Notes on Johann Schmidt & Anna Lenz Schmidt & their Children
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JOHANN AND ANNA LENZ SCHMIDT AND THEIR CHILDREN
According to his grave stone, Johann Schmidt was born March 5, 1831. According to the 1870 federal census he was born in Schleswig- Holstein. He came to America sometime before November 12, 1859. That is the date on which he and Anna Lenz were married in Davenport, Iowa, by H. R. Claussen, Justice of the Peace.
According to her obituary, six sons and two daughters were born to Anna and Johann Schmidt. One son must have died in childhood. There is an excellent photograph of Anna and her remaining seven Schmidt children, probably taken about 1890 or thereabout. The following is a summary of what is known of these seven, presented in the order of their birth and identifying them by their place in the photo.
Anna Elizabeth Lenz was born in Brunsbuttel, Germany, on June 15, 1841. Her mother died about 1854, and in 1858, at the age of 17, she came to America with her father, Andreas Lenz. They may have spent some time in Scott county, Iowa, before settling in Clinton county. She was 18 years old when she married 28 year-old Johann Schmidt in Davenport. They settled near Wheatland in Clinton county. They must have done well in the decade of the 1860's because by 1870 they were living on a farm valued at $3500. The family at that time consisted of Johann, 39; Anna, 29; William, 9; Matilda, 7; Charles and Minnie, 5 year-old twins; and Louis, 2; as well as two farm laborers living with them named Weniger and Gully.
Some time in the 1870's, like many other German farmers, they moved west. They settled in Hayes township, Crawford county, Iowa. However, a few years after their move, on March 21, 1879, Johann Schmidt died at the age of 48. Anna was left with seven children, ages 3 to 18. Johann was buried in Hayes Township Cemetery south of Westside, Iowa.
Anna's father, Andreas Lenz, born in Germany in about 1820, had also moved to Crawford county, at least by 1876. That was the year he built the old Five Mile House south of the town of Westside, in Crawford county, which he operated as a place of amusement. He had a huge barn where those coming from a good distance away, could shelter their teams of horses for the night, while they spent a sociable evening with friends. This probably involved food, drink, music, dancing and card-playing along with other enjoydable activities. This landmark was eventually purchased by the Hayes Township Schuetzen Verein, a social club founded by local Germans in 1883. Among the founding members of the club was Carsten Voss, whose daughter, Dora, married Andreas Lenz's grandson, William Schmidt, in 1884. The old building was torn down and replaced in 1938. The Verein is still active in 1994. Some of the current members are fifth generation descendants of the founders.
In 1880 the widowed Anna Lenz Schmidt and her family were living on a farm in Hayes township with her father Andreas and a man named Fred Mohr, aged 51. Andreas and Fred were both employed as school teachers. At this time, Anna's 18 year-old daughter, Matilda, was boarding in the town of Westside and working as a milliner. Old Andreas Lentz died in the 1880's at the age of 69 years. He is also buried in Hayes Township Cemetery but the exact year of his death is difficult to read from the weathered tombstone.
About 1881, two years after Johann Schmidt's death, his widow, Anna, married Peter Claussen. She was 40, he was 32. Two years later, in about 1883, a daughter, Clara Claussen, was born to them. This half-sister to the seven Schmidt children was the only child born to Peter and Anna. The state of Iowa took a special census in 1885, so we know that Anna & Peter Claussen were farming on section 21, N 1/2 NW 1/4, of Hayes township. Living with them was Minnie Schmidt, 19, the twin sister of Charles E. Schmidt; John Schmidt, 11; Frank Schmidt, 8; and Clara Claussen, 2. The oldest child, William Schmidt, had married Dora Voss, from the farm just north of them and at this time, 1885, William and Dora were living on Third Street in Maurice, Sherman township, Sioux county, Iowa, with their infant son, Emil. Matilda "Tillie" Schmidt, 23, had married Joseph P. Arp and had one daughter, Myrtle Arp, born in September of 1882. Charles Schmidt was 20 and still unmarried. He was probably living near Manning in Carroll county and learning the carpenters trade. Louis Schmidt would have been 18 in 1885 but his whereabouts at that time are unknown.
Anna Elizabeth Lenz Schmidt Claussen died on September 21, 1910 aged 69 years, 3 months and 6 days. She was buried in the Manning Cemetery in Manning, Iowa, about 8 miles southeast of the cemetery where her first husband, Johann Schmidt, was buried thirty years earlier. Her obituary on the front page of the 'Manning Monitor' for September 29, 1910, was very informative but probably contains a few minor errors. Two years later, on December 22, 1912, Peter Claussen, her second husband and father of her daughter Clara, died and was buried at her side.
Clara Claussen, daughter of Peter and Anna Claussen and half-sister to the Schmidt children, was born about 1883 in Crawford or Carroll Counties, Iowa. She married Alfred Fiola and was living in Weston, Iowa, in 1910. In 1943 she and her husband were living in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
- William Andreas Schmidt, top row, third from the left, was born in Clinton county, Iowa, on July 8, 1861. He married Dora Voss in 1884, probably in Crawford county. They lived first near Maurice in Sioux county, Iowa, and later near Lake Park, in Dickinson county and a few miles north near Sioux Valley in Jackson county, Minnesota. William and Dora were the parents of six children who survived to adulthood; one son and five daughters. The children were: Emil J., b. Dec. 26, 1884; Emma, b. Mar, 1887; Minnie b. Feb, 1889; Ella M., b. May, 1891; Lillian, b. July 4, 1893; and Hilda, b. July, 1897. He was a farmer, though probably not very successfully, his true love being music. He was a well-liked and sociable man, a natural musician who taught his children to play. A lover of good times and unlucky in his agricultural pursuits, he was probably moody at times, but he was loved by his family and was never mean in his actions. In late April, 1900, while living near Sioux Valley, Minn., William suffered a mental breakdown of a manic-depressive nature. He was hospitalized at St. Peter, Minn., and later, at Hastings, Minn., where he died Sept. 20, 1934. He was buried at Hayes township cemetery next to his father, Johann Schmidt and his grandfather, Andreas Lenz.
- Matilda 'Tillie' Schmidt, front row, second from the left, was born in Dec, 1862, in Clinton county, Iowa. She was married to Joseph P. Arp and had two daughters; Myrtle W., born Sept, 1882; and Esther A., born April, 1892. At the turn of the century they were living in Manning, Iowa, where Joseph was in the construction business. Joseph was "a wonderful man" according to his niece, Lillian Schmidt Jacobsen. He was town marshal for a while and also played in the town band with his brother-in-law, Charles Schmidt. Matilda was an energetic lady, opening her own millinery store in Manning, marrying and bearing a child, all before she was twenty-one years old. Her daughter Myrtle graduated at Manning in 1898 and had taught school in the area for two years before she turned eighteen. Matilda and her husband were living in Sioux City in 1910. She was still living there in 1934. She died some time before 1943.
- Charles E. Schmidt, top row, first on left, was born at Wheatland, Clinton County, Iowa, on June 26, 1865. He was a carpenter by trade and worked on the first building erected in the town of Manning, Iowa. Although he was a carpenter all his life, he also was in the furniture business and learned the undertaking profession. He was in the construction business with his brother-in-law, Joseph Arp, and also played in the Manning band with him. He married Louise Hoft at Wall Lake, Iowa, in 1888. They had two children; Verna B., b. Sept, 1891; and Karl J., b. April 15, 1893. In 1894 his wife Louise died, at Manning, and in 1899 he married Bertha Ehlers of the same city. Bertha had no children but was a good mother to her husband's two children. They also adopted the son of Charles' brother, Frank. This child, Frankie Schmidt, was born Dec 7, 1901, and died April 13, 1908. Charles' daughter, Verna, was a well-loved teacher at Ames, Iowa, and became principal of Central High School there. She never married and died in a nursing home at Wall Lake in 1973. His son Karl served in France in World War I, graduated from Iowa State at Ames in 1920, and was a rising executive with U. S. Gypsum Co., living in Minneapolis at the time of his sudden death from a rare disease on Sept 9, 1935. Karl was married to Lulu Horn of Manning on Aug 22, 1923. They had no children. Charles E. Schmidt lived in Manning all his life and died there in Jan, 1943. His wife, Bertha, died later that same year. They are buried in the Schmidt plot in Manning Cemetery as are Verna, Karl and Frankie.
- Minnie Schmidt, top row, second from left, was also born on June 26, 1865, being a twin sister of Charles. She married William Behrens, who was born in Germany. In 1910 they were living in Egan, South Dakota, with their six children; Amanda, born about 1892, Anna, born about 1893, Johnny, born about 1895, Caroline, born about 1897, William, born about 1904, and Walter, born about 1906. All these children were born in Iowa. Minnie Schmidt Behrens was living in or near Lamberton, Minnesota, in 1912. She was still living there in 1952.
- Louis Schmidt, top row, fourth from the left, was born about 1868 in Clinton County, Iowa. He may have lived on the east coast for a while. It is not known if he married or had children. He was no longer living in 1910.
- John L. Schmidt, front row, first on the left, was born Dec 24, Christmas Eve, 1872, in Iowa and died on his 80th birthday in a nursing home in Omaha, Nebraska. He never married and had no children. In 1910 he was living in Fargo, North Dakota, but he spent most of his life in Manning and in 1933 organized and managed a popular German and Bohemian dance band, 'Schmidt's Famous Players'. He was a well-known sportsman, being active in several hunting and fishing organizations, and bred and trained prize Chesapeake hunting dogs. He is buried in the Schmidt plot at Manning Cemetery.
- Frank Schmidt, top row, on the far right, leaning nonchalantly on the pedestal, was the youngest of the Schmidt children. He was born about 1876. He was living around Manning, Iowa, in 1900, and a son, Frankie, was born to him that year. Frankie was adopted by his brother, Charles, and died in Manning at the age of seven. The reason for the adoption is not known. Perhaps his wife died and he was unable to care for the child alone. In 1910 he was living in Mt. Vernon, South Dakota, with his wife, Lucy, and working as a painter. They had been married seven years and had no children, although, according to the census, one child had been born to them and died. His wife, Lucy, had been born in the state of Washington in about 1878. In 1912, Frank was living in Washington and was still there in 1934. In 1943 he was in Oregon. He died some time prior to 1952. It is not know if he had other children who survived.
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