The Village of Schaumburg was incorporated on March 7, 1956, but the heritage of Schaumburg dates back to the much earlier times when the first inhabitants of the area were members of the Sauk, Fox, Pottawatomie, and Kickapoo Indian tribes.
Schaumburg’s earliest residents were primarily German speaking immigrants and their days consisted of farming, community and family. In many ways that remains true today, although now Schaumburg is a mecca of commercial activity. “Images of America – Schaumburg” is a pictorial testament of what life was like for past residents before the days of malls and expressways.
The First Settlers
By the mid-nineteenth century, settlers first began to arrive from Germany and the eastern United States. Legend has it that the earliest settler was Trumball Kent from Oswego, New York. Kent, a “Yankee,” as settlers from New England were called in the west, founded a settlement in 1835 not far from what is now called Olde Schaumburg Centre, formerly known as Sarah’s Grove.
The Sunderlage Family
The first recorded settler of Schaumburg Township was German born Johann Sunderlage. According to legend, Sunderlage was a member of a survey team that divided Cook County into townships around 1833. He liked the area so much that, upon completion of the project, he brought his family from Germany and settled in the area around 1836.
Sunderlage and his family occupied their land in the Township until the federal land sale of 1842 allowed them to purchase the property and obtain the deed. Sunderlage and Kent represented the predominant groups that settled Schaumburg Township in its early days. In 1840, 56 percent of the Township households originated from the eastern United States, while 28 percent were German-born. By the 1850s, the population mix had settled to 28 percent “Yankee” and 48 percent German.
By 1870, Schaumburg Township had become completely German. Land records show that all the property in the Township was owned by German immigrants or their descendants. This pattern emerged as many Yankee settlers continued to travel west for the promise of newly opened lands on the Great Plains. The land they occupied in Schaumburg was then purchased by German-born immigrants.
Schaumburg Township remained almost exclusively under German ownership until the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Depression caused the foreclosure on some German-owned farms which were then purchased by non-German individuals and companies.
Nonetheless, German heritage remained important in the area. German was the first language of the majority of households until the 1950s. St. Peter Lutheran Church, the community’s oldest church which was constructed in 1847, held services in German as late as 1970.