Wilmette Newspaper index
John Schaefer area's first white child
Wilmette Life (Wilmette, Illinois), 18 Sep 1947, 75th anniversary supplement, p. 2, 90
Media Type
Item Types
Photograph of John Schaefer on p.90
Date of Publication
18 Sep 1947
Personal Name(s)
Huerter, Anna ; Huerter, Joseph ; Huerter, Katie ; Huerter, Peter ; Schaefer, Anna ; Schaefer, Cecelia ; Schaefer, Christine ; Schaefer, Emma ; Schaefer, Evelyn ; Schaefer, George ; Schaefer, Helen ; Schaefer, John ; Schaefer, Joseph ; Schaefer, Lena ; Schaefer, Louis ; Schaefer, Margaret ; Schaefer, Marie ; Schaefer, Maternus ; Schaefer, Peter ; Schaefer, William ; Spies, John ; Spies, Margaret
Corporate Name(s)
Gross Point (Ill.) ; Wilmette (Ill.)
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.07225 Longitude: -87.72284
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to United States law. No restrictions on use.
Terms of Use
Image may be used with credit to Wilmette Public Library
Wilmette Public Library
Emailrefdesk@wilmettelibrary.infoWWW address
Agency street/mail address
1242 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, IL
U.S.A. Phone: 847-256-6930
Full Text

John Schaefer, forbear of one of Wilmette's largest families, was born in Gross Point October 23, 1844, and is said to have been the first white child born in the Wilmette area. The son of Peter and Lena (Bleser) Schaefer, he resided here for well over a half-century, witnessed the phenomenal growth of the Chicago area and, according to a biographical sketch written in the early '90s gave his "support to its worthy enterprises." John Schaefer was one of a family of 13 children, prominent among whom was his brother, Maternus, whose biography appears elsewhere in this issue. His parents were both born in Prussia, Germany, the father in 1805, and the mother in 1812. They emigrated to America in 1843 and took up their residence in New Trier township where they spent the remainder of their lives. His mother died in 1891 in her 79th year, and his father passed away in 1894, in his 90th year. Reared to manhood on the old homestead, son John Schaefer became inured to all the hardships and trials of pioneer life. He received his meager education in the district school. On April 30, 1868, he married Miss Margaret Lohn, a native of Chicago, (born in 1847) whose parents came to America in 1843 in the same ship with Mr. Schaefer's parents. They became the parents of seven children, among them George W., who was later the proprietor of a hotel in Gross Point; Anna, who became the wife of Peter Huerter of Gross Point; Katie, later the wife of Joseph Huerter, a Gross Point butcher; Christine, and Emma. Twin sons John P. and Joseph M. died in infancy. Mrs. Schaefer passed away in the late '70s. Mr. Schaefer was again married in 1880 to Miss Anna Spies, who was born in 1856, the daughter of John and Margaret Spies, natives of Prussia, Germany. Eleven children were born to this marriage as follows: John and Evelyn, twins, who died in infancy, Marie, John H., Peter J., Louis, Margaret M., Helen, Cecelia, William and George. By dint of industry and energy, John Schaefer raised himself from humble circumstances to a position in which, wrote a biographer, he was "surrounded by the comforts and luxuries of life." He built a two-story brick hotel (later operated by his eldest son) and conducted business there for 26 years, his hostelry being "noted for its hospitality..." and where "he became a favorite with all who went his way." He was a staunch Republican and member of the Catholic faith. Mr. Schaefer was for three years town collector, served as school director for several years, and was for an extended period treasurer of Gross Point, which position he assumed upon the organization of the village. He also served as assessor.

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John Schaefer area's first white child