Mae Schlick Meets Herbert Hoover at St James Farm? Say What?: Taking a Sidetrack Journey on Family History.

We all have all at one time in our lives done this before. You know what I am talking about. Getting sidetracked when you are in the middle of a project or house work etc. etc. We get atttracted by B.S.O (or “bright shiny objects“) as professional genealogist Thomas MacEntee would call the issue. It gets us sidetracked in our research journey and we lose our focus. My oldest daugher Meredith would call it ADD.

One of those BSO moments took place when I was doing an oral history interview with my Grandmother Mae Catherine (nee Hodous) Schlick in winter of 1983. I was in my senior year at Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest Illinois. My Professor Robert J. Rusnak assigned students to do an oral history interview with someone who lived during the Great Depression. The class was one of my favorites and was titled: Contemporariy America 1932-1945: The Great Depression and World War II.

Image for event: The Other McCormick of DuPage - Zoom event
St James Farm Warrenville Illinois a view of the former Guernsey dairy barn. Photo Credit: Forest Preserve Disrict of DuPage County Illinois.

During the interview with Grandma Schlick she had mentioned that one of her jobs was cleaning house for the Chauncey McCormick family at their St. James Farm equestrian and Guernsey dairy estate (Warrenville, Illinois). My grandfather Frank J. Schick worked in the barns and fields of St. James begiining as a teenage from the mid-nineteen twenties until his retirement in 1985. Grandma casually mentioned during her interview that she had met Herbert Hoover sometime in the 1930s while cleaning the McCormick home. I thought to my self “let me make a note of this and get back to it when I have the time.”

George S. Davis my father and my Grandmother Mae C. Schlick at St. James Farm in Warrenville Illinois Winfield Township DuPage County Illinois. This photo was taken around the late 1950s. Source: George S and Louse E. Davis Estate Archives.

After college graduation and prior to getting married in 1988 I had time to pull out my family history materials. I wrote to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch Iowa to see if they had any papers or letters regarding Chuancey McCormick in the archive. The response was in the affirmative. They had three boxes of letters, telegrams and material written or exchanged between McCormick and Hoover. I requested that they copy the entire archive and mail it to my home in Winfield.

In sifting through the Hoover/McComick correspondence, I was able to verify the fact that Hoover had been invited to the farm on two occasions. The first was on 3 July 1942. He also visited and stayed overnight on the farm in McCormick’s home on Sunday the 17 August 1944. I was pleased that my hunt about the BSO had been fruitful!

How had McCormick come to know and work with Herbert Hoover? McCormick had been a Captain and was later appointed as a Lieutenant during World War 1 in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corp under General Dawes. He lived in Paris France for sometime just prior to and after the war. In 1918 following the War, Chauncey was hired by Herbert Hoover to be part of the Polish Food Relief effort to feed the starving children and women of war torn Poland. This story is a facinating one best left for another blog posting or article.

Chauncey McCormick, member of the International Harvester Board of Directors from 1936 until his death in 1954.  His grandfather William McCormick was Cyrus McCormick's brother.
Chauncey Brooks McCormick
(December 7, 1884 – September 8, 1954) )
Photo Courtesy of the Wisconsin State Historical Society
International Harvester McCormick Archives

About Schlick Daleiden Families - DuPage and Kane Counties of Illinois

Kevin Davis is a retired Public Library Director. He is a Board member of the Winfield (IL) Historical Society. Davis has over 35 years experience working in public libraries. He is deeply interested in local Chicagoland, Dupage, and Kane County History. Davis earned a BA in History and an MA in Library Science from Dominican University. He is a volunteer researcher for the St. James Farm Forest Preserve part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in Illinois. His work includes extensive writing and research on the McCormick family line who were former owners of St. James Farm. He is an avid family historian / genealogist and has done extensive research on the Schlicks and Daleidens of DuPage and Kane County Illinois.
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