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Schindel, Jake J. 1860-1947


Posted By: Linda Ziemann, volunteer (email)
Date: 7/20/2008 at 19:16:56


J. J. Schindel, Plymouth county’s best known pioneer, died in his home at Merrill, Monday morning. Mr. Schindel was born in Plymouth county and resided here his entire life.

He was born in a cabin near Merrill, Feb. 10, 1860. His parents, Peter Schindel and Mary Schneider, were married in Sioux City and moved to Plymouth county, where they founded their farm.

Last year as Iowa observed its Centennial Celebration, Plymouth county paid honor to Mr. Schindel, who was recognized as the person who had resided in Plymouth county for the greatest number of years. In recounting Mr. Schindel’s life, members of his family related the following story, which is reprinted from the LeMars Sentinel of Sept. 17, 1946.

As far as we can learn, Jake J. Schindel of Merrill, has resided longer in Plymouth county than anyone else.

He was born in a cabin near the Floyd River, not far from Melbourne, Feb. 10, 1860, and has lived in Plymouth county every since. His parents, Peter Schindel and Mary Schneider, were married in Sioux City.

His mother used to tell her children that when she came to Sioux City with her mother and five brothers, her mother asked a man that they met, “How much father will we have to go to get to Sioux City?” The man replied, “This is Sioux City.” It consisted of fourteen small homes, a grocery store and a saw-mill.

Mr. Schindel’s grandmother had come to Sioux City on the recommendation of her son, Phillip Schneider, who had come to Sioux City earlier.

For a home they built a long shed from stock boards running up and down and curtained it, dividing it in to three compartments, one for the Schindels, one for the Schneiders and the third for a family named Smith, each family having one room.

Jake was the oldest of nine children raised by his parents. Three others died in infancy.

All his brothers and sisters are still living except one brother, Peter, who passed away in California. His brothers are: Will of Sioux City, Henry of Merrill, Charles of Grand Junction, Colo., and John of Sheldon, Iowa; his sisters are, Mrs. Jake Berner, Mrs. Henry Nigg and Mrs. Mary Schrader, all of Merrill.

Their parents built their first cabin on the banks of the Floyd River where wood and water were easily obtained, but this site proved unsatisfactory because of seasonable floods, which necessitated the fleeing to higher ground for safety. Once when they returned, the young mother told of finding her homemade potato masher floating in water in the center of the room. This masher is still in the family.

They therefore decided to move to higher ground and he purchased the farm on which these children grew up from the railroad company, paying $1.50 an acre. This is the farm now owned by Chas. Riley on Highway 75 south of Merrill.

Here he built a one-room cabin 16x20 feet and later added another room from lumber brought from Sioux City, where he earned extra money by working in the saw mill. Here in spite of a large family and only two rooms, they made room for the shoe-maker to come to this territory, Louis Weinheimer, father of Henry Weinheimer, and for about a year he made and repaired shoes for the early pioneers.

The children had to walk two and one-half miles to the first school. To get there they had to cross the Floyd River. The bridge over which they and the Philip Schneiders crossed was made by throwing some logs across the Floyd and cover the same with brush and straw. This always washed away every time the river was overflowed, giving the children a nice vacation. Although often visited by the Indians, they were never harmed. The Indians often asked for and received a chicken or a loaf of bread.

Jake Schindel married Lizzie Nigg on Dec. 25, 1884. They are the parents of five children: the three sons are Allen, Harry and Irvin all of Merrill; and two daughters are Mrs. Oscar Larson (Justina) of Odebolt, Iowa, and Mrs. Rosa Meehan of Ogden, Ia. Both Mr. and Mrs. Schindel have been in feeble health. Both have always lived in Plymouth county. Mrs. Schindel was born and lived on the same farm, the one on which Melbourne is located, until they retired 32 years ago. Their son, Allen, still lives on this farm.

After his marriage Mr. Schindel rented land for a time and later purchased 146 acres which he increased to 308 acres. This he farmed and engaged in stock raising until 1912, when he retired from active duty of farm work.

Mr. Schindel always was interested in local affairs and was for nine years township clerk and later township treasurer and served on the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors for several years.~end of story from 1946 Sentinel

Funeral services were held at the Melbourne Evangelical United Brethren Church this Thursday at 2 p.m. Rev. W.A. Dumke was in charge of the services and interment was in the cemetery there.

~Source: The Hinton Progress, Thursday, Jan. 23, 1947


Plymouth Obituaries maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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