You will be reading the story of a Schmidt/Scholl marriage today. First of all, let me say that there are so many names in our German Family Tree with the Sch- spelling at the beginning of the surname that it is not that unusual to find a marriage between two individuals that fit that category. However, let me point out another unusual characteristic of the spelling of Schmidt and Scholl. Each surname has just one vowel and plenty of consonants. Scholl has 1 vowel and 5 consonants; Schmidt has 1 vowel and 6 consonants. So, today’s marriage is one that is between a single “i” and a single “o”. Perhaps it takes a strange brain like mine to notice such things.
Clara Elizabeth Scholl is today’s birthday girl. She was born on November 10, 1879, the daughter of Herman and Alvina (Tanz) Scholl. Clara was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at an image of her baptism record from that congregation’s books.
Clara was still an infant when the 1880 census was taken. Her father was a farmer, and her grandfather, Conrad Scholl, was a stone mason.
That census would be the only one we can view that has Clara as a single person. So, let’s take a look at her future husband. His name was Martin Gottfried Schmidt, who was born on October 21, 1874. His parents were Henry and Sophia (Ross) Schmidt. Martin was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. His baptism record is displayed below.
Martin is found in the 1880 census at the age of 5. His father was a farmer.
Martin Schmidt married Clara Scholl on April 16, 1900. This couple was married at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Let’s take a look at the church record for this occasion.
This document says that Clara was from Kurreville, Missouri. When we look at our German Family Tree at the Herman Scholl family, we find that all of the children’s baptisms except for the last one in 1887 took place at Trinity, Altenburg. At this point, let me say that the Scholl surname originated in the Shawnee Township of north Cape Girardeau County. Then, this Scholl family was living in Perry County when most of their children were born. When we look at the confirmation records of the Scholl children, it gets kind of confusing. The first three children were confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Then Clara and her younger sister, Emma, were confirmed at Trinity, Altenburg, followed by other children who were once again confirmed at Immanuel, New Wells.
The reason for all this movement was likely due to the fact that Clara’s father died in 1889 when she was just 10 years old. Her mother was a widow from that time to about 1900 when she married Henry Suhr. I was only able to find that marriage on a family tree in Ancestry.com that was not documented. One thing we do find is that Findagrave.com shows Henry Suhr dying in 1903 and buried in Kurreville, and his spouse is given as Alvina Danz. By the way, we know that Alvina would later marry Charles Best in 1906.
Let’s get back to the marriage of Martin and Clara. We can also view the marriage license for this couple.
This pair had 4 children, all girls. The first of these girls died right away. We find Martin and Clara already as a couple in the 1900 census, and as you can imagine, they had yet to have children.
Martin and Clara were listed as communicant members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg in 1903, the year in which that congregation was established. When the 1910 census was taken, we find the following Schmidt household. Based on the names of his neighbors, he was living in the Wittenberg area where he was a farmer.
One more daughter was born before the next census in 1920.
The last census in which we see either Martin or Clara was the one taken in 1930. These two were in the 50’s.
Martin Schmidt died in 1933 at the age of 58. His death certificate says he died of cancer to the ascending colon.
Martin Schmidt was buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.
I am going to take a little side trip to Shawneetown, Missouri. In July of 1933, Clara lost her husband, but then in November of that same year, she lost her mother, Alvina Best. Alvina’s death record is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Shawneetown.
Then, about a year later, Clara Schmidt died at the age of 54. Her death certificate says she died at the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis of stomach cancer.
It turns out that Clara’s death record is also found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Shawneetown.
That explains why Clara Schmidt was buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Shawneetown, not with her husband, Martin, who died just one year earlier and was buried in Wittenberg.
The Schmidt’s in this story are not related to me in any way, despite my dad’s connection to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg. I had a great aunt who was named Clara Schmidt, but she was born a Schmidt and never married. I have also written another post about a different Martin Schmidt who was from yet another Schmidt clan. The bottom line is that one must be very careful when looking at people with the surname, Schmidt.
This reminds me of a time when I was still teaching, and I had a Schmidt in my class whose father’s name was Warren Schmidt. We had fun sending notes back and forth to one another.
One more thing. Today is also the birthday of Martin Luther. He would have been 538 years old today.