Schmidt, C. B. (Carl Bernhard) (1843-1921?)
C. B. (Carl Bernhard) Schmidt, who because of his activities as land agent for the Santa Fe in promoting the Russian Mennonite immigration to Kansas became known as "the Moses of the Mennonites," was born 7 September 1843, in Dippoldiswalde, Saxony, Germany. In 1863 he became foreign correspondent in a commercial house at Hamburg. In 1864 he went to America, living in St. Louis until he came to Kansas in 1868. He became a grocer in Lawrence, later also becoming an implement salesman. As a correspondent for several German newspapers he established contact with people who wished to migrate to America.
In 1873 Schmidt began his service for the Santa Fe. Through his contacts with Cornelius Jansen, the Mennonite Board of Guardians, and individual leaders, Schmidt influenced thousands of the Mennonites to settle in Kansas, concluding the sale of 100,000 acres of land in October 1874. In 1875 he went to Russia to persuade more Mennonites to come to Kansas. He served the Santa Fe until most of the railroad land was sold. He became personally acquainted with the Mennonite leaders; the files of David Goerz, Christian Krehbiel, and others in the Mennonite Library and Archives (North Newton, Kansas) contain extensive correspondence signed by C. B. Schmidt.
After dissolving his association with the Santa Fe Schmidt managed the Equitable Trust Company in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1880 he set up the London office of the Santa Fe. In 1895 he went to Pueblo, Colorado as manager of the Suburban Land and Investment Company and director of the Bessemer irrigation ditch. Later he became commissioner of immigration of the Rock Island Lines, and 1914-16 he was a colonization agent of the Wyoming Development Company, with offices in Chicago. He again carried on an extensive correspondence with Mennonites, particularly H. P. Krehbiel, in an endeavor to sell lands in the area of Wheatland, Wyoming.
Board of Guardians File, H. P. Krehbiel Collection, Mennonite Library and Archives (North Newton, Kansas).
"Reminiscences of Foreign Immigration Work for Kansas." Kansas State Historical Collection 9 (1905-6).
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 465-466. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Schmidt, John F. "Schmidt, C. B. (Carl Bernhard) (1843-1921?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S35523.html.
APA style: Schmidt, John F. (1959). Schmidt, C. B. (Carl Bernhard) (1843-1921?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S35523.html.