In the Summer of 1913 my great-grand-uncle Louis Schmidt or his father Wilhelm decided to have a professional photographer take some photos of the Schmidt home and family. I’ve managed to accumulate several of the photos taken that day and I thought I’d post them all together here. This is such a bitter-sweet set of photos for me because only a few weeks later, on 24 Aug 1913, George Kramer would be shot by a gun set in Wilhelm Schmidt’s apple orchard, and the family would never be the same after that. These photos capture the family just as it reached its power and stride, right before it would be tested by having its patriarch sent to prison for five years.
The photos were taken at the Schmidt farmhouse on Highway 51, which was called Grand Avenue at the time, in Weston, Wisconsin. Today the land is part of the village of Rothschild, but the home itself was demolished to make room for a subdivision after falling into disrepair.
The farm was along Highway 51 between what is now Schmidt Avenue and Becker Street. The large, beautiful home was built in 1909 by Wilhelm Schmidt – the foundation was dug May 1st of that year – and cost about $1,400 to build. Wilhelm and Ottelia lived there with their family until about the time these photos were taken when they moved further north up Grand Avenue and built a home there which still stands at 1127 Grand Avenue.
The first photo shows, l to r: Martha Radtke Schmidt, Ottelia Zierke Schmidt holding Mable Schmidt (Edwin and Olga’s first child) and Helen Schmidt (Louis and Martha’s first child), Olga Hanson Schmidt, Wilhelm, Edwin, Louis, Albert, & Billy Schmidt. Courtesy of Jayne Schmidt Robinson.
(l to r): Wilhelm Schmidt, Ottelia Zierke Schmidt, Billy Schmidt, Albert Schmidt, Louis Schmidt, unknown girl (servant?), Martha Radtke, unknown man (farm hand?), Edwin Schmidt, Olga Hanson Schmidt. Courtesy of Jayne Schmidt Robinson.
Left to right: Wilhelm, Albert, Edwin Schmidt with Mabel Schmidt in front of him, Olga Hanson Schmidt, Ottelia Zierke Schmidt, Martha Radtke Schmidt, Louis Schmidt holding Helen Schmidt, Billy Schmidt. Courtesy of Jayne Schmidt Robinson.
l to r: Edwin Schmidt, Albert Schmidt, Ottelia Zierke Schmidt holding Mabel Schmidt, Olga Hanson Schmidt, Martha Radtke holding Helen Schmidt, Louis, Wilhelm, and Billy Schmidt. Courtesy of Norma Wendorf Bandock.
L to r: Edwin, Albert, Billy, Martha (holding Helen), Olga (holding Mabel), Louis, Ottelia, Wilhelm. From the archives of Lloyd and Norma Krueger.