Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile

Chicago, another Chapter in the Sheckler Family History


On October the eighth, 1871, a young Irish lass by the name of O’Leary, went out to the barn to milk her cow. It was a real miserable day in the windy city.  A stiff breeze was blowing, and the town, which had suffered from a prolonged drought, was tinder dry.  Mrs. O’Leary was running a bit late with her chores that evening, and as a result, she found herself milking the cow by lantern light. The cow was none too happy about this state of affairs, so she showed her displeasure by kicking over the lantern. This in turn set the straw on fire. Now the barn was a little bit on the dry side, and Mrs. O’Leary found it difficult to bring the fire under control.  When the smoke cleared away, the good people of the town, who were standing waist deep in the waters of Lake Michigan, noticed that Chicago had been wiped off the map.

By the time that the Shecklers arrived on the scene, Chicago was in the throes of rebuilding.  Work was plentiful, and skilled and unskilled were coming to Chicago in droves. Ben bought a half interest in a butcher shop.  Included with half interest was an apartment which was situated on the floor above the shop.  The Shecklers found this to be an ideal arrangement, considering the type of winters that you have in Chicago.

The butcher shop did very well.  Business was brisk.  They were, however, in for a rough winter. It should be taken into consideration that they had just spent a mild winter in the sunny South, and were ill prepared for the harsh Northern weather.

During the reconstruction period, sanitation in the city of Chicago was somewhat on the haphazard side.  Contagious diseases were more the rule rather than the exception.  For some reason none of the Sheckler family caught anything, except for Mattie.  She came down with a bad case of the small pox.  If it hadn’t of been for her mother’s prior medical experience Mattie would have died.  Mattie’s bout with smallpox upset Ben considerably.  He stated in a very angry tone, “If we don’t get out of this sickly place we will all die!”

By Donald Sheckler (1915-2004)

Thank you to his wife, Carolyn for offering to share his family’s journey to San Diego County.

When you visit the Cafe you find several pictures of Sheckler family, as well as other residents of Dulzura to Barrett Junction.

Portrait of Ben Sheckler

Come out out the Cafe and see more of the historical pics available.  Enjoy lunch or dinner, weekends the breakfast buffet is served 8 a to 1 p.

Do you have history you would like to share about your family and the Barrett Junction Valley or Dulzura, maybe even Jamul?  I am always in search of willing history tellers to share their life in the Back Country of San Diego County.  Use the Contact Form and share a bit of you.  Or come out to the Cafe and share in our history.

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