Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Day I Made the Acquaintance of Ernest P. Schween and Katrina Schierding

Back on Sunday. Much too do between now and then.

While walking with Ann and her friend on their Halloween rounds last Sunday, we passed a vacant lot on a street called Cedarcrest Drive, deep in the heart of Schaumburg. The vacant lot was odd for being vacant, since the neighborhood is otherwise full of single-family houses and fairly mature trees, but it was also unusual for being a small hill. Next to the sidewalk and at the foot of this hillock lay a plaque mounted on a stone. In its entirety, it said:


This site, commonly known as 217 South Cedarcrest Drive, is believed to be the oldest burial place in Schaumburg. Historians believe that the family of Ernest P. Schween used this site as the location of several burial plots during the mid-1800s. Unfortunately, the gravestones were removed during the time that the surrounding properties were being developed. No records have been located to verify the location of the graves or the persons buried.

In the late 1960s, the Village of Schaumburg obtained the parcel and continues to own and maintain it today.

This marker is placed as a reminder of the historic significance of this site to the Schaumburg community.

Dedicated June 30, 2001 by the Schaumburg Millennium Committee.

This is what the site looked like on the last day of October 2010.

Completely unremarkable. I'm amazed that graveyard or not, it wasn't developed during the great suburbanization of Schaumburg that began about 50 years ago. In any case, finding the place made my day. I'd never seen this particular plaque, and never seen one placed in the suburban wilds quite like that. I know a little about early Schaumburg, but I'd never heard of Ernest P. Schween. Probably the number of people who have is quite small.

But they're out there. The blog of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society says that "the cemetery has gone by many names: Schween’s Grove Cemetery, Timbercrest Cemetery and the Cedarcrest Cemetery. It is known that the family of Ernest P. Schween, one of Schaumburg Township’s original land owners, used this site as the location of several burial plots during the mid-1800s. Katrina (Ottman) Schierding, wife of Phillip Schierding, was one of the first buried there. Their daughter, Mary Schierding, married Ernest Schween."

So Ernest planted his mother-in-law there. Maybe. Never mind all the faux spook decorations on the nearby houses, this is the real deal. Time to start a rumor that the place is haunted by a vengeful Katrina Schierding. How do I know? I'm using that time-honored technique for telling ghost stories called "making it up."

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At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Nancy Lyons said...

The Greve Cemetery, aka Wild Cat Grove Cemetery in Hoffman Estates, is about the same age as Cedarcrest. Katrina Ottmann Schierding died and was buried, according to family story, when her son and son in law were away working on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. This would date her burial before 1848. The oldest recorded burial at Greve is 1847. Greve also is in a residential area-Barrington Square. It is a locked, fenced inactive cemetery owned by the Village of Hoffman Estates where twice yearly guided tours are given.


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