History of Black Hawk County, Iowa
Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
John A. Schmidt, a well-to-do and highly respected farmer, and trustee of Bennington township, Black Hawk County, lives on his handsome farm of 160 acres in section 16. He was born in Rensselaer County, New York, August 3, 1863, and is a son of Frederick and Christiana F. (Weingartner) Schmidt. The father was a native of Berun, and the mother, of Wittenberg, Germany.
Frederick Schmidt and the lady who became his wife came to the United States in 1857, and landed at New York City. Mrs. Schmidt went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she remained for 18 months, and then went to Rensselaer County, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt were married in Rensselaer County, and there engaged in farming in 1862, continuing thus until 1867, when they came to Black Hawk County, Iowa. Here Mr. Schmidt first purchased 80 acres in section 16, Bennington township, which is a part of John A. Schmidt's present property, and built a small dwelling house, measuring 14 by 20 feet, and costing $500. This house was but rudely built, and was unfinished inside, but afforded shelter for many years. He then devoted himself to the cultivation of the land, which at that time was wild prairie. In 1873, Mr. Schmidt purchased 80 acres adjoining his farm. In 1882, Mr. Schmidt purchased another farm of 160 acres in section 9, Bennington township, which was partly improved, and built a barn. In 1888 he erected a homelike dwelling which is still the residence of John A. Schmidt.
In 1891, Mr. Schmidt and his son, the subject of this sketch, set up valuable water works costing $800, and since then they have spent much time and money in improving that property. In October, 1901, Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt removed to Waterloo to spend their declining years in ease and comfort, where he has since lived in retirement. John A. is their only child. Politically, Mr. Schmidt is a Democrat; he is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
John A. Schmidt was three years old when his parents came to Black Hawk County, and he received his education in the public schools of this county. He has always resided on the old homestead, and he and his father have always transacted their business together. He carries on general farming and stock raising, and also does a dairy business. He always keeps on hand several fine draft horses, and raises large numbers of Chester-White hogs and Plymouth Rock chickens. Frederick Schmidt still owns the old homestead place, and John A. also owns 160 acres of valuable land. In politics the latter is a Democrat, and was road supervisor for six years, township clerk for four years, and school treasurer for five years; he is at present serving as trustee. Mr. Schmidt is interested in various other business enterprises and is a stockholder in the First National Bank of Dunkerton, Iowa. Fraternally, he is a member of Black Hawk Lodge, No. 72, I. O. O. F., of Waterloo, Iowa, and Camp No. 2059, of Modern Woodmen of America, of West Waterloo.
On June 17, 1888, Mr. Schmidt was married to Elizabeth Burk, who was born March 18, 1863, in Mount Vernon township, and is a daughter of Henry Burk, a pioneer of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt are the parents of six children, namely: Christiana J., Albert F., Ernest C., Clara A., John F., and Harry C.