John Peter Schneider (1801-1883) was a native of Frankfurt-on-the-Rhine, Germany. He had two brothers – John Adam and John Nicholas.
John Peter and John Nicholas helped to shape the destiny of North Aurora. They first came to America in 1824 and settled in Philadelphia where they worked as carpenters, millwrights, blacksmiths and odd job journeymen.
John Peter met his future wife Christina Wohrer in Philadelphia. She and her family emigrated from Baden, Germany. They were married in Philadelphia in 1826. Their first son, John Frederick, was born in Philadelphia in 1828. Eventually, they had four additional children.
The family moved west in 1832. The next year they arrived in Naperville. John Peter and his brother John Nicholas helped the Naper brothers build the first sawmill west of Chicago. By 1834, John Nicholas settled in what is now Yorkville and John Peter chose the area now known as North Aurora.
John Peter built a cabin near the present intersection of Butterfield Road and Route 25. He then built a sawmill near his home and a dam on the Fox River to supply power to his mill.
With the help of his son John Frederick, John Peter constructed a gristmill across from his sawmill. It had the capacity to produce one hundred barrels of flour a day.
The gristmill is where the citizens of the village picked up their mail. Accordingly, the area became known as Schneider’s Mill. In 1868, a post office was established in town and the village was officially designated as North Aurora.
Schneider believed in the importance of education. He donated land on his property for the building of a log cabin schoolhouse. One source dates the building of this first school to 1844. Another source uses a later date.
The schoolhouse was the only school in the area and served children on both sides of the Fox River. Children from the east side of the river were transported by boat to the school. When the river was frozen, they skated across the river to school.
Mr. Schneider oversaw the construction of the school and also served as the president of the school board in the 1860s. He died on June 26, 1883 and is buried in West Aurora Cemetery.
Emeline Messenger, for whom the North Aurora Library is named, was a direct descendent of John Schneider.
The West Aurora School District named their new school in North Aurora after Schneider to honor his family for its public, religious and social contributions to the Village of North Aurora.
Sources for this profile: West Aurora Schools, “Schneider’s Mill North Aurora (1834-1984)”and “Images of America - North Aurora (1834-1940)” by Jim and Wynette Edwards. The photos of John Frederick Schneider and the gristmill are from the publication “Schneider’s Mill North Aurora (1834-1984).” Photo of John Peter Schneider is courtesy of the Messenger Public Library of North Aurora and the photos of the gravestones are from Find-A-Grave. The West Aurora Buildings and Grounds Facilities Inventory Report recorded the date for the construction of the school as 1963. This profile was courtesy of the A+ Foundation for West Aurora Schools and the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley (2016).
john peter schneider
Founder of Schneider's Mill - North Aurora
Schneider Elementary School
304 Banbury Rd, North Aurora, IL 60542