History of the Village

  • A Historical View of Wheelings Beginning

From the book:


THE VILLAGE OF WHEELING ( from an 1884 view)

This village is located on the Milwaukee road, six miles north of Desplaines and four miles West of Shermer Station. In 1837 Wheeler & Daniels started a store here, and about the same time Joseph Filkins opened a hotel. Mr. Filkins also built the first house in the place. The lumber was brought from Kennicotts mill, about a mile south of Half Day. A second hotel was opened about the year 1840, by James Parker. The post office was established in 1836, with Joseph Filkins for Postmaster. Mr. Filkins was succeeded by Charles Daniels, and he by J. L. McDuffy. John M. Schaeffer was the next Postmaster; aud then Charles Vogt, Fred. Stryker and Charles Hunsinger, each in Turn, the latter being the present official, appointed early in 1883. The first blacksmith here was a Mr. Shepard or Shepherd, as stated elsewhere, in 1838; the second was Asher G. Skinner, in the same year, and the third was E. K. Bench, recently deceased, in 1842 or 1843. A church, the only one in the village, was erected in 1868, by the Lutherans, at a cost of about  $1,500. It is a one-story frame, with a short steeple. This village attained its present size quite a number of year ago, and not being near a railroad is not likely to grow very materially in the near future. The chief events of importance in the recent history of the place have been the prosecution of various parties for the illegal selling of intoxicating drinks by George Strong, one of the oldest settlers of the town of Wheeling, and a strong foe of intemperance. The village now contains two general stores, three hotels, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, two shoe shops, one brewery, one physician, a Lutheran Church, and about 200 inhabitants.

EARLIER HISTORY ( pre 1884 )

The town of Wheeling lies in the north part of Cook County, and is bounded on the north by Lake County, on the east by Northfield, on the south by Maine and Elk Grove, and on the west by Palatine. The highest land in the township is in the western portion, there being a gradual slope to the Desplaines River, which flows southward through the eastern tier of sections. The soil is a rich prairie loam. Originally the timber along the Desplaines River consisted of a belt about three-fourths of a mile in width, and was, perhaps, equally divided between Wheeling and Northfield. Probably the first settler in the town was a Mr. Sweet, whose first name cannot be ascertained. He arrived in March, 1833, selected a claim on Section 13, and built a cabin, in which he lived until the following October. As this was before the ratification of the treaty with the Pottawatomie Indians, with reference to their retirement from these lands, and as they were generally opposed to their occupancy by white men, Mr. Sweet must have been on especially friendly relations with them in order to remain there, and yet his desire to remain seems not to have been excessively strong, for in October he sold his claim to George. Strong for $60. Mr. Strong, before finally deciding to buy this claim, consulted Colonel Thomas V. Owen, Indian Agent at Chicago, as to the propriety of moving onto it, and as to the probable results.

Colonel Owen advised him not to go, as the Indians were hostile, and as, in addition, it would be necessary for him to use the "United States troops in defending the rights of the Indians in case Mr. Strong should attempt to occupy the land before the ratification of the treaty. Mr. Strong, however, having set his heart upon this claim, and knowing that the treaty would be ratified in a short time, decided to make the venture, and on Monday, September 2, took possession of his claim. At this time his nearest neighbor to the northward was Captain Wright, who was said to be the only one between him and Waukegan; and to. the southward his nearest neighbor was either General Peet or Captain Talcott-probably the former, who moved onto the claim where his son, A. W. Peet, now resides, in December of the same year. Soon after moving into the Sweet shanty, it was surrounded by about a dozen Indians, whose intention was to drive off Mr. Strong. He, however, was not to be driven off easily. Going outside, he had quite a fight with them, knocking one of them flat upon the ground.  He was immediately surrounded by the others, who with uplifted tomahawks and drawn knives threatened him with instant death. His escape is attributable only to his showing no signs of fear. The treaty was soon afterward ratified, and settlers came on in considerable numbers. Timothy Titcomb almost immediately afterward settled just north of Mr. Strong, on Section 13, but soon sold out to Myron Dimmick, who staid, however, only three or foul' years. William B. Olay, and his two sons, John B. and D. H. Clay, settled 011 Section 12, S. M. Salisbury on Section 2, James Mackey and his brother on Section 24, Christopher and Daniel Stanger on Section 13, and Christian Stryker on Section 12. These, among others, came in 1834, the last in December. Peter Gebhardt came in January, 1835, remained about six years, and sold out to Henry Miller. Israel Martin also came about this time, but after a short residence moved to Palatine. Joseph Filkins, who hall made his claim in 1834, built his cabin and moved his family into it in 1835. – Matthew Chivel came in February, 1835, during which year eighteen log houses at least were raised. In March, 1836, William H. Dunton moved into the town and has ever since been a continuous resident. In 1837 Ephrairn and Charles Morrison settled on Section 11 or 12;  Russell Wheeler and Charles Daniels opened a store where the Village of Wheeling is located, which they kept four or five years, and sold to Joel L. McDuffy. In 1838 a Mr. Shepard, or Shepherd, started a blacksmith shop, and Asher G. Skinner arrived and settled on Section 12. Daniel Martin came in 1839. By this time there were about two hundred inhabitants in the town. After the ratification of the Indian treaty the principal cause of excitement for the first few years ,white men occupied this territory was claim-jumping, and if no one was killed for this crime, it was probably because the rightful possessors ,were so thoroughly united and organized as to be fully conscious of their strength and fully assured of Success in the defense of their rights, as claim-jumpers usually had to fight single-handed. A committee consisting of seven citizens, belonging to Wheeling, was appointed to decide on questions of rightful ownership m all cases of claim-jumping. This was the Inferior Court. Besides this, a Superior Court, or Court of Appeal, was appointed, consisting of three citizens, S. M Salisbury, George Strong, and Joseph Filkins, before which any case might be carried if the decision of the Inferior Court caused dissatisfaction, but the decision of the Superior Court was final. The most serious difficulty the settlers of Wheeling were connected with was the ejecting of a claim-jumper from a claim just north of tbe present boundary of their town in Lake County, in which case the claimant was assisted by two female members of his family feigning sickness. A physician, summoned for the purpose, examined the "sick" women and pronounced them in perfect health, and on the strength of his report the women were carried out of doors on their beds by the Wheeling vigilantes, and the house pulled down.  This was about the last of the difficulties of this kind.

In 1837 a survey of the lands in this town was made, and as it was known that the boundaries of the various claims already taken could not correspond with the section lines that  would be run, the settlers, by mutual consent, selected S. M. Salisbury to purchase all the land they had claimed, with the understanding that he should re-deed each one's individual claim to him, as nearly as practicable, being at the same time governed by the section lines as run by the survey. This plan was carried out to the satisfaction of all concerned.

From the time elections became necessary to 1850, when the town was organized, the territory embraced within its limits, together with a part of Maine and Northfield, was known as Wheeling Precinct. The place of voting was at Wilcox's tavern, situated on the Milwaukee Road near where it crosses the Desplaines River. After the organization of the town elections were held at the Village of  Wheeling.

This town was organized, as were the others in the county, April 2, 1850. The meeting was held "at the house lately kept by James Parker in the Town of Wheeling."  William H. Dunton was chosen .Moderator, Egbert Van Vlack, Clerk, and Gcorge Fullagar, Assistant Clerk. '1'he election resulted in the choice of the following officers, each receiving the vote appended to his name: Supervisor, S. M. Salisbury, 106 ; Clerk, Lewis Peet, 96; Assessor, Ira Millard, 100; Collector, D B. Briggs, 100; Commissioners of Highways, 1m Snow, 100, W. H. Dnnton, 171, Andrew Luce, 90; Constables, D. B. Briggs, 122, S. D. W. Miller, 98 . A pound was provided for, to be as near the center of the town as practicable, and Myron Thornton was appointed Pound-master. Three hundred dollars was voted to be raised for the support of the poor, for building a pond and for the incidental expenses of the township, but no tax has ever been levied for the support of the poor in Wheeling, nor was a pound provided at that time. Three hundred dollars was raised for road and bridge purposes. Fences were required to be built four feet high. The total number of votes cast at this election was 191, as certified to by Lewis Peet, town clerk, indicating a population of abont 750. The Commissioners of Highways met April 19, and divided the town into six road districts. Their second action was to vacate a road running north and south from the Rand road to the Dundee road,   between Sections 7 and 8, and 17 and 18. This action was taken May 4, on the petition of ten citizens, dated April 19. The board of appointment, consisting of S. M. Salisbury, Supervisor, Lewis Peet, Clerk, William Scoville, Justice of the
Peace, and Joel F. Hawks, Justice of the Peace, met May 4 at the house of George Strong, and appointed Lysander Miller Overseer of Highways for District No.1; Richard Adams for No.2; Ira Snow for No.3; George Strong for No.4; Stephen Lamb for No.5, and James Dunton for No. 6. On the 13th of March, 1851, the Commissioners divided the town into nine districts each two miles square. The first highway fund, received by the Commissioners of  Highways previously to March 25, 1851, was $260. At that time it was reported that in five of the road districts there had been performed five hundred and ninety-seven days of work, and in one other district one hundred and one. The elections subsequent to that of 1850 have resulted in filling the offices as follows:

Supervisors.-Joseph Filkins, 1851; John Filkins, 1852; Joseph  Filkins, 1853 ; Wi1liam Scoville, 1854-55 ; Jesse Matteson, 1856-57; George Strong, 1858 to 1865; William H. DnlltOl1, 1866-67; Frederick Tesch, 1868 to 1870; David Peter, 1871 ; Frederick Tesch; 1873 to 1875; C. Giles, 1876 to 1883, inclusive.

Clerks.--John Filkins, 1851; E. K. Beach, 1852 to 1856; 0harles Vogt, 1857 to 1859; F. A. Razein, 1860; William H. Dunton, 1861 to 1865; J. H. Fellows, 1866; Ira  Millard, 1867; William H. Dunton, 1868 to 1871; Albert G. Kennicott, 1873; A. P. Tewksbury, ] 874 to 1876; August Waariek, 18'17; E. M. Thomas, 1878 to 1880; Fred R. Pfeifer, 1881 to 1883, inclusive.

Assessors.--Ira Millard, 1851; E. Berry, 1852; William Scoville, 1853; F. R. Hamilton, 1854; William R. Dunton, 1855; George Fullagar, 1856; Chauncey Fuller, 1857; Jacob Seewalt, 1858; F. R. Hamilton, 1859,60; Ira Millard, 1861 : C. Hegwein, 1862; George Schneider, 1863-64; George Strong, Jr., 1865; George Schneider, 1i66 to 1883, inclusive.

Collectors.-D. B. Briggs, 1851; Ira Snow, 1852 to 1854; D. F. Wood, 1855; Robert Hopp, 1856; L. T. Webster, 1857; Henry McKnau, 1858; Jacob Fritch, 1859 to 1861; Hiram Snow, 1862;  Samuel W. Peese, 1863; C. Vogt, 1864; George Schneider, 1863 ; John Peter, 18U6; George Strong, 1867; Charles Taege, 1868-09; Otto Nolte, 1870; Jacob Fritsch, 1871; David Peter, 1873-74; August Waarick, 1875-76; Otto Nolte, 1877-78; Conrad Miller, 1879; Henry Weinrich, 1880-81; Oharles W. Lorenzen, 1882-83.

Commissioners of Highways –Ira Snow, George Strong and David. Fellows, the latter appointed. 1831; Peter Schenek, David Fellows and A. W. Peet, 1852 to 1854; David. Fellows, George Fullagar and E. A. Allen, 1855; David Fellows, George Fullagar and John Bromley, 1850; David Fellows, John Bromley and. Christian Hegwein, 1857; David Fellows, Christian Hegwein and William Kirkhoff, 1858: A. W. Peet, Alonzo Hawks and Hiram Perry, the latter appointed 1859; A. W. Peet, A. Hawks and M. D. Dean, 1860; Frederick Tesch for one year, L. Arnold
for two years, and Phillip Wolf for three years, 1861; E A. Allen, 1862; Alonzo Hawks, 1863; Henry Russell,1864; Hiram Snow, 1865 ; Jacob Schmahl, 1866 ; Jacob Husinger, 1867; Luther Whiting, 1868; Ludwig Volberding, 1869; Jacob Hunsinger, 1870 ; August Waarick, 1871; Harry Engelking. 1873; Philip Harth, 1875; Henry Engelking, 1876; Philip Harth, 1877; Peter Byer, 187B; Henry Engelking, 1879; Philip Harth, 1880; Peter Byer, 1881; Henry Meyer 1882 ; Henry Kreft, 1883.

Justices of tho Peace.-William Scoville and I. N. Schafer, 1854; John Rothschild. 1857; John Rothschild and William Scoville, 1838: J. W. Walton and A. W. Peet, 1862 ; J. W. Walton and Daniel T. Wood, 1866; John D. Beach, 1868; John D. Beach and William Wallace, 1870 ; Jacob Fritsch and W. H. Dunton, 1873-77-81.

Constables.-Ira Snow and D. B. Briggs, 1851; Daniel Fritsch, 1852; Ira Snow and D. F. Wood, 1855; John Belden, 1856; S. S. Dewey and E. K.Beach, 1862; Charles Wetzel, appointed 1863, elected 1864;E. K. Beach and William S. Rich, l865U5 ; John Peter, Jr., and E. K. Beach, 1866; E. K. Beach and James C. Peter, 1870-73-74; Byron D. Thurber, 1876; E. K. Beach and Luther Whiting, 1877; Henry Weinrich and George Hurst, 1881; J. P. Hansom, 1882.

Overseers of the Poor.-Garret Lasher, 1851; Peter Filbert, 185:G to 1854; D. F. Wood, 1855; Reuben Bromley, 1856; Hiram :Ferry, 1857; Elias Wood, 1850; G. N. Olmsted, 1862.

Trustees of 8chools.-A. G. Skinner, 1869; John Peter, 1870 ; Joel Bnrlingarne, 1871 ; Daniel K. Draper, 1873; John Peter and Hiram Snow, 1874; Conrad Miller, 1875; Louis Fischer, 1876; Luther Whiting, 1877; Conrad Miller, 1818; Louis Fischer, 1879; Luther Whiting. 1880; Dada Arnold, 18B1; Louis Fischer, 1882; L. W. Whiting, 1883.

The Schools of Wheeling.- There are no records connected with the schools of this township of an earlier date than April 6, 1857. At that time there were ten districts. W. H. Dunton, A. W. Peet and E. K. Beach were the school trustees, and William Scoville was treasurer of the school fund. W. H. Dunton became treasurer of this fund in 1862 and has held the office ever since. In 1857 the school fund was $3,800. At the present time it is $3,890.02. There appears to have been no census of the school children taken in early days, but the census of 1883 shows the following numbers in the respective districts: District No.1,187; No.3, 144; No.5, 87; No.6, 67; No.7, 84; No.8, 237; No. 10,567; total number,1,313. The population of the township of Wheeling ill 1880 was 2,296. In 1883 it was probably about 2,500.


LOUIS FISCHER, wheelwright, was born in Wheeling in 1839, son ofLouis and Johannah Fischer, who came to Cook County in June, 1838, and located in Wheeling Township on a farm. His father died in October, 1875, at the age of sixty-seven years. His mother is living, at the age of seventy. Mr. Fischer in early life learned the trade of wheelwright. In 1861 he enisled in Company I, 15th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and took part at Pittsburg Landing, Corinth, siege of Vicksburg, Jackson, and other engagements. He was wounded at the battle of Pittsburg Landing, and disabled from service about two months. In June, 1864, he was mustered out and returned to Wheeling, and bought the wheelwright shop of S. W. Rees, of whom he learned his trade. This business he hits since followed. He was married in 1865 to Miss Sophia Periolet; they have had seven children, six now living-Julia, George, Reinhold, Edwin, Oscar and Irving. They are Methodist in religious faith. Mr. Fischer is a member of the Masonic fraternity, A. P. & A. M., Virtruvius Lodge, Xo. 81, of which he has been secretary for thirteen consecutive years. He has been trustee for the school fund for nine years, and school director for four years.

JACOB FRITSCH, farmer, P. O. Wheeling, was born in Germany in 1830, son of Daniel and Susan Fritsch. He came to Cook County with his parents in 1841, who located on the farm where Mr. Fritsch now resides; his father is living, at eighty-one years of age; his mother died in 1881 at the age of seventy-seven. He owns 134 acres of land, and is engaged in farming and dairying. In 1859 he was married to Miss Magdalena, delighter of Christian and Ursula Schaffer; they have three children-Daniel E., Robert G. and Anna A. They are attendants of the Presbyterian Church at Wheeling. Mr. Fritsch was Constable of 'Wheeling for six years, school director for twenty years, and is now Justice of the Peace and notary public. He has held these offices for twelve years, and is a director of the Northfield Mutual Insurance Company and a member of the Wilber Mercantile Collection Agency, of Chicago, and was Tax Collector of Wheeling for five years.

CONRAD MILLER, farmer, P. O. Wheeling, was born in Germany in 1828, son of Jacob and Catharine Miller. He came to Cook County in 1837 with his parents, who located in Wheeling Township and engaged in farming until their deaths, his father in 1857, at the age of sixty-four, and his mother in 1873, at the same age. Mr. Miller learned the trade of a shoemaker in early life and followed that business for about thirty six years. He worked in Chicago until 1860, when he moved to Wheeling Township and located on the farm where he now resides, containing eighty-four acres, one and a half miles from Wheeling, where he has since been engaged in farming in connection with his trade. He was married in 1849 to Miss Lydia Holmes, daughter of John and Helen Holmes, natives of England, and early settlers in Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Miller have eight children-Minnie M., Isaac A., Charles S.,
Thomas G., Frank B., .i\ledora A., Lillie E. and Willie C. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, A. F. & A. M., 'Vitruvius Lodge, No. 81, and has been Collector and trustee of the school fund for Wheeling for six years, and school director for ten years.

M. MUFFAT, physician and surgeon, was born in Munich, Bavaria, in 1800, son of Carl and Teresa Muffat. He was
educated at the Maximilian Ludwig University, of Munich, completing his course in 1869. He was one year in the sanitary corps of the German Army. In the fall of 1869 he came to America, and after a short residency in Chicago located at Menominee, Wis., and engaged in practice. In 1871 he removed to Peshtigo, Wis., and was there during the great fire of that year that destroyed the entire village; then went to Chicago end engaged in the drug business. In 1872 he was appointed manager of the drug department of the German Aid Society, and was in charge of the German and American Dispensary; 1hen established the drug business of M. Muffat & Co. In 1875 he took a course at the Rush Medical College, in the spring of 1876 locating in Wheeling, his practice extending to some of the neighboring towns. Mr. Muffat was  married in 1878 to Miss Minnie Sigwalt. They have two children-Carrie and Maximilian. He is a member of the  Catholic Church.

A. W. PEET, farmer, P. O. Wheeling, was born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1812. His parents, Lewis and Isabel,
came to Cook County in 1833 and passed the winter at an Indian trading post at Riverside, then known as Laughton's Place. The next spring they settled on Mr. Peet's present farm, which contains 197 acres. His father died in 1852, aged sixty-one years; his mother, in 1849. aged fifty-one. Mr. Peet married, in 1849, Mjss Abby J. Hewitt, daughter of Robert and Betsey Hewitt. They have had ten children, seven now living Franklin, Edwina C., Robert E., William E., Louise, Edward L. and Emma M He is a member of Vitruvius Lodge, No. 81, A. F. & A. M. He has been twenty years a member of the school board, and served four years as Justice of the Peace.

GENERAL LEWIS PEET was born in Connecticut in 1791. When quite a small boy he moved to Vermont. He served as a private soldier in the War of 1812, and participated in the battle of Plattsburg. In 1816 he moved to Ohio, settling in Cuyahoga County, where he worked at the blacksmith trade in connection with farming. He was here made a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Sheriff of the county. Removed to Illinois in October, 1833, and took up his claim in Wheeling Township Ill December of the same year. He held a commission as General in the Ohio Militia. He was the first Justice of the Peace of the precinct which included what is now Wheeling Township, and he was the Town Clerk of Wheeling after the organization of the town. His death occurred August 20, 1852.

J. G. SCHNEIDER, veterinary surgeon, was born in the province of Rhine, Prussia, in 1827, son of .John N. and Eva
Schneider. He was educated for a veterinary surgeon, and served five and a half years in the Prussian Army. In 1853 he came to America and located in Wheeling, Cook County, where he has since resided, engaged in the practice of his profession. He is also an insurance agent; he has the agency of the Milwaukee Mechanics' Mutual, the Addison
Farmers' Mutual, of Du Page County, and. the Rockford Insurance companies. He was married, in 1853, to Miss Maria Bier; they have nine children-George, Edward, Reinbold, Carl, Mary, Annie, Amelia, Emma and Alma. He is a member of the Wheeling Presbyterian Church. He has been Assessor of Wheeling for twenty years and school director for fifteen years.

A. G. SKINXER, farmer, P. O. Wheeling, was born in Middlesex County, X. J., in 1816, son of .John and Elizabeth Skinner. He came to Cook County in 18: 6, and located in eastern Wheeling Township, where he .engaged in blacksmithing for four years, then moved on the farm where he now resides, containing 270 acres, and has since followed farming and blacksmithing. He was married in 1838 to Miss Eliza Jane Huff, daughter of Johnson and Jennett Huff. They have had seven children, four now living-Emma F., Jennett II., Elizabeth J. and Clara E. R. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Skinner is a member of the Masonic fraternity, A. F. & A.M.

GEORGE STRONG, JR., farmer; P. O. Wheeling, was born in Wheeling in 1840, son of George and Catharine Strong, and was brought up on the farm where he now resides. being the old homestead where his father settled in 1834. He was married, in 1861, to Miss Fanny E. B0ach, daughter of Samuel A. and Eliza Beach; they have had five children, four of whom are living-John W., Callie A.. George A. and Fanny M. Mr. Strong and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he is a steward and trustee of the same. Mr. Strong is a member of Virtruvius' Lodge, No. 81, A. F. & A. M. He has been Assessor and Collector of the town of Wheeling, and a  member of the school board for eighteen years.

CHARLES VOGT, merchant, was born near Hesse-Cassel, Germany, in 1835, son of William and Catharine Vogt. He came to Cook County in 1845, and helped his father on a farm in Wheeling- Township, for ten years. He then engaged as salesman for J. M. Schaffer for four years; then, in company with his father, bought the business. in four years purchasing his father's interest, and from that time until 1881 he carried on the business alone. In that year he formed a partnership with Emel Sigwalt, and the business is now conducted under the firm name of Vogt & Sigwalt. They carry a full stock of general merchandise. Mr. Vogt was married, in 1857, to Miss Josephine, daughter of Napolean and Salome Periolate; they have had three children, all deceased. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church; is also a member of the Masonic fraternity, A. F. & A. M. Virtruvius Lodge, No. 81, and has been Town Clerk and school director. He has been Postmaster and Deputy of Wheeling for twenty-four consecutive years.

Wheeling Historical Society and Museum