Two Schmidt families came to the United States aboard the Copernicus in 1839 as part of the Gesellschaft. In both families, a widow came with her children. Since they are located not far from each other on the Copernicus passenger list, I will show the portion that displays these two families.
I have placed red arrows pointing at the two passengers who are part of today’s “Double Schmidt” story. Gottfried Schmidt, the son of Maria, and Johann Schmidt, the son of Eve, were both called smiths (which is the English form of the name, Schmidt)…blacksmiths. Gottfried was from Paitzdorf; Johann was from Nobdenitz. Within a few years, both of these Schmidt’s married and began to have children. Gottfried’s son, Jacob, would later marry Johann’s daughter, Sarah. One of the early posts on this blog told the story of this Schmidt/Schmidt marriage titled, Schmidt nee Schmidt.
That leads us up to one of the characters in today’s story. The oldest child in this Double Schmidt family was named Martin. He had an interesting birthday. He was born on the 89th birthday of our country, July 4, 1865, not long after the end of the Civil War. Martin was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Because it stretches over two pages in the church books, I have to display his baptism record in two images.
Martin can be found in the 1870 census at the age of 5. Martin’s family was living in the same household as his Johann Schmidt grandparents.
Next, we find Martin in the 1880 census. This Schmidt household had filled up considerably. Martin has 7 siblings in this census entry.
Four more Schmidt sons were born to this couple in the 1880’s, but one of them died right away. Two of Martin’s youngest siblings were the famous Schmidt twins whose story was told in the post, Two of a Kind….Later a Full House. Another famous sibling in the above census was Adolph “Judge” Schmidt, who was the grandfather of Vernon Meyr.
Ten years after the above census was taken, Martin got married. Let’s take a few moments to discuss his wife’s early years. Maria Elizabeth Roth is today’s birthday girl. She was born on February 27, 1865, the daughter of Peter and Christiana (Schumann) Roth. She was mostly called Elizabeth throughout her life. In her early years she and her family were members of Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Elizabeth was baptized and confirmed there. However, in 1883, her younger sister was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, so sometime around 1880, the Roth family moved to Shawnee Township in Cape Girardeau County. Below is Elizabeth’s baptism record from Concordia.
This girl can be found as a 5 year old in the 1870 census where she is called Elizabeth.
Next, we find her in the 1880 census. The Roth household was still living in Brazeau Township of Perry County. Elizabeth was 15 years old.
On October 30, 1890, Martin Schmidt married Elizabeth Roth at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. One wonders how Martin managed to get hooked up with a girl from Frohna and later New Wells. We have the church record for that wedding.
We also can display their marriage license.
Martin and Elizabeth would eventually have 7 children, only 2 of them boys. The next census in which we find this couple was taken in 1900. Martin was a farmer, and 4 of their children had been born by then. Their household included Martin’s brother, Arthur Schmidt, one of the twins that were born in 1882.
The 1910 census shows all 7 of their children.
According to my reckoning, this photo of the Martin Schmidt family must have been taken not long after the 1910 census. Their youngest daughter, Agnes, is on her mother’s lap, and she was born in 1910.
The 1915 plat map for Perry County shows the farm owned by M. W. Schmidt. The E. & A. Schmidt parcels of land nearby were farmed by the Schmidt twins.
Although we do not see it in any census record, somewhere along the line, Martin got the nickname Max. The next census in which we find the Martin Schmidt household was the one taken in 1920.
The Schmidt household became an empty nest for the 1930 census. Martin was 65 years old, and he was working at odd jobs.
We find Martin and Elizabeth in one more census…the 1940 census. Their youngest daughter, Agnes, who had been married to a Fischer, was back living with them as a widow.
Elizabeth Schmidt died in 1944 at the age of 79. Here is her death certificate. She died at Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau. This form incorrectly identifies Elizabeth’s mother as Christene Schumacker. Her mother’s maiden name was Schumann.
Martin Schmidt died in 1959 at the age of 93. We also can view his death certificate. He died at the Pine Lawn Nursing Home in Perryville.
Martin and Elizabeth Schmidt are buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.
Martin and Elizabeth’s son, also a Martin Schmidt, was also nicknamed Max Schmidt. Max, Jr. had a son named Delbert Schmidt. Delbert would go on to marry Dolores Rauh. Dolores’s father was Martin Rauh, who was also nicknamed Max. So, you could say that the father of the bride and the father of the groom at Delbert and Dolores’s wedding was a Double Max. Delbert and Dolores are members of our docent staff at the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum.
Delbert is creeping up there close to the number of years his grandpa Max lived, but I won’t say how close. I’ve got a suspicion that he will surpass his grandpa before all is said and done.