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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



For several generations in the past America has been the land toward which many aspiring young Germans have turned their eyes in eager longing, and hither among many thousands of emigrants came Henry Schnetz at the very opening of manhood's activities, a youth scarcely twenty-one years of age, unfamiliar with the English language or with American customs, almost wholly without means, yet fortunate in having a rugged constitution and a thorough knowledge of a trade. There ensued for him years of indefatigable exertion in the acquisition of a competency and eventually he suffered in health, from the prolonged continuance of his arduous labors. A vacation from work being considered necessary for the benefit of his health, he left California, accompanied by his wife and son, and enjoyed an European tour of eight months, during which time he revisited the scenes of childhood and the home where his father and mother had spent their last days.

Descended from an old Teutonic family, Henry Schnetz was born in Germany May 2, 1862, and received the advantages of the excellent schools of his native land. At the age of fourteen he left school and began to learn the baker's trade in the bakery owned and operated by his father, Carl Schnetz, who was an expert in the occupation and enjoyed a local reputation for skill in the preparation of food products. Upon the completion of his apprenticeship he went to Heidelberg and secured work as a baker, remaining there for three years. During 1883 he crossed the ocean to the United States and for two years worked in New York City, where in June, 1885, he crossed the continent to San Francisco. In that city and in Oakland he found employment at his trade. Upon coming to Sacramento in October of 1885 he secured work in a bakery, where he continued until 1888. Returning to San Francisco he first worked for others and then opened a bakery of his own. At the expiration of three years he sold his interest in the business to a partner.

When again establishing his business headquarters at Sacramento in 1892 Mr. Schnetz bought an interest in the Pioneer bakery, and subsequently he bought his partner's interest, thereby becoming the sole proprietor. This bakery is the oldest in the city, having been established at the present location, No. 124 J street, in 1849. The business developed into one of profit and its management brought him a fair degree of success. At this writing employment is furnished to twenty persons and three wagons are in constant use for the delivery of orders to customers. With the failure of his health, which necessitated a lessening of his labors, Mr. Schnetz sold an interest in the bakery to his brother. Otto Schnetz, who since then has been associated with him as a partner. January 11, 1896, he was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Probst, a native of Kentucky, but reared and educated in Santa Clara county. Their only son, Earl, born March 10, 1900, is now a student in the schools of Sacramento. The family are earnest members of the Roman Catholic church and Mr. Schnetz has been a generous contributor to its maintenance. Since becoming a citizen of our country he has supported Republican principles in national elections, but in local campaigns gives his allegiance to the best men regardless of politics. After coming to California he entered into fraternal activities and now holds membership with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Improved Order of Red Men. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011