Saturday, March 15, 2014

Genealogy Family Profile: Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt and Wilhelmine Christiane Ullrich

This genealogy family profile originally appeared in my late cousin Bettye Schmidt Rathbone's book Schmidt-Leitsch-Grohman-Meuth, Europe to Texas, 1846-1861, privately published. This profile is on my 2nd great grandparents Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt and Wilhelmine Christiane Ulllrich. I now have two autosomal DNA matches which confirms my lineage to this couple. Now if I could just extend the line I would be a happy camper.
Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt and Wilhelmine Christiane Ullrich
Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt, our first proven ancestor in this family line was born about 1796 or 1797 in what was the former East Germany (now Germany), and died after September 1, 1870, probably in Comal County, Texas, near New Braunfels.

He emigrated from the town of Frankenhausen in 1846 and may have been born there. He was a subject of Prussia when he signed an Immigration Contract in Bremen on August 25. The contract was made with the Verein zum Schutze Einwanderer in Texas, which at that period was bringing many settlers to Texas, and is filed with the German Immigration Contracts at the General Land Office in Austin, Texas.

It is frequently difficult to identify the town from which a Central European ancestor came, but a comparison of the information in Mullers Grosses Deutsches Ortsbuch (1958 edition) and the maps detailed inMitteldeutsche Forschungen, Gerschicte Thurigens indicates this particular town of Frankenhausen is the one now known as Bad Frankenhausen (Kyffhauser), located in the Bezirk, or district, of Halle, about 40 kilometers north of Erfurt.

The Bezirk of Halle lies on the northern edge of the Central Uplands of Germany and is drained by the tributaries of the Elbe River. In the 10th Century, the region was occupied by the Thuringians, one of the traditional German Volkstummen. Frankenhausen was a market town before 1125 and was sold by the Count of Beichlingen to the Count of Schwarzburg in 1340 for 6500 silver Marks. Thereafter, it belonged to the Courts of Schwarzburg and of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt until the area was subjugated by Prussia.

In 1483, Martin Luther, the son of a Thuringian miner, was born in this region and later became the founder of the German Reformation. He was educated at the University of Erfurt, entered the Augustinian Order in 1505, and broke with the Roman Catholic Church in 1517. One result of this Reformation was the Peasants' Revolt which broke out in 1524-1525 in southern Germany. A leader of the revolt, Thomas Muenger, was taken prisioner at Frankenhausen. The town was also the scene of unrest during the Revolution of 1848-1849, after Gottlob and his family had left for Texas.

The tower of Bad Frankenhausen's Oberkirche is claimed to be the second most crooked tower in Germany.

Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt married Wilhelmine Ullrich who was born about 1798 in the Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, the principality which included Frankenhausen. While the place and date of marriage are not known for certain, they may have been married in Frankenhausen before 1830. the three known children all seem to have been born there, As was customary, Wilhelmine had at least one other given name: Christine, but whether this was her first or second name is not known. She was listed in the household of her daughter and son-in-law in Guadalupe County, Texas, and may be buried in the Schuchardt family burying ground. No gravestone was found for her, but there were several unmarked graves in the area.

As previously stated, Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt signed an immigration contract in August 1846. In April of that year, Franz Wilhelm Hruger, apotheker of Frankenhausen wrote the Central Administrator of the Verein at Mainz and in his letter mentioned Knauer and Schmidt "v. hier." Since Kruger and Gottlieb Knauer both immigrated to Texas on the same ship that brought Gottlob Schmidt and family - the Elisa Charlotte . It is reasonable to suppose that Gottlob is the "Schmidt" referred to in Kruger's letter.

The Brig Elisa Charlotte sailed from Bremen on August 28 and landed at the port of Galveston, with 120 passengers, on October 26, 1846. Her arrival was noted by the German consul at Galveston in a letter to the Verein. This letter is part of the Solms-Braunfels Archives transcripts which are in the University of Texas Archives in Austin (volume 14, pages 333-334).

Gottlob Schmidt and his family came inland only as far as Seguin and New Braunfels. On February 16, 1847, he assigned 320 acres of the 640 acres he was entitled to as an immigrant to the German Emigration and Railroad Company. He must have settled in the vicinity of Seguin about this time for on December 6, 1848, his daughter Louise Auguste Christiane Schmidt was married to Emil Carl Lucian Schuchardt by Louis Hipp, Justice of the Peace for Guadalupe County.

On August 27, 1850, "Gottlieb" Schmidt made his first purchase of land: four lots in Block Eight of the Town of Guadalupe (Seguin) - the cost was $38.00 (Deed Book C-266). He was taxed that year (as Gottlob "Smith") for three horses and two cows besides the lots.

The 1850 census shows them as family #185:

Frederick G. Schmidt, age 53
Wilhemener " 51
Rodolph " 20
Powell " 14

All listed Germany as their birthplace and Frederick's occupation was "farmer."

In 1851 he bought another lot in block eight and one of the timbered lots in the town, paying $125 for all of it (Deed Book D-226). The city lots are bounded north by Washington Street and west by Bowie Street and lie about three blocks west and a little south of the courthouse. No buildings dating from the 1850 are standing. The city lots lie mostly in a creek bottom.

By 1853 he was taxed for eight horses and two wagons besides his land. This may indicate he and his sons were engaged in some sort of freighting necessary to move colonists inland since he appears to have an extra wagon and more horses than would be necessary for a limited farming operation.

On March 11, 1854, Gottlob Schmidt and wife Wilhelmine sold to Michael Erskine, for a bond of $650, three lots in Seguin "Being the same where we live now...also a five acre river lot...the said Erskine has right to make any improvements on said lots at any time between this and November next provided he does not molest me in the enjoyment of the house and crop." (Deed Book F-312) Presumably they were preparing to move to Comal County.

In January 1855, Gottlob bought land in Comal County from E. Dale, on the Turkey Creek, a small stream about 15 miles above New Braunfels. The creek empties into the Guadalupe River halfway between Canyon Dam and New Braunfels.

Since the financial difficulties of the Verein had prevented him from locating his grant of land on February 22, Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt sold his interest in his land certificate number 220 (640 acres) to Thomas Dewees for $75.00. The witnesses were Carrol Billingsley and Rudolph Schmidt (File 3454, Bexar Third Class, General Land Office, Austin, Texas).

On February 23, 1855, he registered his brand and mark (No. 40) in Comal County, Texas. No mark and brand registration had been recorded for him in Seguin.

In 1855 the tax rolls showed he owned 360 acres in the Elijah O. Dale survey, seven horses, 18 cows and one wagon. he paid no poll tax.

When the 1860 census was taken on August 20, the family was listed as:

#523/500 Gottlob Schmidt, age 64 b. Schwarsburg Rudolstadt
Christiane " age 62 do
Paul " age 24 do
Herman Schuchard age 10 Texas

Both Gottlob and Paul were listed as farmers. Gottlob's real estate was valued at $500, personal estate at $600.

In 1869, Gottlob was taxed for 150 acres, 8 cows, and 1 poll, Rudolph paying tax on the balance of the land although the property was not deeded to him until 1870.

By the time the 1870 census was taken, on July 22, the family was listed as #667/687:

Schmidt, Gottlob 74 b. Prussia (no occupation list)
Wilhelmine 72 "
Paul 34 " farmer
Auguste 21 " keeping house
Franz 2 Texas
Wilhelm 8/12 " (born in November)

This time Gottlob was shown without real estate or personal estate, and Paul owned real estate valued at $500, personal estate at $400.

On September 1, 1870, F.G. Schmidt deeded to Rudolph Schmidt, 188 acres out of the E. dale Survey, deed #185 (Comal County Deed Book K-257). On the same day he deeded to Paul Schmidt, 150 acres "being part of land conveyed by E. Dale to Gottlob Schmidt by deed dated January 5, 1855," adjoining Rudolph Schmidt's land (Deed Book K-259, deed #186). No relationship was stated in either deed.

This was the last record found of Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt. He odes not appear on the tax rolls after 1869 and is assumed to have died before the 1880 census was taken, when Wilhelmine alone was listed in her daughter's household. No marked grave has been located.

The names of only three children of Friedrich Gottlob Schmidt and his wife Wilhelmine Ullrich have been established. It is probable there were others, but whether they died young or perhaps married before the 1850 census was taken is unknown. The children whose names are known were:

1. Rudolph Schmidt, born about 1830, married Friederike Heinricke Haag
2. Louise Auguste Christiane Schmidt, born Decemeber 10, 1830, married Karl Emil Luzian Schuchardt
3. Friedrich Paul Schmidt (my great grandfather and civil war vet), born February 22, 1837, married Auguste Leitsch.