I have spent a great deal of the past month listening to or attending lectures and workshops regarding genealogy and family history. On March 9, 2023, the Newberry Library (Chicago, Illinois) President Daniel Greene spoke with Leslie M. Harris, Professor of History at Northwestern University. Harris is the 2022-23 David L. Wagner Distinguished Fellow at the Newberry Library. I found that this discussion provides food for thought on how to think about the research we conduct and also how we put together our information in a digestible and interesting format for our readers and family members.
Academic historians have sometimes struggled to understand how local and family histories illuminate national histories. Are they just exceptional, or can they provide new insights into some of the most challenging historical questions?
Leslie M. Harris is among a group of historians who have turned to their own family and personal experiences as inspiration for writing history. In this program, Harris discussed what it means for her, as a professional historian, to draw on her family’s life in order to understand broader patterns in American history.
The David L. Wagner Distinguished Lectureship for Humanistic Inquiry Series is funded by David L. Wagner and Renie B. Adams. Here is a You Tube link to this lecture.
I am an avid fan of the writer and rural historian Jerry Apps of Wisconsin. Jerry Apps and daughter Susan Apps-Bodilly share memories and stories surrounding a cookbook they wrote based on Eleanor Apps’ (Jerry’s Mother’s) recipe box. The documentary recently aired on a PBS Public Television Station in Wisconsin. Here is the link to view this program. This program applies to my farm family history research of the Daleidens and Schlicks. I would like you to support Public Television by making a donation. I am a supporter of this educational source for WTTW – TV in Chicago Channel 11.
I am currently reviewing St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic and St Michaels Roman Catholic Church Records in Winfield and Wheaton Illinois U.S., Catholic Diocese of Joliet, Sacramental Records, 1800-1976. They have been scanned and are now posted on Ancestry.com. If you have a public library card and your library subscribes you can view the records via a library computer or you can pay for a subscription to Ancestry and view from home.
The sacramental records are true genealogical gold mines. They also provide proof as a primary source document of your ancestors birth, death, marrage, confirmation and baptism.
Here is a sample record of a record I located and downloaded. This is Casper Schlick’s burial record. He was buried in 1895. He is buried at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery in Wheaton DuPage County Illinois. He was the original Schlick that settled in DuPage County.
Here is the full page where the above record appears.
This past fall my daughter and I decided to take a bike ride around Winfield Illinois. We decided to ride the Path that goes through the High Lake Subdivision between Winfield and West Chicago. This path runs along the West Branch of the DuPage River south of Highlake Road in Winfield Illinois. The trail can be entered either just south of the Winfield and Geneva Road intersection or just off of Highlake Road to the west of the Winfield Fire Protection District Fire Station. The High Lake path is a path that connects east to the Winfield Road path to Prince Crossing Road on the west side where this section of the path ends prior to heading into the City of West Chicago.
Along the path route there is the following information sign posted with information on the history of the High Lake Subdivision. You can click on the image below to read the information and history.
This past year I purchased an “Examination of Title” for “Block 12” of “The Village of Fredericksburg [Winfield] Illinois”. I located the Title amongst items being sold during an estate sale held in Winfield.
In the northeast corner of block 12 of the plat map the Winfield school is shown. In the History of Winfield book historian Louise Spanke writes:
On November 17, 1856, Casper Voll and Martin and Margaretta Voll Stark appeared before Justice of the Peace Charles Gary to deed to the Trustees of Schools ” for the use of the inhabitants of School District No. Eight . . . for the purpose of a School House site,” an 80 foot square at the corner of Beecher Street [shown as Frederick Street on Deed Map below] and Winfield Road [shown as Main Street on Deed Map below]. Part of the site is still occupied by the Winfield Elementary School. Both Voll and Stark had come with their parents from Bavaria to DuPage County in the late 1840s and to Winfield in the boom days of the fifties. Soon after the Civil War, Voll moved on to West Chicago and Stark to Wheaton. Both were merchants. Voll was station agent for a time, and served two terms, 1858-1859 and 1864 – 1866, as postmaster. Stark was interested (unsuccessfully, according to his obituary) in one of the town’s two breweries.
The Casper Voll’s life is described in Portrait and Biographical Record of Cook and DuPage Counties, Illinois. Lake City Publishing Co. 1894 (page 152).
Mae (Nee Hodous) Schlick was born on 21 March 1911 in Chicago Cook County Illinois. Her father was a teamster milkwagon driver for the Cicero Dairy Co. (2610-14-56 Avenue) in Cicero, Cook County Illinois. By 1930 per the U.S. Census the family was living at 3215 22nd Street in Chicago, Illinois. Mae had two brothers Robert (age 16) and Leonard (age 9). They were living in a multi family apartment building. The building housed five families and a total of twenty people. My grandmother can recall that another they lived prior to the nineteen thirties was a one room apartment above a chili parlor. They had to share the bathroom that was down the hallway from her family’s living quarters. It was not an ideal nor easy life for a young girl. She dreams of moving away from the city one day and live in the country.
At one point in her young live Mae recalls during a challenging economic time prior to 1930 the family moved to Interlocken Michigan. Her father was hoping to begin farming for a period of time. The move unfortunately did not work out and the family returned to Chicago and the town of Cicero, Illinois.
Her father’s parents were Bohemian and born in Bohemia which later began part of Czechoslovakia. The family settled in Chicago’s southwest side near 22nd Street. It is interesting to note per the Encyclopedia of Chicago that “by the turn of the century, Chicago was the third largest Czech city in the world, after Praque and Vienna”. The Czechs and Bohemian popluation reached its peak in 1870. The Hodouses were part of a larger immigrant influx of Eastern European people settling in the City of Chicago.
Chicago’s Czech community followed a common pattern of migration from inner-city working-class neighborhoods to middle-class areas further out and on to the suburbs. This gradual movement followed the economic progress of many Czech immigrants and the influx of other ethnic groups. In the 1850s and 1860s many Czech immigrants settled on the Near West Side. The neighborhood, known as “Prague,” centered on the Roman Catholic parish of St. Wenceslaus at DeKoven and Desplaines Streets and was largely spared by the Chicago Fire of 1871. Movement south and west in the 1870s and 1880s generated a second working-class Czech community, dubbed “ Pilsen, ” which included the Czech congregation of St. Procopius, founded in 1875. By the 1890s, Czechs were colonizing middle-class neighborhoods like South Lawndale (popularly known as “Czech California”), where they established several churches, schools, and Sokol halls. As the Czechs continued to move south and west, other immigrant groups moved into the neighborhoods they left, with immigrants from Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, and other Slavic areas settling in Pilsen around the turn of the century. By the 1930s many Czechs were moving into such suburbs as Cicero, Berwyn, and Riverside (Source: Encyclopedia of Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Valentines day 2023 is fast approaching. I ran across this blog piece on the Dupage County Forest Preserve website. It was posted by Wayne Hill a heritage interpreter at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago. It provides some insights on courting rituals and rules during the 1890s.
Speaking of romance and courtship here is a side note. The Matthias Klein family of Winfield Illinois was a large family. The Matthias Kleins (known as “the river Kleins”) and one of the daughters of Matthias and Josephine (Hammerschmidt) Klein was Mary Klein. Mary was married to Joseph L. Schlick, Jr. of Burlington Illinois. Joseph and Mary met at a St. Johns the Baptist Catholic Church in Winfield Illinois during a social event.
For a period of time Joseph was living on Mack Road with his brother Casper Schlick to assist him with the dairy farm operations. Following the St Johns event Mary and Joseph, Jr., evidently spent a lot of time together (with a chaperone no doubt) and fell in love. They eventually were married on 5 September 1911. They had five children: Loretta (Schlick) Hermann, Martha (Schlick) Olsen, Edward Schlick, Marie (Schlick) Berna and Irene (Schlick) Deihs.
[Note: This post was updated on 17 February 2023] One of my distant relatives Robert “Bob” Schlick relayed a story to me regarding his Grandfather Martin Schlick. Bob heard that Martin Schlick moved “out west” during his lifetime. Perhaps to purchase farmland.
Martin Schlick was Casper Schlick’s brother. Casper and Martin Schlick’s father was Joseph Schlick of Burlington Illinois.
Martin Schlick was born on 16 January 1883. He was perhaps the most influential person in the life of my Great Grandfather Casper Schlick. They were, what I would call, “farming buddies” as they both worked together for some time on two farmsteads. First in Burlington and then on Mack Road in Winfield Township DuPage County. Martin will have a separate post on this blog in the near future.
I began to research and dig into Bob Schlick’s story, relayed to him by his family. I looked through the material I have on hand. One item providing clues to this story was a newspaper item in the “Burlington News” section of the Hampshire (Illinois) Register newspaper. I have been transcribing any Schneider or Schlick family news from this newspaper. Here is an item from the Register:
***** 15 October 1909. The Schlick brothers, who have been carrying on their father’s farm, will quit farming and have an auction sale next Tuesday. Casper will move to the farm which he purchased in Wheaton [Mack Road Farm in Winfield Township]. While Martinexpects to go west in the spring. Louis Sester will move to the Schlick farm in the spring .
Bob Schlick also informed me that the location Martin moved to was “Billings Montana”. Now that I had the name of at a city and state I thought why not search the 1910 U.S. Census for Billings Montana to see if a Martin Schlick was listed.
I pulled up and searched FamilySearch online. I entered Martin Schlick and the city of Billings Montana into the search boxes. At the top of the results for this search was a listing for a “Martin Schlick” in the 1910 U.S. Census for the City of Billings Montana. Martin’s age listed on the Census is “27“. This age matches his year for his date of birth year listed in his “Find a Grave” entry (June 16, 1883). He is “single“. He lists his occupation as “farmer“. He is listed as being born in “Illinois“. Both of his parents were born in “Illinois“. Martin is renting a room at a rooming house on Minnesota Ave in downtown Billings Montana.
The 1910 Census lists other people living in the home where Martin is renting a room: A.V. Blaksley a 46 year old divorced male listed as the “head” of the household. A.V. is living with his two sons (PaulBlaksley, a 27 year old widower married for two years; BoydBlaksley age 17, and Mary Blaksley A.V.’s 21 year old single daughter). Another boarder (“roomer”) living in the same household is a 27 year old man named Anthony McMullen. Anthony was born in Minnesota and the son of Irish immigrants.
After checking the Billings Montana Census report, I double checked the U.S. Census for Burlington Burlington Township in Kane County Illinois. To my surprise Martin is also listed on the U.S. Census on April 30, 1910 for Burlington.
I do not know if Martin knew any of the people with whom he was living with while in Billings. I also do not know how long he stayed. It is unknown why he left his family in Burlington, Illinois. Perhaps he was seeking a new life and looking to purchase some farmland? Perhaps it was for a year or two? So many unanswered questions in this inquiry. The 1910 Census for Billings Montana was taken by the Census Enumerator on the 3rd of May 1910.
I had never encountered an individual or relative mentioned on two Censuses in the same Census year. Perhaps his mother or father mentioned that Martin was living with them at their Main and Water Street home? Perhaps Martin was there living in Burlington with his parents on the April 30 1910 date? Then, he left for Billings Montana? Who knows at this point in time what had happened.
[*= Following was added to this blog on 17 February 2023] To see if any land was purchased by a Martin Schlick I had a member of the Yellowstone Genealogy Forum & Billings Public Library check the Yellowstone County land transactions grantee indexes for Martin Schlick for the years 1907 thru 1928. They emailed me back with the reply “Sorry to say I found nothing” in terms of a Martin Schlick purchasing property in the Yellowstone County Billings Montana area. The staff member also checked the State of Montana Records for homestead land filings and this search also found no Martin Schlick applying to purchase land in Montana.
Martin would eventually marry Margaret Weberpal in 1912. The marrage date is just two years after 1910.
Martin’s obituary provides further details about his life. The obituary (below in italics) was published in the West Chicago (Illinois) Press 27 July 1967 :
Martin Schlick Died July 19 [sic] at Age 84
Martin Schlick, 84, of W. Washington street, died July 18 [sic] at Delnor hospital. Funeral Mass was said at 10 a.m. Friday, July 21, at St. Mary’s church. Interment was in Calvary cemetery.
Norris & Son [132 Fremont St. West Chicago, Illinois],handled arrangements.
Mr. Schlick is survived by seven children: Mrs. Lucille Scholes, Miss Lucy Schlick, and Harold, Clarence, and Ralph Schlick, all of West Chicago; Mrs. Bernice Joerg of Geneva, Mrs. Florence Kindy of Battle Creek, Mich., a brother Casper Schlick of West Chicago, and two sisters, Mrs. Emma Umlenstock [sic, Umbdenstock] of Sycamore and Mrs. Rose Weberpal of Hampshire, Ill., 19 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Mr. Schlick was born in Burlington, Illinois, June [sic] 16, 1883, and had been a resident of West Chicago for 50 years.
The Schlick Family of West Chicago, Illinois is shown on the 1950 U.S. Census.
The DuPage County Historical Society Board of Directors this past month (November 2022) announced it has revised and updated its 1985 book DuPage Roots by Richard A. Thompson & contributors.
Cover photo of the 1985 edition of Thompson’s DuPage Roots
In a letter dated November 28, 2022 Bob Woodruff, Director of the Society, writes:
The DuPage County Historical Society is proud to announce the publication of DuPage Roots: Then and Now, an updated and expanded edition of the award-winning DuPage Roots, published in 1985. The new 452 page hard cover edition updates the exisiting 26-chapter community history section and adds 4 new community histories; and expands the general history section from 6 chapters to 7 chapters. In this 1985-2022 period, the county underwent considerable transformation, changing from a longtime rural suburban mix to a urban suburban mix.
DuPage Roots: Then and Now represents an essential historical record for DuPage County and each of its communities, that has been vastly upgraded with dozens of color photos and maps with superior graphics. This stunning, smyth-sewn history book belongs in every library and home with an interest in DuPage County and its surrounding communities.
The book is being sold for $60. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this revised history of Dupage County Illinois you can contact the Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or write them to order a copy at P.O. Box 1460, Wheaton Illinois 60187.