Charles Wesley Shaddle, my Great-Grandfather

Charles W. and Mary Shaddle
Charles Wesley Shaddle and Mary Crowell (Studley) Shaddle

Charles Wesley Shaddle, son of Peter Shaddle and Eleanor (Cadmus) Shaddle was born in Bloomfield, New Jersey on April 16, 1834 and came to Illinois with his parents in 1835. He was the 7th of 10 children. They lived in Lake County one year then moved to Chicago. Here he attended school and helped in his fathers shop. He returned to Lake County and married Mary Crowell Studley (See Studley line) of Northfield Dec 30, 1863. She was born Aug 2, 1841 in West Yarmouth Cape Cod, Mass and came to Illinois with her parents in 1845. She was the daughter of Davis Studley and Mary Hallet (Crowell) Studley (See Crowell line).

Seven children were born to them:

  1. Harry Walter b. Dec 1866 died a young man

  2. Harriet Maud b. Oct 28 1868 m. Chas. Nichols, one son--Ward Nichols

  3. Frank Cornelius b. June 13, 1870 m. Grace Elvira Norton

  4. John Robert b. July 19, 1872--died a young man

  5. Frederick Benjarmin b. Feb 18, 1874 m. Grace Cronkhite

  6. Letty Ann b. June 22, 1878--died a child

  7. *Charles Gilbert b. Oct 10 1883 m. Jane (Diantha Jane) Lambert.

Charles Wesley farmed in Lake County for a while then in 1894 the family moved to Palatine, Ill. Later, as his health declined, he lived with his daughter Harriet Nichols. He died Aug 17, 1921 in Palatine, Ill and is buried in the Diamond Lake Cemetary (near Mundelein, Ill). Mary (Studley) Shaddle died Aug. 22, 1930 in Palatine, Illinois and is also buried in the Diamond Lake Cemetery near Mundelein.

(Written by Ruth Shaddle Robinson, Oct, 1986)

Read Charles Wesley Shaddle's obituary
Read Mary Crowell (Studley) Shaddle's obituary

The following account of the early days of Lake County was written by an F. C. Hart, based on conversations with Charles Wesley Shaddle in 1917, and was published in the local Lake County Register, near Palatine, Illinois newspaper.

Pioneer Settler in County Tells of Early Days

Palatine, Ill. March 13, 1917. Editor, Lake County Register.

My Dear Sir:

My neighbor, Mr. C. W. Shaddle, a hale and hearty octogenarian, laid down his copy of the Lake County Register with the remark: "They are having a great controversy over there as to who is or was the first white child born in Lake county." Then, with a reminiscent chucle, he continued: "If it hadn't been my misfortune to have been born in New Jersey maybe I'd have been the first white child born in Lake county. I was sure an early settler, being about a year old when my folks caught the Illlinois fever like lots of other eastern families did and moved out into this new country. I see my friend Bill Wigham says that James P. Norton was the first white child born in the county, and I guess he probably was: I know my father, Peter Shaddle, sold his claim to the father of James P. Norton for $500. That claim was where Area now stands. That was before the days of line fences and surveys. A man plowed a furrow around what he claimed as his and that was his boundary line. Libertyville used to be called Independence Grove and this was how it got its name. A group of settlers at what they called Mechanics Grove, near where Area now is, started out one Fourth of July to celebrate the day on the lake shore; they went with ox teams and no one had any idea how far away Lake Michigan was. The day was hot and the women folks and children were tired of the trip, so when they came to a cool, shady stretch of woods they decided to stop and have their picnic there and they named it Independence Grove. That name stuck to it many years.

Mechanics Grove was named because all the settlers there were mechanics from the east who had the western fever and came out to take up land.

In speaking further of the early days of Lake county, Mr. Shaddle said,

"The settlers all came through Chicago but Chicago then was nothing but a swamp so they pushed on to find better land. I remember my father made a trip to Chicago with his ox team, forked stick and stoneboat to haul out a barrel of flour."

"Our house was nothing but a dugout, but we were better off than some since we had a floor. My father split up some nice logs. There wasn't any such thing as a sawmill in those days.

"Those were the days of prairie wolves and Indians," he continued. "One day my mother was getting ready to get dinner, which was cooked in a big pot hanging over the fireplace, when three Indians walked into the house. They took the potatoes she was cleaning away from her and put them in the fire and baked them for themselves. Before they left mother gave them a piece of bright calico as a token of friendship. The next day some of them came back and wanted to trade it for potatoes." Some of the difficulties of getting an education were related by Mr. Shaddle:

"My father wanted me to go to a larger school than any near us, so I was sent to a school at a long distance away. I traveled with a farmer as I could better carry my luggage that way than on the stage. One part of my outfit was a cot. We had to furnish our own beds. It was my first trip away from home and I was terribly homesick."

Then with a twinkle in his eye, he added:

"On that trip I took my first drink of whisky."

"We stopped for the night at an inn and the whisky bottle set on the table and was passed around to every one. When it came to me I took a drink--my first one--not the last one either (with a chuckle) I've taken several since but now I've got over that foolishness how, and do not use it any more."

These anecdotes and others of those early days in Lake county were told me by this old settler, who, though not the first 'white child born' in the county was surely one of the first white child settlers of the county, a man who has watched the progress of Lake county and the surrounding territory from the time when Chicago was a swamp; Libertyville (Independence Grove), a wooded stretch along the Desplaines river; Area, a settlement of five or six families in sod "dugouts" calling itself Mechanics Grove; and the whole state of Illinois a vast expanse of government prairie, uncut by railroads and undisturbed by the roar of commerce and unblackened by the belching smokestacks of the big cities. From the old time settler to now--what a change--what a march of progress has been witnessed by Mr. Shaddle and the few "old-timers" like him who remember those first days of Lake and other counties of the prairie country.

And as his stories of the pioneer days interested me also I thought they would interest people of Lake county and so I have related a few of them that he told in the course of his reminiscenses called forth by the discussion of "the first white child claims" in your issue of March 10.

F. C. HART, Palatine, Ill.

Click here to go to the official Shaddle Family Tree on the Internet Click here to go to the section on Peter Shaddle, Charles Wesley Shaddle's father. Click here if you have any thoughts, additions or information you think will add to this project. Click here to go to the Table of Contents page.