Archive for the ‘Schaumburg Township’ Category

THE MYSTERY OF THE JOHNSON BROTHERS IN EARLY SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP (2)

May 19, 2019

Last week we met Daniel, Morgan and Lyman Johnson who arrived in the area in the mid to late 1840s. Morgan’s tombstone says he was born in Sandgate, Vermont which is in Bennington County. According to the the Palatine Centennial Book, Daniel and Morgan moved to Yates County, New York as boys and left for Illinois in 1844. There is no mention, however, of Lyman in the book.

Having been born in 1799 and 1803, respectively, Daniel and Morgan were already firmly established adults who were quite possibly seeking affordable government land in the far off state of Illinois when they moved here.

We also discovered that Lyman and Daniel made their way to Schaumburg Township and bought land patents here in Sections 12 and 13. While they both were listed as farmers in the 1850 census, Lyman and his wife Emeline also ran Johnson’s Tavern, as seen in the 1851 map above.

Tracking Morgan S. Johnson, we find that he, too, purchased a land patent, except that his was in Palatine Township. According to the Bureau of Land Management’s land record database, he purchased 40 acres on April 10, 1848 in Section 28. This was just a bit north of Algonquin Road and coincides with a segment in the Palatine Centennial Book that states:

“Morgan Johson came from Yates County, New York and purchased the farm owned for several years by Gustavus W. Southworth. [This area was called Highland Grove.] Mr. Southworth kept a tavern called the “Wickliffe House.” When Mr. Johnson moved in he took down the sign and said he would not keep transients. However, so many travelers stopped and asked for lodging that Mr. Johnson was compelled to keep them overnight and at last kept the tavern as his predecessor had done. It was a popular stop and often during the summer as many as ten or fifteen covered wagons would be lined up in a string, loaded with new settlers from the east. People from Rockford and Dundee, on their way to Chicago, always stopped here to rest themselves, their oxen or horses.”

During Gustavus Southworth’s ownership of the “Wickliffe House” he was appointed Postmaster in July 1842. According to the Palatine Centennial Book, “the post office was probably a box with pigeonholes in it at the rear of the establishment.” Mr. Johnson served as deputy postmaster for four years after he purchased the property. This is why many accounts from the early Hoffman Estates portion of Schaumburg Township, state that their first post office was Wickliffe. Their proximity was closer to Highland Grove than central Schaumburg Township.

The time frame of Morgan Johnson purchasing the land patent and owning Wickliffe House ranges loosely from 1844 to 1860. Morgan and his wife, Wealthy Wood (Willey), are listed in the 1860 census with Morgan’s occupation being farmer. When he and his wife moved to Palatine in 1861, he “donated the land for the site of the St. John’s church located on Algonquin road immediately west of Roselle road” per the Palatine Centennial Book.

 

During this same period of 1844 to 1860, Daniel and Rachel (Willey) Johnson lived on their farm in Section 12 of Schaumburg Township with their children Solon, Clarentine, Myron and Coralin–all of whom had been born in New York. (The two Johnson brothers married the two Willey sisters.)

By 1860 though, Daniel and Rachel had sold their farm in Schaumburg Township. Curiously, Daniel is listed in the 1860 census, living with his brother, Morgan and his wife, Wealthy Wood, in Palatine Township. This was on the above mentioned farm in Highland Grove, near the southwest corner of Roselle and Algonquin Roads. Even more curiously, Rachel is not listed at all.

In 1861, according to the Palatine Centennial Book, Morgan, “being a carpenter and builder by trade, built a beautiful home in Palatine and moved there… For two years he served as Palatine supervisor on the county board and subsequently held many other public offices.”

One has to wonder if Daniel and Rachel moved to Palatine when Morgan sold his farm or, if they purchased that farm–or another–for a period of time before 1870. Rachel’s Chicago Tribune obituary from January 12, 1892 goes a ways towards clarifying this when it states “Mrs. Johnson was one of the old settlers of Cook County, having come here forty-eight years ago with her husband, Daniel H. Johnson. They settled in the Town of Schaumburg, but acquiring a farm in the Town of Palatine moved there some years later.”

In the 1870 census, though, Daniel and Rachel are once again listed together in Palatine and, apparently, living in town on a street surrounded by various merchants. Four years after the census, Daniel died at the age of 75 on June 25, 1874 and was buried in Hillside Cemetery in Palatine. Rachel lived another 18 years and died of old age at 86 or 87. As seen below, they were given quite an impressive tombstone by their descendants.


It is possible it was paid for by their son-in-law, Samuel McCrea, who married their daughter, Coraline. Mr. McCrea had entered the grain commission business and served as the president of the Chicago Board of Trade in 1870 and, later, as Cook County Treasurer.

Morgan, meanwhile, lived substantially longer. He was born in 1803 and died in 1890 at the age of 87. His wife, Wealthy, lived even longer and died at the age of 91 in 1899. They are buried adjacent to Daniel and Rachel in Hillside Cemetery under the white obelisk to the left.


We have successfully tracked Daniel and Morgan’s time in our area, but what happened to Lyman? He, after all, is the one who ran the tavern with his wife Emeline that was located in Section 13. Where did they go if they didn’t stay in the area? Why did they leave? Check in next week to catch the conclusion of the story of the Johnson gentlemen of Vermont.

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

Sources used:

Palatine Centennial Book; Updated and published by the Palatine Quasquicentennial Committee of 1991.
Hillside Cemetery; by Constance Rawa of the Palatine Historical Society; 1997.

THE MYSTERY OF THE JOHNSON BROTHERS IN EARLY SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP (1)

May 12, 2019

On this 1851 map, just above the “G” of “Schaumberg,” you can see a listing for Johnson’s Tavern, along Higgins Road. Starting a tavern in the mid-19th century on the lonely road that ran between Chicago and Dundee was certainly a good idea for those traversing that empty stretch. But, who was Johnson?

Taking a look at the 1850 census, we can see that it was most likely Daniel or Lyman, as they are the only Johnsons listed. Also, we know through the land office records of the Bureau of Land Management, that Daniel owned land in Section 12 that can be found at the top of the map. We know from Schaumburg Township Land Patents, a listing prepared by Bonnie Cernosek and compiled by Valentine, that an Emeline Johnson purchased property in Sections 12 and 13.

According to both the Palatine Centennial Book and Hillside Cemetery, Daniel Johnson traveled from New York with his brother, Morgan Johnson.They were both born in Vermont and moved to New York where they married sisters.

There is no mention of Lyman in either book so, we have to ask, was he their brother? They almost certainly were because Hillside Cemetery states that Morgan and Daniel were children of Lyman and Dorcas Johnson of Sandgate, Vermont. The 1850 census also states that Lyman, Morgan and Daniel were all born in Vermont. It’s almost too much of a coincidence that they share a history of the name Lyman, that they were born in the same state AND lived so close to one another in Schaumburg Township. The only other possibility is that they were cousins.

The two books also state that the families of Morgan and Daniel left New York in 1844 and traveled to Illinois. The Bureau of Land Management database says that Daniel signed off on 80 acres from the government on September 1, 1845 in Section 12 of the township. He added to it on March 1, 1850 by purchasing another 160 acres in the same section.

Schaumburg Township Land Patents tells us that Emeline Johnson purchased her property in Sections 12 and 13 on September 5, 1845–right around the time Daniel was buying his tracts.

Does the 1850 census say then, as shown above, that the occupation of Daniel or Lyman was saloon keeper or tavern owner? No, as noted above and below, it says they were farmers. What Johnson, then, was the tavern owner?

In Genesis of a Township, the author Marilyn Lind, states “Emilene Johnson, wife of Lyman Johnson from Vermont, was listed as the owner of property in Sections 12 and 13. According to a map dated 1850, the Johnsons operated a tavern on the property in section 13. They were more than likely related to Daniel H. Johnson, also from Vermont, who also purchased property in section 12.” While she doesn’t make it clear in what document Emilene is listed as the owner of property, we have to assume it is the original land patent and that Ms. Lind is clearly drawing the same conclusions about the two Johnsons.

The year 1850 was a big one for Daniel, Lyman and Schaumburg Township. Not only was the township formally established and named on April 2, Daniel was also given the esteemed title of first Supervisor of the Township. Lyman was made Overseer of the Poor and a Justice of the Peace. Daniel served in his position for one year and Lyman for two years.  By the 1860 census, both Johnson families had clearly moved on from Schaumburg Township because they are not listed.

What fortunes did they and their brother Morgan pursue and where did they go? The next couple of weeks we will pursue the story of Daniel, Morgan and Lyman Johnson.

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

Sources used:

Palatine Centennial Book; Updated and published by the Palatine Quasquicentennial Committee of 1991.
Hillside Cemetery; by Constance Rawa of the Palatine Historical Society; 1997.
Schaumburg Township Land Patents; prepared by Bonnie Cernosek and compiled by Valentine.
Genesis of a Township; by Marilyn Lind.
Land Office Records of the Bureau of Land Management.

 

 

THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING THAT IS LOU MALNATI’S (PART 2)

March 31, 2019

From the early days of Schaumburg Township, the building that is now Lou Malnati’s has been key to the development of the township. In the course of its history it has had many owners and gaps in ownership. The late 1920s was one of those gaps. When E. H. Diekman closed his general store in 1925, it appears to have taken a few years for it to reopen under another name.

The next time we see a mention of the building is in a February 21, 1930 issue of the Herald that mentions the annual meeting of the Pure Milk Association was to be held at “Schnute’s Hall.” Even more interesting is an ad for the same store that appeared in the same paper and said, “Full line of groceries: Fruits, vegetables & ice cream at new “Schaumburg Store.”

We can suppose that Mr. Schnute obtained the business somewhere between 1925 and 1930. They must have celebrated New Year’s Eve because we have this small noisemaker that must have been passed out as a giveaway at the party. It says “Passing of 1929” and “Smile of 1930.”

 

Later, in the 1930 Schaumburg Township census that was completed in April, it lists Herman Schnute as the proprietor of a restaurant. Sometime between February and April, Mr. Schnute began selling prepared food. Another ad from May 9 of the same year confirms that he introduced “Real Old Hickory Bar-B-Q in that tantalizing and inviting southern style” for the bargain price of .15 a sandwich. Ice cream, candy and pop were also available at the Schaumburg Store. Clearly he used “Schaumburg Store” and “Schnute’s” interchangeably.

At some point, we know from our oral historians that the name of the establishment changed to Schnute’s Old Kentucky Tavern and this is confirmed in the ad below–even though Mr. Schnute’s name is spelled incorrectly.

When he passed away in March of 1939 his wife Jennie continued the establishment and, in fact, is listed in the 1940 census as the operator of a tavern/restaurant.

From the same oral historians mentioned above, we know that the next owner was George Nieman. We have a fairly good guess that he opened Nieman’s Hall in 1944 from an article in the November 4, 1949 issue of the Herald that states, “Mr. and Mrs. George Nieman are celebrating five years stay in our fair community. The shindig takes place from Nieman’s hall Wednesday night. An evening of music and lunch has been planned for those invited. The Niemans hailed from Chicago before they landed here five years ago.” Mr. Nieman is shown below in this photo from 1961.

By 1957 the Niemans had renamed the tavern the “Schaumburg Inn.” This is noted in the 1957 Bartlett, Roselle and Bloomingdale phone book.

Then, in 1960, two Roselle brothers-in-law, Victor Binneboese and Wayne Nebel purchased the building and had their grand opening on July 17, 1960, advertising themselves as the Schaumrose Inn. It lasted as a local, popular institution for 25 years–by far and away the longest ownership of the building until that time.

During their tenure they installed a mid-roof, brown vertical siding and shutters along with east steps. But, the biggest issue they faced was the proposed widening of the intersection from two lanes to four lanes. Discussion of the project began as early as 1973 or 1974, and very nearly happened in 1975.

For the next few years a steady drumbeat was sounded by the Village of Schaumburg and the Cook County Highway Department to get the job done. With two historical buildings on the intersection (the Schaumburg Bank building was across Schaumburg Road on the northeast corner) steps were taken to ensure that both buildings were saved.

Monetary terms were finally reached and it was eventually agreed that the Schaumrose would be moved approximately 20 feet to the south and 20 feet to the east. This was accomplished in the fall of 1978 when the delicate task of picking up the nearly century-old building and placing it over a large hole. A new foundation was then constructed as well as a new parking lot, sidewalk and front steps. (You can see the results in the photo above.)

And Mr. Nebel’s response in the November 23, 1978 Daily Herald? “Shoot, I couldn’t have torn this place down. I guess it will prove worth the trouble in the long run.” It WAS worth the trouble because, for the next seven years, the Schaumrose Inn remained a mainstay until the Malnati’s Pizza chain recognized the value of the corner and came calling.

On October 22, 1985, Lou Malnati’s opened their 5th restaurant on the corner of the intersection that has been going strong since the nineteenth century. They soon added on a glassed, closed-in porch that circles the north and west sides of the building and, in 2010, after 25 years, they did a little trade with the village. Malnati’s gave the village ownership of the Turret House and, in exchange, the village deeded the small furniture store directly to the south on Roselle Road to Lou Malnati’s. It is the light blue building in the photo below.

The pizza restaurant tore down the furniture store and replaced it with a new kitchen. They also created a new waiting space, washrooms and ramp outside. In the intervening years, parking has also expanded, giving diners much greater ease in finding a spot.

Despite the fact that it appears a title search is about the only way we can determine the year this building was built, we do know that it has definitely withstood the test of time at the busy corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Road. Both the Schaumburg Bank on the northeast corner, and the Fenz store on the southwest corner that were its longtime cohorts during the rural period of Schaumburg Township, eventually burned down. The bank’s spot is now a small park and the Fenz Store’s spot is now the village’s Veterans’ Memorial.

Whether you know the building as Lou’s, the Schaumrose Inn, Nieman’s, Schnute’s Old Kentucky Tavern or any of the other names, we can indeed speak well of the endurance of this unique building. It is perfect confirmation that location is everything at the heart of Schaumburg Township.

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

 

 

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

December 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DOING YOUR LOCAL HISTORY RESEARCH THROUGH THE LIBRARY

September 9, 2018

When doing research for these blog postings, I use a number of sources at my disposal.

There are wonderful online databases that the library subscribes to like Ancestry.com, Fold3 and Heritage Quest. Between them they give me access to U.S. census records, the Social Security Death Index and World War I and II draft registration records.

I can also find myself mired in the Daily Herald that goes back to 1905 and is available on Newspaper Archive. In addition, the library has digital access to historical articles in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times. We also have some other key newspapers that can be found on Access World News.

It just takes a Schaumburg Township District Library card and your PIN number to get into all but one–Ancestry.com–of the databases from home.

We also have good paper sources to use and these include a neat array of telephone books. They range from the Chicago white pages from 1936, 1944 and 1953 to phone books that cover the suburbs. We also have a nice number of phone books for the Schaumburg area. Here is the listing:

  • Chicago Telephone Directory: 1936, 1944 and 1953
  • Chicago Suburban Telephone Directory: 1958-1959
  • Chicago Suburban North Telephone Directory: 1961-62, 1964-65
  • Chicago Northwest Suburbs: 1982, 1983 on CD-ROM
  • Roselle: 1928
  • Roselle & Medinah: 1960-61; 1961-62; 1964-65; 1965-1966; 1968-69; 1970
  • Arlington Heights, Palatine, Mount Prospect and Wheeling: 1940
  • Bartlett, Roselle: 1948, 1949
  • Bartlett, Roselle and Bloomingdale: 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959
  • Roselle, Bloomingdale, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg: 1982-1989
  • Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg: 1990-2000
  • Northwest Area, Schaumburg & Hoffman Estates: 2000-2004
  • Northwest Suburbs, Schaumburg & Hoffman Estates: 2007-2011, 2016
  • Northwest Suburbs (Business) Universal Publishing: 2000
  • Schaumburg & Hoffman Estates & Other Suburbs (Business) Yellow Page One: 1991-1992, 1996-1997
  • Schaumburg & Hoffman Estates & Other Suburbs (Business) Yellow Book: 2002-2003
  • Schaumburg & Hoffman Estates & Other Suburbs (Business) Yellow Pages, Inc.: 2003-2004, 2006-2007, 2008-2009, 2009-2010
  • Northwest Suburban Street Address Telephone Directory (SBC):  2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Haines Chicago Near North Suburban Criss-Cross Directory: 2010-present

There are also yearbooks from the three high schools in Schaumburg Township. We have some out on the open shelves and others in cabinets that have to be requested. This is a listing of those holdings:

  • Conant Conavite: 1966-2017
  • Hoffman Estates Halycon: 1974, 1979-1980, 1981-1983, 1985-2017
  • Schaumburg Shimmer: 1971-2017

In addition, we have records of three local churches:

  • Immanuel United Church of Christ, Streamwood: Microfilm from 1858-1988
  • St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church: Paper from 1850-1953
  • St. Peter Lutheran Church: Microfilm and paper from 1847-1974

I also make use of a number of plat maps, topographical maps, and documents that are in our collection. Take a look at our Local History Digital Archive to see what we have online. All of the maps and documents that you see on the Digital Archive are also available in hard copy. There are some topographical maps that are only in hard copy.

If you need any assistance with research on Schaumburg Township, I am happy to help.

Also, if you have any phone books or yearbooks to add to our collection, please send me an email. Phone books from 1960 to 1981 are desperately needed! Additional copies of certain yearbooks would also be welcomed.

This collection was largely begun around 2000 and continues to grow. If you are cleaning house and don’t know what to do with local photos or documents, consider the library. We may very well be interested and are just a phone call or email away!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org
847-923-3334

 

 

THE COLBYS COME TO SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

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
jrozek@stdl.org

 

 

 

 

HENRY MEYER PURCHASES LAND PATENTS IN 1848

September 10, 2017

Horace P. Williams. Johann Sunderlage. Frederick Nerge. Charles Meacham. Ebenezer Colby. Henry Myers.

All of these gentlemen have one thing in common. They were all original settlers of Schaumburg Township and purchased the first land patents sold by the federal government.

But one of the gentlemen is unique.  Henry Myers made the trip from New York City to purchase land on behalf of the Jewish Settlement Society. (Henry’s name is noted as both Myers and Myres in the federal land patents but every other document, including future census, have his name as Meyer.  That is the spelling we will use.)

He was sent by William Renau who was one of the founders of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith in New York.  Mr. Renau encouraged his fellow members to lift them themselves up from “the low plane they occupied in economic and social life as peddlers.”  He felt that purchasing land and engaging in farming was the key to a better life.  [History of the Jews of Chicago; Meltes, 1924]

Mr. Meyer set out for the Chicago area and after scouring the vicinity for a few weeks, chose two parcels of land that he felt were most favorable.  The property was in Sections 9 and 10 of Schaumburg Township.  Those parcels today would be near the intersection of Roselle Road and State Parkway and extend westward towards Jones Road.  In his report to the Society, he stated that “this part of the land, especially the town of Chicago, opens a vista into a large commercial future.”

He wasn’t far off.  Find Sections 9 and 10 at the top of this 1935 topographical map.  You will notice the land at this point is rolling and that there is even a stream flowing through the area.  It would have been perfect to have such a nice vantage point and water close by.

Mr. Meyer purchased 160 acres in both sections, bringing the total to 320 acres.  Land was going for $1 to $1.25 an acre.  Both parcels were issued on June 1, 1848.  This simple but significant purchase made Mr. Meyer the first Jew to purchase property in Cook County.  [History of the Jews of Chicago; Meltes, 1924]

His enthusiasm for the site drew other members of the Jewish Settlement Society to follow him to Schaumburg Township, including his brother-in-law, Moses Kling.  Only a couple of the members eventually bought land nearby.  Most either chose to return east to Chicago or went further afield in Illinois and points westward.

Mr. Kling and his wife, Regina, settled in Palatine in Section 29 for a number of years.  This was both due north of Mr. Meyer’s property and of Algonquin Road.  According to the 1884 History of Cook County by A. T. Andreas, the Klings house served as a post office for Palatine Township in the mid 1850s.

The Klings are also listed in Palatine Township as of the 1860 census.  Mr. Meyer, though, had already sold his property and moved to Chicago. According to History of the Jews in Chicago, Meyer continued his land purchases and began investing in real estate.  In fact they list him as the first Jewish real estate dealer in Chicago.

Unfortunately, we lose track of Mr. Meyer after this point.  However, it IS possible to follow the Klings.  They were living in Chicago by the 1870 census.  According to findagrave.com, Moses died in 1872 and Regina died in 1885.  Both are buried in Zion Gardens Cemetery.  Is it possible Mr. Meyer is buried there too in an unmarked grave?

Despite the difficulties in tracking Mr. Meyer’s life past Schaumburg Township, it is good to know of his importance to both our township and Cook County.  Of all of the areas he scouted in the larger Chicago area, it was Schaumburg Township that caught his eye and captured his imagination.

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

THE BOTTERMAN GARAGE AND THE HATTENDORF STORE IN THE HEART OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

December 25, 2016

trinity-lutheran

Over the years, we have obtained cookbooks from various churches, schools and organizations of Schaumburg Township.  They are an interesting snapshot of the home culture of the day and also provide us with names of the local cooks.  This cookbook from Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle was passed on to me not too long ago and was published sometime between 1936 and 1942.

While it has interesting recipes like Spinach Mold, Creamed Kohlrabi and Ham Tiffle, there were a fair amount of recipes from some of the German farm families of Schaumburg Township.  The names were recognizable and it was interesting to note the variety of recipes and ponder how many of the dishes are still in the cooking repertoires of those families.

Also included in the pages of the cookbook are ads from various local businesses–most of which were Roselle-based businesses. However, two Schaumburg Township businesses were also listed and, not surprisingly, both were located at the intersection of Roselle and Schaumburg roads.botterman-garage

The first was Schaumburg Garage, owned by Al Botterman.  In the book Genesis of A Township, Marilyn Lind notes that in 1936, “The garage at Schaumburg Center was now being operated by Albert Botterman” and then in 1942, “In March, Albert Botterman decided to sell his garage because rationing of tires and gas would cut down his business.”  She derived these details from The Herald and they help confirm the time frame of the cookbook itself.  The 1940 census also confirms Mr. Botterman’s employment by stating that he was “manager of service garage.”

Botterman’s Garage (as it was known by the locals) was directly to the south of the current Lou Malnati’s on Roselle Road.  According to an article from the Roselle Register (May 14, 1959), the building was dated as a “45-year-old garage.”  We can then derive its origin as circa 1914.  This photo of the garage was taken around 1928 during an earlier ownership.  Roselle Road is in the foreground.

botterman-garage-2

Mr. Botterman did auto repairs at the garage but never sold gasoline even though the above quote from The Herald implies that.  (Not only were there were not visible gas pumps outside of the garage, but this fact was also noted by a few of our oral historians.)

Part of the building must have been parceled off to Lake Cook Farm Supply around 1938 when they came to Schaumburg Township.  The Daily Herald states the Farm Supply’s location thusly: “The building was an old barn where Botterman did auto repair work.  Lake Cook supplied farms with bulk feed, fuel oil and gasoline.”  (Daily Herald, November 10, 1938)
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In 1957 Lake Cook Farm Supply built this low building for their retail location.  If you remember this building next to today’s Lou Malnati’s, it is a bit confusing to imagine a garage in between the two.  It is important to keep in mind that in 1957 the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads was much smaller, with only two lanes in both directions.

The garage remained in between the Farm Supply and Niemann’s Tavern (Lou Malnati’s) on the corner until May 1959 when it burned down.  The Roselle Register article states that the “two-story frame garage” was “two doors away from the intersection of Roselle and Schaumburg rds.”  The fire leveled the garage in an hour.  With the open space created, this is what made it possible to move today’s Lou Malnati’s when the intersection was widened in 1980.  The tavern was then moved 35 feet to the south and east.

A few doors down from Bottermans was the other business mentioned in the cookbook–Hattendorf’s Grocery.

hattendorfs

Herman Hattendorf opened a small grocery store on Roselle Road in 1932 in a house that had been owned by Alma and Frank Lengl.  Mr. Lengl was the nephew of Frank Lengl who was the proprietor of Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn, which is today’s Easy Street Pub.

When opened, the grocery store was small in scope but carried enough basic products to satisfy the farmers who were the main shoppers.  As one of our oral historians mentioned, the locals would often bring in eggs to barter with.  If she brought in one extra above the normal dozen, she was allowed the delight of picking out a piece of candy.

It is also interesting to note that, in Genesis of a Township, Mrs. Lind also notes that Herman and Clara Hattendorf delivered groceries by truck throughout the township.  In essence, it was an early Peapod!

Considering that this was the height of the depression, Mr. Hattendorf managed to stay afloat and even had the store repainted “a combination of white and green.” [Cook County Herald, September 30, 1938]  Because it was a brick building, the story must have been referring to the interior.  You can get an idea of the size of the store from this rear view photo that shows the store being torn down in 1982.

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In 1940 though, Mr. Hattendorf was prosperous enough to buy the former Schaumburg Bank building that was on the northeast corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads as a new location for his store.  The sale was announced in the January 19 issue of the Cook County Herald and said that Mr. Hattendorf planned to spend $3000 to remodel the interior of the building and even purchased additional ground to provide parking.  The grand opening was set for March 1 and 2.  Interestingly, the article also states “the store at that time will be converted to the self-serve type.”  This implies that in the old store, prior to the move, a list was given to Mr. Hattendorf and he collected the goods for the shopper–in an old-fashioned general store sort of way.

And, on March 1 and 2, the new version of Hattendorf’s Grocery opened.  Included in the new store was a “complete, fresh meat department…  Goods are being attractively and conveniently arranged so that you will find it delightful to serve yourself.”   [Cook County Herald, March 1, 1940]

hattendorf-store-ad

The grocery store was in existence through at least 1955, but it has been difficult to determine when it closed.  Suffice to say, it was a draw for the locals of Schaumburg Township and, obviously, a convenient store to have in the area.  If you can provide any details, please provide a comment or send me an email.

You never know what can be found in an old book and how it can trigger an investigation into our local history!

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

THE ARNOLD PHOTOS: A SMALL TREASURE COMES TO LIGHT (PART TWO)

October 9, 2016

As mentioned in a blog posting from August 28, 2016, the Schaumburg Township Historical Society received a phone call from the Arnold family last fall.   They had a collection of photos of Schaumburg that Mrs. Arnold took in the early 1970s.  The pictures had sat in a drawer for the past forty years and they were hoping to pass them on to someone who might be interested.  The Historical Society gladly accepted the photos and then kindly donated them to the library to add to our Local History Collection.

The story of these photos begins in 1971 when the Arnold family moved to Schaumburg from southern California.  They were surprised at the amount of open space in Schaumburg Township still occupied by farm fields and undeveloped acreage.  Mrs. Arnold said, “We were amazed at all the open field but knew that wouldn’t last long.  I decided to take pictures of the ‘before’ of Schaumburg.”  She then began to drive the roads of Schaumburg, taking photos of various buildings and intersections.  This is some of what they saw…

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Taken from Schaumburg Road between Walnut and Barrington Road.

This is one of the McNaught-Odlum farms.

The property was part of the Gertrude and Norris McNaught farm that was called Rolling Acres.  It was purchased from William Schuneman in 1937 by Gertrude and her husband Norris, who co-founded Duro Metal Products in 1916.  Mr. McNaught died in 1942 and his widow later married his business partner, William Odlum.   It  became known as the Odlum property and was eventually sold for development in 1986.

This portion of the farm was on the southeast corner of Barrington and Schaumburg Road.  The family farm of Ruth (Volkening) Clapper was to the east of this acreage.  According to Mrs. Clapper this portion was leased “from the McNaughts during the war [by the Navy] and had a pilot training area with small shed type buildings on the property.  The sheds on the navy property were about 20 x 20 ft. and used for residences for the men working on the property… The buildings were quickly built with no inner walls so they were cold in the winter and hot in the summer. We used that Navy building for storage and, in the summer, part was my playhouse for my dolls and all their furniture including a child size kitchen.”

You can read about the Navy’s use of the property for pilot touch and go training here.

Mrs. Clapper said “the barn had a residence over the right extension of the barn. Two families lived on the farm – one in the house and one above that portion of the barn.”

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Schaumburg Road between Walnut and Barrington Road

This is a better vantage point of the farm and it is possible to note that the lane off of Schaumburg Road separates the barn from the house.  In fact, there seems to be quite a distance between the two.  It is also interesting how many trees and evergreens surround the house, providing shade and a wind break.  What appears to be missing–or obstructed from view–are the many outbuildings that can be found on a farm, i.e. the machine shed, a chicken house, equipment shed, etc.  Maybe they are tucked in amongst the trees or over the rise of the hill?

McNaught-Odlum farm on Barrington Road

The other McNaught-Odlum farm is in the distance with its big white barns and silos.  The acreage of this farm was substantial and the farm place itself was near the northwest corner of the intersection of Schaumburg and Barrington Roads.

 

4930-arnold

Looking southwest from the intersection of Schaumburg and Walnut Lane.

 The brown building on the corner is Christ the King Lutheran Church (then Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, now Salem Korean United Methodist Church) which was built around 1971.  According to Mrs. Clapper, the church was initially intended to be an outreach center for St. Peter Lutheran Church.  In the middle background are some of the buildings of the farm belonging to Mrs. Clapper’s parents, Herman and Edna (Greve) Volkening.  You can see the large barn with the silos to the right.  The white building to the left is the corn crib.

The Volkenings sold the corner to the church and according to Mrs. Clapper, “the parsonage is my family home since my parents had it moved there so it would not be demolished. They were one of the last to sell their land.  The church was built without a parsonage and Pastor Borhardt (sic) rented a house in Weathersfield until my parents sold their farm and moved the house.”

In the far background are the Hanover Highlands homes.

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Schaumburg Road and Pleasant Drive looking northeast.

As we look northeast, we can see the back of the strip mall that was on the NW corner of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  This strip mall–that was never named–was built  around 1966 and remained on the corner until 2010 when the village bought the property for development purposes.  The property is now the home of Pleasant Square–a residential development that includes row houses, townhouses and single family homes.

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Town Square sign at the intersection with Schaumburg Road.

The Town Square sign on Schaumburg Road at Pleasant Lane notes the turnoff for the shopping center that opened in 1970.  The homes of Timbercrest are in the background.

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Looking across Schaumburg Road near Branchwood Drive at the property that became Friendship Village.

In July 1972 the Village of Schaumburg and Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center North announced that they were beginning negotiations to bring a hospital to Schaumburg.  Their potential site was the home of today’s Friendship Village and, at that time, was owned by A. Harold Anderson of J. Emil Anderson & Son, a large Chicago area development company.  The sign notes their potential development of the space.  The project was disbanded in 1975 when the costs became too high to bring a hospital to Schaumburg.
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Looking northeast across Schaumburg Road at Hilltop Drive.

The cars across the street are parked at Blackhawk School which opened in 1958.  To the right is the property that would later be used for the Schaumburg Post Office.

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Looking west down Schaumburg Road at Hilltop Drive.

One of the Hoffman Estates Parcels is to the right off of two-lane Schaumburg Road.  Note the tall oak trees on the right side of the road.  They are remnants of the original Sarah’s Grove.   The distinctive Episcopal church sign, also on the right, is there to point out the Church of the Holy Innocents that was on Illinois Boulevard for many years.
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Looking across Barrington Road at the Schaumburg Road intersection.

Notice that Schaumburg Road ended at Barrington Road at that time.  Even so, Barrington Road was a four lane road with a stop light.

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Schaumburg Road near Walnut

The open spaces, undeterred by development in these photos, were abundant and definitely carried a rural feel.  Schaumburg Township in 1973 still had an awful lot of growing up to do!

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

My thanks to Ruth Volkening Clapper for providing the necessary details that allowed me to complete this blog posting.  Her personal memories and knowledge of the area were a wonderful addition to the photos taken by Mrs. Arnold.  

THE THISTLE COMMISSIONER OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

November 22, 2015

thistle 2

 

See that purple ball in the middle of the photo?  It’s on the edge of a corn field and is really a beautiful little plant.  But, then, most weeds are.  It’s a thistle and is one of many varieties in the United States.  Thistles are considered a problem plant and can be difficult to control.  In fact, they were so rampant in Illinois in the early 1900s that many counties–including Cook–created a post in their township governments for Thistle Commissioner.

It was the job of the commissioner to make sure the farmers and landowners kept their thistles and other “noxious weeds” under control.  When one farmer let the situation get out of hand, the weeds could wreak havoc on neighboring farms.  Thus, the Thistle Commissioner would tour the township’s roads, take note of large infestations and notify the offending landowner.  If they failed to comply, a crew would be hired to take care of the problem and the bill would be handed over to the landowner.  Obviously, it would be in the farmer’s best interest to stay on top of the situation and keep his fields clean.

According to Schaumburg Township Officials 1850 to Present, compiled by L.S. Valentine, the first mention of a Thistle Commissioner for Schaumburg Township was in 1915 when Fred Springinsguth took on the job.  By 1924, August Geistfeld had the job and was being paid $5 a day to make sure the fields, pastures and roadsides were tidy.  Others followed in their footsteps over the years.

Walter Fraas, who lived in the south side of the Township served in the 1940s and, according to his son, Donald, took the job very seriously.  Below is a letter he would send out to offending landowners.

Fraas letter

 

The task of actually controlling the thistles often fell to the farmer’s children and they did NOT like the job.  In her oral history on the library’s Local History Digital Archive, Esther Mensching spoke of how her father would send them out to the field, clad in leather gloves, and they would pull the plants by hand.  The thick, impermeable gloves prevented them from being stuck by the thistle’s spines.

It was necessary to do the job before the plants flowered and after a rain when pulling the taproot was easier.  As the thistles were yanked, they were thrown on the field.  The children moved through the fields, row by row, from 8:00 to noon, taking an hour or so for lunch and then returning until 4:30 when it was time to come back in for the milking.  This was not a job for the faint of heart!

The Thiemanns spoke in their oral history about each person taking 2-4 rows in the corn and oat fields and tackling the thistles with a hoe.  The intent was to get to the thistles by the time the corn was 3-4 feet high and the oats were around a foot high.  They, too, disliked the hot, sweaty, boring job.  Their job, however, didn’t end with the fields because they would also use a scythe to cut down the thistles and all other weeds in the fence rows.

In yet another oral history, Mary Lou (Link) Reynolds, daughter of Adolph and Estelle Link, talked about how her father lost his job as a commercial artist in Chicago during the Depression.  Through a friend, he obtained free housing on Minna Redeker’s farm (now Spring Valley) in exchange for keeping the thistles under control on the property.  It was obviously a win/win situation for both landlord and tenant at a difficult time, but it is also clear that thistles were a difficult issue for the farmers of Schaumburg Township.

Due to continuing infestations, the office of Thistle Commissioner remained in effect until the early 1970s.   Around 1972 Cook County eliminated the position and turned the job’s responsibility over to the Highway Department.  By that time development in the township was beginning to overtake the farm fields that were left and the job became obsolete.  Thistles, though, are still considered “noxious weeds” and if you come across any in your yard, just take your leather gloves or hoe to them.  It’s a lesson learned from yesterday’s farmers!

 

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