The Schmidt Family

by Michael Jindra
additional details courtesy of Marilyn Rohr, Marjorie Wood, Ernest Franklin Schmidt and Ellen M. Rohr

[Wilhelmina Schmidt married Charles Meineke.  Their daughter Leona Meineke married Alvin Jindra.]

Johann Joachim Schmidt and Dorothea Gartz

See also Johann Joachim Schmidt biography written by Ernest Franklin Schmidt, Dec. 1954 (grandson of Johann Schmidt)

JOHANN JOACHIM SCHMIDT was born 5 Feb 1839 Niebau, Salzwedal Twsp., Hagdeburg, Saxony, Prussia (Germany), son of Joachim Henrich and Maria (Friedrichs) Schmidt. Johann Joachim was5’10” tall and 160 lbs. He had dark hair and eyes. He was considered an industrious hard worker. He left the love of his life and his homeland to escape the military service in the Prussian Army and stowed away on a ship, landing in New York City, June 1860.

It took him almost a month to cross New York State by way of the Hudson River and Erie Canal. He reached Buffalo where he boarded a train for Chicago. He was greeted here by relatives and, after a period of time in Chicago, he went north to Two Rivers, where he found work.

His first love was farming. He was also an expert tanner. After the Civil War began, he rode a horse to Green Bay, took a train from there to Chicago and began to work in a tannery making leather harnesses for the military horses.

from 1913 St. John's Lutheran Church

Dorothea (Gartz) Schmidt 1913

In 1863, he had enough money to send for his sweetheart, DOROTHEA ELISABETH GARTZ, and her parents Christian and Dorothea Gartz. She was born 23 Oct. 1843 (also seen as 1844). She arrived June 30, 1863 in New York city on a ship from Bremen. Dorothea was 5’6″ tall, had blonde hair and blue/green eyes. She was strong, kind and charitable. Johann and Dorothea were married in Two Rivers on 13 Sept. 1863.

They bought 160 acres on 20 Sept 1863 for $800.00. The property was located on Hillcrest Road.(SW 1/4, Section 14, Town 20, Range 24. He was a pioneer who cut his farm out of the wilderness. All his 13 children were born in a log cabin on the property. His motto was “The law is no better than your word.” The original log cabin was used until 1875. A second log house was used 1875-1924 and taken down in 1924 when a brick house was built.

Johann became a naturalized citizen June 19, 1874. he serviced as the town treasurer in Two Rivers at one time, and was a member of the Lutheran Church.

Johann Heinrich and Maria Friedrichs Schmidt

In the late 1870’s, Johann sent for his parents to come from Riebau, Prussia. There were close to 70 years old.

Joachim Heinrich Schmidt (1803-1893) was a blacksmith, had been a German soldier in the Prussian army, and was a farmer. he was over 6′ tall, dark hair and eyes. He was strong, well built and mentally sharp. Maria (Friedrichs) Schmidt (1805-1893), was a small woman with blue/grey eyes, quiet and very devout. They both lived to about 90 years, and died within two weeks of each other. They are buried in the Old Tannery Cemetery, behind a house at 6903 Riverview Drive, Two Rivers.

Their son Henry later took over the family farm (the brick house still stands today) where in later years the Meineke family would often join them for family picnics in the woods.

Johann died 20 Mar 1904 as a result of pneumonia following an accident. (A letter from Camille Schmidt dated 25 Oct. 1966 to Barb Nesbit says he had a growth on his chest as the result of an accident with a hay loader and the operation was done by a young doctor who accidentally severed an artery to his heart and he bled to death.

Dorothea died of dropsey 22 Feb 1916. Both are buried in Pioneer Rest Cemetery, Two Rivers. Their tombstone is about 8 foot tall, shaped as a tree trunk with a scroll bearing his and his wife’s names. Also on the stone are a squirrel, lilies, and a broken axe, ferns, etc.

Closeup Johann and Dorothea Tombstone Johann and Dorothea Schmidt Tombstone

The children of Johann Joachim and Dorothea (Gartz) Schmidt:

Please also see the Schmidt Family Photo Album.

Schmidt Brothers Construction Company 

After the Great Chicago Fire, homes were no longer being built of wood. There was a need there for brick and masonry buildings. In 1905, sons of Johann, namely John, Otto, August and Ernest founded Schmidt Bros. Construction Co. in Chicago. Other relatives also were involved in the Construction Co. for a while.

Alvin and Leona Jindra visited Chicago at least once, for a Schmidt or Meineke anniversary dinner of some kind at Medinah one of the buildings built by the Schmidt Bros. Construction Company.

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