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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Edward L. Schmidt

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 141-142 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Behind every large business organization lies the energy, the vision, the intelligent direction and the determination of some one man, and when such an organizaiton has maintained an unblemished record of honorable dealing, that record is but the reflection of the character and integrity of the man. Such is the history of the large foundry in Amsterdam, which owes its inception to the enterprising spirit of Edward L. Schmidt and its development to his administrative powers and keen sagacity. He was born in Newark, New York, October 10, 1856, a son of John M. and Elizabeth Schmidt, the former a native of Germany and the latter an Alsatian. In 1857 they settled in Amsterdam and for many years the father conducted meat markets in the city. He died in 1897. As one of the pioneer business men of Amsterdam he enjoyed a wide acquaintance and his demise was deeply regretted by a large circle of stanch friends, as well as by the members of his family. He was a loyal, patriotic citizen and proved his devotion to his country by his gallant defense of the Union cause, serving from 1862 until the close of the Civil war in 1865.

The public schools of Amsterdam afforded Edward L. Schmidt his educational opportunities and in 1872 he entered the employ of Ward, Perkins & Company of Amsterdam, under whom he learned the moulder's trade, completing his apprenticeship in 1875. He worked as a journeyman for several years and in 1884 purchased a half interest in the above mentioned business, which he conducted in partnership with John W. Perkins until the latter's death in 1897. Mr. Schmidt continued the business alone until 1915, when it was purchased by the Perkins estate. He then opened a foundry and machine shop in Amsterdam, organizing the Edward L. Schmidt Company, of which he has since been the executive head. His plant, situated at Nos. 27-29 Cedar street, is well equipped for work of this character and under his able guidance the business has grown rapidly, ranking with the largest of the kind in the city.

On January 24, 1880, Mr. Schmidt was married to Miss Luemma Rivenburg, a daughter of John B. Rivenburg of Amsterdam. Mrs. Schmidt passed away on November 24, 1911. She had become the mother of two daughters: Dora Jane, who was born April 1, 1882, and died October 14, 1888; and Elizabeth, who was born February 17, 1888, and died in infancy. On December 13, 1913, Mr. Schmidt was again married, his second wife being Louisa J. Waldron, daughter of John C. and Esther Miller of this city. Mrs. Louisa Schmidt died December 6, 1922.

While his interest centers in his business Mr. Schmidt has never allowed it to monopolize his attention, and during the sessions of 1896 and 1897 he was a member of the state assembly, using his influence to secure the passage of much beneficial legislation. He is a republican in his political views and keeps well informed on matters of vital significance to the nation. He belongs to the Masonic order and is one of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Mr. Schmidt is also an Elk, and the Amsterdam board of trade likewise numbers him among its valued members. A man of forceful personality and broad experience, he has adopted as the guide-posts of his life those principles which everywhere excite admiration and respect and constitute the basis of all honorable and desirable prosperity.

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