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DuPage County, Illinois

The following are excerpts of childhood memories taken from a story about the WEIGAND Families of York Township, written in 1987 by Roy Weigand of Lombard, Illinois.  Roy is a descendant of Peter, a son from the marriage of widower Johann WEIGAND and his third wife, Gertrude Flickman Yanzer.

With Roy Weigand's approval, this story was edited and condensed for publication on the Web by Jim Bauer, a descendant from Johann's first marriage to Barbara Phister Gromling.

Early Memories of Lombard, Illinois

    "John (Johann) Weigand and his third wife, Gertrude Flichman Yanzer, whom he married sometime between 1850 and 1853.  In 1850 John was 39 years old, born in 1811 in Reuchelhelm, Germany.  According to the 1850 census they were living on the family farm on the northwest corner of Roosevelt Road and Finley Road..."

    "The story we always heard on the farm was that John (Johann) and either seven or nine brothers  came to New York.  John became separated from the group, became lost and never saw or heard from the others again. Supposedly they were stone masons..."

    "Records show that John was the owner of the land in 1848...  John's name was one of the first recorded on some of the pages at the title company and 3rd, 4th. or 5th on some of the others.  The farm was in both York and Milton Townships.  And at one time was considerably more acreage than the farm we knew.  The 1862 maps show the farm up to and including the DuPage River and going north from that point. Supposedly, the great grandmother (Gertrude) lost part of the farm in the depression in the 80's or 90's, this could easily be understood..."

     "One of Johann's sons,  Joseph, enlisted in the Civil War from Danby Junction (Glen Ellyn today) and according to the records was a POW for about two years.  After the war and his return, he remained in the reserve and was a Captain at the time of death..."

    "Apparently there were three homes built on the farm at one time or another.  The first one stood just east of the DuPage River, approximately across from Longy's Tavern...One of the Muskets from the old farm was hanging behind the bar as Joe had loaned it to Longy
and it was never returned to the family.  This area became a pasture when the new house was built.  The well remained and was used for the cattle..."

    "The second house was built along the little stream that wandered off Roosevelt Road through part of Aunt Kate's garden, then along the walk to Joe's house, about 100 feet north and bit east of the present home. Believe about where the old outhouse used to sit, near what was the pig barn run.  This house was torn down, according to Jack, about 1919 as Uncle Ferdinand had a new home built by Mr. Cavanaugh, right after 1900 when he
and Aunt Kate (Knippen) were married...  The new home, as well as the barns, silos and out buildings, were torn down at the time the gas company bought the property..."

    "Joe built a brick home behind the orchard when he was married. They lived in this home until the farm was sold to the gas company.  This house was moved and now stands off Park Boulevard, south of Roosevelt Road, which was the corner where the old lighthouse stood..."

    "Uncle Ferdinand and Uncle John used to tell stories about how the wolves used to come up to the doors of the farmhouse at night when they were young boys and scratch on the doors, looking for food,  etc... Another story told, also repeated by my father was that Gertrude would say to John, 'Your children and my children are fighting with our
children,  do something about it'...

    "Speaking of Aunt Kate, she sent me one or two letters when I was in the service.  I really appreciated her thought and effort especially being aboard ship in the Pacific and it was quite a chore for her, in-as-much-as she was not real good with English when it came to writing, but she was very good with the German language in various dialects... The story was told that when Aunt Kate and her friends or relations were on the party line (telephone), they would switch to a different dialect and continue talking, one could always hear the phones hanging up as they were all party-lines, because there was no point to listening to what they could not understand..."

    "My grandfather, Peter ran the farm for several years and also had a thrashing ring, doing custom thrashing as well and trading horses, etc. They were thrashing at Louis Meyer one time when Mom was home and met my father.  How long Grandpa ran the thrashing ring, I don't know.  He also ran the old hotel and owned it, buying out his father-in-law, Phillip Schempp. He ran the Lombard Hotel  until he sold out and retired but then
had to take it back and ran it again, and again selling out.  This time for good..."

    "One of the old stories used to be that when Adam Keller dated Barbara(Weigand) and came to visit, he would walk from Naperville to the DuPage River by the farm in his bare feet.  Then wash his feet in the river and put his shoes on for the rest of the way..."

    "They used to talk about Gertrude walking to Naperville to visit John's grave and then visit her daughter and walk home the next day or so. Aunt Gert says she walked to Lombard many times, visiting the family and then returning to the farm..."

    "Uncle Ferdinand had a write-up in the Rotogravure section of the Chicago Sunday Tribune one summer or fall during the depression showing his orchard and tree grafts for which he was noted for..."
    "My Dad (Ferdinand) was a member of the Lombard Volunteer Fire Department for many years before trucks came into the department or anyplace else...  Dad was a photo-engraver (finisher).  He cut the alphabet on a pin head including the number 0 thru 9; along with other items.  He started the Lord's Prayer but never finished it..."

    "We have lots of old pictures of the family, parts of the barn and various shots of the farm as well as group pictures; Roosevelt Road being paved, Finley Road all gravel, etc.  Dad had many pictures of Lombard in early days, many on glass negatives.  We have had these copied and just this past summer I turned over 70 of them to the Lombard Historical
Society.  Have given some to Elmhurst, whatever they wanted and a few to Villa park... Dad apparently, was quite a photo bug in his day, using the old type camera with the hood on it, pulling it over his head, taking his pictures using glass negatives..."

"Dad used to tell, when he was a boy, that he could put his ice skates on at the house on Main Street, go out the back door, onto the little stream that flowed through the yard  to where the Village Hall now is, down Grove Street and out to the DuPage River.  Aunt Gert mentioned this many times and said Gramma always kept extra warm socks for the
skaters in case their feet were cold or they didn't bring extra warm socks..."

    "I remember the little stream that trickled through the yard at the old home.  They had the wooden sidewalks and the stream went underneath and started along the northwestern tracks, flowing across St. Charles Road about where the new Bradleys Drug Store was built and coming out on Main Street and into Grandpa's yard, winding its merry way to the DuPage River..."

    "Pranks played at Halloween time were many, pushing the outhouses over while the occupant was waiting to catch the culprit doing the deed and sometimes they had the misfortune of stepping in the holes where the outhouse had been moved from, as it had been planned that way.  Sometime the occupant was caught from behind and the building pushed over, door (face) down.  It didn't do any good for anyone falling in to try to come
out like a rose..."

    "Another time a cart or wagon was put up on the steeple of the First Church, quite a feat and quite a problem to get it down... Sometimes the rails were greased on the old Great Western Railroad so the engines couldn't make the grade on the east end just before Grace Street.  Sand would have to be sprinkled on the rails before the engine could make
the grade..."

    "Dad and his pals used to go swimming in a deep hole on the north side of the Great Western RR Tracks, called the Old Cut.  This was used for a bum's camp through the depression and not a real good spot to visit.  The bums used to come to the houses for handouts and marked your sidewalk accordingly if you gave them any food, etc..."

    "We used to ice skate a few blocks east on what was called the K.C.,  just across the tracks from Alexander Lumber Yard on the north side of tracks.  I remember this place well as one day I fell in and by the time I walked home the few blocks, had stiff legs almost up over my knees, certainly glad it wasn't very deep..."
    "The corner where the orchard was, Finley Road and Roosevelt,  seemed to be flat and level with good soil, as was Aunt Kate's garden. Aunt Kate had a little bridge to walk across to get to her garden with the trickling stream mentioned earlier, going under it.  At one time or another they used part of the land around the pig yard and low spots for a gravel
pit but not a very good vein..."
    "In the warmer months; spring, summer and fall, one could see the artists in later years (the 20's 30's and 40's and on) sitting on the hill around the barn, painting the barn and surrounding area.  Many an artist painted pictures of the barn and the outbuildings..."

    "Every fall apple cider was made and kept in the root cellar under the house.  Aunt Kate kept her garden produce there as well.  There were several hardwood trees growing around the barn area and when they would slaughter any cattle or pigs in the winter time, they always hung from the trees, cooling and then were cut up for meat as well as making sausage. Aunt Kate would make various kinds of sausage and everyone seemed to go
about doing their particular job..."

    "Roosevelt Road was first a gravel road and then was paved two lanes.  When the cars first came out, many an automobile was brought over and made to climb Baker's Hill.  If the car could climb the hill, the customer purchased it.  If not, it went back and another  one was tried. Eventually, Roosevelt Road was paved four lane wide, sometime in the 30's
making it as we know it..."

    "Grandpa Peter Weigand and wife Mary, lived in their home on Main Street in Lombard where the telephone company now is located; it had a large barn and several out buildings.  Horses were kept in the barn, his riding horse and others that he let friends use, which were also needed for his buggy, sled in the winter, etc., before the automobile came.  There was
space for a little exercise spot for the horses, hardly enough for a pasture but enough for them to exercise.  He also had a box to soak the horses hoofs in when they became sore.  Eventually Dad brought this home for a sandbox for Carol and myself.  It was just perfect for that and large enough to have fun playing, probably the nicest sandbox in the

    "When automobiles came, Grandpa was one of the first to have one and after that the horses disappeared.  Grandpa had his own gas tank in the yard and it was still there when the phone company took over even though it had not been used for many years and no doubt was rusted out.  There was also a well on the property, very good and cold water which we used the hand pump for when we were there.  Sure tasted good at that time..."

    "Dad used to tell a story about Grandpa locking up and coming home at night from the hotel, usually he carried the receipts in his pocket. Whether or not he carried a gun was never discussed but this one night a stranger came up and asked him for a light for his cigarette and Grandpa just took the lantern and held it in, near the man's face in a position so the man could light his cigarette without taking his right hand from his pocket.  That settled that whole situation and the stranger moved on and no one ever bothered him after that..."

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Thanks to Roy Weigand for his permisson to post these few memories.    If you would like to know more about the whole story, or other Weigand information, contact:

Roy Weigand
Jim Bauer

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