As a Schmidt myself, I have often become confused by the different Schmidt clans that have populated East Perry County over the years. There were several Schmidt clans who were part of the Gesellschaft in 1839. My Schmidt clan is one of those. There were also other Schmidt’s who arrived on the scene rather early who became part of the mix. I noticed a Schmidt in our German Family Tree today that happens to have a birthday on this date. In fact, I started looking at this Schmidt because today would have been his bicentennial birthday. After researching this story, I now think I have at least figured out that there were two Schmidt clans that could be called “Frohna Schmidt’s”.
One of the Frohna Schmidt clans began with Johann Heinrich Schmidt who reportedly arrived in America (and Perry County) in 1853. It was Johann Heinrich who was the ancestor of the two Schmidt brothers that were pictured with Leo Wunderlich in this photograph yesterday. That Schmidt family originated in Frohna before some of its members migrated to Altenburg. A post about that migration was titled, Butch and His Sister Move to Altenburg.
Today, I will tell of another Frohna Schmidt clan which originated before that of Johann Heinrich’s. That Schmidt clan began with David Friedrich Schmidt, who arrived in America in 1848. David F. Schmidt was born on January 13, 1820 in Reinsdorf, Germany. I do not know his mother’s name, but there is evidence that he was named after his father, David F. Schmidt, Sr., who also came to America with his son. He has a death record in the Concordia Lutheran Church books and a grave marker in their cemetery.
Not long after David, Jr. arrived in Perry County, he married Maria Hain on May 29, 1849. Not much is known about Maria except that she was likely born in Germany sometime around 1825. David and Maria were married at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We have the church record for that wedding, which just so happens to be the only marriage record in that church’s books for the year 1849.
What makes this marriage record interesting is the fact that the marriage was performed by Rev. Gotthold Loeber. After Rev. Keyl left Frohna in 1847, Rev. Loeber was put in the position of serving both the church in Altenburg and the church in Frohna. Rev. Gotthold Loeber would die in August of 1849, and his son, Christoph Heinrich Loeber would become Concordia’s next pastor in 1850.
We also have the civil record for this wedding which actually shows the name of Rev. Gotthold Loeber.
This marriage did not last long. After just a little over a month, Maria died as a result of cholera. Not only was a massive cholera epidemic happening in St. Louis in 1849, but there seemed to be plenty of it happening in Perry County also. We have the death record from the Concordia Lutheran books. Rev. Gotthold Loeber was still alive in July of 1849, so he likely did the funeral. It may have been the last one he performed.
The only death record in the Trinity, Altenburg books for 1849 was this one for Traugott Myelius in February of that year.
David Schmidt would not remain a widower for very long. On November 4, 1849, not even six months after his first wife died, he married Christina Hecht. Christina was the daughter of Friedrich and Christina (Augustin) Hecht. This Hecht family came to America as part of the Gruber Group that arrived in New Orleans in November of 1839. We find this family on the passenger list for the Johann Georg. Christina was 11 years old on this list.
David and Christina were married at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri. We have the church record for that marriage which stretches out over two pages, so I have to show it in two images.
I can also display the civil record for this marriage. It is included with two other marriages that were performed by Rev. Charles Gruber at about the same time.
David and Christina are found in the 1850 census for Brazeau Township. They had their first child who is shown as a baby on this entry.
Our German Family Tree shows that 8 children were born to this couple. Only 2 of those children were boys, and one of those died at the age of 20 before he got married, so he had no children. The only boy in this family who would have children with the Schmidt surname was the firstborn child shown in the above census. The next census in which we find this family was the one taken in 1860. Four children were shown on this entry.
The last of this couple’s children was born in 1863, but when the 1870 census was taken, Christina was not shown. She must have died sometime between 1863 and 1870. However, that was the time when Rev. J.F. Koestering was serving both Concordia and Trinity congregations, and we once again enter the “Koestering Hole”. We do not have a death record for Christina Schmidt. Next, we look at the 1870 census for this Schmidt family. Five children were on this entry.
The 1880 census would be the last one to show David Schmidt. This entry also shows the Henry Schmidt household. Henry was the firstborn son shown earlier, and he had married Sophia Ross. It also shows Frank Burroughs living in the same household as David. Frank had married a daughter of David, Mary Schmidt.
On a later plat map for Perry County produced in 1915, we see two parcels of land, one owned by Henry Schmidt and the other by Frank Burroughs. They are adjacent properties.
David Schmidt died in 1884. It is not often that I find Perry County death records for people, but there is one for David. It needs two images to display it. It indicates that David died of malarial fever.
It also says David had lived in Perry County for 36 years, which is another clue that he arrived in America in 1848.
David Schmidt and both of his wives are said to be buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna. None of them have what we would call gravestones. Instead, they have what I would call grave markers. I have been told about how there was a time when Concordia, Frohna made an effort to mark the graves of people who did not have gravestones in their cemetery. All three of these Schmidt’s have these grave markers. In the case of Christina, the marker does not contain a death year.
I think our friend, Edgar Dreyer, may have been involved in that effort to mark these graves at Concordia. Perhaps someday I may get the opportunity to discuss that with him.
I must say that at one time, there were loads of Schmidt’s living in East Perry County. That is no longer the case. I know that there are three families of Schmidt’s who volunteer at our museum, and all of those Schmidt families had nothing but girls, so we find no descendants coming from them with the surname, Schmidt. Schmidt’s seem to be disappearing around here. And there are some who say that is a good thing.