A resident of Poweshiek county since 1855, Peter Schmidt well deserves the name of pioneer and has earned a position
as one of the highly successful citizens of the county by acquiring a valuable farm of five hundred acres, upon
which he now lives. He is a native of Germany, born September 16, 1826, and is a son of William and Catherine (Baker)
Schmidt. The father was a farmer and both he and his wife passed their entire lives in the old country. He died
in 1834 and Mrs. Schmidt passed away sixteen years later.
Peter Schmidt acquired his education in the public schools of his native land, and after he grew to manhood engaged
in railroad work until he was twenty six years of age. Being attracted to the new world he crossed the ocean and
stopped for a time in New York city and Philadelphia, also spending one year on a farm near Altoona, Pennsylvania.
He then traveled westward as far as St. Louis, where he secured work upon a railroad, later engaging as a farm
laborer in Illinois. On October 20, 1855, he arrived in Poweshiek county and, having carefully saved his earnings,
he purchased a small tract of land, to which he has added as his resources permitted until he now has a beautiful
place of five hundred acres, which is provided with every modern facility. He has engaged in general farming and
has also been very successful in raising and fattening stock for the market. In addition to his farming interests
he is a stockholder in the bank at Searsboro.
On the 7th of August, 1863, Mr. Schmidt was married to Miss Eliza Sanders, who was born in Ohio, July 12, 1847,
and is a daughter of Henry and Hattie (Smith) Sanders. The parents were both natives of the Keystone state. They
moved to Ohio and in 1856 came to Poweshiek county and located near Montezuma. They were both members of the Presbyterian
church and politically Mr. Sanders gave his support to the democratic party. Ten children were born to Mr. and
Mrs. Schmidt, namely: William, who is now engaged in farming in Washington township; Sarah, the wife of Herman
Sella, of Washington township; Samuel, of Jasper county, Iowa; Frank, who is deceased; Henry, also of Washington
township; Mary, the wife of William Whalen, of Mahaska county; Rosie, who became the wife of August Dager, of North
Dakota; Peter, who is at home; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Guy Ford, of North Dakota; and Francis, also at home.
In religious faith Mr. Schmidt is a Catholic. He has never sought political honors, as his time and attention have
largely been devoted to the management of his farm and his promising family of children whom he reared to principles
of honor and usefulness. He has now reached the advanced age of eighty five years and upon younger men rests the
responsibility of looking after the home farm, but he still takes a lively interest in agricultural affairs and
also in the development of the community of which he has been a member for more than a half century. He has been
a living witness of the development of Poweshiek county from the original prairie and woodland to the present state
of high productiveness, and is justly honored as one of the substantial and efficient agencies by which this great
transformation has been wrought.
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Poweshiek County, IA
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