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 2851

In 1836, Zeruha Patterson came with her husband, Erastus, and five children in an ox-drawn covered wagon to the new North Shore area. They built a log house known as Patterson’s Tavern. After the death of her husband, she acquired 57 acres of land and sold the tavern, which passed into the hands of John Garland. Photo courtesy of the Winnetka Historical Society.

  
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Johann and Anna Lauermann were Gross Point pioneers in the days before the Township was chartered. Their descendents built a tavern and a dry goods store. Photo courtesy of the Wilmette Historical Society.
 

Our History-Early Settlers & Early Settlements

 

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The names of the first elected officers reflect some of the Township’s history.

They were a diverse group. The Patterson's were one of six families from Vermont who came to the area about 1836. Erastus Patterson built a log cabin on the east side of Sheridan Road that served as a welcoming place for travelers to the area, often on their way to "Milwacky."

Hanson Taylor (or Anson H. Taylor), who was an original Justice of the Peace, built a log cabin on a bluff north of the Hubbard ravine in 1837. He opened La Pier House, a tavern, in what was called Taylor’s Landing, the business district of Taylorsport (later called Glencoe). He also built a pier, warehouse and facilities for unloading timber. Taylor did a brisk business handling building materials brought from Chicago and other cities around Lake Michigan for the new settlements in the area. He was appointed by the federal government to be the first postmaster for the area called New Trier.

Michael Gormley, who was elected as Assessor, married one of Taylor’s daughters. Later, he was active in the affairs of the Village of Glencoe. He died of an apoplectic fit at a Glencoe Village Board meeting -- things were much more heated in those days.
John Garland, it was said, came from England and had inherited wealth. In 1847 he bought the Patterson Tavern, located near what is now Lloyd Park in Winnetka and operated it as the Wayside Inn for 10 years. It was also his home where he and his wife reared eight children.

John Fredrick Schildgen, who served as Supervisor from 1858 to 1862, Assessor from 1874 to 1875 and, later, in other Township offices, was one of many early settlers who came from Trier, Germany. He was a civic leader and a strong advocate of public education.

Matthias Happ, a member of an early German family that established a blacksmith shop, was elected Collector in 1853 but refused to serve. Legend says one of the Happs was responsible for naming the Township after the city of Trier.

John Lowerman, "an Anglicized version of Lauermann" who was elected Collector in that first election, may have been a relative of Johann Lauermann, one of the original farmers in the Gross Point area.

John Fiegen, a carpenter and a resident of the Gross Point area, was elected a Constable in April 1853 to fill a vacancy. His oath of office included a solemn vow that he had not "fought a duel or sent to accept a challenge to fight a duel which might have been the Death of either party nor been a second to either party nor in any manner aided or affishled [sic] in such a duel nor been knowingly the Bearer of such a challenge or acceptance since the adoption of the Constitution and that I will not be so employed or concerned Directly or indirectly in or about any such Deed during my continuance in Office So help me God."

Fiegen was 44 years old when he mustered into the service as a private in the Twenty-third Infantry Illinois Volunteers during the Civil War. He was taken prisoner on July 24, 1864, at the Battle of Kernstown in Winchester, Virginia, and died in Andersonville Prison.

Read the next chapter - Towns & Villages Emerge

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