From Towns and Communities of Denton County, compiled by Emily Fowler and Alma Lain Chambers
Courtesy Emily Fowler Public Library

Adventist Community of Northwest Denton County and Southwest Cooke County
By Mrs. Henry Schmidt, Jr.

This community with its church and school is still active and an important part of northwest Denton County.

August Schmidt, a blacksmith for the Hamburg Lines, crossed the Atlantic several times in the 1800s. In about 1885, he left the company and his home in Hamburg, Germany, and came to Texas, settling first at Hutto, Texas. His son, Henry Schmidt, Sr., who is author of these memoirs, was about 14 years old when they lived at Hutto. He helped his father on the land he had bought (100 acres).

A few years later, Henry Schmidt married Hulda Krueger, who had emigrated with her family from Prussia, earlier. These people were Lutherans in religion, but in 1898 under the preaching of Pastor Lorenz Henry, Henry and Hulda Schmidt became 7th Day Adventists. He says, “He threw away his tobacco, killed his last hog and ceased hard drinking.”

In the early 1900s, seeking expansion for their occupation of farming, Henry and Hulda Schmidt with their family of 8 children rented a railway car, loaded all their earthly belongings and headed for Cooke County, Texas. They bought 357 acres of land from Tom Shirley at $35.00 per acre. His brother-in-law, Albert Belz, and his family of 8 children came with the Schmidts and other relatives followed. Henry Schmidt established this community of thrifty farmers, which is practically owned entirely by their children and grandchildren today. He with Albert Belz was leader of the community.

Other relatives, who also came by rail from central Texas, were Henry Hassenpflug with 14 children, William Hassenpflug with 6, Julius Krueger, William Krueger, Martin Sultzer with their families and a few other families also made the move at the suggestion of the leader, Henry Schmidt. All bought large acreage in this same community.

These people, following the example of their relatives of early Texas and by their own nature, set about building a church and school as the first necessity for their community. This school and church was built in 1903 at a cost of $2,000.00.

In 1907, the church and school was demolished by a cyclone but was rebuilt the same year. It has remained in operation every year since and is financed by the parents and the organized church. The curriculum meets that of all public schools for the grades taught with the addition of Bible study.

This community is still active and the land is still in the hands of descendants of the original settlers. The school has produced teachers, 5
preachers and missionaries with the added college work of the Adventist Church at Keene, Texas, a unique and well-known college and town, all inhabitants of which are of the Adventist faith. These settlers in this community were all farmers and tillers of the soil.

Many of their offspring follow the same course and are the best farmers in the county, others have chosen other vocations. They, as a rule, live off the soil, kill and cure their own meat, make their clothes, make lye soap, as they did in the days of the horse and buggy. Their doctors came in the same way in the early days. They were mostly Dr. Rice and Dr. Lain of Sanger, Texas.