Schmidt, Charles Frank (1879–1969)

By: Amy Dennard

Type: Biography

Published: July 1, 1995

Charles Schmidt, educator and author, was born on January 29, 1879, in Gillespie County, Texas, son of Ludwig and Lisetta (Lehmann) Schmidt. He attended elementary school in Gillespie County but never went to high school. Upon oral examination he entered the Sam Houston Normal Institute at Huntsville, Texas, in the fall of 1900. Following his first year at the institute, he began teaching in Falls County, where he remained for three years. It was during this time that he took his first summer session of courses at Baylor University. In 1905 Schmidt graduated from the Sam Houston Normal Institute and was certified to teach. The next fall he entered the University of Texas but only stayed for one session. In the fall of 1906 he was elected the principal of the Waring public schools. And from 1907 to 1913 he taught in Gillespie County public schools. In 1913 he was elected instructor in the Preparatory Department of Blinn Memorial College, where he also served as librarian for five years. In 1918 Schmidt opted for the job of superintendent of the Riesel public schools. From 1916 to 1920 he attended Baylor University during summer sessions in order to obtain his B.A. In 1920 he moved his family back to Brenham, where he filled the position of head of the history department at Blinn. In the following few years, while the college was organized into a junior college, Schmidt retained his position and gained another, that of registrar, for one year. The following year he was appointed dean of the faculty. While holding these offices, he also attended the University of Texas in order to earn his M.A. For his thesis, he translated Viktor Bracht's Texas im Jahre 1848 (Texas in 1848) from German to English. This work was published as a book in 1931. In 1934 the Methodist Church withdrew its support and gave the college to Brenham. When the president of Blinn resigned, the board elected Schmidt as their new president. Under Schmidt's presidency Blinn College achieved some of its greatest accomplishments in the school's history. He saved the school from financial ruin in the first years after its independence from the Methodist Church by convincing the people of Washington County to make the college a county junior college that would be tax-supported. Schmidt also managed to get the deed to Blinn's property back from Southwestern University, which had been holding the deed since the time of a failed merger. Under Schmidt Blinn became the first county junior college in the state of Texas. In 1935 he wrote and published another book entitled History of Blinn Memorial College. Then, in 1947 he resigned as president, and the board made him president emeritus for life. For the next ten years he taught history and government at Blinn and also authored two other books, the History of Washington County (1949) and the History of Blinn College (1958). He was president of the Texas Junior College Association in 1941–42. He was also a member of the Texas State Teachers Association, the Southwestern Historical Association, the National Education Association, and the National Social Science Fraternity. He was active in the Methodist Church, having once considered entering the ministry. He served as local preacher and often supplied pulpits in the absence of pastors. He was for many years a Sunday School superintendent. In 1924 he served as lay delegate from the Southern German Conference to the General Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts, of the Methodist Episcopal Church. On March 8, 1969, Charles Schmidt died in Brenham. He was survived by his second wife Clara Kassel, whom he married in 1921 following the death of his first wife, Luella Holze, whom he married in 1907 and who died in 1918. He had three sons and two daughters.

Fredericksburg Radio-Post, May 20, 1969. Charles F. Schmidt, History of Washington County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1949). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Amy Dennard, “Schmidt, Charles Frank,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995