Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wedding Wednesday -- Fred B. Schmidt and Matilda Wedel

Fred B. Schmidt and Matilda Wedel are my great grandparents. Obituaries and other family records list their marriage as 1895 but, according to the Barton County, Kansas, courthouse records, they were married 30 December 1896 by the Justice of the Peace in Great Bend, Kansas. 
This picture is their wedding portrait.

Both Fred and Matilda's families were of Russian Mennonite background. Their families left the Ukraine area of Russia during the great Mennonite migration of the late 1870's. Fred was born in 1874 in Karlswalde, Russia to Benjamin Schmidt and Catharina Siebert. His family immigrated to North America in 1875. Matilda was born in Kansas in 1878 to David Wedel and Justina Decker who immigrated in 1874. They both grew up in the Pawnee Rock area of Barton County.

Fred and Matilda lived and farmed in Barton County for the first years of their marriage and then in the spring of 1910, they moved to Kiowa County. They moved their family of seven children in a lumber wagon to their new home. The moved could not be made in a day so they stopped for the night in Lewis, Kansas and stayed in a hotel. This was a new experience for them all  --  to sleep in a hotel and eat in a restaurant.

The cattle and furniture were moved by rail to Greensburg. They all lived in the granary while a house was being built and moved into the new house just before harvest. After they moved to Kiowa County, they had two more daughters.

They were a typical farm family for the era. They raised wheat, corn, barley, oats, potatoes, hogs, chickens, ducks, geese and cattle. They planted big gardens and had their own milk, cream, butter and eggs. They also butchered their own hogs. Butchering days were always exciting. Neighbors would help each other butcher and it was a big day for everyone.

The Fred B. Schmidt Farm in Kiowa County.

Fred and Matilda lived the remainder of their lives in the Greensburg, Kiowa County area of Kansas. In the 1930's, Fred encouraged his family to start a Benjamin and Catharina Schmidt reunion. It is still an annual event in Greensburg.

Matilda died in 1944 and Fred in 1955. They are both buried in Dundee Valley Cemetery, Dundee, Kansas.


SOURCES: Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, Inc., 2006. Original data: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1800-1882. Micropublication M425. RG036. Rolls # 1-108. National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

Dundee Valley Cemetery (Barton County, Kansas; section 16, township 20S, range 14W). Grave markers.

Hiebert, Clarence, compiler. Brothers in Deed to Brothers in Need. Newton, Kansas: Faith and Life Press, 1974.

Kansas. Barton County. "Marriage Records." Records Dept., Barton County Courthouse, Great Bend, Kansas.

Schmidt, Pearl and Grace Unruh. "Family of Fred B. Schmidt." Personal memories. Copy in possession of author.


  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers.

    Regards. Grant

  2. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  3. Welcome to Geneabloggers. This is my first visit to your blog. Love the title! In my book you also get high points for listing your sources!

  4. Thank you to everyone who read this and commented and welcomed me! I am excited to be a part of the community. So many interesting stories to read out there!

  5. Isn't it interesting when different sources will give you different dates for an event? I imagine the courthouse marriage record is the keeper. Or maybe the had a 'church' type wedding before legalizing in the courthouse? We had that happen with one of our immigrant ancestors.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

    1. I think you are right, Theresa. Her father died and her mother remarried and moved away. The courthouse marriage is right after her 18th birthday. The church records left the date of marriage blank. All this leads me to believe they may have been married in the church but had to wait until her birthday to make it legal with the county. So many stories we will never know!