Mathias M. Schmidt

MATHIAS M. SCHMIDT, who has spent his life since early childhood in Marshall County, Kansas, has had a very intense career as a teacher, banker, business man and public spirited citizen. He is now in the loan and insurance business at Home City in Marshall County. Mr. Schmidt is not only a practical business man but a scholar of exceptional erudition and has been well fitted for the leadership which he has taken in public affairs.

Mr. Schmidt is of German descent and was born at Fort Washington in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, July 8, 1876. His ancestors all lived in the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, Germany. His great-grandfather was Pierre Schmidt, who served in the gallant armies under the great Napoleon, being a member of the Grand Guard and taking part in the famous charge at Waterloo. He spent his last years in this country and died in Ozaukee County. Mr. Schmidt's grandfather was Michael Schmidt, a native of Luxemburg, Germany, who immigrated to America in 1851 with his family, became a farmer in Wisconsin, and died in Ozaukee County.

Michael Schmidt, Jr., father of Mathias M., was a Kansas pioneer. He was born in Luxemburg, Germany, in 1837, and came to America at the age of fourteen. He grew up in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, married there, and while his early life was spent on a farm, soon after his marriage he engaged in the grain business. In 1879 he removed to Marshall County, Kansas, and homesteaded 160 acres of land ten miles north of Marysville. While he subsequently sold that homestead he acquired two other farms in Marshall County and was a very prosperous and substantial citizen. He finally retired and lived near Marysville, but his death occurred in a hospital in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1913. Politically he was a republican. In Oketo Township he served as clerk, and at different times was elected a school director. He was a member of the Catholic Church. He had given loyal service to the Union during the Civil war. His enlistment was in Governor Yates Sharp Shooters Company, in the Sixty fourth Illinois Regiment of Infantry. He went through most of the war, and between enlistment and the final muster out was gone three years and nine months. His service was chiefly in the Mississippi Valley and in the campaigns waged by General Grant. He was at Island No. 10, Pittsburg Landing, Iuka, Chattanooga and many other lesser engagements.

Michael Schmidt married Mary J. Molitor, who was born in Luxemburg, Germany, in 1853, and is now living near Marysville with her son Nicholas. Of their children Mathias M. was the oldest. Mary J. is the wife of Daniel Gibson, a farmer north of Marysville. Michael has a farm near Marietta, Kansas. Louisa married Robert Herring, a farmer at Mountain Grove, Oregon. Maggie is the wife of Hiram Herring, a farmer near Marietta, Kansas. Nicholas, with his brothers Henry and William S., lives on a farm six miles north of Marysville. Lena married Ted E. Tinkham, a painter and decorator at Marysville. Gertrude, the youngest of this large family, is the wife of William Schwindaman, who owns and operates an elevator at Hull, Kansas.

Mathias M. Schmidt was three years of age when brought to Kansas. He grew up on the old homestead in Marshall County, attended the rural schools, and also took preparatory work in the Modern Normal School at Marysville. He left that institution in 1896, and for four years taught in the rural schools of Marshall County and then was principal of schools at Herkimer three years and principal at Oketo one year, his concluding school work being done at Home City, where he was principal two years. In the intervals of his work as a teacher Mr. Schmidt attended Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, one year.

In 1906 he gave up the profession of teaching for business. In that year he organized the Citizens State Bank of Home City, and took active charge of its affairs and filled the post of cashier seven years. From that in 1913 he entered the farm loan and insurance business, and has built up extended and influential connections over this section of the state. His offices are in the Thomas Building. Mr. Schmidt is also treasurer of the Home City Telephone Company. He owns one of the comfortable homes in the central part of town.

His political actions have always been in line with the democratic party. Among other offices filled by him with capacity and discretion have been those of membership on the school board as clerk, director and treasurer. His service in the Legislature was in the session of 1915, having been elected in the previous year. During that session he was chairman of the horticulture and forest committee, and a member of the banks and banking, insurance and state libraries committees. A special point of his service which should be mentioned and commended was his primary leadership in bringing about the passage of the bill for reorganizing the state department of education. For that work he deserves and has received the gratitude of all the teachers and school men of the state. The bill had failed to pass previously, and he moved for its reconsideration and through his energetic efforts brought it to enactment. As a member of the banks and banking committee Mr. Schmidt was also helpful in securing the passage of Kansas famous "Blue Sky" law, safeguarding the interests of both capital and investors.

Mr. Schmidt is reputed to have one of the finest private libraries in the state. It is especially rich in its collection of books on general history and literature. Mr. Schmidt's interests and tastes are scholarly and academic, with all his active participation in practical affairs. He has made a special study of mineralogy and geology. He belongs to various societies, including the American Historical Association, the National Geographic Society, the Kansas State Historical Society and the Kansas Academy of Science. He is affiliated with Beattie Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is past noble grand of Home City Lodge No. 538, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Schmidt married in Topeka in 1907 Miss Nellie Thomas, daughter of Josiah and Margaret J. (Francis) Thomas. Her mother is living at Marysville and her father, deceased, was formerly a merchant and postmaster at Home City. Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt have three children: Victor Hugo, born October 11, 1908; Carol Marjorie, born July 10, 1915; and Mary Margaret, born February 26, 1917.

A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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