THE WITHAEGER FAMILY FARM OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

In May 2021, I was contacted by the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven, Germany. This museum opened in 2005 and is mostly dedicated to those who emigrated from Germany to the United States. Each visitor, walking through the museum, is assigned an emigrant who they follow on their journey from Germany to the home they made in America.

Simone Blaschko, the director of the museum, did some of her university studies in Schaumburg Township where she became familiar with a number of our German farm families. Her work largely revolved around some of the founding families of St. Peter Lutheran Church, but she was also aware of the story of the Withaeger family. Particularly intriguing, was the story of Christine Wilhelmine (Gieseke) Withaeger.

The museum did some research on Christine Wilhelmine and contacted the library. We were able to touch base with her great, great grandson, William Haberkamp, who, fortunately, had photos and additional information on the family. As a result, Christine Wilhelmina (Gieseke) Withaeger will now be one of the emigrants assigned to a visitor. This is her story.

Wilhelmine Withaeger with three of her four children

Schaumburg Township had only 480 residents living in its 36 square miles when it was formed in 1850. By 1852 the number had gone up by two when Friederich Wilhelm and Christine Wilhelmina (Gieseke) Withaeger arrived from Hessen, Germany.

Wilhelm was born in 1820 and Wilhelmine in 1825. According to Wilhelmine’s March 8, 1912 obituary in the Cook County Herald, the couple was married in 1850 and came to this country two years later. Wilhelmine was pregnant at the time and it could not have been an easy voyage for her. It is probable that when they arrived, the living conditions in Schaumburg Township were rudimentary at best.

Despite a difficult situation, Wilhelmine gave birth to a son, Charles or Karl, on November 20, 1852. In Charles’ obituary in the November 12, 1937 edition of the Cook County Herald, it states that he lived on his family’s farm all of his life. We have to suppose, then, that Wilhelm, his father, purchased the farm soon after he and Wilhelmine arrived.

In this snapshot of an 1861 Cook County plat map by S. H. Burhans & J. Van Vechten, the earliest map that is available, we can see Mr. Withaeger’s name underneath Section 10. He is listed as W. Withagen and he owned 160 acres.

Five years after the birth of Charles, their first daughter, Sophia, was born on May 11, 1857. She was followed by Wilhelmine on January 28, 1860 and by Augusta on April 24, 1864.

Unfortunately, a little over three years later, on July 12, 1867, Wilhelm passed away at the age of 46. Wilhelmine was 41 years old and was left to manage a farm with a son who was 14 and daughters who were 10, 7 and 3 years of age. It was a monumental task.

1935 area topographical map

Because subsequent plat maps show that the farm never grew larger than the 160 acres, we know that she was still working with the original farm. Judging by this topographic map from 1935, we know the farm most likely had many tillable acres given the fact that it was a higher elevation and had roll the way it does today.

We have to suppose that Wilhelmine either employed a hired hand to assist in the farming, or some of her relatives in the area helped out. Thanks to Larry Nerge who has done a great deal of genealogical research of the German farm families in Schaumburg Township, we know that a sister and a brother made the voyage to America as well. Louise Winkelhake, her sister, was married to Christoph Winkelhake and they owned a farm at Plum Grove and Higgins Road which was not far away.

The Withaeger farm. Credit to the Withaeger family.

Wilhelmine’s son, Charles, grew up fast and inherited the task of raising livestock and farming the land. It would also not be too much of a stretch to think that Wilhelmine participated in much of the farming until Charles could fully take over. The photo above was probably taken in the 1890s or around the turn of the century and is clearly dominated by the magnificent windmill that is erected on a platform on top of the barn.

I asked Jonathan Kuester, the current Director of the Wagner Farm in Glenview and former Farm Operations Coordinator at the Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg, for his thoughts on the photo. These are some of his observations:

First off, the windmill. I can’t make out the lettering on the tail but, from the shape, I am 90% sure this is a Halladay Standard made by the U.S. Wind, Engine and Pump Co. It would have been made in South Elgin or Batavia and is almost identical to the one Johan Boeger had on his barn that stood where Volkening now is. [It was Batavia and you can read a bit more about the company here.] This is a 32 foot power mill and would have been used to run a line shaft to power equipment. Very cool!

Other things that stand out are the 5 gallon steel milk cans. These date the picture to the early 1900s, I would say. This is not far from one of the milk stations that was at Golf and Higgins Roads… [Mr. Kuester is referring to Nebel’s Corners that was on the northwest corner of Higgins and Roselle Roads. You can read more about it here.]

I do see what looks to be two, large, well-finished cattle in the yard behind the man and woman. This is exactly what we would expect from a Schaumburg farm, pre-World War I. All our research at Volkening suggests that the local farmers held onto their old, dual-purpose stock well after their neighbors had switched to more productive breeds. The big break [came] with the war when milk and beef prices skyrocket[ed] and labor, especially, German labor, was short. This is when the farm made the choice to either continue with dairy and get Holsteins or move to more productive beef breeds like Hereford or Angus.

I also noticed the large conical straw stack in the background to the left of the big barn. This was likely made with a threshing machine so we can place the time of year as mid-summer. The near horse looks like it is wearing a fly net so this would also indicate summer.

There are also fruit trees in the foreground but I don’t see any apples on them that I would expect so my guess is that they are cherry trees that have already been picked. The fruit trees in Schaumburg [Township] usually indicate that the house is nearby so I would guess the picture is taken from the perspective of the back of the house.

This is the George and Marie Biester “bank barn.” (Credit to Bob and Audrey Biester)

There is also a gutter visible on the far side of the big barn. My guess is that this is the bank side of the barn and has the large doors leading to the threshing floor. [This information from Wikipedia on “Bank Barns” describes what Mr. Kuester is referring to: A bank barn or banked barn is a style of barn noted for its accessibility, at ground level, on two separate levels. Often built into the side of a hill, or bank, both the upper and the lower floors area could be accessed from ground level, one area at the top of the hill and the other at the bottom.]

The long low building [to the right] is likely a machine shed, although it could also be a hog house.  My guess is machine shed though.  The two story section is peculiar. It does not match any typical farm building that I know of.  My one guess is that this has something to do with the windmill.  [Johan] Boeger built a two story machine shed with the same adjacency to his barn and windmill.  This is the equipment shed that is still on the [Volkening Heritage Farm] site. 

The downstairs portion [of the Volkening Heritage Farm building] is just equipment storage but the second floor was built with a grain tight floor and what Pete [former Farm Program Coordinator at the Volkening Heritage Farm] and I supposed were grain bins at one time.  We always thought that he (Boeger) used his windmill to grind grain and that this building was associated with the milling process somehow. The building in the picture may have a similar use or association with the windmill.

All and all, this is a pretty put together farm so I would say she [Wilhelmine] did pretty good for herself.

The farm looks prosperous and well tended. The barn is a thing of beauty and appears to be in good shape. It was most likely painted red and stood out as visitors rode up the lane from what is now Roselle Road. Wilhelmine and Charles could, indeed, be proud of what they had accomplished since the death of Wilhelm in 1867.

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

My thanks to the following for their assistance with this blog post:

William Haberkamp, who generously answered my call and brought the family photos to the library so they could be scanned and examined. They are a wonderful addition to our collection and our area’s history. We wouldn’t have been able to help the German Emigration Center without them!

Jonathan Kuester who was fascinated with the farm photo and poured out multiple details that I would have never seen. Every photo deserves the attention he gave this one. It is expertise like this that opens up our local history world.

THE WITHAEGER FAMILY OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

In May 2021, I was contacted by the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven, Germany. This museum opened in 2005 and is mostly dedicated to those who emigrated from Germany to the United States. Each visitor, walking through the museum, is assigned an emigrant who they follow on their journey from Germany to the home they made in America.

Simone Blaschko, the director of the museum, did some of her university studies in Schaumburg Township where she became familiar with a number of our German farm families. Her work largely revolved around some of the founding families of St. Peter Lutheran Church, but she was also aware of the story of the Withaeger family. Particularly intriguing to her, was the story of Christine Wilhelmine (Gieseke) Withaeger.

The museum did some research on Christine Wilhelmine and contacted the library. We were able to touch base with her great, great grandson, William Haberkamp, who, fortunately, had photos and additional information on the family. As a result, Christine Wilhelmine (Gieseke) Withaeger will now be one of the emigrants assigned to a visitor at the museum. This is her story.

Wilhelmine Withaeger with three of her four children

Schaumburg Township had only 480 residents living in its 36 square miles when it was formed in 1850. By 1852 the number had gone up by two when Friederich Wilhelm and Christine Wilhelmine (Gieseke) Withaeger arrived from Hessen, Germany.

Wilhelm was born in 1820 and Wilhelmine in 1825. According to Wilhelmine’s March 8, 1912 obituary in the Cook County Herald, the couple was married in 1850 and came to this country two years later. Wilhelmine was pregnant at the time and it could not have been an easy voyage for her. It is probable that when they arrived, the living conditions in Schaumburg Township were rudimentary at best.

Despite a difficult situation, Wilhelmine gave birth to a son, Charles or Karl, on November 20, 1852. In Charles’ obituary in the November 12, 1937 edition of the Cook County Herald, it states that he lived on his family’s farm all of his life. We have to suppose, then, that Wilhelm, his father, purchased the farm soon after he and Wilhelmine arrived.

In this snapshot of an 1861 Cook County plat map by S. H. Burhans & J. Van Vechten, the earliest map that is available, we can see Mr. Withaeger’s name underneath Section 10. He is listed as W. Withagen and he owned 160 acres.

Five years after the birth of Charles, their first daughter, Sophia, was born on May 11, 1857. She was followed by Wilhelmine on January 28, 1860 and by Augusta on April 24, 1864.

Unfortunately, a little over three years later, on July 12, 1867, Wilhelm passed away at the age of 46. Wilhelmine was 41 and was left to manage a farm with a son who was 14 and daughters who were 10, 7 and 3 years of age. It was a monumental task.

Charles and Bertha (Hinze) Withaeger

On July 2, 1880, at the age of 27, Charles married Bertha Hinze at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg. It is presumed he was doing most of the farm work and, in fact, by the time L.M. Snyder published his Snyder’s Real Estate Map of Cook County in 1890, the property was listed in his name. Wilhelmine, too, continued to live on the farm with the couple and called it home.

William and Sophia (Withaeger) Schumacher

Sophia and Wilhelmine, his two younger sisters, were also married by the time the map was published. Sophia married William Schumacher in 1877 and moved to Chicago. Wilhelmine married Frederick Redeker, a local man, in 1883 and, unfortunately, died six years later. She is buried in the cemetery at St. Peter Lutheran Church. Her death must have been an added burden for Wilhelmine and the family.

Frederick and Wilhelmine (Withaeger) Redeker

A year after the 1890 map was published, Wilhelmine’s youngest daughter, Augusta, married Fredrick Seelig and moved to Chicago like her older sister Sophie. It is interesting to note that, prior to their marriage, Fredrick was first married to Ida Schumacher who was a sister to William Schumacher–Sophia’s husband.

Fredrick and Augusta (Withaeger) Seelig
The Withaeger family in the apple orchard

Around September 1908 or 1909 this picture was most likely taken in the apple orchard at the Charles and Bertha Withaeger farm. It appears to have been a Sunday in September or October, judging by the fact that all of the family were in dress clothing and the apples were ripe. If you look closely, some of them are holding apples and it appears that Wilhelmine has just taken a bite.

The people in the front row on the ground, from left to right, are: Fredrick Seelig, William Schumacher, Alvine or Ida Withaeger, Alvine or Ida Withaeger, unidentified. The second row, from left to right, in chairs, are: unidentified, Wilhelmine Withaeger. The third row, from left to right is: William Withaeger, Sophia Schumacher, unidentified, Bertha Withaeger, Augusta Seelig, Alma Withaeger?, Charles Withaeger.

The Withaeger family near the family’s house

On the same day, the group had this picture taken near the house. The daughters of Charles and Bertha Withaeger are posing in the front row with a cake, a pie and coffee. Two of the gentlemen appear to have some type of liquor in their glasses and William Schumacher even appears to have a bottle with a corkscrew in it. Additionally, William Withaeger and Fredrick Seelig are posed with their guns.

Two or three years later, in the photo at the top of this blog post, Wilhelmine posed with her remaining children in what appears to be the orchard. Sophie, Charles and Augusta surround her. Wilhelmine clearly looks a bit older than the photos taken in 1908 or 1909.

Wilhelmine with her children and their spouses.

Another photo was taken of Wilhelmine with her children and their spouses on the same day. The first row from left to right is: Sophia Schumacher, Wilhelmine, Augusta Seelig and Bertha Withaeger. The second row from left to right is: William Schumacher, Fredrick Seelig and Charles Withaeger.

Fortunately these two photos were taken because, not too long afterwards, on January 19, 1912, Wilhelmine fell and broke her leg. Within a month, she died on February 22 at the age of 86 in her home. According to her obituary she had been in very good health until the fall. She left her three children, ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Bertha and Charles had five children, Sophia and William Schumacher had three children and Augusta and Fred had two children.

Wilhelmine was buried beside Wilhelm in St. Peter Lutheran Church Cemetery in Schaumburg Township after spending 45 years apart. Note that her tombstone has her name spelled with an “a.” We elected to spell it with an “e” because that is the spelling the early church records in Germany used. Both spellings were often used here in the United States.

Her son, Charles, and his wife, Bertha, continued to manage the farm until their deaths. They both died at home, with Bertha passing away first, in 1932, and Charles, five years later, in 1937. Both are buried in the Withaeger plot near Wilhelm and Wilhelmine.

Their two youngest children, Alma and Herman, never married but lived on the farm until well into the 1960s when it was sold for development. The Withaeger land is approximately where Village In The Park apartments are located. The final plat for those buildings was issued in 1970 according to the Village of Schaumburg 1998 Community Profile. When Alma and Herman passed away, they were buried in the family plot near their parents and grandparents.

Wilhelmine was the juggernaut who held the Withaeger property and family together for 60 years after her arrival in the United States from Germany. The farm remained in the family for 40 more years after her death. The example she set, with her guidance and strong will, did not let Wilhelm or her children down.

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

Next week we will track the Withaeger farm in more detail.

My thanks to the following for their assistance with this blog post:

William Haberkamp, who generously answered my call and brought the family photos to the library so they could be scanned and examined. They are a wonderful addition to our collection and our area’s history. We wouldn’t be able to help the German Emigration Center without his assistance and his family’s photographs!

Larry Nerge for his genealogical expertise and the multiple family trees he has done of the Schaumburg Township farm families. And his willingness to share!

THE WINKELHAKE FAMILY FARM: THE OLDEST IN SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

For years the small farm on the southeast corner of Higgins and Plum Grove Road seemed to persevere in spite of the growth around it. If you lived or worked in Schaumburg Township from 1980 to 2000 during the height of office development, you couldn’t help but notice the fields, the barns and the white farmhouse that stood out on busy Higgins Road.

This was the Winkelhake property, purchased in 1848 by Christof Winkelhake, two years before the township itself was established in 1850. Through sheer dint of will and passion, the Winkelhakes managed to maintain their agricultural independence for 150 years, despite all of the development that surrounded their farm.

Christof Winkelhake and his wife, Louise Marie, emigrated here from Germany around 1845, eventually purchasing 80 acres from the government as a land patent in 1848. The property was obtained in two different parcels a little over a week apart on March 1 and 10, according to the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office Records.

With their seven children–two of whom were born in Germany and the rest in Schaumburg Township–the Winkelhakes worked their farm, year in and year out. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune from July 27, 1999, Christof had “accumulated 240 acres by the time of the Civil War.”

The 1861 map above shows the Winkelhake property, 160 acres at the time, stretched laterally across Higgins Road. Note that Plum Grove Road came down from the north, through Horace “H.P.” Williams’ property, and ended at Higgins Road. It would be years before this gravel road extended south through the heart of the Winkelhake property.

All of the plat maps from 1861 to 1947 depict Plum Grove as a straight line, moving north/south through the Township. It isn’t until the 1947 map that we see Plum Grove take the slight jog that remains there today. It is my presumption that when it was finally paved it was necessary to go around, rather than through, the farmplace of the Winkelhake farm–hence the curve.

After establishing the farm for future generations, Christof died in 1897 at the age of 82. Both he and his wife, who had died ten years before him, are buried at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Cemetery. Below is their grave marker with its unique, ornamental finial on top.

The farm passed on to his son, Henry Winkelhake who was born in 1847 and was one of the first to be baptized within the St. Peter Lutheran Church congregation that formed in the same year. When he died in 1907, his two sons, Henry Jr. and Herman, farmed two different parcels, as can be seen on the 1926 plat map below. (Note Plum Grove’s straight, due south direction.) According to this map, Herman was farming the original property and Henry was farming the property that had been acquired on the west side of Plum Grove.

After their deaths, Herman’s sons, Louis and Herman, took over the farming, continuing to milk cows and grow corn, grain and soybeans. They sold off parcels here and there, particularly the portion that had been farmed by Henry on the west side of Plum Grove Road. That was sold to Arthur and Dorothy Hammerstein as their second farm.

When Arthur Hammerstein died in 1955, his wife sold their two farms on Roselle Road and Plum Grove Road. Eventually Palatine Township High School District acquired a portion of the Plum Grove Road farm that they would later use as the grounds for Conant High School, the first high school in the township. Before that was built the school district rented the 38 acres back to the Winkelhakes to farm in 1959. It is quite interesting that the school district was calling it the Hammerstein school site.

After working the farm for many years, Louis left and moved to Milwaukee. Herman continued to live in the white farmhouse, persevering season after season until his son Ron came back to help around 1987. Herman was bound and determined not to sell the property and, in fact, never did. He lived there until the day he died in 1995.

In the photo below, you can see how embedded the Winkelhakes were in Schaumburg Township and St. Peter Lutheran Church. Most of this row consists of the Winkelhakes we’ve been talking about, except for Herman, who was the last to farm. He is buried at St. Peter’s but is not part of this family plot.

By 1997, it was apparent to Herman’s survivors that it was time to sell the beloved farm that had been in the family for 150 years. Over the course of a few years, the family farm became the Morningside subdivision (which is on the homeplace), Bank of America and Sunrise of Schaumburg, an assisted living facility, to name a few.

Do you suppose some of these tall trees that line Plum Grove Road and border Higgins, are leftovers from the oldest family farm in Schaumburg Township? If they are, it’s sure nice to know there are remnants of the farm that still survive.

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

This blog posting was written with the assistance of the following:

  • Schaumburg Review, April 3, 1997
  • Chicago Tribune, July 27, 1999
  • A Winkelhake Time Capsule Or a Rainy Spring Day with Ron and Anne Winkelhake by Linda Valentine
  • Larry Nerge, Genealogist

 

 

OUR OLD HOUSE: A VISIT TO THE SUNDERLAGE FARMHOUSE

Stop by for an open house of the Sunderlage Farmhouse in Hoffman Estates! Visitors will have an opportunity to see the house’s interior and learn about its history.

When:  Saturday, July 18, 2021. 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Where: 1775 Vista Lane, Hoffman Estates

Who:  Hoffman Estates Historic Sites Commission

What: This free event will examine the history of the 1856 farmhouse, including the layout of its rooms, floors, staircase and basement. The smokehouse, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its mid-19th century Greek Revival style, will also be open.

Don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs to enjoy an outdoor performance by the Kishwaukee Ramblers!

For more information, call 847-781-2606.

FARMERS OF 1918 SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP, I-R

In 1918, Prairie Farmer Publishing Company in Chicago put out a book called Prairie Farmer’s Directory of DuPage and Northern Cook Counties, Illinois. Woodrow Wilson was president, Frank Lowden was governor of Illinois and this was before World War I.

The book had sections on the farmers, the breeders of various chickens, hogs and cows, and businesses that served the farmers of the area. It even has small sections on those who owned silos, tractors and automobiles.

Below is a list of the farmers, from I-R, of Schaumburg Township. While making the list, a few things mentioned below jumped out as interesting and/or unusual.

  • Ode D. Jennings was a gentleman farmer of the township. He was also a slot machine magnet who worked his way up from a poor childhood in Kentucky. He purchased his 250 acre farm in 1918–the same year this book was published. This made him one of the largest landowners in the township. After he died in 1953, his wife sold the farm to Alfred Campanelli who developed it into the Weathersfield subdivsion. The house, barn and other buildings are still being used today on Civic Drive in Schaumburg.
  • It is also interesting to note that Mr. Jennings stated that he had been a resident of Cook County since 1900. The 1900 census contradicts this statement and states that he was living in Pigeon, IN in 1900. This was about 30 miles from the Kentucky state line. He did not appear in the census in Chicago until 1910.
  • Those who were tenants in the list had seldom been in the county more than a few years–unless it was a father/son tenancy. It seems to have been a fluid housing/farming situation at the time.
  • The oldest resident–by a long shot–in this list is Maria Kublank. She had been a resident and early citizen of Cook County since 1843. She was born on September 30, 1843, the daughter of Johann and Catherine (Greve) Sunderlage, in Plum Grove, Illinois, according to the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947. This was before the townships were even named and before the government land was even sold to the early settlers. The Sunderlage family purchased an original land patent and, even though the Kublank family did not, they were still very early residents. You can read more about William and Mary Kublank here.
  • Herman and Emil Lichthardt are clearly father and son. It appears that Herman either sold or ceded the 180 acre farm in Section 27 to his son Emil, but kept 8 acres for himself. Did Herman build a second house on the property for himself?
  • Two gentlemen in this listing appear to have been wealthy landowners who could afford to lease out portions of their property: Walter Swain and Herman Boeger. Swain leased 174 acres to Henry Krumwiede in Section 21, and 90 acres that he co-owned with John Fenz to Alfred Nebel in Section 22. Walter was the grandson of Ernst and Catherine Schween who were original land patent purchasers in Schaumburg Township. They bought property on both sides of Schaumburg Road, just west of Roselle Road. Consequently, when Walter–who had changed his last name to Swain–was leasing it out in 1918, it had been in the family for over 70 years.
  • Herman Boeger owned 203 acres in Section 23 that he leased to Herman Moeller, and 160 acres in Section 34 that he leased to Emil and Walter Haberstick. At the time, Mr. Boeger lived in Section 23, where Spring Valley is today. His property that was leased to Mr. Haberstick, at the very south end of the township, must have been purchased at a later time for investment purposes. His father, Johann Boeger, was an original land patent purchaser of the Section 23 property, thus keeping it in the family for over 70 years.
  • The Postal Addresses in these lists are in Palatine, Roselle, Itasca, Ontarioville or Elgin–all established towns at the time. It appears that Sections 1-16, 20-24 and 27 were assigned to the Palatine post office. Sections 17, 18, 19 and part of 20 and 30 were assigned to the Elgin post office. Those in Sections 22, 23, 26-29 and 31-35 were assigned to the Roselle post office. Part of 24 and all of 25 and 36 used Itasca. Some of those in Sections 30 and 31 used the Ontariorville postal address. It is most interesting that the far southeastern portion of the township used Itasca when one would think that they would also be part of the Roselle boundaries. You can see the various sections on the map below, taking in how the post office divisions would have been made.

Jahn, Frederich (Wife Caroline Eades) (Children Tillie, William, Arthur at home; Esther and Edwin not at home.) Postal address is Route 3, Palatine. Owns 150 acres in Section 9. Resident of the county since 1888.

Japp, John (Children Henry and William) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 80 acres in Section 35. Resident of the county since 1866.

Japp, William A. (Wife Freda Langer) (Children Edna and Leona) “Maplewood Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 112 acres in Section 27. Resident of the county since 1886.

Jennings, Ode D. (Wife Jenett H. Isle) “Jennings Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 250 acres in Section 20. Resident of the county since 1900.

Jorns, Henry (Wife Louise Biesterfild/Biesterfeld) (Children Lydia, Louis, Edwin, Elnora) “Spring Hill Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 80 acres in Section 33. Resident of the county since 1886.

Kastning, Herman F. (Wife Ardna Springinsguth) (Children Harvey) “Square Deal Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 160 acres in Section 34. Resident of the county since 1892.

Kastning, John (Wife Minnie Thies) (Children Herman, Martha, Alwena, Louis, Hermena) “Silver Leaf Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 200 acres in Section 24. Resident of the county since 1863.

Kastning, Louis F. (Wife Emma Behrens) (Children Paul, Lidia, George, Alfreda, Marie) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 95 acres in Section 14. Resident of the county since 1879.

Kastning, William H. (Wife Emma Hattendorf) (Children Albert, Hellen, Warner, Margaret. Lorena is written in pencil next to the others.) “Kastning Homestead”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 154 acres in Section 14 & 15. Resident of the county since 1882.

Klink, William (Wife Anna Krenz) (Children Gertrude G.) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 169 acres in Section 11 that is owned by William Freise. Resident of the county since 1914.

Knake, Carl (Wife Annie Plote) (Children Jennie, Edward, Charlie H., Annie, Herman, Henry, Alma, Amanda) “Elder Dell Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 40 acres in Section 9. Resident of the county since 1869.

Krumwiede, Henry F. (Wife Elizabeth M. Haberstich) (Children William and Clara) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 174 acres in Section 21 that is owned by Walter Swain. Resident of the county since 1915.

Kruse, Henry J. (Wife Elise Sercander) (Children Ernest, Anna, Martin) “Sunnyside Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 40 acres in Section 24. Resident of the township since 1882.

Kruse, Louis F. (Wife Emma Beisner) (Children Edwin and Louis Jr.) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Tenant of 140 acres in Section 25 that is owned by Henry Fasse. Resident of the township since 1886.

Kublank, Mrs Maria (Children Mathilda, Rosa, William F. and Edward at home; Herman and Emma not at home.) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 114 1/2 acres in Section 11. Resident of the county since 1843.

Lange, Edward “Poplar Grove Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 75 acres in Section 36. Resident of the county since 1866.

Lemke, Fred A. (Wife Mary Bartells) (Children Waldo and Victor) “Pleasant Knoll Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 147 acres in Section 9. Resident of the county since 1915.

Lichthardt, August (Wife Clara Fasse) (Children Erna, August Jr., Beata, Adelia, Malinda, Henrietta) “Maple Bud Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 160 acres in Section 18. Resident of the county since 1882.

Lichthardt, Edward (Wife Elnora Hitzmann) (Children Elmer and Clarence) “Elder Knoll Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 180 acres in Section 19. Resident of the county since 1888.

Lichthardt, Emil F. (Wife Hermine Freise) “Pleasant Hill Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 180 acres in Section 27. Resident of the county since 1894.

Lichthardt, Herman (Wife Anna Becker) (Children Alma and Emil not at home.) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 8 acres in Section 27. Resident of the county since 1870.

Lichthardt, William (Wife Martha Kruse) (Children Wilbur and Harvey) “Woodlawn Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 6, Elgin. Owns 151 acres in Section 30. Resident of the county since 1888.

Linnenkohl, Fredrick (Wife Alrena Weise) (Children Ella, Irma, Priscilla and Milda at home; Fredrick Jr. and Harvey not at home.) “Poplar View Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 100 acres in Section 15. Resident of the county since 1908.

Lohse, William (Wife Louisa Baumgarten) (Children William H., Herman, Henry, Edward) “Valley View Farm”. Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Tenant of 160 acres in Section 17 owned by Fred Volkening. Resident of the county since 1884.

Luerssen, Henry F. (Wife Alma K. Wente) (Children Leonard C.) “Linden Grove Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 100 acres in Section 24 owned by Louis Wilkening. Resident of the county since 1887.

Mess, Otto (Wife Amelia Quindel) (Children Wilmer, Elsie, Harold) “Meadow Dale Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 128 acres in Section 13. Resident of the county since 1886

Meyer, Ben (Wife Marie Quindel) “Walnut Grove Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 180 acres in Sections 8 & 9. Resident of the county since 1890.

Moeller, Herman (Wife Hullena Hamann) (Brother Fred Moeller) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 203 acres in Section 23 owned by Herman Boeger. Resident of the county since 1892.

Moeller, William (Wife Alwena Kasting/Kastning) (Children Minnie) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 100 acres in Section 23 owned by Henry Moeller. Resident of the county since 1893.

Nebel, Albert W. (Wife of Martha Popp) (Children Ralph) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 90 acres in Section 22 owned by John Fenz and W. Swain. Resident of the county since 1890.

Nebel, Fred (Wife Mary Scherringhausen/Scharringhausen) (Children Albert, Alma, George, Fred, Edwin, Leonard, Raymond, Alwin) “Four Corner D Farm”. Route 2, Palatine. Owns 55 1/2 acres in Section 15. Tenant of 15 acres in Section 15 owned by W.H. Kastning. Resident of the county since 1867.

Nerge, Henry F. (Wife Engel Lichthardt) (Children Louis, Martin, Clara, Walter J.) “Meadow View Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 170 acres in Section 35 owned by Walter J. Resident of the county since 1862.

Nerge, Louis F. (Wife Ida Idecker) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 170 acres in Section 36. Resident of the county since 1885.

Nerge, Walter J. “The Meadow View Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 170 acres in Section 35. Resident of the county since 1894.

Panzer, Ferdinand (Sophia Fasse) (Children Alma, Emma) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 82 acres in Section 25. Resident of the county since 1888.

Petersohn, Albert (Children Alvina Pauling) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 140 acres in Section 26 owned by Henry Lichthardt. Resident of the county since 1917.

Petersohn Brothers Charles and Albert. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 140 acres in Section 26 owned by Henry Lichthardt. Resident of the county since 1917.

Pfingsten, Fred W. (Wife Emma Rohlwing) (Children Elmer, Esther, Edwin, Emil) “Pfingsten Homestead”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 160 acres in Section 25. Resident of the county since 1880.

Quindel, Charles (Children Sophia, Millie, Mary, Henry C., Alwena) “Quindel Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 200 acres in Section 11. Resident of the county since 1868.

Quindel, Henry C. (Children Martha) “Prairie View Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 13. Resident of the county since 1886.

Rodewald, Henry G. (Wife Emma Mueller) (Children Alma) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Tenant of 80 acres in Section 25 owned by Herman H. Fasse. Resident of the county since 1890.

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

Additional lists will follow in the upcoming weeks.

FARMERS OF 1918 SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP, A-H

In 1918, Prairie Farmer Publishing Company in Chicago put out a book called Prairie Farmer’s Directory of DuPage and Northern Cook Counties, Illinois. Woodrow Wilson was president, Frank Lowden was governor of Illinois and this was before World War I.

The book had sections on the farmers, the breeders of various chickens, hogs and cows, and businesses that served the farmers of the area. It even has small sections on those who owned silos, tractors and automobiles.

Below is a list of the farmers, from A-H, of Schaumburg Township. While making the list a few things jumped out as interesting and/or unusual.

  • The average number of acres that most of the farmers owned was right around 160.
  • Farm acreage ranged from 10.5 to 243 acres.
  • The number of tenant farmers was surprising. Of the 53 farms listed here, 16 were run by tenants. That means 30% did not own their own farms. Some of the tenants were clearly family members, which was most likely a father/son arrangement.
  • The names of the farms were not typically used by most of the farmers. When I asked LaVonne Presley about the farm owned by her grandmother, she said that she knew about the name because of the book, but it was seldom referred to as such.
  • The earliest resident of Schaumburg Township in this list was John Homeyer. The date listed for him was 1847. According to the St. Peter Lutheran Church records, John Homeyer was born November 19, 1847. He was most likely baptized by Pastor Francis Hoffman, the first pastor of St. Peter’s, in the very year the church was founded. He died in 1939 which was more than 20 years after this book was published.

This plat map is from Thrift Press and is dated 1926. It is the closest map in age to the 1918 Prairie Farmer’s Directory. You can get an idea of the section numbers of the township and where the farmers lived. In many instances, you can see the names on the map.

Bartels, Arthur H. (Wife Alma Hitzmann) (Children Lorena) “Apple Blossom Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 16. Resident of county since 1892.

Bartels, Herman H. (Wife Caroline Lichthardt) (Children William H., Henry F., Emma, Emil, Alfred, Irvin) “Valley Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 243 acres in Section 31. Residence of county since 1871.

Beisner, Henry (Wife Beata Mensching) (Children Anne, Elroy) “Shady Knoll Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 140 acres in Section 32. Residence of county since 1874.

Bell, Austin (Wife Florence Hastings) (Children Florence C.) “Stratford Farms”. Postal address is Stratford Farms, Roselle. Tenant and Manager of 197 acres in Section 27 that is owned by E.F. Meyer. Lived in county since 1917.

Bentrott, Henry “Orchard Grove Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 80 acres in Section 17-16. Resident of county since 1863.

Bierman, John W. (Wife Alvina Schuneman) (Children Harvey, Wilbert). Postal address Route 2, Palatine. Owns 80 acres in Section 12 of Hanover Township. Owns 40 acres in Section 36 of Hanover Township. Owns 40 acres in Section 36 of Schaumburg Township. Resident of county since 1882.

Blomberg, Ernest J. (Wife Martha Meyer) (Children William, Alma, Emma, Ernest, Minnie, Ida, Arthur) “Pine Lawn Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Ontarioville. Owns 110 acres in Section 30. Resident of county since 1902.

Bohne, Fred (Wife Marie Hoecker) (Children Henry, Fred) “Ash Grove Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 167 acres in Section 24. Resident of county since 1859.

Botterman, Fred W. (Wife Matilda Nerge) (Children Ernest, Alfred, Albert at home; Hattie, Irvin, Malinda, Sadie not at home) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 10 1/2 acres in Section 22. Resident of county since 1911.

Botterman, Herman C. (Wife Annie Katz) (Children Selma, Annie, Meta, Herman, Edna, Viola, Alvin) Postal address is Itasca. Owns 91 1/4 acres in Section 24. Resident of county since 1863.

Brackmann, Henry (Wife Laura Huenerberg) (Children Mildred) Postal address Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 82 acres in Section 34 that is owned by Henry Huenerberg. Resident of county since 1905.

Busche, Frank (Wife Clara Kruse) (Children Henry, Willie, Albert, Leonard) Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 160 acres in Section 20. Resident of county since 1887.

Busche, Herman C. (Hulda Freise) (Children Minnie, Ella, Edna, Harvey) “Sunnyside Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 27. Resident of county since 1879.

Cleveland, Fred (Wife Anna Welkisch) (Children Fred, Harold, Nina) Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 158 acres in Section 18. Resident of county since 1918.

Cwiefel, John (Wife Babetta Veeser) (Children John, Fred, Albert, Paulina, Henry) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 160 acres in Section 11 that is owned by Louis Freese. Resident of county since 1917.

Dammerman, Edward (Wife Minnie Beckman) (Children Henry, Meta) “Edgewood Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 8. Resident of county since 1868.

Dohl, William (Wife Minnie Hasemann) (Children Elmer, Malinda) “Wooddale Dairy Farm”. Postal addres is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 110 acres in Section 33. Tenant of 52 acres in Section 33 that is owned by August Hasemann. Resident of county since 1883.

Eineke, Herman W (Wife Martha S. Wilharm) (Children Edna M., Elsie E.) “Linden View Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 43 acres in Section 3. Resident of county since 1887.

Eineke, Louis W. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 80 acres in Section 21 that is owned by Mrs. Mary Meineke. Resident of county since 1895.

Eineke, William (Wife Martha Wagner) (Children Esther, Arthur) Postal address is Ontarioville. Tenant of 200 acres in Section 31 that is owned by C.H. Fischer. Resident of county since 1913.

Engelking, John (Wife Anna Hartman) (Children Fred, Edwin, Tillie, Henry, Ernestine, George, Loretta, Phillip, Laura) “Pleasant Valley Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 160 acres in Section 28. Resident of county since 1866.

Fasse, Henry E. (Wife Clara Gieseke) (Children Wilbert, Evelyn, Raymond, Adeline) Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 116 3/4 acres in Section 3. Resident of county since 1878.

Fasse, Herman H. (Wife Martha Gieseke) (Children Herman J., Edna, Marvin, Lorena) “Maple Lane Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 120 acres in Sections 24-25. Resident of county since 1883.

Foege, Henry (Wife Amanda Tonne) (Children Hilda, Alfred, Hurbert) “Elder Leaf Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 80 acres in Section 36. Resident of county since 1878.

Fraas, John (Sister Annie Fraas) “The Pines”. Postal address is Route 1 Roselle. Tenant of 90 acres in Section 33 that is owned by Christ Fraas. Resident of county since 1890.

Freise, Alfred J. (Wife Martha Kastning) (Children Harvey, Raymond) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 13 . Tenant of 40 acres in Section 13 that is owned by H.W. Freise. Resident of county since 1892.

Freise, Henry J. (Wife Christine Kirchoff/Kirchhoff) (Children Sophie, Henry, William at home; George, Pauline and Laura not at home.) “Pleasant View Farm” Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 10. Resident of county since 1884.

Freise, William H. (Wife Alma Lichthardt) (Children Arnold) “Clover Valley Stock Farm” Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 170 acres in Section 12. Resident of county since 1889.

Gathman, Henry O. (Wife Emma Beirmann) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Tenant of 80 acres in Section 36 that is owned by Henry Gathman Sr. Resident of county since 1883.

Gathman, Louis (Wife Emma Scharringhausen) (Children Ida, Amanda, Viola, William, Martha, Albert, Arthur, Carrie, Edward) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 80 acres in Section 36. Resident of county since 1865.

Gehrls, John (Wife Diana Bortmann) (Children Martha, Arnold, Herman, Minnie, Elsie, Theodore, Lydia) “Cosy Corner Farm” Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 59 acres in Section 32. Resident of county since 1886.

Geistfeld, August (Wife Carrie Hattendorf) (Children Alma, Arthur, Laura, Martha, Bertha, Alfred, Herman, Walter, Elsie) Postal address is Route 1 Palatine. Owns 80 acres in Section 16. Resident of county since 1906.

Gerken, Ben (Wife Rosea Schmidt) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 80 acres in Section 26 that is owned by Fred Pfingsten. Resident of county since 1875.

Gieseke, John (Wife Ella Meyer) (Children Fred W., Clara, John H., Emily, Emil, Herman, Louis C., Alma, Arthur, Edwin, William J.) “Village View Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 164 1/2 acres in Section 15. Resident of county since 1857.

Greve, August (Children Edwin G.) Postal address is Route 2 Palatine. Owns 215 acres in Section 8. Resident of county since 1863.

Greve, William (Wife Dina Behrens) (Children Edna) “Spring Creek Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 153 acres in Section 7. Resident of county since 1882.

Haberstick Bros., Emil and Walter (Wife Mary Kieper) (Children Howard) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 160 acres in Section 34 that is owned by Herman Boeger. Resident of county since 1896.

Hansen, Victor (Wife Annie Dell) (Children Pearl, Florence, Harold, Ruby, Violet and Earl) Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Tenant of 204 acres in Section 7 that is owned by Edward Lake. Resident of county since 1918.

Harke, Henry (Wife Emma Bartling) (Children Fred, Annie, Louis, Henry, Elsie) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 85 acres in Section 36. Resident of county since 1870.

Hartmann, Fred (Wife Lena Kruse) (Children Meta, Henry, Albert, Minnie, Hilda, Arthur, Emil) “Clear View Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 160 acres in Section 29. Resident of county since 1870.

Hasemann, August (Wife Mary Nerge) (Children Mary, Emma, Minnie) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 15 acres in Section 33. Resident of county since 1853.

Hattendorf, August (Wife Emma Clausing) (Children Alvin, Alfred, Herbert, Edna) “Mile Long Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 16. Resident of county since 1883.

Hattendorf, Fred (Wife Minnie Haemker) (Children Arthur, Emily, Fred Jr., Hermine, Martha, Ella at home; Herman, Louis, Emil not at home) “Locust Hill Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 150 acres in Section 21. Resident of county since 1856.

Hattendorf, Herman W. (Wife Lydia Swain) (Children Harold) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 120 acres of Section 16 that is owned by H. Troyke. Resident of county since 1897.

Hattendorf, William (Wife Caroline Leiseberg) (Children William C. Emma, Alweria, Martha, Henry A., John, Martin) “Locust Lawn Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Palatine. Owns 200 acres in Section 23. Resident of county since 1853.

Heide, Frederick (Wife Emma Steinmeyer) (Children Otta F., Louis F., Laura, Emilie) “Ever Green Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 120 acres in Section 9. Resident of county since 1878.

Heim, Ernest G. (Wife Augusta Dahms) (Children Andrew, Ernest, William, Gertrude, Adelia, Rosie, Nellie) “Clover Meadow Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 140 acres in Section 32. Resident of county since 1903.

Heine, Fred W. (Wife Ida Vette) (Children Elmer) Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 93 acres and is tenant of 93 acres that is owned by Mrs. A. Heine. (Section number is not given) Resident of county since 1896.

Heine, Herman F. (Wife Emma Heine) (Children Harvey, Alice, Edwin) “Orchard View Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 160 acres in Section 18. Resident of county since 1883.

Homeyer, John (Wife Caroline Baumman) (Children Sophia, Meme, Emma, John H. Henry, Emil) “Maple Wood Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 158 acres in Section 34. Resident of county since 1847.

Homeyer, John H. (Wife Martha Geistfeld) “Maple Wood Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 158 acres in Section 34 that is owned by John Homeyer. Resident of county since 1885.

Hoth, William (Wife Sophia Biermann) (Children Clarence, Willie, Raymond, Harvey, Frank, Carlton) Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Tenant of 160 acres in Section 19 owned by Mrs. S. Lichthardt. Resident of county since 1912.

Huenerberg, William F. (Wife Anna Sporleder) (Children Raymond W., Elsie M.) “Maple Drive Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 196 acres in Section 10. Resident of county since 1870.

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

Additional lists will follow in the upcoming weeks.

 

THE SUNDERLAGE SMOKEHOUSE

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

It’s such a small building, yet it was the most important building for the pioneer families that settled in what would one day be the village of Hoffman Estates. The small building is the only building in Hoffman Estates that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. This most important building is the Greek revival style smokehouse on the Sunderlage Farm at Volid and Vista Dr in Hoffman Estates. Built circa 1840, it is the only smokehouse built in such a style in the state of Illinois.

When you visit and examine this small building, besides its beautiful design, you’ll notice the unusual color of the brick and the fact that it has a window in the west wall. It’s very unusual for a smokehouse to have a window but this smokehouse was also used as a summer kitchen. 

The window provided light for the cooking and washing that was done to keep the house cooler in the hot weather of summer. A pump, sink and work counter were a part of the smokehouse. Wash day began early in the morning. A large wash boiler would be filled with water and put over the fire to come to a boil.  Laundry would be boiled, rinsed, wrung out and hung outside on clothes lines to dry. 

Baking (bread was baked daily) and cooking would be done out there keeping the kitchen and farmhouse cool. In winter, cooking returned to the large stove in the farmhouse.

Come November, with cold weather settling in, the animals raised since spring and destined for the kitchen table, would be slaughtered and prepared for the smokehouse. Pork was the meat of choice but some beef may have also been hung to smoke. The freezing temperatures also provided another way of preserving the meat. The number of hogs needed to feed the family would be one for each member of the household.

 It’s believed that the smokehouse was built before the farmhouse. Not only the Sunderlage family used the smokehouse, but other neighbors who had settled across Higgins Road in Wildcat Grove were thought to have used it.

The work involved to prepare the animals for smoking was very tedious. The animals had to have all of their hair removed with boiling water in a large tub or trough. The whole family and perhaps neighbors would be a part of the process.  Nothing was wasted. The blood would be used in sausage and blood pudding.  The layer of fat would be saved to be used in frying and cooking throughout the coming year. Some meat would be salted before hanging to dry or smoke. The women would be busy gathering all the pieces and scraps of meat for the sausage they’d be making and this would also be hung in the smokehouse.  

Life was not easy for our early pioneer families. Being able to provide food for the coming winter was vital to their survival.  The small smokehouse did just that.

For a wonderful look into the history of the Sunderlage House and smokehouse, along with other historical sites in Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg, view the Schaumburg Township Historical Society’s Virtual Bus Tour at www.s-t-h-s.org  

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

Credit for the photo of the woman doing wash goes to Canada’s History.
Credit for the photo of the men slaughtering a pig goes to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

LAVONNE (THIES) PRESLEY, 1940-2020

If you have been reading this blog over the past 10 years, you have seen the presence of local Schaumburg resident, LaVonne Presley, in more ways than one. Whether it was in photos she donated, interviews she participated in, books she wrote or comments she shared, LaVonne was a true historian of Schaumburg Township.

She grew up on a farm on Wise or, Wiese Road, as she liked to remind me. She spent her youth helping out and combing every inch of their farm, as well as her grandmother’s farm on Meacham Road. Listening was a great virtue of hers and she soaked up all the details her mother and, especially, her father shared about running a farm.

This was echoed in the letters she wrote every week to her friends and family. Like any good farmer does, she always mentioned the weather and, quite often, a farming topic. Periodically, she would send a picture from her father’s farm and explain every detail in the picture. It was a lesson in historical farming wrapped up in a paragraph or two.

Her farming heritage was so important to her that she wrote two books: A Schaumburg Farm, 1935-1964 and Schaumburg of My Ancestors. The first is the story of the farm where she grew up and the second is an account of her grandparents’ farm. Both books are incredibly rich in detail and full of photos and documents that the family saved over the years.

Because she spent almost all of her years in Schaumburg Township, she became part of the history that moved our township from a rural, agrarian lifestyle to a commercial, suburban lifestyle.

LaVonne was born to William and Clara (Becker) Thies on March 28, 1940 in Chicago. Clara, her mother, was the daughter of Otto and Emilie (Meyer) Becker who lived in Roselle. This Roselle connection stayed strong in LaVonne’s family as they did much of their business in Roselle and attended Trinity Lutheran Church.

Otto and Emilie Becker on their wedding day

Otto ran Becker & Leiseberg Machine Shop and Planing Mill that catered to farmers and homeowners. In LaVonne’s words, he “and his partner did wood turning, windows, screens, cisterns, windmills, farming implements, etc.”

++Otto Becker is the tall man on the right. His daughter, Clara, the mother of LaVonne, is in the middle.
The interior of Becker & Leiseberg Machine Shop and Planing Mill
Otto Becker is the tall man in the derby in the center of the photo.
Wedding photo of Henry and Sophie (Fedderke) Thies

LaVonne’s father, William, was the son of Heinrich and Sophie (Fedderke) Thies. His family farmed 120 acres on the east side of Meacham Road, near the WGN tower. Because his father died when William was 4 years old, William did not begin farming the family acreage with his brother Henry until 1910, when both boys were in their teens.

William in his World War I dress uniform.

William’s life was disrupted when he was drafted into the army in World War I during the height of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. After his return, he married Amalia Boergener and they had a son, Raymond. Unfortunately, Amalia died suddenly, in 1926, at a young age.

A few years later William and Clara met at the Roselle State Bank where she was a teller and where he came to do his banking. Shortly before they married in 1935, they purchased the former Haseman/Burgdorf farm on Wiese Road. This is the farm where LaVonne grew up.

William and Clara Thies on the event of their 30th wedding anniversary

She attended Trinity Lutheran School in Roselle for her grade school education. This was followed by four years of high school at Palatine High School and an additional four years at North Central College in Naperville where she graduated in 1962.

Three years later, in 1966, she married Leonard Presley. Both were teachers at Community Consolidated School District 54 in Schaumburg Township. Leonard was an art teacher and LaVonne was an elementary teacher. She began her teaching career as a fifth grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School in Hoffman Estates and finished her teaching years as a fourth grade teacher and, later, a librarian at Adlai Stevenson Elementary School in Elk Grove Village.

LaVonne on the left with family friend, Rose Dusek, at the Thies farm around 1950

LaVonne loved teaching and often shared stories of times in the classroom with her students. She thoroughly enjoyed the many instances where former students would see her out and about in the community and stop to talk to her.

During her teaching years she and Leonard had two boys named Ronald and Carl who were the light of her life. It was also during this time that they moved to Arlington Heights. However, when her father, William, grew too old to stay in the house he and Clara had built after selling the farm, the Presleys moved back to Schaumburg where their sons attended high school. LaVonne spent the rest of her life in this house.

After her husband died in 1988, LaVonne continued to teach until she retired in 2001. A bit before this time, LaVonne joined a group of women who formed an organization called Facilitators for the Preservation of Schaumburg Area History. Led by L.S. Valentine, they undertook an oral history project, with the intent of capturing the history of the township in the words of both its German farmers and some of the residents who were early to the development of the township. These oral histories, with their wealth of information, are now viewable on the library’s Local History Digital Archive.

Her retirement years were spent writing her books and volunteering at the library and Trinity Lutheran Church, which was so very important to her. She faithfully attended many church activities and social outings, finding joy in her faith and the many friends she had at church.

She also joined the Schaumburg Township Historical Society, attending the meetings and giving presentations. Dressed as a 19th century school teacher, she would provide details on school life in the one-room Schaumburg Center School on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Most importantly, she spent as much time as possible with her sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughters. She was endlessly delighted by the addition of these female family members. If her weekly letters began with the weather, you can be sure they also contained proud accounts of her family’s activities.

Even though part of her family lived outside of the Chicago area, she talked, communicated and emailed with them as much as possible. She always enjoyed their visits and her trips to see them, and loved when her son dropped by with his dog.

When her granddaughters were young, she waited every year for the week in the summer when they came to stay. She planned events and outings and indulged them with all of the local foods they loved. (Hello County Donuts and Portillo’s!) And every visit ended with a trip to the store to purchase supplies for their upcoming school year. She was always a teacher.

LaVonne passed away on November 22, 2020. She will be missed by many more than she could have ever realized. She stayed true to her roots until the end because, no matter where she lived or what she did, she was a Schaumburg Township farmer’s daughter every day of her life.

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

LaVonne was such a good friend to me and is irreplacable in more ways than I can count. When I needed any type of local information or color on a tidbit of Schaumburg Township history, I could count on her to add details that I was unaware of. I will miss her suggestions, her comments and her local knowledge. As Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian, said, “One of the good ones is gone.”

+Credit to the Presley family for the photo of LaVonne.
++Credit to L.S. Valentine for passing on the top photo of Becker & Leiseberg Machine Shop and Planing Mill.
+++Credit to the Schaumburg Township Historical Society for the photo of LaVonne at the Schaumburg Center School.

 

GRAY FARM PARK AND CONSERVATION AREA

Gray Farm Park and Conservation Area is one of four large, open, designated conservation areas in the Schaumburg Park District. It is located north of Schaumburg Road, between Springinsguth and Barrington Roads. The area comprises 47 acres and contains a fishing lake, a large open marsh, trails, boardwalks, interpretive signs and a wildlife viewing platform.

The Conservation Area is named for Dr. Herbert Gray who was the long time owner of the farm where the Conservation Area is located. Many of the locals in the area–including a number of our oral historians–knew him as Doc Gray.

Herbert Weir Gray was born April 20, 1887 in Chicago to William Perry and Louisa (Weir) Gray. The William P. Gray School in Chicago at 3730 N. Laramie Avenue is named for his father.

According to Doctor Gray’s obituary from the April 7, 1977 issue of the Chicago Tribune, Doctor Gray graduated from Northwestern Medical School in 1913, served as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the school, taught at Cook County Hospital and served as a staff member at Ravenswood Hospital.

He married Marguerite Erisman in 1914 and they had three children together. When he registered for the World War I draft in 1917, he listed himself as a 30-year-old, self-employed Doctor of Medicine in Chicago.

In the late 1920s the Grays bought two farms in Schaumburg Township. In a November 9, 1928 issue of the Herald, it states that ‘Dr. Grey [sic] bought the old Sween [sic] farm from Strauss Bros. and the five-acre woodland tract from Dr. Theobald.” The Strauss Brothers property can be seen in this 1926 map.

This first farm was almost directly on the southwest corner of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. It was a large L-shaped parcel of about 170 acres that covered much of what is today’s Sarah’s Grove townhouse community and parts of The Woods and Timbercrest subdivisions, as well as today’s still developing Coventry Woods subdivision on Schaumburg Road across from the Schaumburg Township offices.

The north part of the L ran along Schaumburg Road and the short part of the L ran along Roselle Road. The wooded portion eventually became known locally as Gray’s Woods, according to the Power Point put together by Herb Demmel of Friendship Village who did a fair amount of research on Sarah’s Grove.

According to Wayne Nebel and Ken Sporleder, two of our oral historians, when the Grays first moved to the area, they built a small brick house in Roselle on Roselle Road. The 1930 census shows that the family was living in Bloomindgale village at the time. Maybe this was before they built their home?

The Grays eventually moved to the farm at Schaumburg and Roselle and lived in the house that was set back off of Schaumburg Road. Later, he rented the farm to the Herbert Knutson family in the early 1950s. By this time he had married Johanna Wald in 1949 and they moved to his second farm.

This second farm that we know as Gray Farm Conservation Area consisted of a 100 acre parcel between Schaumburg Road and Bode Road, just east of the intersection with Barrington Road. In addition, according to the 1956 plat map, he also owned an 80 acre parcel due north of the original 100.

According to the memories of Ken Sporleder, this second farm home was also down a long lane. Mike Gallichio of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society recalls that the home was where Elizabeth Blackwell School is today.

The barn on the Gray farm was to the right of the drive. Ruth Clapper, who grew up across Schaumburg Road, said, “I used to play in the yard with… Dr. Gray’s grandaughter when she came to stay during the summer. You [could not] clearly see the Gray house from the road due to the barn.”

Doctor Gray sold the centrally located farm first as it was developed into the Timbercrest subdivision in the late 1960s. According to a 1966 listing of taxpayers of Schaumburg Township that appeared in the Herald, he was still paying property taxes on the west farm at that time.

A bit later he sold the last of his Schaumburg Township property and moved to McAllen, TX where he died at the age of 89 on March 31, 1977. He is buried at Sunset Memorial Park in San Antonio, TX.

But, his long legacy in Schaumburg Township lives on in the conservation area that is named for him. In fact, you can see how it would have been formed judging by the 1961 topographical map of the Streamwood Quadrangle shown above. The low lying, marshy area of his farm was just to the north of Schaumburg Road.

When the property was ultimately sold for development there were really only two options–drain it or develop a park. Today, the Conservation Area consists of an open marsh, surrounded by a dense outline of cattails. In the summer, the open area is only visible from the playground at Elizabeth Blackwell School by taking the short walk from the edge of the school property to the boardwalk and observation deck. At the deck it is possible to focus in on the nearly dry marsh that is the home of water birds such as egrets and herons. Schaumburg Township is fortunate to have these large green spaces that were once the farms of the area.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BETWEEN RURAL AND SUBURBAN: THE ALBERT HARTMANN HOME

 

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
jrozek@stdl.org

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.