Adam Schmitt, who is carrying on agricultural pursuits in Walnut town- ship, Brown county, was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, March 19, 1843. He is a son of John and Margaret Schmitt, the former a native of Germany, who came to America with a mute brother and settled in Illinois. With the capital which he brought he purchased forty acres of land and devoted his energies to its cultivation until the spring of 1855, when he removed to Kansas with an ox team. Locating in Brown county, he purchased a squatter's claim and when the land came into market he entered it from the government.
He also took another quarter-section, in his brother's name and thus had three hundred and twenty acres, which he improved, developing it into a fine farm. Throughout his remaining days he continued its cultivation and the well-tilled fields yielded to him a golden reward for the careful labor he had bestowed upon them. His land bordered on Walnut creek and it has some good timber along its banks. His first little cabin home stood by the side of the creek; later he moved that and constructed another cabin, in which he made his home until he was able to replace it with a commodious and substantial residence. He was recognized as one of the most extensive and successful farmers of the community, and in addition to the cultivation of his land he raised stock, feeding the products of his farm to his horses, cattle and hogs. He was a large corn raiser and when the drouth and famine came in 1860 he was better prepared to meet it than most of his neighbors.
In the early days Indians were numerous, but were friendly occasioning no trouble to the settlers, although they often begged. The pioneers had to go long distances to mill, securing their breadstuffs and other food supplies at Iowa Point. Game was plentiful and Mr. Schmitt killed wild turkeys and deer, thus supplying the table with meat on many an occasion. He was a highly educated man, of broad and liberal views, was educated for the priesthood, but never entered the ministry, although he reared his family in the faith of the church. He first exercised his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party, but later became a Whig and afterward a Republican.
About 1867 he sold his farm and engaged in merchandising at Padonia, carrying a large stock of dry goods, groceries and medicines. After a few years he removed his stock to Nebraska, where he conducted his store for a number of years, when he sold out and again became a merchant in Padonia. Some years later he disposed of his stock at auction and retired to the farm upon which he spent his last days. He was a very charitable man, giving liberally of his means to the poor and needy and making generous contributions to the church. He gave five hundred dollars toward building the church at Rulo and was numbered among the prominent and representative men of his county, having a high standard of integrity and honor. His wife died during the early boyhood of our subject.
In their family were the following children: Valentine, who went to California in 1849, after which all traces of him were lost; John, who went to California and after making considerable money returned to Illinois, where he is now a wealthy citizen; Henry, who served in the Second Nebraska Cavalry during the Civil war and after his return died on the old home farm in Kansas; Mary, the wife of J. Grider; and Adam and Michael, of Fredonia. After the death of the mother the father married Margaret Okeson. who had three children by her first marriage: William, who served in the Union army during the Civil war, dying soon after his return; Isaac, who served in the army and died after receiving his discharge; and Margaret, the wife of J. Smith. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Schmitt were born four children: George; Fred, of Salem, Nebraska; Jacob, a farmer of this county; and Lewis, also of Salem. After the death of his second wife Mr. Schmitt married Mrs. Ordway, who had children by her first marriage. They became the parents of a son, Charles, who became a stenographer and while in charge of the office in which he was employed he was killed by burglars. Mr. Schmitt's next wife was Fanny Williams, by whom he had three children, one of whom died in childhood. The others are Joseph, of Nebraska, and Mrs. Anna Nicodemus.
Adam Schmitt, whose name introduces this review, was reared to habits of industry and honesty upon the home farm and pursued his education in the subscription schools of this state. He remained under the parental roof until the fall of 1861, when he enlisted in Company A, Seventh Kansas Cavalry, at Highlands. He was mustered in at Leavenworth, the regiment being assigned to the western department, and participated in many hotly contested engagements under various generals, including the battle of Lexington, Missouri, under Colonel Mulligan. He also took part in many skirmishes, went on several reconnoitering expeditions and experienced all the hardships of war. He was in the battle of Corinth and other engagements and served as bugler in his company, but was never wounded or captured. After two and a half years of .service he re-enlisted and obtained a thirty-days furlough, which he spent at home visiting his people. On the expiration of that period he rejoined his command and served until the close of the war. At the time of General Lee's surrender he was at Cape Girardeau and was sent by boat to Omaha and from there to Fort Kearney, but after a short time his command was relieved by another regiment and Mr. Schmitt and his comrades were sent back to Fort Leavenworth, where they received an honorable discharge and were mustered out.
For some years after his return home our subject worked at whatever he could get to do that would yield him an honest living. After some years he purchased and improved a farm and later traded that property for the farm on which he now resides. In December, 1878, he married Miss Polly Hampton, who was born in Virginia and with her parents removed to Illinois. thence to Missouri and later to Kansas. Her father was Elisha T. Hampton of Virginia. who served for three years in the Federal army during the civil war. In politics he was a Republican and his death occurred in Brown county, where he had engaged in farming for some years. His wife still survives him. In their family were seven children: Joseph; Mrs. Nancy Tate; Adam; Elizabeth, the wife of J. Schmitt; Elsia, the wife of J. Frymire; Emma, the wife of C. Nicols; and Julia, the wife of R. Huttleson.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Schmitt have been born nine children: Thomas, Laura B., Jessie, Richard, Minnie, Ella, Lena, Walter and Clarence. The family circle yet remains unbroken and the children are all yet under the parental roof. The family are members of the Evangelical church and in politics Mr. Schmitt is a Republican, earnestly advocating the principles of the party, yet never seeking office. His life has been one of industrious and honest toil and his position stands as a monument to his well-directed efforts.
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