This township is bounded on the north by Northfield and New Trier, on the east by Evanston, on the south by
Jefferson and Norwood Park and on the west by Maine. The area of the township is somewhat less than twenty five
sections. It has a population of about 2,600. The soil is generally fertile, and it is drained in the western portion
by the North Branch of the Chicago River. A considerable portion of it is still covered by native timber, which,
however, is quite rapidly disappearing before the demands for fuel, timber and lumber.
The earliest settler within the limits of the township was Joseph Curtis, an Englishman, who erected a rude log
house near the river on Section 17, near the present residence of Sylvester Beckwith, in the spring of 1831. Mr.
Curtis remained in Niles until 1846, and in 1850 he returned to England. John Dewes, also an Englishman, settled
one half mile north of Mr. Curtis, in the spring of 1832 or 1833 authorities differ as to the year. Subsequently
Mr. Dewes went back to England after his father's family. In one of these years, 1832 or 1833, John Schadiger and
Julius Perren together built an exceedingly rude log shanty on the North Branch of the Chicago River, within the
limits of the present village of Niles, formerly Dutchman's Point. Particular reference to this shanty is made
in connection with the history of this village. In 1833, William Clark and wife came out to Niles from Chicago,
and settled on the northeast quarter of Section 30, built a log house near the river, and lived on the same tract
of land until within a few years, when he bought a small farm of Benjamin Lupton. Mr. Clark was married the second
time in 1879, and now lives about a mile north of the village of Niles. Thomas Jefferson, Sr., located near Mr.
Curtis in 1833, and his son, Thomas, now lives upon the old homestead. In the year 1834 quite an immigration occurred.
Christian Ebinger with his wife, whom he had married in Detroit, and John Plank, settled in the spring of 1834,
on the ridge extending northward from Norwood Park. Christian Ebinger built a log house on Section 31, on the same
spot where now stands the house in which his widow lives. John Plank's house was built in the fall of 1834, on
the next quarter section north. John Ebinger, a brother of Christian, located immediately south of him, and in
the fall of 1834 Frederick Ebinger and his wife, both of whom, being without money, had worked in Fort Dearborn
during the summer, moved out to the ridge and located immediately south of John Ebinger. Thus before the close
of 1834, four houses were erected in a line on this ridge, occupied, commencing at the south, by Frederick, John
and Christian Ebinger, and John Plank, who married Miss Elizabeth Ebinger, sister of Frederick, John and Christian.
The Ebingers and Mr. Plank were noted far and wide for their hospitality, and although they kept no tavern, travelers
were always sure of entertainment with them and a night's lodging. At this time there was a point of timber extending
from the main body on the North Branch, along the ridge on winch these four houses stood, and as it was customary
then as well as now for Americans to improperly speak of Germans as "Dutchmen," this point of timber
and the settlement received the name of "Dutchman's Point,' by which name it is still popularly known, although
the village which has since grown up a little to the northeast is now known as Niles.
In the year 1834, John Odel settled on the southwest quarter of Section 30; Robert Robinson, on the northwest part
of Colderll's Reserve; Elan Crane on, the south half of Section 18 ; John Miller, a don-in-law of Elan Crane, located
at the river near the line between Sections 19 and 20. Here he erected a saw mill, afterward widely known as "Miller's
Mill." Not withstanding the value of timber at that time was very low, Mr. Miller obtained for the first lumber
sawed at his mill, $70 per 1,000 feet. John Ruland who had landed somewhere on the lake shore north of Chicago,
became the captain or the vessel upon which he came up the lakes could not find Chicago, settled near the center
of Section 30. His first residenoe is said to have been a hole dug in the hillside, about thirty rods west of Mathias's
saloon on what is now known as the Milne Place, and covered with bark and sods. This is the first mention of a
"dug out" in the township, and so far as known the only one. It is related of Mr. Rulaud that soon after
finishing his residence he became hungry for fresh meat. So, taking his gun, he started for the river in search
of a deer. Soon after starting out on this hunting expedition, a large wolf sprang up from behind a log, and stood
for some time staring at him, evidently in doubt whether to attack Mr. Ruland or to use that discretion which is
the better part of valor. Mr. Rulaad stood painfully experiencing the samo doubts, but at length, mustering courage,
leveled his gun and fired upon his enemy. Without waiting for the smoke of battle to clear away lie turned and
ran for his dug out with all the agility he could command, reaching it in safety, Finding himself not pursued,
his courage returned; lie reloaded his gun and started out again, this time to make an enumeration of the killed,
wounded, or missing. He found the wolf about twenty five rods from the place of rencounter, dead. Mr. Rulaud died
on lns old homestead, August 24, 1880. His widow still survives.
In 1884, Andrew Brown who still lives at Niles, moved into the township. In 1836, James Wheldon settled on the
southeast quarter of Section 19, and soon afterward John, and Thomas Brown settled on the southwest quarter of
the same section. George Heslington settled on the western half of Section 7. in 1837, Benjamin Emerson settled
at the edge of the woods on the northeast quarter of Section 14, and about the same time a Mr. Bartlette, who had
an Indian wife, settled on the northwest quarter of Section 35. Lyman Butterfield settled in the woods on the southwest
quarter of Section 10. He was a great Indian hunter, and many an Indian it is said was made to bite the dust by
a bullet from his unerring rifle. His old farm is now occupied by Peter Weiss. In 1839, Samuel E. Ferris settled
in the woods about half a mile north of Niles Centre, and a bachelor named O'Brien laid the foundations of that
village" by building a log house where now stands the brick residence of Peter Blameuser. Thomas Jowarski,
a native of Poland, settled on the south half of Section 27, and the Snell family settled in the extreme northwest
corner of the town. In 1840, John Richard built a log house on Section 14, and Jacob Comstock built on the north
half of Section 15, where the Abbink family, known as the Hollanders, now reside. Stephen Gage settled on the north
half of Section 7. Benjamin Hall and John Marshall built the tavern at Dutchman's Point, of which Benjamin Hall
was the first proprietor, and whee the first whisky was sold over a counter in Niles Township, but not where the
first whisky was sold. In this year, 1840, Benjamin Lupton, mentioned in the history of Jefferson, moved into Niles.
John Shriggly soon succeeded Benjamin Hall as tavern keeper at Dutchman's Point, He was a great sportsman, and
usually kept half a dozen hunting dogs. Once, when out hunting his dogs treed a lynx, and it so happened that John
had no ammunition with him but fine shot, With this he fired at the lynx several times, when at length the lynx,
becoming tired of being a target, ran down the tree at the roots of which the dogs were impatiently waiting to
give the wild beast a reception more warm than kind. But contrary to their expectation, as well as to that of their
master, in less than three minutes from the time tlielvnx reached the ground every dog was whipped and yelping
Ins way to Dutchman's Point, followed by the valorons Mr. Shriggly as fast as his legs could carry him. He never
tackled a lynx with fine shot after that exciting episode.
In 1841, Nicholas Meyer, John Schneider, and William Huffmeyer settled in this township, and also William White,
who was for several years Supervisor of the town. In 1842, John Rodgers, John W. Hoffman and his brothers Mathias,
Michael and Nicholas, Peter Schwarz, Charles Rneseher, Nicholas and Peter Haupt, John Finke and his son John L.
Finke, all settled on the prairie in the east part of the township, and Mr. Eckhoff in the southern part. In 1843,
Jacob Kercher and his father-in-law settled on Section 14. John Zobus near the school house in District No. 2,
and Sylvester Beckwith on the northeast quarter of Section 18. In 1845, George Proescel and Wolfgang Harrer with
his two sons, Michael and Henry, two well known business men at Niles Centre, arrived and located on the east prairie
near the edge of the forest. In 1847, Samuel Ruby moved from Evanston and located on the school section of Niles.
The east prairie lay between the timber land in Niles and the Evanston ridge. It was then a marsh like the Skokey
in and to the north of New Trier. In this marsh John Schneider had a horse drowned near where Peterson's nursery
now is, and came very near being drowned himself.
From this time on until the building of the Illinois & Wisconsin, now the Chicago & North Western Railroad,
and of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, the township of Niles received but limited additions to its population,
The forests of the township then became valuable, as wood was used for fuel in Chicago almost exclusively, and
also by these two roads. The result was that numerous shanties were erected in every direction, and the woodman's
ax resounded in the forests from morning to night The timber being removed and the roots of the trees excavated,
cultivated farms upon which were erected comfortable farmhouses in due time took their places, and to-day the township
of Niles contains an aggregate population of nearly three thousand industrious, intelligent and prosperous citizens.
It has five public and three private schools, and six churches with active and respected ministers working for
the spiritual and moral welfare of its people.
ORGANIZATION OF THE T0WNSHIP. - There appears to have been but little organized political action previous
to 1850, when the township was organized under the general law. On April 2, of that year, the first meeting for
the election of officers was held pursuant to notice by the Cook County Commissioners. No account of the selection
of the name of "Niles" appears on the records, but according to the older settlers it was chosen at a
public meeting held some time previous to this first election. Of the meeting held April 2, 1850, referred to above,
Samuel E. Ferris was chosen Moderator, and James Milne, Clerk, and at this meeting Samuel E. Ferris was elected
Supervisor, Pierpont Anderson, Clerk and Collector, Christian Ebinger, Assessor and Overseer of the Poor; Samuel
E. Ferris, Nathaniel Snell, and Robert Robinson, Commissioners of Highways; Robert Pink and Charles W. Buler, Justices
of the Peace; Hamlet B. SnaIl and Pierpont Anderson, Constables. For town purposes $150 was voted, also that there
should be a pound in said town on land osvned by Lambert Pink, and John Pink was elected Pound Master. It was also
resolved that no swine shonld run at larce. The Commissioners of H ighwavs then appointed Overseers of Highways
for the several road districts as follows: For District No. 1, James Wheldon ; District No. 2, Hamlet B. Snell;
No, 3. Alvin Cooley; No. 4, Samuel Rohr, and No. 5. Adam Huffmeyer. For the year ending April 1, 1851, the Supervisor
reported as having received from the Collector, $219.44, of which $68.11 was for road purposes, and $156.33 for
town purposes. The annual election for 1851 was held April 2, at the North Branch Hotel. The following officers
were elected by the vote affixed to their respective names: Supervisor, Samuel Anderson, 41; Clerk, Job a Ketchurn,
40: Justice of the Peace, Robert Hartt, 40; Constables, Pierpont Anderson, 40, and Hamlet B. Snell, 40; Collector,
Samuel E. Ferris, 41; Assessor, Samuel E. Ferris, 35; Commissioners of Highways, Samuel E. Ferris, 37, Robert Hartt,
39. and Adam Huffmeyer, 40. An election was held Jnne 19, 1851, at the North Branch Hotel, for the purpose of electing
a Judge of the County Court of Common Pleas to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Giles Spring. Of the votes
cast, John M. Wilson received thirty two; and Mark Skinner, eight. On the 28th of June $200 was voted to be raised
by tax for the improvement of highways. On the 15th of December. an election was held at the North Branch Hotel
to elect a Supervisor to fill the vacancy caused by the rem oval of Samuel Anderson to California. John Gray was
elected, and on the 18th of the same month Rodney E. Day was appointed Collector to fill a vacancy caused by the
resignation of Samuel E. Ferris. The various officers elected since that time have been as follows:
Supervisors. - John Gray, 1852 to 1855; William White, 1856 to 1858; John W. Hoffman, 1859 to 1862;
Henry Harmes, 1863 to 1870: George J. Eckhoff, 1871 to 1873; Mathias Hoffman, 1874; John Huntington, 1875 and 1876;
Jacob Heinz, 1877; Richard Ray, 1878 and 1879; Fred Kunstmann, 1880 to 1883.
Clerks. - Robert Hartt, 1852 and 1853; Thomas Brown, 1854 and 1855; James Milne, 1856 to 1862; Peter
Bergmann, 1863; John H. Moulton, 1864 ; Peter Bergmann, 1865 ; George C. Klehm, 1866 to 1868; Medard M. Lochner
1869 and 1870: George C. Klehm, 1871 to 1873: M. C. Conrad, 1874 to 1876; Medard M. Lochner. 1877 to 1879; Andrew
Schnntz, 1880 to 1882 ; John W. Brown. 1883.
Assessors. - Christian Ebinger, 1852 and 1853 ; Robert Hartt, 1854: William White, 1855 and 1856
Thomas Brown, 1857: Mathias Hoffman, 1858 to 1863 ; Christian Ebinger, 1864 and 1865; John Dahm, 1866; W. Rohr,
1867 to 1870; Fred Kunstmann, 1871 to 1874: Henry Harrer, 1875 and 1876; Mathias Hoffman 1877 to 1883.
Collectors. - Christian Ebinger, 1852; Charles Anderson, 1853 and 1854; William Stedman, 1855 and
1856: John W. Hoffman, 1857 and 1858: Jacob Blas, 1859: James Daniels. 1860; Nicholas Dahm, 1861 Michael Harrer,
1862 and 1863; Herman Jakobs, 1864; Michael Harrer, 1865; John Martis, 1866 ; G. J. Eckhoff, 1867 to 1870; Michael
Harrer, 1871; Mathias Hoffman, 1873; Henry Ebinger, 1874 and 1875 Mathias Hoffman. 1876; Ernst Galitz, 1877 to
1879; Michael Harrer, 1880; Henry Kolf, 1881 to 1883.
Commissioners of Highways. - Robert Hartt, Adam Huffmeyer, and Sylvester Beckeith, 1852; William
Stedman. Anthony Pirch, Sylvester Beckwith, 1853; S. Rohr, Christian Ebinger, Sylvester Beckwith, 1854; William
White, Samuel Rohr, Jr., Christian Ebinger, 1855 Christian Ebinger, James Daniels. Mathias Hoffman, 1856; Peter
Bergmann, Matluas Hoffman, Christian Ebinger, 1857; Christian Ebinger, John Lochner, Henry Harrer. 1858; Peter
Bergmann, Henry Harrer, Samuel F. Ferris, 1859; Peter Bergmann, George Praul, Sylvester Beckwith, 1860; Anton Mors,
Henry Harrer, Peter Bergmann, 1861; Charles Iserman, 1862; Henry Harrer, 1863; Fred Segelkon, 1864; Charles Iserman,
1865; Henry Harrer, 1866; Fred Segelken, 1867; Charles Iserman, 1868; Henry Harrer, 1869; Fred Segelkin, 1870;
Charles Iserman, 1871; Medard M. Loehner. 1873; Henry Ruesch, 1874; Henry Ebinger, 1875; George C. Klehm, 1876;
Henry Ruesch, 1877 and 1878; George C. Klehm. 1879; Richard Kay, 1880; Henry Ruesch, 1881; Henry Harrer, 1882 Peter
Justices of the Peace. - Samuel E. Ferris and Robert Hartt, 1854; William Stedman and James Daniels,
1858; Samuel E. Ferris, 1859; John H. Moulton, 1861; James Daniels and John H. Moulton, 1862 Henry Harrer and Thomas
Brown. 1866; Henry Harrer and Henry Lester, 1870; Henry Harrer and Henry Lester, 1874; Henry Harrer and Henry Lester,
1877 Henry Harrer and George J. Eckhoff, 1881; George C. Klehm. 1883.
Constables. - Charles Anderson. 1853; Charles Anderson and Ceri Sparks, 1854; William Stedman and
S. Rohr, Jr., 1855; Henry Harms, 1857; Lambert Pink and Henry Harms, 1858; Michael Volkman and Cyrus Stockbridge,
1862; Frederick Hertel and William White, 1864; John Schwarz and Frederick Hertel, 1866; Adam Hoth and William
Lupton, 1870; Peter J. Caspers and William Lupton, 1874; William Lupton, and Andrew Schmitz. 1875; Andrew Schmitz
and Thomas Lupton, 1877; Joseph Rose and Frank Wilmington, 1878; Andrew Sehmitz and William Lupton, 1881; Peter
Sauermann and Nicholas Solomon, 1883.
School Trustees. - John Lundick, Thomas Brown, William White, Nicholas Meyer, and S. Rohr, 1854;
George J. Eckhoff, 1871; John Dulg, 1873, 1875; Michael Harrer, 1877; John Dilg, 1878; Thomas Wheldon, 1879; Anton
Gaumann, 1880; John Dilg, 1881; Ernest Galitz, 1882; Henry Ebinger, 1883.
THE BOUNTY TAX. - perhaps the most important event connected with the history of this township was the effort
on the part of some of its citizens to cause the burdens of the war for the suppression of the Rebellion to be
borne by the property of the township. This effort was the result of an excessive enrollment made in 1864 by the
enrollment officer, John H. Moulton, who was an Englishman, and it was even believed by many, unnaturalized. Most
of the citizens of the township were Germans, and on account of the excessive enrollment there was a disproportionate
quota reported, some twenty five or twenty six persons being drafted. This proved a heavy burden on many who were
poor, and in order to relieve such of the drafted ones as desired to be relieved from the necessity of going into
the army, public meetings were held for the purpose of raising by subscription, a fund of $25 for every person
enrolled to be used in furnishing substitutes for the conscripts. Here again difficulty arose. Some of the wealthier
citizens failed to subscribe as liberally as others thought they should do, and when the danger to the country
front the Rebellion was over, quite a number failed to pay their subscriptions. This state of things was very galling
to the poorer citizens who had paid their pro rata shares toward the draft or substitute fund; hence several meetings
were held to consider what should be done with those who refused to pay. It was finally decided to procure it'
possible the enactment of a law authorizing Niles Township to levy a tax on all its taxable propert to repay the
money to those who had paid their subscriptions. Henry Harms was selected as delegate to Springfield to lay the
matter before the Legislature. He was successful in his mission. The neecessarv act was approved February 12, 1867.
In accordance with the provisions of this act a town meeting was held February 27. 1867. at which the electors
expressed their opinion for and against the bounty tax. The ballot resulted in 159 votes being cast for it and
114 against it. The board then Proceeded to ascertain, estimate and assess a bounty tax of three per cent on all
the taxable property of the town of Niles, to be collected with the taxes for 1866. This step brought on a suit
at law, wherein John H. Moulton and others were plaintiffs, and Henry Harms, Supervisor, John Wertes. Collector,
and the town of Niles, were defendants. the suit being brought to test the question of the right of the hoard to
levy and collect the tax. On the 18th of December, 1867, a tax of three per cent was levied to be collected with
the taxes of 1867. and at the same meeting it was ordered that holding town bounty orders against the town of Niles
might have indorsed on their orders to the amount of forty per cent of the principal thereof, and have the amounts
credited on the tax list. The attorney for the town of Niles in this ease was Ira W. Buell. On the 29th of October,
1868, a due bill in his favor was drawn for $400, to be paid within two years, with interest at six per cent until
paid, and its payment provided for by a tax of $430. The result of the whole movement was that the amount required
to refund the amounts paid by the sabscribers to the draft fund was raised to within about fifteen per cent, which
deficit would have been collected had not the great fire of 1871 in Chicago destroyed the papers necessary to be
used in its collection and most of the subscribers to the fund received from the town out of the tax the amounts
they had paid.
THE SCHOOLS OF NILES. - The early records of the schools can not be obtained, hence the dates of the organization
of the school districts can only be approx imately stated. The first record that could be seen was dated February
16, 1863. Peter Bergmann was then treasurer of the school fund, and his bond was $6,000. There were then five school
districts, and according to the recollection of early settlers there were in 1850 but two districts, in 1852 there
were three, in 1858 there were four, and in 1868 there were five. In this latter year the interest on the school
fund distributable to the several districts was as follows: To District No. 1, $48.14; No. 2, $57.80; No. 3, $107.16;
No, 4, $52.58; and to No. 5, $51.79. The books of the late treasurer, James Milne, were pronounced "all right,"
and the school fund amounted to 82,580. Thc present fund is $2,881.78. in October of this year a census of the
school children was taken and there were fonnd to be in District No. 1, 150 scholars; in District No. 2, 137; in
No. 3. 199: in No. 4, 150; and in No. 5, 65;- total number, 701. In 1883 the census of the school children of the
town was as follows:
6 and 21.
This village lies on the North Branch of the Chicago River, one mile north of Norwood Park. The first house
built within the limits of the village was by John Schadiger and inlius Perren, on the right bank of the river,
just below the month of the small creek which enters it from the west. it was built in 1832 or 1833, the exact
date not being remembered by even those who saw it and describe it as being a log shanty, 10x12 feet in size, with
an outside chimney built of strips of wood chinked with clay. The cabin had no windows and but one door, hung on
primitive hinges made of two pairs of wooden eyes with a long rod running up and down throngh them both. John Schadiger
soon afterward moved to Wisconsin and Jnlins Perren lived in Niles until his death, which occurred abont 1873,
Some authorities say that Samuel Lyttleton lived in this shanty for a time, and that after him the place was called
Lyttleton's Point; but Lyttleton appears to have come later, in 1838, and to have made a bargain to buy the property,
real and personal, of John and Christian Ebinger and John Plank, bnt never consummated the purchase. After the
Schadiger and Perren cabin, the next house built here was that of Christian Ebinger, a log one, where now stands
the frame house in which his widow resides. This was in the spring of 1834. In the following fall, John Plank built
his house a short distance to the northward, and Frederick and John Ebinger also built the same fall. John Ruland
came next and then John Ketchum. John Plank sold his place to a Mr. Phillips. who kept the first store in the place,
and was the first Postmaster. in 1836. Phillips kept the store about a year when he went out of the business, and
there appears to have been no store for a number of years. Phillips was succeeded as Postmaster by George Beach;
he by George Scolly; he by Henry Lester: and he by the present incumbent, Peter Thorsten, who took the office in
The first hotel was built by John Marshall and Benjamin Hall in 1837. Mr. Hall sold his interest to Marshall, who
soon sold to Samuel Low, and he to John Shriggly, who kept it for a number of years. Colonel Anderson, o.f Naperville,
then bought it, and after passing through the hands of several proprietors, it at last was bought by A. J. Snell,
who rents it to Daniel Stryker. This was called the North Branch Hotel. Benjamin Lupton was the first blacksmith
at Dutchman's Point, in 1840. He carried on the business for over twenty years, James Milue came second, in 1848.
There are now three blacksnnths in the village. A steam saw mill was erected by John Gray and Robert Hartt. Robert
Hartt is said to have been the first to peddle popcorn in Chicago, and was known as "Popcorn Hartt."
The mill sawed a large quantity of plank for plank roads. It was sold to John Brown, who sold to John Ketchum,
who continued to run it until 1874, when it ceased to be operated.
SCHOOLS. - The first school taught here was by a Scotchman named Ballantine. in 1838 or 1839. The second
was by a Miss Phillips who was paid by subscription at the rate of $2 per scholar per term, a part of the bachelors
subscribing for one or more scholars in order to sustain the school. The tlnrd teacher was Miss Cordelia Wheaton,
whose salary was $12 per month and board around two days in a place. A school house was built in 1840 by John Ketchum
for $25, the material being furnished. It stood on a lot donated by John Odell. This school house was used nntil
1857, when the present brick school house was erected. The lot on which this brick school house stands was obtained
of William Homer in exchange for the old school house and lot. The house was built for $1,000. There are about
sixty five scholars in attendance, about one half the scholars in the district attending thc German school.
RELIGIOUS. - The first sermon in this place was preached at James Milne's house, in 1847, by Rev. Mr. Wheaton,
a Methodist minister. The churches now in existence are three: Methodist, German Lutheran and one belonging to
the German Evangelical Association. The German Lutheran Church was started in 1859, by John Hasseman, Henry Hasseman,
Fred Schlender, Fred Segelken Fred Henning, Fred Schroeder, Fred Hasse, John Hasse, Mr. Luther, Mr. Rose, Mr. Hacker,
Mr. Wendt, and others. The church building was erected in 1861, on a lot donated to the society by William Lill,
the brewer, of Chicago. It is a two story building, brick basement, with frame superstructure, 40x65 feet in size,
and cost $2,500. A Rev. Mr. Henning was the first preacher. He remained three or four years and was succeeded by
the Rev. G. S. Loeber, who has been pastor twenty three years. Under him the school was started. A separate school
building was erected in 1872 on the same lot with the church. The first teacher was Fred Krieger, who remained
four years; the second was August Gruhl, who remained eight years, and the third is H. Jaerneke, who has been there
two years. The building is a two story frame, costing about $1,200.
The Church of the Evangelical Association originally stood in Maine Township, about eighty rods west of its present
location in Niles, and until 1867 belonged to the Des Plaines circuit. The ministers' names who were with the Church
immediately previous to its removal were the Rev. G. Vetter, 1864 and 1865, and Rev. A. Gockley, 1866. The church
building was a small frame, which when the present edifice was erected, in the summer of 1875, was sold to Phillip
Rehlstab to be used for a barn, It originally cost about $400, and would seat about 250 people. The church society
was started in 1850, by Christian Ebinger and a few other Germans, among them, Henry Betide, Frederick and John
Ebinger, Frederick Blume, Frederick Selger, Jacob and John Wingert, Jacob Garble, Jacob Brecher, and Frederick
Mueller, and their wives. One of its first preachers was Jacob Esher, father of the present Bishop, J. J. Esher,
and the Rev. George Esher, of Chicago. The preachers since the removal to its present location have been the Revs,
P. J. Wingert, 1867; C. Angestein, 1868; H, Meier, 1869; G. Vetter, 1871; W. Strasburger, 1872; R. Rohrback, 1874;
C. Augestein, 1875; W. Schneiker, 1878; C. Danner, 1881 and 1882; Amos Gockley, 1883 and 1884. The new building
was dedicated by Bishop J. J. Esher, and cost $3,300. The present membership of the church is 125.
The Methodist society erected their building in 1880. It is a very neat one story frame building, and was erected
by the combined aid of the members, and with the expenditure of very little money. John Ketchum did most of the
carpenter work, The building will seat about 400 people. The pulpit has usually been supplied by students from
Evanston and occasionally by the Methodist minister from Park Ridge. A Sunday school is in connection with the
church, having about seventy five scholars, arid five teachers. Mrs. M. Ketchum is the superintendent.
The village of Niles now contains two stores, two hotels, one drug store, one harness shop, two blacksmith shops,
three churches, two schools, one physician and about 200 inhabitants.
This village lies near the center of the township. The first house built within its present limits was, as has
been already stated in the history of the township, a small log one where now stands the fine brick residence of
Peter Blameuser, but whatever the design of Mr. O'Brien, its builder, it was not, in fact, the foundation of the
village. This was made by Henry Harms in December, 1854, by building a small frame house about sixty rods south
of his present residence at the corner of Miller's Mill road, which runs north and south, and Harms Avenue, which
runs east and west through the village. The second house was a log one built by Peter Bergmann in 1857, and during
this same year A. J. Snell built a log house on the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 28. George
Kay built a two story brick house 24x24 feet in size. During this year Carl Breitzmann built a blacksmith shop,
though this was not the first blacksmith shop in the vicinity, as one was started some years earlier in a village
atiempted to be started onehalf nnle north of the present village, by Samuel E. Ferris. In 1858, Henry Harms commenced
the business of merchandising, keeping hardware and provisions until 1862, when he opened a general store in the
front of his house which he had built in 1860, Peter Bergmann opened a general store and kept it six or eight months
in his old house, when lie built a frame house in which he kept it until 1867, when he sold to Peter Blameuser,
who disposed of the dry goods portion of the business and retained only the saloon. A school house was built one
half mile south of the village in 1858, which besides being used for school purposes, was also used for religious
purposes by the Evangelical Lutherans for a short time, commencing in 1867. The post-office was established in
1864, Henry Harms being appointed Postmaster, and retaiuiug the position until 1874. George C. Klehm then was appointed
and retained the office two years. He was succeeded in 1876 by M. C. Conrad, who was Postmaster three years. Henry
Harrer was made Postmaster in 1879, and retained the office until 1881, when John W. Brown, the present incumbent,
A green house was started in 1874 by Stilo & Kusky. Mr. Kusky accidentally shot himself in 1880. His widow
then continued the business in partnership with Mr. Stilo for two years, when she bought his interest and Schiller
& Stile started a new establishment in 1881. There are now these two green houses in the village, and one other
started in 1883 by A. J. Harms.
The German Evangelical Lutheran St. Peter's Church was organized May 5, 1867, by the Rev. E. Reucher, at this time
minister of the German Church in East Northfield. Meetings were held for some time in the school house one half
mile south of the village. The number of original members was thirty five, a part of whom were the following: John
Jarmuth, Henry Harms, George C. Klehm, Gust Schraeder, Andrew Ross, John Ross, John Eggert, Fred Lumpp, Rudolf
Wagner, John Schaefer, John Tess, Charles Scherer, Charles Iserman, Jacob Soberer, Joachim Mueller, John Ahrens,
Joachim Rucsch, William Rnesch, Fred Kunstniann, Joachim Ludwig, Joachim Kindt, Jacob Franz, and John Marquardt.
The Rev. Emile Rencher continued to preach for this Church until the fall of 1868. The Rev. F. W. E. Werner then
became pastor and remained until January, 1881. He was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. Henry Wolf in
June, 1881. The church building which stands on Harms Avenue, a little to the west of the center of the village,
was erected in the summer of 1868. It is a two story brick, 32x50 feet. The basement is used for a school room,
and residence for the minister, the upper story for audience room. The building is surmounted by a low tower, and
cost, including pipe organ and furniture, about $4,000. The school was started about the time of the beginning
of the Rev. Mr. Werner's pastorate, and while he remained had about eighty scholars, but when the Church became
divided into two parts in 1880, the school was also divided, and now the school has about forty scholars.
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in 1881, with thirty five members, three fourths of them having
withdrawn from the St. Peter's Church. Among those who withdrew were Ernest Galitz, William Eggert, Henry Rohr,
Christian Langfeld, Charles Langfeld, William Schroeder, Charles Ode, Charles Esch, Charles Witte, William Erickson,
Fred Roehl and Joachim Groth. A number of reasons are assigned for the division of St. Peter's Church into two
parts. One is that the members who withdrew were in the first place refused permission to vote on questions of
finance, and then logically refused permission to vote on the returning of the Rev. Mr. Werner in the pastorate,
they desiring to dismiss him. St. Peter's Church belongs to the berman Evangelical Synod of North America, and
tries to pnt in practice the polity of the United Evangelical Church, rather than that of the Lutheran or of the
Reformed Chnreh. Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri and other States were desirous that St.
Peter's Church at Niles Centre should unite with their Synod, and many of the members of the Church itself were
desirous of being so united. This was one of the causes of the separation. St. Paul's Church thus was organized
as a Lutheran Church. The Rev. Adam Detzer, Sr., preached the first sermon for this Church on January 1, 1881,
and remained three weeks. The first service was held in Peter Blamenser's Hall, and oontinued so to he held until
the first Sunday in August. A church buildingwas then erected two stories high, 32x50 feet in size, with a comparatively
massive tower and spire. The front room of the basement is fitted up for a school room, the rear part for a residence
for the minister. The total cost of the building was about $4,500, including bell and furniture. The Rev, Adam
Detzer was succeeded, August 1, 1881, by his son, the Rev. Frederick Detzer, the present pastor. The number of
active members of the Church is now 104.
The school was started by the Rev. Frederick Detzer in October, 1881, and there have been in attendance at the
school an average of eighty scholars during the past three years.
St. Peter's Catholic Church of Niles Centre was established in 1868, with thirty five members. A frame building
was erected 40x60 feet in size, costing $3,536. At present the membership of the Church is 100 families. The first
priest was Rev. Joseph Beineke, who remained uitil 1871. He was succeeded by the Rev. A. J. Thiele, who remained
from 1871 to 1878. The Rev. Dennis Thiele then succeeded and remained until 1882. The Rev. W. J. Revis then was
pastor from July, 1882, to January, 1883. The present pastor, the Rcv. Clement Duerr became pastor in June, 1883.
A school house was erected in 1873 by the Rev. A. J. Thiele. Thc first teacher was a man whose name could not be
ascertained. He remained until 1875, when the school passed into the hands of the Sisters of St. Dominic. At present
there are ninety five scholars and two teachers. The school-house has been enlarged since first erected, and is
now a two story frame in the form of a Roman cross. Niles Centre now contains two blacksmith shops, two meat markets,
five stores, six saloons, one school, three churches, and a population of about 250 people.
This village is located on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, fourteen miles from Chicago, and one
and three-fourths miles northwest from Niles Centre. The plat of the village, which includes a part of the northeast
quarter of Section 19, and a part of the northwest quarter of Section 20, was certified to May 9, 1879. The station
was located there originally on account of the fine gravel beds in the vicinity. There are now near this station
a store, post office, saloon, and a few residences. It is also the location of the pickle factory belonging to
the Grove Pickle Company, which is one of the largest factories of the kind in the county.