JOHN M. SCHMIDT. One of the largest farmers in Gillespie Township is the man whose name heads this sketch. He lives on section 35, and owns in his homestead one hundred and twenty acres, but in all the land that he has accumulated aggregates nine hundred and seventy acres, the whole of which property is well improved and stocked. The fact that Mr. Schmidt came to this land a poor man only thirty-six years ago, and that he has amassed what is a comfortable fortune, is a commentary upon the possibilities that are to be found in the United States.
Our subject was born in Hanover, Germany, October 22, 1828. For a history of his parents, see biography of Weye Schmidt on another page. Our subject's parents were farmers and he grew up with a knowledge of all the duties incident to agricultural life. He was a single man when he determined to come to America, and took passage at Bremen, Hanover, on a sailing vessel, August 31, 1855. He landed in New Orleans where he spent seven weeks in becoming somewhat familiar with the English tongue and American ways; thence he came to St. Louis and then to Alton and from here he proceeded to Macoupin County, Gillespie Town. He has ever since made this place his home, having here accumulated his fortune and being determined that it shall be the shelter for his last days. For the first three years of Mr. Schmidt's life in America he worked as a laborer for M. W. Dorsey and then he rented a farm for five years, after which he purchased his first one hundred and twenty acres on section 35, to which he has since added his large increase of land. He is one of the thriftiest farmers among the German settlers in the county.
Our subject was married in this township to bliss Meta E. Milfs. She was born and reared in Hanover, and in 1858 came to this country with her future husband, who had gone on a trip to his native home and on his return to this country he brought the young lady with him who was soon to be his bride. They were married in the spring of
1859, and they have since lived and labored together, the wife being a true and good woman and a great help to him in every way. She is the mother of thirteen children, only one of whom is deceased. The living children are as follows: Charles, who took to wife Weptka Schmidt, and they live on a farm in this township; Etta, who is the wife of Fritz Harmes; they are also farmers in this township; John, who took to wife Gepta Goshmann, also lives on a farm in this township; Weptka, the wife of Louis Kartum; they are farmers in this township; Milf is proprietor of a farm with his brother; he is unmarried. Weye, Weert, Jacob, Minnie, Zena, John and Adolph all live at Home. Mr. Schmidt, wife and family are all members of the Lutheran Church. The father and sons are Democrats in polities.