Drawing Circa 1872

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Historical Information 



The following information regarding the history of owners for the Read House was collected using the Kane County Deed records.  As the land was divided up into smaller and smaller pieces, the deed descriptions become quite difficult to interpret.  This effort may be a bit inaccurate (mostly incomplete), but it has been done to the best of our ability.



Otho Read – Otho secured the land on or before January 17, 1845.  It was estimated by previous owners that the Read House was built in 1847.  We could not find any concrete evidence supporting this, but it certainly makes sense with the history of the land and builder.


According to the 1870 census, the inhabitants of the house were Otho Read (43yo), Ruth Read (64yo housekeeper), Priscilla (unreadable last name) (28yo housekeeper) and William (same last name as P.) (30yo farmer).


Read made an agreement (1894) with William Lowerison to sell him the property.  This deal went through on November 21, 1905, after the death of Otho Read.


Lowerison sold to Edith M. Fawcett and husband et. al. on an unknown date.


Fawcett sold to Nicholas Reines on Feb. 22, 1913.


Nicholas Reines sold to Alphons Hoornaert on April 5, 1913.


Alphons Hoornaert sold to John M and Matthew Yagen on Feb. 26, 1916.

The following are various Yagens we found in the cemetaries:

Math (1863-1945) and Catherine Yagen (1867-1934)

Joseph P. Yagen (? - Feb. 22, 1957)

Nicholas J. Yagen (WW1 Sept. 10, 1888 – Dec. 11 1969)

Peter Nicholas Yagen (WW1 1891-1989)

William M. (1924-1995) and Guyla Yagen (1925- Currently living in Sycamore)


At this point, the house remained in the Yagen family until Nov. 20, 1980 when Guyla Yagen moved into a newly built house next door, and sold the property to Ernst Wolter.


Ernst lived in the house for approximately 20 years.  According to our interviews with neighbors, his wife passed away, and he quickly deteriorated, living the rest of his life in a nursing home.  The house stood empty for several years.


On Oct. 26, 2001, the Wolter estate sold the Read House to Wade and Tara Scharlau, the current owners.




Interview with Guyla Yagen

{the last person alive to have owned the Read House}



Guyla’s in-laws owned the Read House for over 64 years.  We took the time to have a dialogue with her one summer afternoon before she moved to a town-house in Sycamore.


As was common in the 1800s, the house took in weary travelers in exchange for news or information from the cities.  The current kitchen may have been used to house the horses. 


There are currently four rooms upstairs, one of which is very barren.  Apparently, that was used (before the modern Yagens) as a grain storage room.


There is exactly one closet in the entire house.  The families that lived there used metal or cardboard closets.


There used to be a bell by the smokehouse used to signal the family that it was dinner-time.  Guyla sold that bell to Josie’s Antiques just before moving to Sycamore.


The basement was used at one time to make wine and sauerkraut.


The road out front was paved about 50 years ago.


The current barn was built in 1941, after the old barn burned down.


At some point the kitchen seemed to have had a fire (as evidenced by our excavation of the crawl space), and was shortly thereafter expanded upon.  The current kitchen is now twice the size of the original, although still made with the same bricks.


Guyla gave us this postcard.  The barn in the picture and car date this after 1950.




More History:


The Read Family  -  Otho Read  -  The Read House