In 1933, during the centennial celebration held by Chicago Heights, the early pioneers were honored by a marker placed in the forest preserve by the Chicago Heights Centennial commission and Sauk Trail chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. The bronze marker was mounted on a boulder on the south side of Sauk trail about opposite from the site of the McCoy homestead. Although it was plainly visible from the road and on public property, vandals soon pried the bronze marker off the boulder and there it stands today, a mute reminder of the unsuccessful effort to honor the pioneers along Sauk trail. The marker read: “This boulder marks the site of the farm of Adam Brown, the first permanent white settler (1833) in Bloom township. His log cabin, one and one-half miles east, was built on the northwest corner of the junction of two Indian and covered wagon trails, the Sauk and the Hubbard.”
Other pioneers listed on the marker were John McCoy, Lorenzo McCoy, Timothy Smith, John Bell, Matthias Reichert, John Wilson, William Miller, Barbara Claus Miller, Charles Sauter, Vincent Sauter, Christian Richards and Peter Claude.
Three Reichert (Richards) brothers came from Aspberg, Germany and settled along Sauk trail. Fred Richards was the first to come in 1836. He settled near Strasburg south of Sauk trail in what is now known as Miller Woods. Matthias, who kept the Reichert name, came in 1837 and settled on the northeast corner of Sauk trail and Woodlawn Avenue. This property is still owned by descendants of Matthias. His son, August, farmed there during his lifetime and August’s daughter, Mrs. Anthony Schaller, still lives on the property pioneered by her grandfather over 100 years ago.
Christian Richards came in 1839 and settled on Sauk trail near Cottage Grove Avenue. Christian Richards has two grandchildren living in Chicago Heights today. They are Mrs. Marie Richards Kirgis, the daughter of Christian’s son John, and Emmett Richards, assessor for Bloom township, a member of the board of education for Bloom township high school for many years and partner of the real estate and insurance firm of Richards and Brodersen. He is the son of Christian’s son, Frank. Mr. Richards helped in locating many of the early farms on old maps and loaned a copy of an old plat book which made easy the constant reference to former real estate holdings in the three townships.
From Wittenberg, Germany, came several families: Fred Richards [Frederick Reichert] from the city of Aspberg in 1836, Matthias Richards [Reichert] in 1837, and their brother, Christian [Reichert] in 1839.
Source: A Look Into the Past: Chicago Heights and Her Neighbors, The Star Publications, William Press Inc. ca 1933.
Submitted by Barb Bennett Reichert [gg-granddaughter of Mathias Reichert]