The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Henry Schmidt of El Monte California

Among the early pioneers of El Monte is the name of Henry Schmidt. Being the “Village Smithy”, he was well known and had an important part in the building of the community in its early stages.

He was born in 1842, in Luxenburg, France. After practicing his trade as a blacksmith throughout Europe for a number of years, he came to the United States in 1869. Immediately following his arrival in this country, he came directly to California, settling in the same year in El Monte. He established a blacksmith shop on Main Street, near the present location of the El Monte Furniture Company, and engaged profitably at his trade until 1907, only a year before his death.

Mr. Schmidt was married in 1871 to Miss Eliza Slack, daughter of William Slack whose parents were natives of England, coming to the United States in 1848. Two years later he moved to California, settling in El Monte. A sketch of his life is found elsewhere in this volume.

To Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt were born five children: Eliza Jane (Mrs. Jackson Freer) of El Monte; Victoria, (Mrs. Thomas Freer) of El Monte; Frank, of Tulare; Maggie (Mrs. D. Chambers) of Los Angeles; and Camilla, now deceased. Mrs. Schmidt’s death occurred in 1927.

Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.

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