Although you do not find their names in the Bible, church tradition says that the names of the Wise Men were Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar. Today, we tell the story of Balthasar. Balthasar Schmidt, that is. Today was date that Balthasar Schmidt married Friedericke Schade. They were married on June 19, 1861 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. That would make today their 158th anniversary. Here is their marriage record.
Let’s take a look at these two characters. First of all, Balthasar Schmidt was born in 1834 and came to America after the Gesellschaft in 1839. There were four different Schmidt clans in the Gesellschaft, and Balthasar was not part of any of them. On the 1900 and 1910 census records for Balthasar, two different dates are given for his immigration. One says he came in 1845, and the other says he came in 1858. I lean toward the 1858 date as being the correct one. If he came in 1845, he would have been only 8 years old and must have come with a parent or parents. We do not see evidence of his parents being in America. The marriage record shown above indicates that Balthasar was the son of Anton Schmidt, and we do not know his mother’s name. The first census record in which we find him is in 1860, and that also seems to back the 1858 arrival year. Here is that 1860 census entry in which Balthasar is listed in the Fischer household in Altenburg and shown to be a farm laborer.
Friedericke Schade was the daughter of Christian and Wilhelmine (Mengel) Schade. Their family arrived in America in 1854 aboard the ship, Admiral. Below is the passenger list for that ship showing the Schade family. Friedericke was the youngest at age 13 when she arrived.
After their marriage in 1861, we find them living in Wittenberg where Balthasar was working in the flour mill.
The flour mill in Wittenberg was operated by Joseph Weinhold, and it would have been relatively new in 1870. By that time, the Schmidt’s had 4 children. The 1880 census shows them still living in Wittenberg and Balthasar still working at the flour mill, only now he is described as being an engineer. Their family continued to grow and now it was up to 7 children.
Our German Family Tree lists 14 children born into this Schmidt family, but not all of them lived long.
When their last child was born in 1886, the birth register shown below was completed. I am only showing half of the record.
I show this image mainly because I want you to see the name of the midwife that assisted in the birth and the name of the doctor listed. The midwife was Christiane Mueller, who just so happens to be one of my great grandmothers. She would die one year after this birth took place, and it seems another midwife took over helping with births in the Wittenberg area by the name of Magdalena Mueller. Even though they were both Mueller’s, they were not related. However, Magdalena Mueller was the daughter of the doctor shown on this form, Dr. E.E. Buenger.
The next census we can look at is the one taken in 1900. At the age of 66, Balthasar was still an engineer at the flour mill in Wittenberg.
In 1900, Joseph Weinhold was still running the flour mill. Joseph is one of the main characters in the book I recently published, Wittenberg ’03: Coming of a Church. In that book, it tells about a flood which took place in 1903. We have this photo of Joseph Weinhold along with several other characters that were likely workers at the flour mill. Joseph is sitting in the second boat sporting his long beard. Maybe Balthasar is one of the other men. He would have been 69 years old. You can speculate if he is in the photo and which one he might be.
Balthasar may not have been living in Wittenberg in 1903. The next census in which we find him is the one from St. Louis for 1910, and I do not know exactly when he moved there. At the age of 76, he no longer was shown to have an occupation.
Here is where the story of Balthasar and Friedericke Schmidt comes to an abrupt end. I was unable to find out when or where either of them died, which also means that I do not know where they are buried. I must say that it is often quite helpful to find death records, death certificates, and gravestones. Plenty of extra information about people can be found from those kinds of sources, but in this case, I have none of them.
I was quite pleased to discover Balthasar’s story today. I might have to include an old man by his name as one of Joseph Weinhold’s wise old hands at the flour mill in my next book, Wittenberg ’04: Coming of a Railroad.