GEORGE W. SCHMIDT is extensively engaged in business as a dealer in general hardware, tinware and farming implements, his establishment being located at the corner of Macoupin and Chestnut Streets in the thriving village of Gillespie, where he has carried on operations since 1882. He began business on a small scale and as his trade increased, enlarged his stock until he has now a well-filled store which indicates that he receives a liberal patronage.
Mr. Schmidt was born in Hesse-Castle, Furstenhagen, Germany, September 1, 1839, and is a son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Geisce) Schmidt, both born in the Fatherland. The former died at the age of sixty-six years, but the mother is still living at the age of seventy-seven. She is a member of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church, as was her husband. In their family were nine children, our subject being the second in order of birth. John was the first to come to America, crossing the Atlantic in 1856. When the Civil War broke out he enlisted at Philadelphia in the service of his adopted country and wore the blue until peace was once more restored. Not long after he died of sickness contracted in the army. Mrs. Eliza Fisher, a sister, also came to this country, crossing the water in company with our subject. She makes her home in Brighton.
George Schmidt began learning the carriage making trade in Hamburg, Germany, where he worked from 1855 until 1860. He then entered the regular army of his country, serving for a short time. Again resuming work at his trade he was employed as a journeyman until 1865, which year witnessed his emigration to America. He took passage at Bremen upon the sailing vessel "Mozart" and after a voyage of thirty-five days landed in New York City, whence he came at once to Illinois. The first year after his arrival he spent in Palmyra and then took up his residence in Dorchester, Macoupin County, where he built a wagon shop and began business on his own account. He was at first alone but later associated with him Charles Hoffman, a sketch of whom appears on another page of this work. Their partnership continued until 1875, when on account of failing health Mr. Schmidt had to abandon that business, and sold out to C. Theuer. He then embarked in the hardware business, carrying on a store at that place until 1882, when he removed his stock to Gillespie
On the 28th of February, 1869, in Upper Alton, Mr. Schmidt was joined in wedlock with Miss Louisa Theuer, who was born in St. Louis, Mo., September 17, 1850, and is of German descent. Her father, Edward Theuer, was a Saxon and her mother was a native of Baden. After coming to this country they were married in St. Louis and are now residents of Upper Alton, where Mr. Theuer engaged in gardening. Mrs. Schmidt was a maiden of five summers when her parents removed to Upper Alton where she resided until her marriage. By their union have been born seven children as follows: Charles and Mary, now deceased; George W., Edward and William who assist their father in carrying on the business, and Emma and Alvena at home. The parents and children are all members of the German Evangelical Church. In politics Mr. Schmidt was formerly a Republican but now votes with the Democratic party, and since he came to Gillespie he has been a member of the town board. A public-spirited and progressive citizen, he takes an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and ranks high among his business associates, and in social circles as well. His family holds an enviable position in the social world and the Schmidt household is noted for its hospitality.