Friedrich Schmid Church Records, 1833-1875

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Friedrich Schmid Church Records, 1833-1875

The materials in this Deep Blue collection are part of a larger body of archives held by the Bentley Historical Library related to Friedrich Schmid and Lutheran churches in the Ann Arbor area. For a more complete index to such materials, please consult the following online finding aids:

In addition to various published materials on Schmid and his work available at the Bentley Historical Library, researchers may also be interested in:

Please contact the library's division of Reference and Access Services for more information.

Friedrich Schmid was a pioneering clergyman, regarded as the first Lutheran pastor in Michigan. He arrived in Michigan from Germany in 1833 and had organized the first Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in the state by November of that year. Over the next forty years he helped organize some 20 churches in southeastern Michigan and founded and served as the first president of the Michigan Synod. Materials in this online collection include digitized copies of registers of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and general information about families in the congregations of Salem Lutheran Church and Zion Lutheran Church (along with its precursor organization, Bethlehem Church).

Friedrich Schmid (sometimes identified as Frederick) was born on September 6, 1807 in Germany and was ordained a Lutheran minister on April 10, 1833 upon completion of his studies at the Basel Mission House. German immigrants in Washtenaw County had previously requested a pastor from the Basel Mission Society and so Schmid was sent to America, arriving in Ann Arbor on August 20, 1833 and preaching his first sermon the same week. By November 3 he had established the territory's first Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Scio Township (which later became Salem Lutheran Church). As the congregation grew, the original log cabin church was replaced by a frame building, partially funded by supporters in Stuttgart, Germany. Schmid married Louise Mann, a fellow immigrant from Germany, on September 4, 1834 and the couple had six sons and six daughters.

Identified as the first German Lutheran pastor in Michigan, Schmid traveled around the territory (and then state) extensively, organizing congregations and founding 20 churches in Monroe, Ypsilanti, Plymouth, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Sebewaing and other places. Although Schmid's work took him across the state and led him to found the Michigan Synod and serve as its president, he retained a strong interest in the Lutheran community around Ann Arbor. He resigned as pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in 1867, but continued as Pastor of Bethlehem Church in Ann Arbor until 1871. The question of a new location for the Bethlehem Church split the congregation in 1875. A number of the members, including Reverend Schmid, withdrew from the Bethlehem Church and organized the Zion Lutheran Church. Schmid died in Ann Arbor on August 30, 1883, a week shy of his seventy-sixth birthday; he was was survived by Louise, who passed away on March 10, 1899.

Please note:

Copyright has not been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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