Frank Schlick Remembers Growing Up on Mack Road in Winfield Township – Part 1

In August of 2003 the DuPage County Genealogical Society re printed and published in The DCGS Review the following essay that I wrote for the West Chicago (Illinois) Press for the 20 September 1984 issue of the Press. This is the first of a two part blog post, click here for part 2.

A young boy jumps quickly out of his bed and into his clothes, fighting the cold draft in his room. Once dressed, he slowly makes his way through a foot of snow to the warmth of the barn where he begins milking the cows and cleaning the mangers.

Frank Schlick is shown (first person on left) in this photograph with (second person to Frank’s right) his mother Susan (Daleiden) Schlick, father Casper Schlick, aunt Katherine (Schlick) Armbrust and his uncle John Armbrust. This photo was taken at the home of Christopher Daleiden on Church Street in Winfield Illinois.
Here is a photo of Gary’s Mill School along Gary’s Mill Road in West Chicago. Note the DuPage River runs along the east west side of the school and is shown in this photo. This slide and photos is courtesy of the West Chicago Historical Society.
( Link:

After his chores , he eats breakfast and joins his frends as they skate up the DuPage River north to Gary’s Mills School.

The Casper and Susan Schlick family circa 1920 shown on their Mack Road farm and home in Winfield Township just a few miles southwest of the Village of Winfield Illinois. (Photo: Frank J. and Mae C. Schlick Estate Photo Archive).

What sounds like an episode from the television program Little House on the Prairie was just another day for my grandfather Francis “Frank” Joseph Schlick, on his father Casper Francis Schlick’s farm in DuPage County in the early 1900’s.

The Ingalls Family based upon the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House book series for children. This is the cast of the Ingalls family from the TV program Little House on the Prairie. (Photo credit: Celebrity Archives)

The Schlick farm was located along Mack Road near the West Branch of the DuPage River, a quarter mile east of Illinois Route 59 on what is now the DuPage County Forest Preserve District’s Blackwell Forest Preserve. The only sign of the farm remaining are a few evergreen trees and flowering bushes.

Schlick farm circa late 1960s. Mack Road is seen on the far right of this photo following the road being straighten near the Schlick farm.

He vividly recalled his days on the farm one Sunday afternoon.

How any days a week do you go to the food store? One, perhaps two times a week? He remembered trips to the store in nearby West Chicago only once a month. Most of their food was homegrown. The corn, hay, oats, barley were used to feed the pigs, cows.

The Hereford beef cattle, for instance, were slaughtered – one half was given to the neighboring farm and the other kept by the family. Lard from the meat was used for cooking so no one piece of the animal was wasted. The dairy cattle provided the family with milk to make cottage cheese, cheese, and butter.

The meat from the pigs was prepared with salt and cured over a hickory chip fire in the smokehouse. There were no fancy wrappings around the food; it came directly from the barn to the plate via the family’s hard labor.

Grandfather Schlick also remembered threshing days, when five to twenty men would pool their resources and spend two to three days on a neighboring farm. “To feed these people,” he explained, “two to three Rhode Island Red roosters were killed, plucked and then cooked, or a $3.00 pot roast was purchased from the West Chicago meat market.”

Threshing crew in action. Note the long belt connecting the steam engine with the threshing wagon and equipement.

The vegetables came from the family garden. “My mother [Susan (Daleiden) Schlick] had the most wonderful garden just near the east side of the barn,” he recalled. “It was the most fertile piece of land we had because of all the fertilizer we put on it.”

The Schlick family garden produced dozens of varieties of vegetables and hardly any were purchased at the store. Nearby was a “nice strawberry patch with watermelons and muskmelons, too!”. The vegetables, which did not go immediately to the dinner table, were often canned and stored in the cellar. Carrots were covered with dirt or sand to keep them cool and fresh in the root cellar.

This is an aerial view of the Casper Schlick Farm. Note the large garden along the west side of the house along the Mack Roadway. If you look closely you are able to see Agnes Schlick (wife of John Schlick) bending down in the garden. (Photo: Vintage Aerial website store at

This post will continue in part 2.

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.
This entry was posted in Casper F. Schlick, Frank J. Schlick, Mack Road, Schlicks, Susan (Daleiden) Schlick, Uncategorized, Winfield History. Bookmark the permalink.

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