Perhaps most intriguing about Half Day is its name, which provokes more interest and debate than any other place name in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
Contrary to popular theory, the town of Half Day was not named because it was a half day’s journey from Chicago. The town’s true name was Halfda in honor of a friendly chief.
Chief Atakisic (Aphis), of the Potawatomie tribe was a Native American leader of great standing in this area in the early 1800’s. The friendly tribes of Potawatomie Indians were the first settlers to arrive in 1730 in what is now known as Lincolnshire.
The Chief was instrumental in negotiating the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, and in 1832, during the Black Hawk War; Aptakisic protected the settlers in Downer’s Grove from an impending attack.
When the first non-native Americans settlers began to move into the area, Chief Aptakisic and his tribe helped Daniel Wright construct a log cabin along the Des Plaines river – the first home built in Lake County.
The name Aptakisic, also spelled Optageshic or Aptegizhek – translated means:
Center of sky
Sun at its meridian
Both Daniel Wright and Henry Blodgett who knew Aptakisic, documented that he was “known as Half Day.” Wright went on to say that the village took its name from Chief Aptakisic.
An early cartographer spelled it Half Day, adding the “y” to Chief Half Da, when writing about him – and so it remained.
The historic town of Half Day claims many firsts in the annals of Lake County history—the first post office (1836), the first school (1836) and the county’s first non-native settler.
In 1955 a subdivision called Lincolnshire was recorded in Waukegan, the County seat for Lake County. It marked the beginning of the Village of Lincolnshire. Both the village of Lincolnshire and Vernon Hills later claimed the land known as unincorporated Half Day.