June 17, 2020
Dear Village Resident,
A new ResumeMcHenryCounty.com website has been launched! It was implemented by McHenry County and the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) in partnership with McHenry County cities, businesses and residents. The goal is to ensure a successful reopening of our economy so that we can return to our lifestyles safely and responsibly and includes information and resources for businesses/employers, employees and the public. It will continuously be updated as new information becomes available.
Snapology 2020 Summer Camps
Snapology Summer Camps for ages 5 - 12 begin in July at Horse Fair Park. Camps include The Amazing Race, STEAM Club, Drone Commanders, Sports Science and more. View descriptions of all of the Summer Camps offered. View the Snapology guidelines and safety measures that will be taken. Find the Registration Form here along with ways to register.
Nippersink Library News
Don't forget - the library is offering curbside pickup of library materials Tuesdays - Fridays from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Request items by placing holds on materials in the library catalog, sending an e-mail to nippersink@nippersinklibrary.org , or by calling 815-678-4014. The summer reading program has begun and will be online using the Beanstack app. All are all encouraged to participate! View more information on the library's website .
New Leaf Home Furnishings
New Leaf Home Furnishings offers new and pre-owned furniture. View new offerings on their Facebook page . Open daily from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Call 815-675-9700 to see if they have what you are looking for or visit them at 2449 Pierce Drive !
Photo of the Week
Little rays of sunshine come through the cloudy days of our lives. Photo taken in April in the Forest Ridge Subdivision by Rian Yablun. If you have a photo of Spring Grove you would like to share, email it here .
Income Tax Filing & Payment Deadline
The Illinois Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers that state income tax filing and payment deadline is July 15, just one month away. This is the same date set by the Internal Revenue Service for federal returns. Taxpayers who have yet to file their 2019 state individual income tax returns must act by July 15 to avoid penalties and interest. The tax filing season was extended three months from the normal due date of April 15 to help Illinois taxpayers experiencing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WLAC Cheer Registration
WLAC Cheer Registration is open! No tryouts and no experience is needed for this program which begins for those in grades 1 - 8 in the fall. WLAC Cheer is recreational/competitive cheerleading with 3 competitions during the season. They will follow all guidelines specified by IDPH, so Cheer will be a little different but still a lot of fun! Risk-free deposit and easy monthly payments are available. Call 815-375-3005 or email wlacfrontdesk@gmail.com .
COVID-19 News
Remember that under Phase 3 of the "Restore Illinois" plan, playgrounds must remain closed. Hatchery Park is open for fishing & hiking and Thelen Park is open for walking.

With new elements of the local economy opening up, it is imperative for residents to continue to be vigilant and adhere to CDC guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Please do not gather in large groups and avoid close contact with others whenever possible. Continue to wear face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible. Wash hands thoroughly before and after shopping and dining and remember to disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

Since you can spread COVID19 before you know you are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you—or they—have no symptoms. Limiting face-to-face contact with others is our best defense. If you have developed any of these symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consult your doctor, who will determine whether a test is necessary.

·      Loss or decrease in the sense of smell and taste
·      Fever – temperature of 100 or higher
·      Cough, Congestion or Runny nose
·      Sore throat, Shortness of breath or Flu-like body aches

View current stats on McHenry County COVID-19 cases. If you have health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 800-889-3931 or email questions here . If you are symptom-free, take these steps to stay healthy .
Blast from the Past
John Henry Hegler was a well-known figure in Spring Grove for over 30 years. He was a runaway slave who took his surname from one of his two owners but no one used it, few people knew it, and even his gravestone does not list it. He was just called John Henry.

The Haldeman family took him in as a farmhand in 1921 when Jim Haldeman was just 5 years old. Said Haldeman, "John was a slave. When he came to us on our farm, he was very old (probably around 80). We gave him his room and board. A little for tobacco. A little for a half pint now and then. He would go to the area taverns and buy the cheapest half pint of whiskey and bring it home." Haldeman and his brothers and sister listened to John Henry's stories about growing his own tobacco on the farm when he was a slave in the South. He would hang it up to dry on the rafters of the pig pen.

John Henry had a twin brother but when they were around 6 years old, his mother was sold in Natchez, MS. Her new owner didn't want the twins so they were sold to someone else. They worked as house boys as they were too small to work in the fields. Each of the twins had a white birthmark just above the right eve about the size of a quarter. John Henry would let the Haldeman brothers press on it, which was a lot of fun for them, but he was always in fear that someone would recognize him because of that birthmark.

When he was 12 or 13, John Henry ran away and joined the circus, cleaning up after the animals. He thought his brother had been killed. He traveled around the county and eventually landed in Chicago. The pace of living was too fast and "sportin'" in the city, so he followed the train tracks and ended up in Spring Grove.

He would do what he could on the farm, milking cows, doing chores, cleaning out the barns and stables. He was good with animals, especially at birthing time. Again, from Jim Haldeman, "Everyone around English Prairie (Burton Township) worshiped him. He was like a good fairy. Whenever you needed him, he was there. He always seemed to know when someone needed help. He had a Model T roadster which he would loan out if someone needed it.

He didn't know his birth date, so he chose St. Patrick's Day as his birthday. Every St. Paddy's Day Jim Haldeman's father would take John Henry down to the tavern where he would celebrate with shots and beer and sleep it off in the barn that night.

He spent his last twenty years on the Stevens farm, which is now part of the Chain O' Lakes State Park, doing chores and helping to raise the children. He couldn't read, but would make up stories while he read them the funny papers on Sundays and would tell them bedtime stories at night. Mrs. Stevens joked that she would rather part with her husband than lose John Henry.

Things weren't always easy for him, however. Storyteller Jim May relates in his book, The Farm on Nippersink Creek , that once during threshing time, two day laborers took an oil can and squirted John Henry, who was standing below them next to the grain stack. He was a mess but didn't say much, not wanting to cause trouble. When Mr. Stevens found out about it at the noon meal he fired them on the spot. And some in the community didn't approve of John dancing with woman at local barn dances.

He died in 1948 and is buried in the Stevens plot in Cole Cemetery. Although he never knew his age, he is believed to have been over 100 years old. Tom Madden also remembered John Henry and each spring he would go out and buy plastic flowers to put on his grave. "All of us who are still alive remember how good he was. He's a man you just can't forget," said Madden in an article from 1988.
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