a long lane.  It faced west and only certain angles could be seen from the road.  According to his son, L.D. loved trees and planted many leading up to and surrounding the house, including an apple orchard in the center of the property.

L.D. and Dorothy loved Schweikher’s renovation when it was completed in December 1936, and Jerry Kern described it as “probably the greatest place to grow up.”  The four Kern boys had at their disposal a ball field, the orchard and a picnic area with an outdoor fireplace that was built by their father.  You can see two of the three on the aerial photo of the farm that Mr. Kern provided.

Not only did L.D. provide a wonderful space for his family, he also had a small cottage built for his mother, Caddie Kern, so that she could live in her own home, yet still be connected to the family.  The cottage could be found tucked in the trees on the north side of the main house.  (Caddie died on the farm in 1945 and the cottage was later used by the older Kern sons when they came back to the farm for visits.)

The Kerns named their estate Willowbrook Farm and, with the redesign of the barn, it became necessary to build a new one for the property.  You can see that barn in the bottom left of the aerial photo.  Between it and the big house was a small house for the farm workers that Kern also put in place.  One of these workers was a handyman named Frank Kappa who was not comfortable with mechanized equipment.  He accomplished all of his work with the assistance of Belgian draft horses.  Jerry Kern described him as “honest and hard working.”  Kappa did not drive so L.D. picked him up every Monday from his home in the central part of the township.  He then stayed on the farm all week, working diligently until Friday afternoon when L.D. brought him home.

Farm work was also done on the former Redeker property that the Kerns purchased.  This land remained as it was and was farmed through most of the Kern’s stay by the Arthur Pierce family.  They lived in the house on the property and worked both farms.  Their sons, “Red” and Eugene, assisted their father.

The Kerns relished their house and farm life through the war years, with the boys attending one-room schools in Schaumburg Township.  Later their father drove them to Arlington Heights to attend elementary school and Arlington Heights High School.

In 1949 M.A. and L.D. Kern sold Alliance Life Insurance Company to Republic National Life Insurance Company of Dallas.  While M.A. stayed in the area for a few years, L.D. and Dorothy moved their family to Florida.  After the move, the Kerns enjoyed another decade together until L.D. died in 1959 at the age of 69.  The magnificent house and property that they left behind was sold in 1955 to the Bob and Maggie Atcher family who enjoyed the property just as much.  They lived there until the house regretfully burned to the ground in 1963.

The Kern brothers, however, had left their mark on the township through their beautiful houses and farms.  They made use of local, skilled labor in farming and building the many homes and buildings on their properties.  L.D. and Dorothy Kern’s children attended local schools.  The families also socialized with others in the township like the Hammersteins, the Wileys and the Brachs.  And, let’s not forget that their horse business utilized all that Arlington Racetrack had to offer.  Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if that magnificent barn/house were still here?  It would be another unique and lovely addition to the historical homes surviving in Schaumburg.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

I would like to thank Jerry Kern for being so willing to share his family’s photos with the library and his memories of their time in Schaumburg Township.  He was a fountain of knowledge and very eager to make sure all of the details were correct.  The blog postings on both of the Kern brothers would not have been nearly as complete without his help!

Also, it was L.D. and Dorothy who were fortuitous in bringing Paul Schweikher, the architect, to Schaumburg Township.  He, in turn, took note of the lovely surroundings and, either as in kind payment for the work he did or with a minimal purchase, obtained 7 acres south of Salt Creek with his wife, Dorothy, and erected their own home on Meacham Road.  You can read about that transaction in next week’s blog posting.

The drawing of the Kern house was done with permission from the Chicago History Museum who owns the rights to the original photo.





January 7, 2018

This is the corner of Golf and Meacham Road.  It is one of the busiest spots in Schaumburg Township.  But, when Ebenezer Colby paid cash on September 1, 1845 for the land patent on this property at the United States Land Office in Chicago, it was nothing but open grassland as far as the eye could see.

Ebenezer Colby was born October 16, 1788 in New Hampshire.  His wife, Abigail Hurd Willey, was born on January 19, 1791 in the same state. They married March 3, 1811 and had their children in Manchester, Vermont.  The children were born between 1812 and 1831 and included Abigail, Ebenezer Franklin, Lucy Philenda, Rachel Horatia, Marietta Belinda and Almira “Myra”.

The family, including Abigail’s husband, James Taylor, lived for a time in western New York and moved to Illinois in 1843.  Ebenezer or, Eben, as he was often called, soon became active in politics when he joined Thomas Bradwell as delegate from the Salt Creek Precinct to the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1844. (The Salt Creek Precinct was a large regional designation that was so named in the 1830s and 40s because of Salt Creek that runs through the northwest suburban townships of Palatine, Schaumburg and Elk Grove.)

By 1845 the Colbys had purchased their Schaumburg Township patent and were farming their land in Section 12, which is in the upper right portion of this 1842 map.  They bought the parcel that is the left half of the lower quarter and is a total of 80 acres.

In 1847 Eben continued his political prominence when he was elected one of five delegates to the Illinois Constitutional Convention in Springfield.  Interestingly, according to Marilyn Lind, in her book Genesis of a Township, Mr. Colby promoted a resolution that eventually passed and allowed for 5000 of the 50,000 copies of the Constitution to be printed in German.  Could this have been a reflection of the high percentage of German settlers in the Schaumburg Township area? Additionally, he also was one of seven “nays” in the final vote on the constitution. This begs the question, why would he have opposed it?

Mr. Colby also began to immerse himself in various posts in local government as township supervisor, assessor and chairman.  This was no strange consequence as his neighbor, Daniel H. Johnson, had served in the post of township supervisor before him.

Prior to his tenure that ran from 1851 to 1855, the township originally went by the name of Township 41N/ Range 10E–as is noted on the map above.  It’s not exactly a catchy name.  At some point, in the years he was in office, a lively, charged meeting occurred that seemed to have pitted the German contingent of the township against the “Yankee” contingent.  The intent was to choose a new name for the township.  The Germans were passionate about the name “Schaumburg” which was the area in Germany they hailed from.  The Yankees opted for Lutherville or Lutherburg, which may have been a nod to Martin Luther.  After much discussion, Fredrick Nerge of the German contingent–and for whom District 54’s Nerge School is named– “hit the table with the firmness of an old German soldier and shouted: “Schaumburg schall et heiten” or “Schaumburg it shall be.”   (History of Schaumburg, 1850-1900)

We don’t know how long the Colbys remained in Schaumburg Township but, at some point they moved to Elgin, most likely maintaining their property here for a few years.  It had to have been sometime in 1855 after he’d finished his service as a Schaumburg Township government official or in the following year of 1856.  We know the latter date because, in the book, Death Records in Elgin, it states that Abigail Colby died in Elgin on November 11, 1856. She was subsequently buried in the Channing Street Cemetery in Elgin.

We also know that sometime in 1851 or 1852, the Colby’s daughter, Myra, pictured above, began attending the Elgin Seminary.  E.C. Alft’s Elgin:  An American History states that “the Elgin Seminary was established in the spring of 1851 by the Misses Emily and Ellen Lord.”  On May 18, 1852 she married James Bradwell and, according to E.C. Alft’s Elgin:  Days Gone By, she “created an Elgin sensation in 1852 when she eloped, her father and brother giving chase with firearms.”

Ultimately, the marriage proved to be successful and, in fact, Myra completed legal training with the hopes of serving as a practicing attorney.  It took until 1892 for her to become one of the first–if not the first–woman in the state of Illinois to be admitted to the Bar.  Various sources differ on who attained this dramatic achievement but it is a definite possibility that it was Myra.

Meanwhile, Eben Colby continued his residence in Elgin after his wife’s death and was listed there in the 1860 census.  He was 73 years old and his profession was listed as “carpenter.”  He was living with Emily Burlington, “a female black laborer” (who was mentioned as such in the 1850 census) and a 65 year-old widow named Malinda Hall.  It is also worthy to note that on the 1861 Van Vechten plat map for Cook County, the Colby property in Schaumburg Township had been sold and was now in the hands of J.T. Thomas.

Eben then, at some point, made his way to Fort Dodge in Webster County, Iowa where his daughter, Marietta “Mary” (Colby) Haviland lived.  We then meet up with him again in the same book where we last saw his wife, Abigail.  It is there, in Death Records in Elgin, that he is listed as having died on September 4, 1869 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  He was 80 years old, 10 months and 12 days.

The family obviously regarded him highly enough to have his remains sent back to Illinois to be buried in the same block of the Channing Street Cemetery as his wife, Abigail.  It could have been their daughter, Myra Colby Bradwell, who was living in Chicago with her husband, who was also an attorney, and probably able to afford the cost.

Unfortunately, the Channing Street Cemetery no longer exists so we cannot capture a photo of the Colby’s gravestones.  In 1889, twenty years after Eben Colby’s death, when most remains from Channing Street were reinterred in the new Bluff City Cemetery, it is noted in the records that the Colbys did not make the move.  It is quite possible there was no gravestone for the couple and their grave site could not be determined or, very little remained if there was.

Suffice to say, the Colbys definitely made their mark on Schaumburg Township–from purchasing the available land patent, being actively involved in state and local government, to parenting children who were notable in their own right.  It was an active time in the early, formative years of Illinois and, even though the Colbys were not young people when they arrived, they made the most of the time they had.  Without Mr. Colby and his participation, Schaumburg Township might, in fact, be Lutherburg Township.  And try to imagine that on the Schaumburg Township sign on Illinois Boulevard!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library






May 20, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, May 27, 28 and 29, 2017.  The open houses will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Constructed in 1872–and first called Sarah’s Grove School, it is believed to have been the first of five public schools in Schaumburg Township. It was later renamed Schween’s Grove School and called Schaumburg Centre Public School until 1954. For 82 years, the building served as a one-room schoolhouse, and was the last active one room schoolhouse in District 54.

With the widening of Schaumburg Road, the building was saved from demolition and temporarily placed on the grounds of the Town Square Shopping Center in 1979. It was permanently relocated to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property in September, 1981. It has been fully restored as a museum and is under the auspices of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.


November 6, 2016

Every once in a while I receive a photo that is difficult–or maybe impossible–to identify. In this case a local gentleman dropped off two photos with the hopes of giving them a good home since they do not depict any of his family members. The photo of the twin baby girls had names on the back and was easy enough for him to confirm. But the other one, a confirmation photo of a young lady, has been a struggle. The photographer on the photo is Mosser from Palatine so, clearly, the young lady is a local girl.

Here’s where it gets interesting though. The photo, oddly enough, has two names on the back. They are “Milly Mess” and “Helena Mueller.” They are written in two different handwritings and in two different colors of ink, with Milly’s name more in the center of the photo.


Where to begin? Recognizing the Mess surname, I contacted a member of the family who, indeed, acknowledged her aunt was Emilie (Quindel) Mess or “Millie” for short. Emilie was born on May 14, 1889 in Schaumburg to Charles and Caroline (Busche) Quindel. According to confirmation records for St. Peter Lutheran Church, Emilie was confirmed in 1902 around the time she turned 13. Given the length of the dress in this photo, it is quite probable this photo is from that time period.

Millie married Otto Mess at age 21, eight years after the confirmation photo was taken. Below is a photo we have of Millie in our Local History Digital Archive. She is clearly older than the young lady in the confirmation photo. Do the two photos depict the same young lady?  The dates for Millie certainly align with the confirmation photo.


Information for the other young lady took a bit more effort to track down. Mueller can be spelled so many ways in government and church records–Muller, Miller, etc. I tried the census for the years 1900-1920 and did not have any luck. I also tried variations on the first name–Helena, Helen, Helene, etc. I then tried a simple search of Helena Mueller in the Daily Herald and bingo!

There was a reference in an obituary to Helena (Mueller) Heine. Additional obituaries  mentioned that she was married to Oscar Heine. With such a distinctive first and last name, I tried searching for him on and there he was. And his wife?  Rosa Helene “Helena” Muller Heine. With a photo included on the page! I’d obviously hit the bonanza. And I’ll be darned if she didn’t look very similar to our young lady in the photo above.


The problem is that Helena was born February 17, 1882 in Germany. In talking to the descendant who posted the photo and data on, I was told that Helena was confirmed in 1897 and came to the United States with her husband and son after marrying in 1905. The photo above was taken in 1905 when she was 22 or 23, probably around the time she married. Given her time frame and all of these details, it’s very unlikely that she is the young lady.

So, the mystery remains. Is it Millie? Or more remotely, is it a relative of Helena? Taking a bit of a closer look at the confirmation photo, it looks like the girl’s nose tilts downwards. Millie’s nose does the same thing.  Helena’s seems to tilt upwards. However, the young lady’s hair appears to have some wave and curl to it just like Helena’s. In the confirmation photo, the young lady looks more sedate and relaxed. Millie looks more tense and staunch in her photo while Helena has the same relaxed expression as our mysterious young lady.

Until someone comes forward with another copy of the photo it appears we cannot definitively identify the young lady. Whoever she is, her mother must have lovingly sewed her dress–and ironed it!–for the occasion. It’s probably a safe bet that those are new shoes too. Confirmation was a special moment in a young Lutheran girl’s life and it would be a shame to leave her unidentified.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photo of Helena is used courtesy of the contributor to Helena Heine’s listing.  My thanks to C. Debenport for posting the photo and passing on more info about Helena.  She shared wonderfully researched information with me as I created this blog posting.



January 31, 2016

In April 2011 I wrote a blog posting about the large wedding between Fred Pfingsten and Emma Rohlwing that occurred on September 3, 1903.  It was quite an event, and was so big and festive that it was written up in the Chicago Inter Ocean magazine.  That accounting has stood the test of time and continues to pop up in the German history of Schaumburg Township.

However, while doing a bit of research I recently stumbled on yet another large wedding that occurred just two years later in 1905.  Mr. Henry Lichthardt and Miss Lucy Oltendorf were united in marriage at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Schaumburg Township at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 7, 1905.  (Notice it wasn’t a Saturday or even a weekend day!)

The wedding was a three day event and so big it was reported in not only the Palatine Enterprise but the Duluth News-Tribune, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Freeport Daily Journal, Sandusky Star Journal and Oakland Tribune to name a few.  Clearly, word got around.

Both the bride and groom each had four attendants at the 11:00 A.M. service:  Fred Lichthardt, Della E. Oltendorf, Louis Oltendorf, Martha Rohlwing, Louis Nerge, Sarah Schunemann, Edward Leiseberg and Alma Lichthardt.  The bride wore a blue silk dress trimmed in Battenburg lace and carried a bouquet of “bride’s roses” while her bridesmaids were dressed in white and carried pink roses.  Interesting how over the years the color of the dresses has reversed.  (Unfortunately, we do not have a wedding photo of the bride and groom.  The following photos were extrapolated from a larger photo from the Pfingsten collection.)

Lucy Lichthardt



Henry Lichthardt

After the service, a long procession of carriages carried the wedding party, family and guests to the home of the groom’s parents, Johann and Engel Lichthardt.  Their farm was two miles south of the church and the gaily decorated carriages that stretched for a mile must have been a sight.  One team of horses “was literally covered with gay plumes and rosettes of fancy ribbons.”  They were led by the Bartlett Blue Ribbon Band in a wagon pulled by a 4-horse team.  This was followed by the bride’s wagon carrying the wedding party, and also drawn by a 4-horse team.  Five more rigs carrying the flower girls and additional family members were next in the procession.  (Below is an example of a local wedding procession that took place in 1909.)

Horses and buggies

Henry and Lucy invited over 250 families–which equaled nearly 1000 relatives and friends.  Four large tents were erected in order to accomodate a buffet meal, dining, cards and dancing.  Mrs. Hartmann was the caterer and oversaw the cooking while other ladies from the township helped serve the meals.  The food on hand included:  1200 pounds of meat, five barrels of sauerkraut, 160 pounds of head cheese (a type of sliced cold cut that includes bits of pork jelled with a delicious broth and firmed in a mold), three tubs of potato salad, 50 kegs of beer and 100 gallons of gooseberry shrub.  This latter item was also served at the Rohlwing/Pfingsten wedding and, according to one of the commenters below, seems to have been a drink that was possibly fermented.

The dining tent could hold 150 people while the card tent was set up with tables for games of pinochle. The dancing tent was 50×80 feet and covered with a smooth dancing floor specially laid for the occasion.  The Bartlett Blue Ribbon Band proved its worth yet again by providing the music for the dancers.

Yet another piece of enjoyment for the bride and  groom was the opportunity to take a ride in a new 25 horsepower automobile driven to the festivities by Louis Althen, president of the Elgin Brewing Company.  He gave them a ride at top speed around the township.

Obviously, not everyone could fit in the tents so the large lawn of well mown grass and the orchard provided other relaxing options for the many guests.  By all accounts the weather was gorgeous and in full cooperation for the three days.  Who could ask for anything more?

Mr. and Mrs. Lichthardt began their married life at a new house on their 140 acre farm.  Love must have been in the air during those three days in September 1905 because Mrs. Licthardt’s sister, Della, married Mr. Licthardt’s brother, Fred, a mere one year later on November 1, 1906!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

[Accountings used in the writing for this blog posting came from the September 7, 1905 Duluth News-Tribune and the September 8, 1905 Palatine Enterprise.]



February 10, 2013

Every once in a while descendants of some of our German farm families will pass on their unidentified photos with the hope that someone can put a name(s) to the people in the photo.  I post these photos on the the Schaumburg Township District Library’s Digital Archive in the hopes that another family member may own the photo and can help us out.

Sunderlage albumI now have a collection of these photos for three families–the Meyer, Panzer and Sunderlage families.  How do I know these photos pertain to the individual family?  I can’t be absolutely certain but the family member or interested party has usually had the photos for a while.  They can either put a name to some of the faces or the photos are clumped with others from the family.

For instance, the Meyer photos were passed on to me by someone who tracks Schaumburg Township genealogy.  A gentleman from the Meyer family knew of the genealogist’s work and gave him a photo album which he, in turn, passed on to me.  The Panzer photos were shared with me by a member of the Panzer family who had the photos in her possession and was hoping someone, anyone, would help her with the identifications.  As far as the  Sunderlage photos go—these were passed on by the Sunderlage House Archives of the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission.

Meyer albumThe Meyer photos consist of three newly married couples from the early 1900s, one child, a young man, two young women and four confirmation photos of 13-14 year-old young ladies in their white confirmation dresses.  The wedding photos show the brides in white dresses—something that didn’t happen until after the turn of the century.

The Panzer photos consist of five individual children, two sibling photos (one with five siblings dressed in their finest), three wedding photos, an older couple, a young lady, five confirmation photos of 13-14 year-old young ladies and one confirmation photo of a 13-14 year-old young man.Meyer album 2

The Sunderlage photos have fewer children and all appear to be taken in the 1800s.  They consist of two individual children, two photos of the same man that appear to to have been taken on the same day, one young woman, one young man, one mature woman, a sibling photo with a boy and two girls, a possible wedding photo of  Herman and Catharine (Rustman) Sunderlage and, lastly, a somewhat unique photo of August E. Sunderlage with three other men who might be family or might be friends.  It’s a bit on the dark side but it’s an intriguing photo.  (See it above)

I have posted some of the photos here but the bulk of them are on the library’s Local History Digital Archive.  If you are a family member and curious or have never paid a visit to the Digital Archive, start here.

You can navigate to the photos by the following path:
>Browse Photos
>Go to the individual folders for the families.  You will see thumbnails of the photos and can click on each of them to increase the size.

If you are a family member and can make an identification, please contact me at  I’d love to be able to move that photo to another folder—and report the change back here.

Or, take a look around and see if anything else catches your eye.  Maybe you have photos that we could add to the Digital Archive?  We are always looking for anything related to Schaumburg Township with no limit on the date.  History is history.  Businesses, homes, events, people, dignitaries–we’re interested in it all.  Contact me at the above email address if you have something you’d like to share.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


December 2, 2012

In 1899, eight-year-old Marie Quindel of Schaumberg, Ill’s was given this small keepsake album.  The intent was that her friends and family could record messages for her to remember them by.  Some of the messages are in English.  Some are in German.  Almost all of them rhyme and give advice.  Many include beautiful, small cutouts of flowers and fruit that were pasted onto the pages.   Marie, herself, put her name on the inside cover along with the older spelling of Schaumburg and the curious abbreviation of Illinois.  It is interesting to note that the spelling of Schaumburg varies throughout the book.

Here, though, are some of those sweet messages:

Dear Marie:  Strife to keep the golden rule, and learn your lessons well at school.  Your sister, Sophia.  Schamburg Ill’s, Jan. 14, 1901

Dear Marie:  When sitting sad and lonely and think you are unloved, remember O remember there is a friend above.  Ever your friend, Alma S. Nerge.

Dear Marie:  Down in the valley there is a rock and on it is written forget me not.  Your friend, Annie Mess.  Schaumberg Ill’s, Aug. 20, 1902

Dear Cousin:  Tis sweet to be remembered.  Tis sad to be forgot.  And you my dearest schoolmate, forget, forget me not.  Your cousin, Arthur Quindel.  Schaumburg, Ill, Jan. 10th, 1906

Dear Marie:  Summer may change for winter.  Flowers may fade and die, but I shall ever love thee while I can have a sigh.  From your friend, Louise E. Fiene.  Feb. 12, 1904

Dear Marry,  My love to you shall never fail as long as kitty has a tail.  From your friend, Emma Nerge.  Jan. 15, 1903

Dear Mary, When you are old and can not see, put  on your specks and think of me.  Fred W. Porep.  March 11th, 1906

Dear Sister:  Labor for learning before you grow old, for learning is better than silver or gold.  For silver or gold may vanish away but a good education will never decay.  Your sister Emilie.  Jan. 28, 1909

Dear Marie:  O think of me when far away and absent from my sight and I will do the same by you with pleasure and delight.  Remember me when time is fled and I am murmerd [?] with the dead.  Your true friend Alma Panzer.  Schaumberg Ill, Feb. 8th, 1904

Some of the others who wrote messages to her in German are:  C. Meinke, Alma Lichthardt, and Hermina Rohlwing.

Young Marie was born in 1891 in Schaumburg to Charles and Caroline “Lina” (Busche) Quindel.   Her five siblings were:  Sophia, Henry, Emilie, Wilhelmine, and Alvine.   She was christened, confirmed and married in St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.  She married Benjamin Meyer in 1914 and they had one child.  Their farm spanned Higgins Road just west of the intersection with Golf in today’s Hoffman Estates.  Her husband died in 1962 and Marie died at the age of 90 in 1981.

It is always interesting to have these little treasures come across my desk.  Holding the album in my hands and looking at the neat script of the writers, I think of Marie and wonder what made her ask her friends and family to record their sayings over such an extended period of time—from 1901 to 1909.  Whatever the reason, it was obviously a prized possession since it was kept over such a long life.  Thank you to the Hoffman Estates Museum for sharing.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library