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"Aother Pioneer Has Crossed The Divide"

(from the Dodge City Journal, May 5, 1911)

The sudden death of Adam Schmidt, pioneer blacksmith, Monday morning [May 1, 1911] was indeed a shock in this community.

     Mr. Schmidt was taken ill last November, and for a time his many friends feared that his life race was run, but that rugged constitution which had for so many years kept him free from ailment of any kind would not [let him] down.

     And when his cheery "Do you live here?" was again heard on the streets there was the hope that this good man would yet have many years of happy life.

     Saturday afternoon Mr. Schmidt was down town as usual greeting his friends, and said that he was feeling unusually well.

     But towards evening he was stricken with the same complaint that brought him low in the winter, and gradually he became weaker, till he fell into that sleep that knows no waking.

     Sunday night word was sent to this son Louis, in LaJunta to come home at once and Mr. Schmidt was pleased to see and recognize him when he arrived. Sunday afternoon, he was talking with his son Heinrich and asked to be propped up on the pillow. The young man was complying with his wish when he found that sick man had become unconscious. Seemingly dropping into a sound sleep, he rested quietly until he passed away Monday morning at 7 o'clock.

     Adam Schmidt was born in Bavaria, Germany, December 16, 1840, and died at his home in Dodge City, Kansas, May [1], 1911, aged 70 years, 4 months and 15 days. In early life he was confirmed a member of the German Lutheran church. To this faith he always adhered.

     He came to St. Louis, Mo., with his parents when a boy of 12. Six months later both of his parents died of the plague the same week.

     In 1861, when 21 years of age he enlisted in Company B., 1st Missouri light artillery. Only once it is said did he disobey orders. The Union forces were hard pressed and were preparing for a retreat. Artilleryman Schmidt was ordered to bury the mortars, that they might not fall into the hands of the enemy. Saluting his captain, the German fighter said, "I did not enlist to bury the Union." For this refusal he was taken to the guard house.

     Returning to St. Louis after the war had ended, Mr. Schmidt learned the blacksmith's trade. And a few years later, following Horace Greeley's advice he came west, to grow up with the country. Coming first to Abilene, then following the cattle trail to Ellsworth, Hays City and to Dodge City in 1874. Here he opened a blacksmith shop and faithfully worked at this trade until four years ago, when he retired from active business life.

     During the uprising in Italy when Garibaldi was fighting for freedom, Adam Schmidt was one [of] that liberator's greatest champions. So strongly did he champion the cause and his hero, that he was nicknamed "Garibaldi" later abbreviated to "Gari" [aka Gerry] and by many today he was known by no other name.

     January 6, 1881, he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Berg. To this union were born three children, two boys, Louis and "Heiney" [sic] and a daughter Elma, who with the mother, survive.

     A brother, Martin Schmidt, of Gilliam, Mo., came to the funeral. Two sisters, Mrs. Kate Schad, of St. Louis, and Mrs. Barbara Ernest of Farino, Ill., were unable to come.

     Relatives who came from a distance to attend the funeral were: Mrs. E.E. Evans, Walsenburg, Colo., Mrs. G.D. Gannon, Kansas City, Mo., Mr. and Mrs. Fred Berg and Miss Lena Berg, of Pratt, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Baker, of Stafford and Mrs. Warren Winterburn, of LaJunta, Colo.

     The funeral was held from his late residence Wednesday afternoon [May 3] at 2 o'clock. Rev. Chas. Maltas, of the Episcopal church conducted the service. The Episcopal choir, Mrs. W.J. Fitzgerald, Mrs. John Gilbert, Mrs. J.H. Ripple, Harry Eash and J.P. English rendered the music.

     The Old Guard, the pioneers of '72 and '74, the host of friends in attendance and the wealth of flowers, mute tributes, attested the friendship in which Mr. Schmidt was held.

(Ford County Historical Society, Inc.)

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