Pike Township Family Stories

Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, page 226
By Nell Schmitt

         George Schmitt, christened Johann George Schmitt, was born in Bonsweiler, Germany, on 31 May 1836. He was the oldest son and second child of Johann Peter Schmidt and Elizabeth Katherine Spilger. Note that Schmidt is spelled with two “ts” in Iowa. The Schmidt family history was obtained in Hesse Dormstadt archives.
         Seeking better opportunities after his discharge from the German Army in March, 1854, George left his homeland in May of that year and arrived in the U.S.A. thirty-two days later. He settled near Buffalo Prairie, Illinois, where he immediately found work. When he had earned enough money he sent for his parents, four brothers and sister, Anna. They settled in Rock Island county, Illinois, near Buffalo Prairie.
         In January 1865 they bought 160 acres of land three miles west of Nichols, in Muscatine county for $6 an acre. They cleared land, built a small house and plowed the fields. Seven teams of oxen were needed to pull the sod-breaking plow. The lumber for the home was purchased in Muscatine and brought to the site by oxen. Because the plowed sod had to lay and rot for a year before it could be worked for planting, they returned to Buffalo Prairie and worked land they had rented for the remainder of that year.
         In the spring of 1866, the family returned to their new home which they had built the year before. This house, with several additions and many remodelings is still standing today [1984]. In 1982 it was moved from the original site on the Herbert Schmitt farm to the James Dickess farm 1 ˝ mile east of Nichols.
         George and Eva farmed one hundred sixty acres west of Nichols for approximately forty-six years. The home farm was sold to their son, Louis, and they moved to Nichols. After the death of Eva in 1916, George returned to the farm and made his home with his son, Louis, and family until his death in 1925.
         They were the parents of ten children. Adam Schmitt (1865-1925) married Katherine Schuessler, no family; Katie Schmitt (1867-1954) married Ulysses Grant Hollenbeck, six children, Rose Hollenbeck, Lillian Hollenbeck, George Hollenbeck, Nellie Hollenbeck, Arthur Hollenbeck and Albert Hollenbeck; Anna Schmitt (1871-1909) married Walter Hollenbeck, seven children, Clarence Hollenbeck, Emma Hollenbeck, Elmer Hollenbeck, Walter Hollenbeck, Frank Hollenbeck, Earl Hollenbeck and Mary Hollenbeck; George Schmitt (1869-1961) married Margaretha R. Meyer, five children, Elsie Schmitt, Carrie Schmitt, Laura Schmitt, Lloyd Schmitt and Loren Schmitt; Sarah Schmitt (1873-1948) married Philip Lenz, six children, Everett Lenz, Ada Lenz, Edward Lenz, Harry Lenz, Edna Lenz and Herbert Lenz; Ella Schmitt (1876-1956) married Peter Lenz, three children, Frieda Lenz, Elsie Lenz and Vernon Lenz; John Schmitt (1878- 1967) married Matilda M. Meesz, no family; William Schmitt (1881-1882); Nicholas Schmitt (1883-1983) married Pauline “Lena” Hunt, four children, George Schmitt, Marie Schmitt, Albert Schmitt and Harold Schmitt; Louis Schmitt (1885-1946) married Natalie “Netty” Wagschal, three children, Herbert Schmitt, Gladys Schmitt and Ralph Schmitt.

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Page created December 18, 2010 by Lynn McCleary