Prior to the arrival of white settlers, Winnetka was inhabited by Native people. In the late 17th century, the first Europeans arrived. As white settlement expanded, the United States government increasingly sought to remove Native people from the area.
This map shows the approximate locations of Native American villages in 1804. A symbol on the map indicates that a Native American village likely existed where the Log House was originally located.
Arrowheads, discovered by the Garland family in 1871, were found near the present-day Indian Hill Club, where the Log House was originally located.
In 1833, the Treaty of Chicago was enacted, removing the Potawatomi and other tribes from northern Illinois, opening the land around Chicago for white settlement. Drawn to the area for its beauty and opportunities, immigrants began setting up farms and homesteads in Winnetka in 1836. The Schmidts, the first known inhabitants of the Log House, were among these early settlers.
The Schmidt family was originally from Trier, Germany. In 1839, Peter Schmidt immigrated to the United States with his four children: Catharine, Anna Maria, Peter Jr., and Elizabeth. After arriving in New York, the Schmidts made their way to Winnetka by boat on the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes or by a horse drawn wagon from Buffalo. This clipping from The Evening Post, August 10, 1839 announcing the arrival of the “Florence” in New York from Havre, France.
The passenger manifest for the ship “Florence” listed P. Schmidt, a 48-year-old farmer from Germany. View the manifest page HERE.