A few of our locals were recently lamenting that those with the name Schmidt around East Perry County are becoming more aged and less numerous. I daresay, however, that there are some in the community who think that this is a good thing. There are fewer and fewer younger Schmidts around. In fact, there are no Schmidts attending our local Lutheran school right now, and that school gets almost all its enrollment from the churches in Altenburg, Frohna, and Farrar. There is an old saying around here that says, “Around here, you can’t spit without hitting a Schmidt.” Well, that saying is becoming less and less true as time goes by.
There are two main reasons that a name disappears from here. One is that people move away, taking their name with them. The other is that families have all or mostly daughters. Examples illustrating both of these reasons exist here.
Today’s story is one which took place back in the days when Schmidts were plentiful. In fact, they were so plentiful that this story is about a Schmidt marrying a Schmidt. On this day, August 18, in 1864, Jacob Schmidt married Wilhelmina Schmidt at Trinity Lutheran Church. The pastor officiating the ceremony was the relatively new pastor at Trinity, Rev. J.F. Koestering.
This is one of the last marriages recorded in the Trinity books for a period of time which we call the “Koestering Hole”. Even this record indicates the bare minimum of facts concerning this marriage.
Let’s talk about the bride and groom. First, the groom. Jacob Schmidt was born to his parents, Gottfried and Christiane (Poppitz) Schmidt in 1843. His father, Gottfried is listed as a blacksmith in the 1850 census. This Schmidt family is said to have come from Paitzdorf, Germany, and came to America on the Copernicus. Jacob was 21 years old when he was married, and he became a farmer.
Wilhelmina was born to her parents, Johann and Rosina (Noennig) Schmidt, in 1844. Her father, Johann, is described as a blacksmith on a passenger list, but is listed as a farmer in the 1850 census. This Schmidt family is said to have come from Nöbdenitz, Germany and also came to America on the Copernicus.
This couple had ten children that lived to adulthood, nine of them being boys. So with the help of this couple, there were plenty of Schmidts to pass on the Schmidt name for a long time to come.
In case you are interested, I do not come from either of these Schmidt families. I won’t tell you about my Schmidts today. I don’t want you to get more confused than you already are. I can tell you this. I have no relatives that carry the name Schmidt living in East Perry County, and all I have are daughters. So I am one of the aged Schmidt dinosaurs who are at the edge of extinction in this area.