The Schroeder Family of North Township
|The Robert Schroeder Family|
Here's a little history (ok, a lot of history) on the family who developed our farm:
Robert Schroeder, Sr. was born in Dearborn County, Indiana on October 27, 1815 to Peter and Nancy Lyons Schroeder. This was one year prior to Indiana being granted statehood. Peter was born in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania on November 11, 1786 to Nicholas and ____ Schroeder. Peter’s parents had emigrated from Prussia in 1785 and settled in Schuylkill County, PA. Nicholas was born in Prussia in 1745 and died in 1819 in Virginia. He was a Lutheran minister who moved briefly to Dearborn County, Indiana before returning to Virginia. They had two children: Peter and John.
Peter Schroeder married Nancy Lyons in Dearborn County, Indiana in 1812. Nancy’s parents emigrated from England, first settling in Virginia then moving to Indiana. Peter and Nancy Schroeder had seven children: Susanna, Robert, Eliza (Cummins), Peter, Jessee, John, and Joel. They moved to Rush county in 1820, then to Clinton County in 1831. Eliza (1817-1884) married David Cummins in Clinton County; they moved to Marshall County in October, 1834. David Cummins was described as one of the oldest citizens of North Township, having always lived in sight of where he first located (McDonald, 1881). The Cummins lived just northeast of the Schroeders, on the first road north of the Schroeder Farmstead. Jessee Schroeder moved to Iowa during the early 1830s, but relocated to Marshall County with his wife, Emily, in 1833, settling along the Michigan Road, but then after 1860 moved to a farm in Polk Township.
Peter Schroeder and Robert Schroeder came to the area that would become Marshall County first in 1832 for exploration purposes. The two dug ginseng and gathered cranberries to sell to markets in Logansport and Lafayette (History of Indiana, Marshall County Edition, Vol. 2, 1890). The two spent a few months in the area then returned to Clinton County. Robert was so pleased with the area that he returned in September, 1833, and settled near the location of the farmstead; he resided in the county for the remainder of his life. When Robert settled in the county there were only two white families living in the county: Samuel Taber (his son, Cyrus, was the first white child born in the county on June, 26, 1833), and Charles Ousterhaut. Both families settled in the spring of 1832 and lived south of Plymouth. Upon arriving in the county Robert was employed as a superintendent of construction by contractors opening the Michigan Road through Plymouth and some distance north and south of the town; he also assisted in constructing the first bridge across the Yellow River in Plymouth (McDonald, 1881 & 1908). The 1876 Illustrated Atlas states that Robert and Jesse Schroeder (brothers) settled along the line of the Michigan Road in 1832 and were the only white inhabitants in the area until 1835 when the remainder of the lands was open for settlement.
|Siblings, c. 1910, prior to dredging Brush Creek|
In 1834 Robert was joined by the remainder of his father’s family. Peter located on Michigan Road lands a three miles north of Plymouth. This appears to be on Section 9 of Michigan Road lands in North Township, in the vicinity or partly located on the original Robert Schroeder Farmstead. The Hoosier Homestead awarded to the Schroeder Farmstead in 1977 stated that the farm had been in the family since 1833, indicating a portion of it had been the land on which Robert Sr. settled when he first came to the county (Farmers Exchange, June 17, 1977). A quit claim suit in 1935 names Peter Schroeder (first, January 17, 1837) and successive owners of the “south part of the north half of the northwest fractional quarter of Section 9 of Michigan Road Lands by Galeman Dexter. This would appear to be on the east side of Michigan Road, and the south side of 5B Road, an area where it is reported that Peter and Robert operated a cooper shop in the mid 1830s (Marshall County Genealogical Society Library Links, Summer 2011). Peter Schroeder (Sr.) was present at the organization of the county in 1836, being appointed one of two first associate judges when the first term of court was organized in October, 1836 (1876 Illustrated Atlas); he continued in that role until 1843. Peter was also listed in estry papers in 1838, having found a cow on his property. Nancy Lyons Schroeder died in 1846 and was buried at Fairmount Cemetery, just north of the farmstead along the Michigan Road. Peter (Sr.) died on November 15, 1868 and was also buried at Fairmount Cemetery (Marshall County Republican, Vol. 13, November 26, 1868). Their son Joel, aged 15 years, 8 months, and 26 days, died on November 20, 1840 and was also buried at the Fairmount Cemetery. This would have been one of the earliest interments at the cemetery.
Robert, in conjunction with Mr. Packard, erected the first sawmill in the county on Pine Creek in what would become Polk Township in 1835, as well as a log hut in which he resided during that time. Robert Schroeder’s first home was described as a log cabin that had been built on what was the Frank Martin farm in the 1920s; this is located in the northwest corner of the intersection at Black Bridges (LaPaz: First 100 years). The saw mill was abandoned. Robert returned to central Indiana to marry Catherine Driskill on February 1, 1836 in Tippecanoe County. Catherine was born on January 28, 1817 to William and Elizabeth Driskill in Clinton County, Ohio. Robert became the North Township Constable in 1837 and held the office of County Commissioner from 1849-1851. In 1840 both Robert and Peter Schroeder are listed as heads of households in Marshall County. And in 1843 both are listed under a tax duplicates list for North Township.
Robert and Catherine were the parents of nine children, three of whom died in infancy. The children who grew to maturity are John (b. 1838), Caroline (Thompson) (b. 1841), Mary (b. 1844), Susanna (Byers), Catherine (Trowbridge) (b. 1852), and Robert Jr. (b. 1860). Two children who bore their father’s parents’ names, Peter and Nancy, died December 26, 1857 (age 1 year, 7 months, and 11 days) and November 16, 1850 (age 1 year, 8 months, and 8 days) respectively. They are buried next to each other at the Fairmount Cemetery. The name of the third child, its’ death and burial location is unknown, but likely it occurred prior to 1850, and likely it was buried at Fairmount.
In the 1850 census Robert is listed as a farmer and head of household in North Township. His wife, Catherine, and children John (12), Caroline (9), Mary, Susana, and Nancy are also listed. John was called the second white child born in the county in a news article reporting his death in 1925 (Plymouth Pilot, November 3, 1925); his birth would have been in 1838 and the article stated that his family had settled near Burns Bridge. Robert, along with his brother John and Mr. Woodward (also from the area) left for California to mine for gold in 1852; they returned in 1855. The same year the Marshall County Agricultural Society was formed “chiefly through the efforts of Robert Schroeder” and two other men (1876 Illustrated Atlas). In 1857 Robert became a Wesleyan Methodist minister and in 1858 he was admitted to the Marshall County Bar. He made a lucrative business of drafting legal documents.
|The house, as it pretty much looks today too|
The 1860 census lists Robert Schroeder Sr. as the head of household in North Township. Catherine, his wife, and children Caroline, Mary, Catherine, Susan, and Robert, Jr. are also listed. From 1860 to 1868 Robert Sr. engaged again in the mill and lumber business. The family moved into their new homestead in 1867; it was located on a parcel containing just over 150 acres. In 1870 the family is listed in the North Township census with children Mary, Catherine, Robert, and grandson Edward who was Mary’s son (born in 1862) and retained the Schroeder name. Farmhands and maid William Wilkinson, Joshua Bryan, and Margaret Middleton, also resided with the family. Robert Sr. was elected Justice of the Peace for North Township in 1874 and held the office for four years. When the Old Settlers’ Society of Marshall County formed in 1878 he was unanimously elected President, since he was the oldest resident in the county at that time. He was also a Notary Public from 1858 into the 1880s.
The 1880 census lists the family with children Mary and Robert Jr. still residing at home, along with grandson Edward. Jane Wade, a maid, was also living with the family. In 1880 Robert Sr. ran for the office of State Representative; he lost by only 331 votes. Robert Sr. was a staunch Republican, having originally aligned himself with the Whig party then gravitating to the Republican Party when the Whig party dissolved. He was also a firm promoter of the Temperance Movement. Robert Sr. drew up a will on November 26, 1886, naming Robert Jr., and Edward, his grandson, at co-executors. The will provided that the entire estate be left to his wife Catherine in the event of his death, with a stipend of $50 annually to Mary as long as she remained unmarried. In the event that Catherine would die first, the entire estate was to be divided equally between Robert Jr. and Edward, and again, provide for the annual stipend to Mary. Robert Sr. indicated that his other children were remembered by advancements he had made.
Their daughter Susanna, who had married Jacob Byers and moved to Iowa, made yearly trips back to the farmstead to visit the family. She struggled with an illness in 1887 and thought a trip to the comforts of her native home would improve her health. She instead died at the Schroeder Homestead on September 12 of that year, with her parents by her bedside. She was buried at Fairmount Cemetery.
The mother, Catherine, died on March 14, 1890. The location of her death was not mentioned in the obituary, but it is assumed she was at the homestead. The obituary complimented Catherine by stating that the “hospitality of the Schroeder Household is known to almost every person in the county”. She left behind her husband, three daughters, two sons, 26 grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. Services were held at the Fairmount United Brethren Church and she was buried at Fairmount Cemetery. Robert Sr. died at his home on Tuesday afternoon of August 7, 1894 after being ill for several weeks, only able to sit in a chair “day and night”. His funeral service was also held at the Fairmount United Brethren Church, and he was buried next to his wife. At the time of his death he was called the oldest settler of Marshall County. Their tombstone is inscribed with “first white settler of Marshall County.”
John Schroeder, the eldest son of Robert Sr., married Mary Abshire (b. 1843) in 1861. They are listed in the 1870 census for North Township with the following children: Milroy (possibly also known as James) (b. 1862), Mary (b. 1865), Sarah (b. 1867), and William (b. 1869). William was a private with company M, 157th, IVI, in the Spanish American War; he died in the war. There are two J. Schroeder residences listed on the 1880 North Township plat map. One contains 80 acres and is immediately south of the Robert Schroeder Sr. farmstead. The other contains 82 acres and is located just west of the Michigan Road, west of the Schroeder farmstead; the latter was owned by Carrie Schroeder in 1908. These could be John, the son, or John the brother to Robert. Both John (presumably the son) and Robert Sr. created a mortgage for the property south of the farmstead in 1876; likely the son built the homestead on that property that appears in the 1880 plat. John, the son, was estranged for his wife for several years prior to his death in 1925. He died at the county home at which he had been a resident since 1919; he was buried at Oakhill Cemetery in Plymouth. Mary died in 1933 and was also buried at Oakhill.
Robert Sr.’s daughter, Catherine Trowbridge, died in 1928 and was also buried at Oakhill Cemetery. Edward, the grandson who inherited an equal half of the estate, constructed a home further east of the homestead in about 1900, on the same side of the road. Edward died in 1919 and was buried at Oakhill; his wife, also named Carrie, died in 1964. Edward and Carrie’s children were E. Naomi (Stoneburner) (b. 1901), Olive R. (Dodson) (b. 1904), and Clarice E. (b. 1906).
After Edward’s death the jointly owned property, owned by his heirs and Robert Jr.’s heirs, was divided. Edward’s heirs received the easternmost 40 acres of the farmstead and the south half of the acreage owned west of the railroad. The remainder went to Robert’s heirs. The division of land, included in the abstract, stated that Robert Jr. and Edward had jointly erected two dwellings and one barn on the farmstead. A verbal agreement between the two men resulted in a general division of the land for farming and a general division of the barn for each to use half. The house occupied by Edward Schroeder was to be removed from the lands that would be divided to Robert Schroeder Jr.’s heirs, and to vacate his half of the barn without doing damage to the barn. If the men jointly erected the existing barn on the property, it likely was constructed during the 1880s. The second dwelling constructed by the men mentioned in the abstract may have been a small farmhand quarters on the property, possibly used by Robert Jr. until his father’s passing when he moved his family into the homestead.
Robert Schroeder Jr. married Carrie Kleckner (b. 1871) on February 2, 1888. They took up residence in the homestead, possibly prior to his parents’ death. They were listed in the 1900 North Township census with their children: Agnes (b. 1891), Veva (Basset), and Lynda (Thomas). By 1910 two other children were listed with them: Mildred (Boggs) and Kenneth (b. 1906). Carrie’s brother, Harry and his wife, Maude Kleckner, and Carrie’s mother, Malinda, were also living with them. They had a number of boarders: Samuel Zile, Otto Dock, Ben Farel, John Anderson, Herbert Espach, Cliff Sanseman, Frank Whitner, John Williamson, George Barber, and George Moslander. A speculative interurban line was being constructed through the Schroeder farmstead during this time and the census states that at least two of these men were working on the “electric road”. The others were denoted with “odd jobs”, possibly farmhands.
Robert Schroeder Jr. died in 1917 and was buried at Oakhill Cemetery. The same year two of his daughters, Lynda and Agnes, moved to South Dakota to teach. Lynda met William Thomas in South Dakota and was married there in 1918. Their only child, Robert, was born there on July 31, 1920. The mother, Carrie, died in 1933 and was buried next to her husband. Their son Kenneth, who remained a bachelor, became the sole resident of the homestead. Kenneth made improvements to the barn in 1926; his initials “KWS” and “1926” are inscribed in the concrete on the west wall of the basement. Agnes, who also remained unmarried, received the homestead from Kenneth in 1938. Kenneth died in 1944 and Agnes died in 1947. Both are buried at Oakhill.