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Frederick Schmeichel

Furniture maker, businessman

-- from History of West Virginia, Old and New. Vol. II. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1923. 386.

FREDERICK SCHMEICHEL, who is now living retired after many years of active association with business and civic interests in the City of Wheeling, is a venerable and honored citizen who specially merits recognition in this work.

Mr. Schmeichel was born in Graudenz in West Prussia, on the 9th of April, 1841, and is a son of Michael and Emelia (Werner) Schmeichel, both of whom passed their entire lives in that section of the German Empire, the father having been a wagonmaker by trade but having devoted the major part of his active life to farm industry. The parents were earnest communicants of the Lutheran Church.

After leaving school Frederick Schmeichel served a thorough apprenticeship to the cabinetmaker's trade, in which he became a skilled workman. On the 3rd of March, 1870, about one month prior to his twenty-ninth birthday anniversary, he set forth for the voyage to the United States, the trip being made on a steam vessel that arrived in the port of New York City fourteen days later. From the national metropolis he came forthwith to Wheeling, where he worked a few months at his trade, in the making of office furniture and bar fixtures, after which he was engaged in the building of staircases and in carpenter work until 1873, when he formed a partnership with Mr. Behrens and opened a small furniture store in a virtual shanty on Market Street. In the early period he and his partner manufactured by hand most of the furniture here sold, and the partnership continued until the death of Mr. Behrens in 1883, when he became sole owner of the business, which continuously expanded in scope and importance, with the result that he tore down one building after another to provide more ample accommodations, a larger building being erected each time. He continued the enterprise at the original location until 1905, when he erected on Market Street, near Twenty-third Street, the substantial and modern four-story brick building which he still owns and in which the business is continued under the active management of his son, Edward U., the entire building being utilized for the business. Mr. Schmeichel continued the enterprise in an individual way until 1896, when he admitted his son Fred C., to partnership, under the title of F. Schmeichel & Son Company, and the business is owned exclusively by members of the family. Mr. Schmeichel continues as president of the company, of which his wife is vice president, and of which the son Edward, is secretary and manager. The house is now the oldest of its kind in Wheeling. Mr. Schmeichel is financially interested also in other business enterprises in his home city, though he is now retired from active executive association with business and passes the most of his time in his attractive home at 2137 Chapline Street. He is a stanch republican, is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and the Improved Order of Red Men, and he and his wife are devout and representative members of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, of which he has served as president and vice president, and of the Board of Directors of which he is now an honored member.

At Wheeling, November 27, 1873, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Schmeichel to Miss Louisa Ulrich, who was born in the Province of Hanover, Germany, February 24, 1851, a daughter of Heinrich Christian and Ludowika (Brandt) Ulrich, both likewise natives of the Province of Hanover, and both of whom passed their entire lives in Germany, where the father was a veterinary surgeon in the service of the Government for many years. Concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Schmeichel the following brief data is available: Fred C., who is engaged in the furniture business at Morgantown, is individually mentioned on other pages; Ludowicka, who was born July 12, 1876, remains at the parental home; Harry, born August 4, 1878, is associated with the furniture business founded by his father. the maiden name of his wife having been Jennie Vaas, and four children having been born to them, Caroline, Marie (died in infancy), Harry, Jr., and Eugene; Arthur, born February 11, 1880, married Anna McConahey, and they have one daughter, Leota; Marie, who was born June 25, 1883, is the wife of Curtis Lockard, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Edward, born June 25, 1886, is manager of the store of F. Schmeichel & Son Company, as already noted, he having married Emma Guth, and their one child being Edward, Jr.; Oscar, born June 14, 1888, and likewise connected with the family business at Wheeling, married Emelia Bishop; and Albert, who was born August 5, 1891, died in infancy.

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